GRAND TOUR OF TURKEY 13 DAYS FROM $1,219 US Details below or
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Connecting Europe to Asia, Turkey is a cradle of Western civilization and home to many ancient ruins and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as friendly people and historical mosques, churches, and museums. On this Turkey tour designed for value-minded travelers, you’ll visit many of these amazing sites, drive through its spectacular scenery, and be accompanied by a professional Tour Director who will help bring this country to life with in-depth, firsthand knowledge.
Fans of ancient history will be thrilled with visits to Hierapolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site founded in 190 BC; Homer’s legendary Troy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site founded 4,000 years ago; and Aphrodisias, an ancient city that enjoyed a long and prosperous existence from the 2nd century BC to the 6th century AD. Excavations of this important archaeological site—which was dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite—have unearthed many marble statues and other artifacts. A tour highlight is a visit to the Rock Chapels in Cappadocia, cave-dwellings carved out of the rock formations by the early Christians and decorated with frescoes dating from the 6th to the 10th century.
On this Turkey tour, you’ll also spend time in many of the country’s most fascinating cities: Istanbul, where your sightseeing includes a visit to the Roman Hippodrome, a racetrack built in the 4th century for chariot races, and the Blue Mosque, the 17th-century mosque with beautiful blue tiles in its interior; Ankara, Turkey’s capital and second-largest city; Bursa, the Ottoman Empire’s first capital with a history dating back to 4000 BC; and Konya, known as one of the world's earliest settlements, where man has lived since the early Stone Age.
This fascinating tour through Turkey includes all of this and much more, including two nights in Kusadasi, a charming modern resort with white sandy beaches and a delightful climate.
The following UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be seen or visited on the Grand Tour of Turkey:
Archaeological Site of Troy
Historic areas of Istanbul
Rock Sites of Cappadocia
Day 1 Arrive in Istanbul, Turkey
Check into your hotel. In the evening, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Day 2 Istanbul–Gallipoli–Canakkale
Drive along the Sea of Marmara to Gallipoli on the European side of the Dardanelles. Time to visit the ANZAC CEMETERY and the site of the World War I battle. Then, a short FERRY crossing to Asia Minor. Overnight in Canakkale. (B,D)
Day 3 Canakkale–Troy–Izmir–Kusadasi
Visit the remains of Homer’s legendary TROY, then south to the lovely Bay of Edremit, with distant views of the island of Lesbos. Through forests of pine, oak, and valonia, head for Izmir, where an orientation drive includes the bustling Karsiyaka tourist district. On to Kusadasi. (B,D)
Day 4 At Leisure in Kusadasi
Enjoy your charming modern resort, located between ancient Ephesus and Priene and blessed with a delightful climate and white-sand beaches. Optional excursions are available to the Roman/Greek archaeological site of Ephesus and to the Virgin Mary House. (B)
Day 5 Kusadasi–Pamukkale–Denizli Area
Once past Aydin, you enter what is known as the “Greek Meander,” the most fertile region in Turkey. Visit the ancient site of APHRODISIAS, scattered around the village of Geyre. From Denizli, drive north to view extraordinary Pamukkale with its Cotton Castle and the ancient site of HIERAPOLIS. Overnight in the Denizli area. (B,D)
Day 6 Denizli Area–Konya
Eastwards to Dinar and then past Lake Acigöl, surrounded by cherry gardens and opium fields. Bask in the splendid mountain scenery on the way to Konya. (B,D)
Day 7 Konya–Göreme–Cappadocia
Continue into the great central plateau that separates Konya from Cappadocia, stopping to visit the great SULTANHANI CARAVANSERAI. In Göreme, enjoy an included afternoon excursion to the amazing ROCK CHAPELS carved by early Christians. Overnight in Cappadocia. (B,D)
Day 8 Cappadocia
Time to absorb the lunar landscapes on your own, or optional sightseeing in the spectacular Cappadocia area. Admire the large natural amphitheater bounded by almost-vertical cliffs that house monastic buildings, churches, and underground retreats. (B,D)
Day 9 Cappadocia–Aksaray–Ankara
North today to Ankara. Enjoy an orientation drive of the Turkish capital. Afternoon optional excursions are available to see some of the capital’s highlights. (B,D)
Day 10 Ankara–Gordion–Bursa
From Ankara, travel into the ancient kingdom of Phrygia to Gordion, where, according to legend, Alexander the Great cut the proverbial knot. Visit KING MIDAS’ TOMB. On to historic Bursa in the shadow of the Olympus of Mysia, famous for its Great Mosque, covered bazaar, and silk market. (B,D)
Day 11 Bursa–Ferry Crossing–Istanbul
A morning drive to the shores of the Sea of Marmara, then take a FERRY across the Bay of Izmit to Istanbul. This afternoon, included sightseeing features visits to the ROMAN HIPPODROME and the BLUE MOSQUE. Tonight, take advantage of the optional dinner outing in Istanbul. (B)
Day 12 Istanbul
Markets, peddlers, and stalls selling almonds, pistachios, iced drinks, and black coffee—you’ll find Istanbul’s atmosphere irresistible. The view of the city at dusk with its 600 mosques and the Bosporus is unforgettable. Optional possibilities are a morning excursion by private boat on the Bosporus and in the afternoon, the Historical Istanbul tour. (B)
Day 13 Istanbul
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
Inside visits and special features:
Visits to Gallipoli Anzac Cemetery, Canakkale, Troy archaeological site, Izmir, Kusadasi Aphrodisias, Pamukkale Cotton Castle, Sultanhani Caravanserai, Konya, rock chapels in Göreme, Ankara, King Midas’ Tomb in Gordion, Bursa Great Mosque. Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description including admission charges where applicable.
Local Guide for city sightseeing in Istanbul. Professional Tour Director while touring
Please check visa requirements with your local consulate(s); responsibility for obtaining visas rests with the traveler. Visas are not issued at Istanbul airport.
December 21 Departure – New Year's Eve in Istanbul including Reveillon dinner
HOTELS: (ST) Superior Tourist (F) First Class
ISTANBUL Grand Halic Hotel (F)
CANAKKALE Buyuk Truva (ST)
KUSADASI Marina (ST)
DENIZLI AREA Herakles Hotel (ST) at Pamukkale
KONYA Pasapark (F)
CAPPADOCIA Altinyazi (F)
ANKARA Radisson Blu (F)
BURSA Almira (F)
Buffet breakfasts Daily; 8 dinners
Touring by private, first-class, air-conditioned motorcoach; Dardanelles Straits and Bay of Izmir ferry crossings
DATES February - December
PRICES From approx $1,219 US per person double
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