TURKEY’S (TÜRKIYE) is a transcontinental Eurasian country of significant geostrategic importance. 97% of Turkey lies in Asia and the rest in Europe. Bordered by eight countries, Turkey embraces you with a richly historical land, the best cuisine you will ever taste, one of the world’s greatest cities that has stood on this planet and scenery from white-sand beaches to soaring mountains. When you set foot in Türkiye (Turkey), you are following in the wake of some remarkable historical figures. Ottoman Sultans luxuriated Istanbul with riches from an empire stretching from Budapest to Baghdad. Centuries earlier, Byzantine Christians cut cave churches into Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys and hid from Islamic armies in underground cities.
Turkey’s long history has given it a profound depth of culture. Immersing yourself in that culture is as simple as soaking in a Seljuk or Ottoman hamam, eating a kebab and tasting influences brought along the Silk Road, buying carpets and rubbing shoulders with moustachioed hustlers in the bazaar, or visiting the ancient ruins scattering the fields, bays and mountains. But the greatest surprise for first time visitors to Turkey is the sheer diversity found between its Aegean beaches and eastern mountains.
TURKISH DELIGHT - 9 NIGHTS / 10 DAYS
On arrival in Istanbul, you’ll be met by our representative at the airport and transferred to your hotel. (Early check-in is not guaranteed / Normal check-in time at hotels is 14:00). Spend rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
After breakfast your full day tour of Istanbul (with lunch) begins with Sultanahmet district, the heart of old Istanbul, at Saint Sophia*. Built by Emperor Justinian in 6th century AD, this church is one of the marvels of world architecture. Its massive dome dominates the skyline of old Istanbul. It is famed for its mosaics, including glittering portraits of emperors and empresses.
Next we visit the Blue Mosque, which owes its name to the exquisite tiles adorning its interior. Dating from the 17th century, it is the only imperial mosque with six minarets. The Hippodrome, the stadium of ancient Byzantium, held 100,000 spectators and featured objects from all corners of the empire. Of these, an Egyptian obelisk and a bronze sculpture of three entwined serpents from Delphi survive. The Grand Bazaar was the commercial heart of the old city and its 4,000 shops are full of treasures – including carpets and kilims, silks, jewelry, ceramics, icons and leather goods. Wandering through the Grand Bazaar, it will be difficult not to indulge in some shopping. After lunch proceed to board the Bosporus cruise.
From the deck of your cruise boat take in the sights and sounds of this legendary Bosporous waterway, that is lined with historic villages, grand wooden mansions, imposing fortresses, like Anadolu Hisarı and the Baroque palaces of the late Ottoman Sultans. After our cruise, we visit the Spice Bazaar, a thrilling riot of colors, sounds and the rich smells of exotic spices. Accommodation at the hotel.
ISTANBUL /CAPPADOCIA (B/D)
Breakfast at hotel. As per your flight details drive to Ataturk airport and fly to Kayseri or Nevsehir. On your arrival in Kayseri or Nevsehir Airport you will be transferred to your hotel in Cappadocia. Spend the night comfortably for an exciting day awaits you on Day 4.
Optional balloon tour. Breakfast at hotel. Depart from the hotel at 09.30-10.00 depending on the arrival time of your fellow travellers and visit Devrent Valley to see the unique fairy chimneys. Drive to Pasabagi (Monk’s Valley) to see the most interesting mushroom shaped pinnacles. In the afternoon, visit Open Air Museum in Goreme where the remains of rock cut churches and Christian settlements date back hundreds of years and then to Kaymakli Underground City, the place where early Christians hid from persecutors. Later, shop around a bit before returning to your hotel. Overnight in Cappadocia.
Breakfast at hotel. Today’s drive will be fairly long and tiring due to the long distance between Cappadocia and Pamukkale and for lack of convenient lodging location. Drive to Konya to visit the Mausoleum of Mevlana, the world wide famous mystic figure. Then arrive and stay overnight in Pamukkale.
PAMUKKALE / KUSADASI(B/L/D)
Breakfast at hotel. Tour the ruins of Hierapolis including the magnificently preserved cemetery “Necropolis”, the Main Street and Gates, the Thermal Baths, the Roman Theatre and the Museum. In the afternoon tour Aphrodisias, the city of Aphrodite; visit the Museum, the Temple of Aphrodite, the Theatre, the Stadium, the Agora, the Hadrian Baths, the Odeon and the Bishop’s Palace. Proceed to the hotel in Kusadasi for overnight stay.
Post breakfast at hotel go on a morning tour to Ephesus area and see Artemis Temple, Ephesus Antique City (Entrance requires additional admission fee), one of the most popular ancient sites of Turkey with many acres of carefully excavated ruins, Virgin Mary’s House - where St. Mary was supposed to have spent her last years together with St. John and Selcuk Ephesus Museum. After your tryst with history take a break for shopping. Overnight in Kusadasi.
KUSADASI / CANAKKALE(B/L/D)
After a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel, depart early for Bergama and visit the Asclepion and Acropolis of Pergamum, the ancient city with some monumental buildings. In the afternoon continue on to Troy, the place where the legendary Trojan War took place as described in the historical work of Homer of Smyrna. After visiting the site with nine inhabitation levels covering a period of 3000 years, drive to Canakkale for overnight stay. (Due to limited hotel availability we also keep the right to stay in the surroundings of Canakkale).
CANAKKALE / ISTANBUL (B)
After breakfast sail to the other side of Dardanelles by a ferryboat and drive to Istanbul visting Gallipoli, is historically famous for being the site of many battles - particularly involving the Allied Forces including Australians and New Zealanders during World War I. Arrive in Istanbul late in the afternoon and check-in to your hotel. Spend rest of the day at leisure.
Post breakfast, use the free time for leisure until checkout. You’ll then be transferred to the airport to board your return flight home.