(This program is available any day of the week.)
Sunday - 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
Monday - Day 2 - Istanbul - (B/L)
Sites you will see today:
* 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.
Overnight in Istanbul
After lunch we will continue on the tour and will visit
* Topkapi Palace (Topkapi Sarayi), the residence and administrative center of the Sultans during the Ottoman Empire, was constructed in 1459-1465 shortly after the establishment 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.
We'll also visit the Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi - "covered market") which opened in 146.
After the tour we will return to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul
Tuesday - Day 3 - Istanbul - (B/L)
This will be a day of exploring more of Istanbul's most iconic sites:
* 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.
* 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.
.* 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.
After the tour, we'll give you the option of going back to the Grand Bazaar to get in some souvenir shopping.
Overnight in Istanbul
Wednesday - Day 4 - Istanbul to Canakkale - (B/L/D)
Early in the morning we will drive west, skirting the northern shore of the beautiful Sea of Marmara, heading towards the Aegean Sea.
Sites you’ll see today:
*Gallipoli (Gelibolu) and the Dardanelles --After our lunch, we willl devote our afternoon to visiting Gallipoli, where fierce World War I fighting took place between Allied forces and the Turkish Army. At ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Armed Corps) Cove, thousands lost their lives on one fateful dawn morning. We'll also visit other famous WWI battlesites and cemetaries in this area, including Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair. From here, we'll board a ferry and cross the Dardanelles Strait. World War I history buffs will know that the Dardanelles Strait was a strategic crossing point for the Allied armies to cross from Europe into Asia Minor.
Over a 9-month campaign, more than half a million soldiers lost their lives in the struggle to control this strait and the nearby Gallipoli peninsula. Still today, many villagers in this quiet and peaceful region speak of seeing ghosts wandering the cemeteries and hearing the sounds of battle.
*Canakkale will be our final destination for today and where we will spend our evening. After dinner, you might want to stroll the harbor wall; here, locals buy sunflower seeds and take evening strolls with their families to watch the sunset. When they reach the end of the promenade, they turn around, perhaps buy ice cream and walk again. Why not join them?
Overnight in Canakkale
Thursday - Day 5 - Canakkale to Kusadasi - (B/L/D)
We continue our scenic drive along the Aegean, stopping for photo opportunities and perhaps to indulge the taste buds at one of the many farmer road side stands that sell olives, figs, pistachios, and other seasonal fruits. We then will head east towards Troy.
*Troy (Truva) is the ancient site written about by Homer in the classic Iliad. It dates back to approximately 3,000 BC and has been the site of nine different cities through the thousands of years it has been in existence. Upon entering Troy, a large wooden Trojan horse full-scale reproduction will dominate your view. You'll definitely want to climb up and get your picture taken! There is also a small museum on-site to help you get oriented.
After lunch, you will depart from Canakkale, driving along the Aegean Sea south to the seaside city of Kusadasi. Upon arriving, you will check into your hotel. Overnight in Kusadasi
Friday - Day 6 Kusadasi - (B/L/D)
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 7 - 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.
Overnight in Pamukkale
Sunday - Day 8 - Pamukkale to Marmaris - (B)
After breakfast we will provide a transfer to Marmaris. After arrival you will check into your hotel; you then have a free time to relax and enjoy your day. Overnight in Marmaris
Monday - Day 9 - Marmaris to Rhodes - (B)
After breakfast, we will provide a transfer to Marmaris' port for your ferry to Rhodes (Rodos) Island. After arrival, you will check into your hotel and have a free day to relax and explore the Island.
*Rhodes was home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World - the Colossus of Rhodes. This giant bronze statue once stood in the harbour. It was completed in 280 BC, but was destroyed in an earthquake in 224 BC. No trace of the statue remains today. However, the medieval fortification walls and towers that once protected the citizens of Rhodes Town are still intact.)
Overnight in Rhodes
Tuesday - Day 10 - Rhodes to Santorini - (B)
After breakfast, you will have a free day to relax and explore Rhodes Island. At 5:00 PM, we will depart for Santorini Island, arriving around midnight. You'll then be transferred to your hotel in Santorini.
Overnight in Santorini
(*Santorini is one of those places that will be permanently etched in your mind. Everywhere you turn, you will find another photo opportunity. This island is the result of an enormous volcanic eruption (which destroyed all of the earliest settlements on what was formerly a single island). The aftermath of the explosion created what you see today, a caldera. The classic picture of the charming, white-washed houses that cling to the high cliffs, along with the impossibly- blue Aegean Sea hundreds of feet below, has rightfully made the island a perennial tourist favorite.)
Wednesday - Day 11 - Santorini - (B)
After breakfast ,we will take you on a memorable full-day boat tour of Santorini. We'll see the caldera (volcano), see hot springs, view the ruins of Thirrassia, and wrap up the day watching the romantic sunset from Oia. After sunset, you will be taken back to your hotel. Overnight in Santorini
Thursday - Day 12 - Santorini - (B)
You have a free day to explore Santorini on your own. Many take this opportunity to relax and tan on one of Santorini’s famous beaches, such as Red Beach, or return for more sightseeing in Oia. Overnight in Santorini
Friday - Day 13 - Santorini to Athens - (B)
You will explore the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Panathinaiko Stadium (where the first Olympic Games took place in 1896). After that, we will drive by the Prime's Minister's residence, the Royal Palace, (guarded by colorful Evzones), Zappion (Conference and Exhibition Hall), National Garden, Hadrian's Arc, St. Paul's Church, Parliament, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Schlieman's House (Numismatic Museum), Catholic Cathedral, Academy, University, National Library, Old Parliament, Constitution Square, and the Russian Orthodox Church.
At the ACROPOLIS, you will visit Propylaea, Temple of Athena Nike, Parthenon, Erechtheion and the Museum of the Acropolis.
In the early afternoon, we will provide a transfer to your hotel, or we can also drop you off at the Plaka so you can wander and explore. Overnight in Athens
Saturday - Day 14 - Athens to Home - (B)
Andio sas! Good bye! It's time to head 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 1585 Euros per person in a double, contact us to get a price quote for your dates
* All hotels ( each 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
* All ferry tickets in Greece
* All port transfers
* Domestic flight tickets from Santorini to Athens
* All taxes and service charges
* International flight tickets to Istanbul
* Drinks with meals