Departure= Every Saturday
Duration=22 day tour
Destination= Istanbul, Bursa, Ankara, Göreme, Ephesus, Pergamon, Gallipoli, Cappadocia, Cumalikizik, Gordion, Anatolia, Konya, Antalya, Pamukkale, Troy, Mediterranean Fables Cruising, Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, Symi, Chios & Mykonos, Turkish port of Kusadasi.
SIGNATURE EXPERIENCES AND DINING
• Bosphorus: Enjoy a relaxing cruise past Ottoman palaces,old mansions and fortresses.
• Bursa: Visit the Grand Mosque and Green Mosque.
• Ankara: Discover the mysterious Hittite civilization andvisit the mausoleums of Ataturk and Haci Bektas.
• Göreme: Explore underground cities, rock cut churches and fairy-tale chimneys and the Pasabag Valley.
• Konya: Visit the beautiful Mevlana Museum for an insight into the mystic Whirling Dirvishes.
• Antalya: Visit the world’s best preserved Roman Theatre in Aspendos and the extensive ruins at Perge.
• Pamukkae: Visit Hierapolis ruins and cascading ‘Cotton Castles’ of milky white travertine pools.
• Ephesus: Tour one of the world’s finest ancient sites, visit the House of the Virgin Mary and Archeological Museum.
• Pergamon: Visit the site of the ancient Hellenistic city with some of the most impressive ruins in all of Turkey.
• Gallipoli: Pay your respects at Anzac Cove & Lone Pine Cemetery.
• Istanbul: Visit the Blue Mosque and St Sophia museum.
• Istanbul: Gain an insight into the lives of the Ottoman sultans at the fabulous Topkapi Palace.
• Cappadocia: Celebrate the music, dance and tradition of the Turkish people at a folklore show.
• Cruising: After a breathtaking sunset at sea, the lights come on and the atmosphere on board changes completely! Enjoy a fun-filled Greek evening with dinner.
ADDITIONAL INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS
• Istanbul: Visit the Hippodrome and a complete guide on how to haggle in the Grand Bazaar!
• Bursa: Hunt for bargains in the bazaar and silk markets.
• Cumalikizik: Explore the narrow streets and wooden houses.
• Gordion: See the site of what is believed to be the Tomb of Phrygian King Midas
• Anatolia: Visit a 13th century Caravanserai.
• Konya: See the Karatay Medrese and Ince Minaret.
• Antalya: Enjoy a walking tour of the Old Town.
• Pamukkale: Visit the Temple of Aphrodite at Aphrodisias.
• Troy: See the ruins and reconstructed wooden horse.
• Mediterranean Fables Cruising: Visit the Greek Islands of Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, Symi, Chios & Mykonos. Call in at the Turkish port of Kusadasi.
Day 1 - Depart USA
Board your overnight flight (not included).
Day 2 - Welcome to Turkey
You are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Then start exploring the wonders of this glorious city, uniquely located on two continents! Tonight, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception, and get to know each other over an evening of dinner and wine.
Day 3 - Bosphorus Cruise & Beautiful Bursa
It’s all aboard for a cruise on the Bosphorus Strait which links the Sea of Marmara with the Black Sea. This is one of the world’s busiest waterways with stately cargo ships plying their way up the main channel, while ferries constantly dash across their path to link the villages on the European and Asian sides of the water. Cruise beneath the spectacular modern suspension bridges, past elegant palaces(built in the 18th and 19th centuries by Turkish nobility) and picturesque fishing villages where life seems unchanged since ancient times. Back on dry land, leave Istanbul, for the 14th century Ottoman capital of Bursa. There is time this afternoon to hunt for bargains in the bazaar and colourful silk markets or explore the gracious monuments.
Day 4 - Cumalikizik, Gordion & Ankara
Visit the glorious Green Mosque and Mausoleum complex and Grand Mosque in Bursa before driving to the charming Cumalikizik Village with its traditional wooden houses and very narrow cobblestone streets. Move on to Gordion, where Alexander the Great cut the famous Gordion Knot, en route to Turkey’s modern capital of Ankara.
Day 5 - The Modern Day Capital of Ankara & Cappadocia
Sightseeing includes a visit to the Hittite Museum, portraying the fascinating history of Asia Minor from earliest times. You also visit Anit Kabir, the mausoleum of Ataturk, Turkey’s greatest leader in modern times. Visit the mausoleum of Sufi philosopher Haci Bektas before heading to Avanos in Cappadocia.
Day 6 - Exploring the Underground Cities of Cappadocia
During your stay in this unique region, visit Göreme’s rock-carved churches and see ancient frescoes in the open-air museum. Visit the volcanic landscapes and mushroom shaped ‘fairy-chimneys’ of the Pasabag Valley, the underground city of Kaymaklia and see the cone of Uchisar. Dinner at the hotel is followed by a folklore show in a cave setting, featuring dances from different regions.
Day 7 - Konya & the Whirling Dervishes
Visit a 13th century Caravanserai before driving to Turkey’s most religious city, Konya, which was once the home of the mystic sect of Whirling Dervishes and the old capital of the Anatolian Seljuk Empire. Visit the Mevlana Museum, with its beautiful fluted turquoise dome, and see the Karatay Medrese and Ince Minaret.
Day 8 - Aspendos, Perge & Antalya
Descend the Taurus mountains and drive to Aspendos to visit what is considered the best preserved Roman Theatre anywhere in the world. Drive to the Hellenistic or Roman city of Perge to visit the extensive ruins, including the great Theatre, the Stadium, and the gate-towers leading into a street where ancient chariot ruts can still be seen. As night falls, enjoy a walking tour of Antalya’s Old Town.
Day 9 - Antalya at Leisure
The next day is set aside for you to relax and enjoy the leisure facilities of the hotel. Alternatively, explore Antalya at your own pace, suggestions include a stroll around the harbour area or taking a boat trip off the coast.
Day 10 - The Pools of Pamukkale & Ruins of Hierapolis
Pass pine forests and cross the Taurus mountains on your way to visit the sacred city of Hierapolis, famed for its thermal hot springs. Next to the ruins you can see the gleaming white travertine terraces of Pamukkale. Tea-cup shaped pools of this ‘Cotton Castle’ cascade with light blue water, covering the hillside in a waterfall of white.
Day 11 - Heat, Pray, Love! From Aphrodisas to sunny Kusadasi by the sea
After breakfast, visit the Temple of Aphrodite atamazing Aphrodisias, and be seduced by the collection of sculptural treasures, Greco-Roman statues and ceramics. Then follow the Maeander River valley, (so full of twists and turns gives us the word ‘meander’) to your beautiful beach front hotel in the lively coastal town of Kusadasi. Relax by the pool and soak up the sun.
Day 12 - Ancient Ephesus & Izmir
Tour one of the world’s finest archeological sites, Ephesus. Walk along the Arcadian Way to view the splendid facade of the Library of Celsus and visit the Amphitheatre. Visit the House of the Virgin Mary, situated above the ruins, before continuing to the Selçuk archeological museum, where many artefacts from Ephesus are displayed. Stay overnight in the pleasant Aegean port of Izmir.
Day 13 - Pergamon, Troy & Çanakkale
Stop in Pergamon, the impressive site of an ancient kingdom, to visit the Asklepion, one of the most famous shrines and therapeutic centres in the ancient world. Drive to Homer’s Troy to see the ruins of nine cities built on top of each other and an enormous reconstruction of the famous wooden horse. The evening is spent in Çanakkale.
Day 14 - Gallipoli, the Anzacs & Istanbul
Cross the Dardanelle Straits by ferry and continue to the Gallipoli Peninsula, scene of fierce fighting in World War One. Here are the battle-fields where for nine disastrous months Anzac Troops fought unsuccessfully to gain control of the strategic Straits, with the loss of over half a million lives. Pay your respects at Anzac Cove and visit the emotive Lone Pine Cemetery a before returning to Istanbul.
Day 15 - Istanbul, the Ottoman Empire Istanbul & Mediterranean Fables Cruise
In the morning, visit the Blue Mosque and the Hippodrome, where Roman chariot races were held. Also visit St. Sophia, a former cathedral and a mosque which is now a magnificent museum. The afternoon is dedicated to the Topkapi Palace, a walled city perched above the Bosphorous and the Golden Horn. Now it’s time to test your haggling skills in the Grand Bazaar. Don’t worry, your guide will give you a full explanation of the time-honoured ritual of bargaining! Then transfer to your cruise ship and set sail for the blue waters of the Mediterranean.
Day 16 to Day 20 - Cruising the Greek Isles
After a pleasant morning’s cruising, arrive at the Turkish port of Kusadasi. Dock this morning at the island of Santorini, famous for its white cuboid houses that cling to the sheer cliffs. Maybe spend time in the island's capital of Thira, with it's cliff top restaurants and cafes, breathtaking views and amazing sunsets. Set sail again this evening for an overnight voyage to Crete. Arrive early morning to spend the day exploring the picturesque island of Crete. Perhaps take an optional excursion to the Palace of King Minos? Cruise to the harbour at Rhodes, ‘the island of roses’, founded by the Ancient Greeks and then chosen by the Crusaders for their fortified headquarters. Later, depart for Symi, one of the most picturesque islands of the Dedocanese. Weigh anchor in Chios for the morning, then head for Mykonos, with its maze of walkways, winding streets, white-washed houses, magnificent windmills and uninhibited nightlife. While cruising, expert chefs and well-trained staff serve local specialities, an exquisite variety of Mediterranean dishes as well as flavours, aromas and spices from around the world. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served on board daily. During your voyage there is also a fun-filled Greek Evening and Dinner with entertainment.
Day 21 - Athens at Leisure
Disembark in Lavrion and transfer to your Athens hotel where you are at leisure.
Day 22 - Return to USA
After breakfast, transfer to Athens airport.
Per Person Per Person Sharing Double Room 4221 $