Duration: 16 Days / 15 Nights
Highlights: Istanbul, Cappadocia, Antalya, Demre, Kekova, Kas, Fethiye, Dalyan, Ephesus
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.
Day 02 : 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 in the afternoon we will complete this historical day by visiting Topkapi Palace, the residence of the legendary Ottoman Sultans, now converted into a museum with its jewel encrusted treasury & elegant four courts. Free time at the Grand Bazaar where you can shop or haggle with local merchants over unusual antiques, colourful spices, beautiful jewelry or carpets, richly textured fabrics & more. You may take the option of walking back to your hotel which is less than a mile away.
Day 03 : Istanbul
After breakfast meeting your tour guide at hotel lobby to begin the day with a stroll to the Hippodrome, the former heart of Constantinople’s political & sporting life adorned with ancient monuments. Next visit the Blue Mosque with its six minarets, a great cascade of domes & a striking blue Iznik tiled interior. Continue with the Hagia Sophia which is considered the jewel of Byzantine architecture & once the largest church in the world for 1000 years. 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 continents over the Bosphorus Bridge, we visit Dolmabahce Palace, with more than 340 rooms & eight Turkish Baths the Imperial Residence of the last six Sultans. Transfer back to your hotel with evening at leisure.
Day 04 : Istanbul
Free day at leisure. Overnight Istanbul.
Day 05 : Istanbul / Cappadocia
After breakfast early check out & transfer to Istanbul Ataturk Airport for Cappadocia flight (1.2hr). Transfer to Goreme upon arrival (1hr) to cave hotel, which was carved in the landscape centuries or possibly 3000 years ago by its inhabitants. We start our day with a gentle hike through orchards, unusual volcanic rock formations, rock-cut houses at Red Valley & Pasabagi where you will find the world known fairy chimneys. Visit the old Christian Village of Cavusin, followed by lunch break & then an excursion to Pigeon Valley. Then continue on to Goreme Open-Air Museum where you will visit the numerous rock carved churches, monasteries decorated with striking frescoes from early Christianity. Our last stop for today will be the panoramic view point offering spectacular views of the landscape from the natural rock castle at Uchisar.
Day 06 : Cappadocia
After breakfast, another full day tour this time to visit the famous Derinkuyu Underground City, we’ll walk through the underground city of Kaymakli or Derinkuyu, where an entire community of Christians lived in a system of subterranean caves & tunnels for centuries without being noticed. Afterwards a short hike through the green Ihlara Valley along the stream & visiting some of the churches dug into the walls of the gorge. Stop in Belisirma village for lunch break in the village & then continue on to Selime for a panoramic view. Our last stop will be at the Agzikarahan Caravanserai built by the Seljuk Turks to accommodate travelers on the ancient Silk Road. Returning to Goreme for overnight stay.
Day 07 : Cappadocia / Antalya
Early check out & transfer to Kayseri Airport for 08:00 Antalya flight arriving at 09:15 to Antalya Airport. Transfer to hotel in historical Kaleici quarter. A half day city sightseeing tour is the perfect introduction to Antalya on the Mediterranean Sea, an area known as the Turquoise Coast. The highlights on this four-hour includes Hadrianus Gate from the time of Roman Emperor Hadrian, Clock Tower, Palm Street, Old Town with Marina, Republican Square & finally Antalya Archaeological Museum where Antalya’s several thousand years of history is laid out before you in chronological order. Return back to hotel for overnight stay, or if you are feeling more active, after a short walk from your hotel you will reach the restaurants & bars area, each combine delicious meals with a stunning environment where you can find entertainment to suit most tastes.
Day 08 : Side Perge & Aspendos / Antalya
Depart in the morning to visit Perge, an important city of ancient Pamphylia, originally settled by the Hittites around 1500 BC. St. Paul visited Perge on his first missionary journey. The theatre stage has finely carved marble reliefs & other carvings from around the city are displayed in the stadium. Then proceed to Aspendos, which bears one of the best preserved Roman theatres in Asia Minor. After lunch by the river, we visit Manavgat Waterfalls before continuing to Side. Side is one of the best-known classical sites in Turkey. It was an ancient harbour, today Side is a pretty resort town with its ancient ruins, two sandy beaches & numerous tiny souvenir shops. The magnificent theatre of the ancient city, built on colonnaded arches, is the largest in the whole area. Other monuments include the Agora, the Temple of Apollo, which is situated near the sea, a fountain & Necropolis.
Day 09 : Demre Myra & Kekova / Kas
After breakfast check-out & we will drive an hour west to visit Demre to see the Church of St. Nicholas, the saint to whom is referred to as Santa Claus. Inside the church is the sarcophagus of St. Nicholas although his remains were taken to Italy. A brief stop to see the ruins of Myra city & rock tombs. After lunch we leave Demre & continue to Kekova; known for its crystal clear sea waters ideal for swimming, castles, the ancient ruins on land & in the sea, sarcophagus’ all around the land & the sea, & countless other beauties. We will take a glass bottom boat to around Kekova Island which will give us a chance to see the ruins of a sunken city. On the mainland the charming fishing village of Kalekoy stands today, its buildings mingling with ancient & medieval structures. We visit Simena castle & then we drive along the famous Turquoise Coast to the small fishing village of Kas for overnight stay.
Day 10 : Kas
Free day at leisure. Overnight Kas.
Day 11 : Kas / Fethiye
Check out from hotel & transfer to Fethiye. You may choose to spend the balance of your day either in Kas or Fethiye (Oludeniz) as the drive is just an hour.
Day 12 : Fethiye
Free day at leisure. Overnight Fethiye. Optional : Pick up from the hotel & transfer to the boat. A lazy day boat cruise leaving from Oludeniz Beach. Board the boat for a day you wont forget. Swim in the Blue Cave before stepping ashore at Butterfly Valley. For the energetic, a climb up to the Waterfall where you might see a rare Tiger Butterfly is not to be missed. Lunch is served on the boat before we stop at St Nicholas Island where you can climb amongst ruins to the top of the Island for magnificent views or you may swim at ‘Cold Spring Bay’ where fresh water leaks into the sea & is very refreshing. At the evening sail back to Oludeniz Beach & transfer to the hotel for overnight stay.
Day 13 : Fethiye / Dalyan & Iztuzu / Kusadasi
Check out from hotel for Dalyan Caunos tour before heading to Kusadasi. Dalyan is an area of outstanding natural beauty & historic interest. Also is the protected breeding ground of the Caretta Caretta, Loggerhead turtle. Here, a covered boat will take us down the meandering Dalyan river delta, twisting & turning through thick vegetation which is overlooked by the 4th century BC Lycian rock cut tombs. We will get off to visit the ancient city of Caunos which stands midway along the channel facing Dalyan. After reaching Iztuzu beach by boat along the river where parts of the film ‘African Queen’ was filmed we have free time on the beach. Then the boat will bring us back to a riverside restaurant. We continue on to Kusadasi for overnight stay.
Day 14 : 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. We will see the shrine & small chapel which is a pilgrimage sight just recently visited by Pope Benedict. 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 where houses are rather well preserved.
Day 15 : Kusadasi / Istanbul
Breakfast at hotel, free day at lesiure. You may choose to spend the balance of your day in Kusadasi or Istanbul as there are frequent flight. Kusadasi was much-frequented place of birds during the seasonal migrations, during Ottoman reign it was named as Kusadasi (Bird Island). Bird island is connected to the mainland with a mole. Centuries ago the island was used for securing the shores & for preventing the attacks from the sea. Today, it is an ideal place to watch the panoramic view of the city & to witness breathtaking sunsets. You can also sip your drink at one of the cafes on the island. Transfer to Izmir Airport depending on your preferred flight time. Transfer to your hotel upon arrival. Overnight Istanbul.
Day 16 : 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.