Day 01 : Istanbul Arrival
Upon arrival to Istanbul Ataturk Airport & clearing customs, you will be met & accompanied during your transfer to the hotel. If time allows, you will have an orientation walk with one of our guides around Sultanahmet to get acquainted with the neighbourhood.
Day 02 : Istanbul
We will leave hotel in the morning to visit the spectacular Blue Mosque decorated with beautiful 17th century Iznik tiles. Then stroll around the historical Hippodrome where chariot races were once held. Continue with the Hagia Sophia, an early Christian church, later converted to a mosque under Ottoman rule. This magnificent temple now serving as a museum with all the artefacts from the Byzantine era intact & is especially famous for its mosaics. After lunch break, we continue driving across the first Bosphorus Bridge & head for the summit of Camlica Hill, which offers 360° panoramic views of Istanbul overlooking the Sea of Marmara. Driving back to Europe over the Bosphorus Bridge, we visit Dolmabahce Palace, with more than 250 rooms & eight Turkish Baths the imperial residence of the last six Sultans, is sure to fascinate its visitors.
Day 03 : Istanbul
Breakfast at hotel, then meet your guide at hotel lobby for a short drive to Spice Market, Egyptian Bazaar heaped with various sweets & spices is one of the world’s largest spice bazaars since 1665. Soon after, we embark on the Bosphorus ferry for an unforgettable cruise along the Bosphorus, the beautiful strait that divides Europe from Asia. Winding between green hills, it is lined with mosques, castles, 19th century mansions, picturesque villages & the extravagant baroque palaces of the late Ottoman Sultans. After lunch break in the afternoon, we will visit the Topkapi Palace Museum, the residence of the legendary Ottoman Sultans. It consists of several exhibition halls, such as the treasury, the porcelain section, armoury, holy relics. We will complete this historical day with a visit to the Grand Bazaar. Return to hotel with evening at leisure.
Day 04 : Istanbul / Cappadocia
Early breakfast & check-out from hotel, transfer to Istanbul Airport for Kayseri flight. Upon arrival you will be met & transferred to your choice of hotel in Urgup or Goreme (1hr). Start with a gentle hike through orchards, unusual volcanic rock formations, rock-cut houses at Red Valley & Pasabagi where you will find the world known fairy chimneys. Visit the old Christian Village of Cavusin, followed by lunch break & then an excursion to Pigeon Valley. Then continue on to Goreme Open-Air Museum where you will visit the numerous rock carved churches, monasteries decorated with striking frescoes from early Christianity. Our last stop for the day will be the panoramic viewpoint offering spectacular views of the landscape from the natural rock castle at Uchisar.
Day 05 : Cappadocia / flight to Izmir (Ephesus)
After breakfast check out from hotel, another full day tour this time to visit the famous Derinkuyu Underground City, we'll walk through the underground city of Kaymakli or Derinkuyu, where an entire community of Christians lived in a system of subterranean caves & tunnels for centuries without being noticed. Afterwards a short hike through the green Ihlara Valley along the stream & visiting some of the churches dug into the walls of the gorge. Stop in Belisirma village for lunch break & then continue on to Selime for a panoramic view. Our last stop will be at the Agzikarahan Caravanserai built by the Seljuk Turks to accommodate travelers on the ancient Silk Road. Returning to hotel for refreshment & picking up luggage to board on an overnight coach to Selcuk or Kusadasi. Optional: Flight from Kayseri to Izmir & transfer to Kusadasi.
Day 06 : Ephesus / flight to Istanbul
Meeting your guide at hotel lobby to join a small group to visit the Ancient City of Ephesus. Soon you'll find yourself on the Sacred Street connecting the Great Theatre with the Library of Celsus, the facade of which has been fully restored. Walking on the beautiful side walks for pedestrians paved with mosaics, private hill houses, little shops, State Agora are just a few of the places we will see. After lunch, we depart to visit the House of Virgin Mary where she is said to be brought here by St. John & have spent the last of her days. We will see the shrine & small chapel which is a pilgrimage sight just recently visited by Pope Benedict. The tour also includes a visit to the remains of Artemis Temple & if time allows a visit to the old Greek Village of Sirince. Transfer to Izmir Airport for Istanbul flight (1hr), transfer to your Istanbul hotel upon arrival.
Day 07 : Istanbul Departure
Depending on your flight time, check-out (12:00) from hotel & remainder of day will be at leisure till your transfer to Istanbul Ataturk Airport for your homebound flight.