There are available departures other then Friday, please ask for more information about your preferred dates.)
Friday - Day 1 - 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 be transferred to Ephesus for your comprehensive full-day tour.
We'll tour Turkey's most impressive Roman and Biblical sites, in what promises to be one of your most memorable excursions in Turkey.
*Ephesus is the best-preserved classical cities from ancient times, and was inhabited by Greek, Macedonian (Hellenistic) , Romans and Turks. St. Paul lived here circa 60 AD, when it was it most populated at 250,000. During your visit, you’ll walk its 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 2 - Kusadasi to Pamukkale - (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we'll depart for Kusadasi and drive to Pamukkale; upon arrival we'll continue on with a guided tour of Pamukkale and Hierapolis.
* Pamukkale ("cotton castle" in Turkish) is the result of limestone formations created over thousands of years. Warm, calcium-rich mineral water from nearby 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. Overnight stay in Pamukkale
Sunday - Day 3 - Pamukkale to Cappadocia - (B/L)
After breakfast, we'll depart Pamukkale and drive to Cappadocia; en route, we'll stop in Konya and have lunch near the Mevlana Museum.
* The Mevlana Museum is a holy site for Muslims because of its historical significance as a lodge of the whirling dervishes; in addition, the architecture and famous Iznik turquoise tiles make for a stunning backdrop.
(Note: a museum visit is not included in the guided tour, however, you may choose to either explore this site or to explore Konya.)
In the afternoon, we'll continue on to Cappadocia, where you will check into your hotel and have free time to relax and explore Cappadocia on your own. Overnight stay at URGUP Cappadocia
Monday - Day 4 - Cappadocia - (B/L)
As we have a lengthy drive to our first destination, we'll be starting out quite early this morning. Today, we'll stroll through an amazing subterranean city where ancient Christians once hid from Arab invaders; we'll then wander through the Ihlara Gorge and spend time in a classic Anatolian village.
* Underground City of Derinkuyu--You'll gradually make your way down into the depths of the earth of this ancient settlement that has 18-20 floors which boast depths as long as 40 meters. (Don't worry, we'll only go down to the 8th floor!) Youll marvel at the fact that Derinkuyu is just one of 36 Cappadocian underground cities, which archaeologists date back to the time of the Hittites around 4,000 years ago.
* Ihlara Gorge is an oasis in the middle of the Anatolian plain. We'll explore the canyon and take in the beautiful green scenery as we stroll casually alongside the river. Here, you'll see ancient monasteries complete with pigeon holes carved into the cliffs by the monks; the pigeons acted as messengers to communicate with neighboring monks!
* Traditional Anatolian village -- You'll see head-scarved women in the fields (where they work from sun up until sundown) and the
mustachioed, vest-wearing men hard-at-work playing cards or tavla (backgammon) in the kahvehane (coffee shop). You'll get time to stroll in a village such as this and see the average Turkish villager at work...or play. Overnight in Urgup - Cappadocia
Tuesday - Day 5 - Cappadocia - (B/L)
This day will be devoted to exploring more of the unforgettable sights of Cappadocia.
(If you have purchased the optional hot-air ballooning tour, please note that you'll need to rise very early in the morning to go to the balloon-launch site. After the trip has concluded, we'll come back to the hotel for breakfast and have a rest before setting out in later in the morning to see the rest of the sites listed below.)
Sites you'll see today:
* Goreme Open-Air Museum - A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Goreme is an ancient town carved right out of the rock (tufa); you'll explore Byzantine-era churches, chapels and monasteries which house wonderfully-preserved 11th- and 12th-century cave frescoes.
* Fairy Chimneys--This strange geological phenomenon was created over millions of years, and were formed during regional volcanic eruptions. Reaching at times 40 meters in height, they are conical in shape and have a whimsical "hat" top to them.
* Devrent Valley--This valley is known as "the pink valley" because of the color of its soil. This is a lovely place to wander about and really take in the magical rock formations indicative to Cappadocia, including the Fairy Chimneys.
* Uchisar Castle, also known as Uchisar Fortress, is actually a formation of two gigantic rocks surrounded by smaller ones that together, form a natural fortress with towers. These formations were inhabited during both the Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
We'll also visit local crafts people and learn the special art of making dolls and traditional pottery.
Overnight in Urgup - Cappadocia
Wednesday - Day 6 - Cappadocia to Nemrut - (B/D)
After breakfast, we'll bid farewell to Cappadocia as we set out on a scenic 6-hour drive to Adiyaman. On the way, we will enjoy a nice lunch and taste the world-famous Maras dondurma (ice cream). Upon arrival at Adiyaman, you'll check into your hotel. You'll then have the remainder of the evening to spend as you wish.
Overnight in Adiyaman
Thursday - Day 7 - Nemrut Tour then to Urfa - (B/L/D)
Around 3:00 AM, we will start our tour and drive up to Nemrut Mountain to watch the sunrise at the summit. This is the ultimate postcard setting with the amazing statues of the Commagene Temple in the backdrop. We'll also visit the capital of the Commagene Kingdom; Arsaemia; a tumulus on Karakus Hill and Cendere Bridge, all before heading to Sanliurfa, a special region combining both Turkish and Syrian influences.
* Nemrut is a high mountain that has number of large statues from the 1st century BCE.
King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene built on the mountain top a tomb-sanctuary flanked by huge statues (8–9 m/26–30 ft high) of himself, two lions, two eagles and various Greek, Armenian, and Iranian gods, such as Hercules-Vahagn, Zeus-Aramazd or Oromasdes (associated with the Iranic god Ahura Mazda), Tyche, and Apollo-Mithras. These statues were once seated, with names of each god inscribed on them. The heads of the statues have at some stage been removed from their bodies, and they are now scattered throughout the site.
The western terrace contains a large slab with an lion, showing the arrangement of stars and the planets Jupiter, Mercury and Mars on 7 July 62 BC. This may be an indication of when construction began on this monument. The eastern portion is well preserved, being composed of several layers of rock, and a path following the base of the mountain is evidence of a walled passageway linking the eastern and western terraces.
* Kahta is home to the ancient sites of the Ruins of Arsemia, Cendere Bridge, and the Royal Tomb of Karakus.
After lunch, we will explore more of Urfa, a city famous for its kebaps, and great historical past, which includes the Lake of Sacred Fish, the Halilurrahman Mosque and Dersa Mosque.
On the outskirts of Urfa, we'll visit Harran, a delightfully-preserved Mesopotamian village famed for its adobe beehive houses. Their mud-based construction keeps them cool inside (essential for the hot Anatolian climate) and is thought to have been unchanged for the last 3,000 years. Some were even still in use as private dwellings until the 1980s! (However, the adobe homes remaining today are tourist exhibits, and now, most of Harran's residents live in a newly-built smaller village, about 2 kilometers away from the main site). Here, the ruins of the city walls and fortifications are mostly in place, with one full city gate still standing, along with some other structures.
Overnight in Urfa
Friday - Day 8 - Urfa to Istanbul - (B)
After breakfast, we will provide a transfer to Urfa's airport and put you on a 1-hour flight back to Istanbul. After arrival, we will take you to your hotel to drop off your luggage and then give you a lift to Grand Bazaar for your last-minute shopping. You will then have the evening free to spend at your leisure.
Prices are starting from 885 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 the itinerary (B-breakfast, L-lunch & D-dinner)
* Professional, English-speaking tour guides
* Domestic flight tickets from Istanbul to Izmir
* Domestic flight tickets from Urfa to Istanbul
* Admissions to, Ephesus, Pamukkale, all sites in Cappadocia and Nemrut
* All taxes and service charges
* International flight tickets to Istanbul
* Drinks with meals
* Hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia (15% discount if booked with this tour)