Day 1: Arrive in Istanbul
We arrive in Turkey’s cultural and spiritual heart today and transfer to our hotel. As guests’ arrival times may vary greatly, we have no group activities or meals planned; on our own we can explore the area surrounding our hotel or simply relax. Dinner tonight is on your own.
Day 2: Full Day Istanbul Tour [B,L]
After breakfast, pick up from hotel and our journey begins in Istanbul, the only city in the world situated on two continents. Our fist stop is the famous Topkapi Palace, the largest and oldest of the remaining palaces where Ottoman Sultans used to live; admire the gardens, kitchens, the treasury section as well as terraces overlooking the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. Explore Saint Sophia, one of the marvels of Byzantine architecture. Visit the Blue Mosque covered by more than 20,000 Iznik tiles and the Roman Hippodrome. Lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon, discover the handcrafts of Anatolia and shop in the labyrinth tunnels of the Grand Bazaar. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 3: Istanbul – Ankara [B,L,D]
Free time in the historical Spice Market to feel the exoticism of the Orient. Enjoy an amazing boat trip along the European and Asian coasts of the Bosphorus. Lunch. In the afternoon, cross the Bosphorus Bridge and proceed to Ankara. Dinner and overnight in the capital of Turkey.
Day 4: Ankara – Cappadocia [B,L,D]
Visit to Archeological museum of Ankara, with its unique collection including Paleolithic, Neolithic, Hattie, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian and Roman works and Lydian treasures. Short stop in the Mausoleum of Kemal Atatürk, founder and first president of the Turkish Republic. Lunch and proceed to Cappadocia. Visit of an underground city. Check into your hotel in Cappadocia, dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Cappadocia [B,L,D]
(Optional Hot Air Balloon Ride before sunrise)
The entire day to enjoy the natural beauty and the cultural depth of this unique region: explore the frescoed interiors of Goreme Cave Churches, which date from the 8th century, take a walk in Avcilar, Pasabagi and the valley of Dervent where you will admire the chimney like volcanic formations and a brief photo stop at Uchisar. In the afternoon, discover the unique artifacts of Cappadocia such as pottery, onyx… etc. Dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Cappadocia – Konya – Pamukkale [B,L,D]
Drive through the Silk Road to Konya to visit the Whirling Dervishes Convent which is now the Mevlana Museum. Visit a Caravanserai from XII Century. Continue to Pamukkale, dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Pamukkale – Ephesus – Izmir [B,L,D]
Discover the ancient city of Hierapolis and enjoy the unique splendor of its cascading, hot springs in Pamukkale. Proceed to Ephesus and explore the antique city by wandering along its 2,000 year old marble streets to such famous sites as the theater and the Celsus Library. Stop at a leather factory in Selcuk to attend a fashion show and to learn more about Turkish leather. Visit the Home of Mother Mary. Lunch during the visits. Continue to Izmir, third biggest city of Turkey. Dinner and overnight in Izmir.
Day 8: Izmir – Pergamon – Troy – Çanakkale [B,L,D]
Proceed to Pergamon, the city where parchment was invented. Visit the Acropolis offering breathtaking views over the valley and discover the remains of the most impressive Hellenistic Theater in Asia Minor. After lunch, visit the legendary city of Troy, the site of one of the most famous wars of ancient times, immortalized in Homer’s Iliad. Dinner and overnight in Çanakkale.
Day 9: Canakkale – Istanbul [B,L]
Cross by ferry the Strait of Dardanelles and discover Gallipoli where the bloodiest battles of First World War took place. Continue to Istanbul. Lunch in route. Arrival in the afternoon. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 10: Departure from Istanbul [B]
Transfer to Istanbul Airport for your flight back home.