Day 1: Istanbul.
Welcome to Turkey! Today is your arrival day. Airport transfers are available from Atatürk International Airport during the hours of 8:00 am till 11:00 pm. Transfers will be made to your hotel.
Day 2: Istanbul City Tour.
We depart from the hotel at 08:30 for the Istanbul city tour. "Topkapi Palace". The great palace of the Ottoman sultans from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The palace houses an exquisite collection of crystal, silver, and Chinese porcelain. Robes worn by the sultans and their families, the famous jewels of the Imperial Treasury, miniatures, and the Holy Mantle; enshrining relics of the Prophet Mohammed. Next on the list is the "SultanahmetImperial Mosque". Across from St. Sophia built in the 16th century by the architect Mehmet, is known as the "Blue Mosque" because of its magnificent interior decoration of blue Iznik tiles. Outside the Blue Mosque we find the "Hippodrome". The Ancient Hippodrome was the scene of chariot races and entertainment. The Hippodrome comprises of three monuments; the Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column and the Column of Constantine.
After a short enjoyable lunch break we head to the "Spice Bazaar" (Egyptian Bazaar) the air here is filled with the enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme and every other conceivable herb and spice. After the tour you have the option to experience The Bosphorus cruise which will depart after the city tour. You will have the chance to enjoy magnificent views of Bosphorus which is connecting Asia to Europe.
Day 3: Safranbolu.
At 8:30am we depart for Safranbolu (from the 13th century to the advent of the railway in the early 20th century, Safranbolu was an important caravan station on the main East–West trade route. The Old Mosque, the Old Bath House and Süleyman Pasha Medrese were built in 1322. During its apogee in the 17th century, Safranbolu's architecture influenced urban development throughout much of the Ottoman Empire). On arrival we will walk through the historical Safranbolu Bazaar, continuing on to Cinci Hodja Caravanserai, Cici Hodja Bath House, Kaymakamlar House (museum). Overnight stay in Safranbolu.
Day 4: Safranbolu – Aankara.
After breakfast at 9:00 am we departure sleepy Safranbolu for Ankara ( 3 to 4 hours drive ). On arrival we will have time for lunch before taking the city tour of Ankara which is the second biggest city and the capital of Turkey. On the tour you will visit Atatürk`s (founder of the modern Turkey) Museum and the Atatürk Mausoleum. Overnight in Ankara.
Day 5: Ankara – Amasya.
After breakfast drive to Amasya – Amasya Tour. Amasya is one of the provinces which is distinct both with its natural setup and historical values it holds. It was the homeland of the famous geographer Strabo. Located in a narrow cleft of the Yesilirmak (Iris) river, it has a past of 3000 years during which many civilizations left priceless remains of their times. The ruins of the citadel on the rock face of the cleft shelters 2000 year old water-channels, 1000 year old bridges, a mental hospital, an Ottoman Palace and a secret underground passageway. Overnight in Amasya.
Day 6: Amasya – Trabzon.
After breakfast at 9:00am departure for Trabzon. When the Roman Empire was divided into two at the end of the 4th century, Trabzon remained under the sovereignty of the Eastern Roman Empire which later on was called as Byzantine Empire. When relations and wars between the Byzantines and the Arabs started, the Arabs called the people under the Roman Sovereignty as Rum, and the areas under the Roman sovereignty as Diyar-i Rum or Memleket-ul Rum (land of Rums). Overnight in Trabzon.
Day 7: Trabzon.
Depart for St. Sophia (Ayasofya), a 13th century church and study its extraordinary collection of Byzantine frescoes, depart for Gulbahar Hatun Mosque, Castle and Atatürk's Mansion (a picturesque hillside retreat), visit Ortahisar Mosque (a Comneni cathedral in the old town). Lunch at a seaside restaurant in Akçaabat. Afternoon we explore the cobbled stone streets of Trabzon. Drive to Boztepe; enjoy our tea from samovar with the panoramic view of the city. Dinner and overnight stay in Trabzon.
Day 8: Sumela Monastery, Zigana, Karaca Cave, Erzurum.
Depart for Sumela Monastery, visit the 4th century Sumela Monastery which clings to a sheer cliff face in a deep forest, relax beside a fast flowing stream at Altindere Valley National Park, lunch, traveling along the Silk Road through the Zigana Mountains (Pontic Alps) will take us to Karaca Cave, considered to be the most beautiful in Turkey for its colors and formations. Drive to Erzurum via Bayburt. Dinner and overnight stay in Erzurum.
Day 9: Eezurum - Kars.
An early morning departure from Erzurum will take us on a beautiful drive to Kars passing on the way Sarikamis, the coldest spot in Turkey. We will arrive in Kars and visit Ani at the Turkish-Armenian border. We will take a 45-minute drive to the medieval Armenian City of Ani, which lies mostly in ruins. Impressive fortified walls still encircle the ruins of numerous churches, mosques and caravansaries. Enjoy a walk around the ruins and see the beautiful view to the Armenian border imagining it as a city with one million people rivaling Bagdad in its time. This city has experienced the cultures of Urartians, Armenians, Georgians, Mongols, Russians and finally the Turks.
Day 10: Dogubayazit (Mount Ararat).
This morning we will drive for 3 1/2 hours along the "Silk Road" to Dogubayazit. At the Iranian border we will see a site known as the Crater Hole. This is a beautiful, yet rugged area. We will have the opportunity to see Mt. Ararat from all sides. It is believed by some to be the resting-place of Noah's Ark, but to date no one has found anything that has been verified as the Ark - yet the search is still on. In the afternoon we will stop and see the Ishak Pasa Palace. This complex is a combination of a mosque, a fortress, and a palace which originally had a room for every day of the year. Below you can also see the remains of Eski Bayazit, and Urartian City which flourished in 1000 BC. Overnight in Dogubeyazit.
Day 11: Dogubeyazit Van.
After visiting the Iranian border, we will depart for Van in the early morning, a drive of approximately three hours. This city has been established 13th century BC, when the Hurrites arrived. Then the Hittites, Urartians, Persian, Armenians, Macedonians, Romans and finally in 11th century the Turks came here. From here, we will visit the finest Armenian architectural wonder of the Church of the Holy Cross on Akdamar Island. We’ll also visit the wonderful Kurdish castle of Hosap very close to the Iranian border as well as the Urartian citadel. Overnight in Van.
Day 12: Van – Ahlat - Batis - Diyarbakir.
After visiting the eerie 12the century Selcuk cemetery in Ahlat in the morning we will head to Bitlis for lunch and a good walk around, Batis otherwise known as Alexander's town. Its a unique medieval town. Then we will drive to Diyarbkir for the night.
Day 13: Diyarbakir - Urfa.
Mardin is very unique with lovely old-Arabic style houses. It is a city that played an important role in the early development of Christianity. We will take the time to visit, walk in its busy streets and bazaars, and admire the stonework all around the town. We will also visit the Monastery of Deyr-az-Zaferan just outside of town, founded in 762 AD. It was the seat of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch for almost 800 years. This monastery is built on top of a 4000-year-old temple used by sun worshipers. Drive on to Urfa for overnight.
Day 14: Urfa – City Tour.
Urfa, the birthplace of the prophet Abraham. Urfa has been occupied since the Babylonians followed by the Hurrites, Hittites, Assyrians, Greeks. We will also visit the holy sites at the Ainzelha, a lake with millions of domesticated fish. While in Urfa we will shop at the bustling covered bazaar as well. There are exceptional photo opportunities in this area.
Day 15: Urfa - Mount Nemrut - Kahta.
From Urfa we will drive two hours to Adiyaman-Kahta. There we will organise transfers up the mountain. This extraordinary landmark rests at an elevation of 8000 ft. The mountain top complex is composed of two flattened areas strewn with statues and separated by a false peak of crushed rock. Antioch built the entire complex approximately 2000 years ago as a monument to his "divine ancestry". After watching sunset and exploring the mountain we will make our way to Kahta for the night.
Day 16: Kahta to Gaziantep.
Drive to Gaziantep, home to the famous Turkish dessert of baklava. Visit the archaeological museum and explore the old city on foot and overnight in Gaziantep.
Day 17: Gaziantep – Adana – Tarsus.
We depart for Adana in the morning and start our tour with the museum of Archiology the 16th Century Ulu Mosque and the 19th century Clock Tower then on to Tarsus going through Cleopatra Door and Yedi Uyurlar Cave. Overnight in Tarsus.
Day 18: Tarsus – Cappadocia.
After an early breakfast, we drive north to Cappadocia on arrival we will check into your exquisite boutique cave hotel the perfect place and environment to spend the afternoon recharging the batteries, Cappadocia is unlike anything you will ever see in your life from the landscapes to the cave dwellings.
Day 19: Cappadocia.
Goreme Valley, where we'll examine the process of the rock formations of Cappadocia. Later we drive a bit further and visit the cave dwellings in conical rock formations around Uçhisar. Tea and coffee break in a cave house before we go to Goreme open-air Museum, where the best preserved fresco rock cut churches and monasteries are located. After we have buffet lunch, we visit the Family Fairy Chimneys of Urgup. Wine taste in a local winery and visiting the wishing hill in Urgup. A short walk in Devrent Valley where the rock formations look like different figures. The Monk's Valley will be our next stop where we see monk's cells in multi-capped Fairy Chimneys. Avanos, the pottery town of Cappadocia is visited, and after a short walk in Rose valley Cavetown, will take you to a remote place for sunset.
Day 20: Cappadocia.
We'll pick you up in your hotel and depart at 9:00 o'clock to drive to Ihlara Valley. There, we'll walk nearly 4 km and visit the frescoed churches before it gets hot. Lunch is in Ihlara Valley, at bank of Melendiz River, which is flowing in the valley. After lunch, we'll visit Selime Cathedral and return back to Derinkuyu Underground City. On the way, we'll visit the Nar Crater Lake. Whilst all other tour groups are at Ihlara Valley, we will be in an underground city where temperature is 12-13 C afternoon. Then we will visit the biggest underground city of Cappadocia, we'll drive to the Pigeons Valley to see pigeon houses, which were made to collect guano in.
Day 21: Transfer Cappadocia – Konya – Antalya.
Today is along driving day but is broken up with a lunch break in Konya. This morning we drive to Konya and see the imposing green-tiled Mausoleum of Mevlana, the mystic founder of the Islamic Sufi sect (Sufism is less an Islamic sect than a mystical way of approaching the Islamic faith. It has been defined as "mystical Islamic belief and practice in which Muslims seek to find the truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God." "Whirling Dervishes"). After the Konya Tour Depart for Antalya. Check in to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to discover Antalya. Overnight in Antalya.
Day 22: Antalya City Tour - Aspendos and Perge.
After breakfast departure for Perge. According to the geographer Strabon, Perge was founded by Akhas who came down here after the Trojan wars. Perge was first mentioned in 334 BC when Alexander the Great passed through here. In the following years, Perge went under the control of Pergamon when the Kingdom of Pergamon became a part of the Roman city. Especially in the first and the second centuries BC, Perge became one of the richest towns in Pamphylia. Therefore it is not a surprising that St. Paul started his campaign in Anatolia from Perge in 46 AD. The people of Perge loved and respected their Artemis to such an extent that Christianity had to wait for another 400 years to enter here. In the Byzantine period, Perge was the seat of the bishop. Even though Arabs raided Perge in the 7th century AD, when Seljuk Turks settled the area, records show the existence of an older race living here. After the tour, departure for Aspendos. Lunch break on the way.
The eastern land of Antalya was called Pamphylia in ancient times. The Toros Daglari (Taurus Mountains) forms a beautiful back drop to the fertile coast, rich with fields of cotton and vegetables. Aspendos (Belkis) lies 47 km east of Antalya in the Pamphylian plain. In 486 BC, Greeks and Persians had a great battle here (Greeks won they didn't stay for long). During the reign of he Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-80 AD) Aspendos got its theatre, which is the best preserved of all. It was built by Romans and maintained by Byzantines and Seljuks. The ruins of the ancient city are extensive and include a stadium, an agora, and a basilica. After Aspendos return to hotel for dinner. Overnight in Antalya.
Day 23: Antalya - Pamukkale.
After breakfast depart for Pamukkale. We shall visit the calcium terraces of Pamukkale (cotton castle) and the ruins of Hierapolis, walking around this natural phenomenon gives you the option of lying in the waters of the natural springs that flow down the calcium terraces. Overnight in Pamukkale.
Day 24: Pamukkale to Kusadasi.
You don't have to wake up early, enjoy the thermal pool at the hotel and sunshine and explore the city, shop in the local markets. After lunch we depart for Kusadasi. You will be given your room key and the rest of the day is yours to enjoy party and explore Kusadasi. Overnight in Kusadasi.
Day 25: Ephesus and Kusadasi.
At 8:30 we depart for Ephesus (20 min drive) - once the commercial center of the ancient world, it is a highlight of any visit to Turkey. The city, whose wealth and patronage supported its splendid architectural program, was dedicated to the goddess Artemis. Her enormous temple, once considered one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World and rebuilt several times, dates in its latest form from the third century B.C. The tour of the ruins also includes a theater, gymnasium, angora and baths, as well as the Library of Celsius. After lunch, we will make a shopping tour in which you will become aware of the ancient arts of Turkey like leather manufacturing and jewelery. As this will be a guided tour, you will avoid the constant nagging and sometimes bullying that is well known in the markets of Turkey. Enabling you to enjoy the shopping experience whilst gaining the knowledge of the ancient craftsmen. Overnight in Kusadasi.
Day 26: Bergama – Canakkale.
Today we drive to Pergamum (45 minute drive)wher you can see Asklepion, Zeus’s alter, the Red Bassilcia etc. Bergama is the site of the Hellenistic and later Roman city of Pergamon, ruled for several centuries by a powerful local dynasty. Its foremost attraction is the Kizil Avlu or "Red Basilica", a huge edifice on the river not far from the acropolis, originally built as a temple to the Egyptian god Osiris and converted to a basilica by the early Christians, when it was one of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor addressed by St. John in the book of Revelation - though sadly it's now a crumbling ruin with a mosque in one of its towers. After Pargamum we continue towards the our hotel in Canakkale. Ovenight in Canakkale.
Day 27: Canakkale – Troy – Gallipoli - Istanbul.
After breakfast we drive to Troy where you can explore the site of the legendary town, made famous by Homer in his Iliad and visit the Temple of Athena and have lunches in Eceabat. After lunch visit the sites that have made Gallipoli a landmark and the memorial for all those that fell during the Battle of Gallipoli during World War I. Gallipoli also stands as the birth place for the foundation of Turkey as we know it today. The rise of Turkeys founder Atatürk as well as the friendships formed between several nations during the battle for the Dardanelles. Overnight in Canakkale.
Day 28: Istanbul – End of Tour.
Today your tour is over. Please make your own arrangements for departure remembering that your hotel will need you to check out before midday. We hope you had a memorable tour and we look forward to seeing you again. Includes: (B).
Also see tour packages in:
Middle East Turkey Local Culture Cultural Journey Archeology/History