HIGHLIGHTS OF TURKEY TOUR – 12 DAYS

ITINERARY

ISTANBUL - TROY - ASSOS
AYVALIK - PERGAMON - EPHESUS
APHRODISIAS - PAMUKKALE
KONYA - CAPPADOCIA - ISTANBUL

12 DAYS/11 NIGHTS SUNDAY DEPARTURES ON DEMAND

HIGHLIGHTS OF TURKEY CODE RA12 - SMALL GROUP TOUR MAXIMUM 10 PASSENGERS

EXPAND ALL CLOSE ALL

DAY 1: (SUN) ARRIVAL
Arrival at Istanbul Airport. Please look for your name after clearing customs. Meet and transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul.
DAY 2: (MON) ISTANBUL – SULTANAHMET
You will meet your guide in the morning and s/he will brief you and the others in the group about the tour and answer any questions you may have. Visit theUnderground Basilica Cistern, with its interesting “weeping column” and Medusa head reliefs. Continue to the Topkapi Palace, which was used by the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th to 19th centuries and houses an impressive collection of priceless jewels, crystal, silver and porcelain, robes worn by the sultans and relics of the prophet Mohammed. (Harem is extra and optional). After lunch we will see the Blue Mosque, built for Sultan Ahmet I, which is a unique piece of architecture with its six minarets and features 20,000 beautiful Iznik tiles. Visit the ancient Hippodrome with Obelisk of TheodosiusSnake Pillar and German Fountain of Wilhelm II. Walk through the back streets of Old Istanbul to the Grand Covered Bazaar. Overnight in Istanbul. B.L. *This tour may be done completely as a walking tour.
DAY 3: (TUE) ISTANBUL – ST SOPHIA – GALLIPOLI – CANAKKALE
We will visit the St. (Haghia) Sophia, which was built by the Emperor Justinian. It was the largest building in the world for over 1000 years. See its intricate mosaics and huge central dome. We begin our drive to Gallipoli, stopping for lunch in Tekirdag, which is a pleasant port town famous for its meatballs, then passing through farm area with fields of sunflowers arriving in the late afternoon. We drive the windswept hills of this famous WWI battle site, which heralded the birth of the Turkish Nation, and also resulted in a great loss of life.  Visit the Lone Pine Australian MemorialJohnston’s Jolly (Allied and Turkish trenches and tunnels) The Nek and Chunuk Bair. We cross the famous Dardanelles Straight by ferry pulling away from Kilitbahir Fortress. You are on your own after dinner and may want to walk along the port area and see the Trojan Horse from the movie “Troy”. Overnight in the friendly waterside town of Canakkale. B.L.D.
DAY 4: (WED) CANAKKALE – TROY – ASSOS – BERGAMA
Today is an enjoyable odyssey of the North Aegean Coast past the area known as the “Troad”.  We visit Troy, the legendary city of Homer and the beautiful Helen, which has nine principal levels of occupation covering a period of 3000 years. We will continue to Behramkale Village and visit the ancient city ofAssos and Temple of Athena, high upon a hill. You can see the Greek Island of Lesvos from here. Aristotle founded his first school of philosophy in Assos. We will continue to the town of Bergama and overnight. B.L.D.
DAY 5: (THU) PERGAMON – SELCUK/KUSADASI
We will visit the lofty Pergamon Acropolis, and the ruins of Zeus Altar.The acropolis is situated high above the plain and has a unique panoramic view, with a very narrow and steep theater that could seat up to 10,000. Parchment paper was first produced here. See what remains of the Great Library, which rivaled the one of Alexandria in Egypt, and Temple of Trajan.  We will pass the Red Hall for a view then continue to the Asclepion, which was the first known hospital and therapy center. Overnight in Selcuk or Kusadasi. B.L.D.
DAY 6: (FRI) EPHESUS – HOUSE OF VIRGIN MARY – ST JOHN – SELCUK/KUSADASI
Today we will visit the House of Virgin Mary, which is a major pilgrimage site, then Ephesus, with the Library of CelsiusTemple of HadrianAgora and fantastic Greco-Roman theater (Terrace Houses are extra and optional). We will also see a carpet weaving demonstration today and learn about Turkish carpets. Continue to Sirince Village, where you may taste different types of fruit wine. We will also visit the Basilica of St. John and remains of the Temple of Artemis, one of Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Overnight in Selcuk or Kusadasi.  B.L.D.
DAY 7: (SAT) SELCUK – APHRODISIAS – PAMUKKALE 
We will drive through the valley following the Meander River, which gave us the word “Meandering. We spend some time at the Greco-Roman site of Aphrodisias, which is still being excavated. It features the Temple of Aphrodite, two agoras, a huge intact stadiumbaths of Hadrian and theater, and was the site of a famous sculptural school. We continue to the ancient site of Hierapolis (Pamukkale) with the Temple of Apollo and extensive Necropolis not to mention the famous calcium formations it is famous for. Overnight in Pamukkale.  B.L.D.
DAY 8: (SUN) PAMUKKALE – EGIRDIR – KONYA 
We drive across central Anatolia to Konya making a stop by in Egirdir town where you will be able to walk along the shore of beautiful Lake Egirdir. After lunch we continue to Konya, known as Iconium in Roman times, which was the capital of the Seljuk Turks. Mevlana (Celaleddin Rumi) founded a Sufi order known as the Whirling Dervishes here. Visit the Museum of Mevlana and the great Seljuk monuments such as the Karatay Medrese and the Ince Minareli Medrese. Overnight in Konya. B.L.D.
DAY 9: (MON) KONYA – SILK ROAD – CAPPADOCIA – WHIRLING DERVISHES
We will continue from Konya on the Old Silk Route and see Sultanhani Caravanseray before arriving in Cappadocia. Visit Selime, a village of rock cones below a mesa. We will have lunch in Belisirma village on the Melendez River then visit Ihlara Valley. Descend into this incredible gorge, and then walk in the most scenic part of this canyon flanked by sheer rock walls. After this, we will descend  deep into the earth through the passages and tunnels of Kaymakli Underground City. See the ingenious "millstone" defense doors, wineries and rooms carved from the living rock. Our last stop is Pigeon Valley where we see the ancient dovecotes from across the ravine. Tonight we will also enjoy a performance of the Whirling Dervishes. Overnight in Cappadocia.  B.L.D.
DAY 10: (TUE) CAPPADOCIA – CAVE CHURCHES AND GOREME VALLEY 
In the morning you will experience the feeling of living in an Anatolian village, where houses are built in caves, and life goes on as it has for centuries. You may see villagers baking bread, drying fruit on their rooftops or riding on donkeys to their fields. We will begin our visit to the “fairy chimneys” (conical and unusual rock formations) in Devrent Valley. We continue to the Goreme Open Air Museum, which was once a Byzantine monastery. See the finest examples of religious frescoes in rock-cut churches from the 10th to the 13th centuries.  Enjoy Pasabagi Valley, while walking through vineyards among strange multiple "mushroom-capped" volcanic rock formations. We then continue to Avanos, center of terra cotta work since 3000 BC. Overnight in Cappadocia.  B.L.D.
DAY 11: (WED) CAPPADOCIA – NEVSEHIR – ISTANBUL
Transfer at 07:30 to the Nevsehir airport for morning flight to Istanbul at 09:25 and upon arrival at 10:45 transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day  is at leisure and overnight in Istanbul. B
DAY 12: (THU) DEPARTURE
Pick up from your hotel and transfer to the airport 3 hours prior to your flight departure. (B) 


INCLUDED: 

  • All airport transfers
  • Accommodation 
  • Meals as indicated (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Water during meals (When guide is present)
  • Museum entry fees
  • Transportation in non-smoking minibus with English speaking guide and driver (in the case that the group size falls below 4 pax we reserve the right to conduct the tour by car with professional guide only)
  • Whirling Dervish performance

Domestic flight Nevsehir-Istanbul. *Domestic flight price, listed separately is approximate.
Trip insurance


OPTIONAL:  We can arrange for pre or post tour accommodation, Turkish Night or Balloon Tour in Cappadocia


NOT INCLUDED: International flights, tourist visas, drinks, mini-bar, tips to guide and driver and items of a personal nature.


FEATURED HOTELS 
Istanbul:
Moderate: Erboy Hotel, Historia Hotel, Megara Palace Hotel, Mina Hotel
Superior: Aprilis Hotel, Arden Hotel, Basileus Hotel, Daphne Hotel, Emine Sultan Hotel, Golden Horn Sirkeci, Katelya Hotel, Orient Express Hotel, Perula Hotel, Rast Hotel
Canakkale:
Helen Park Hotel, Limani Hotel 
Bergama: 
La Bella Hotel or similar
Kusadasi or Selcuk:
Carina Hotel, Derici Hotel, Ilayda Avantgarde Hotel, Kalehan Hotel
Pamukkale: 
Hal-Tur, Lycus River Thermal Hotel, Pamuksu Hotel, Ayapam Boutique Hotel, Tripolis Hotel
Konya:
Anemon Hotel Konya, Bera Mevlana Hotel, Ney Hotel, Pasapark Hotel, Rumi Hotel, Selcuk Sems-i Tebrizi
Cappadocia: 
Alfina Hotel, Assiana Cave House, Aydinli Cave House, Gul Konaklari, MDC Hotel, Elkep Evi, Yusuf Yigitoglu


*Similar hotels may be used if the featured hotels are not available at the time of booking and some Istanbul hotels require a supplement during certain periods – the final price of the tour depends upon your hotel choice in Istanbul, the price of the domestic flight and if you require any additional nights or tours in Istanbul.
 

The Highlights of Turkey tour focuses on the classics of Turkey, but takes an in-depth look at Istanbul and also features unusual and picturesque sights such as Assos and Cappadocia and makes a full visit of Konya – city of the Whirling Dervishes. This small group tour is structured to allow more time in each area and covers shorter distances where possible. The tour is conducted by comfortable non-smoking minivan with A/C and separate professional driver and we allow a maximum of 10 passengers on the tour. Your English speaking guide is certified by the Ministry of Culture. This is a full-service escorted tour with entry fees to the sights as mentioned. There are no expensive hidden extras.

We start in Istanbul on the Marmara Sea, cross the Dardanelles to Canakkale, visit ancient Troy and continue to the enchanting Assos Harbor. As we continue along the coast of the Aegean Sea, we begin our discovery of the classical and biblical sights including Pergamon, Ephesus, Aphrodisias and Hierapolis.

The finale of the tour is our visit to central Anatolia. We cross the Toros Mountains, coming to the plains. Here we visit Konya, the city of Mevlana and continue to the magical Cappadocia region, which is known for its unusual wind and weather sculpted rock formations, cave dwellings and early Christian churches. It is possible to take a balloon tour (optional) over the valleys and rock formations of Cappadocia. We will also enjoy a performance of the Whirling Dervishes.

Hotels are a mix of nice quality boutique or 3/4 star hotel, all with private ensuite facilities, heating and A/C. (With the exception of cave/stone hotels in Cappadocia which do not need or have A/C). All Istanbul hotels are located in convenient locations of the historical district. Most meals are included in this tour. Breakfasts are taken in the hotel, lunches in local restaurants, dinners in both hotels and restaurants. We introduce you to a variety of tasty regional Turkish dishes along the way.

How to sign up for this tour: Insight Highlights of Turkey small group cultural tour departs on Sundays in season per request. Those wanting to sign up for this tour request a departure at least 3 months in advance and when we have a minimum of 4 people we confirm the tour departure.

SUNDAY DEPARTURES ON DEMAND
Contact us to book and post other dates!

 PRICE PER PERSON IN DOUBLE/TRIPLE ROOM   FLIGHT: NEVSEHIR
 - ISTANBUL
 SINGLE
 SUPPLEMENT
 MODERATE HOTEL IN 
 ISTANBUL  
1790 EUROS + 100 EUROS + 350 EUROS
 SUPERIOR HOTEL IN 
 ISTANBUL 
1890 EUROS + 100 EUROS + 390 EUROS