Arrival in Istanbul and meeting at the airport, transfer to the hotel, check- in. Leisure afternoon.
Day 2 – Sultanahmet – Old Istanbul (B)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 09:00am
Visit to Topkapi Palace, which was used by the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th to 19th centuries. We will also see the impressive collection of priceless jewels, crystal, silver and porcelain, robes worn by the sultans and relics of the prophet Mohammed.(Entrance to the Harem is extra). After lunch break we will see the Blue Mosque, built for Sultan Ahmet I, which is a unique piece of architecture with its six minarets and features 20,000 beautiful Iznik tiles. Visit the ancient Hippodrome with Obelisk of Theodosius, Snake Pillar and German Fountain of Wilhelm II. Walk through the back streets of Old Istanbul and visit the Yerebatan underground Cistern. At the end of the tour, at request, free time to see the Grand Covered Bazaar (except Sundays). *May be done as a walking tour if your hotel is centrally located. Overnight Istanbul.
Day 3 – Bosphorus Cruise with St. (Haghia) Sophia & Beylerbeyi (B)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 08:45am
Visit the exotic Egyptian Spice Market on the Golden Horn. Board your cruise of the Bosphorus, the waterway, which separates the continents of Europe and Asia. Pass Rumeli fortress, built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 to prepare for his conquest of Istanbul. Cross over the Bosphorus Bridge to Asia and visit Beylerbeyi Palace, which was the summer residence of the Ottoman Sultans, then on to Camlica Hill for a magnificent view of Istanbul. Time for lunch in a seaside fish restaurant. Cruise is done by public boat unless other arrangements are made. Visit The St. (Haghia) Sophia, which was built by the Emperor Justinian. It was the largest building in the world for over 1000 years. See its intricate mosaics and huge central dome. Order of visits may be reversed.. Return to Hotel around 17:00pm
Day 4 - Istanbul- Cappadocia (B.L)
Pick-up from hotel 2 hours before flight departure.
Take the early morning flight from Ataturk Airport in Istanbul to Cappadocia. Arrival at the airport and meeting just outside the arrival’s gate with a sign bearing your name with your driver. Transfer to Cappadocia. Tour to Kaymaklı Underground City, one of the most interesting underground settlements in Cappadocia. Soğanlı Valley, an Open Air Museum in a wild natural setting near a typical Cappadocian village with its different style Rock-Cut churches and frescoes. Villages in the valleys, surrounded by the “table top” mountains, are spectacular. Lunch break and Visit to Sahinefendi newly discovered (01 May 2002) mosaic houses & Archaeological excavation site. Continue with Keslik Monastery near Cemil, that hides its frescoes behind a very thin smoke layer which we can only be seen by torch light. Our tour finishes with a visit to Mustafapaşa (Sinasos), an old Greek town with its spectacular old Greek houses; very fine examples of late Greek settlements and architecture.
Day 5 - Cappadocia (B.L) -
Meeting at the hotel reception at 09:30am
In the morning, first meeting with the lunar landscape of Cappadocia: rock formations beyond belief in Devrent valley; a journey in the past with its troglodyte houses, visit to Pasabag “fairy chimneys” where the voice of wind mixes with the “songs of fairies” near Zelve. Lunch break in Avanos, centre of terra cotta work of art since 3000 BC. and a demonstration in a traditional pottery workshop. Afternoon, visit the famous Goreme Open Air Museum and see the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia in rock-cut churches with frescoes and paintings (10th to 13th century). Continue to Uchisar Rock-Castle to have a panoramic view of the valleys of Cappadocia. Overnight Cappadocia
Day 6 - Cappadocia – Ephesus- (B.D)
Pick-up from hotel 2 hours before flight departure.
Take the morning flight from Kayseri to Izmir (direct or via Istanbul).
Arrival and meeting at the airport with your name sign. Transfer to Ephesus.
Visit to the ancient city of Ephesus. We will spend several hours walking in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, Caesar, Cicero, Apostles Paul and John and many other familiar historical names. The recently opened Terrace Houses (entry included) where the wealthiest Romans lived are an excellent example of sensitive excavation and presentation. The mosaics and frescos are spectacular. Tradition has it that Virgin Mary was brought here by St John after the Crucifixion and lived her final years near the city of Ephesus on an isolated mountaintop. A lovely chapel is constructed on the site tended by Franciscans and open to visitors. It has been designated a pilgrimage site by the Pope. We will continue with Saint John Church where Apostle John spent his final years and he was buried. Visit to temple of Artemis to see the remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Overnight Kusadasi near Ephesus.
Day 7 – Pamukkale (188 km) (B.D)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 08:30am
Drive to Pamukkale, on the way, visit to Aphrodisias. Aphrodisias was primarily known as a center for the arts, specifically sculpture. The Aphrodisias School of Sculpture had a distinctive style and was very well circulated throughout the Greek and Roman world. Discovery of Travertine terraces and Hierapolis. The travertine terraces at Pamukkale are one of the most spectacular natural wonders we have ever seen from various mineral springs in a vast white cliff side. About 200 m overlooking the plain, calcite-laden waters have dripped down over a series of terraced levels and created a fairyland of bizarre solidified cascades and shell-shaped basins. It looks like creations from snow or like balls from cotton, which gave the scenery the Turkish name Pamukkale (cotton castle): “pamuk” for cotton and “kale” for castle. Moreover the water in the basins is changing its color according to how the light enters. Return to hotel and overnight Kusadasi.
Day 8 – Izmir – ATHENS (B)
Pick-up from hotel 3 hours before flight departure.
Transfer to Izmir airport for your Direct flight to Athens Greece.(or via Istanbul) Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your selected hotel. Balance of Day at leisure. Overnight Athens
DAY 9: ATHENS
After breakfast, you will be picked up from the hotel and you will be led to a guided Athens sightseeing tour to the House of Parliament, the Unknown Soldier’s Tomb, Hadrian’s Arch, the Olympian Zeus Temple, the Panathenaic Stadium, the Academy, the University and the National Library. Balance of the day at leisure.
DAY 10: ATHENS / MYKONOS
Morning transfer to Piraeus port. Departure to Mykonos, arrival and transfer to your selected hotel.
DAY 11: MYKONOS
Free day in Mykonos to enjoy the marvelous beaches of the island and its famous nightlife.
DAY 12: MYKONOS / SANTORINI
Transfer to the port and departure to Santorini. Arrival in Santorini and transfer to your selected hotel.
DAY 13: SANTORINI
Day at leisure to enjoy the unique views, the black sandy beaches as well as the most romantic sunset of the world. Enjoy a half day cruise to the small volcanic islands of Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni found in the center of the famous caldera and the hot springs with the orangey water where you will have free time for swimming. Do not leave the island without visiting its capital city, Fira, with the beautiful whitewashed houses, the narrow streets and open air cafes that cling on the steep cliff.
DAY 14: SANTORINI / ATHENS
Transfer to the port and departure to Piraeus. Arrival and transfer to your selected hotel in Athens.
DAY 15: ATHENS / AIRPORT
B = Breakfast L= Lunch D = Dinner (Lunch excluded on private tours)
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