DAY 1 ARRIVAL
Arrival in Istanbul and transfer (optional) to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul.
DAY 2 BYZANTINE AND OTTOMAN SIGHTS OF ISTANBUL BY WALKING
Pick up for your tour between 8:10 – 8:45. We will walk to the impressive edifice of the Saint Sophia (Hagia Sofia) once the largest church in the world. The structure that stands today is actually the third church to be built on this site and is from the 6th century. The first two churches were built in 360 and 415 AD. We move from the Byzantine period into the Ottoman with a visit to the Blue Mosque. The interior lined with more than 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles, made in Iznik (Nicaea) with more than fifty different tulip designs. The mosque features a large courtyard and 6 minarets. Next to the mosque as we exit the gate is the Hippodrome, which hosted chariot races and political events in Byzantine times. We will also see the Serpent Column, which is formed from the entwined bodies of three snakes and was once 8 meters tall and the Fountain of Wilhelm, which was constructed to commemorate the second anniversary of German Emperor Wilhelm II's visit to Istanbul in 1898. We visit a masterpiece of the Architect Sinan – the former Medrese (religious school) of Caferagabuilt in the mid16th century where students are now learning Turkish Arts. Our visit is now to the Ottoman Topkapi Palace (Harem entry is not included), which was built in the 15th century. We pass monumental gates such as the Imperial Gate, the Gate of Salutation and the Gate of Felicity and will visit the treasury hosting the “Spoonmaker Diamond” and be able to see relics from the Prophet Muhammad. Also viewed (no interior visits) are the St Irene 6th c church and the Royal Mint. Afterwards we will visit the amazing Grand Bazaar of Istanbul which was built in the 15th century with a couple of “bedestens” then was built upon until it had around 4000 shops in the 17th century.**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 – KUSADASI/SELCUK
Today is at leisure until the time of your choice and transfer (optional) to the airport for flight to Izmir and transfer (included) to Kusadasi or Selcuk and overnight. B. (D)
*For budget option you will make your own way to the bus station and overnight bus at 22:00 to Selcuk – upon arrival around 8:00 you will be met and picked up for the tour of Ephesus (no breakfast or accommodation included with overnight bus).
DAY 4 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 5 PAMUKKALE
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 6 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 7 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 8 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)
- Izmir Airport transfer (Except for Budget program)
- Bus tickets Istanbul –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 270 EUROS total - up to 3 passengers (valid for Istanbul Ataturk Airport only), domestic flight, additional nights in Istanbul, Turkish Night.