Duration: 12 Days / 11 Nights
Highlights: Istanbul, Kusadasi, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Antalya, Cappadocia
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 at 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, now converted into a museum. All within less then a mile distance between each other.
Day 03 : Istanbul
Breakfast at hotel, then meet 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 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 overlooking the Sea of Marmara. Driving back to Europe over the Bosphorus Bridge, we visit Dolmabahce Palace, with more than 340 rooms & eight Turkish Baths the Imperial Residence of the last six Sultans.
Day 04 : Istanbul / Kusadasi
Noon transfer to Istanbul Airport for Izmir flight. Transfer to Kusadasi hotel upon arrival. Free day at leisure. 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.
Day 05 : Ephesus
You will be picked up from your hotel lobby to visit the Ancient City of Ephesus which is among the best places in the world enabling one to genuinely ‘soak in’ the atmosphere of Roman times & one of the best preserved Greco-Roman Cities in the world. 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 chappel 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. Overnight Kusadasi.
Day 06 : Kusadasi / Pamukkale
We will check out from hotel & drive for 2.5 hours to reach Pamukkale, world famous for its volcanic spring water that cascades over steep, natural terraces to form pools, channels & stalactites which give rise to Pamukkale’s modern name ’Cotton-castle’. But first we’ll visit Hierapolis, which is adjacent to Pamukkale. The ruins of the ancient city cover more than a mile. We see the impressive amphitheatre with seats still in perfect condition, the city gates, & column-lined streets & arches which have stood through time & earthquakes. We visit the Martyrium of St. Philip where the apostle is said to be buried in a worship chamber surrounded by eight chapels. After the tour of Pamukkale, you will be transferred to your hotel in Pamukkale village.
Day 07: Pamukkale / Antalya
Free time in Pamukkale village. Check out at noon & transfer to Central Bus Station for 3.5 hrs coach journey to Antalya. Upon arrival check in to hotel at historical Kaleici quarter. 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. Other places which are at a walking distance; Hadrianus Gate from the time of Roman Emperor Hadrian, Clock Tower, Palm Street, Old Town with Marina, Republican Square will be the perfect introduction to Antalya on the Mediterranean Sea, an area known as the Turquoise Coast.
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.
Day 09 : Antalya / Cappadocia
After breakfast, transfer to Antalya Airport for Kayseri (Cappadocia) flight. Transfer to Goreme or Urgup hotel. Walking around you will experience the feeling of living in a Turkish village, where houses are built in caves, & life goes on as it has for centuries. You may see villagers baking bread, drying fruit on their rooftops or riding on donkeys to their fields.
Day 10 : Cappadocia
After breakfast you will be picked up from your hotel to visit the enchanting fairy chimneys in Devrent Valley. We continue to the Goreme Open Air Museum, which was once a Byzantine monastery. See the finest examples of religious frescoes in rock-cut churches from the 10th century. Lunch at a local restaurant. We will also visit Cavusin Village & see abandoned troglodyte houses cut high up in the rock face. We drive you to Rose Valley, where mineral deposits have given beautiful color to the weathered stones & then continue to Avanos, center of terra cotta work since 3000 BC. See a pottery demonstration using the ancient kick-wheel technique before returning to Goreme for overnight stay.
Day 11 : Cappadocia
After breakfast check out from hotel, another full day tour this time to visit the famous Derinkuyu Underground City, we’ll walk through the levels 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 & 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 12 : Cappadocia / Istanbul
Free day at leisure. Check out from hotel for transfer to Kayseri Airport for Istanbul flight. Transfer to hotel upon arrival. End of services.