Welcome to Turkey!
Arrival in Istanbul and meeting at the airport just outside the arrival’s gate with a sign bearing your name then transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul.
Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hippodrome, Grand Bazaar
Breakfast at the hotel. After you meet with your guide at the lobby, you will begin your tour of the Sultanahmet district, the heart of old Istanbul, at Hagia Sophia. Built by the Emperor Justinian in the early 6th century AD and designed by Anthemius of Tralles and Isodore of Miletus, the church is one of the marvels of world architecture. Converted into a mosque in 1453, it is now a museum. Its massive dome still dominates the skyline of old Istanbul. Next we visit the Blue Mosque which takes its name from the exquisite tiles adorning its interior. The Hippodrome, the stadium of ancient Byzantium, held 100,000 spectators and featured objects from all corners of the empire. The Grand Bazaar was the commercial heart of the old city and its 4,000 shops are full of treasures including carpets and kilims, silks, jewelry, ceramics, icons, and leather goods. Wandering through the Grand Bazaar, indulge in some shopping, Ottoman style.
In the afternoon we continue our tour at Topkapi Palace, which, from the 15th to the 19th century, was the principal residence of the Ottoman Sultans. We will visit the fabulous Imperial Treasury and the Baghdad Kiosk. Topkapi Palace is now a museum and has unrivalled collections of jewelry, including the Spoonmaker’s Diamond, the 3rd largest in the world. It also possesses numerous Ottoman court costumes and ceramics, notably including one of the world’s finest collections of Chinese celadon ceramics, many of which were gifts from other rulers. Interestingly, some of the ceramics have a special glaze that was said to change color in the presence of poison. We also visit the Imperial Armory, displaying centuries of Ottoman weaponry. But perhaps the loveliest feature of Topkapi Palace are its courtyards with their ancient trees; it is easy to imagine the sultan strolling here far from the cares of state and empire. Overnight in Istanbul.
Spice Bazaar, Bopshorus Cruise
We begin with a brief visit to the 17th century Spice Bazaar, one of Istanbul’s most colorful, bustling attractions. Next, we travel the Golden Horn on our way to an unforgettable cruise along the Bosphorus, the majestic strait that runs through Istanbul, linking Europe and Asia. From our cruise boat, we view the dramatic sights lining the Bosphorus’ wooded shores: mosques, a bridge that for a time was the world’s longest and Rumeli Hisari, a massive fortress built by Mehmet the Conqueror in just three months as he prepared to take Istanbul. Also noteworthy on this tour are the 19th century mansions of the Ottoman elite and the Sultans’ fanciful gingerbread palaces and hunting lodges.
After the tour we will transfer you to Istanbul Airport for your flight to Cappadocia. Fly Cappadocia. Upon arrival Cappadocia we will meet and transfer you to your hotel. Overnight in Cappadocia.
Goreme Open Air Museum, Zelve Valley, Devrent Valley, Cavusin Village, Avanos Goreme Open Air Museum: Resembles a vast monastic complex composed of scores of refectory monasteries placed side-by-side, each with its own fantastic church. It is obviously the first sight to be visited by any traveler in Cappadocia, standing as it does in the very center of the region with easy access from all directions. It contains the finest of the rock-cut churches, with beautiful frescoes (wall paintings) whose colors still retain all their original freshness.
Zelve Valley: Fairy chimneys with multiple stems and caps can be found here. A chapel dedicated to St. Simeon and a hermit’s shelter built into such fairy chimney with three heads.
Devrent Valley: Devrent is 1 km from Zelve Valley. The ruins at Devrent are spread over three valleys which also house several pointed fairy chimneys with large stems.
Cavusin Village: One of the oldest settlements in the area. The churct of st. John Baptist offers a panoramic view of the village. This church and its paintings date back to the 5th century, making the oldest church in the region.
Avanos: A center terra cotta work of art since 3000 BC. The clay which comes from the Red River passing through the town, gives life both land and local economy. Overnight in Cappadocia.
Optional Balloon Tour: Flying in a hot air balloon is an amazing and unforgettable experience which you will never forget. Very early in the morning you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to our balloon site. You will be welcomed with a light breakfast while you are registering for your flight. After meeting at the balloon site you will be watching how we prepare our balloons for your adventure. After getting on the air you will be seeing beautiful sunrise upon Cappadocia. You will be thrilled with the scale of colors and shapes. We will be ascending up to 3000 feet and then almost you will be able touch fairy chimneys. After landing we will celebrate our flight with champagne toast (or soft drink) and your pilot will be presenting your flight certificates. After deflation balloons you will be transported to your launch site and continue to your day.
Kaymakli Underground City, Pigeon Valley, Uchisar Rock Castle, Esentepe Panorama, Rose Valley Kaymakli Underground City: Built under the hill known as the Citadel of Kaymakli and was opened to visitors in 1964. The people of Kaymakli (Enegup in Greek) village have constructed their houses around nearly one hundred tunnels of the underground city. The inhabitants of the region still use the most convenient places in the tunnels as cellars, storage areas and stables, which they access through their courtyards. The Kaymakli Underground City has low, narrow and sloping passages. While the underground city consists of 8 floors below ground, only 4 of them are open to the public today, in which the spaces are organized around ventilation shafts.
Pigeon Valley: A moderate walk in a green valley with many different rock formations and hundreds of pigeon houses carved into fairy-chimneys.
Uchisar Rock Castle: Uchisar is the name of the town and the fortress in the town. This 60mt. (200ft) high fortress was not built but carved out of a natural hill dominating the area with a breathtaking view of all the surrounding Cappadocian formations.
Esentepe Panorama: this is the best panoramic viewpoint of Goreme.
Rose Valley: It has beautiful rock formations with some great hidden rock-carved churches. The most interesting part of this area is the countless tracks connecting the small villages and towns through vineyards and gardens like a spider net.
After the tour we will transfer you to Cappadocia Airport for your flight to Izmir. Upon arrival Izmir we will meet and transfer you to your hotel. Overnight in Kusadasi.
Pamukkale Travertines, Hierapolis Ruins
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 transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Kusadasi.
Ephesus Ruins, Temple of Artemis, Virgin Mary’s House
First we will visit Ephesus ruins starting from the upper gate and see famous Celsus Library, Hadrian Temple and Ephesus Antic Theatre which has a capacity of 25000. Next we will stop by at Temple of Artemis once was a one of the seven wonders at ancient times. Then we will head to Virgin Mary’s House where she spent her last years.
After the tour we will be back to your hotel. Overnight in Kusadasi.
We will meet at your hotel lobby and transfer you to Izmir Airport for your flight to Athens. Fly Athens. After an hour flight we will meet and transfer you to your hotel. Rest of the day is free to explore the city. Overnight in Athens.
Syntagma Square, Acropolis
Begin with a panoramic drive of the city visiting the Panathenaic Stadium (modern Olympic Games), the Prime Minister’s residence (ex Royal Palace) guarded by the Evzones in their colourful uniforms, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Hadrian’s Arch, the Parliament and the memorial of the Unknown Soldier, the Academy, the University, the National Library, the Constitution Square (Syntagma) Continue with a guided tour of the Acropolis, the Propylea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and the Parthenon. Then proceed to the New Acropolis museum for a guided visit.
After the end of the tour transfer back to your hotel. Overnight in Athens.
Breakfast in the hotel. Early in the morning you will be transferred to Piraeus port. Embarkation on your ferry and sail off to Mykonos Island. Upon arrival in Mykonos transfer to your hotel. Balance of the day at leisure. Overnight on Mykonos.
Delos Island, The Temple of Dionysus
Delos is a small Island situated in the centre of the Cyclades, a few miles southwest of Mykonos. And one of the most important archaeological Sites of Hellas Delos is the birth place of Apollo, the god of light, and Artemis, the goddess of hunting (both children of Lito and Zeus) and the brightest place on the universe.
The excavations of Delos started in 1873 and are still carried today out by the French School of Archaeology. Lion’s, Houses, The Temple of Dionysus, the theatre are some of the places that you have top visit during your Visit at Delos Island. In 1990 Delos was included in the World’s Cultural Heritage, protected by the UNESCO.
Before you leave the island you can rest at the coffee shop and enjoy a drink with the unique view and to feel the energy of the Delos. Overnight on Mykonos.
Breakfast in the hotel. Early in the morning you will be transferred to Mykonos port. Embarkation on your ferry and sail off to Santorini Island. Upon arrival in Santorini transfer to your hotel. Balance of the day at leisure. Overnight on Santorini.
Breakfast in the hotel. Have this day free at leisure to discover this island of unique beauty, famous worldwide as one of the most romantic destinations. Walk around the picturesque Fira Town and the famous Oia, visit the Volcano and Akrotiri excavations and swim in one of the volcanic beaches. Optional choice to explore the island of Santorini with one of the plenty tours provided. Overnight on Santorini.
We will meet at your hotel lobby and transfer you to Santorini Airport for your flight to Athens. Fly Athens. After your flight continue to international terminal for your homebound flight.
Turkey Insiders team says so long and looks forward to be your host again until next time on your travel pleasure for other destinations. Gule Gule.
- 13 nights hotel accommodation.
- Services of professionally licensed guides on local tours.
- All domestic flights mentioned in the itinerary.
- Izmir to Athens international flight
- We use fully air-co, non-smoking vehicles on local tours and transfers.
- English speaking guided tours mentioned in the itinerary.
- Inbound and outbound airport transfers to/from your hotel.
- All taxes, entrance & museum fees.
- International airfares.
- VISA needed for Turkey & Greece
- Tips to guide, driver, hotel staff etc.
- Travel Insurance and personal expenses.