(Available from April to the end of October (on every Saturday)
Saturday - 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
Sunday - Day 2 - Istanbul - (B/L)
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 imperial residence and administrative heart of the massive Ottoman Empire, beginnng with Fatih Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, in 1453, until 1856. It was converted to a museum in 1924. Parts of the palace such as the Harem, Baghdad Pavilion, Revan Pavilion, Sofa Pavilion, and the Audience Chamber distinguish themselves with their architectural assets. The museum also has collections from the Imperial Treasury, as well as Chinese porcelain, weapons, calligraphy, etc. The Treasury also houses the Topkapi Dagger, the 86-carat "Spoon Maker's Diamond", and the jewel-encrusted bones of St. John the Baptist.
After the tour you will return to your hotel, or enjoy rest of the day explore Istanbul at your own pace. Overnight stay in Istanbul.
Monday - Day 3 - Istanbul - (B)
After breakfast we will meet you at your hotel and take you on a half day tour of Istanbul.
You will visit the Spice Market then go on a cruise on the Bosphorus.
* 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 waterway separating the 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, Beylerbeyi Palace, and Ortakoy Mosque. After lunch we will see:
* After the tour we will return to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul
Tuesday - 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 to Ephesus for your comprehensive full-day tour of some of Turkey's most impressive Roman and Biblical sites, in what promises to be some of your more memorable days in Turkey.
*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
- Wednesday - Day 5 - Kusadasi to Pamukkale - (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 take you back to your hotel.
Overnight in Pamukkale
- Thursday - Day 6 - Pamukkale to Kas - (B)
After breakfast we will provide a bus transfer from Pamukkale to Kas, this will be a scenic journey through the taurus mountains, upon arrival you will check into your hotel and have a free day to relax and explore Kas at your own pace,
Overnight stay in Kas.
- Friday - Day 7 - Kas - (B/L)
Around 09:30 am you will be picked up from your hotel and go on this wonderful all day tour.
You will first visit Myra the you will get on the boat and go on a full day tour to Kekova
18:00 Approx.. time for the tour ending.
KEKOVA (SUNKEN CITY): Sunken ruins of kekova, an ancient town which was destroyed by an earthquake during the 2nd century. Rebuilt and still flourishing during the Byzantine Empire period, it was finally abandoned because of Arab incursions. Tersane (meaning "dockyard", as its bay was the site of an ancient city Xera and dockyard, with the ruins of a Byzantine church) is at the northwest of the island.
The Kekova region was declared a specially protected area on 18 January 1990 by Turkish Ministry of Environment and Forest.
The Kekova region encompasses the island of Kekova, the villages of Kaleköy and Üça??z and the four ancient towns of Simena, Aperlae, Dolchiste and Teimioussa.
Kalekoy is a Lycian site on the Turkish coast. It is a small village with the partly sunken ruins of Aperlae and a castle. Access to the village is possible only by sea.
Ucagiz is a village one km from Kaleköy, north of a small bay by the same name, with the ruins of Teimioussa to the east. The name Ucagiz means "three mouths", referring to the three exits to open sea.
- Saturday - Day 8 - Kas to Antalya - (B)
After breakfast we will provide a transfer to Antalya, this will be a scenic drive going along the Mediterranean shores lines, Arrival in Antalya, check into your hotel.
- Sunday - Day 9 - Antalya - (B)
Around 09:00 you will be picked up from your
All day you will be exploring the ruins of Side, Perge, Aspendos and Manavgat water falls will be the last stop, and after that we can either transfer you back to your hotel or drop you off at the down town. 18:00 Approx.. time for the tour ending.
Sites you'll see today
* Perge is a grand exhibit of what an ancient Greek and Roman city looked like. Records date it back as far as the 4th BC. It was visited by Greek colonists after the Trojan War, by St. Paul and companions when it was one of the leading cities of Pamphylia, and fell under the leadership of Alexander the Great and also the Byzantines. During the reign of Constantine, Perge became an important centre of Christianity. Perhaps in part due to St. Paul's sermons here centuries before. During the 5th and 6th centuries it continued it's Christian status.
* Side was the site of Pamphyilia's largest port and was probably first colonized in the 7th BC. Coming from Cyprus St. Paul would have entered the ancient port en root to Perge. The great ruins are among the most notable in Asia Minor. They cover a large promontory where a wall and a mote separate it from the mainland. During medieval times, the wall and mote were repaired and the promontory houses a wealth of structures. There are colossal ruins of a theater complex built much like a Roman amphitheater that relies on arches to support the sheer verticals.
* Manavgat Waterfall is where we will take a nice cool rest , sitting right next to the falls. Local restaurants provide iced drinks or ice cream.
* Aspendos is most famous for its theatre that dates to 160-180 AD. Depending on performance dates, we may be able to visit this ancient theatre to see the world renown summer evening opera and ballet performances. Aspendos is known for having the best-preserved theater of antiquity.
Overnight stay in Antalya.
- Monday - Day 10 - Antalya to Cappadocia - (B/L)
After breakfast we will depart from Antalya and drive to Cappadocia, on the way we will stop and visit Mevlana Museum in Konya.
*Mevlana Museum is a holy site for Muslims because it is the former lodging place for the whirling dervishes. The architecture and turquoise tiles are a beautiful site for all.
( Note today is not a guided tour, you explore these site on your own.)
In the afternoon we will provide a transfer to Cappadocia, after arrival you will check in the hotel & have a free day to relax and explore Cappadocia on your own. Overnight stay in URGUP Cappadocia.
- Tuesday - Day 11 - Cappadocia - (B/L)
Today will be spent walking through an underground city where ancient people once fled for their lives escaping the Arab invaders, wandering through Ihlara Gorge and spending time in an Anatolian village. As we will need to drive for awhile in order to reach our first destination, we will be starting out quite early this morning.
Sites you'll see today
*Underground City of Derinkuyu--You will gradually stroll your way down into the depths of the earth in this ancient underground city that has 18-20 floors as deep as 40 meters below the ground. Don't worry, you will only go down to the 8th floor. Cappadocia has around 36 underground cities. Archeologists date these back to the time of the Hittites which lived 4000 years ago.
*Ihlara Gorge will seem like an oasis in the middle of the Anatolian plain. Delve into the gorge and see the beautiful greenery as you follow the river. Around you will see ancient monasteries complete with pigeon holes cut into the cliffs by the monks. They used these pigeons as messengers to communicate with their monk friends!
*Traditional Anatolian villages--The head-scarved women out at work in the fields from sun up until sun-down, and the mustached, vest-wearing men hard at work playing cards in the coffee shops. You will get time to stroll in such a village and see the average Turkish villager at work...or play. Overnight in URGUP - Cappadocia -
- Wednesday - Day 12 - Cappadocia - (B/L)
This day will be spent exploring the amazing sites of Cappadocia. (For those who have bought optional hot air ballooning tour of Cappadocia ) Very, very early in the morning we will wake up to take a hot air balloon ride over the area. After this we will come back to the hotel for breakfast and a rest before setting out in late morning to see the rest of the sites.
Sites you'll see today
*The World Heritage Site of Goreme Open-Air Museum --This is a cluster of rock cut Byzantine churches, chapels and monasteries which include some wonderful 11th and 12th century frescoes on the cave walls.
*Fairy Chimneys--These geological phenomenon have been shaped over millions of years. They were formed during volcanic eruptions in the region. Reaching at times 40 meters in height, they are conical in shape and have a "hat" top to them.
*Devrent Valley--This valley is know as "the pink valley" because of the color of it's soil. This is a lovely place to wander around and look at the magical rock formations indicative to Cappadocia, including the Fairy Chimneys.
*Uchisar Castle--Also called a fortress, this is actually a formation of two gigantic rocks surrounded by smaller rocks that together form a natural fortress with towers. These formations were inhabited during both the Byzantine and Ottoman times.
*We will also get the chance to visit local craftspeople and learn how they make dolls and create traditional pottery.
Overnight stay in Cappadocia.
- Thursday - Day 13 - Cappadocia to Istanbul - (B)
After breakfast we will provide a transfer to Nevsehir Airport and put you on a 1 hour flight back to Istanbul, After arrival we will take you to your hotel to drop your luggage then give you a lift to Grand Bazaar so you can do your last minute shopping. you will have a free evening to relax and explore Istanbul. Overnight stay.
- Friday - Day 14 - Istanbul to Home - (B)
Gule, Gule! It is time to head for home. We will transfer you to the airport and wish you well, asking that you keep Turkey in your heart. We truly hope that our paths will cross again.
Prices are starting from 1485 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 in comfortable vehicles
* All meals mentioned in the itinerary (B-breakfast, L-lunch & D-dinner)
* Professional, English-speaking tour guides
* Domestic flight tickets from Cappadocia to Istanbul
* Admission to Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Perge, Aspendos, and sites in Cappadocia
* 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)
(NOTE: This is a fully-customizable program and is available all year round. If you are interested in obtaining more information about early booking, cash-paying discounts, hotel names (and web sites), or daily departure times, simply send back to us your e-mail inquiry, letting us know the dates you wish to travel, and we'll get back with you very soon.