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Istanbul to Istanbul
You’ll be welcomed at Istanbul Ataturk Airport and transferred to your hotel.
Overnight : Istanbul Meals : N/A
Today, we’ll walk along the typical districts of the Old and New City, as well as the Asian side to make a complete orientation in the center of Istanbul. We’ll start our discovery with XVIth century Yavuz Selim Mosque and Tomb. Spend time on the terrace offering stunning views over the Golden Horn. Stroll down the hill to discover the typical Fener and Balat districts. Watch the fishermen on Galata Bridge and cross to the modern part of the city. Take the historical funicular built at 1875 and still carrying passengers up the hill. Visit the Galata Mevlevihanesi to learn more about the philosophy of the whirling dervishes and walk down the very busy Yuksek Kaldirim street.
Leave the hotel at 7:00 AM for Istanbul Ataturk Airport and take TK2026 flight at 09:00 AM. Upon arrival to Kayseri, continue to Cappadocia region and rest of the day enjoy the natural beauty and the cultural depth of this unique region : explore the frescoed interiors of Goreme’s 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. Lunch and a brief photo stop at Uchisar. In the afternoon, discover the unique artifacts of Cappadocia such as pottery, onyx etc… Dinner in a typical cappadocian house where the host will make a pleasure to prepare special meals of the region.
Overnight at Dere Suites Cave Hotel. Meals (BLD)
Drive to Peristrema Valley and descend down the canyon to visit the first rock carved churches of Cappadocia. Then, arrive to Belisirma village for lunch; you’ll enjoy regional meals as well as fresh air because the tables are placed on small terraces over Melendiz River. A lot of built and rock carved houses will give you an idea about the architecture of the region. On the way back, photo stop at Nar crater Lake and continue to the underground city of Kaymakli : Descend 8 stories beneath the surface of the earth to the underground city with its wine cellars, classrooms and tombs where early Christians, fleeing persecution, lived for months at a time undetected. Approximately 15,000 people used to live in this underground city. The city was sub-divided into separate sections for better defense purposes. Overnight. Meals (BL)
See the difference in accommodations for medieval travelers during a stop at Sultanhani Caravanserai en route to Turkey’s oldest city – Konya, known worldwide as the home of the sect of the Whirling Dervishes. The ritual whirling of the dervishes is an act of love and a drama of faith. It possesses a highly structured form within which the gentle turns become increasingly dynamic. The music that accompanies the whirling from beginning to end ranges from somber to rhapsodical; its effect is intended to be mesmerizing. Chanting of poetry, rhythmic rotation, and incessant music create a euphoria that, according to the faithful, induces a feeling of soaring, of ecstasy, of mystical flight. Drive to Beysehir town by the lake where you’ll be amazed to explore the XIIIth century wooden mosque of Esrefoglu. Continue south to Antalya, arriving in time to stroll the twisting, turning streets of this enchanting city set on the shores of the Mediterranean before the sun sets. Dinner and overnight at Dogan Boutique Hotel in the pedestrian area of the roman harbour. ( Meals BLD)
Begin your Greco-Roman quest today by visiting Perge where a mere scrape of the shoe will reveal mosaic walkways through the ancient agora. Its extensive ruins include a stadium that once echoed to the roar of 15,000 spectators. Photo stop at Karpuzkaldiran Waterfall where Duden River reaches the Mediterranean from an impressive hight. Visit Archaeological Museum where you’ll explore objects going through Paleolithic, Neolithic Ages to Hellenistic, Roman and Seldjoukide Periods until Ottoman Era. Return to city center and walk through the narrow streets of the roman harbour where ottoman style houses and mansions under protection offer a historical atmosphere. Overnight in Dogan Boutique Hotel. Meals (BL)
Continue to Demre where lived an important personality of Chrisitianity; St. Nicholas. Visit the Basilica where he was bishop and enjoy a boat trip to discover few remains of Simena immersed under the water after an earthquake during Antiquity. Dinner and overnight at Yacht Boutique Hotel or similar. Meals (BD)
Full day to discover the region : stop at Telmessos to see the rock carved tombs and continue to Oludeniz, one of Turkey’s most famous beaches. Photo stop at the stunning Saklikent gorge Turkeys longest canyon. Explore the quaint Greek museum village of Kayakoy. Overnight. (BL)
Drive to Dalyan Laguna where you’ll enjoy a boat drive along this unspoilt site to admire the rock carved Lycian tombs. Short stop at Iztuzu Beach, the nesting ground of the loggerhead sea turtles; time permitting stop for a short swim. Continue to Pamukkale, popularly known as the ‘cotton castle’. Here, immense tiers of white limestone cascade down a barren hillside you will enjoy the beauty of the terraces and visit the nearby Roman theater and necropolis. Dinner and overnight. Meals (BLD)
Morning free at leisure to enjoy the thermal pools of your hotel. Follow the scenic road up to Babadag driving through small mountain villages to Aphrodisias, the city dedicated to the goddess of love and home to a school of sculpture that was known throughout the ancient world. Sculptural reliefs still adorn many of the buildings. Explore its many Greco-Roman remains including a stadium, which once sat 30,000 people and the Temple of Aphrodite, which was later converted into a Christian basilica. After lunch, proceed to the picturesque Sirince village where you’ll spend next 2 nights at Kirkinca Houses. Meals (BLD)
Visit the antique Ephesus city with Hadrian Temple, Celsius Library, theatre and the marble streets as well as the terrace houses reflecting the life of roman citizens. After lunch, climb up the Coressos Hill to visit the chapel believed to be the house where Mother Mary spent the last days of her life. Attend a fashion show in to learn more about leather, one of the major exportation products of Turkey. Drive along the scenic road to Kusadasi, an old fishermen’s town which became the most popular beach resort of the Aegean. Dinner in a fish restaurant overlooking the panorama of the “Birds Island” where the name of the town comes from. Return to Sirince and overnight. Meals (BLD)
Drive along the ‘wine-dark’ Aegean Sea to ancient Pergamum, home to the famous physician, Galen and 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. Stroll through the remains of the the library which once held 240,000 scrolls. After lunch, proceed to the legendary city of Troy, the site of one of the most famous wars of ancient times, immortalized in Homer’s Iliad. Cross by ferry the Strait of Dardanelles, dinner and overnight at Porta Caeli Hotel or similar . Meals (BLD)
Discover Gallipoli peninsula where the bloodiest battles of First World War took place; visit the Anzac Cove, Brighton Beach, Lone Pine and Chnuk Bair. Visit the vineyards nearby to learn about turkish grapes and taste the wines of Thrace Region. In the afternoon, proceed to Istanbul. Overnight at Lalahan Hotel. Meals (BL)
Transfer to Istanbul Airport for your onward flight or extend in Istanbul. (B)