Day 1- Istanbul-
Arrival in Istanbul and meeting at the airport, transfer to the hotel, check- in. Leisure afternoon. Overnight Istanbul.
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. TTour to Kaymaklı Underground City, one of the most interesting underground settlements in Cappadocia. Drive to Sahinefendi ( Sobesos )- where we see Byzantine Period Mosaic Art & Archaeological excavation site. Villages in the valleys, surrounded by the “table top” mountains, are spectacular. Continue with Keslik Monastery near Cemil, that hides it’s frescoes behind a very thin smoke layer. Visit to Mustafapaşa (Sinasos), an old Greek town with its spectacular old houses; very fine examples of late Greek settlements and architecture. Continue with panorama of the Red Valley, with its fabulous volcanic rock formations, is in the heart of Cappadocia but away from the tourist crowd. Overnight Cappadocia
Day 5 – 25 Apr–Cappadocia (B.L) -
Hot air ballooning with sunrise(extra)
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 (B.L) Please choose one of the options below:
Meeting at the hotel reception at 09:30am
OPTION 1: TURKISH VILLAGE LIFE & CULINARY TOUR Starting the day with a visit to local market ( available only on Monday, Friday and Saturdays ) or a morning walk to the fruit orchards of Ayvali Village. We will collect and taste fresh fruits from the trees (harvesting between June and October) or visit the cave storages for lemons and potatoes. The tour continues with a walk through the narrow streets of the village. Each door opens for an invitation as the villagers invite you for a cup of tea, a plate full of dessert or fruit from their house. According to the season, we join the villagers to learn and help make grape syrup, tomato sauce productions and pumpkin seed collecting. Visiting the local meeting point, Kahvehane,(coffeehouse) to learn more about their lifestyle and local games while drinking the Turkish coffee and tea.Visit the mosque in the village and learn more about the religious customs. For the lunch, we are invited to a real village house to join a Turkish family. We’ll collect the ingredients from their garden and we will participate in cooking a delicious Turkish meal. We are going to have lunch by sitting together with the family in a traditional Turkish fashion. After the lunch, a walk through a beautiful hidden valley near the village. Drive to see a cave wine house to see the process of making delicious and famous Cappadocia wine. Before going back to the hotel, there may be an optional stop to see an art and handicraft center of Cappadocia. Overnight Cappadocia.
OPTION 2: IHLARA CANYON HIKING Drive to Ihlara, on the way, Walking in Ihlara Canyon, a “mirage” in the Steps of Anatolia up to Belisirma village, the ancient Peristrema: “Valley of the Sky” along the Melendiz River. Rock-cut churches, spread across a wild plantation, will surprise you with their successfully painted representations from the Bible. Lunch in Belisirma, a local restaurant by the river. Stop by Selime, a village with cave houses at the end of the canyon and a “star wars” like landscape.Overnight Capadocia
Day 7 – 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 8 –Ephesus – 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. Overnight Pamukkale.
Day 9 –Pamukkale – Izmir- Athens (B)
Pick-up from hotel 3 hours before flight departure.
Transfer to Izmir airport and take the Pegasus Airlines Direct flight from Izmir to Athens Greece. Arrival in Athens airport and meeting just outside the arrival gate and transfer to your selected hotel. Leisure afternoon Overnight Athens
Day 10- Athens/Mykonos
At the indicated time you will transfer to the port to embark with your ferryboat to Mykonos. Arrival and transfer to your selected hotel in Mykonos.
Day 11 – Mykonos
Day at leisure in Mykonos.
Day 12- Mykonos/Santorini
At the indicated time you will transfer to the port to embark with your ferryboat to Santorini. Arrival and transfer to your selected hotel in Santorini.
Day 13 – Santorini
Day at leisure in Santorini.
Day 14 – Santorini -Athens-Cairo
At the indicated time you will transfer to the Santorini Airport to take a flight to Athens to connect the flight to Cairo ,Egypt ,arrival and meeting at the airport and transfer to the Hotel,Overnight Cairo.
Day 15 – Aswan to Luxor by Nile Cruise
After breakfast transfer to Cairo airport fly to Aswan meet & assist and transfer to board the Nile Cruise. Embarkation before lunch. Then depart with the tour guide to visit the High Dam, one of the biggest dams in the world and was an engineering miracle when it was built in the 1960′s. Then proceed to the Unfinished Obelisk, a huge obelisk incompletely carved that shows the techniques ancient Egyptians used. At the end, visit Philae Temple which was dedicated to Goddess Isis and is now reassembled at a new site on Agilika Island about 500km from its former site on Philae Island. (If time of cruise allows, additional or alternative morning optional excursions can be added to either Abu Simbel or felucca ride to view Elephantine Island, Plantation “Kitcheners” Island and Agha Khan Mausoleum.) Overnight onboard Nile Cruise.
Day 16-Temples in Edfu and Kom Ombo
Cruise sails to Kom Ombo and upon arrival visit The Temple of Sobek and Haroeris, dedicated to the crocodile-god Sobek. The temple stands at a bend in the Nile where in ancient times sacred crocodiles basked in the sun on the river bank. Return to the cruise and sail to Edfu. On arrival visit the Temple of Horus, the largest and most complete preserved Pharoanic temple combining Pharaonic & Greek architecture. Overnight onboard cruise.
Day 17- Tour to West Bank of Luxor Sail to Esna then Luxor. On arrival to Luxor, move to the West Bank of the Nile to visit the Valley of Kings and Queens, a vast “City of the Dead” where magnificent tombs were carved into the desert rocks and filled with treasures for the afterlife by generations of Pharaohs. Proceed to the foot of the cliff to visit the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the only woman who ruled over Egypt in Pharaonic History. On the way back to the River Nile, your road passes by the famed Colossi of Memnon, known in Ancient Greek times for their haunting voices at dawn. Return back to cruise and evening at leisure. Overnight onboard Nile Cruise.
Day 18-Luxor to Cairo with flight
After breakfast disembark from the cruise (around 10am). You then have free time at leisure in Luxor until the early evening transfer to Luxor airport to fly to Cairo, Transfer to Hotel and Overnight Cairo.
Day 19- Pyramids and Sphinx – Cairo
Breakfast, check out and meet with your guide to begin the tour with a visit to Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt dating from 3100BC which contains the beautiful representation of King Ramsis II through his colossal statue. Then proceed on to Sakkara where you visit the world-famous Step Pyramid of King Zoser, the oldest known of Egypt’s 107 Pyramids. At Pyramids area, visit the Three Pyramids built for Pharaohs Cheops, Chephren & Mycerinus on the Giza Plateau and the mysterious Sphinx. After the tour, transfer back to hotel, overnight in Cairo
Day 20-Sightseeing tour of Old Cairo and Citadel:
After breakfast. At around 9am meet with the tour guide and depart on a sightseeing tour to explore the Egyptian Museum, the Citadel of Saladin (Alabaster Mosque and Tomb of the Ottoman ruler Mohamed Ali) along with Old Cairo area where we can find a mixture between Islamic and Christian Monuments such as: Abu Serga Church, Al Mo’allaqa Church or Hanging Church which are dated back to the beginning of the 5th century AD and are built in the basilica style. Overnight in Cairo.
Day 21- International Departure
Breakfast, check out and as per your international flight time transfer on to Cairo Airport. END OF SERVICE.
B = Breakfast L= Lunch D = Dinner (Lunch excluded on private tours)
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