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 afternoon.
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 of St. 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.
, 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
, the vast and legendary covered market that is the biggest souk in the world with nearly 4000 shops of antiques, jewelry, and carpets.Dinner is on you own.
Day 4 (Istanbul, Canakkale)B L D
After breakfast we drive to Canakkale. Our Gallipoli Campaign
begins today. The peninsula is filled with cemeteries, a war museum and many memorials to the tragic events of 1915. As you enter this almost barren land, you can still sense the war and heartache that once dominated the landscape, breaking the silent air.Our first visits will be to Anzac Cove
and Beach Cemetery
- home to one of Australia's most legendary soldiers, Private John Simpson
. We will then trace the steps of the ANZACs
up into the rugged hills to visit the Anzac Memorials at Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair
Amongst the numerous sights also visited will be Shrapnel Valley, Walker’s Ridge, the Nek and the surrounding trenches. Our last stop on the Gallipoli Peninsula will be the Kapatebe War Museum
with its absorbing collection of war relics and memorabilia. We have included lunch in a local restaurant.Afternoon we cross Dardanelles by ferry.Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 5 (Canakkale, Kusadasi) B L D
This morning after breakfast we drive to see the popular ruins of the ancient city of Troy,
the site of the mythological battle Homer immortalized in his Illiad.
Archaeologists have proved that there had been nine separate
periods of settlement here dating back to 3,000 BC. Then we drive to down the mountainous coastline of Turkey. Lunch is in a local restaurant. Our stop will be at the ancient Acropolis of Pergamum,
famous for its wealth of archaeological ruins where, from the Temple of Trajan, you will take in the stunning views of the surrounding countryside.Than we drive to Kusadası to our hotel fer dinner and overnight.
Day 6 (Kusadasi) B L D
After breakfast, we drive for less than an hour to the world-famous ancient Greco-Roman site ofEphesus,
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.We also 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. 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.
Day 7 (Kasadasi, Pamukkale) B L D
After breakfast ,drive to pamukkale,to see the petrified white lime cascades of Pamukkale.
The Cotton Castle" with its snow-white terraces formed by thermal waters cascading down the hillside. At nearby Hierapolis
we will see the stadium and take a fascinating stroll through the tombs of the Necropolis.Before dinner take time to relax in the thermal pool or spa at your hotel. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 8 (Pamukkale-Aphrodisias),Marmaris On Gulet) B L D
After breakfast travel by coach to visitAphrodisias
, one of Turkey's most important archaeological discoveries of recent decades. These marvellous ruins rival Ephesus and include the Temple of Aphrodite with its dazzling white marble and a vast, virtually intact amphitheatre.We have lunch in a local restaurant. Later we drive to Marmaris.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 tra
ditional 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.
Day 9 (Gulet) B L D
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 bird
s 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 11 (Gulet) B L D
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 be
gin 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 a
n 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 12 ( Fethiye-Myra-St. Nicolas Church, Antalya) B L D
This morning we depart Fethiye for a drive to see Roman ruins of Myra
. We walk in the theatre,still very much intact with mask frizes in the stage area.The site of Myra also features house-tombs carved into the cliffs which are a source of amazement on thir own.Built in the fourth century BC.They are the oldest examples of Lycian tombs.Lunch in a local restaurant.Our next stos is a visit the Church of St. Nicolas
in Demre.St.Nicolas was the bishop of this area and known as a protector of children,showering them with gifts at every opportunity. We have lunch in Myra city.Next we drive to Antalya.Dinner and overnight at hotel in Antalya.
Day 13 (Antalya) B L D
After breakfast we drive to visitePerge,
an important city of ancient Pamphylia. Visit the Theatre noted for the marble relief work of its stage and its three sectioned memorial fountain. Then visit the city gate flanked by two lofty towers,
a long colonnaded way that was once lined with shops and mosaic pavements, the Agora and buildings that once Houses the Baths and Gymnasium. We drive to Aspendos
- Dominating the site is the best preserved Theatre of antiquity seating 15.000.
The Galleries, stage decorations and the acoustics all reflect the success of the architect. Close to the Theatre Basilica and Agora, the remains of an aqueduct, which was one of the largest in Anatolia. Lunch is in the area.We drive to the Antalya Archaeological Museum
, that houses an extensive collection of artifacts from the Stone Age to the present in several exhibition halls and an open-air gallery. After tour transfer to Hotel. Dinner and overnight at hotel in Antalya.
Day 14 ( Antalya , Cappadocia) B L D
After breakfast we drive through Torous Mountains with scienic view drive . Than we arrive Konya
which is situated at the western edge of the great Anatolian plateau at an elevation
of 3,600 feet (1,100 m.On the way Lunch is in a village called Sille
near Konya.An old christan city
which has an old church and interasting natural formations.After lunch we will continue on to Konya where we will visit the Mevlana Museum,
a museum and monastery complex that is dedicated to the life and teachings of the Rumi, the 13th century founder of the Whirling Dervish mystical order.We drive to Cappadocia to hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 15 ( 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.
Day 16 (Cappadocia) 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.
Day 17 (Cappadocia, via Istanbul, abroad) B
After breakfast transfer to airport to fly Istanbul.