BLACK SEA TURKEY TOUR – ISTANBUL TO ARARAT – 12 DAYS

ITINERARY

ISTANBUL – SAFRANBOLU – AMASRA – KASTAMONU – SINOP – SAMSUN – ORDU – GIRESUN – KUMBET VILLAGE – GORELE – KUSKOY – TRABZON – SUMELA – RIZE – AYDER – ARHAVI – KARS – ANI – ARARAT VIEW – DOGUBEYAZIT – ISTANBUL

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12 DAYS/11 NIGHTS DEPARTURES ON DEMAND

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THE BLACK SEA: ISTANBUL TO MT ARARAT - SMALL GROUP TOUR MAXIMUM 10 PASSENGERS

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ISTANBUL – SAFRANBOLU
Pick up from your hotel (Hotel not included) at 7:00 and we will start our drive to the Black Sea. We cross the Bosphorus Bridge and will pass from Europe to Asia. Safranbolu is a town in the Black Sea region of northern Turkey, once a stop on the trade route between Europe and the Orient. Its Ottoman architecture includes the old Çarşı district, with hundreds of preserved, red-roofed Ottoman houses on cobblestone streets. Cinci Han is a 17th-century caravansary with rooftop views over town and Cinci Hamam is a restored 17th-century bathhouse, still in operation. Time permitting visit the Yemeniciler Arastası (bazaar) and Kaymakamlar Historical House and Izzet Pasha Mosque built 1796. Overnight in Çeşmeli Konak or Cesmeli Konak Köşe or similar hotel. L.D.
SAFRANBOLU – AMASRA – SAFRANBOLU
Today we drive to the Black Sea Coast and visit the charming town of Amasra (ancient name is Amastris) with the Citadel, Kemere Roman Bridge and harbors. Time to take some picturesque photos. We can check out hand-made items of the local wood and go to the Cekiciler Bazaar. Depending upon time we can drive along the coast to see the beautiful Cakraz Beach – Kurucasile Village or we can discover villages around Safranbolu. Overnight in Safranbolu. Çeşmeli Konak or Cesmeli Konak Köşe. B.L.D.
SAFRANBOLU – KASTAMONU – SINOP
Today we will stop in Kastamonu to visit the Nasrullah Mosque or Hz. Pir Seyh Saban-i Veli Kulliyesi and the Bazaar. We continue to Sinop and visit Hamsilos Cove (Fjord), see the Fortress, Historical Prison Museum, Time permitting, the Pervane Madrasah and Alaatin Mosque. Overnight in Sinop. Zinos Hotel or similar  B.L.D.
SINOP – SAMSUN – ORDU
We pass through coastal towns and make a stop in Samsun to see the Amazon Statue and then to Cape Jason with its old Yason Church and lighthouse. Continue to Ordu on the old road which hugs the coast and is very picturesque. We arrive in Ordu. We take a Cable car to Boztepe Hill for a breathtaking view of the city. Overnight in Ordu. Hampton by Hilton or similar. B.L.D.
ORDU – GIRESUN – KUMBET – GORELE
First we make a visit to the Giresun Castle. Then we will head up to the “Yayla” the high plateau to Kumbet Village. Time for photos, fun and getting to know the local people. We will drive back to the coast and passing through Tirebolu which also has a historic castle and continue to Gorele, where our driver Dursun was born. Overnight in Gorele. Gayasis Hotel or similar. B.L.D.
GORELE – KUSKOY – GORELE
Today we see Kuskoy (Bird Village) where the villagers can communicate by whistles across the expanses. We will try to learn more about this unusual language known by few. Depending upon time possibly other villages in the area or visiting with Dursun’s family and/or see the Gorele Market. Overnight in Gorele. Gayasis Hotel. B.L.D.
GORELE – TRABZON – SUMELA – RIZE
We will visit the Hagia Sophia (now a mosque) and a bit of Trabzon before we drive to the Sumela Monastery which seems to be clinging to the Cliff (if open). Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the Greek Orthodox monastery, built in 386 AD, is at an altitude of 1,200 meters (3,937 feet) over the Altındere National Park. There will also be opportunities to take photos from below the monastery. We stop in the small coastal town of Sürmene. In ancient times it was also known as Hyssus or Hyssos and Issiporto. We will continue along the coast to Rize. The area around Rize is famous for tea-growing. Overnight in Rize. Lazlakar Hotel or similar. B.L.D.
FIRTINA VALLEY – CAMLIHEMSIN – AYDER – HOPA
Today we will visit a place selling the local tea before we go inland again to the Firtina Valley and visit Zilkale, which is a medieval castle overlooking the Firtina River in the Kackar Mountains. We will also see Palovit Waterfalls, Çamlıhemşin and Cinciva Villages and the old bridges. There are lovely wooden houses and scenic views all along this route. It is possible to zipline by the Firtina River! Overnight in in Hopa – Nana Hotel or similar. B.L.D.     
HOPA – BLACK LAKE – KARS
Today we will drive to the Borcka Black Lake which has a walking path where you can enjoy walking around the lake among an absolute jungle of lush green plants and trees. We continue on our journey with picturesque views and the border of Armenia. We make a visit to Kars with the citadel (time permitting), old bridges and the church of the Twelve Apostles (now a mosque). Overnight in Kars. Katerina Sarayi or similar. B.L.D.     .          
KARS – ANI – MT ARARAT VIEW – DOGUBEYAZIT
We drive to Kars and visit the ancient city of Ani with its ruined churches. View of the valley and Arpa River, which forms the border with Armenia. Time permitting we will visit the Kars Citadel and local market. We continue our journey passing small squat villages and get our first view of Mt Ararat before arrival and overnight in Dogubeyazit with its dramatic backdrop of stone mountains. Overnight in Tehran Boutique Hotel or similar. B.L.D.     
DOGUBEYAZIT – “NOAH’S ARK” – ISHAK PASA PALACE – DOGUBEYAZIT
We will drive to Üzengili Village and spend some time there. You can see the rock formation that looks like Noah’s Ark and if he is home will visit Hasan Bey who was the former curator of the Noah’s Ark center. We will also see the Ishak Pasa Palace, which was built between the 17th and 18th centuries by a local lord. It is a mixture of Ottoman, Persian and Armenian architectural styles. We also get a view of the Dogubeyazit Castle. We will visit the local carpet center in Kars where you can see excellent examples of the local weaving before returning to our hotel. Overnight in Tehran Boutique Hotel. B.L.D.     
DOGUBEYAZIT – AGRI – ISTANBUL
Transfer to the Agri Airport after breakfast and flight to Istanbul. Transfer to your hotels in Istanbul. Tour services end. B.


 

MINIMUM 6 PASSENGERS – MAXIMUM 10 PASSENGERS

 

INCLUDED: All airport transfers as mentioned in the itinerary
Accommodation in hotels as mentioned outside of Istanbul.
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 

 

NOT INCLUDED:
Istanbul Hotel accommodation, Domestic or International flights, visas, drinks, mini-bar, tips to guide and driver and items of a personal nature or anything else not mentioned. Trip insurance – Please make sure that you are fully covered for your trip.

PRICE P.P IN DOUBLE/TRIPLE: 1990 EUROS
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: 390 EUROS

This fully escorted small group tour is unique and covers practically the entire length of Black Sea coast starting in Istanbul and ending near Mount Ararat. We first discover the jewel which is Safranbolu with its lovely wooden houses each so detailed and different, then Amasra on the seaside where we had such a wonderful meal. You have to try the Amasra salad! We dip inland from time to time to visit the high plateaus and river valleys. Not only the scenery but the people are part of this tour. Friendly open and hospitable people opened their homes and hearts to us on our journey and every day held an unexpected and pleasant surprise. I have never seen so many hues of green and the sunsets over the Black Sea are unforgettable. Food as mentioned is also a part of the tour with different delectable dishes to be had in each area. And Kuskoy (Bird Village) where they have a special language by whistling!

DEPARTURES ON DEMAND
Contact us to book and post your dates!

PRICE P.P. IN DOUBLE/TRIPLE: 1990 EUROS
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: 390 EUROS

MINIMUM 6 PASSENGERS – MAXIMUM 10 PASSENGERS