(This program is available from May through late September; please ask us about availability.)
Wednesday - Day 1 - Arrival in Athens
KALOS ORISATE ! Welcome to Greece! 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 Athens on your own.
Overnight in Athens
Thursday - Day 2 - Athens - (B)
After breakfast around 8:30 AM, we will meet you in the lobby of your hotel and take you on a guided tour of Athens.
You will explore 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, 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 stay in Athens
Friday - Day 3 - Athens to Mykonos then Overnight cruise to Kusadasi - (B/L/D)
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Piraeus Harbour where you will board your ship. After checking into your cabin, you will have free time to relax and get acquainted with the boat.
11:00 AM: depart Athens for Mykonos; arrive around 6:00 PM. You'll then have until midnight to explore the island at your leisure.
12:00 AM: depart Mykonos for overnight cruise to Kusadasi (Turkey).
Saturday - Day 4 -
Kusadasi to Patmos then Overnight cruise to Santorini - (B/L/D)
HOS GELDINIZ! Welcome to Turkey!
7:00 AM: When you arrive in Kusadasi, your tour guide will meet you for your guided tour of Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis.
*Ephesus is the best-preserved classical cities from ancient times, and was inhabited by Greek, Macedonian (Hellenes) , 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.
After the tour, you will be transferred to the harbour where you will board the ship for a cruise to Patmos, whereupon arrival, you will have free time to explore the island. We'll bid "farewell to Patmos later in the evening as we begin our overnight cruise to Santorini.
Sunday - Day 5 - Santorini to Athens - (B/D)
Today you will have a full day to explore Santorini Island. You may opt to ride in the cable car, visit the town's center, take a boat tour out to the caldera, visit neighboring Oia, or just find a place to laze on the waterfront.
We'll depart Athens at midnight. (We also offer customized, private tours around Santorini.)
Monday - Day 6 -
Athens to Istanbul - (B)
We'll have an early morning arrival in Athens (via Piraeus Harbor); transfer to Athens Airport for your 1-hour, 20-minute flight to 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, we will take you on a half day orientation tour of Istanbul.
* 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
Tuesday - Day 7 - Istanbul - (B/L)
This will be a full day of exploring the historical sites of Istanbul.
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.
* Kucuk Aya Sofya (Little Aya Sofya) and the Grand Bazaar will also be visited during the tour. Overnight in Istanbul
Wednesday - Day 8 - Istanbul to Cappadocia - (B/L)
Early in the morning we will transfer you to the domestic airport for your 1-hour flight to the central Anatolian city of Kayseri. After arrival, you'll go on to Cappadocia.
Today 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 Cappadocia
Thursday - Day 9 - Cappadocia to Istanbul - (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.
After the tour, we will transfer you to the Kayseri Airport and put you on your 1-hour flight back to Istanbul. After you arrive, you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul
Friday - Day 10 - Istanbul to your next destination - (B)
Gule, Gule! Farewell! It's time to go home. We will transfer you to the airport and wish you well, asking that you keep Turkey in your heart. We hope that our paths cross again soon.
Prices are starting from 1585 Euros per person in a double, contact us to get a price quote for your dates
(Ask for early booking discounts.)
* All hotels
* All land transfers with comfortable vehicles
* All meals mentioned in the itinerary (B-breakfast, L-lunch & D-dinner)
* Professional, English-speaking tour guides
* International flight tickets from Athens to Istanbul
* Domestic flight tickets from Istanbul to Cappadocia
* Domestic flight tickets from Cappadocia to Istanbul
* 4-day island cruise, with full board
* Admissions to Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palac, , Ephesus, Pamukkale, 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 )