Discover the Wonders of Turkey during your journey through time. Explore Istanbul and learn about the rich history of the Ottoman empire. Visit Turkey’s capital Ankara for a day tour and exciting shopping experience. Discover mysterious underground cities of enchanting Cappadocia. Enjoy the natural mineral hot springs of Pamukkale that cascade over a steep slope’s travertine terrace. Learn about the country’s world-famous ruins and monuments in Ephesus, and swim in the clear waters of the Aegean in Kusadasi.
11 NIGHTS – 12 DAYS in 4-5* HOTELS
Price from $990 pp based on double. Single supplement: $650
– 11 nights of accommodation at 4-5* hotels
– Meals as mentioned in the program (11 Breakfasts / 10 Lunches / 10 Dinners)
– Brand-new vehicle equipped with WIFI
– All site entrances as mentioned in the program
– Bosporus cruise on a private boat in İstanbul
– Premium guide service
– Luggage assistance at all the hotels
– All transfers
– Domestic & international flights
– Private expenses
– Drinks at hotels & restaurants
– Optional excursions
– Tips for guide and driver
– Turkish Visa (if needed)
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Day 1: ISTANBUL
Upon arrival in Istanbul, you will be greeted by our representative and transferred to your hotel.
Day 2: ISTANBUL
After breakfast, explore the highlights of Istanbul, former Constantinople. Start with the visit of the main residence of the Ottoman dynasty, the magnificent Topkapi Palace which is the standing witness of the glorious but secret and intriguing lives of the Ottoman sultans. It is now a museum notable not only for its architecture and collections but also for the history and the culture of the Ottoman Empire that it recalls. After lunch at a local restaurant, take a stroll through the once glorious Roman Hippodrome which accommodates the ancient Egyptian Obelisk and the Serpentine Column. Besides being an arena of chariot races, it was employed for public events such as parades, meetings, and festivals as well. Next, admire a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture, the 6th – century Hagia Sophia which has been revered as the largest and the most important Christian place of worship in the world for many centuries. It was designed to be the major basilica of the Byzantine Empire and held the record for the largest dome in the world until the Duomo was built in Florence in the 15th century. Get a delightful walk through gardens and proceed to the imperial Blue Mosque which dominates Istanbul’s majestic skyline with its elegant composition of ascending domes and six slender soaring minarets. The careful choreography of more than 20,000 Iznik tiles rise from the mid-sections of the mosque and dazzle the visitors with their brilliant blue and turquoise hues which lend the mosque its popular sobriquet. After dinner at a local restaurant, return to the hotel for overnight.
Day 3: ISTANBUL
After breakfast, discover the impressive Mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent which was constructed in the 16th c by the royal architect Sinan at the political and artistic zenith of the Ottoman Empire. Take a stroll through the fragrant Spice Bazaar that was built in the 17th C as an extension of the New Mosque complex. It is a bustling oriental bazaar that provides a fresh supply of spices, dried fruits, Turkish delight, and caviar. After lunch at a local restaurant, explore the remarkable Bulgarian Church so-called Iron Church, constructed by Armenian architect Aznavur and inaugurated by Joseph I, “Saint Stephen”, on September 8, 1898.
End the day soaking up the unique energy and the spirit of Istanbul at its most organic, the Istiklal Street. Late Ottoman period stylish buildings, churches, coffee houses, shops, pubs, and the nostalgic tram along this pedestrian street expose the harmonious existence of the contemporary and traditional multi-cultural features of the city. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant and return to the hotel for overnight.
Day 4: ISTANBUL – ANKARA
After breakfast, discover the famous Grand Bazaar, the oldest shopping mall in the world, and wander through its peculiar oriental ambiance and colorful mazy lanes. Later, enjoy an exclusive cruise along the Bosphorus with your private chartered boat to admire the inspiring scenery of the strait embellished with historical edifices and old wooden houses. After lunch at a local restaurant, depart for Ankara, the modern capital of Turkey, for dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Day 5: ANKARA – CAPPADOCIA
After breakfast, start your day by observing one of the richest museums in the world, the Anatolian Civilizations Museum which is respected as one of the most comprehensive museums in the world on account of its unique collections of materials focusing on prehistoric ages extending through the Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian, and the Assyrian eras. It has the distinction of being the only museum in Turkey entitled to receive the “European Museum of the Year Award” in 1997, Switzerland. Next, visit the Mausoleum of Ataturk, one of Turkey’s most notable examples of modern architecture. Sitting on a hilltop in Ankara, it was designed by a Turkish architect and constructed between 1944- 1953 to be the final resting place of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and the first president of the modern Republic of Turkey. After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to Cappadocia along the shores of Salt Lake which is the second largest lake in Turkey with its size of 1620 km2. At the end of the day, you will reach the wonderlands of Cappadocia which has a unique lunar landscape of terra and tuff cones, shaped by forces of nature over millions of years. For ages, men have dug into this soft but firm tuff to create dwellings, monasteries, churches, and underground cities. Head to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 6: CAPPADOCIA
Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience – a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia (optional). After breakfast at the hotel, discover the Goreme Open Air Museum which holds Cappadocia’s best collection of cave churches and has been one of the first two UNESCO sites in Turkey since 1984. Cappadocia witnessed the penetration of Christianity in Anatolia. The first Christians escaping from the persecution in Jerusalem came to settle down in natural grottoes of the region where they carved out rock churches, adorning their walls with frescos of biblical and apocryphal episodes in brilliant colors. Then, visit a traditional rug weaving center to learn about the three-thousand-year-old tribal art of Turks. You will be delighted to see the full procedure of silk cocoons and hand-spun wool yarns being transformed into extremely fine carpets by magical fingers. After lunch at a traditional cave restaurant, explore an underground city, famous for its subterranean dwellings and secret tunnel passages that various peoples utilized for shelter across the centuries. Admire the picturesque views of the lunar landscape region having photo stops at the famous Hunters’ Valley and Pigeon Valley. Later, take a break at the natural fort of Uchisar to enjoy cone-like formations and well-preserved fairy chimneys around it. The final attraction of the day is a local pottery workshop in the town of Red River, Avanos where the mud has found its functional and decorative forms in the rough but skillful hands of the townsmen since the Hittites. Enjoy a demonstration of a local master on his millennia-old kick-wheel. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 7: CAPPADOCIA – KONYA
After breakfast, drive to the city of Konya. On the way, visit Sultanhani Caravanserai, the largest and best-preserved one in Anatolia. Constructed in the 13th century, this Seljuk caravanserai was used as an accommodation by the merchants and other travelers on the Silk Road. After lunch in Konya, visit the Mevlana Museum, the monastery of the whirling dervishes, and the shrine of the founder of the sect, Mevlana. He was an exceptional mystic poet and one of the earliest humanists in the world who preached humility, wisdom, and love. Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Konya
Day 8: KONYA -PAMUKKALE
After breakfast, drive to Pamukkale. Upon arrival, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and continue the day with the sightseeing of the unique open-air museum of Pamukkale, also known as Cotton Castle. This spectacular natural phenomenon was created by deposits of thermal waters that cascaded down the mountainside over thousands of years, forming myriad pools and terraces. Get entertained by wandering around the fantasy land of cotton-white calcium carbonate travertines. The ruins of the neighboring Greek city of Hierapolis, founded by the second king of Pergamon in 190 BC, are well worth discovering, particularly the theatre with a breathtaking view and the necropolis that is in a great state of preservation. Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Pamukkale.
Day 9: PAMUKKALE –KUSADASI
After breakfast, visit the sacred city of Artemis, Ephesus, one of the leading Roman sites in the world. Being a prominent cultural and commercial center, it was the most influential capital city of Asia Minor. The Temple of Artemis which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the Celsus Library which was the third largest of its time and the grandest theater in this part of the world are tangible evidence of its significant glory. Eventually, explore the House of the Virgin Mary where she is believed to have spent her final days. Drive to Kusadasi for dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Day 10: KUSADASI – CANAKKALE
After breakfast, drive to Pergamon, a rich and powerful antique Greek city that reached the peak of its influence during the Hellenistic period becoming the capital of the Attalid kings. Upon arrival, discover the Acropolis of Pergamon which is among Turkey’s most impressive archaeological sites. Situated on a 335m high hill, it was modeled in accordance with the one in Athens. Especially the dramatically steep Hellenistic theatre and renovated Temple of Trajan captivate the visitors at first sight. Following lunch at a local restaurant, drive through the scenic Mount Ida before arriving in Troy where one of the most epic wars of ancient times is believed to have been held. The legendary city of Troy is immortalized in Homer’s Iliad and uncovered in 1871 by Heinrich Schliemann. Continue to Canakkale for dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Day 11: CANAKKALE – ISTANBUL
After breakfast, take a ferry across the Dardanelles Strait to observe the battlefields of the Gallipoli Campaign. Upon arrival, visit Anzac Cove, the landing point of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) that were part of the Allied forces, and Lone Pine where in 1915 one of the bloodiest battles of modern history took place. Yet, the Gallipoli battles are known as “the gentlemen’s war”, for a sense of mutual respect and camaraderie developed among the rival armies over the course of fire exchanges. After lunch at a local restaurant, proceed to Istanbul. After your farewell dinner at a traditional restaurant, head to your hotel for overnight.
Day 12: DEPARTURE
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight back. End of the program.