Day 1 (Istanbul)
Today, we arrive in Istanbul, where a transferman will meet us at the airport. We transfer to our hotel downtown, and have a brief orientation late in the afternoo
This evening, we can discover any of the Turkish restaurants in the area as we enjoy dinner on our own.
Day 2 (Istanbul) B D
This morning we visit Hagia Sophia,
the "Church of Divine Wisdom." Completed under the
Emperor Justinian in AD 537, the magnificent dome of the Hagia Sophia was once the pre-eminent architectural wonder of the Byzantine world. The massive building was a Christian church for almost a thousand years, until the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, when Mehmet the Conqueror claimed it for Islam. The building served as a mosque until 1934, when the revolutionary leader and founder of the Republic, Kemal Atatürk, proclaimed it as a museum. This impressive structure has also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tour of Istanbul including visits ofSt. Saviour in Chora- (Kariye Museum)
Originaly formed the center of a
Byzantine Monastery complex. Only the church section which was dedicated to Jesus Christ the Saviour, has survived.Continue your tour with the visit of Taksim Squere.
We have lunch on our own, and then board the Old Tram for a ride down Istiklal Street to the heart of Art Nouveau Istanbul. Istanbul has many Art Nouveau buildings; several were designed by the Italian architect Raimondo Tommasso d'Aronco, the chief palace architect for the last Ottoman sultan, Abudulhamid II, who ruled from 1876 to 1909. D'Aronco drew heavily Ottoman and Islamic architecture and art, reinterpreting them through the lens of the then-popular European Art Nouveau movement and its organic, floral forms. The results can be seen in the many beautiful palaces and grand private homes he designed for Istanbul's government and its elite citizens.
Spice Market, Egyptian Bazaar
built in the 17th century, this is the second largest covered bazaar in Istanbul. On to the Egyptian Spice Bazaar, where the pungent and savory aroma of exotic oils, herbs and spices have perfumed the arched stone corridors for nearly 350 years. Now also proferring nuts, honey, dried fruits, traditional sweets and herbal remedies, the Spice Bazaar’s redolent wares will transform you into a veritable spice trader!.!.This afternoon, we take to the Bosporus cruise
. You can look north to the “European” district of Galata, or east to the Asiatic side of the Bosporus and the Maiden’s Tower. In ancient times, the Golden Horn could be closed off to warships with a giant chain stretching from here to Seraglio Point We enjoy a dinner together in a local restaurant
.Overnight at hotel.
Day 3 (Istanbul) B
This morning, we'll discover some of Istanbul's most famous sites on foot, including Topkapi Palace.
Mehmet the Conqueror started building this complex in about 1459 and it served as the royal palace of the Ottoman sultans until 1853.
Today, it is one of the world's richest museums, with a staggering collection of jewels, arms, porcelain, sculpture, manuscripts, and more. Next, we stop at the classic Blue Mosque, so-called for the shimmering blue tiles that line its interior. Flanked by symmetrical soaring minarets, it is one of the defining elements of the Istanbul skyline. This classic of Ottoman architectural design was constructed under the patronage of Sultan Ahmet I, from 1609-1616.Hippodromme
,center of sporting (chariots races,athletics)events and political activities of the old city.
The Blue Mosque,
one of the famous mosgues of the Ottomans are known for it’s blue Iznık tiles and unique with its 6 minarets.Today lunch is on your own.After the lunch. Just a short walk across the square takes us to the Underground Cistern,
the largest of the many underground cisterns built during the Byzantine Empire to supply the city with water. This cistern is especially fascinating because the Byzantine builders recycled many stone structures—
capital heads and columns-- that had been used in earlier temples. Now an upside down Medusa stares out at us from her watery home. The tour will end with the visit to the Grand Bazaar, t
he vast and legendary covered market that is the biggest souk in the world with nearly 4000 shops of antiques, jewelry, and carpets. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 4 (Istanbul , Ankara) B L D
After breakfast ,transfer to Atatürk Airport for your flight to Ankara. Turkey’s capital and second largest city. Our first stop will be the fascinating Museum of Anatolian Civilisations
(The Hittite Museum) with its display of treasures and artefacts from the Assyrian trade colonies, the mighty Hittite Empire, and the Phyrgian and Urartu civilisations. We also visit the Mausoleum of Ataturk.
This magnificent tomb is in memory o
f Kemal Ataturk, commander of the Army for National Independence
and the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey. You will be absorbed by the fascinating, life size depiction of life in the trenches, from the Turkish perspective, during the Gallipoli War.Drive to hotel for dinner and overnight in Ankara.
Day 5 (Ankara -Hittite, Cappadocia) B L D
The archaeological site of Hattusha, former capital of theHittite Empire,
is notable for its urban organization, the types of construction that have been preserved (temples, royal residences, fortifications), the rich ornamentation of the Lions' Gate and the Royal Gate,
and the ensemble of rock art at Yazilikaya
The city enjoyed considerable influence in Anatolia and northern Syria in the 2nd millennium B.C.
B.C. Afternoon we drive to Cappadocia.Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 6 (Cappadocia) B L D
Today you may have an optional Hot-Air Balloon Ride
Cappadocia is one of Turkey’s most fanciful and recognizable landscapes, and during this optional hot-air balloon flight, we’ll soar over its amber terrain and fairy-tale chimneys, savoring a unique panorama in the quiet, rosy light of dawn.
Please note: The cost of this tour cannot be refunded to passengers who cancel less than 24 hours prior to the flight .
We’ll drive to the famous Goreme “open-air museum,”
a group of ancient churches carved from the rock. Most of these chapels have colorful frescoes inside, which date from the tenth to the 13th centuries. Than we drive shortly to Uchisar Castle
which is the panoramic watching point Cappadocia.
Many rooms, steps, tunnel and galleries inside the castle. Lunch in a local restaurant.Avanos, the latter providing us with the opportunity to purchase some of the hand-turned pottery and tile
that has been shaped here for millennia and some of the techniques still used date back to Hittite times to 2000 BC. This afternoon we visit Zelve open -Air Museum.
This nature site is the perfect place to take photos of remarkable landscape of tufa cones.Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day7 (Cappadoci) B L D
Ths morning we drive to Kaymaklı Underground City
.During the Hittite era, as successive armies swept across Asia Minor, underground cities were built as a uniquely defensible community, approximately eight stories underground. We can explore some of the hundreds of rooms, wandering the many narrow,
sloping passageways between kitchens with enameled food storage areas, water cisterns, stables, and living spaces—all well ventilated by air shafts. At one time, several thousand people lived here. Following our underground city discovery, we'll see more of this scenic area of Cappadocia.Such as Pasabag
Highly remarkable earth pillars can be seen here, in the middle of a vineyard, hence the name of the place which means: the Pacha's vineyard. Pacha means "General", the military rank, in Turkish and it is a very common nick name. This site is also called Monks Valley.
See another interesting rock formation called Dervent valley
The small fairy chimneys in the valley form a lunar landscape, or moonscape, by their strange look. The valley also has many animal shaped rocks. It looks like a sculpture zoo made by nature After lunch we have hike to Rose Valley
is a large valley located between Goreme and Cavusin villages, and it is divided into many smaller valleys: Gulludere, Kizilcukur, Meskendir and Zindanonu valleys. This beautiful valley gets its name from the rose-colored rock that varies in hue and intensity depending on time of day, season and weather conditions. Return to hotel or before dinner we have an optional Whirling Dervish tour
,you can be witness the "Ritual of Sema." The Semazens, also called “whirling dervishes,” believe that the fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve. Dinner and overnight.
Day8 (Cappadocia-Izmir, Kusadasi) B L D
After breakfast ,this morning we drive to Kayseri Airport for flight to Izmir Adnan Mendres Airport to explore Ephesus and its environs.We drive about one hour to Salcuk town ,We also stop en route to view the ruins of the sixth-century Basilica of St. John,
said to stand over the burial site of the Apostle of Jesus, who is thought to have authored the Book of Revelation and the Fourth Gospel of the Bible while in Ephesus.We have lunch in a local restaurant. Then we continue on to our hotel in Kusadasi, a popular seaside town with a large gulet harbor, where we enjoy dinner together tonight.
Day 9 (Kusadasi) B L D
After breakfast, we drive for less than an hour to the world-famous ancient Greco-Roman site of Ephesus,
one of the largest and best-preserved ancient cities in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can walk on the remarkably preserved wide marble streets,
flanked by columns and temples. We see the Library of Celsus, a tiered façade decorated with exquisite statues. The amphitheater we’ll see is the same one where St. Paul preached to the Ephesians. And there are also remarkably preserved baths. Ephesus was also the site of the Temple of Artemis
, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. No longer standing, it was said to be one of the most colossal temples ever built.Lunch in a local restaurant,than . we also visit the nearby House of the Virgin Mary,
nestled high in the hills overlooking the city of Ephesus. Later this afternoon, we have the unique opportunity to get acquainted with the old turkish carpet-making tradition of Anatolia,
befor we drive to hotel in Kusadası.
Day10 ( Gulet Cruise) B L D
After breakfast , We drive to Marmaris
for four nights stay on the Gulet .Marmaris,
with its impressive marina and perfect sandy beach, is one of the most popular holiday resorts on the Turkish Riviera. The town is ideally situated within a spectacular bay area and surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery.
When we arrive in Marmaris, we’ll take a short walking tour of the city, admiring its beautiful beaches and ancient Ottoman castles. We then board our traditional Turkish gulet-style yacht,
our home for the next four nights. Our gulet is a teak and oak beauty with both sails and a motor,
an outdoor eating area, and comfortable cushions for relaxing on the observation decks, fore and aft. After we meet our expert captain and his friendly crew, we'll take a short tour of the gulet, then enjoy our first dinner on board.
We cruise to Ekincik Cove this morning, where a small river boat meets us and takes us on a side trip upriver on the Dalyan River. A shimmering blue band, the Dalyan River snakes amid bamboo and cattails, glimmering like the nearby Mediterranean Sea. Named for dalyans,
the fishing weirs that have supported locals for centuries, the river reveals abundant birdlife. As we cruise this lovely waterway, we may well see some of the many species of birds that live here, from the shy ibis to the fearless gull.
When our small riverboat brings us to Iztuzu Beach
we may also discover the Loggerhead Sea Turtles
, depending on the season, who have nested here since the age of the dinosaurs. Here, we may be transported by the tranquil sands, which are bordered by the Dalyan on one side and the Mediterranean on the other.
Then, we set out to visit the ancient Lycian site of Caunus,
a beautiful ancient site where we clamber around the temples, baths, nympheum, and an ancient theater.
We have striking views along the way of Lycian temple tombs hugging a rock face.
We return to our gulet for lunch, then enjoy the afternoon is at leisure, including another chance to swim in the beautiful waters of the Turquoise Coast. Tonight, we enjoy dinner onboard.
In the morning, we cruise to Aga Limani, or "Friendship Cove." There's time for a swim this morning before we begin today's hike through forests, meadows, and spectacular coastal scenery to a little-known Greco-Roman site called Lydea. We walk a pine-shaded trail amid the smells of wild herbs, and the music of goat bells, with spectacular vistas of the Gocek Lagoon and Bay of Fethiye.
As we hike, our gulet sails around to meet us in a scenic cove which shelters the sunken baths of Cleopatra,
built for her by Mark Antony. Legend says that Antony gave Cleopatra the entire Turquoise Coast as a wedding gift—a present fit for a queen. This is another excellent place to swim, if you feel so inclined.
After lunch onboard, you'll have the afternoon free. Dinner is onboard the ship tonight.
Day 13 (Gulet) B L D
Visit Kayakoy,Cruise to Gemiler Island
This morning we cruise along the craggy Mediterranean coast. We make a landing on a small beach in the Bay of Gemiler,
and drive to a spot near Kayakoy, a Greek “ghost town.”
From here, we begin our hike to Kayakoy. Anatolian Greeks once inhabited this city of about 600 houses. During the 1920s, the entire population was relocated to Greece in the aftermath of the Turkish War of Independence against British and Graaks occupancy. It is an eerie and moving place, a tragic reminder of how politics can affect human lives.
Leaving Kayakoy, we drive to the cove where our gulet will be waiting for us. We enjoy lunch on board, and in the afternoon we cruise to nearby Gemiler Island, where we visit a sixth-century Byzantine monastery and ancient churches and refectories. If you like, you can hike to the top of the island for a breathtaking view of the azure channel below. We return to our gulet in the afternoon, and you may have time for a brief swim before dinner.
Day 14 B
This morning we get ready to be transfered to the Dalaman airport for your flight.