Day 1 - Arrival in Istanbul
Upon your arrival at Istanbul airport, a pre-arranged transfer will be waiting to take you to your hotel. This marks the beginning of your journey within the enchanting city of Istanbul, where you'll have your first overnight stay, preparing for the adventures that await you tomorrow.
Day 2 – Byzantine & Ottoman Relics Tour, Overnight in Istanbul
Your exploration of Istanbul's rich history kicks off today. You'll be picked up from your hotel at 08:30 am to embark on a captivating journey. Our first destination is St. Hagia Sophia, a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. Adorned with mosaics and marble pillars, this historical gem was so magnificently decorated that Justinian proclaimed, “Solomon, I have outdone thee.” Adjacent to Hagia Sophia is the Blue Mosque, distinguished by its six minarets. Constructed between 1609 and 1616, its interior is a breathtaking display of 21,043 blue Iznik tiles, earning it the name 'Blue Mosque. Next, we'll visit the Ancient Hippodrome, the site of chariot races and home to iconic monuments such as the Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column, and the Column of Constantine. Our journey continues to Topkapi Palace (closed on Tuesdays), the former residence of Ottoman sultans from the 15th to the 19th centuries. Here, you'll encounter an exquisite collection of crystal, silver, and Chinese porcelain, as well as the robes worn by the sultans, the famous jewels of the Imperial Treasury, and the Holy Mantle containing relics of Prophet Mohammed. To conclude this immersive day, a short drive will take us to the Grand Bazaar (closed on Sundays and feast days), one of the world's oldest and largest covered markets with over 61 covered streets and 3,000 shops. The tour wraps up around 17:00, after which you'll be transferred back to your hotel for the evening. Take this time to rest and rejuvenate, preparing for the second part of your Istanbul tour tomorrow. (Breakfast and Lunch Included)
Day 3 – Bosphorus Cruise & Two Continents Tour, Overnight in Istanbul
After a satisfying breakfast, a transfer will pick you up at 08:30 am from your hotel reception, initiating our journey with a visit to the Spice Market/Spice Bazaar (Note: Closed on feast days). As you step into this vibrant market, the air is infused with the tempting aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme, and an array of other herbs and spices. You'll have some free time here to explore and purchase fresh herbs and spices to bring the enticing scents home with you. Our next destination is the Bosphorus Tour By Boat, a traditional excursion offering a unique perspective as we sail along the narrow waterway that separates the continents of Europe and Asia. The shoreline is adorned with old wooden villas, marble palaces, fortresses, and charming fishing villages. Notable landmarks include the grand Dolmabahce Palace, the picturesque parks and imperial pavilions of Yildiz Palace, Ciragan Palace with its impressive marble facade facing the shoreline, and the historical Rumeli Fortress built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452. Continuing our journey, we'll pass by Beylerbeyi Palace, the summer residence of the Ottoman sultans, and cross the iconic Bosphorus Bridge, symbolizing the transition from Asia to Europe. As we approach Camlica Hill, the highest point in Istanbul, you can take a moment to marvel at the breathtaking panorama of Mystical Istanbul and the beautiful Bosphorus with its traditional gardens. After the boat tour, you'll be transported back to your hotel, leaving the evening for your leisure. (Breakfast and Lunch Included)
Day 4 – Gallipoli Tour, Overnight in Canakkale
Today, gather your belongings as we check out from the hotel for the next leg of our journey. The day begins early with a 06:30 am pick-up from your hotel as we embark on a 5-hour drive to Gallipoli. Upon reaching Gallipoli, our tour includes visits to the Kabatepe Museum, housing relics from the campaign, including original diary extracts and letters. Brighton Beach, the intended landing place, awaits exploration, and a lunch break will provide an opportunity to recharge. At the southern tip of Anzac Cove, discover the Beach Cemetery and the landing site of the first wave of Australian and New Zealand troops, which housed up to 30,000 troops during the campaign. Continue the journey with visits to the Lone Pine Australian Memorial, the site of a successful attack and capture of Turkish trenches by Australians during the August offensive. Johnston’s Jolly offers a glimpse into the original Allied and Turkish trenches and tunnels, while The Nek and Chunuk Bair New Zealand Memorial commemorate key moments during the campaign. (Lunch included).
Day 5 – Troy and Pergamum Tour, Overnight in Kusadasi
Prepare to check out from your hotel and embark on a new leg of your journey. The day kicks off at 08:30 am with a pick-up from your hotel, setting the course for the ancient city of Troy, renowned for the legendary Trojan horse from the era of Beautiful Helen, Queen of Sparta, and Paris, the Trojan Prince. Explore the fascinating ruins and immerse yourself in the historical allure of this iconic site. Next on our itinerary is the ancient town of Pergamon. Our journey takes us to Asclepion, perched on the hilltop, once a world-renowned medical center for physicians and scholars. As our time at this historic site concludes, we'll embark on a road trip down to the enchanting area of Kusadasi, setting the stage for tomorrow's visit to the world's most famous ancient city. (Breakfast and Lunch included).
Day 6 – Ephesus Tour, Overnight in Kusadasi
Today unfolds with a full-day Ephesus sightseeing adventure, commencing at 09:00 am. We'll pick you up from your hotel in Kusadasi, and together we'll embark on a short drive to Ephesus (You have the option to join a group tour or opt for a private tour). Our first stop will be The House of the Virgin Mary, perched atop Bulbul Mountain. Discovered in the 19th century, this house is intricately detailed by Catherina Emmerich, an invalid German nun who, despite never visiting Ephesus, described the house and its location in great detail based on a vision. Continuing our journey, we'll explore the ancient city of Ephesus and the Virgin Mary House. The Ancient City of Ephesus reveals spectacular excavations, including the Odeon, The Fountain of Trajan, the stream baths of Scholastika, the Temple of Hadrian, and the Grand Theater. The Ephesus library, adorned with columns and statues, stands impressively intact. As you stroll down the main street, you'll feel transported back in time among the Romans, marveling at the fantastic visuals. The Grand Theater, where Saint Paul preached, is believed to be the largest outdoor theater in the ancient world. Our tour reaches its zenith with a visit to the great Temple of Artemis (Diana), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Artemis, the goddess of fertility, is often depicted draped with eggs or multiple breasts as symbols of fertility. The day concludes after visiting the Mosque of Isa Bey, a 19th-century architectural marvel that also served as a caravanserai. (Your breakfast & lunch will be included).
Day 7 – Pamukkale and Hierapolis Tour, Overnight in Bus
Prepare to check out from your hotel, gathering your suitcases and belongings for the next leg of your journey. Your adventure for the day begins with a pick-up from your hotel in Kusadasi, setting the stage for a captivating exploration of Pamukkale & Hierapolis. Pamukkale, meaning ‘Cotton Castle’ in translation, has been a magnetic attraction for the curious and the weary for over 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 solidified cotton, the area's principal crop, left out to dry by giants. As mineral-rich water drips down a vast mountainside, it foams and collects in bowls that terrace the decline, spilling over petrified cascades of stalactites into milky pools below. The site of ancient Hierapolis, accompanied by fascinating museums, is overshadowed by the springs. Don't miss the opportunity to have a healing dip in the sacred fountain of Cleopatra’s pool. The warm, clear fizzy water bubbles from the spring's source, creating a serene oasis. The pool, now blocked off to prevent divers from venturing into its hidden depths, reveals Ancient remains of Roman columns beneath its surface. Following a stroll along the terraces, a short walk leads to Hierapolis City, also known as the ‘Holy City.’ Just outside the main entrance lies the Necropolis (Graveyard), boasting more than 1200 tombs and sarcophagi. Those buried here believed that proximity to the hot springs and vapor-emitting cracks would ease their journey to the Underworld. Among the tombs stands the Martyrium, an octagonal 5th-century edifice believed to mark the site where St. Philip was martyred in 80 CE. Hierapolis City Bath, with its glossy marble interior, once popular among vacationing Romans, has now been transformed into a modest Archaeological Museum. Carved into the side of the mountain, the Grand Theater dominates the Vista of Hierapolis, with intact seating for 25,000 and ornate, sculpted decorative elements from the 3rd century CE. During today's tour, enjoy an hour of free break time to rest, and if desired, indulge in refreshments at the on-site cafeteria. Post-tour, we'll board a bus at 21:00 or 22:00, spending the night in transit to Cappadocia. Our buses, non-smoking and fully air-conditioned, ensure a comfortable journey with plush seats for the extended travel duration of 10 hours. Breakfast and Lunch are included.
Day 8 – Cappadocia Tour 1, Overnight in Cappadocia
Upon reaching Cappadocia, we'll transfer you to your hotel, allowing you time to refresh before embarking on our exploration of Cappadocia's hidden treasures. Departing from your hotel at 09:00 am, our first destination is Devrent Valley, also known as ‘Imagination Valley.’ While lacking the cave churches and Byzantine frescoes of other Cappadocian regions, Devrent Valley boasts a unique landscape with extraordinary shapes resembling various animals. Let your imagination run wild as you spot these whimsical formations, an experience bound to evoke laughter and wonder. Next on our itinerary is Pasabag (Monk’s Valley), famous for its mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys formed by the deposition of harder rock material above. The valley earned its moniker due to ascetic monks who adopted a hermit lifestyle here as early as the 5th century, building dwellings inside the pillars where they lived, fasted, and prayed. We'll then venture to the town of Avanos, situated on the banks of Kizilirmak, 'The Red River.' Explore the enchanting old village with its maze of stone houses, some restored over time, and others repurposed. Abandoned houses reveal traditional Ottoman architecture, ancient decorations, motifs, and murals. Engage in a hands-on pottery workshop and enjoy a lunch break (included) to replenish your energy. Our journey continues to the Goreme Open Air Museum, showcasing incredible rock formations and fascinating rock-cut churches. Explore the depths of Goreme, capturing the breathtaking scenery on camera. Our final stop for the day is Uchisar, a village perched on a steep rock formation, offering dramatic panoramas of Cappadocia. Wander through this charming town, appreciating the harmonious blend of nature and human habitation. During the day, you'll have one hour of free time to relax, enjoy cold refreshments, and absorb the panoramic views. The tour concludes around 17:00, and we'll transfer you back to your hotel for the evening. (Lunch Included).
Day 9 – Cappadocia Tour 2, Overnight in Bus
Today marks the day when you'll need to gather your belongings and check out from the hotel, as we move on to our next destination. Our tour today will kick off with a visit to Red Valley and Rose Valley, both offering stunning landscapes and excellent opportunities for exploration. Red Valley, known for its picturesque walking trails, is easily combined with Rose Valley. Don't miss the remarkable painted decorations inside the Hacli Church and the Ayvali Church in Rose Valley. Next on our itinerary is the old Christian Village of Cavusin, followed by a tour of Pigeon Valley. The path through Pigeon Valley treats you to breathtaking views of natural cliffs and man-made caves, passing through tunnels carved into the rockside. Our journey continues with visits to OZKONAK and Ortahisar Castle. In Ozkonak, explore the Underground City with eight levels dating from the 6th to the 9th centuries, five of which are open to the public. The tunnels, cellars, storage rooms, and stables, all excavated from soft volcanic rock, showcase astonishing craftsmanship. The Castle of Ortahisar, situated at an 86m height cave from the Eti period, stands out as the most prominent structure in Nevsehir. You'll have one hour of free time during the day to relax and enjoy refreshments. Our adventure through Cappadocia concludes around 5:00 pm, and our next destination on the itinerary is the magical city of Istanbul. To reach there, we'll depart from Cappadocia around 21:00, traveling through the night by coach (duration approximately 11 hours). Our buses, featuring non-smoking and fully air-conditioned facilities, ensure your comfort during these longer journeys. (Breakfast and Lunch Included).
Optional: Hot air Balloon tour
Day 10 – Istanbul, Overnight in Istanbul
Upon our morning arrival in Istanbul, you will be smoothly transferred to your designated hotel by shuttle. The day is entirely yours to shape as you wish – whether you opt for some well-deserved rest to unwind or decide to embark on a day of exploration in the enchanting city of Istanbul. Here are some MUST-SEE suggestions for you:
Basilica Cistern: An unexpectedly romantic place to visit, the cistern that once stored water has been adorned with lights and music. Fish gracefully swim around the bases of the 336 columns supporting the ceiling. Don't miss the upside-down head of Medusa that forms the bottom of one column.
Suleymaniye Mosque: Stand on Galata Bridge and marvel at the city's historic skyline. Designed by the renowned Ottoman architect Sinan for Suleiman the Magnificent, this mosque is considered the finest among the 42 surviving mosques he designed for Istanbul. Unusually, it preserves much of the original complex of social service buildings, including madrasahs, a hospital, a library, and a bath. There are also noteworthy museums to explore, such as Istanbul Archaeology Museums and the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum.
Enjoy an overnight stay in Istanbul, as tomorrow marks the final day of your historical tour around Turkey.
Day 11 – End of Tour
Following your breakfast, it's time to check out from your hotel room before noon. You will then be transferred to Istanbul Ataturk Airport for your homeward flight (your transfer will be scheduled according to your flight details). Your time with us concludes here, and we sincerely hope that your journey to discover and explore some of Turkey's hidden treasures has exceeded your expectations. Wishing you a pleasant journey home, we look forward to welcoming you again on one of our many other time-traveling packages. (Breakfast included)
PS: The usual check-in time for hotels is noon. If your room is not ready due to early check-in, kindly leave your suitcases in the hotel's luggage room.
No extra hidden cost..!
Transfers mentioned in the itinerary (regular group transfers).
Local taxes and service charges.
Hotel accommodations on the itinerary according to your selection as 3, 4, or 5 stars.
Meals are mentioned in the itinerary.
Professional English speaking guidance.
(You can ask for other language options for groups).
Entrance fees to the various sites
Transportation with A/C and nonsmoking coaches
What’s Not Included
Tips to guide, driver and hotel personnel(optional).