DAY 1 ARRIVAL
Arrival in Istanbul and transfer (optional) to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul.
DAY 2 ISTANBUL OLD CITY TOUR (FULL DAY WALKING TOUR – EXCEPT ON TUESDAY)
8:10 – 8:45 Departure from your hotel. Today we will visit the Saint Sophia (Hagia Sofia) which was built by the emperor Justinian in the 6th century A.D and stands over much older remains of a church. See beautiful mosaics of biblical scenes and the Byzantine emperors and empresses. We continue to the Blue Mosque, which was built in the 17th century and is the only imperial mosque with 6 minarets, then the Hippodrome, a stadium and meeting place in Byzantine times, the Serpent Pillar from Delphi and the Egyptian Obelisk, with the Fountain of Wilhelm. Visit the Caferaga Medresesi which was designed by the architect Sinan and built in the 16th century, now used as a learning center for traditional Turkish arts. We will then explore the Topkapi Palace. It was the home of the Ottoman sultans from the 15th-19th century A.D. We see the Imperial Treasury with the famous Spoonmaker Diamond. (Harem section is optional and due an extra entry fee). The tour ends in the Grand Bazaar, which has over 4000 shops full of treasures Return to your hotel around 17:30. This tour may be done completely as a walking tour. **Note that on Sunday the Grand Bazaar is closed and on Tuesday the Topkapi Palace is closed. (In winter St Sophia is closed on Monday and is replaced by the Yerebatan Saray Underground Cistern) Overnight in Istanbul. B. L.
DAY 3 ISTANBUL – CAPPADOCIA
Today is at leisure until afternoon or evening and transfer (optional) to the airport for flight to Kayseri or Nevsehir and transfer (included) to Cappadocia. Overnight in Cappadocia. B.
*For budget option you will make your own way to the bus station or shuttle point and overnight bus to Cappadocia – upon arrival you will make your own way to the hotel (no breakfast or accommodation included with overnight bus).
DAY 4 CAPPADOCIA – UNDERGROUND CITY AND ANATOLIAN VILLAGES
10:00 Departure. Visit Kaymakli Underground City and explore four levels of this underground city which is a maze of tunnels where it is believed up to 3500 people may have lived. You will see storage rooms, kitchens and living areas with ventilation shafts. There are also wineries, stables and “millstone” doors which could be rolled to seal tunnel entrances from invaders. Parts of the underground city may be from the Hittite era but were also used by early Christians as a refuge as there is a small church. We continue to Sobessos ancient site near Sahinefendi Village with its fascinating “mosaic” house, meeting hall and chapel from around the 4th century AD. You will also see traditional villages in the valleys which are flanked by flat tabletop mountains. Continue to Keslik Monastery near Cemil Village that has frescoes veiled by a thin layer of smoke. After lunch, we visit Mustafapasa (Sinasos) which was originally a Greek settlement. Walk in the picturesque town with churches and houses in the Greek architectural style. We will also see the Saruhan Caravanserai which is built of the local volcanic stone and was an inn for travelers on the ancient trade route. The tour will end with a panoramic view of Red Valley with its colorful volcanic rock formations. Overnight in Cappadocia. (B). L.
DAY 5 CAPPADOCIA – GOREME OPEN AIR MUSEUM AND FAIRY CHIMNEYS – KUSADASI/SELCUK
10:00 Departure. Visit Devrent Valley - natural rock formations with fantastic shapes, some of which are reminiscent of people and animals. Visit the Zelve area with Pasabagi for a walk in the vineyards among strange multiple "mushroom-capped" fairy chimneys, then continue to Avanos, which has been a center of terra cotta work since 3000 BC. See a pottery demonstration using the ancient kick-wheel technique. We will also visit Goreme Open Air Museum, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. See the best examples of Byzantine frescoes and symbols inside the rock-cut churches that date roughly from the 10th to the 13th along with the kitchens and dining halls of the monks in this extensive early Christian complex. The last stop will be Uchisar Village where we climb up tunnels inside the rock citadel for an extensive panoramic view of the valleys of Cappadocia and even Mt Erciyes on a clear day. Transfer to the airport and flight to Izmir (very late arrival). Transfer and overnight in Kusadasi or Selcuk. B. L.
*For budget option you will make your own way to the bus station and overnight bus to Selcuk – upon arrival you will be picked up to join the Ephesus tour (no breakfast or accommodation included with overnight bus).
DAY 6 EPHESUS – HOUSE OF VIRGIN MARY
8:30 - 9.00 Departure. We start our tour with a visit to the house where the Virgin Mary allegedly spent her last days, which is a pilgrimage site. We continue to Ephesus, which was one of the largest and most interesting ancient cities of Asia Minor. The tour of Ephesus includes the Library of Celsius, Temple of Hadrian, Agora and fantastic Greco-Roman theater. After lunch in a local restaurant, a visit is made to a cooperative weaving center to see how the Turkish carpets are made by hand. We will also see the Isabey Mosque which is a beautiful example of Selcuk architecture and the remains of the Temple of Artemis, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Overnight in Kusadasi or Selcuk. B. L (D)
DAY 7 PAMUKKALE – MARMARIS or BODRUM
8:00 - 8.30 Departure (Take your luggage). We will drive through the Meander Valley. On the way, your guide will give information about the towns we pass through such as Aydin, Nazili, and Sultanhisar. Arrival in Pamukkale, which has been a thermal spa center since before the Roman era. After lunch, we visit the ancient city of Hierapolis, which is said to have been founded by King Eumenes II of Pergamon. We visit the great Roman baths, the Temple of Apollo and the well-preserved theater. You will see the tomb of St. Phillip from a distance. It is possible to bathe in the Cleopatra antique thermal pool with ancient columns (an extra fee is due) or you will have some free time at the terraces or to explore more on your own. We will also visit the calcium terraces and pools for which Pamukkale is named “Cotton Castle”. Transfer (included) to Denizli Bus station and bus to Marmaris or Bodrum upon arrival take a taxi to your hotel B. L. *With this option you can stay the night in a thermal spa hotel in Pamukkale and take a bus the following morning to Marmaris. If going to Bodrum you will do the Ephesus tour on this day and bus from Ephesus area to Bodrum, or you may stay the night in Kusadasi or Selcuk and depart the following day.
DAY 8 MARMARIS *SATURDAY ONLY
Boarding starts at 15.30 in from Marmaris Harbor. You will have to visit the old town and bazaar of Marmaris with its small streets and hundreds of shops, bars, and restaurants. The castle of Marmaris, dating from 1577 is situated on the old town hill and offers a beautiful view of the harbor. Marmaris was built upon one of the antique Carian cities called Phyckos and has been under the rule of many different civilizations. Dinner and overnight on the gulet in Marmaris. B. D.
DAY 9 EKINCİK GULF – DALYAN (OPTIONAL TOUR TO BEACH AND MUD BATHS)
After your breakfast, you will be informed about the cruise itinerary and the boat. The cruise will move towards Ekincik Gulf where you are at leisure to enjoy swimming and sunning. Dinner and overnight in Egincik Gulf. You may also join our Optional Dalyan excursion, where you will be taken from your gulet by a small boat called “piyade” and arrive at Caretta-Caretta (Turtle) Beach for a swimming break, enjoy the natural beauty of the delta as you cruise along the river. You will see the ancient Rock Tombs and finally arrive at mud baths to relax and be rejuvenated then continue to the town of Dalyan. B. L. D..
DAY 10 TERSANE ISLAND – SUNKEN BATH – KIZIL ISLAND
Because of the wavy seas of Disibilmez and Kurtoglu capes that we have to cross, we will cruise out earlier than the other days and reach the beautiful Gulf of Gocek. We will anchor at Sunken Bath for breakfast and swimming break. This place is also known as Cleopatra Bay or Sunken Bath Bay due to the underwater ruins of an ancient bath. Then we will cruise to Tersane Island. This naturally protected harbor was used as a shipyard in Byzantine and Ottoman times. Dinner and overnight stay will be at Kizil Island. B. L. D.
DAY 11 FETHIYE (OPTIONAL JEEP SAFARI) – SAMANLIK BAY – FETHIYE
Early departure from Kizil Island and arrival in Fethiye Harbor. Fethiye was known as Telmessos in ancient times, was the most important city situated on Lycia's western border with Caria. It is believed that the city's name comes from Apollo’s son Telmessos. The ancient city was known as the city of light and was famous for its prophets. Today you have the option of a jeep safari tour in Fethiye (extra) or for those who will not join the Safari, the boat will cruise to Samanlik Bay for lunch and swimming. Afterwards around 16:00 the boat will anchor at Ece Saray Marina for dinner and overnight stay. B. L. D.
DAY 12 FETHIYE – GOCEK ISLAND – YASSICA ISLANDS
You will embark in from Ece Saray Marina before 9:00 a.m. After breakfast, we will cruise to world-famous Gocek Gulf. While moving through uniquely beautiful islands, we finally anchor at Yassica Islands. Lunch will be taken in this beautiful chain of little islands. Lunch will be taken in this beautiful chain of little islands. Snorkeling in the crystal clear water is recommended. Dinner and overnight in a bay amongst the islands of Gocek. B. L. D..
DAY 13 BEDRI RAHMI BAY – SARSALA – AGA LIMANI
After breakfast, sail to BedriRahmi Bay, which is named after a famous Turkish artist. After a swimming and snorkeling break, we continue to Sarsala Bay. Following this, a cruise to Aga Limani where we will dine stay overnight. B. L. D.
DAY 14 KUMLUBUK BAY - CENNET ISLAND - MARMARIS
Depart early for Kumlubuk Bay where breakfast will be served. Kumlubük – meaning sandy cove – lies near the harbor of Marmaris but is separated from it by a set of limestone mountains. The 2-mile-long beach of black sand remains is undeveloped with only a handful of farmhouses and a few hotels peeking out from the citrus gardens. The ruins of ancient Amos lie undisturbed in the bush on top of a cliff on the edge of the village. Tea is served at 5 pm somewhere near Cennet Island. Afterwards, we cruise to Marmaris port. Dinner and overnight in Marmaris on the gulet. B. L.
DAY 15 MARMARIS – (DALAMAN) – ISTANBUL
The guests will leave the boat with precious memories by 10:30 after breakfast and be transferred to the Dalaman Airport for the flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival transfer (Optional) to your hotel and overnight in Istanbul. B. *For budget option you will make your own way to the bus station and overnight bus to Istanbul – upon arrival you will make your own way to the airport – tour service ends with arrival in Istanbul on day 16 (no breakfast or accommodation included with overnight bus).
DAY 16 DEPARTURE
Transfer to airport (Optional) for departure (B)
**ALTERNATIVELY THESE GULET CRUISES STARTING ON DAY 8
MARMARIS – DATCA – MARMARIS (EVERY SATURDAY)
BODRUM – GULF OF GOKOVA – BODRUM (EVERY SATURDAY)
BODRUM – NORTH DODECANESE ISLANDS (GREECE) – BODRUM (EVERY OTHER SATURDAY)
BODRUM – SOUTH DODECANESE ISLANDS (GREECE) – BODRUM (EVERY OTHER SATURDAY)
INCLUDED FOR LAND TOUR:
Accommodation in hotel category of your choice
Meals as mentioned only (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Main museum entry fees, transport in non-smoking A/C car, mini, midi or coach buses with professional English speaking guides on tours (Istanbul Old City is a walking tour)
Kayseri/Nevsehir, Izmir and Dalaman or Bodrum Airport transfers (Except for Budget program)
Bus tickets Istanbul – Cappadocia – Seluk + Marmaris or Bodrum – Istanbul only if taking budget option
NOT INCLUDED: International or domestic flights, Istanbul airport transfers, drinks, tips to guide and driver and items of a personal nature.
OPTIONAL: 4 x Istanbul airport transfers 180 EUROS total - up to 3 passengers (Valid for Istanbul Ataturk Airport only), domestic flights, additional nights in Istanbul, Turkish Night or Cappadocia Balloon Tour
INCLUDED FOR GULET CABIN CHARTER CRUISE:
Accommodation on wooden gulet in double cabin (twin cabins with separate beds and triple cabins are generally unavailable) - Private toilet and shower in the cabin on Full Board basis traditional A/C
NOT INCLUDED FOR GULET CABIN CHARTER CRUISE:
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages including bottled water which can be purchased on board (please do not bring your own), tips to crew of the gulet. Captain and crew accompany you on the cruise and prepare your meals
OPTIONAL: Optional excursions or any entry fees to historical sites or anything not specifically mentioned