Turkey Wine Tour

Turkey has been making wine for at least 4,000 years and some of the best of it comes from Cappadocia in Anatolia, the country’s biggest wine-making region. Perhaps it’s the climate, which suits wine-growing well, that makes for such great wine, or maybe it’s the way they age the wine in caves dug into the soft volcanic rock. Whatever it is, wine and Cappadocia go hand in hand. The development of a wine culture is said to be due to the long history of Christian and Jewish settlements of the area, despite this being a largely Muslim country. The best grapes grown here are the white Narince and Emir and the red Bogazkere, Öküzgözü and Kalecik Karası. These Turkish wines are winning awards and continue to attract more and more world-wide attention.

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 – Istanbul –Tekirdag –Wine-Tasting Tour (B)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 08:45am
Discover the wines of Turkey’s Kirklareli region on this full-day wine tour from Istanbul! Travel into the foothills of the Strandja Mountains in the historical region of Thrace, and visit three boutique wineries to sample their signature varieties, many produced using cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel and merlot grapes. Sample four wines at each stop and learn about their production, attributes and ideal food pairings from your winery hosts. Enjoy a tasty lunch at one of the wineries and discover Turkey’s fascinating wine history from your expert guide as you travel.

Highlights
-Full-day wine-tasting tour from Istanbul with lunch
-Visit three boutique wineries in the Kirklareli wine region, at the heard of ancient Thrace
-Sample four wines at each stop, including cabernet sauvignon, merlot and zinfandel varieties
-Learn about the unique flavors and ideal food pairings of each wine
-Enjoy an included lunch at the Vino Dessera winery, accompanied by unlimited wine
-Hear about the region's wine-making tradition and its Thracian roots from your guide

What You Can Expect

Taste some of Turkey's fresh and fruity wines on your wine-tasting tour
Leave your centrally located Istanbul hotel by air-conditioned coach and head to Turkey’s beautiful Kirklareli region in the heart of historical Thrace. Enjoy the views of rural Turkey as you travel and hear interesting facts about Kirklareli’s wine-growing heritage and the Thracian peoples who first planted vines here in the 2nd century AD.

After around 2 hours, stop at Poyrali to stretch your legs and look around this sleepy village. Then, climb the scenic road to the acclaimed Chamlija Winery perched high at 2,790 feet (850 meters) above sea level in the Strandja mountains. Absorb the magnificent views as you taste a selection of its wines, made from the reisling, pinot noir and other grapes of its vineyards.

Next, continue to nearby Vino Dessera, a boutique winery situated on the ancient Thracian wine route between Kirklareli and the Aegean Sea. Sample some of its varieties, including its prized Sauvignon Cris, a creamy clone of Sauvignon Blanc, and sit down to a hearty lunch accompanied by unlimited wine!

After lunch, visit the Chateau Nuzun winery near the village of Cesmeli. Overlooking rolling hills of vineyards, this organic winery ages its wines in French oak barrels. Savor some of its signature wines — cabernet sauvignon, merlot, zinfandel and pinot noir — as your host explains their production and gives you tips on the art of wine tasting.

With your final tasting done, return to Istanbul where your tour ends with a drop-off at your hotel.

Day 4 - Istanbul- Cappadocia (B)
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.
Overnight Cappadocia

Day 5 - Cappadocia (B) ;
Meeting at the hotel reception at 09:30am

Hot air ballooning with sunrise(extra)
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 - Wine-Tasting tour (B)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 09:30am

In this tour we first do a short morning walk through the rock formations of Cappadocia. We then proceed to Turasan’s Zeynep Vineyards founded in 2001 to grow international and autochtonous grape varieties of Turkey. We visit vineyards and get information about the growing process.

We then go to the Winerys to see the rock carved wine cellar and to be informed about the process of wine making. During this visit We taste some of Kavaklidere,Kocabag and Turasan wines.

Kavaklidere is Turkey’s largest wine-producer and began in 1929. It makes 51 different varieties and exports all over the world. You can visit their wineries by ‘vintage tour.’

At Kocabag, a boutique winery which produces 700,000 bottles of wine per year, you’ll see huge holes dug into the volcanic rock filled with wine – as this is where it ages. In line with tradition the rock holes are not lined with anything to let the wine breathe in a natural setting.

Turasan Winery is the oldest in Cappadocia established 1943.and is now run by a third generation of the same family recently winning gold medals in Turkey and silver medals at world competitions. It has a carved rock cellar and wine tastings.

We suggest you find your favorite Cappadocian wine, buy a bottle and head out into the city’s spectacular landscape to watch the sunset.Back to Hotel .

Day 7 - Cappadocia – Izmir – Menderes – Torbalı– Sirince Village (B)
Pick-up from hotel 2 hours before flight departure.
Transfer to airport to take a flight to Izmir.upon Arrival in Izmir Airport, meet by our guide and drive to Menderes. Visit Isabey Winery and Restaurant (Sevilen vineyard) .Drive to Torbali. The largest vineyard in Turkey on a single lot has been established on land with 1,168 acres in Torbali of Izmir. Visit LA Wine vineyard . Drive up to the pretty old Turkish-Orthodox village Sirince, located on the top of a mountain, where anyone will enjoy the impressive wine yards' and peach trees'. The village has synthesis of Turk-Greek culture, where we visit mosque and Orthodox church. All the narrow streets of the village belong to the women, selling handcrafts of all kinds, olive oil. Another attraction of Sirince is its fruity wine: try its taste in small cafés. Overnight in Sirince.

Day 8 : – Ephesus (B)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 09:30am
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 Sirince.

Day 9 : Ephesus – Pamukkale (188 km)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 08:30am
Drive to Pamukkale. Discovery of Travertine terraces and Hierapolis. The travertine terraces at Pamukkale are one of the most spectacular natural wonders we ever have 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): Moreover the water in the basins is changing its color according to how the light enters. Overnight Pamukkale.

Day 10 : Pamukkale– Salihli - Turgutlu – Izmir
After breakfast departure for The wine trail continues after Salihli and the ancient Lydian capital of Sardis, with Turgutlu, home to a vineyard belonging to big brand Kavaklidere, and much-improved old name Yazgan, in the nearby vilage of Çepnidere. Yazgan’s Mahra is a clever combination of Sauvingon Blanc and indigenous Sultaniye. Drive to Izmir and overnight.

Day 11 : Transfer to Izmir Airport
Pick you up from your Hotel 2 hours before flight departure and transfer to Izmir airport. End of service.

CLOSING DAYS OF MUSEUMS IN ISTANBUL
SUN : Grand Covered Bazaar
MON : Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi Palaces, Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, St. Sophia, Military Museum.
TUE : Topkapi Palace, Military Museum.
WED : Chora (Kariye) Museum, Yedikule, Rumeli Fortress, Sadberk Hanim Museum
THU : Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi PalacesFRI : Most museums are open
SAT : Zulfaris Museum

Abbreviations

B = Breakfast L= Lunch D = Dinner (Lunch excluded on private tours)

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