Of all the destinations that one can visit, Turkey is one of the most incredible. For us it is one that can be visited again, and again, and again .. well you get our drift, without losing its charm and appeal. Many visitors spend a short time in Istanbul, Cappadocia or along the Mediterranean Cost and will often remark that they did not have enough time! Even in the 14 to 16 day tours that voyage through Turkey a lot is missed.
Most tours will incorporate a few days in Istanbul, a trip down via Gallipoli, Troy and possibly Pergamum as they head to visit Ephesus, staying in either Izmir or Kusadasi usually. From there the shorter duration tours will either head back to Istanbul or return to Istanbul after an extra night in Pamukkale. Longer ones will then sweep out to Pamukkale and then down to Antalya to see Perge and Aspendos before heading up through Konya to Cappadocia and Ankara where they end, or they will swing via the coastline taking in Bodrum, Fethiye, Mamaris and ending with a flight back to Istanbul from Antalyta.
In general most tours cover less than a third of the sights and highlights of Turkey. In this extended programme we work to remedy that. We will start in Istanbul, cover the Western Coast highlights down to Ephesus, take in Pamukkale, before returning to the coast and journeying around the southern coast by Gulet to Antalya where we head inland to Cappadocia & Konya, . From Central Turkey we turn our vision eastwards venturing out to the lesser visited areas along the eastern frontier – Adana, the statues at Mount Nemrut, Siirt and other sites as we journey to the Russian / Armenian influeced area of Kars. At Kars we then Turn northward to explore the coastal region along the Black Sea, visiting Trabzon and experienceing a unique view of Turkey before returning to Ankara to explore the capital, and the ancient Hittite City of Hattusas before heading overland via world heritage villages to Bursa where we will catch a ferry back to Istanbul.
While we may not cover everything .. in the weeks of travel that the tour will run .. much of what Turkey has to offer, including many of its less visited secrets, shall be yours to experience, and hopefully enjoy as much as we do.
The Grand Tour Of Turkey
(including ANZAC Day) 46 Days, Istanbul – Istanbul
Visiting: Istanbul, Gallipoli, Asoss, Troy, Pergamum, Kusadasi, Izmir, Sert, Cesme, Priene, Didyma, Ephesus, Sardis, Pammukkale, Aphoridisias, Denizli, Bodrum, Cnius, Datca, Bozukkale, Marmaris, Ekincik, Oludeniz, Gemiler Island, Tersane Island, Cleopatra’s Island, Gocek, Kizil Island, Fethiye, Yesilkoy, Kas, Uluburan, Kekova, Finike, Cape Gelidonya, Phaselis, Antalya, Perge, Aspendos, Konya, Cappadocia (including Goreme), Tarsus, Adana, Antakya, Zeugma, Gaziantep, Kahta, Mount Nemrut, Ataturk Dam, Harran, Salifura, Midyat, Mardin, Hasan Kehf, Diyarbakir, Akdamar Island, Van, Mount Ararat, Kars, Ani, Artvin, Ayder Plateau, Rize, Sumela, Trabzon, Ankara, Hattusas and Bursa
Day 1: Arrival Istanbul
On arrival in Istanbul you will be met on arrival by our local representative and transferred to your hotel in the Sulthanamet District where you will have a brief break before your welcome dinner at the upstairs restaurant and introduction to your guide.
Day 2: Full Day in Istanbul
Today we have a full day tour of some of Istanbuls most incredible sights. Visiting Topkapi Palace, followed by lunch at the Pudding Shop before visiting the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia and the Ancient Cisterns.
Day 3: Full Day in Istanbul
This morning we leave our hotel early to visit the Istanbul Military musem where we will have a chance to witness the Mehtar, the traditional Ottoman Jannisary Band, after which we will visit the Koc Museum and have some time for a repast before visiting Dolambache Palace and some of Istanbuls other highlights.
Day 4: Gallipoli – Dardanelles – Assos
This morning we depart from Istanbul for our visit to the Dardanelles. By late morning we should be arriving at the Gallipoli Peninsula where we will visit the Kabatepe War Museum and the sites of interest to the Dardanelles Campaigns including Lone Pine, Chunuk Bair, Hellas, the landing beaches and more. After a full day exploring the relevant sites of the ANZAC Campaigns we will drive to Assos where we will overnight.
Day 5: Full Day Asoss, Evening at Gallipoli
Today is a easy day with a late start to visit the ruins at Assos and a quite seaside lunch at the Assos Port before retiring to the hotel for a light lunch before we head north to Troy. the ancient multi-layered city of Troy which has remained at the forefront of peoples imaginations due to the work of Homer his writings. This evening we will stop for a dinner in Gelibolu or Ecebat before make our way to the beaches of Gallipoli for the Anzac Day services. Temperatures can drop to below zero so it is recommended you take some cold weather gear in addition to the sleeping bags we will be providing.
Day 6: ANZAC Day
In 1915 the allied forces made a disastrous landing attempt on the Gallipoli Peninsula as part of the War effort against the Germans and their Allies, the Turks. Landing n the wrong place, facing heavily fortified and well-defended positions the allied army, composed mostly of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps found themselves in a pitched battle which would continue for months, and while the losses of this campaign were often overshadowed by the losses suffered in a single battle on the western front, it was nonethless this campaign that helped forge the self-image that Australians and New Zealanders had of themselves, and proved to the world that colonial didn’t mean pushovers. Today we celebrate that spirit and remember those of both sides that fought at Gallipoli by attending the Dawn Service. Following the dawn service we recommend you congregate at a pre-designated place with your tour escort and await pick up and transport to Lone Pine to witness the ceremonies there, afterwards either wait for pick up at Lone Pine or make your way to Chunuk Bair for the New Zealand Services where we can collect you from afterwards before we head back to Assos for an early evening.
Day 7: Assos – Pergamum – Izmir – Kusadasi
This morning we depart Assos and we will visit the mountaintop ruins of Pergamum, one of the most incredible in the area before heading south to Izmir, where we take in the highlights of one of Turkeys larger cities including the Ancient Agora, the Ruins of Alexander the Great’s Castle and both the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museums before we head to Kusadasi where we will be based for the next few days.
Day 8: Ephesus & St. Mary’s House
Today we take off to visit the ancient ruins of Ephesus, with hteir theatre, library, baths and more, then we visit the house attributed to being a refuge of the Virgin Mary before we return to Kusadasi
Day 9: Sardis
Sardis is our destination for today! The capital of ancient Lydia, where one of the churches of St. John existed. Tour the ruins of the temple of Cybele and Diana, where a 4th century Basilica was added later. See the golden river of Pactalos and the Royal Road. Visit the reconstructed synagogue, and the gymnasium.
Day 10: Priene – Miletus – Didyma
We head south this morning to take in the ancient cities of Priene, Miletus and Didyma covering over two thousand years of local history, predating the birth of Christ.
Day 11: Aphrodisias – Pammukkale
We leave Kusadasi this morning and drive through the fertile valley’s of Aphrodisias, home of the city of Aphrodite, before we continue onwards to Pamukkale, renowned for its white limestone cliffs and thermal baths. There will be time to inspect the cliffs and bath in Cleopatra’s Pool before we retire to our hotel, where we suggest you take the chance this evening to try out one of the mineral or sulfer fed pools.
Day 12: Pammukkale – Denzili – Bodrum
This morning we take a brief visit to the Hieropolis and the lesser red springs before we head off via Denzili to Bodrum where you will have the opportunity to spend some time in this ocean town before we board our Gulet. Bodrum has a history that goes back to the 12 th century B.C. The city which was called ‘ Halicarnassus’ was the birthplace of Herodotus; the ‘ Father of History’ who lived in the 5th century B.C. The ‘ Mausoleum’ of King Mausolus (350 B.C.) which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World is in this city. The only structure that survived from the Classical Era is the Amphitheatre. It is one of the oldest theatres in Anatolia with a capacity of 13.000 guests, and is still hosting many shows and concerts for the art-lovers in Bodrum. Another place that you should visit first at your arrival in Bodrum is the landmark of the city ‘Castle of Saint Peter’. It is one of the best preserved piece of work whose history goes back to the Middle Ages. ‘Myndos Gate’ through which Alexander the Great entered Halicarnassus is another place that you should not miss.
Day 13: Cnidis – Datca
While you are enjoying the breakfast, we will inform you about the cruise programme and safety procedures of the yacht. We will set sail for Cnidus one of the six cities of Dorian Hexapolis to see ancient theatres & temples. The next stop, after the lunch and swimming break, will be Datca, a very cosmopolitan fishing village. Dinner and overnight stay will be here.
Day 14: Bozukkale
After the breakfast we will sail from Datca to Bozukkale, you can visit the ancient castle of Loryma. The night will be spent in Bozukkale. In the historical city Bozukkale (Loryma), there is a castle which stretches out in a rectangle with its city walls and 9 temples. The name Bozukkale means ‘crooked castle’ and might be associated with the fact that one side of the castle is missing.
Day 15: Marmaris
After breakfast, we will set sail from Bozukkale to Marmaris (Ancient Physkos) one of the yachting Centers. For dinner and overnight stay will be in this port.
Day 16: Ekincik
Our Cruise will start with Ekincik Gulf. If you want, you may join our optional Dalyan Tour from here. In this tour you will enjoy the natural beauty of the delta as you pass along by the river boat called Piyade. Finally, you will arrive in Dalyan which is a Karian City known to be founded by Miletos’ son. Besides its ancient value with its Rock Tombs, Akropol Castle, Ancient Theater and Basilica complex, Dalyan is also well-known for it natural beauty with Caretta- Caretta (İztuzu) Beach. Following a rejuvenating Mud Bath the final destination of the day will be Turtle Beach. Dinner and overnight stay will be in Gulf of Ekincik.
Day 17: Oludeniz – Gemiler Island
After the breakfast we will be cruising to Ölüdeniz, and we will overnight in Gemiler Island, where on the sloops there are extensive ruins of what must be sizeable Byzantine Community.
Day 18: Tersane – Cleopatra’s Island – Gulf of Fethiye
Cruising to numerous bays and islands in Gulf of Fethiye (Tersane, Cleopatra’s Island, Manastır, Sunken Bath)
Day 19: Gocek
Today cruise to Gocek Island for lunch and swimming break and hoist sail to Göcek, for dinner and overnighting.
Day 20: Kizil Island – Fethiye
Stop over at Kızıl Island and then to Fethiye overnight at the harbour..
Day 21: Fethiye – Kas
After early morning start for the sail to Yesilkoy. After lunch, sailing down to Kas for an overnight stay in the harbor.
Day 22: Kas – Kekova
After breakfast in Kas sail to Uluburun for lunch. Overnight stay at the Island of Kekova.
Day 23: Finike
Sail to Finike. After lunch on board the guests can take an optional visit by minibus to visit the Taurus mountains and the ancient site of Arkanda. If not, the yacht can sail for an overnight stop near Radio Beacon point.
Day 24: Phaselis
After breakfast a sail around Cape Gelidonya to Phaselis. Guests can take an optional visit to Phaselis and Mount Olympus, or the yacht can visit another bay in this area.
Day 25: Antalya
Sail direct to Antalya. After lunch on board guests depart the Gulet for your Antalya hotel and spend the afternoon on a walking tour of Antalya.
Day 26: Perge & Aspendos
Today we set out to visit some of the more incredible remains in the south the ancient cities of Perge and Aspendos.
Day 27: Antalya – Konya – Cappadocia
After breakfast depart for Konya.Visit Mevlana Mausoleum and Karatay Koran School, then continue to Cappadocia on the way visit Agzikarahan caravenserail . Overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 28: Cappadocia
After breakfast full day tour in Cappadocia, visit Goreme, Avanos, Pasabagi ,Red valley, Ozkonak underground city.
Day 29: Cappadocia
This morning we leave our hotel early for a spectacular balloon rise over Cappadocia followed by a day of taking in some of Cappadocia’s other fantastic sites.
Day 30: Cappadocia – Tarsus – Adana
Depart from hotel in Cappadocia and visit Tarsus which was the birthplace of St.Paul. We will have a chance to walk the streets of Tarsus . Overnight in Adana.
Day 31: Antakya
Today we will drive to Antakya in the morning. Visit the second largest.Museum of mosaics in the world .Visit the Church of St.Peter where early church members were called Christians. Overnight stay in Adana.
Day 32: Zeugma – Gaziantep – Kahta
We will depart in the morning to visit the remains of Zeugma.This ancient city was a big trade center in the 2nd BC. and fableb with its mosaics.It was excavated before it got partially covered by the nearby dam lake.In the afternoon we continue to Gaziantep to visit the museum of archaeology. Continue to Kahta
Day 33: Mount Nemrut – Harran – Kahta
We will depart at 4 am in the morning to watch the sun rise on Mt.Nemrut .After we tour the burial mound at the peak of the mountain and observe the gigantic statues of Commagene kingdom we will continue to Cendere Bridge and Karakus Tumuli. Stay in Kahta.
Day 34: Ataturk Dam – Harran – Saliurfa
Today we depart for Ataturk Dam which is the 4th largest project in the world.In the afternoon we will continue to Harran which was the place god told Abraham to seed his generations.Visit Sanliurfa Balikli Gol (Lake) in the late afternoon.
Day 35: Midyat – Mardin
Drive to Suryani Kadim Monastery in the morning on the way to Midyat.We will observe Midyat in detail in the afternoon which is the most famous silver jewelery producing town in the Middle East.Drive back to Mardin for an overnight stay.
Day 36: Hasan Kehf – Diyarbakir
Drive to Hasan Kehf in the morning and continue to Diyarbakir.Visit the old town of Diyarbakir and its Ulu (Grand) Mosque .Overnight in Diyarbakir.
Day 37: Diyabakir – Akdamar Island – Van
We will depart early this morning to visit the Akdamar Church near Van.We will take a small boat ride to get to Akdamar Island on lake Van.This church has one of the most scene collections of the Old Testament carved on the façade of the church. Late afternoon tour of Van.
Day 38: Van – Mount Ararat – Kars
Our first sight seeing will be at Dogu Beyazit.We will obsrve the beauty of the Mt. Ararat from distance.Then we will continue to Kars the city built on top of the high cliffs.In the late afternoon we will walk the bazaars of Kars.
Day 39: Kars – Ani- Artvin
Ani is one of the city where the oldest Armenian-Orthodox churches located.Continue to visit Artvin which is the one of the most beautiful city near the Georgian Border.
Day 40: Artvin – Ayder Plateau – Rize
Today is completely kept for the visit of Ayder Plateau.During the day we will visit many different village and observe the local people.We will continue to Rize for overnight stay.
Day 41: Rize – Sumela – Trabzon
The monastery of Mary in Sumela is one of the most beautiful locations on Black Sea Mountain range.The monastery is built almost 1000 feet from the sea level on the sheer drops of the mountains.After lunch near by we will continue to Trabzon and visit the castle and the Hagia Sophia Monastery .Overnight in Trabzon
Day 42: Full Day Ankara
Flying from Trabzon this morning we journey to Ankara where we have a full day sightseeing in Ankara including Anitkabir,the Temple of Augustus, the museum of Anatolian Civilization and of course Ataturks Musem
Day 43: Full Day Tour of Hattusas
We set out today to visit the ancient Hittie Capital of Hattusas, within these ancient ruins was found one of the world earliest peace accords between the Hitties and the Egyptians .. and while each translation told a slightly different story it was the same outcome.
Day 44: Ankara – Bursa – Istanbul
Today we depart Ankara for Istanbul, journeying through the Western Anatolian region till we reach Bursa where we will have the chance to visit the mosque and other famous sites before taking a ferry across the Bosphorus to Istanbul
Day 45: Full Day Istanbul
We have an easy day ahead of us today with a short visit to Taksim Square followed by a journey to the Grand Baazaar, an incredible hive of shops and stores. Afterwards we will take a restful stop at a traditional Turkish Bath before retiring to the hotel for a brief stop to prepare for our farewell evening and entertainment
Day 46: Departure
Today is free to explore or catch up on any last minute things before being transferred to the airport for your departure flight.