Day 1 - Istanbul to Trabzon
Early in the morning, we will transfer you to an Istanbul domestic airport for a 1.5-hour flight from Istanbul to Trabzon.
Upon arrival you will be met and then taken on a full-day tour to Sumela Monastery, Gumushane and Karaca Cave. We will drive through the picturesque Pontic Mountains, and visit Sumela Monastery
A little about Trabzon:
The earliest evidence of civilization in Trabzon dates to 7,000 BC. Established as a Greek colony (at about the same time as Amasra and Sinop) the town benefited from its position on the busy trade route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. It grew quickly and was the center for the Pontic empire. At the beginning of the 13th century, the Commagene dynasty established its capital at Trabzon. It was during this era, that the city gained a reputation as a beautiful and sophisticated cultural center. The Genoese and the Venetians traded here as Trabzon was the terminus of a northern branch of the Silk Route.
* Sumela Monastery sits high up on the cliffs of Mela, southeast of Trabzon. It was founded in the 4th century by two Greek monks, Barnabas and Sophronius, who were guided to the site by an icon of a "black" image of the Virgin Mary, elegantly painted by St. Luke. After their deaths, Sumela became a place of pilgrimage. Decorated with frescoes, Sumela's treasures include priceless manuscripts and silver plates. Since the monastery was rebuilt several times, the ruins seen today date largely to the 19th century. During the Ottoman era, Sumela enjoyed the protection of the sultans, but it was ultimately abandoned and also badly-damaged during the War of Independence. In recent years, thankfully, extensive restoration has been carried out.
Then you will visit Hagia Sophia Church, Ataturk's Mansion. Afterwards, then we will drive to our hotel and check-in.
Overnight in Trabzon
Day 2 - Trabzon to Ayder - (B/D)
After breakfast, we'll depart Uzungol and drive on to Ayder and visit tea and kiwi plantations on the way. We'll be driving through the Firtina Valley and visit Camlihemsin and Goksu Falls. Later, we'll arrive in Ayder and check into our Ottoman-era wooden hotel.
Overnight in Ayder
Day 3 - Ayder to Kars - (B/D)
After breakfast, we'll depart Parhal and drive on to Kars, and check into our hotel.
In the afternoon, we'll visit the medieval city of Ani, a ruined and uninhabited medieval Armenian city-site in Kars province, which sits alongside the Armenian border. It was once the capital of a medieval Armenian kingdom which covered much of present-day Armenia and eastern Turkey. A fortress once encircled Ani, with its most powerful defenses along the northern side of the city (the only part not protected by rivers or ravines).
Overnight in Kars
Day 4 - Kars to Dogubeyazit - (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we will depart from Kars for our scenic drive to Dogubeyazit.
Dogubeyazit is Turkey's most eastern district, and it shares a border crossing with Iran. The town of Dogubeyazit is a settlement with a long history. After arrival we will check in the hotel. Overnight in Dogubeyazit
Day 5 - Dogubeyazit to Van - (B/L/D)
After breakfast we will start the day exploring and visiting the Ishak Pasa Sarayi (Palace).
* Ishak Pasa Palace is an Ottoman-period palace whose construction began in 1685 by Colak Abdi Pasha, the bey of Beyazit province. According to the inscription on its door, the Harem section of the palace was completed by his grandson Ishak (Isaac) Pasha in 1784. The Palace is more of a complex than it is a palace; it was the second-most important administrative center after Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. The palace, built on the side of a mountain 5 km (3 mi.) east of Dogubeyazit, is a rare and magnificent example of the architectural style from the 18th-century Ottoman "Lale Devri" period.
After our visit, we'll be on our way to Van; on the way, we'll stop at Muradiye Falls, and also make other stops at scenic points where you may take pictures of Mt. Ararat. We then arrive in Van, whereupon you'll check into your hotel.
Overnight in Van
Day 6 - Van - (B/D)
Today, we will go on a full day tour exploring Hosap Village and Akdamar Island in Lake Van.
* Hosap Castle is a large medieval castle in the village of Hosap. According to a local tradition, the hands of the architect who built this formidable stronghold were cut off so that he could not build another.
* Akdamar Island is the second largest of the four islands in Lake Van, about 3 km from the shoreline. At the western end of this island, a hard, grey, limestone cliff rises 80 m above the lake's surface level. The island slopes to the east to where a spring provides ample water. In addition, Akdamar is home to a 10th-century Armenian church, known as the Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross (915-921); it also was the seat of the Armenian Catholic Church from 1116 to 1895.
Day 7 - Van to Istanbul - (B)
After breakfast, we will provide a transfer to the Van Airport for a 2-hour flight back to Istanbul. Arriving in Istanbul will be the end of this program.
We look forward to seeing you on a future trip!
Prices are starting from 1185 Euros per person in a double, contact us to get a price quote for your dates
* All transportation in comfortable vehicles
* All hotels with breakfast & 3 lunches
* All other meals mentioned in the itinerary (B/L/D)
* Professional, English-speaking guides
* Entrance fees to ancient sites
* Domestic flight tickets from Istanbul to Trabzon
* Domestic flight tickets from Van to Istanbul
* All service charges and local taxes
* Drinks with meals