Day by Day Itinerary
Arrival in Istanbul, meeting and assistance and then transfer to your selected hotel in Istanbul. Balance of the day at leisure.
After breakfast full day visit Istanbul. We begin our tour from the most unexpectedly romantic attraction, the Basilica Cistern, offering an insight into the complicated system that once brought drinking water into Istanbul from Thrace (an area of the south-east Balkans now constituting Turkish land n the European mainland, and a chunk of Bulgaria). Constructed in the sixth century and then forgotten for centuries, the cistern that once stored the water has been fitted with lights and music.
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.
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 principle residence of the Ottoman Sultans.
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.
In the morning, transfer to airport for flight to Ankara. Arrival in Ankara, the Turkish capital and then to town to visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, which has a rich collection of finds from Asia Minor, mainly 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 overnight.
Full day visit of the spectacular Cappadocia region, unique for its fascinating and unique landscape formed by the lava thrown out by volcanoes Erciyes and Hasan, 3 million years ago.
Visit the many monasteries and chapels in Goreme, World Heritage Site by UNESCO, dug into the rocks and decorated with frescoes of the tenth century (some of them very well preserved).
Pass by and admire a panoramic view of the castle of Uchisar on top of a mound of volcanic rock crossed by tunnels and windows and Avcilar Valley. Lunch and in the afternoon, visit the village of Avanos, famous for its handicrafts and valleys and Gόvercinlik Valley (Pigeon Valley).
Visit the underground city of Kaymakli or Serhatli, one of 36 underground cities of Cappadocia served as a refuge for Christians.
Return to hotel and dinner. Dinner and accommodation.
TUESDAY: CAPPADOCIA – KONYA – PAMUKKALE
Early departure to Konya, capital of the Seljuk sultans in the 11th century. Visit of the Caravansarai of Sultanhan, where they used to stop the caravans of camels on the silk route.
Visit of the Mausoleum of Mevlana, poet and Philosopher who founded the mystical and religious sect of the Dancing Dervishes.
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 fairy-like dazzling white, petrified lime cascades. There you will see the thermal spring water laden with calcareous salt, plunging down the mountainside which has created this natural formation of stalactites, cataracts and basins. The thermal water has been used since the Roman period for its therapeutic powers.
Next, you will visit the Roman city of Hierapolis, which is not located not on earth or rock, but on solid limestone layers formed by limestone water that flowed for centuries over this raised level plateau. The name means “sacred city”, and according to Stephanus of Byzantium, the city was given this name because of a 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 to this ancient Greco – Roman city, dedicated to the Goddess of Love Aphrodite. Departure for Kusadası and then to Izmir for your flight to Istanbul.
Drive to Meryemana and visit House of Virgin Mary where she spent the last days of her life. Authenticated by Pope Paul VI in 1967, the cottage 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 centre for early Christianity. In the book of Revelation, Ephesus was one of the seven churches addressed by Christ in a vision. It is here that you will find the Temple of Artemis, considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Your guide will also show you the Great Theatre, the Library of Celsius, the ruins of Odeon, Hercules Arch, the Temple of Hadrian, the magnificent library, the Agora and the Greco-Roman Theatre.
Drive to Izmir airport for the flight to Istanbul.
Upon your arrival transfer to your hotel for overnight.
Half day cruise through Bosphorus, the majestic strait that runs through Istanbul, linking Europe and Asia. From our cruise boat, we view the dramatic sights lining the Bosporus wooded shores: mosques, a bridge that for a time was the world’s longest and Rumeli Hisari, a massive fortress built by Mehmet the Conqueror in just three months as he prepared to take Istanbul. Also noteworthy on this tour are the 19th-century mansions of the Ottoman elite and the Sultans’ fanciful gingerbread palaces and hunting lodges Disembarkation at the European part of Turkey and transfer to your hotel.
FRIDAY: ISTANBUL – ATHENS
At the appropriate time transfer to airport for flight to Athens. Rest of day free. Overnight at hotel.
This tour gives you an opportunity to observe the striking contrasts that make Athens such a fascinating city. Our expert guides will take you to see the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympic Games of modern times were held in 1896 (short stop).
Continue and pass by the Prime Minister’s residence (ex Royal Palace) guarded by the Euzones in their colourful uniform, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Hadrian’s Arch, the Parliament and the memorial to the Unknown Soldier, the Academy, the University, theNational Library, the Constitution Square (Syntagma). On the Acropolis visit the Architectural Masterpieces of the Golden Age of Athens: The Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and finally “the harmony between material and spirit”, the monument that “puts an order in the mind”, the Parthenon.
Tour will end by visiting the Acropolis and the new Acropolis Museum, “State of the art” in museum construction and very rich in content.
Afternoon free to visit Plaka (The old Athens city) with lots of souvenir shops, restaurants and taverns.
Free day in Athens to stroll around the city and know better the sites and the people. Good opportunity to visit one of the famous museums like the National Archaeological museum or the Benaki Museum.
Use metro not only for your transportation but also visit the different stations to admire pieces of ancient and modern art. Not the miss the visit to Plaka (The old Athens city) with lots of souvenir shops, restaurants and taverns.
Leave by the Coastal Road to the Corinth Canal (short stop). Drive on and visit Epidaurus which was a small city in ancient Greece, at the Saronic Gulf. Reputed to be the birthplace of Apollo’s son Asclepius, the healer, Epidaurus was known for its sanctuary, the cult of Asclepius at Epidaurus is attested in the 6th century BC.as well as its theater, which is once again in use today.
The Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus is a UNESCO world heritage site.
The theatre is marvelled for its exceptional acoustics, which permit almost perfect intelligibility of non amplified spoken word from the proscenium or scene to all 15,000 spectators, regardless of their seating.
Then proceed to the Town of Nauplion ( short stop) drive on to Mycenae. and visit the Archaeological Site and the Tomb of Agamemnon. Departure for Olympia Through Central Peloponnese and the Towns of Tripolis and Megalopolis. Dinner and overnight in Olympia, the Cradle of the Olympic Games.
Olympia was a sanctuary of ancient Greece, known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times, the most famous games in history.
The sanctuary, known as the Altis, consists of an unordered arrangement of various buildings. Enclosed within the temenos are the Temple of Hera (or Heraion/Heraeum) and Temple of Zeus, the Pelopion and the area of the altar, where the sacrifices were made. The hippodrome and later stadium were also to the east.
To the north of the sanctuary can be found the Prytaneion and the Philippeion, as well as the array of treasuries representing the various city states.
Olympia is also known for the gigantic ivory and gold statue of Zeus that used to stand there, sculpted by Pheidias, which was named one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World by Antipater of Sidon.
Then drive on through the plains of Eliad and Achaia until the magnificent bridge which is crossing the Corinthian Bay from Rion to Antirion. Pass by the picturesque Towns of Nafpactos (Lepanto) and Itea, arrive in Delphi . Dinner and overnight.
Delphi was the centre of Ancient World – the “Omphalos” (Navel of Earth) – whose prestige extended far beyond the boundaries of the Hellenic World.
On the slopes of Mount Parnassus, in a landscape of unparalleled beauty and majesty, lie the ruins of the Sanctuary of Apollo Pythios.
Visit the Treasury of the Athenians, the Temple of Apollo and the Museum containing such masterpieces of Ancient Greek sculpture as the bronze Charioteer and the famous athlete Aghias.. Depart for Kalambaka, a small Town situated at the foot of the astonishing complex of Meteora, gigantic rocks. Dinner and overnight.
Meteora is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos. Among striking scenery, perched on top of huge rocks which seem to be suspended in mid-air, stand ageless Monasteries, where you can see exquisite specimens of Byzantine art. The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the north western edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. The Meteora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Return to Athens via Trikala, Lamia, Thermopylae (visit the Leonida’s monument). Arrive in Athens early in the evening.
FRIDAY: ATHENS – AIRPORT
At the indicated time according to your departure flight, you will be transferred to the airport.
Travel Plan – Inclusions
STARTING POINT: Istanbul Every Friday January to December
15 DAYS/ 14 nights
* 4 nights accommodation in Istanbul
* Full day Istanbul City tour with lunch
* 3 nights/ 4 days tour to Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Kusadası on full board basis in 4* or 5* hotels
* Half day Bosphorus cruise
* Air tickets Istanbul – Ankara + Izmir – Istanbul
* 4 nights accommodation in Athens
* Half day city tour of Athens
* 4 days Classical Greece tour on half board basis in 3* or 4 * hotels
* Entrance fees to historical sites during guided excursions in Turkey
* All transfers as per itinerary
* Daily breakfast
* Hotel taxes in Turkey
* Government hotel taxes in Greece
* Special overnight tax of €4 for 5* hotels, €3 for 4* hotels, €1,5 for 3* hotels and €0,5 for 2* hotels per person per night to be paid by clients directly to the hotels in Greece.
* Air tickets Istanbul – Athens not included