This 10-day tour visits the top 3 destinations in Turkey: Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus/Pamukkale area. You visit most of the highlights of Turkey in only 10 days.
This is a private tour and the departure date can be any day.
Upon arrival at The Istanbul International Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Sultanahmet. Overnight in Istanbul.
Your guide will meet you after breakfast for a tour of the Ottoman Istanbul. A short walk takes you to the Blue Mosque which was completed in 1616. Our next stop will be the Topkapi Palace, more than just a palace, it is an assemblage of museums containing collections amassed by the Sultans for almost five centuries. Our visit also takes you to the famous Harem where the Imperial Family resided. We then walk out to Divan Yolu, the old "Road to the Imperial Council’ now a busy thoroughfare, for lunch at a local restaurant. Next we walk through the old cobbled streets down to Rustem Pasha Mosque, designed by Mimar Sinan in 1561, and then the Spice Market, where Genoese and Venetian goods were sold at a time when there was no Suez Canal, and all the spices from the East were also brought here after being loaded on vessels in Egypt. We end the tour with a visit to the greatest Bazaar of them all, the Grand Bazaar, one of the most extraordinary shopping experiences in the world. Overnight in Istanbul.
Our second day in Istanbul takes us to a number of Byzantine Relics. We first stroll to the great square which was once the Byzantine Hippodrome. Now it is a great park like area surrounded by the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the Underground Cistern. The Hippodrome exhibits the Walled Column, The Serpent Column and the Egyptian Obelisque from the Byzantine times and the German Fountain is located in the North end of the Hippodrome. Next we visit the Hagia Sophia, the most important Byzantine building in the world. After lunch at a local restaurant we take a short drive to The Chora Church to see the climax of Byzantine Mosaic Art. We end the tour with a visit to the Underground Cistern, commonly called the Basilica Cistern. Overnight in Istanbul.
On our last day in Istanbul, we check out after a leisurely breakfast and take a short drive to the shores of the Bosphorus to visit the Dolmabahce Palace. Overlooking the Bosphorus, its beauty is incomparable with 14 tons of pure gold used for its interior decoration, its priceless paintings, furniture, and a rich collection of Bohemian crystal in addition to its famous Harem section. We will continue for a leisure cruise on the Bosphorus on a local ferry, having an opportunity to admire the palaces, Ottoman yalis (wooden Bosphorus seaside mansions), the Bosphorus bridge, fortresses, among others. After lunch at a local restaurant, we are transferred to Istanbul Airport for the early evening flight to Nevsehir, then we take an hour’s transfer to our hotel in Cappadocia. Overnight in Cappadocia.
Our first real encounter with Cappadocia’s almost Martian landscape is in the Dervent valley, where the rock formations are amazing. A walk through the Zelve Open Air Museum is a journey into the past, with its troglodyte houses. This is one of the earliest inhabited and latest abandoned monastic settlements in Cappadocia. After Zelve we visit Pasabag’s “fairy chimneys”, where the voice of the wind harmonizes with the songs of the fairies. From here we pause at Avanos, a centre of terracotta art since 2,000 BC, for a demonstration in a traditional pottery workshop. After lunch in Avanos, we visit the famous Goreme Open Air Museum to see the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia. These are found in rock-cut churches with frescoes and paintings dating from as early as the 10th century. We complete the tour with a visit to the Uchisar Rock-Castle, giving you a panoramic view of the valleys of Cappadocia. Overnight in Cappadocia.
Our first stop is the Soganli Valley, an open air museum in a wild natural setting near a typical Cappadocian village with its different style rock-cut churches and frescoes. After this, we drive to Mustafapasa through the unspoiled villages of Cappadocia, surrounded by the “table-top” mountains. On the way we visit the Keslik Monastery near Cemil village, which hides its frescoes behind a very thin smoke layer which can only be seen by torch light. After lunch in Mustafapasa at an old Greek house hosted by a local family, we descend towards the centre of the earth, with a trip to the Underground City of Kaymakli, one of the largest and deepest of Cappadocia’s many such settlements. Overnight in Cappadocia.
We transfer you to Cappadocia Airport for the flight to Izmir. Another transfer from Izmir Airport to your hotel in Kusadasi. Rest of the day on your own. Overnight in Kusadasi.
Today we first drive to the Virgin Mary"s House; after that we visit Ephesus which was founded in the eleventh century BC by the Ionians. Strolling through the streets of Ephesus, we will witness the perfection of the Greco-Roman Art. Later in the afternoon we will visit St John"s Basilica, believed to be the tomb of the Apostle John, Christ"s beloved disciple. From the basilica, we will be able to look down on the remains of the temple of Artemis. We end the day with our visit to the Isa Bey Mosque. Overnight in Kusadasi.
Today, we drive to Pamukkale giving an en route visit to Aphrodisias, which was the city dedicated to the cult of Aphrodite. As we visit the Sculptor"s Museum in Aphrodisias, we have lunch at a local restaurant. We visit Hierapolis in the afternoon, then stroll over the calcareous terraces of Pamukkale. After this, we turn back to our hotel. Overnight in Kusadasi.
Transfer to Izmir Airport to board the flight to Istanbul that gives best connection to your international flight out of Istanbul.