DAY 1: ARRIVE IN ISTANBUL, TURKEY
Arriving at Istanbul Airport, where you are met and transferred to your hotel.
Your guide will give you a briefing and have the rest of the day free at leisure.
- World Heritage Hotel Istanbul
- Avantgarde Hotel Taksim Square
- Grand Hyatt Istanbul
DAY 2 : ISTANBUL (B)
This morning, your guide will meet you at hotel for a full day sightseeing of Istanbul. Begin with a early opening-hours visit of timeless Hagia Sophia, exploring in peace and quiet.
Next, visit the Basilica Cistern, its marble columns still standing since the sixth century.
Continue to visit Topkapi Palace, the former imperial residence from where the Great Ottoman Empire was ruled. Today, it is a spectacular museum which houses one of the largest collections of Chinese and Japanese porcelain and also has sections where you will see the famous 86-carat diamond, the Topkapi Dagger, etc..
Later, take a stroll through the Pera District and visit a coffeehouse, before embarking on a private motor yacht cruise of the Bosphorus.
This evening, enjoy an optional Whirling Dervishes or Turkish Folklore Dance at Hodja Pasha
DAY 3 : ISTANBUL (B/L)
Today, visit the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum to view its extensive collections, and see the nearby Hippodrome. Briefly visit the Istanbul Archaeological Museum, and then enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
Tour Chora Church, this ancient church is an unsurpassed example of Byzantine frescoes and mosaics dating back from the 11th and 14th centuries, which presents superb series magnificently restored and cleaned by the Byzantine Institute of America. The lives of Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ are depicted in mosaics with magnificent touches of art in the chronological order of events cited in the Bible.
DAY 4 : ISTANBUL (B/L)
This morning, visit Dolmabahce Palace, built in 19th century, it was the administrative center of the late Ottoman Empire with the last of Ottoman Sultans and one of the most glamorous palaces in the world.
Ride like a local on a public ferry and then explore Suleymaniye Mosque. Visit the Spice Bazaar and Rüstem Pasha Mosque.
Then, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before experiencing Istanbul’s fabled Grand Bazaar.
DAY 5 : ISTANBUL – CAPPADOCIA (B)
We will have an early departure from the hotel to catch flight from Istanbul to Kayseri. Upon arrival to Kayseri we will drive to our hotel in Urgup which is a cave for a short rest.
In the afternoon we will take a 5km hike through the Red Valley, one of the most breathtaking, mysterious and beautiful valleys in the region. This valley, with its fabulous volcanic rock formations, is in the heart of Cappadocia, but hidden away from the mainstream touristic haunts. The little chapels of the hermits, carved out of the valley walls, lend a spiritual dimension to the beauty.
The remainder of the day is yours and you may pamper yourself by enjoying a traditional Turkish bath. The traditional Turkish Hammam experience has a unique and inspiring stylishness.
- Yusuf Yigitoglu Mansion
- Yunakelveri Cave Hotel
- Argos in Cappadocia
DAY 6 : CAPPADOCIA (B/L)
You may wish to begin the day very early and join an optional hot air balloon ride that takes you soaring over the magnificent Cappadocian landscape with its incredible fairy chimney rock formations.
This morning, explore Dervent valley where the rock formations are amazing. A walk through the Zelve Open Air Museum like a journey into the past, with its troglodyte houses. This is one of the earliest inhabited and latest abandoned monastic settlements in Cappadocia.
Onto Zelve, we visit Postbag’s “fairy chimneys”, where the voice of the wind harmonizes with the songs of the fairies.
From here we stop at Avalos, a centre of terracotta art since 3,000 BC, for a demonstration in a traditional pottery workshop. The ceramic trade in this district and its countless pottery factories date right back to the Hittites, and the ceramic clay from the red silt of the Kızılırmak has always been used. A visit to ceramic & tile center to see how the ceramics made by hand.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we visit the famous Goreme Open Air Museum to see the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia. These are found in rock-cut churches with frescoes and paintings dating from as early as the 10th century. People of Goreme, at the heart of the Cappadocia Region, realized that these soft rocks could be easily carved out to form houses, churches, monasteries.
We complete the day at the Uchisar Rock-Castle that has the numerous hollowed-out containers, rock tombs, and a large water cistern all welcome you as silent witnesses to history and human life.
This is the best viewpoint giving you a panoramic view of the valleys, where you will enjoy a magnificent sunset of Cappadocia.
DAY 7 : CAPPADOCIA (B/L)
This morning, drive via unspoiled villages of Urgup surrounded by the “table-top” mountains to Mustafapaşa (Sinassos), to see this ancient Greek town with spectacular old Greek houses, a very fine example of late Greek settlement and architecture.
Lunch will be in one of these Greek houses.
In the afternoon, visit Underground City, where early Christians lived in fear and faith. The houses in the village are constructed around the nearly one hundred tunnels of the underground city, which is one of the most interesting underground settlements in Cappadocia. The underground city was originally carved out as eight floors; however four floors are available to visit. In wartime about 5000 people can refuge in. The tunnels are still used today as storage areas, stables, and cellars.
On the way back visit the Ortahisar town. Sit down to tea with a local family in their home and visit the Göreme Weavers Association on an Artisan Visit.
DAY 8 : CAPPADOCIA – IZMIR – SELCUK (B/L)
Early this morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Izmir and on arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Sirince/Selcuk.
Visit to Sirince village which was founded by the Greeks living around Ephesus before. Today the locals of this village are Turks and the village is famous for Turkish Pancake and fruit wine. There is a story about this delightful village was once settled by freed Greek slaves who named the village Cirkince (meaning “Ugly” in Turkish) to deter others from following them. Indeed its habitants gave this name on purpose as they did not want to be bothered by foreigners or to share the beauty of their village.
Still after years, visitors understood that the village was not ugly at all and called it Sirince (“pretty”). As the village is located on the top of a mountain, anyone will enjoy the impressive wine yards’ and peach trees’ views on his way. This lovely village is famous for its own wines and olive oils and garden produce. Sirince especially worth visiting for the magnificent scenery, in particular the breathtaking views of olive groves and lush countryside en-route to the village.
Lunch in a nice local restaurant in this pretty village and afterwards, check in to the hotel and the rest of the day free at leisure and overnight.
- Celsus Boutique Hotel
- Gullu Konaklari
- Cella Boutique Hotel & Spa
If interested, an optional visit to Camlik Museum of Steam Locomotives can be arranged. This outdoor railway museum at Çamlık village of Selçuk is the largest railway museum in Turkey and contains one of the largest steam locomotive collections in Europe.
DAY 9 : EPHESUS (B/L)
Today is an exploration of world’s best preserved Roman city, Ephesus. Take a short drive to the town of Selcuk, where
Embark on a day trip to Ephesus, where Saint Paul once lived. It is one of the most magnificent excavations in the world and once the second largest city under the Roman Empire. Explore the renowned archaeological park, walk along the Marble Road that runs through the city with various ruins and structures. Among all the stunning archaeological remains, the Great Theater of Ephesus holds the major significance as the largest surviving Roman Theater. Visit the Shrine of Virgin Mary, where she lived in her last years.
Lunch at a local restaurant and this afternoon, visit the Museum of Ephesus before returning to your hotel.
DAY 10 SELCUK – BODRUM (B/L)
Journey to Priene for a walking tour at the age-old Temple of Athena and then continue to Didyma to discover the Temple of Apollo, dating to at least 300 BC.
Stop for lunch at a local seaside restaurant.
Then, proceed to Euromos to explore the ruined yet magnificent Temple of Zeus before continuing to
- Istankoy Hotel
- Casamia Boutique Hotel
- The Marmara Bodrum
DAY 11 BODRUM (B/L)
This morning, Stop by the ancient Theater of Halicarnassos before visiting the Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum in the Castle of St. Peter, which houses the oldest shipwreck ever discovered.
Sit down to lunch at an Aegean courtyard restaurant and enjoy the rest of your day at leisure.
Bodrum is a fascinating place as it has a pleasing contrast between the Ancient city – where there are fragments everywhere in the town – and a playground for Turks and an array of foreign visitors.
DAY 12 BODRUM (B)
The day is at your leisure to relax and embrace the sun by the Aegean Sea
You may take a boat ride along mesmerizing peninsula or to the Kos Island in the day and enjoy Bodrum’s nightlife.
DAY 13 BODRUM (B)
The day is at your leisure.
DAY 14 BODRUM DEPARTURE
Having breakfast, transfer from the hotel to the Bodrum Airport for the homebound flight via Istanbul.
- Low Season: $3450
- High Season: $3950
- Low Season: $3995
- High Season: $4525
- Low Season: $4950
- High Season: $5585
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