Day 1 - Arrival in Istanbul
HOS GELDINIZ! Welcome to Turkey! We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. After a short briefing about your tour, you will have the afternoon free to rest and explore Istanbul on your own.
Overnight in Istanbul
Day 2 - Istanbul - (B/L)
After breakfast, around 8:30 AM, we will meet you at your hotel for a full-day tour of Istanbul.
Sites you will see:
* Blue Mosque/Sultanahmet Mosque (Camii) built during the reign of Sultan Ahmet I during 1609-1616. It is the only mosque in Turkey with six minarets. Due to its magnificent hand-dyed blue, green and white Iznik tiles it has been named the "Blue Mosque" by Europeans. The central dome is 43 m in height and is 33.4 m in diameter; it also boasts 260 windows.
* Hagia Sophia/Aya Sofya is a truly awe-inspiring, 1,400-year-old Byzantine cathedral which houses mosaics, relics and iron work. Hagia Sophia was, for nearly a thousand years, the largest enclosed space in the world, and is still seen as one of the world's most important architectural monuments. It is one of Turkey's most popular attractions, drawn by the sheer spectacle of its size, architecture, mosaics and art. Built during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD.
* Hippodrome: the backdrop of chariot races and the center of Byzantine civic life. Of the ornaments which once decorated it, only three remain: The Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column, and the Column of Constantine.
The Obelisk is in the Egyptian style and was erected in 1547 BC and stood 60m tall. The German Fountain is also within the hippodrome area, constructed in Germany to mark German Emperor Wilhelm II's second visit to Istanbul; it was imported and officially opened on January 1 1901. The fountain's three domes are decorated with gold mosaics.
* Topkapi Palace was the imperial residence and administrative heart of the massive Ottoman Empire, beginnng with Fatih Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, in 1453, until 1856. It was converted to a museum in 1924. Parts of the palace such as the Harem, Baghdad Pavilion, Revan Pavilion, Sofa Pavilion, and the Audience Chamber distinguish themselves with their architectural assets. The museum also has collections from the Imperial Treasury, as well as Chinese porcelain, weapons, calligraphy, etc. The Treasury also houses the Topkapi Dagger, the 86-carat "Spoon Maker's Diamond", and the jewel-encrusted bones of St. John the Baptist.
* Grand Bazaar (Kapali çarsi - covered bazaar) is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 covered streets and over 4,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and half a million visitors daily.
The bazaar began construction in 1455 and opened in 1461. It is well known for its jewelry, pottery, spice, and carpet shops. Many of the stalls in the bazaar are grouped by type of good: leather coats, gold jewelry and the like.
Additionally, the bazaar contains two bedestens (domed masonry structures built for storage and safe keeping), the first of which was constructed between 1455 and 1461 by the order of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. The bazaar was vastly expanded in the 16th century, during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, and in 1894 underwent a major restoration following an earthquake. Today, the grand bazaar houses two mosques, two hamams, four fountains, and multiple restaurants and cafes. The sprawling complex consists of 12 major buildings and has 22 doors. After the tour, return to the hotel.
Overnight in Istanbul
Day 3 - Istanbul - (B)
After breakfast around 8:30 am, we will meet you at your hotel and continue on the full day tour of Istanbul.
* The Spice Bazaar/Egyptian Bazaar (Misir Carsisi) transports you back to the Silk Road days with its mystical aromas of various spices. Here, you'll also find other shops selling fruits, vegetables, teas, flowers, fish, and Turkish Delight (lokum).
* Bosphorus Cruise takes you though the waterway separating the two continents, Europe and Asia; along its shores, you can take photographs of marble palaces and antique wooden Ottoman-era villas that sit beside luxurious modern residences.You will also see Dolmabahce Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, and Ortakoy Mosque.
Overnight in Istanbul
Day 4 - Istanbul to Kusadasi - (B/L/D)
* Ephesus is the best-preserved classical cities from ancient times, and was inhabited by Greeks, Macedonians, Romans and Turks. St. Paul lived here circa 60 AD, when it was at its most populated at 250,000. During your visit, you’ll walk its stony boulevards, stand in the grand theatre, marvel at the beauty of the Celsus Library, the agora, as well as the baths, giving you the unique chance to get up-close-and-personal with history by literally being able to walk into it.
Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation. The Gospel of John may have been written here. The city was the site of several 5th century Ecumenical Councils. It is also the site of a large gladiators' graveyard.
* The House of the Virgin Mary, (Turkish: Meryemana Evi), high on a hill overlooking the town of Selcuk, is where it is believed that St. Mary came to live with St. John the Baptist in the later years of her life. Masses are held here on Sundays.
After the tour we will drive on to Kusadasi, where you will check in at the hotel.
Overnight in Kusadasi
Day 5 - Kusadasi to Pamukkale - (B/L)
After breakfast, we will depart from Kusadasi to Pamukkale; upon arrival we will continue on the guided tour of Pamukkale and Hierapolis. Our drive will take us through a rich agricultural area, teeming with cotton fields and fruit orchards.
* Pamukkale ("cotton castle" in Turkish) is the result of limestone formations created over thousands of years. Warm, calcium-rich mineral water from nearby thermal hot springs flowed over these cliffs and, as these waters cooled, they deposited the calcium that we see today.
* Hierapolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded as an ancient healing care center in 190 BC, taking advantage of the mineral waters. It was one of the most important intellectual, artistic, religious and commercial centers of the Roman Empire. Over time, the city hosted large numbers of both Jewish and Christian residents.
After the tour's conclusion, you will check into your hotel in Pamukkale. Overnight in Pamukkale
Day 6 - Pamukkale to Fethiye - (B/L)
After breakfast, we will provide a bus transfer from Pamukkale to Fethiye.
Upon arrival, you will check into your hotel.
Overnight in Oludeniz/Fethiye
Day 7 - Meet gulet for cruise around Oludeniz and Blue Lagoon - (L/D)
In the morning, we'll meet you at your hotel and provide a transfer to the port in Fethiye where we wil board our classic gulet. We'll depart from Fethiye Harbor between 11 and 12 PM and first sail to Samanlik Bay for some swimming time and then lunch. Butterfly Valley (Kelebekler Vadisi) is our next stop for a swim and to pay a visit to its stunning natural reserve. Afterwards, we'll cruise onto Oludeniz's Blue Lagoon.
Overnight at St. Nicholas Island - onboard
Day 8 - Fethiye to Kas - (B/L/D)
In the morning, we'll set sail for Yesilköy, where you will have breakfast and time to swim in the bay that's surrounded by olive trees. Then we will journey on to Kas, a small harbour town with a charming Bohemian atmosphere. Overnight in Kas - onboard
Day 9 - Kas to Kekova - (B/L/D)
A short cruise to the ruins at Kekova, Kalekoy, and Ucagiz (the "Sunken City"). Lunch is on Tersane Bay where you'll see the ruins of a Byzantine church, and other underwater Roman ruins (and along the beach). As you sail on to Gökkaya for the night, more underwater will also be visible.
Overnight in Gokkaya
Day 10 - Kekova to Demre then to Istanbul - (B)
After breakfast in Demre, our final port-of-call, it's time to say goodbye to your shipmates and crew. Here, we will transfer you to Myra for a visit to St. Nicholas church. Then, we'll journey onto Antalya. (You will have some free time to check out the city.)
Then we will provide a transfer to the Antalya Airport for your 1-hour flight back to Istanbul; after your arrival, we'll transfer you back to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul
*** Program ends ***
Prices are starting from 985 Euros per person in a double, contact us to get a price quote for your dates
* Centrally-located hotel in Istanbul
* 1 full-day and 1 half-day guided tour of Istanbul
* All land and airport transfers
* Flight tickets form Istanbul to Izmir
* Flight tickets from Antalya to Istanbul
* Admissions to Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Ephesus, Pamukkale and Hierapolis
* 3-night/ 4-day Blue Cruise on gulet
* 3 breakfasts - 3 dinners - 3 lunches
* All taxes and service charges
* Drinks on board
NOTE : This program is subject to change, contigent upon varying weather conditions.
(We can always customize this tour for you by adding more sites like Ephesus, Pamukkale or Cappadocia, just ask!)