Turkey Highlights 10 Days

Day 1
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 (Option to fly to Cappadocia in the evening, please request!)

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. Drive to to Sahinefendi ( Sobesos )- Sobessos is newly discovered (01 May 2002) mosaic houses & 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 which we can only see by torch light. Lunch break. Visit to Mustafapaşa (Sinasos), an old Greek town with its spectacular old Greek houses; very fine examples of late Greek settlements and architecture. Visit to Saruhan Caravanserai, a roadside inn where travellers could rest and recover from the day’s journey. Caravanserais supported the flow of commerce, information and people across a network of trade routes of Asia, North Africa and South-Eastern Europe on the legendary Silk Road and the Spice road. 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 - 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 (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.

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 – Pamukkale- Hierapolis- Laodicea (188 km) (B.D)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 08:30am
Drive to Pamukkale, on the way, visit to Laodicea (present name Denizli) yet one of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor. Excavations still going on and an ancient city as beautiful as Ephesus will be uncovered soon. We see the ancient theatres, the remains of basilica which was recently uncovered, ancient stone water pipes, Temple A, agora, monumental fountain. After Laodicea, Discovery of Travertine terraces and Hierapolis. The travertine terraces at Pamukkale are one of the most spectacular natural wonders that you can see 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 – Istanbul (B)
Pick-up from hotel 2 hours before flight departure.
Transfer to Denizli airport and take the Turkish Airlines morning flight from Denizli to Istanbul Ataturk airport. Arrival and transfer to Hotel. Free afternoon for a last chance to complete your visits. Overnight Istanbul.

Day 10 (B)
Pick-up from hotel 3 hours before flight departure.
Transfer to Airport to connect to your international flight and leave Turkey

Abbreviations

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

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