DAY – 1 ARRIVAL IN ISTANBUL
Today is the first day of your time-traveling tour, on your first day you will arrive in the city of Istanbul where you will then be transferred to your hotel for your first overnight so you can get well-rested for your day of exploring tomorrow.
DAY – 2 CLASSIC ISTANBUL CITY TOUR (Breakfast and Lunch Included)
Your pick-up from your hotel will come at 08:15 am 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 colorful 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 for 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 color 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 are also 3 monuments 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 (closed on Tuesdays) – the great palace of the Ottoman sultans dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries and hosts an exquisite collection of crystal, 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 (Closed on Sundays and at Feast days), which is one of the largest covered markets in the world with up to 3000 shops. The tour of Istanbul will come to an end around 4:00 pm, and you will then have a return transfer provided back to your hotel where you will have an overnight stay.
DAY – 3 FREE DAY – ISTANBUL (Breakfast Included)
Today is free for you to spend how you wish so whether you want to get some rest to relax or if you are more interested in getting out and about around Istanbul to discover many more of its hidden treasures. I have listed some more MUST SEE 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. Suleymaniye 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 the 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 hammam. There are also a few museums that are worth a visit such as the Islamic Archaeology Museums – Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum. You will have a 2nd overnight stay here in Istanbul.
Optional Tours Also Available
1- Full Day Bosphorus Tour / 9 am to 5 pm
This evening you will need to pack up your suitcases and all of your belongings with you as tomorrow early morning you will be checking out from the hotel to head on to your next destination.
DAY – 4 FLIGHT TO CAPPADOCIA / CAPPADOCIA TOUR #1 (Breakfast and Lunch Included)
Today is an early bird by having a 05:00 am pick up from the reception of your hotel and having a transfer to the airport where you will either fly into either Kayseri or Nevsehir. On arrival at the airport, you will be met with an arranged transfer service where you will go on to depart for the tour around Cappadocia. Today's tour will start with a visit 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 don't 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 your 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 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 it's 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 truly is a beautiful magical maze of old stone houses, some that have been restored over time and some that have been converted for other purposes. In some of the abandoned houses, the features of traditional 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 workshop. We will then take a lunch break (that's included) to 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 enjoy your time exploring the depth of Goreme. Our last stop for today will be 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 it is a very nice place to sit and watch the harmony between nature and humans. During the tour today there will be 1 hour of 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.
* REMEMBER TO BRING ALL YOUR BELONGINGS / LUGGAGE
DAY – 5 CAPPADOCIA TOUR #2 (Breakfast and Lunch Included)
Our journey today will start with a 09:30 am departure from your hotel to make our way over to see Red Valley and Rose Valley. Red Valley has to be one of the most excellent and 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 on the interior. Afterward, 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 Kaymakli or OZKONAK underground city with its interesting levels of the Underground City that date from the 6th – 9th centuries and 5 which are open to the public. The tunnels, cellars, store rooms, and stables have all been excavated from the soft volcanic rock they are astonishing in your eyes. The 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 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 5:00 pm where you will then be transferred back to your hotel for the rest of the evening.
OPTIONAL TOUR: Hot Air Balloon Ride - Last-minute bookings may not be available. No-show release date : 3 days
DAY – 6 FLIGHT TO IZMIR & TRANSFER TO KUSADASI (Breakfast Included)
Our tour continues, it is today that we will leave the city of Cappadocia and go to catch a flight from Cappadocia to Izmir airport – Depending on the day of the week, you will either fly directly or via Istanbul ( you shall be informed ). Upon arrival at Izmir airport, there will be a transfer service awaiting to pick you up to transfer you to your hotel in Kusadasi where you will have an overnight stay so you can recharge ready for your visit to Ephesus tomorrow.
DAY – 7 EPHESUS TOUR (Breakfast and Lunch Included)
The day has come for you to explore the grand ancient city of Ephesus. We will come to pick you up from your hotel in Kusadasi at 09:15 am and we hit the road for a short drive to Ephesus (You have the choice to do this tour by group or as your 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 19th 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, where she spent the last years of her life. After seeing The House Of the 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 to 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 It is 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 is a perfect architectural building that you must see. During today's tour, you will have one hour of free break time to rest, and of course, if you like you can take some refreshments from the cafeteria on site. (your breakfast & lunch will be included). Return to the hotel around 5:00 pm. Overnight in Kusadasi.
SATURDAY / DAY – 8 EMBARKING THE CRUISE IN KUSADASI (Breakfast and Dinner Included)
17:00 take off from Kusadasi port. Overnight on board.
DAY – 9 HERAKLION (CRETE) & SANTORINI (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)
Today we will be taking you over to see Heraklion which is the largest city in Crete, we will spend from 06:30 am to 11:30 am exploring around here, the day is yours to spend how you wish. Here are some ideas for what we recommend you to go and visit – Koules Fortress – This fortress is the known symbol for Heraklion, it can be found at the entrance of the port and dominates over the lovely Venetian harbor and dates right back into the 13th century. Phaestos Minoan Palace – This is the 2nd most important Minoan site in Crete, preserves of the old and new palace can still be seen nowadays. Knossos – As you wander around this archaeological site you will come across structures such as the House Of The High Priest, The Royal Temple Tomb-Sanctuary, The Caravan Serai, and many more to be admired. Lions Fountain – This fountain is the most known fountain to be seen here is Heraklion it has an eight-lobe cistern that is based upon a special stand, the fountain is decorated with embossed mythological depictions, and maritime figures like tritons, dolphins, and various others. It is a magnificently crafted monument to capture on your cameras. If you just want to spend the day recharging there are also many beaches nearby. When the day starts to come to an end we will depart for Santorini at 16.00 and be there till 21.00 ( overnight stay and dinner served onboard).
DAY – 10 ATHENS & MYKONOS (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Included)
We will arrive in Athens at 06:00 am and spend time our time here til around 11:00 am. Everybody around the world has heard of the very famous city of Athens and it is because of been drenched in so much history, it is here in Athens you can set your eyes upon – the Hadrians Archs, The Panathenaic Stadium, The Acropolis, the Temple Of Olympian Zeus, Theatre of Herodes, Ancient Agora, Ancient Cemetery of Kerameikos and many many more. There are also plenty of restaurants, beaches and of course shops around Athens for you to wander around buying souvenirs. After Athens, we will then head to Mykonos and spend our time there from 18.00 till 23.00
18:00 – 23:00 Mykonos. Overnight on board
DAY – 11 DISEMBARKING THE CRUISE IN KUSADASI & FLIGHT TO ISTANBUL (Breakfast Included)
On arrival back into Kusadasi port at 07:00 am you will disembark the cruise, and be picked up by an arranged transfer service which will drive you on to Izmir airport for you to catch your flight back to Istanbul. The afternoon in Istanbul will be scheduled free for your leisure. (Overnight in Istanbul).
DAY – 12 END OF THE TOUR(Breakfast Included)
As the sunrises over the magical city of Istanbul, it's time for breakfast, and afterward, we will then transfer you over to Istanbul International Airport by your flight schedule.
So sadly your time with us has now come to an end but we trust that your time with us discovering and exploring some of Turkey and Greece’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 traveling packages.
No extra hidden cost..!
Hotel accommodation according to your selection as 3, 4, or 5-star + cabin accommodation as standard class.
3 nights Greek Island Cruise with Celestyal Cruises.
Services of professionally licensed guides on local Group tours.
Meals as indicated in itinerary: B breakfasts, L lunch, D dinner.
Transportation in fully air-conditioned, non-smoking coaches on local Group tours and transfers. (Regular group).
English-speaking guided tours are mentioned in the itinerary.
(Ask for other language options for private or group tours).
Inbound and outbound airport transfers to/from your hotel. (Regular group).
All taxes, entrance & museum fees, and baggage handling. (unless otherwise stated)
What’s Not Included
All domestic flights are mentioned in the itinerary.
A VISA is needed for Turkey.
Tips to guide, driver, hotel staff, etc.
Items of a personal nature.
Harem and Treasure room entrance fees in Topkapi Palace.
Drinks with meals (except the drinks served with breakfast).
Travel Insurance and medical services.
Greece Stayover Tax to be paid directly to hotels per room per night: 3* hotels €1.5 / 4* Hotels €3 / 5* Hotels €4
No extra hidden cost!