DAY 1: ISTANBUL
Your Ephesus Pamukkale Istanbul vacation starts at Istanbul international airport, welcome & assistance at the airport and transfer to hotel. Free day.
DAY 2: ISTANBUL – FULL DAY OLD CITY TOUR
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.
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. After a lunch break, we continue our tour at Topkapi Palace which, from the 15th to 19th century, was the principal residence of the Ottoman Sultans.
The final visit will be to the Grand Bazaar which 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.
We will depart to visit City WallsThe first breach of the walls was by the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the second by the cannons and troops of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453. Then you will go for Golden Horn. As a natural and extremely secure harbour, the Golden Horn has played an important role in the development of Istanbul. The inlet separates the European shore into two. It is approximately 8 km long, and the widest part is the entrance from the Bosphorus. Two streams drain into this inlet at its far end.
The next stop will be the Spice Bazaar(Egyptian Bazaar). The air here is filled with the enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme and every other conceivable herb and spice.
After that, you will go on a boat trip to the Bosphorus. A traditional excursion by boat along the waterway separating Europe and Asia. The shore is lined with old wooden villas, palaces of marble, fortresses, and small fishing villages. During the excursion, you will pass the magnificent Dolmabahce Palace, and further along, the parks and imperial pavillions of Yildiz Palace. On the coastal edge of this park, is Ciragan Palace, 300 meters of its marble facade faces the shore. At Ortakoy a great variety of artists gather every Sunday to display their work along the street. Ortakoy is a symbol of tolerance with a church, a mosque and a synagogue existing side by side for centuries. You will see Rumeli Fortress (from the sea, no interior visit). Built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 before the conquest of Istanbul, was completed in only four months to control and protect Bosphorus. It is one of the most beautiful works of military architecture anywhere in the world.
Lunch at a local restaurant. Then we will go to Beylerbeyi Palace. The summer residence of Ottoman Sultans with its original furniture and magnificent gardens with the Harem on the Asian. Bosphorus Bridge is a unique chance to step from one continent (Asia) to another (Europe).
After that Camlica Hill is the highest point in Istanbul. At the top of it, you can rest and admire the magnificent panorama of Istanbul and the Bosphorus from the beautiful gardens, landscaped in traditional style. Also, there is a possibility of shopping at Bedestenexhibits the traditional silk weaving girls at the carpet weaving courses authorised by the Ministry of National Education Possibility to see jewellery, handicrafts centre and leatherware show. Free time provided for shopping.
DAY 4: ISTANBUL – KUSADASI
At the indicated time you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Izmir. Upon your arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Kusadasi.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel
We continue your Ephesus Pamukkale Istanbul vacation with this full-day tour. The tour starts with Isa Bey Mosque, then drive to an ancient Greek city, later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor which called Ephesus, stroll past the Celsus Library, the Temple Of Hadrian and the Trajan Fountain in the Ancient Ephesus. After walking on the historical marble street the Great Theater where St. Paul preached will meet at the end.
Open buffet lunch in a local Turkish restaurant. In the afternoon will visit the carpet cooperative to see how the Turkish carpets are made by hand. Proceed to the shrine of Mother Mary, it is believed where she spent recent years of her life. Temple Of Artemis (Diana), on the side of one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World.
It takes 3 hours to get to Pamukkale (Hierapolis) from Kusadasi. There will be a break halfway for the needs. You will have an open buffet lunch upon arrival in Pamukkale, then head to the South Gate of Pamukkale (Hierapolis). After that, we will see the Necropolis (cemetery) of Hierapolis which is one of the biggest ancient cemeteries in Anatolia with 1.200 graves, Roman Bath, Domitian Gate, and the Main Street, Byzantium Gate.
After the tour in Hierapolis, there will be a break in which you can spend your time swimming in the Ancient Pool (aka. Cleopatra Pool). Please note that swimming in the pool costs an extra fee. The Cleopatra Pool is warmed by hot springs and littered with underwater fragments of ancient marble columns. It is possibly associated with the Temple of Apollo. The pool provides a rare opportunity to swim among antiquities to visitors! During the Roman period, columned porticoes surrounded the pool; earthquakes toppled them into the water where they lie today.
If you want you can walk to the natural warm water terraces which were formed by the hot water that contains calcium. The temperature of the water is about 35 degrees. You can see the gleaming white travertine terraces of Pamukkale, located next to the ruins of Hierapolis.
The extraordinary effect is created when water from the hot springs loses carbon dioxide as it flows down the slopes, leaving deposits of limestone. The layers of white calcium carbonate, built up in steps on the plateau, gave the site the name Pamukkale (cotton castle).
After breakfast departure to the airport of Izmir for the return flight to Istanbul to connect with your flight back home. End of your Ephesus Pamukkale Istanbul vacation.
STARTING POINT: Istanbul, daily January to December
TRAVEL PLAN: 7 Days/ 6nights
Tour package includes:
3 nights accommodation in Istanbul on a bed and breakfast basis
Full-day Istanbul old city tour with lunch
Full day Bosphorus cruise + 2 continents tour with lunch
3 nights accommodation in Kusadasi on half board basis
Full-day Ephesus and Virgin Mary tour with lunch
Full day Pamukkale and Hierapolis tour with lunch
Entrances to historical sites during guided excursions
All transfers as per itinerary
Air tickets Istanbul – Izmir – Istanbul are not included.