DAY 1: ISTANBUL
Arrival in Istanbul, reception and assistance at the airport and transfer to the chosen hotel. Rest of the day at leisure
DAY 2: ISTANBUL – CITY TOUR FULL DAY
After breakfast full day visit Istanbul. We begin our tour from the Sultanahmet district, the heart of old Istanbul at Agia Sophia. Built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD this church is one of the marvels of world architecture. Its massive dome dominates the skyline of old Istanbul. It is famed for its mosaics, including glittering portraits of emperors and empresses (closed on Mondays). Next, we visit the Blue Mosque, which owes its name to the exquisite tiles adorning its interior. Dating from the 17th century, it is the only imperial Mosque with six minarets.
The Hippodrome, the stadium of ancient Byzantium, held 100.000 spectators and featured objects from all corners of the empire. The Grand Bazaar was the commercial heart of the old city and its 4.000 shops are full of treasures – including carpets and kilims, silks, jewellery, ceramics, icons and leather goods (Closed on Sundays). Lunch in a local restaurant and continuation of our tour.
Our afternoon will begin at Topkapi Palace which, from the 15th to 19th century, was the principal residence of the Ottoman Sultans (closed on Tuesdays). Little Agia Sophia Mosque is known as one of the oldest standing churches in Istanbul dating back to 6th century. It is an early domed-basilica architectural plan of famous Agia Sophia which was applied here the first time in the history.
DAY 3: ISTANBUL – ANKARA – CAPPADOCIA
In the morning, transfer to the airport to fly to Ankara. Arrival in Ankara, the Turkish capital and then to the city to visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, which has a rich collection of findings from Asia Minor, mainly the Hittites.
Then we will visit the Mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk (founder of modern Turkey). Lunch and continuation of the trip to Cappadocia passing by the Salt Lake. Dinner and accommodation.
DAY 4: CAPPADOCIA
We will visit the spectacular region of Cappadocia, unique for its fascinating and unique landscape formed by the lava thrown by the volcanoes Erciyes and Hasan, 3 million years ago. Visit the numerous monasteries and chapels of Goreme, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, excavated in the rock and decorated with frescoes of the tenth century (some of them very well preserved). Pass and enjoy a panoramic view of Uchisar Castle on top of a mound of volcanic rock traversed by tunnels and windows and Avcilar Valley. Lunch and in the afternoon, visit the town of Avanos, famous for its crafts and valleys and Góvercinlik Valley (Valley of the Doves). Visit the underground city of Kaymakli or Serhatli, one of the 36 underground cities of Cappadocia served as a refuge for Christians. Return to the hotel and dinner.
DAY 5: CAPPADOCIA – KONYA – PAMUKKALE
Early departure to Konya, capital of the Sultans of Seljuk in the 11th century. Visit of the Caravansarai of Sultanhan, where they used to stop camel caravans on the silk route.
Visit of the Mevlana Mausoleum, poet and philosopher who founded the mystical and religious sect of the Dervishes Dancing.
Lunch in the city and continuation of the trip to Pamukkale. Accommodation and dinner.
Pamukkale is a beautiful and spectacular natural site, unique in the world with its dazzling waterfalls of white and petrified lime. There you will see the thermal water loaded with calcareous salt, descending the slope that has created this natural formation of stalactites, waterfalls and basins. Thermal water has been used since Roman times for its therapeutic powers.
Next, you will visit the Roman city of Hierapolis, which is located neither on the ground nor in the rock, but in solid limestone layers formed by limestone water that flowed for centuries on this high level plateau. The name means “sacred city”, and according to Stephanus of Byzantium, the city received this name due to the large number of temples it contained.
After that, you will visit the ruins of the necropolis and the Roman Baths. Continue to Aphrodisias and after lunch visit this ancient Greco-Roman city, dedicated to the Goddess of Aphrodite Love. Departure for Kusadasi and Ephesus.
Drive to Meryemana and visit the House of the Virgin Mary, where you spent the last days of your life. Authenticated by Pope Paul VI in 1967, the cabin is a place of pilgrimage for many believers.
After lunch, continue to Ephesus, the Roman capital in Asia Minor.
The ancient city of Ephesus was an important center for early Christianity. In the book of Revelation, Ephesus was one of the seven churches to which Christ addressed himself in a vision. This is where you’ll find the Temple of Artemis, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Your guide will also show you the Grand Theater, the Library of Celsius, the ruins of Odeon, the Arch of Hercules, the Temple of Hadrian, the magnificent library, the Agora and the Greco-Roman Theater.
Drive to Izmir airport for the flight to Istanbul.
Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for the night.
DAY 7: ISTANBUL – BOSPHORUS CRUISE
Half day cruise through the Bosphorus, the majestic strait that passes through Istanbul, linking Europe and Asia. From our cruise ship, we see the spectacular views that line the forested shores of the Bosphorus’: mosques, a bridge that for a time was the longest in the world and Rumeli Hisari, a huge fortress built by Mehmet the Conqueror in just three months, while preparing to take Istanbul. Also worth noting on this tour are the 19th century mansions of the Ottoman elite and whimsical ginger palaces of the sultans and the hunting lodges landing on the European part of Turkey and transfer to your hotel.
DAY 8: ISTANBUL – AIRPORT
At the indicated time according to your return flight, you will be transferred to the airport.
STARTING POINT: Istanbul, Friday and Saturday, January to December
TRAVEL PLAN: 8 DAYS/ 7 nights
* 4 nights accommodation in Istanbul
* Full day Istanbul city tour with lunch
* 3 nights / 4 days tour to Cappadocia, Pamukkale and Kusadasi in full board and 4 * or 5 * hotels
* Half-day cruise to the Bosphorus
* Air tickets Istanbul – Ankara + Izmir – Istanbul
* Entrances to historical sites during guided excursions
* All transfers according to the itinerary
* Daily breakfast
* Hotel taxes