A perfect combination of Istanbul, and Cappadocia tour with Devadasi, Ephesus and Izmir. Admire the famous Istanbul monuments, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and the Mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk in Ankara and the famous Cappadocia area and then Pamukkale, Kusadası, Ephesus and Izmir.
DAY 1: ISTANBUL
Arrival in Istanbul, welcome & assistance at the airport and transfer to hotel. The balance of the day at leisure.
After breakfast full day visit to 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.
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 principal 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.
Half day cruise through Bosporus, 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 19thcentury 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.
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 the hotel for dinner and accommodation.
Early departure to Konya, capital of the Seljuk sultans in the 11th century. Visit the Caravansarai of Sultanhan, where they used to stop the caravans of camels on the silk route.
Visit 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 the 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.
DAY 8: ISTANBUL – AIRPORT
According to your departure time, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back home.
STARTING POINT: Istanbul, Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, January to December
TRAVEL PLAN: 8 DAYS/ 7 nights
* 4 nights accommodation in Istanbul
* Full day Istanbul tour with lunch
* Half day Bosporus cruise
* 3 nights/ 4 days tour to Cappadocia, Pamukkale and Kusadası on full board basis in 4* or 5* hotels
* Air ticket Istanbul – Ankara + Izmir- Istanbul
* Entrances to historical sites during guided excursions
* All private transfers as per the itinerary
* Daily breakfast
* Hotel taxes