Day 01 : Istanbul Arrival
Upon arrival to Istanbul Ataturk Airport & clearing customs, you will be met by one of our staff at the exit gate of arrivals hall & accompanied during your transfer to the hotel.
Day 02 : Istanbul
Today you can criss-cross the centre of the city on foot on your own, taking in its modern & ancient history on foot. First visiting the spectacular Blue Mosque decorated with beautiful 17th century Iznik tiles. Then stroll around the historical Hippodrome where chariot races were once held. Continue with the Hagia Sophia which is considered as the Jewel of Byzantine architecture. Do not forget to visit the Grand Bazaar (Kapalicarsi) where you can shop or haggle with local merchants over unusual antiques, colourful spices, beautiful jewelry or carpets, richly textured fabrics & more. All within less then a mile distance between each other.
Day 03 : Istanbul
Breakfast at hotel, then meeting your guide at hotel lobby for a short drive to Spice Market (Egyptian Bazaar) heaped with various sweets & spices is one of the world’s largest spice bazaars since 1665. Soon after, we embark on a public ferry for an unforgettable cruise along the Bosphorus, the beautiful strait that divides Europe from Asia. After lunch break, we drive across the first Bosphorus Bridge & head for the summit of Camlica Hill offering 360° panoramic views of Istanbul overlooking the Sea of Marmara. Crossing back, we visit Dolmabahce Palace, with more than 340 rooms & eight Turkish Baths the Imperial Residence of the last six Sultans. You will be transferred back to your hotel with evening at leisure.
Day 04 : Istanbul / Gallipoli Canakkale
After breakfast, check out & meet for early morning drive to Eceabat (4hrs). On arrival, we have lunch in the village before starting the Gallipoli ANZAC Memorials Tour. We will see the Kabatepe War Museum, ANZAC Cove, Lone Pine Australian Memorial, Johnston's Jolly (Turkish & Allied trenches & tunnels), The Nek & Chunuk Bair New Zealand memorial. After sightseeing we cross the Dardenelles by car ferry to Canakkale & check-in to hotel. The evening is at leisure or for those that wish there is a screening of the 4 Corners documentary 'Fatal Shore' & the ‘Gallipoli’ movie starring Mel Gibson.
Day 05 : Troy & Pergamum / Kusadasi
After breakfast at hotel, check-out & drive to Troy. The Greek poet Homer wrote about the ancient city Troy in The Iliad. Troy is one of the world's most important archaeological sites because of its place in literature & what it tells us about a critical early period in the development of European civilization. The large replica of the Trojan horse at the front of the ruins, is part of the myth of the Trojan War. After the city of Troy we will proceed to Pergamum. The site of ancient Pergamum is set on a steep hilltop, the capital of Pergamum kingdom after the death of Alexander the Great was a cultural center having a large library rivaling that of Alexandria in Egypt. After the tour, we will drive an hour & half to reach Kusadasi. Transfer to hotel upon arrival.
Day 06 : Ephesus
After breakfast today we visit the Ancient City of Ephesus which is among one of the best preserved Greco-Roman Cities in the world enabling one to genuinely 'soak in' the atmosphere of Roman times. Enter through the Magnesia Gate & begin a slow, downhill walk with your guide into the ruins of this Roman provincial capital. After lunch, we depart to visit the House of Virgin Mary where she is said to be brought here by St. John & have spent the last of her days. The tour also includes a visit to the remains of Artemis Temple which was one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World & finally (time allowing) we visit Sirince, an old Greek Orthodox village most famous for its local wine, olive oil & 19th century architecture. Overnight Kusadasi.
Day 07 : Kusadasi / Aphrodisias & Pamukkale / Istanbul
We will check out from hotel & drive for 1.5 hours to reach Aphrodisias. As its name implies, it was named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of Love. The city was built near a marble quarry, which was extensively exploited in the Hellenistic & Roman periods, & sculptors of marble from Aphrodisias became famous in the Roman world. After lunch we will continue the day with visit to Pamukkale. This natural phenomenon leaves thick white layers of limestone & travertine cascading down the mountain slope, which resemble a frozen waterfall. There will be free time to walk on the terraces (where allowed). We then visit Hierapolis, which is adjacent to Pamukkale. The ruins of the ancient city cover more than a mile. After the tour of Pamukkale, you will be transferred to Izmir Airport for flight back to Istanbul.
Day 08 : Istanbul Departure
Free day at leisure. Transfer to Istanbul Ataturk Airport International Terminal for homebound flight.