We don't usually go on an organised trip, but on this occasion as our friend had damaged her knee, she didn't fancy travelling around Turkey by bus, spending valuable walking energy getting to and from the bus station.
We dropped by at a tourist office and found they were offering bus tours by Four Seasons to visit Perge, Side and Aspendos which would give a flavour of a lot of the Greek and Roman remains in the region. We are lousy at haggling so got our seats for about £40; this included entrance fees of approximately £15 and a free lunch, so I guess it wasn't too horrendous.
I'm not a good organised trip traveller as I hate being herded around and waiting for other people, so I was quite pleased that our trip was via minibus and that there were 16 passengers on board on total. The seating on the bus was a little cosy but we all managed as the longest part of the journey too just 40 minutes without a break. The bus was pretty new and felt safe and serviceable with seat belts and the like.
The tour company agreed to pick us up at our hotel, but they arrived a little late. At least they had the sense to tell our hotel who kindly brought us in from the street and told us we could have a quick breakfast while we waited.
The guide had reasonable but not excellent English which meant that the information they imparted about the various destinations was adequate but not particularly expansive. I liked that the tour company had a tour for English speakers which meant the guide didn't have to go through the same thing in three languages. On our trip there were some people using English as a second language – folks came from Dubai, Thailand, China as well as the UK and USA.
The tour overall was nicely pitched with a reasonable stop in each of the towns with the exception of Side. This trip simply took us on a 30 minute walk through the town and then 15 minutes to the rerrected temple to Apollo on the sea front only. Most of the interesting stuff in Side is dotted around the city, but we didn't have opportunity to see it on this trip.
One nice aspect was that we were not herded through the towns with a man waving an umbrella in front of us. It must be 2 decades or so since I have submitted myself to the humiliation of such a tour. In this case, the style was for the guide to offer us more of an introductory talk and then a certain amount of time to wander through it at our own pace. I found this system much preferable and it gave us some space and a little individuality. Our party were very good at being punctual and no one was late once.
Our included lunch to be fair was very good considering I was dreading it, although the charge for drinks was quite frankly ridiculous 39 lire (£15.80 for 3 glasses of orange juice and 3 coffees. I would anticipate this to be £8 or so at the very most.
To sum up, while I'm not a convert to the organised tour concept, the one offered by four seasons around Antalya was fairly relaxed and gave us some space. It was also reasonable value overall and we managed to fit quite a lot in during a one day trip.