DISCOVER TURKEY

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12 days

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Duration: 12 days/11 nights
Departure: Everyday
Route: Istanbul-Cappadocia-Ephesus-Pamukkale-Antalya


Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrive Istanbul (no meal)
Arrive in Istanbul Ataturk airport and transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul.

Day 2 : Full Day Istanbul Classic City Tour (breakfast-lunch)
Your pick up will be from your hotel in the morning to take you to go on and visit  St. Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture because of its magnificent artistic value and its interior is decorated with mosaics, marble pillars and colourful coverings.The 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 famously recognizable its grand scale with having its six minarets that were built between 1609 and 1616 – Sultan Ahmet I had decorated the inside with 21,043 tiles from Iznik in a dominant blue colour because of its magnificent interior decoration of blue Iznik tiles is how the name of ‘ Blue Mosque’ came to be. You will also go on to take a visit to the Ancient Hippodrome which was the scene for the chariot races, there is also 3 monuments grounded here which are named – The Obelisk of Theodosius, The Bronze Serpentine Column and the Column of Constantine. We will continue onwards to see Topkapi Palace – the great palace of the Ottoman sultans dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries and hosts an exquisite collection of cyrstal, silver, and Chinese porcelain. You are also able to find here the robes that were worn by the sultans and their families, famous jewels of the Imperial Treasury, miniatures, and the Holy Mantle; enshrining relics of the Prophet Mohammed. To conclude your day of touring there will be a short drive to the exotic Grand Bazaar, which is one of the most colourful institutions of Istanbul. l.

Day 3 : Half Day Bosphorus Cruise (breakfast)
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. (overnight in Istanbul).

Day 4 : Istanbul/Cappadocia – Cappadocia Tour 1 (breakfast-lunch)
You will be picked up from your hotel and have a transfer to the airport for your catch your flight to Kayseri, As you arrive in Kayseri or Nevsehir airport there will be a transfer service waiting to take your to your tour around Cappadocia. The 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. As the day comes to an end you will be taken to a hotel in Cappadocia where you will be able to get a good nights rest.

Day 5 : Cappadocia Tour 2 (breakfast-lunch)

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 maake our way back to the hotel for the evening.

Optional tour: Hot Air Baloon Ride (please ask)

Day 6 : Cappadocia/Izmir -Ephesus and Virgin Mary Tour (breakfast-lunch)
Today you will be transferred over to Kayseri / Nevsehir airport for your flight back to Izmir. As you arrive in Izmir airport there will be a transfer service waiting to take you to Selcuk for visit Ephesus and Virgin Mary Tour. The day will beging by taking a 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. After exploring around Ephesus we will make a stop for lunch so you can recharge and get ready for the second part of the tour. After lunch is when we will go 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 for today comes to an end we will then transfer you back to a hotel in Kusadasi for spend the night.

Day 7 : Hierapolis and Pamukkale tour (breakfast-lunch)

Your day will start by firstly seeing the Hierapolis City which can also be known as ‘Holy City’ and just 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 CityBath – 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. After seeing Heirapolis we will then 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. After taking a walk along the terraces we will take a short walk to During todays tour you will have one hour free break time to rest take in the views, and of course if you like you can take some refreshments from the cafeteria on site. At the end of todays adventure we will then make our way back to Kusadasi for your overnight stay.

Day 8 : Kusadasi / Antalya (breakfast)
After breakfast you will depart for Antalya (it takes almost 7 hours). As you arrive in Antalya you will be taken to a hotel so you can check-in and then spend the rest of evening relaxing as tomorrow we will be heading out for explore some more history. (Overnight in Antalya).

Day 9 : Aspendos-Perge-Kursunlu Waterfalls tour (breakfast-lunch)
Pick up will be from the hotel for make your departure to visit Perge. An important city of ancient Pamphylian, Perge was originally settled by the Hittites around 1500 BC. St. Paul preached some of his first sermons here. The theater stage has been finely carved marble reliefs, other carvings from around the city can be found been displayed in the stadium. Amateur archaeologists will want to see the handsome city gate flanked by two lofty towers a long colonnaded road once paved with mosaics and lined with shops, a large agora, the public baths and a gymnasium.After lunch, proceed to Aspendos one of the best preserved theatres in the world with seating for 15,000. Still used today, the theater galleries, stage decorations and acoustics all testify to the architects success. Nearby stand the remains of a basilica, agora and one of the largest aqueducts in Anatolia. It is commonly believed that Aspendos was founded by colonist from Argos. We with then proceed to Kursunlu Waterfalls for a refreshing break as the waters do tend to me a bit cool. After the tour we will then transfer you back to the hotel for an overnight stay in Antalya.

Day 10 : Antalya (breakfast)
Today is scheduled free so you have the whole day to yourselves to spend how you wish in and around the area of Antalya. We have written some of the MUST SEE ideas for you that you may wish to endure within your free time – SEA TO SKY – You will travel by a cable car upto Mount Tahtali and along the way up you will be able to admire the views of the coastline and the magnificent Taurus Mountains. PHASELIS – An ancient Lycian city that was once an important trading centre, it is surrounding by a National Park and 3 small cosy bays so you can always pack a picnic and take a dip, Or take a casual stroll through the woodlands where the ruins are hidden. KALEICI (old town of Antalya) – It still holds much of its original appearance with its narrow cobbled pathways that you can stroll along, and as take a casual stroll through Kaleici you will be able to find some art galleries, special bourtiques whilst at the same time gaze upon the spectacular Ottoman Architecture. ANTALYA ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM – This is a very famous museum  and without a doubt one of the best that you can find throughout the whole of Turkey, because it highlights history in the region throughout the different periods. Or if you want to just relax in the sun Antalya also has numerous beaches you can go to with the most popular ones been Lara Beach and Konyaalti Beach. (overnight in antalya).

Day 11 : Antalya/Istanbul (breakfast)
Today you will be picked up from your hotel with the transfer service taking you to the airport so you can catch your flight back to Istanbul. Once you arrive in Istanbul you will then be taken to an arranged hotel where you will have an overnight stay.

Day 12 : Departure (breakfast)

Today is your final day of your tour around Turkey, so you need to make sure that you have packed all of your belongings, as you will need to check out of the hotel room by 12.00. A transfer service will come to pick you up from the hotel to take you to airport for catch your scheduled flight. (transfer will be in accordance to your flight time). 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.

What’s Included

  • 11 nights accommodation in Turkey.
  • All mentioned transfers in the program.
  • All mentioned tours in the program including transportation with air-conditioned buses,guidance and entrance ees.
  • All meals as described in the itinerary.
  • All local taxes.
  • Flight tickets from Istanbul to Cappadocia/Cappadocia to Izmir/Antalya to Istanbul.

What’s Not Included

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