BEST OF TURKEY TOUR JUNE 2015
“If one had but a single glance to give the World, one should gaze on Istanbul”
Alphonse de Lamartine
DAY 1 – Sunday 01, –Istanbul (D)
Open to your arrivel we will meet you at airport transfer to the hotel.
Once the imperial capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, Istanbul is both a city steeped in history and an exciting modern day hub of activity. Always described as a fusion of East and West, it is not difficult to understand why as you walk through narrow alleys flanked by wooden Ottoman houses to emerge in a funky restaurant or bar in the downtown area, the call to prayer mingling with modern Turkish pop. Bisected by the Bosphorous, a strategically significant passage of water which links the Black Sea to the Aegean, the city has several distinct divisions. Across the Golden Horn, a watery cul-de-sac which branches off the Bosphorous, is Sultanahmet which boasts some of the city\'s finest Byzantine and Ottoman monuments. We will meet in reception in the early evening and go for dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in hotel on a bed and breakfast basis.
DAY 2 – Monday, – ISTANBUL (BD)
After breakfast we will depart for a full day tour of Istanbul visiting the mosque of Sultan Ahmet, better known at the “Blue Mosque”, unique in Turkey with its six elegant minarets. We will then visit the Hippodrome and Obelisks, the Cistern and the magnificent Haghia Sophia (Church of the Divine Wisdom) one of the most extraordinary buildings in the history of architecture, and a monument to the golden age of the Byzantine Empire. We will have (quick light) lunch at a local restaurant before visiting the maze that is the Grand Bazaar. This huge warren of covered, winding streets has thousands of shops selling everything from the traditional to the modern from the exquisitely beautiful to the commonplace. Enjoy and practice your bartering skills.
We will meet again in the evening to see Istanbul by night. After a short drive we will be taken to an exclusive night club where we will taste the joy of the famous Turkish Cuisine. During dinner a spectacular oriental show will be performed by well known belly dancers, folk groups from various regions of Anatolia and Turkish singers. Overnight in hotel on a bed and breakfast basis.
DAY 3 – Tuesday, – ISTANBUL (BD)
After breakfast we will be collected at our hotel and visit the 17th century Spice Bazaar, the second largest covered bazaar in Istanbul. We will then embark on a cruise up the Bosphorus, the legendary strait separating Europe and Asia. We will cruise past the Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi Palaces, wooden 19th century seafront mansions, picturesque villages and modern pleasure palaces, disembarking at the mouth of the Black Sea. We then drive along the strait to the Sadberk Hanim Museum, a gracious three-story waterfront mansion housing a rich collection of Anatolian works of arts, antiques and relics dating back to 6,000 BC. Lunch at a local restaurant.
We will also visit Camlica Hill, the highest point in Istanbul, commanding a panoramic view of the city. We then drive to the 19th century summer palace of the Sultans in the Bosphorus village of Beylerbeyi. Completed in 1865, the palace has 24 rooms and six large halls.
We will return to our hotel for overnight.
DAY 4 – Wednesday,– Istanbul/CAPPADOCIA (BD)
After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and transfer to the airport for our flight to Kayseri. We will be met at the airport by the guide for the rest of our tour and immediately visit the famous site of Cappadocia. Often talked about as the absolute highlight of a visit to Turkey, Cappadocia is one of the most surreal places you will ever see. Here repeated volcanic eruptions around 40-50 million years ago covered the area with layers of a light rock called tuff, creating a natural “lunar like” landscape. Over time the elements have eroded this surface rock to create unusual valleys and vast rock sculptures of “fairy chimneys” which have been incorporated into the building of towns, villages and underground settlements. Wandering around Cappadocia, clambering in and out of the buildings and over the rippling tufa deposits you will almost certainly feel like you have just landed on another planet. On optional hot air balloon ride can be arranged at a cost of Euro 160 per person where you will be able to witness the bizarreness of the rock formations and the amazing blend of nature and man that will leave you astounded.
We will start with the natural citadel of Uchisar which will enable you to get a panoramic view of the region and continue with the Goreme valley which is the highlight of the day. This valley houses the Goreme open air museum with its churches hewn out of rock and the colorful frescoes which decorate them. The next stop is Zelve and the caves of this ancient village continuing with the Avanos and Cavusin villages. Lunch will be served en-route at a typical regional restaurant overnight will be at the hotel in Cappadocia.
DAY 5 – Thursday, CAPPADOCIA (BD)
Breakfast will be served at the hotel and the second full day tour of Cappadocia begins with the Soganli Village which is the most interesting part of the region. At this site you will be able to see the everyday life of a small Cappadocian village with its churches and its authenticity. The next visit will be to Ortahisar which is one of the highest points of the area and you will get a full view of this spectacular volcanic region.. Overnight will be at the hotel in Cappadocia.
DAY 6 – Friday, Cappadocia/KONYA (BD)
After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and depart for Konya. On the way we will visit the 13th century Seljukian Caravanseria "Sultanhan". The next stop will be Konya, home to the famous Whirling Dervish sect. Konya is one of the most typical Anatolian cities and is nicknamed the bread basket of Turkey as it is surrounded by vast fields of wheat. However, it is the city’s standing at the undoubted religious centre of Turkey that makes it most intriguing. Home to the tomb of the Sufi philosopher, poet and teacher Mevlana, founder of the Whirling Dervish sect, Konya offers an interesting museum, which houses the tomb of the Mevlana and some relics from the Muslim faith. Overnight in Konya
DAY 7 – Saturday, Konya/PAMMUKALE (BD)
After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and.
We will continue to Pamukkale, site of the ancient city of Hierapolis as well as home to the “cotton castle” springs of mineral-laden water. The unique appearance and curative properties of Pamukkale’s springs have attracted settlers from early times. We will visit the Greco-Roman settlement which is remarkably well preserved. The ancient city is dedicated to the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite. Overnight in Pamukkale.
DAY 8 – Sunday, Pamukkale (BD)
Free day in Pamukkale
DAY 9 – Monday, Pamukkale/BODRUM (BD)
After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and drive to Bodrum. Bodrum with its sugar-cube houses, draped in bougainvillea, and the palm-lined streets has been successful in clinging to its original charm. Bodrum is gaining a reputation as the Monte Carlo of the Aegean, with a smart new marina, sophisticated restaurants and millions of dollars worth of sailing craft laying over for a night or two. Bodrum’s outstanding Museum of Underwater Archaeology is also worth a visit. Rest of the day at your leisure. Overnight in hotel on a full board basis.
DAY 10– Tuesday, BODRUM (BLD)
After breakfast you will have the day at your leisure. Overnight in hotel on a full board basis.
DAY 11 – Wednesday , 11 June 2015 – Bodrum/KUSADASI (BD)
After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and depart for the first ancient city - Priene which in its time was one of the most spectacular of all the ancient Ionian cities. We will then travel on to Miletus with its magnificent theatre and the Byzantine fortress on the acropolis above. Last, but not least we will visit Didyma where we will find the largest Ionic Temple in the world dedicated to Apollo. Also in Didyma lies the huge, cracked head of Med. We will transfer to the Ephasus Boutique Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 12 – Thursday, KUSADASI (BD)
After breakfast we will depart for a full day tour of Ephesus. Without any doubt, Ephesus is what you will remember most about your time in Selcuk. As one of the best preserved Classical cities of the Eastern Mediterranean, a walk through the old city gives you a genuine taste of what life must have been like during the Roman times. The site is remarkably well preserved and there has also been extensive reconstruction of the more crumbling edifices. The result is very impressive and it is not difficult to believe that this was home to one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. A stroll through the old city finishes at the breathtaking Library of Celsius which once competed with that of Alexandria for scholarly interest.
We will also visit the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Dinner and overnight in Ephesus Boutique hotel.
DAY 13 – Friday, Kusadasi/CANAKKALE (BD)
After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and drive to Pergamum stopping for lunch along the way (own account). We will visit Asklepion and the Acropolis before driving to Troy, the legendary town in the Iliad of Homer to visit the Athena temple. Troy may not look like much at first but with a guide the legend appears before your eyes. It is possible to see the wooden horse but sadly it is actually only 20-30 years old. Here you will learn about the archaeological intelligence of the Anatolians and the cleverness of the Greeks. Drive to Çanakkale for dinner and overnight.
DAY 14 – Saturday, Canakkale/ISTANBUL (B)
After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and cross the Dardanelles by ferry to visit the poignant World War I Anzac memorials at Gallipoli. The site of one of the most brutal campaigns of WWI, the Gallipoli Peninsula is now a national park which preserves the monuments to the fallen. Of significant historical and cultural importance to Turks, New Zealanders and Australians alike (Anzac stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps), the park is located at the entrance to the Dardanelles on the Aegean Sea. It was the Allied forces’ intention to take the peninsula and thus have access to Istanbul and the Black Sea towns of their ally, Russia. However, it actually became the final resting place of many an Allied hope as well as some 700,000 soldiers. The reality of the war becomes apparent after a visit to the Gallipoli Museum and Anzac Cove. With memorabilia and copies of letters sent to families, the museum is a poignant place of reflection. Afterwards, a visit to the sheer cliffs of Anzac Cove gives an indication as to the insurmountable task the Allied forces had been set.
We will then return to Istanbul along the shores of Marmara Sea. account. Overnight in Istanbul on a bed and breakfast basis.
DAY 15 – Sunday, ISTANBUL (BD)
After breakfast we will be collected at the hotel and visit the Archaeology Museum. We will then visit Topkapi Palace which was once the opulent residence of the Ottoman sultans and the political centre of the Empire, replete with magnificent collections of Chinese porcelain, Ottoman textiles, gold and jewels. We will then have lunch before visiting Dolmabahce Palace to see the opulent state rooms, including the Crystal Gallery. Its extravagant 4.5 ton chandelier was a present from Queen Victoria to the sultan.. Overnight in Istanbul
DAY 16 – Monday, – Istanbul
After breakfast transfer to airport for you flights home
THE ABOVE ITINERARY INCLUDES: .
All sightseeing and entrance fees, (except for optional tours).
- Economy class domestic flights on the routing – Istanbul/Kayseri.
- 3 night’s accommodation at the Uyan Hotel (or similar) in Istanbul on a
- 2 night’s accommodation at the Dinler Hotel 5 Star (or similar) in Cappadocia on HB.
- 1 night’s accommodation at the Rumi hotel( Boutique) (or similar) in Konya on HB.
- 2 night’s accommodation at the Richmond hotel 5 Star (or similar) in Pamukkale on a HB.
- 2 night’s accommodation at the Ephesus Boutique hotel (or similar) in Kusadasi on a HB.
- 2 night’s accommodation at the Samara hotel 5 star(or similar) in Bodrum on a full board basis.
- 1 night’s accommodation at the Colin Hotel 5 Star (or similar) in Canakkale on HB.
- 2 night’s accommodation at Uyan Hotel (or similar) in Istanbul on a bed and breakfast basis.
- dinners as per above itinerary.