(We offer this program on different days other than Thursday.)
Thursday - Day 1 - Bodrum to Kusadasi - (D)
At 10:00 AM, we will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to the bus station for an 11:00 AM departure for Kusadasi, arriving at about 4:00 PM.
After we arrive in Kusadasi, we'll check in the hotel, and you'll have the rest of the day to enjoy Kusadasi at your leisure. Perhaps you may want to take a sunset stroll along the harbor?
Overnight in Kusadasi
Friday - Day 2 - Kusadasi - (B/L/D)
Sites you'll see today:
* 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. Of the Olympian goddesses who inherited aspects of the Great Goddess of Crete, Athene was more honored than Artemis at Athens. At Ephesus, a goddess with whom the Greeks associated with Artemis was passionately venerated in an archaic, pre-Hellenic cult image that was carved of wood, and kept decorated with jewelry.
* 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.
Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation. The Gospel of John may have been written here. The city was the site of several 5th century Ecumenical Councils. It is also the site of a large gladiators' graveyard.
* 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 3 - Kusadasi to Pamukkale - (B/L/D)
Sites you'll see today:
* Pamukkale ("cotton castle" in Turkish), is a natural site that contains hot springs and travertines, and terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. It is located in Turkey's Inner Aegean region, in the Menderes River valley, which has a temperate climate for most of the year.
Pamukkale's terraces are made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by water from the hot springs.
The former Roman Bath is the site of the Hierapolis Archaeology Museum. In this museum, alongside historical artifacts from Hierapolis, there are also artifacts from Laodiceia, Colossae, Tripolis, Attuda and other towns of the Lycos valley. In addition to these, the museum has a large section devoted to artifacts found at Beycesultan Hüyük that includes some of the most beautiful examples of Bronze Age craft.
* 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 4 - 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 5 - 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 6 - 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.
If time permits, we'll also visit local crafts people and learn the special art of making dolls and traditional pottery.
We'll depart Cappadocia at 8:30 PM on a first-class overnight bus back to Bodrum (or to any other destination within Turkey you desire - extra fees will apply.)
Prices are starting from 685 Euros per person in a double, contact us to get a price quote for your dates
* All hotels
* All land transfers with comfortable vehicles
* All of the meals mentioned in the itinerary (B-breakfast, L-lunch & D-dinner)
* Professional English-speaking tour guides
* Transfer from Cappadocia to Fethiye
* Admissions to Ephesus, Pamukkale and all 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)