This highlights tour of Turkey showcases historic Roman relics, 7th century cave dwellings and hot springs along with delightful accommodation, delectable local cuisine, and more! Your journey begins & ends in one of the world’s largest cities, Istanbul, and includes visits to the ancient caves & fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, the natural wonders of Pamukkale, the Ionian city of Ephesus, and Troy, the site of the Trojan Wars, plus much more.
The Ortaköy Mosque and Bosphorus Bridge.
The fascinating landscape of Cappadocia.
The white calcite terraces of Pamukkale.
“Ephesus was amazing - the scenery was wonderful."
Marion, Pickering, Ontario -
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Prices shown are per person based on a party of at least 2 adults traveling together. The Single Room Supplement cost is in addition to the twin sharing cost for those who would like a single room. If traveling alone, please contact us for a solo traveler cost.
Hotel with daily breakfast, lunches & dinners as indicated, services of expert English speaking local guides, group tours, entrance fees to sites listed on the itinerary, A/C bus transportation with expert drivers, and group airport transfers. International flights are not included, please enquire.
Tour departs March 22, April 26, May 17, June 7, July 12, August 23, September 13, October 4, 2015.
Interested in this itinerary but would like to travel privately and make changes to the hotels, destinations, sites, or anything else? Contact us here to customize this itinerary just for you.
Upon arrival in Istanbul, you will be met by your local representative holding a name board and then transferred to your hotel for check-in. The rest of the day is at your leisure.
After breakfast, you will have a full-day city tour of Istanbul. Explore the captivating Underground Cistern (The Basilica Cistern), thought to have been built after the Nika Revolt in 532 AD. See the Hippodrome, built by the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus towards the end of the 2nd century, and the Blue Mosque, just opposite Hagia Sophia, one of the most prominent landmarks of Istanbul and quite impressive with its domes and semi-domes, courtyards and six slender minarets. Visit the Topkapi Palace, which in 1924 was turned into a museum, situated on the acropolis, the site of the first settlement in Istanbul. It commands an impressive view of the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara. The palace complex is surrounded by five kilometers of walls and occupies an area of 700,000 square meters at the tip of the historical peninsula. Later, visit Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, a 540-year-old covered shopping mall of 64 streets, 4000 shops, 22 entrances and 25,000 workers. It sells a plethora of items to bargain for, including Turkish carpets, glazed tiles and pottery, copper and brassware, apparel made of leather, cotton and wool, meerschaum pipes and alabaster bookends.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and then visit the famous Hagia Sophia, which occupies a prominent place in the history of art and architecture. It is one of the rare works of this size and age that has survived over the centuries. The church is erroneously known as Saint Sophia in the west. The basilica was actually dedicated to divine wisdom. In the afternoon, you will drive for about 5 hours (445km) to Ankara where you will check-in to your hotel.
Visit the Anatolian Civilizations Museum and then drive to Cappadocia. The region known as Cappadocia is a stunning area of other-worldly rock formations, subterranean churches and underground dwellings. Cappadocia was a refuge for the early Christians, who escaped persecution by living and worshipping underground. There are an estimated 3,000 rock churches in this region. Surrounding the area are the amazing rock formations known evocatively as 'Fairy Chimneys'. The area is also famous for its carpet-weaving, wines and the distinctive red pottery of the Avanos area. In the afternoon visit the underground city of Kaymakli, a troglodyte cave-city that was excavated as early as the Hittite era, which reached its height in the 14th century B.C. These underground cities expanded over the centuries as various marauding armies traversed Central Anatolia in search of captives and plunder. You will stay for three nights in Cappadocia.
Today you explore more of the Cappadocia region. The village of Goreme is at the heart of the area's tourist industry, and many of its villagers still live in cave dwellings. Some have been converted into pensions. Visit the Open Air Museum of Goreme which resembles a vast monastic complex composed of scores of refectory monasteries placed side-by-side, each with its own fantastic church. Departing the Goreme Open Air Museum, visit Uchisar, a natural rock citadel that is the tallest point in the area and is visible for a great distance. Finally, you stop at Avanos, a center for terracotta art since 3,000 B.C.
After breakfast start with a downhill hike in Rose Valley while exploring some older churches. There is something mesmerizing about the Rose Valley and despite being only a couple of kilometers away from the center of Goreme, you literally feel like you’re in a completely different world. The only noise you'll hear is the silence and peace that comes with being in the heart of nature and you can walk for hours without seeing a single human soul. Arrive in Cavusin Village, an old Seljukian and Ottoman village, and visit the Cave Mosque. Also, visit Ortahisar with its castle, and Soganli Village where one of the most authentic dwellings of the whole area can be seen.
After breakfast drive to Konya. Visit the Mevlana Museum, also known as the Green Mausoleum or Green Dome, which is the original lodge of the Mevlevi Whirling Dervishes, a mystical Sufi Muslim group. It contains the tomb and shrine of the Mevlana, or Rumi, which remains an important place of pilgrimage. Continue your drive onward to Antalya, a resort town on the Mediterranean, and check-in to your hotel. Stay two nights in Antalya.
Visit the Ancient City of Perge, once the capital city of the Pamphylia region. During your visit, you will be able to see the Stadium, Roman Gate, Nymphaeum, Roman Bath, Hellenistic Gate, Column Street and the State Agora. We will continue our tour with the Aspendos Ancient Theatre. Aspendos is the best preserved and the most complete example of a Roman theatre in Turkey. The theatre was still in use for concerts, festivals and events until recently. Afterwards, return to the hotel for some time at your leisure.
Drive to Pamukkale, one of Turkey’s top attractions. The underground water which once gave life to the ancient city of Hierapolis now helps Pamukkale be one of the most important thermal centers in Turkey. Tourists and locals visit Pamukkale and Hierapolis frequently not only for its extraordinary beauty and its ancient history but also for wellness. Scientifically proven to cure many diseases, the waters attract guests from the world over with many thermal hotels in the area. Visit Hierapolis, an archaeological site with remains from Greco Roman and Byzantine era. Stay one night in Pamukkale.
This morning, drive to Bodrum where you can discover 3,000 years of history. Bodrum is known for its climate, sea, natural beauty and active nightlife. Known in antiquity as Halircarnasus, Bodrum has been influenced by many cultures over the centuries including Carian, Leleges, Persian, Dorian, Helen, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman. Stay two nights in Bodrum.
Enjoy the full day at your leisure.
This morning, drive to Selcuk and discover the ancient Ionian city of Ephesus, which dates from the 1st century B.C. Near the Aegean Sea, this was one of the great cities of the Greeks in Asia Minor, home to the Temple of Artemis, and also one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It is a sacred site for Christians for its association with several biblical figures, including St. Paul, St. John the Evangelist and the Virgin Mary. On the way to Ephesus, stop at the house of the Virgin Mary, where she supposedly spent her later days. The Vatican has recognized this small house in the Solmissos Mountains (Bulbul Mountain) as the final resting place of the Virgin Mary. A small shrine dedicated to St. Mary was found when the ruins of the house were first discovered. In Ephesus you have the chance to see spectacular ruins, some of which have recently been excavated. After your tour, check-in to your hotel in Izmir for your one night stay.
Enjoy a city orientation tour of Izmir and then drive to Bergama. Visit the ancient city dating before the 4th century BC and home to the second largest library in the ancient world, the steepest Theatre of Anatolia, the monumental Altar of Zeus and the Roman Medical Center ruins of Asklepion, work site of the great physician, Galen. Continue your drive to Canakkale where you will check-in for one night.
Visit Troy, an ancient city in what is now northwestern Turkey, made famous in Homer’s epic poem, the Iliad. According to Iliad, this is where the legendary Trojan War took place. Today it is an archaeological site popular with travelers from all over the world, and in addition to being a Turkish National Park; it is on the World Heritage List of UNESCO. Then cross the Dardanelles by ferry and visit the Gallipoli Peninsula, which is especially famous for the failed Allied offensive on Turkey in 1915 in World War I, known as the Gallipoli Campaign. Later, continue on to your hotel in Istanbul and check-in for your one night stay.
After breakfast, meet at the hotel for transportation to the airport.
Days 5 & 6: Enjoy two full days exploring the cave dwellings, rock cut churches and moonscape of Cappadocia.
Day 12: Take a full day to discover Ephesus, arguably Turkey's most popular attraction.
This itinerary has been tried & tested and can be booked as-is. However, should you wish to customize your tour, you may contact us here.
ISTANBUL CITY STAY
CAPPADOCIA CITY STAY
HIGHLIGHTS OF JORDAN