Duration : 14 days / 13 nights
Route : Istanbul – Ephesus – Pamukkale – Fethiye – Blue Cruise (4 Days & 3 Nights) – Antalya – Cappadocia
Day 1 – Arrival
On your first day you will arrive into Istanbul airport where an arranged transfer will be waiting for take you to your hotel as its here within the magical city of Istanbul that you will have your first overnight stay in preperation for tomorrows adventures.
P.S : Please make a note that if your flight is from / to Sabiha Gokcen Airport, there is an extra charge of 30 Euro for each way..
Day 2 – Byzantine & Ottoman Relics Tour and overnight in Istanbul
Today is your first day of exploring into the history that Istanbul has hiding away, and shall come to a start by you been picked up from your hotel at 08:30am where we will go on to visit St. Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture and is of great artistic value with its decorated interior been made up with mosaics and marble pillars. The actual temple itself was so richly and artistically decorated that Justinian proclaimed “Solomon, I have outdone thee “ Justinian himself had overseen the completion of the greatest cathedral ever built up to that time, and it was to remain the largest cathedral for 1,000 years more up until the completion of the cathedral in Seville in Spain. Just across from St. Sophia is the Blue Mosque, which is most recognizable from its six minarets, the mosque was built between 1609 and 1616 for Sultan Ahmet I had decorated the inside with 21,043 tiles from Iznik in a dominant blue colour and because of its magnificent interior decoration of blue Iznik tiles is how the mosque came to be called ‘ Blue Mosque’. After we will head on to see the Ancient Hippodrome, here was scene of the all chariot racesthat took place, and also houses the three famously known monuments; the Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column and the Column of Constantine. Our journey will continue on to Topkapi Palace, this great palace was home of the Ottoman sultans from the 15th – 19th centuries and is host to an exquisite collection of cyrstal,silver, and Chinese porcelain, also the robes to which were worn by the sultans and their families, the famous jewels of the Imperial Treasury, and the Holy Mantle; with enshrining relics of the Prophet Mohammed. To conclude your first day of touring we will take a short drive to the exotic Grand Bazaar, it is one of oldest/largest covered markets in the world with having upto 61 covered streets and more than 3,000 shops for you to delve into. Today tour will finish around 17:00 and from here you will then be transferred back to your hotel for the rest of evening. (Breakfast and Lunch Included
Day 3 – Bosphorus Cruise Tour and overnight in bus
Today you will need to take your suitcases and all of your belongings with you as today, as we will be checking out from the hotel to head on to your next destination. Todays journey will begin with a morning pick up 08:30am from your hotel and visit the Spice Market / Spice Bazaar you will notice that the air in here is filled with the enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme and every other concievable herbs and spices that you can name, once we are at the Spice Market you will be given free time so you can tak yourself around and explore, and of course you will be able to buy yourself some of the fresh herbs and spices that you can strongly smell for take back home. Onwards with our journey will take us next to joing the Bosphorus Tour By Boat, This boat trip is very traditional excursion and as we sail along the coastline you will be able to understand why, the narrow waterway seperates the 2 continents that are Europe and Asia. The shore is lined with old wooden villas, palaces of marble, fortresses, and small fishing villages, during the excursion you will pass by some of the most amazing buildings such as – the magnificent Dolmabahce Palace, the parks and imperial pavillions of Yildiz Palace. You will also be able to see Ciragan Palace which is 300 meters of its is marble facade facing the shoreline. Rumeli Fortress, was built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 prior to the conquest of Istanbul and was completed in only four months its purpose was to control and protect Bosphorus from any raiders/attack. Rumeli Fortess is one of the most beautiful works of military architecture to be seen anywhere in the world. Also Beylerbeyi Palace, – which was the summer residence of the ottoman sultans and with its orginal furniture and magnificent gardens with the Harem and can be seen the Asian side of Istanbul. As we approach Bosphorus Bridge it truly shows a unique change from one continent to the other (Asia to Europe). After we will be able to see the Camlica Hill that is the highest point in istanbul and as you reach the top of it you can take a rest to admire the magnificent panorama of Mystical Istanbul and also Bosphours with its beautiful gardens, landscaped in a traditional style. Once todays tour is complete we will then travel through the night to reach our next destination ‘Ephseus / Kusadasi’, the duration of the journey is approximately 10 hours long, but to be assured that our buses are all non smoking, fully air-conditioned and of course we make sure that for such long journeys we provide you with our most comfortable bus seats. (Breakfast and Lunch Included).
Day 4 – Ephesus Tour and Stay overnight in Kusadasi
Once we have arrived in Kusadasi, you will then be transferred to your hotel to give you tha chance to freshen up before todays tour begins.Today you will do full day Ephesus sightseeing which will begin in the morning at 09:00 am. We will come to pick you up from your hotel in Kusadasi and hit the road for a short drive to Ephesus (You have the choice to do this tour by group or as your own private tour). Firstly we will take you to see the The House of Virgin Mary which is situated on the top of Bulbul Mountain, the house was discovered back in the 19 th century. Catherina Emmerich (1775-1824), an invalid German nun who had never visited Ephesus went on to describe in great detail the house and its location which she had been known to have seen in a vision. It is also believed that St.John brought Mary (the mother of Jesus) to Ephesus sometime between AD 37-48 and its the place she spent her last years of her life. After seeing The House Of Virgin Mary we will continue on tour to the Ancient City of Ephesus where you will see one of the most spectacular excavations to ever exist in the world, you will have the chance see also the Odeon, The Fountain of Trajan, the stream baths of Scholastika, the Temple of Hadrian, the Grand Theater and last but no means the least the very impressive library of Ephesus. The Ephesus library is adorned with columns and statues and is still in relatively excellent condition, by standing in the middle of the Library or taking a walk down the main street in Ephesus you will feel like you have stepped back in time amongst the romans and the visuals here are fantastic to see. Also within Ephesus is The Grand Theater where Saint Paul preached its believed to be the largest outdoor theater in the ancient world with a capacity of 25,000 seats. The last and perhaps the most important, site in Selcuk is the great Temple of Artemis (Diana) , which is one of the Seventh Wonders of the Ancient World. The Ephesus Artemis was a goddess of fertility and was often pictured draped with eggs or multiple breasts as symbols of fertility. Our tour today will come to an end after visiting the Mosque of Isa Bey, which was built in the 19th century, it was also used as a caravanserai, it definately is a perfect architectural building that you must-see. During todays tour you will have one hour free break time to rest, and of course if you like you can take some refreshments the cafeteria on site. (your breakfast & lunch will be included).
Day 5 – Pamukkale and Hierapolis Tour and overnight in bus to Fethiye
Today you will need to take your suitcases and all of your belongings with you as today. As will be checking out from the hotel to head on to your next destination. There will be an arranged pick up service from your hotel for take you to Pamukkale (Cotton Castle), and the home of Ancient Hierapolis (Holy City). Pamukkale has been drawing the weary and the curious from all around the world to its thermal springs for more than 23 centuries. The Turkish name refers to the extraordinary surface of the snow white cliffs, shaped over millennia by the accumulation of calcium deposited by mineral springs. Legend has it that the formations are actually solidified cotton (the area’s principal crop) that was left out to dry by giants. Dripping slowly down a vast mountainside, mineral rich water foams and collects in bowls that terrace the decline, spilling over petrified cascades of stalacties into milky pools below. The site of ancient Hierapolis and the accompanying museums are overshadowed by the springs but are nevertheless fascinating.You shouldn’t leave Pamukkale without having a healing dip in the sacred fountain of Cleopatra’s pool. Cleopatras Pool has warm clear fizzy water that bubbles from the springs source, but in these days has now blocked off to prevent divers from disappearing into its hidden depths. On the bottom surface of the pool you can clearly see the Ancient remains of the Roman columns – Cleopatras Pool is an Oasis. After taking a walk along the terraces we will take a short walk to Hierapolis City, outside the main entrance is the Necropolis (Grevyard), with more than 1200 tombs and sarcophagi the people who wished to have been buried here believed that bee within close proximity to the hot springs and vapor-emiting that the cracks would ease their trip to the Underworld. Among the tombs lies the Martyrium which is a octagonal 5th centruy edifice believed to have been erected upon the site where St.Philip was martyred in 80 CE. Hierapolis City Bath – The springs of Hierapolis were particularly popular among vacationing Romans. The cities bath’s had a glossy marble interior that has now been converted into a mediocre Archaelogical Museum. You will notice that carved into the side of the mountain is the monstrous Grand Theater that dominates the Vista of Hierapolis, almost all of the seating area which had a capacity for 25.000 is still intact,and so are various ornately sculpted decorative elements adorning the 3rd century CE. During todays tour you will have one hour free break time to rest, and of course if you like you can take some refreshments the cafeteria on site. ( your lunch will be included). Once todays visit to Pamukkale has come to an end we will carry on with our journey by travelling through the night to reach the resort of Fethiye.
Day 6 – Blue Cruise 1 from Fethiye to Olympos, Overnight in boat
On arrival in to Fethiye we will make our way over to the harbour where your blue cruıse tour will make a departure between 11am & 12pm. We will sail along the blue waters and make our way to Samanlik Bay where we will make a stop so that you can have a cool down swim and also a delicious lunch (this can be changed depending on conditions of the sea to alternatively Butterfly Valley which hosts 136 different kinds of butterflies). After you have enjoyed a good swim and your lunch we will then cruise to Oludeniz which is also recognised by the name of ‘The Blue Lagoon’ (depending upon sea conditions). There will also be the option for paragliding (extra cost) if you want to experience flying like a bird over the beautiful scenery. Our last stop of the day will be at St-Nicholas Island where we can find some amazing byzantine ruins, take a dip in the waters for a cool down and also enjoy another mouth watering meal before you kip down for the night aboard the boat. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)
Day 7 – Blue Cruise 2, Overnight in boat
As the sunrises we make our departure to the Aquarium or Firnaz Bay which is located near to the area of Kalkan for a tasty traditional style breakfast and a chance for a refreshing swim for those that fancy it. Afterwards we will continue on by cruising our way to Kas where we will stop in the harbour for lunch and also to visit this charming fishing village that was once known as ‘Ancient Antiphellos’ and where we can also see the Lycian rock tombs, sarcophagi and the Roman theatre. In a bay near Kekova we also make a stop for a swim, dinner and also your 2nd night aboard the boat. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)
Day 8 – Blue Cruise 3, Overnight in boat
As morning comes we will first have a traditional Turkish breakfast which will be shortly followed with departure to ‘The Sunken City of Kekova’ this Lycian / Roman archaeological site is strictly protected, so we will only be able look. We will then have astop for some lunch which will then be followed by a visit to Simena – which is a traditional Turkish fishing village with no car access allowed and also where we can find an astounding Byzantine/Ottoman castle. (Gokkaya Bay optional water sports are available). As the evening starts to draw in we will sit down for a scrumptious dinner and then its time to relax in this pirates haven or if you want dance the night away then why not head over to the popular ‘Smugglers Inn’. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)
Day 9 – Blue Cruise 4, Overnight in Olympos at Tree house
Today is the last day of the Blue Cruise so be sure to pack all your belonging and take your suitcases with you on departure. After we have had a good breakfast we have a look at the Pirates Cave (sea conditions permitting) before cruising to Andriace harbour for our lunch stop. After lunch we will take a bus transfer to the archaeological site of Myra, Demre for have a look around St-Nicholas Church. You will have the opportuinity to do some retail therapy and if needs be visit to the atm when ever requested by your group. Our tour will continue on by next taking a visit to the special and unique tree houses in Olympos – so remember to bring your cameras!. (Breakfast and Lunch Included)
Day 10 – Olympos, Overnight in Antalya
Today is schedule free so you have the whole day to do as you want here in Olympos, we have written a few ideas for you – Olympos Ruins– The ruins of the ancient city are scattered inside the forest and is one of the 6 leading cities of the Lycian League. Mount Chimaera – ‘Forever burning fire’ which is fire breathing vents upon the mountain. Take a trip along to see the Roman Baths, or you can just take the day to recharge by relaxing all day on the Olympos Beach – Secluded pebbled beach that is backed by ancient ruins and stunning rock formations. As the evening rolls in you will then join the provided transfer bus that shall travel us through the night to our next destination which is Antalya. (duration 2 hours). Breakfast Included
Day 11 – Antalya Tour, Overnight in Cappadocia
The tour will begin by a pick from your hotel at 08:15am, where we will make our first visit of the day to Perge the ancient city to which we will see in great detail by it including visits to The Stadium, Roman Gate, Nymphaeum, Roman Bath, Hellenistic gate, Colonnaded Main Street and of course Agora. We will then stop for lunch (lunch included) on the Köprüpazari stream which is near to the Aspendos Theater after you have finished lunch our journey continues on to visit Aspendos Theater and the Historical Aquaducts. Once our tour around Perge is complete you will then be given free time to do some relaxation or shoppin break where also the Turkish handcrafts were introduced
• Introduction of Side and an hour and a half free time After tour overnight bus to Cappadocia with non smoking, fully air-conditioned bus at 20:00 (duration 10 hours) Breakfast and Lunch Included
Day 12 – Cappadocia Tour 1, Overnight in Cappadocia
We will leave from your hotel at 09:00 am where our first visit of the day will be to Devrent Valley – Devrent Valley is also known by the name of ‘Imagination Valley’ this valley has none of the cave churches, Byzantine frescoes or Roman citadel ruins that are famous throughout the rest of Cappadocia; but dont be put off as what it does have is very unique and extraordinary landscape shapes that are formed in many kinds of animals, so let your imagination run away with you and see what you animals you can spot, it will most certainly make you laugh with wonder. Our next visit will be to Pasabag (Monk’s Valley) where you will be able to take a look at the mushroom shaped fairy chimneys, these chimneys are very interesting structures and were formed due to the harder rock material been deposited above. The valley gets the nickname Monks valley because of the ascetic monks who came here as early as the 5th century and lived hermit lifestyles here. It was a so called ‘stylite’ way of living, from the greek work stylos, meaning pillar – the christian monks built dwellings inside the pillars and its where they lived, fasted and prayed. After discovering Pasabag we will then head over to the town of Avanos, Avanos is set on the banks of Kizilirmak which is translated to ‘The Red River’. We will first start with the old village of Avanos that winds up the hills leading away from the town it truely is a beautiful magical maze of old stone houses, some that have been restored over time and some that have been converted to other purposes. In some of the abandoned houses the features oftraditional Ottoman architecture can still be seen along with ancient decorations, motifs and murals. You will also get the chance to participate in a hands-on pottery work shop. We will then take a lunch break ( thats included) for recharge our batteries. After your lunch we will proceed to the Goreme Open Air Museum, this museum has incredible rock formations and the most fascinating rock-cut churches, you will definately enjoy your time exploring the depth of Goreme and im certain that you will need extra camera film. Our last stop for today will be to Uchisar – which is a village perched on a steep rock formation, this town provides some of the most dramatic panoramas of the astonishing Cappadocia that you will never want to leave. Take a wander into the town as its a very nice place to sit and watch the harmony between nature and human. During the tour today there will be 1 hour free time for you to relax, grab some cold refreshments and just simply soak up the panoramic views that surround you. Our tour for today shall finish around 17:00 to which we will then transfer you back you your hotel for the evening. (Lunch Included).
Day 12 – Cappadocia Tour 2
Today you will need to take your suitcases and all of your belongings with you, as we will be checking out from the hotel after breakfast to head on to your next destination. During our tour today we will first be visiting Red Valley and Rose Valley. Red Valley has to be one of the nicest and most beautiful places to go walking in Cappadocia. The two valleys are next to each other and are easily combined. Once in Rose Valley you don’t want to miss the Hacli Church and the Ayvali Church, both of which have astounding painted decorations one the interior. Afterwards we will take a visit to the old Christian Village of Cavusin, followed by a tour to Pigeon Valley, the path through Pigeon valley offers spectacular views of the natural cliffs and the man-made caves, it passes through a few tunnels that have been carved into the rockside. Finally we will visit Kaymakli Underground City and Ortahisar Castle, here in Kaymaklı underground city there is 8 levels of the underground city that date from 6th – 9th centuries and 5 of which are open to the public. The tunnels, cellers, store rooms, stables have all been exacvated from the soft volcanic rock they are absolutely astonishing on your eyes. Castle of Ortahisar is situated at 86 m height cave in the period of Eti and is the most pronounced structure of Nevsehir. During your today today you will have 1 hour free so if you wish you can take some refreshments and take the time to relax. Our adventure through Cappadocia will come to an end around 17:00 pm for today, you will then be taken back to your hotel for the evening to be yours. After our time in Cappadocia is complete we will then head back on the roadto travel onwards to our next destination been Istanbul. (21:00 departure and duration about 11 hours). Breakfast and Lunch Included.
Day 14 – Istanbul
Now that we have arrived in Istanbul we will make our way to your arranged hotel by a shuttle service, you will then have the day here in Istanbul free for your own leisure to relax and soak in all of what you have seen and done over the last 13 days or if you want to see more of Istanbul then its also possible as there is still plenty to see here. I have written a few Daytime ideas for you – Basilica Cistern (unexpected romantic place to visit, the cistern that once stored the water has been fitted with lights and music. Fish flitter around the bases of the 336 columns that support the ceiling. Don’t miss the upside-down head of Medusa that forms the bottom of one column. Süleymaniye Mosque (stand on Galata Bridge and gaze up at the city’s historic skyline and you will see the mosque that was designed by the great Ottoman architect Sinan for Suleiman the Magnificent. It’s regarded to be finest of the 42 surviving mosques he designed for Istanbul. Unusually, it retains much of the original complex of social service buildings that came attached to it, including several madrasahs, a hospital, a library and a hamam. There are also few museums that are definately worth a visit such as Istanbal Archaeology Museums – Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum. overnight in Istanbul. As the evening rolls in through Istanbul there is still plenty to keep you occupied such as all kinds of resturants that can tantalise your tastebuds, sip on cocktails while gazing across Istanbuls river-side, head off to one of many jazz clubs / live music bars or even head to the worlds famous ‘ Golden Mile’ here is a string of elite clubs that form across the Bosphorus Shore and where you may bump into a celebrity on the dancefloor. You will spend your final night here in Istanbul as tomorrow is your final day here with us.
Day 15 – End of Tour
So sadly your time with us has now come to an end and after you have had your breakfast it will be time to check out from hotel room (before 12:00). You will then have transfer provided to take you to Istanbul Ataturk Airport regarding your flight details. We trust that your time with us discovering and exploring some of Turkeys hidden treasures has been everything that you wanted and more, most of all we would also like to wish you a pleasant journey home and shall look forward to seeing you again on one of our many other time travelling packages.
PS: Normally check in time of the hotels at 12:00 pm, if your room is not ready (incase of an early check-in) please leave your suitcases at the hotels luggage room.
- Transfers mentioned in the itinerary
- Local taxes and service charges
- Hotel accommodations on the itinerary
- Meals mentioned in the itinerary
- Professional English speaking guidance
- Entrance fees to the various sites
- Transportation with A/C and non smoking coaches
What’s Not Included
- Tips to guide , driver and hotel personnel.