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Uncover the beauty of Istanbul and Cappadocia on this week-long journey across two of Turkey’s most iconic destinations. Start your scenic experience in the stone and mortar wonders of the city before proceeding to witness some of the most intriguing collaborations of man and nature in the magical land of Cappadocia.
Passing through two of Turkey’s most visited destinations, this tour will take you through most of the country’s most sought-after attractions. Starting at the beautiful Istanbul, the tour leads you to the depths of the finest gifts left behind by the city’s previous and powerful inhabitants. In Cappadocia, you will explore one of the fascinating landscapes on earth, from the sky, on land, and below the surface.
From the capital of all-times to where it all begun…
Touch down in Istanbul and enjoy a private transfer to your hotel, where you will spend the night.
Overnight at Istanbul
After a relaxing overnight stay in Istanbul, prepare for a historical and spectacular exploration of Istanbul’s Ottoman treasures. Accompanied by a professional guide, start the day with a visit to the sumptuous Topkapi Palace.
This 15th-century construction was the imperial residence of the Ottoman Sultans for around 300 years. Today, the palace proudly overlooks the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn and holds testament to the Sultans’ lavish lives. While its magnificent architecture bedazzles you, marvel at its breathtaking courtyards and unique collection of Ottoman weapons, Japanese and Chinese porcelain, and beautiful fabrics. In the Holy relics chamber, there are personal items believed to belong to the Prophet Muhammad, alongside David’s sword and the staff of Moses.
From here, proceed to what some consider the most spectacular building in the city; the Blue Mosque. Completed in the 17th century, this delicate blend of art and architecture has gained worldwide recognition due to its magnificent blue Iznik tiles as decorations. Illuminating the tiles are 260 colorful windows, which give the interior a bedazzling look and feel. Around 20,000 blue Iznik tiles cover the structure’s wall, where it gets its name Blue Mosque.
After exploring the beautiful mosque, visit the oldest and largest Bazaar in Turkey, the Grand Bazaar. With more than 4,000 active shops, this market gives you unlimited shopping options for the best Turkish handicrafts. Whether you want textiles, oriental carpets, jewels, or cotton towels, it’s safe to say that you can find any souvenir you want in the Grand Bazaar. Thankfully, it has been sectioned according to the trades, which makes it easier to explore.
Another historical bazaar that we will explore is the Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar). It may not be as large as the Grand Bazaar, but it makes up for this with an irresistible blend of colors and scents. The market was established in the mid-17th century as part of the Yeni Camii complex. Today, Turkish traders display thousands of exotic and local spices in the market, creating a radiant atmosphere with rich colors and beautiful aromas.
The Spice Bazaar will be our last excursion of the day, after which you will return to your hotel for the night.
Overnight at Istanbul | Meals: B
Today will take you across some of the best works from the time when Istanbul was Constantinople. Your first attraction for the day is a building that many consider the city’s finest- the Hagia Sophia. Also known as the church of the Divine Wisdom, this timeless architectural marvel boasts of an eternal beauty found nowhere else in the world.
The church was constructed in the 6th century AD and decorated with the grandeur and splendor that no other medieval church could match. When Constantinople fell in the 15th century, it was converted into a mosque and retouched with some Islamic decorations. This further accented its already incredible beauty, turning it into the divine masterpiece we see today.
From there, proceed to another masterpiece from the 6th century, the Basilica Cistern. Constructed like a giant cathedral complete with fine columns, the underground cistern once supplied water to the Great Palace in Constantinople. Today, the Basilica cistern is an imposing structure that wows everyone curious enough to descend the 52 steps leading below the city.
Our last attraction for the day will be the Church of St Saviour in Chora. In the 11th century structure, you will witness the richest repository of Byzantine frescoes and mosaics depicting the Virgin Mary’s life and ministry of Christ.
Return to your hotel for the night.
Overnight at Istanbul | Meals: B
Begin your day by visiting the Sabanci Museum, where you will enjoy impressive displays of fine arts from modern times and the Ottoman era. Also known as the Horse Mansion, the museum boasts of a permanent collection of calligraphy art, paintings, and magnificent Ottoman and Islamic traditional arts and documents. It also occasionally hosts temporary exhibitions by big names in the artistic world.
You will then embark on a private yacht cruise on the Bosphorus, where you will enjoy a spectacular view of Istanbul’s skyline, dotted with magnificent palaces, fortresses, iconic mosques, and restored Ottoman villas on the Asian and European sides of the city. Sip delicious soft drinks as you enjoy this exotic perspective of Istanbul from the waters.
In the afternoon, proceed to the affluent district of Nisantasi for an elegant shopping and dining experience before finishing your day at the heart of the city in the Pera District.
Spend the night in Istanbul.
Overnight at Istanbul | Meals: B
Late afternoon flight to Kayseri and a drive to the magical Cappadocia, where you will spend the night.
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 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.
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.
Overnight at Cappadocia | Meals: B, L
Spend your morning in Cappadocia and catch your flight back home via Istanbul.
If you have limited time, don’t like to rush things, or if you have been to Ephesus on a cruise in the past, this tour is for you.