BEST OF AEGEAN

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10 days

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Duration: 10 days / 9 nights
Departure: Everyday
Route: Istanbul-Ephesus-Pamukkale-Kusadasi-Bodrum-Marmaris-Istanbul


Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrive Istanbul (no meals included)
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.

Day 2 : Full Day Istanbul Classic City Tour (breakfast-lunch)
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 races that 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. As the tour ends you will then have an arranged transfer back to your hotel for the evening.

Day 3 : Half Day Bosphorus Cruise (breakfast)
After a good breakfast a transfer will come to pick you up at 08:30am from your hotel reception and take us to our first point of call for today which is to go 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 herb and spice 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. After your boat tour you will then be taken back to your Hotel as the evening is then yours. (Breakfast Included)

Day 4 : Istanbul – Izmir / Ephesus and Virgin Mary tour (breakfast-lunch)
Today you will be heading down to the area of Kusadasi for see the worlds most wonderful ancient city of Ephesus and also to see Virgin Mary’s House. Once you have had your breakfast you will then be picked up from your hotel and taken to the airport for your flight to Izmir. As you arrive in Izmir airport you will go on to be transferred to Selcuk for your Ephesus tour, 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. We will enjoy lunch stop in Ephesus and afterwards we will continue our day by then taking you to see 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. As the tour comes to an end within Ephesus we will transfer you over to the resort of Kusadasi where you will ave an overnight stay.

Day 5 : Hierapolis and Pamukkale (breakfast-lunch)
In the morning you will first visit the Hierapolis ; Necropolis (cemetery) of Hierapolis which is one of the biggest ancient cemeteries in Anatolia with 1,200 graves, there is also other structures here to see such as the Roman Bath, Domitian Gate, the Main Street, Byzantian Gate. Then from Hierapolis we will take a short stroll over to Pamukkale when translated means ‘Cotton Castle’ and 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. We will enjoy a delicious lunch here in Pamukkaleas afterwards its off to see Laodicea which is mentioned in Revelations by St. John and in ancient times was known as “The City of Compromise”. Now you have discovered the treasure in Pamukkale we will then head back to kusadasi where you will have your overnight stay.

Day 6 : Kusadasi / Bodrum (breakfast)
As the morning comes its time to move on to your next destination which will be the resort of Bodrum, so after you have enjoyed a traditional turkish breakfast at your hotel it will then be time for make your departure, our journey to Bodrum will take us approx 3 hours. Bodrum is famously known for its nightlife is most certainly paparazzi-haunted in the summertime, but not many people realise that the city of Bodrum also has alot of history hidden away. It has been recorded that Herodotus was actually born here and its also that is now home to one of the most prestigious Museums of Underwater Archeology, which is housed in the renovated Bodrum Castle. There are also numerous shops to visit here which is ideal to do some gift shopping for take back home, but if you want to simply just relax and have a cool swim then there are plenty of beaches to choose from to spend your day relaxing and of course catching that perfect suntan. (Overnight stay in Bodrum).

Day 7 : Bodrum (breakfast)
Today is free for your own lesiure so im sure your thinking ‘ whats the best way for spend the day in Bodrum’ well dont worry as we have got some ideas for you which we find to be the best way to spend your day here such as – Mausoleum – Is one of the 7th wonders of the world and was the greatset acheivement by Carian King Mausolus the site has relaxing gardens and ancient friezes were incorporated into the castle walls. Castle of St. Peter – The Castle was built from using marble & stone from the famed Mausoleum, from the castle you are able to see some spectacular views, an as you go into the castle you pass by a carved marble Crusader. The castle also had a main court which is centred on an ancient mulberry tree. Whilst visiting the castle you can watch artists create glass bottles and jewellery resembling those found on ancient and medieval underwater wrecks which is certainly an amazing present for someone! There are other historical worth a visit such as –Myndos Gate , The French Tower, Shipyard, Myndos Kapisi. Seen as your in Turkey then why not head down to a Hamam (turkish bath) for a deep steam clean down, or even spend your day on a boat crusing along the clear sea waters. The day is all yours to decide!

Day 8 : Bodrum / Marmaris (breakfast)
After breakfast at your hotel in Bodrum we will then head on to depart for Marmaris. When we arrive in Marmaris you will be take to your hotel for check-in. As your here in Marmaris its a chance to take the daily ferry over to Rhodes. (ask for advice to your specialist). Overnight in Marmaris.

Day 9 : Marmaris (breakfast)
Today is a lesiure free day so you can spend your time exploring around the resort of Marmaris, here are some ideas for how to spend your time here….you could take a visit to the Ataturk Statue, Marmaris castle & museum, Dalyan mud baths, or even the Mountains. Or if you fancy just have a chilled day then why not head to the Aquaparks, one of the local beaches. Marmaris has a huge undercover bazaar area that you could literally spend all day wandering around and shopping til your hearts content. As night arrives in Marmaris you will see this city come alive as everyone heads down to Bar Street for an evening of dancing and partying as the bar street here is bursting with all kinds of bars /clubs so which ever type of music you like you will most certainly find it here! (Overnight in Marmaris).

Day 10 : Marmaris / Istanbul (breakfast)
Today is the last day of your travelling adventure around Turkey so its time to transfer you back to the airport so you can catch your flight upto Istanbul. We trust that your time with us discovering and exploring some of Turkey’s hidden treasures and we trust that your adventure 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.

What’s Included

  • All mentioned transfers in the program.
  • All mentioned tours in the program including transportation with air-conditioned buses,guidance and entrance fees.
  • All meals as described in the itinerary.
  • 9 nights accommodation in 2 or 3 star hotels.
  • All local taxes.
  • Flight tickets from Istanbul to Izmir and Marmaris to Istanbul.

What’s Not Included

  • Tips (optional).
  • International flight tickets.
  • Drinks with meals (except the drinks served in breakfast).
  • Visa (if needed).
  • Travel insurance.