Sun.: Istanbul. Arrival in Istanbul, meeting and assistance and then transfer to your selected hotel in Istanbul. Balance of the day at leisure.
After breakfast full day visit to Istanbul. We begin our tour from the Sultanahmet district, the heart of old Istanbul at Agia Sophia. Built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD this church is one of the marvels of world architecture. Its massive dome dominates the skyline of old Istanbul. It is famed for its mosaics, including glittering portraits of emperors and empresses (closed on Mondays).
Next we visit the Blue Mosque, which owes its name to the exquisite tiles adorning its interior. Dating from the 17th century, it is the only imperial Mosque with six minarets. The Hippodrome, the stadium of ancient Byzantium, held 100.000 spectators and featured objects from all corners of the empire. The Grand Bazaar was the commercial heart of the old city and its 4.000 shops are full of treasures – including carpets and kilims, silks, jewelry, ceramics, icons and leather goods (Closed on Sundays).
Lunch in a local restaurant and continuation of our tour. Our afternoon will begin at Topkapi Palace which, from the 15th to 19th century, was the principle residence of the Ottoman Sultans (closed on Tuesdays). Little Agia Sophia Mosque is known as one of the oldest standing churches in Istanbul dating back to 6th century. It is early domed-basilica architectural plan of famous Agia Sophia which was applied here first time in the history.
Tue.: Istanbul - Ankara – Cappadocia
Morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Ankara, arrival and transfer to the city to visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and the Mauloseum of Kemal Ataturk. Lunch at noon. Continue to Cappadocia, dinner and overnight.
Full day tour of Cappadocia, visiting the natural Citadel of Uchisar and the underground city of Kaymakili. After lunch, continue to the Valley of Goreme & open-air museum. The last sites will be Pasabag Valley and Avanos. Return to the hotel, dinner & overnight.
Thu.: Cappadocia - Konya – Pamukkale
Early departure for Konya. On the way, visit the 13th century Seljukian Caravanserai "Sultanhan". Then on to Konya, which is famous for the Mevlana Museum and the Theological School of Whirling Dervishes. Lunch en route & drive on to Pamukkale. Dinner and overnight
Fri.: Pamukkale – Kusadasi
Morning visit to the ancient city of Hierapolis, the ruins of the Necropolis Graveyard, Roman Baths, Bazilica and Calcium cliffs. Drive on to Aphrodisias. After lunch, visit the Greco-Roman settlement, an ancient city is dedicated to the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite. Drive on to Kusadasi, dinner and overnight.
Sat.: Kusadasi - Izmir – Istanbul
Drive to Merye-mana and visit the House of Virgin Mary. Continue to Ephesus, the Roman Capital of Asia Minor. Visit the ruins of Odeon, Hercules Gate, the Temple of Handrian, the Library, the Agora and the unique Greco-Roman Theatre. After lunch, visit the Basilica of St. John and then drive to Izmir airport for the flight back to Istanbul. Arrival in Istanbul and transfer to your selected hotel. Balance of the day at leisure.
Sun.: Istanbul - Athens: After breakfast transfer to the airport for the flight to Athens. Arrival in Athens, meeting and assistance and then transfer to your selected hotel. Balance of the day at leisure.
Mon.: Athens – Mykonos
Morning transfer to Piraeus port to embark your selected cruise ship. Our cruise ship will leave the port of Piraeus at 11:00 for a 3 full days of fun and experiences. We go along the Athens Riviera in the Saronic Golf to the south end of Attica passing close to the Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounion. This afternoon is a good opportunity to get around and know your ship and the services we provide.
In the afternoon we arrive in Mykonos, known around the world as the Ibiza of the Aegean, the most popular destination of the Mediterranean. An international "jet-set" known for its beautiful sandy beaches, hundreds of tiny white chapels and incredible night life. Stroll around the streets of the capital that are considered the most beautiful of the Greek islands and enjoy the great night life. It's easy to get lost in its maze of gleaming white walls dotted with blue domes and windows and balconies full of flowers. Have a coffee or a cocktail in one of the famous bars and promise to return for longer stay and more experiences.
In the evening return to the ship for overnight travel to our next destination.
Tue.: Kusadası – Patmos
Kusadası a resort town on Turkey's Aegean coast. In ancient time settlers include the Aeolians in the 11th century BC and Ionians in the 9th century who made Kusadasi a centre of art and culture. In the early years of Christianity. St John the Evangelist and (according to Roman Catholic sacred tradition) Mary (mother of Jesus) both came to live in the area.
Take the opportunity to visit Ephesus, an ancient Greek city and later a major Roman city, on the coast of Ionia. The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
You can also visit the House of the Virgin Mary, purported to have been the last home of Virgin Mary, based on the visions of Sister Anne Catherine Emmerich. It is a popular place of Catholic pilgrimage which has been visited by three recent popes.
Then on to the island of Patmos, a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea. Patmos is a destination for Christian pilgrimage. Participating in the optional tour, you will have the opportunity to visit the Monastery & the Grotto (the Cave of the Apocalypse) of St. John, where he lived and recorded the Book of Revelation.
Today we visit the magnificent island of the roses, Knights and Butterflies. Rhodes was famous worldwide for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The medieval Old Town of the City of Rhodes has been declared a World Heritage Site. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
Participating in one of the optional tours, you can visit the old medieval city and the famous Acropolis of Lindos. If you want to be on your own you can swim in one of the many beaches of the island or just stroll in the old city and imagine being one of its inhabitants of the ancient times.
Thu.: Heraklion(Crete) – Santorini
We will spend this morning to explore this beautiful city, the capital of Crete, the largest of the Greek islands. Archaeological treasures, magnificent ruins and museums, glorious beaches and fabulous restaurants make Crete a complete vacation spot.
You can participate in one of the optional tours and visit the ruins of Knossos, which in Minoan times was the largest centre of population on Crete and are located within close proximity or the archaeological Museum of the city, one of the greatest museums in Greece and the best in the world for Minoan art, as it contains the most notable and complete collection of artifacts of the Minoan civilization of Crete.
We will then sail to and spend the afternoon in the most breathtaking island, Santorini, believed to be the lost continent of Atlantis, one of the jewels of small volcanic archipelagos five islands. Santorini was created due to a volcanic eruption culminated in the explosion of a volcano caldera, therefore, its rugged landscapes dotted with huge cliffs.
Santorini's capital, Fira, with white-washed houses, narrow streets and open air cafes that cling to a steep cliff, is at the top of the beautiful island where you can enjoy the beautiful views of the bay. Discover Santorini villages that retain their authenticity, with beautiful blue and white buildings and barren volcanic rocks. It is a very fascinating and picturesque island. A magical place that has nothing to do with the rest of the Greek islands, a place to spread the peaceful and hospitable nature of its people.
Fri.: Santorini – Athens. Early morning return to Piraeus port. After breakfast on board, disembarkation and transfer to your selected hotel in Athens. Balance of the day at leisure.
Morning sightseeing tour of Athens including all famous monuments: House of Parliament, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Adrian’s Arch, Temple of the Olympian Zeus, the Royal Palace, the Academy, the University and the National Library. Tour will end by visiting the Acropolis and the new Acropolis Museum, "State of the art" in museum construction and very rich in content. On Mondays the new Acropolis Museum is closed. Afternoon free to visit Plaka (The old Athens city) with lots of souvenir shops, restaurants and taverns.
Sun: Athens – Airport. According to your departure flight, you will be transferred to the airport.
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