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Venture out on an epic 12-day journey across Turkey’s most captivating highlights as you enjoy a selection of spectacular experiences designed to delight you every step of the way.
Istanbul, Cappadocia, Izmir, Ephesus, Bodrum
Taking this journey will give you a glimpse of everything magical about Turkey. From ancient but well-preserved ruins, breathtaking churches and mosques, to beautiful cities both above and below the ground, this tour takes you on an epic adventure across one of the top destinations in the world. On some days, you’ll walk through bustling city streets, markets, and ruins and enjoy breathtaking boat and balloon ride on others.
Touchdown at the airport in Istanbul and an escorted transfer to your hotel. Spend the night in Istanbul.
Overnight at Istanbul | Meals: None
On the first day, delve into some of the city’s most iconic locations. Officially start your tour by exploring the splendid Topkapi Palace, where the sultans stayed for almost three centuries. Sitting between the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus, this 15th-century palace gives you some insight into the extravagant lives of royalty. Alongside its striking architectural style and stunning views of the Bosphorus, it displays magnificent Chinese and Japanese porcelain collections, Ottoman weapons, and delicate fabrics.
Next up is the exquisite Blue Mosque with its famed Blue Iznik tiles. The mosque’s six minarets are one of the most iconic sights in Istanbul’s skyline, but it’s the dazzling interior that steals the show; around 20,000 Iznik tiles illuminated by 260 colorful windows decorate the mosque.
Opposite the Blue Mosque is the world-famous Hagia Sophia. This 6th-century structure is a breathtaking testament to Istanbul’s incredible blend of different styles and cultures. Fourteen centuries ago, it was the most stunning church in all of Christendom until Sultan Mehmet II conquered Constantinople and ordered its conversion into a mosque. The result was a delicate blend of Islamic and Christian decorations, creating a timeless architectural marvel that will enchant you when you set foot.
Last but not least will be the largest and oldest market in Turkey, the Grand Bazaar. Here, you have the opportunity to shop for some of the finest wares from all over the country. In addition, you can find cheap and impressive souvenirs to remind you of your magnificent adventure in Istanbul.
Overnight at Istanbul | Meals: B
Start the third day with a touch of art at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, founded in 2004 and is the country’s first museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art. Enjoy impressive displays serving as the finest examples of modern Turkish creativity and cultural identity during the tour. Apart from the art, the museum also has a growing collection of over 11,500 books in Turkish and other languages.
From the museum, you will then embark on a private two-hour cruise along the Bosphorus Strait. As you sip your wine or soft drink, enjoy magnificent views of the city’s skyline from the waters, and witness the harmonious blend of Ottoman architecture with modern architecture. If you’re lucky, you may also catch a glimpse of dolphins accompanying you on your journey upstream.
The tour will then lead you to the classy district of Nisantasi for upscale shopping and fashion experiences in its elegant cafes and boutiques. Our final stop for the day will be at the heart of the city in the Pera district.
Overnight at Istanbul | Meals: B, L
In the morning, fly from Istanbul to Nevsehir or Kayseri, and drive to Cappadocia.
Overnight at Cappadocia | Meals: B
Start your day with the most scenic experience of your life; an early-morning hot-air balloon flight at sunrise. As your rise with the sun and gently drift across the Cappadocian skies, enjoy breathtaking views of the region’s incredible landscape. Getting a bird’s eye view of the region’s spectacular valleys dotted with multicolored fairy chimneys and impressive monasteries as the sun slowly paints the land orange is an experience of a lifetime.
After your flight, head over to Cappadocia’s most visited site in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Goreme Open Air Museum. Here, you will explore impressive rock-cut churches from the dark ages. Inside these churches are what are arguably the finest examples of Christian rock art in the world. Enjoy these impressively preserved frescoes in the Dark Church, Apple Church, St. Barbara Church, Snake Church, Buckle Church, and the Sandals Church.
Our tour will take you underground to the most expansive subterranean town in the region; Kaymakli underground city. Believed to have been dug out in the Hittite period, this impressive town extends eight levels below ground, but only four are open to the public. Inside, you will explore the living quarters, storage rooms, stables, schools and churches, wine presses, and ventilation shafts. These features allowed the city to support a population of thousands of ancient Cappadocians at a time.
After a day of exploring this magical land, return to your Cappadocia hotel for the night.
Overnight at Cappadocia | Meals: B, L
Early morning flight to the beautiful port city of Izmir, where you will spend the rest of the day exploring some of its finest attractions. Set on the Aegean coast, one of the best places in this beautiful city is the iconic seafront Kordon (promenade). The seafront is grassed and has bicycle and walking paths lined with restaurants, bars, and cafes. It is an excellent place to relax and watch breathtaking sunsets. In addition, there are a couple of museums, bicycles for hire, and even horse-drawn carriages.
Another excellent attraction in the area that you can explore is the Izmir Museum of History & Art, which boasts one of the richest repositories of ancient artifacts in turkey. From there, proceed to other impressive sites like the remains of the 4th century BCE agora, constructed in the ancient Roman city of Smyrna’s.
Overnight at Sirince | Meals: B, L
You will spend this day on a memorable journey through history in the ancient city of Ephesus, home to the best-preserved ruins of an ancient city in Turkey. Founded in 6000 BCE, the city was once the capital of Roman Asia and the second-largest city in the ancient world. Here, you will explore the awe-inspiring ruins of one of the wonders of the ancient world; the Temple of Artemis.
The site indeed surrounds one with an impressive history, as it is also home to the Great Theatre and the Celsus Library. This theatre was the largest in ancient Rome and accommodated up to 24,000 spectators eager to witness the valiant gladiator battles, sporting competitions, and art performances.
Today, Ephesus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that stretches for about 8 square kilometers. Spend the day walking the cobblestone streets of this magnificent city, followed by a visit to the House of Virgin Mary before returning to Sirince for a night’s stay.
Overnight at Antalya | Meals: B, L
After Ephesus, proceed to another charming port city, Bodrum. On the way to Bodrum, the tour will pass through the ruins of three ancient Greek cities; Priene, Miletus, and Didyma.
Overnight at Bodrum | Meals: B, L
The final stop of this scenic adventure will be Bodrum. With an impressive marina full of yachts ready to embark on a Mediterranean cruise, the city is vibrant with tourist activity. Away from its white sandy beaches and elegant seaside resorts, the old town’s streets are lined with gorgeous, old whitewashed houses. For the next three days, you will spend your time exploring the beautiful city and its incredible attractions.
Overnight at Bodrum | Meals: B
Suggested activity for the day: when not enjoying the warm sun at the exquisite beaches, you should take time to explore some top sites in the city. These include the Castle of St. Peter and the Museum of Underwater Archaeology.
Overnight at Bodrum | Meals: B
Enjoy some more sunbathing and exploration, and spend the night here.
Overnight at Bodrum | Meals: B
Private transfer to Bodrum airport for your flight back home via Istanbul or next destination(s).
As on any other itinerary sample on our website, we can combine this package with any other destinations on demand.
My daughter and I went for 12 days and had a great time. We had a different private guide in each location which made a world of difference. In Capoddocia we were scheduled to go on s hot air balloon ride but the weather did not cooperate. Very disappointing but Ismail, our travel agent, reimbursed me. He was very thorough and answered all of my questions promptly. The last couple of days we spent on the Bodrum peninsula at a gorgeous resort hotel called Edition right on the Aegean Sea. Please be aware that this is a very active private tour and you should be in very good physical condition since there is a lot of walking on uneven levels and lots of stair climbing.
We both remember this as the best trip we’ve ever taken.