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 be transferred to the bus station after the tour and overnight bus to Kusadasi or Selcuk (Or you can go to Pamukkale) – upon arrival you will make your own way to the hotel (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 AND HIERAPOLIS
8.00 – 8.30 Departure. 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”. *Note: The total round trip driving time for this tour is over 6 hrs and if you are doing a group tour there may be pick-ups from Pamukkale and Karahayit on the return for guests who have taken the tour the previous day and stayed overnight. Departure at 16:30 for Kusadasi and Selcuk. Overnight in Kusadasi or Selcuk. B. L. (D)
DAY 8 KUSADASI/SELCUK – PERGAMON – CANAKKALE
Pick up at 10.00 - 10.30 from Kusadasi or 11.00 from Selcuk. We continue to Pergamon. After lunch, we will visit the Pergamon Acropolis, where the ruins of Zeus Altar "Throne of Satan" can still be seen today. Pergamon was a center of Roman authority and a place of persecution for Christians who denied imperial worship. The Acropolis is situated high above the plain and has a unique panoramic view. The very narrow and steep theater on the hillside could seat up to 10,000 people. Parchment paper was first produced in Pergamon. We will visit the remains of the Great Library, which rivaled the one of Alexandria in Egypt, the palaces of the kings, and Temple of Trajan. Overnight in Canakkale. B. L. (D) *Tour is done with English speaking travel officer on transfer from Kusadasi or Selcuk to Canakkale and local guide in Pergamon.
DAY 9 CANAKKALE – TROY – GALLIPOLI – ISTANBUL
8.30 Depart from Canakkale to visit the legendary site of Troy with its nine levels of civilization. Troy is the city of Helen and was famous in Homer’s Iliad. You will see the reproduction of the Trojan Horse and learn about the Trojan Wars as well as seeing the Sacrificial Altars, ancient city walls and houses of Troy which are thousands of years old, the Bouleterium, Odeon and current excavations. We will proceed by ferry across the part of the Dardanelles known as “the Narrows”; the ferry pulls in at the small fishing village of Kilitbahir, which is known for its fort built by Mehmet the Conqueror. After lunch in Eceabat head to Gallipoli. You will be given a full explanation of the famous WWI battle. We will visit: Brighton Beach, the intended landing place, Beach Cemetery on the southern tip of Anzac Cove, the landing place of the first wave of Australian and New Zealand troops and home to up to 30,000 troops during the campaign, Ariburnu Cemetery, Anzac Commemoration Site, Lone Pine Australian Memorial, site of the successful attack and capture of Turkish trenches by the Australians during the August offensive, Johnston’s Jolly where you will visit the original Allied and Turkish trenches and tunnels, 57th Regiment Turkish Memorial, The Nek and the Chunuk Bair New Zealand Memorial. Continue to Istanbul at 18:30. Arrival around 23.45. B. L *Tour is done with local guides in Troy and Gallipoli and English speaking travel officer on transfer to Istanbul.
DAY 10 DEPARTURE
Transfer to airport (optional) for departure. B.
- 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 vehicles with prof. English speaking guides on tours (Istanbul Old City is a walking tour)
- Kayseri/Nevsehir and Izmir Airport transfers (Except for Budget program)
- Bus tickets Istanbul – Cappadocia – Kusadasi/Selcuk and bus station transfers as mentioned 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: Domestic flights, 3 x Istanbul airport transfers 135 EUROS total - up to 3 passengers (valid for Istanbul Ataturk Airport only), additional nights in Istanbul, Turkish Night or Cappadocia Balloon Tour