(This program is available on days other than Tuesday, and can depart from any city; please ask for more details.)
Tuesday - Day 1 - Arrival in Istanbul
HOS GELDINIZ! Welcome to Turkey! We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. After a short briefing about your tour you will have the afternoon free to rest and explore Istanbul on your own. Overnight in Istanbul
Wednesday - Day 2 - Istanbul - (B/L)
This will be a full day exploring Istanbul's most historical monuments.
Sites you'll see today:
* Blue Mosque/Sultanahmet Mosque (Camii) built during the reign of Sultan Ahmet I during 1609-1616. It is the only mosque in Turkey with six minarets. Due to its magnificent hand-dyed blue, green and white Iznik tiles it has been named the "Blue Mosque" by Europeans. The central dome is 43 m in height and is 33.4 m in diameter; it also boasts 260 windows.
* Hagia Sophia/Aya Sofya is a truly awe-inspiring, 1,400-year-old Byzantine cathedral which houses mosaics, relics and iron work. Hagia Sophia was, for nearly a thousand years, the largest enclosed space in the world, and still seen as one of the world's most important architectural monuments. It is one of Turkey's most popular attractions, drawn by the sheer spectacle of its size, architecture, mosaics and art. Built during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD.
.* Hippodrome: the backdrop of chariot races and the center of Byzantine civic life. Of the ornaments which once decorated it, only three remain: The Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column, and the Column of Constantine.
The Obelisk is in the Egyptian style and was erected in 1547 BC and stood 60m tall. The German Fountain is also within the hippodrome area, constructed in Germany to mark German Emperor Wilhelm II's second visit to Istanbul; it was imported and officially opened on January 1 1901. The fountain's three domes are decorated with gold mosaics.
* Topkapi Palace was the residence and administrative center of the Sultans during the Ottoman Empire, and was constructed in 1459-1465 shortly after the conquest of Constantinople. You'll see the Treasury that houses the Topkapi Dagger, the 86-carat Spoon Maker's Diamond, and the jewel-encrusted bones of St. John the Baptist.
* Grand Bazaar will also be visited during the tour. Overnight in Istanbul
Thursday - Day 3: Istanbul - (B)
This will be a half-day exploring the historical sites of Istanbul.
* The Spice Bazaar/Egyptian Bazaar (Misir Carsisi) transports you back to the Silk Road days with its mystical aromas of various spices. Here, you'll also find other shops selling fruits, vegetables, teas, flowers, fish, and Turkish Delight (lokum).
* Bosphorus Cruise takes you though the strait separating two continents, Europe and Asia; along its shores, you can take photographs of marble palaces and antique wooden Ottoman-era villas that sit beside luxurious modern residences.You will also see Dolmabahce Palace (the last official residence of the Sultans as well as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk), Beylerbeyi Palace, and Ortakoy Mosque.
After the Bosphorus tour, you will be taken to the Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi) and given plenty of time to explore and shop. The Bazaar is one of the largest and one of the oldest, covered markets in the world, with more than 58 covered streets and over 4,000 shops, attracting between 250,000 and half a million visitors daily. Overnight stay in Istanbul
- Friday - Day 4: Istanbul to Kusadasi - (B/L/D)
Very early in the morning, we'll transfer you to the domestic airport for the 1-hour flight to Izmir, whereupon you'll then be transferred first to Ephesus for your comprehensive full-day tour.
We'll tour Turkey's most impressive Roman and Biblical sites, in what promises to be some of your most memorable days in Turkey, in addition to visiting other significant sites.
*Ephesus is the best-preserved classical cities from ancient times, and was inhabited by Greeks, Macedonians, Romans and Turks. St. Paul lived here circa 60 AD, when it was at its most populated at 250,000. During your visit, you’ll walk its stony boulevards, stand in the grand theatre, marvel at the beauty of the Celsus Library, the agora, as well as the baths, giving you the unique chance to get up-close-and-personal with history by literally being able to walk into it.
*The Temple of Artemis is situated in serene countryside celebrates the Greek goddess Artemis, the virginal huntress and twin of Apollo, who supplanted the Titan Selene as goddess of the Moon. This temple, known as Artemision in Greek times, was the largest of its kind at the world.
*The House of The Virgin Mary, (Turkish: Meryemana Evi), high on a hill overlooking the town of Selcuk, is where it is believed that St. Mary came to live with St. John the Baptist in the later years of her life. Masses are held here on Sundays. Overnight in Kusadasi
Saturday - Day 5: Kusadasi to Pamukkale then to Istanbul - (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we will depart from Kusadasi to Pamukkale; upon arrival we will continue on the guided tour of Pamukkale and Hierapolis. Our drive will take us through a rich agricultural area, teeming with cotton fields and fruit orchards.
* Pamukkale ("cotton castle" in Turkish) is the result of limestone formations created over thousands of years. Warm, calcium-rich mineral water from nearby thermal hot springs flowed over these cliffs and, as these waters cooled, they deposited the calcium that we see today.
* Hierapolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded as an ancient healing care center in 190 BC, taking advantage of the mineral waters. It was one of the most important intellectual, artistic, religious and commercial centers of the Roman Empire. Over time, the city hosted large numbers of both Jewish and Christian residents.
After the tour, we will provide a transfer to the Denizli airport and put you on a 1-hour flight back to Istanbul. After arrival in Istanbul, we will provide a transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul
- Sunday Day 6 - Istanbul to home - (B)
Gule, Gule! Farewell! It is time to go home. We will transfer you to the airport and wish you well, asking that you keep Turkey in your hearts, and hope that our paths cross again!
Prices are starting from 685 Euros per person in a double, contact us to get a price quote for your dates
* All hotels (each of them individually-chosen)
* All land transfers with comfortable vehicles
* All meals mentioned in itinerary (B-breakfast, L-lunch & D-dinner)
* Professional, English-speaking tour guides
* Domestic flight tickets from Istanbul to Izmir
* Domestic flight tickets from Pamukkale (Denizli) to Istanbul
* All taxes and service charges
* International flight tickets to Istanbul
* Drinks with meals