Day 01: Hosgeldiniz... Home – Istanbul (No meal)
Arrival to Istanbul Ataturk Airport at desired hour. You will be met upon your arrival by our driver and transfer to hotel. Remaining of the day at leisure and overnight stay in Istanbul.
Day 02: Walking Old City Istanbul; (Breakfast and Lunch)
After breakfast at hotel, start the tour in Istanbul around 09:00. This tour would include with visits to Hippodrome & Obelisk the former center of sportive and political activities of Constantinople, Blue Mosque for famous for its blue Iznik tiles and unique six minarets and St. Sophia Museum the magnificent Byzantine Church of all times. After lunch in a local restaurant, visit Topkapi Palace the former imperial residence from where the Ottoman Sultans ruled their grand empire for over 400 years. Finish the day with incredible Grand Bazaar which is; In addition to its historical importance, it’s a bazaar that will tempt even the non-shoppers with its rich collection of precious handmade carpets, jewelry, leather and souvenirs. After tour return to hotel as well and overnight stay in Istanbul.
Pick up about 08:30 (or 13:00) from your hotel. You will first visit Rustem Pasa Mosque, constructed by Architect Sinan and decorated with the best examples of Turkish tiles. Afterwards you will have a short introduction tour to Egyptian Bazaar (Spice Market) built in 1664 and filled with the fragrance of the exotic East such as spices, dried fruits, Turkish delights. The highlight of the day is the Bosporus cruise by a public boat (operated with private boat if there will be enough tour attenders) taking about 1.5 hour and you will see the most impressive sights along the shores of the Bosporus including Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, Maiden´s Tower, Bosphorus bridges, Rumeli and Anadolu fortresses and Ottoman Residences. The boat has open and covered areas making it comfortable both on sunny and rainy days. Return to the hotel about 12:00 (or 17:30) Overnight stay in Istanbul.
Day 04: Istanbul – Canakkale (Breakfast)
Pick up between 6:15 am - 6:45 am from your hotel in the old city of Istanbul, we then depart for afternoon tour of Gallipoli. The World War I battlefields of Gallipoli are now a serene site. Visit the Lone Pine Australian Memorial and Chunuk Bair New Zealand Memorial, ANZAC Cove, Brighton Beach, Beach Cemetery, Ari Burnu Cemetery, Johnston's Jolly (where you'll visit original Allied and Turkish trenches and tunnels), 57th Regiment Turkish Memorial and The Nek. Overnight stay in Canakkale.
Day 05: Troy, Pergamum Tour – Kusadasi (Breakfast)
Tours of Troy and Pergamum. Visit the ancient city of Troy, famous for the legendary Trojan horse from the times of Beautiful Helen, Queen of Sparta and the ancient town of Pergamum with its magnificent acropolis and one of the steepest theatres in the world. Its impressive temples, library and medical facilities made it a renowned cultural and political center in its time. Then we will enjoy a display of locally handcrafted leather goods. After tour drive to Kusadasi. Overnight stay in Kusadasi.
Day 06: Ephesus Ancient City; (Breakfast)
Your driver will pick you up from your hotel and drive to Ephesus Ancient City. Enter through the Magnesia Gate and begin a slow, downhill walk with your guide into the ruins of this Roman provincial capital. Your route takes you past the Odeon, the Celsus Library, the Temple of Hadrian, and the Fountain of Trajan. Next we will visit the ruins of the Temple of Artemis (one of the Seven Wonders of the World). Lunch at a nice local restaurant and then we will visit the House of the Virgin Mary's - The Vatican has recognized this small house in the Solmissos Mountains 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. You will also see Byzantine Church of St John mark the spot where St John the Evangelist was buried. The church is on the slopes of Ayasoluk Hill near the center of Selcuk. Finish the day and return to hotel. Overnight stay in Kusadasi.
Day 07: Pamukkale (Breakfast and Dinner)
After having breakfast at the hotel, we will journey inland to Pamukkale to enjoy the spas, pools, and terraces of this natural wonder, called the "Cotton Castle". This name is truly fitting, the brilliant white calcified terraces do truly resemble a castle made of cotton. We will also spend time in Hieropolis, with one of the largest and most diverse necropolis in the world. After the tour you will be transfer to your hotel. Overnight stay in Pamukkale.
Day 08: Pamukkale – Antalya (Breakfast)
In the morning at 09:30 am drive to Antalya. Arrival to Antalya in the afternoon. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight stay in Antalya
Day 09: Antalya (Breakfast)
After breakfast at hotel pick up and today you will be visiting Perge, Aspendos, and Manavgat Waterfalls. Head eastward along the coast to Perge, with its fine theatre, stadium, mammoth towered gate and colonnaded marble street, and then continue to Aspendos which has the best-preserved classical theatre on the Mediterranean. Enjoy a picnic lunch by the famous waterfalls in Manavgat, and finish the day. After tour return to hotel and overnight stay in Antalya.
Day 10: Antalya – Konya – Cappadocia (Breakfast)
In the morning drive to Cappadocia but on the way visit Konya. Feel the mysticism of the whirling dervishes as you visit the Mevlana Museum (the poet and philosopher Sufi founder of the Whirling Dervishes Sect) and Sultan Han (13th century Seljukian caravanserai on the Silk Road). Overnight stay in Cappadocia.
Day 11: Cappadocia; (Breakfast and Lunch)
Optional Hot air balloon flight at sunrise. Please do not forget to ask for a wakeup call from reception. You will return to hotel at 08:00-08:30. After breakfast at 09:00 in the morning pick up from your hotel. Today, you will visit Devrent Imagination Valley and walk through this lunar landscape. Next, visit Pasabaglari (the world-famous Fairy Chimneys), the village of Avanos, where you will witness a Pottery-making demonstration using ancient Hittite techniques, lunch at a local restaurant, Uchisar Rock-Castle, (the highest point in the region, Esentepe (a panoramic view of Goreme valley) and Goreme Open Air Museum (Rock-cut churches, frescoes, monastery). After tour return to hotel and overnight stay in Cappadocia.
Day 12: Cappadocia; (Breakfast and Lunch)
Pick up from the hotel and you will be visiting; Derinkuyu Underground City (Biggest underground city in the region, used as a shelter for great lengths of time during invasions), Narli Gol (Volcanic Crater lake) Ihlara Canyon (Enjoy a pleasant and easy 4km hike through this sheer-sided, lush canyon with a beautiful stream running all the way through), Belisirma Village (Authentic unspoiled village life), Lunch in Belisirma Village, Selime (Surreal ancient monastic site, great panoramic view point of Ihlara Valley). Overnight stay in Cappadocia.
Day 13: Cappadocia - Gaziantep; (Breakfast only)
Departure from your hotel at 08:30. Drive to Karatay kervansaray. Stop at Kahramanmaras for lunch and a taste of its famous ice cream. Continue onto visit the world famous Gaziantep Mosaic Museum. This museums becomes after the discoveries from Zeugma. We will also visit the old city castle, copper bazaar and the famous baklava shop (Baklava is originally from Gaziantep). Overnight in Gaziantep B&B.
Day 14: Gaziantep - Urfa; (Breakfast only)
Today we drive to Sanli Urfa. On the way we stop at Nizip (soap and olive oil district) to see the remains of the old city of Belkis or (Zeugma) by the River Euphrates. Importance of this settlement which demonstrates an uninterrupted inhabiting since prehistoric ages, is that it is one of the two points allowing the easiest passage across the River Euphrates with a bridge first built by Alexander the Great. Lunch in Urfa and after a walk through the local covered bazaar. Spend the afternoon relaxing at the hotel or walking through the town to discover the many hidden treasures. Overnight stay in Urfa B&B.
Day 15: Urfa -Kahta; (Breakfast only)
Urfa, the birthplace of the prophet Abraham. Urfa has been occupied since the Babylonians followed by the Hurrites, Hittites, Assyrians, Greeks. We will visit nearby Harran and see the incredible beehive houses. Harran according to the Bible was the site where prophet Abraham spent a few years with his family before moving on to Israel, the promised land. We will also visit the holy sites at the Ainzelha, a lake with millions of domesticated fish. While in Urfa we will visit the cave where the prophet Abraham was born and visit a bustling sheep market as well. There are exceptional photo opportunities in this area. In the afternoon drive to Kahta city on the way see the Ataturk dam, third largest in the world. Overnight stay in Kahta B.D.B
Day 16: Mt Nemrut - Mardin; (Breakfast only)
In the morning 03:30 am departure. Hike to the summit of the mount Nemrut (one of the most popular UNESCO world cultural heritage sites), watching the sunrise, be amazed by the colossal heads and statues of ancient deities, as you step into mythology. This extraordinary landmark rests at an elevation of 8000 ft. The mountain top complex is composed of two flattened areas strewn with statues and separated by a false peak of crushed rock. Antiochos built the entire complex approximately 2000 years ago as a monument to his divine ancestry. Also definitely take time to visit the old castle, Arsemeia, cross over the still functioning Cendere Bridge (Septimius Severus bridge) dating all the way back to the 3rd century and Tumulus Tomb of Karakus. Then drive back to the hotel for breakfast. We then depart to Mardin with a lovely ferry ride across the dam and lunch in Siverek. We will reach Mardin around 16:00 check into hotel. We will take the time to visit, walk in its busy streets and bazaars, and admire the stonework all around the town. Overnight stay in Mardin B&B.
Day 17: Mardin - Tatvan; (Breakfast only)
In the morning visit Mardin. Mardin is very unique with lovely old-Arabic style houses. The houses are often decorated with intricate carvings. This is a very lively trading center with people coming from surrounding villages to buy and sell. We will have a fantastic view of the Plain of Mesopotamia. It is a city that played an important role in the early development of Christianity. We will also visit the Monastery of Deyr-az-Zaferan just outside of town, founded in 762 A.D. It was the seat of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch for almost 800 years.We drive to Hasankeyf, with stop at the beautiful little town of Midyat to see the Monastery and ancient houses on the way. Hasankeyf, with its history that spans nine civilizations, the archaeological and religious The history of Hasankeyf goes back 10,000 years. This is three times longer than the Giza pyraids, 10 times longer than Stonehenge, and makes the glorious civilizations of the Maya and Inca seem as if they were flourishing just yesterday. Some of the city's historical treasures will be inundated if construction of the Ilisu Dam is completed. These include ornate mosques, Islamic tombs and cave churches. After lunch by the Tigris River we depart to Tatvan, a small village on the edge of Lake Van and watch the sun set over the lake. Overnight stay in Tatvan B&B&D.
Day 18: Tatvan - Van; (Breakfast only)
Depart from Tatvan and a beautiful drive around the lake to reach Van city, established 13th century BC. From here, we will take a ferry across the lake to visit the finest Armenian architectural wonder of the Church of Holy Cross on Akdamar Island. Step over to the huge Van Castle from the days of Urartu and see the hieroglyphs as you sense the spirit of the once Urartu capital Tushpa, feel the salty waters of the great Lake Van called as 'the Sea' by the locals. Overnight stay in Van B&B&D
Day 19: Van - Dogubeyazit; (Breakfast only)
Drive on the "Silk Road" to Dogubeyazit. At the Iranian border we will see a site known as the Crater Hole. This is a beautiful, yet rugged area. We will have the opportunity to see Mt. Ararat from all sides. It is believed by some to be the resting-place of Noah's Ark; but to date no one has found anything that has been verified as the Ark - yet the search is still on. We will stop and see the Ishak Pasa Palace. This complex is a combination of a mosque, a fortress, and a palace which originally had a room for every day of the year! Below you can also see the remains of Eski Beyazit, and Urartian City which flourished in 1000 BC. Continue onto Kars. Overnight stay in Kars. B&B
Day 20: Kars; (Breakfast only)
Departure for a 45-minute drive to the medieval Armenian City of Ani, which lies mostly in ruins. Impressive fortified walls still encircle the ruins of numerous churches, mosques and caravansaries. Enjoy a walk around the ruins and see the beautiful view to the Armenian border imagining it as a city with one million people rivaling Bagdad in its time! This city has experienced the cultures of Urartians, Armenians, Georgians, Mongols, Russians and finally the Turks. Also visit the impressive Kars Castle. Overnight stay in Kars. B&B.
Day 21: Kars - Erzurum; (Breakfast only)
Leave Kars after Breakfast and drive southwest to Erzurum. Of great interest will be the villages of stone houses and black sheep on green meadows. Visit the 12th century Medrese (a Seljukian School), 12th century mosque and enjoy the ethnographic museum. Visit an old caravan stop where the local black stone is mounted in silver and gold by the local artists in the most aesthetic art form. Overnight stay in Erzurum B&B.
Day 22: Erzurum - Trabzon; (Breakfast only)
TRABZON; We begin a beautiful 5 hour drive to Trabzon, winding along the rivers with many photo stops and Karaca Cave along the way. Visit the Sumela Monastery, also known as the Monastery of Virgin Mary. It has been said that it is neither on earth nor in heaven. Carved on the slope of a mountain, it looks like a nine storey high building hanging down from the clouds and sitting on the top of the forest. A short hike through the rain forest will leave no question in your mind about where you are in Turkey. The Black Sea Region ! Overnight stay in Trabzon B&B.
Day 23: Trabzon–Istanbul; (Breakfast only)
Visit the city of Trabzon in the morning. After the crusaders invaded Constantinople in 1204, Trabzon became the capital of the Byzantine empire for a short time. Longing for the grandeur of Constantinople, in Trabzon, they imitated the Churches of their beloved city in a smaller scale. St. Sophia of Trabzon though much smaller will leave with you the same sense of religious devotion as the original one in Istanbul. Fly back to Istanbul or another city in Turkey.