In ancient times, Turkey was a major player in the Mediterranean. It's in vogue once again, but this time it's the historic sites, natural wonders and value for money that draw in the crowds.
Welcome to Istanbul
You are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Then start exploring the wonders of this glorious city, uniquely located on two continents! Tonight, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception, and get to know each other over a delightful evening of dinner and wine. Welcome Reception.
Bosphorus Cruise & Beautiful Bursa
It’s all aboard for a cruise on the Bosphorus Strait which links the Sea of Marmara with the Black Sea. This is one of the world’s busiest waterways with stately cargo ships plying their way up the main channel, while ferries constantly dash across their paths to link the villages on the European and Asian sides of the water. Cruise beneath the spectacular modern suspension bridges, past elegant palaces (built in the 18th and 19th centuries by Turkish nobility) and picturesque fishing villages where life seems unchanged since ancient times. Back on dry land, leave Istanbul, for the 14th century Ottoman capital of Bursa. There is time this afternoon to hunt for bargains in the bazaar and colourful silk markets or explore the gracious monuments.
Head to Cumalikizik, Gordon & Ankara
Visit the glorious Green Mosque and Mausoleum complex and Grand Mosque in Bursa before driving to the charming Cumalikizik Village with its traditional wooden houses and very narrow cobblestone streets. Move on to Gordion, where Alexander the Great cut the famous Gordion Knot, en route to Turkey’s modern capital of Ankara.
The Modern Day Capital of Ankara & on to Cappadocia
Sightseeing includes a visit to the Hittite Museum, portraying the fascinating history of Asia Minor from earliest times. You also visit Anit Kabir, the mausoleum of Ataturk, Turkey’s greatest leader in modern times. Visit the mausoleum of Sufi philosopher Haci Bektas. before heading to Avanos in Cappadocia.
The Underground Cities of Cappadocia Experience
During your stay in this unique region, visit Göreme’s rock-carved churches and see ancient frescoes in the open-air museum. Witness the volcanic landscapes and mushroom shaped ‘fairy-chimneys’ of the Pasabag Valley, the underground city of Kaymakli and see the cone of Uchisar. Later, visit a village house, which has been the home of a Cappadocian local for decades and experience the Turkish hospitality first hand. Dinner at the hotel is followed by a folklore show in a cave setting, featuring vibrant dances from different regions.
To Konya & the Whirling Dervishes
Visit a 13th century Caravanserai before driving to Turkey’s most religious city, Konya, which was once the home of the mystic sect of Whirling Dervishes and the old capital of the Anatolian Seljuk Empire. Visit the Mevlana Museum, with its beautiful fluted turquoise dome, and see the Karatay Medrese and Ince Minaret.
Through the Taurus Mountains to Aspendos and Antalya
Descend the Taurus Mountains and drive to Aspendos to visit what is considered to be the best preserved Roman Theatre anywhere in the world. Continue on to your hotel for the next two nights and enjoy time to relax.
Free time in Antalya
Today, enjoy a walk through Anatalya's Old Town. Then the rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy the leisure facilities of the hotel. Alternatively, explore Antalya at your own pace. Suggestions include a stroll around the harbour area or taking a boat trip off the coast.
Forests and Mountains lead to the Pools of Pamukkale
Pass pine forests and cross the Taurus Mountains on your way to see the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis. Next to the ruins, you can see the gleaming white travertine terraces of Pamukkale. Tea-cup shaped pools of this ‘Cotton Castle' cascade with light blue water, covering the hillside in a waterfall of white.
Explore Aphrodisias then on to Sunny Kusadasi
After breakfast, visit the Temple of Aphrodite at amazing Aphrodisias, and be seduced by the collection of sculptural treasures, Greco-Roman statues and ceramics. Then follow the Maeander River Valley, (so full of twists and turns, it gave us the word ‘meander') to your beautiful beachfront hotel in the lively coastal town of Kusadasi. Relax beside the pool and soak up the sun.
Travel to Ancient Ephesus and Izmir
Explore one of the world's finest archaeological sites, Ephesus. Walk along the Arcadian Way to view the splendid façade of the Library of Celsus and visit the Amphitheatre. Visit the House of the Virgin Mary, situated above the ruins, before continuing to the Selçuk Archeological Museum, where many artefacts from Ephesus are displayed. Stay overnight in the bustling Aegean port of Izmir.
On to Pergamon, Troy and Çanakkale
Stop in Pergamon, the impressive site of an ancient kingdom, to visit the Asklepion, one of the most famous shrines and therapeutic centres of the ancient world. Drive to Homer's Troy to see the ruins of nine cities built on top of each other and an enormous reconstruction of the famous Wooden Horse. The evening is spent in Çanakkale.
Gallipoli, the Anzacs & Istanbul
Cross the Dardanelle Straits by ferry and continue to the Gallipoli Peninsula, scene of fierce fighting in World War One. Here are the battle-fields where for nine disastrous months, Anzac Troops fought unsuccessfully to gain control of the strategic Straits, with the loss of over half a million lives. Pay your respects at Anzac Cove and visit the emotive Lone Pine Cemetery before returning to Istanbul.
Istanbul & the Ottoman Empire
In the morning, visit the Blue Mosque and the Hippodrome, where Roman chariot races were held. Also visit St. Sophia, a former cathedral and a mosque which is now a magnificent museum. The afternoon is dedicated to the Topkapi Palace, a walled city perched above the Bosphorous and the Golden Horn. Now it's time to test your haggling skills in the Grand Bazaar. Don't worry, your local expert will give you a full explanation of the time-honoured ritual of bargaining! Tonight, join a farewell Celebration Dinner at a colourful local restaurant!
The tour ends with transfer to the airport.
Most Insight tours already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Tour Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your tour. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations. The Optionals and pricing listed here are a guideline only and subject to change. Performance Of Whirling Dervishes In Cappadocia A spectacular performance of "Sema" ceremony byu the followers of Mevlana Celaleddin-i-Rumi, founder of the Sufi sect of Islam. Prices to be provided on request
We drive to the harbor to make a fantastic travel with a romantic wooden yacht and to enjoy the turquoise coast and bays of the south coasts of Turkey. During the yacht tour we will have opportunity to see the waterfalls and swim at the beautiful Mediterranean waters. Also on board you can take pictures of interesting landscapes of Antalya. (*) Operates with minimum 10 guests. Prices to be provided on request
Twin/Double prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price.
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