Duration: 9 Days / 8 Nights
Highlights: Istanbul, Trabzon, Macka, Uzungol, Zigana, Rize, Ayder, Artvin
Departure Dates: Everyday
Note: Use the below itinerary as an outline, you may omit or add other attractions you have in mind. You can fine-tune the itinerary or change it as much as you like & our travel consultants will work with you until all your questions are answered & you are satisfied.
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. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 02 : Istanbul
Today, on your own you can criss-cross the centre of the city, 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. Enjoy lunch in the Topkapi Palace – Konyali Restaurant which offers spectacular views of the Bosphorus. Continue on visiting Topkapi Palace & Museum, the residence of the legendary Ottoman Sultans.
Day 03 : Istanbul
Breakfast at hotel, then meet your guide at hotel lobby for a short drive to Spice Market, one of the world’s largest spice bazaars since 1665. Soon after, we embark on the Bosphorus ferry for an unforgettable cruise along the Bosphorus, the beautiful strait that divides Europe from Asia. After lunch break, we continue driving across the first Bosphorus Bridge & head for the summit of Camlica Hill, which offers 360° panoramic views of Istanbul. Driving back to Europe, we visit Dolmabahce Palace, the Imperial Residence of the last six Sultans. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 04 : Istanbul / Trabzon
Transfer to Istanbul Airport for Trabzon flight. On arrival to Trabzon Airport, you will be met & transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Trabzon.
Day 05 : Trabzon (Sumela Monastery)
After breakfast we depart for Sumela Monastery, built in the 14th century. It is the most important Byzantine monument of the region & is situated on a cliff 1000 feet above the valley floor & is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Relax beside a fast flowing stream at Altindere Valley National Park, lunch, traveling along the old Silk Road through the Zigana Mountains will take us to Karaca Cave, considered the most beautiful in Turkey for its colors & formations. Return to Trabzon for overnight stay.
Day 06 : Trabzon / Uzungol
After breakfast, depart for St. Sophia (Ayasofya), a 13th century church with extraordinary collection of byzantine frescoes, from here we head to Gulbahar Hatun Mosque & Castle. Another highlight of the city is Ataturk’s Mansion, a picturesque hilside retreat. Enjoy the panoramic view of the city from Boztepe. Depart for Uzungol, one of the most photogenic locations in the region, lunch at a fish restaurant. Overnight in Uzungol.
Day 07 : Rize / Ayder
Today we leave from Uzungol & make a short stop in Rize for panoramic views of the city from the Botanic Garden. Then we arrive to Firtina (Storm) Valley which takes us to Ayder Plateau. Before arriving in Ayder we will see Camlihemsin, Konaklar, Senyuva Bridge, Zil Kale. Gentle trekking to Goksu Fall which is the highest & most beautiful in the region, enjoy the panorama with many of waterfalls, stone bridges & lush green forests on the foothills of the magnificient Kackar Mt. Overnight in Ayder.
Day 08 : Ayder / Artvin / Istanbul
Drive to Artvin, visit Borcka Karagol & ancient Georgian Churches Dolishane, Yeni Rabat (Shetberdi) Church in Ardanuc, you’ll be driven beside River Coruh the fastest flowing & best rafting river of Turkey. We have time to explore the beautiful Alpine Plateau in Ayder until noon. Traditionally dressed village ladies, thermal spring, waterfalls dropping down from hundreds metres & beautiful plateau houses are going to be of much interest. In the afternoon we drive back to Trabzon with transfer on to the airport for Istanbul flight. Check in to hotel upon arrival. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 09 : Istanbul Departure
Depending on your flight time, check-out (12:00) from hotel & remainder of day will be at leisure till your transfer to Istanbul Ataturk Airport for your homebound flight.