East and West Turkey Tour 18 days tour of perfectly combines from Istanbul to Van with Cappadocia and East Turkey, Lets Discover where East meets West. Small Group Fully Escorted Cultural Turkey Tours with max. 25 passengers depart on request but we need 15 people to guarantee departure.
Highlits of Tour The stunning Hasop Castle, Silk Road. Akdamar Island, Mount Nemrut, Gobekli Tepe , Lake Van, Gallipoli Peninsular - ANZAC Cove,Aegean coast Pamukkale thermal pools and Roman Hierapolis Greek villages of Sirince and Kayakoy Konya - Silk Road, ancient caravanserais and Mevlana Whirling Dervish Museum Cappadocia - Uchisar Castle, fairy chimneys and underground city Van - 3000 year old citadel in all its glory at sunset. The massive Ataturk Dam The famous beehive houses of Harran The Deir-Al-Zafaran - active monastery in Syrian Orthodox Patriarchy. Istanbul - old City, Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar Troy - Trojan horse and ancient ruins Roman ruins of Ephesus and Pergamum Carpet weaving demonstration and leather showroom Marmaris, Saklikent Gorge, Antalya and the ancient theatre of Aspendos Fethiye, Koycegiz and Olu Deniza - lake, Turtle Beach, mud baths and the beautiful Blue Lagoon
Departure: Istanbul Ataturk Aırport
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Day 1: Istanbul Saturday.
Upon arrival into Istanbul airport you will be met and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the afternoon offers free time for you to relax or explore. This evening our tip filled welcome meeting takes place. A great opportunity to meet your tour guide and travelling companions before our exciting 18 day adventure gets under way. Overnight - Istanbul
Day 2: Istanbul City Tour
Istanbul is the only city in the world to span two continents resting on the shores of the Bosphorus - the strait of water that divides the continents of Europe and Asia. Its illustrious past leaves a rich legacy of churches, mosques, palaces and museums, complemented by the behemoth Grand Bazaar and colourful street life. Today we embark on a classic guided tour of the city's highlights. Our first stop is Sultanahmet, the compact old city filled with parks, gardens and stunning sights. The Blue Mosque is famed for it’s blue Iznik tiles and unique 6 minarets. The Hagia Sofia, constructed in the 6th century, reigned as the grandest and biggest church in Christendom until the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, when it became a mosque. Just around the corner is the stunning Topkapi Palace where we spend time exploring the grounds and various museums contained within the Palace walls. Evening at leisure. Overnight - Istanbul (B)
Day 3: Gallipoli's Battlefields Istanbul – Gallipoli.
Early this morning we travel to the WW1 battlefields of Gallipoli. Here, we’ll embark upon a guided tour of the region, once the site of fierce fighting and today almost hauntingly beautiful, with its wooded landscape dotted with understated memorials to the war dead. Our guided tour of the region will take in sights such as ANZAC Cove, Lone Pine Australian War Memorial and cemetery, Chunuk Bair New Zealand War Memorial and cemetery, the Nek, Johnston’s Jolly and the many fortified trenches still clearly visible amongst the scrub after all these years. Roughly 3 feet deep, the system of trenches provided much need safe cover for troops as they desperately fought the enemy. Crossing the Dardenelles by ferry (offering panoramic views of the entire Gallipoli Peninsular) we proceed to our hotel for a little rest and relaxation, waterside. Overnight - Canakkale (B, D)
Day 4: Troy & Kusadasi Gallipoli – Kusadasi.
At Troy (the inspiration for Homer's Illiad and much more recently the movie Troy) we visit the Trojan Horse and ruins. We enjoy a guided tour of the ancient city that dates back to 3000BC! En route to Kusadasi, we explore the ruins of Pergamum with it's impressive temples, library and medical facilities which made it a famous cultural and political centre of it's time. Overnight - Kusadasi (B, D)
Day 5: Ancient Ephesus Kusadasi - Sirince.
Today, we enjoy a guided tour of the legendary Roman ruins of Ephesus. Positively the best preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean, Ephesus, under the Romans, was a vast city with a population nearing 250,000 and became the Roman Capital of Asia Minor. It revelled in it's prosperity from commerce and visiting pilgrims who came to see the great Temple of Artemis - one of the Seven Ancient Wonders. Exemplifying the finesse of Roman urban life, Ephesus boasts carefully restored elements including a Great Theatre, Curetes Way, the Temple of Serapis and the Library of Celsus. Stop by the ancient public toilets and public brothel! Carpet weaving has long traditions in Turkey and afterward we stop to watch a demonstration of how they are made before visiting the quaint Greek village of Sirince peached mountainside within a valley of vineyards and orchards. Overnight - Kusadasi (B, D)
Day 6: Stunning Pamukkale Kusadasi – Pamukkale – Marmaris.
Meandering through the sweeping plains and endless cotton farms we arrive at the ruins of Roman Hieropolis and the hot springs of Pamakkule. Admire this surreal landscape created by frequent earthquakes in the fault depression of the Menderes river basin. Marvel at the crystalline marble, quartzites and stalagtites, which shimmer in the sunlight. There will be time to paddle our feet as you walk the terraces or opt for a dip in the thermal baths. Later we stop at a leather manufacturing house. Overnight - Marmaris (B, D)
Day 7: Turtle Beach & Fethiye Marmaris - Koycegiz - Fethiye.
Arriving at the lakeside town of Koycegiz, we embark upon a boat cruise to Turtle Beach and smother ourselves in mud at the local mud bath. We continue our journey to Fethiye, a charming port town on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, fringed by the Taurus Mountains where we'll spend the next two nights. Overnight - Fethiye (B, D)
Day 8: Kayakoy & Olu Deniz Fethiye - Kayakoy Greek village - Oludeniz - Fethiye.
After breakfast today we explore the quaint Greek village of Kayakoy. This afternoon we drive to Oludeniz, a popular resort town which is home to the beautiful Blue Lagoon. Here you'll have the opportunity to enjoy a swim before travelling back to neighbouring Fethiye. Overnight - Fethiye (B)
Day 9: Saklikent Gorge Fethiye - Antalya.
Today we visit the stunningly beautiful Saklikent Gorge, Turkey’s longest and deepest canyon, take a walk through nature, or just relax and watch the world go by from the fig tree-shaded wooden platforms that overlook the river. Weaving our way through the Touros Mountains we arrive to Antalya visiting the Duden Waterfalls en route. Overnight - Antalya (B, D)
Day 10: Whirling Dervishes Antalya – Cappadocia.
Early morning departure for Konya, en route we visit the ancient theatre of Aspendos. Arriving at Konya, we tour the monastery of the Mevlana whirling dervishes and the mausoleum of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi. A further stop is made along the Silk Road at the Seljuk - a fine example of an ancient Silk Road caravanserai. Overnight - Cappadocia (B, D)
Day 11: Underground Cities
Today we tour the stunning Cappadocia region - an extraordinary national treasure The utter improbability of the seemingly surreal landscapes have to be seen to be believed, where whole troglodyte villages, subterranean churches and fortresses have been hewn from the soft, porous, eerily eroded rock of Cappadocia. The crumbling legacy of persecuted Christians trying to escape the Muslim onslaught in 1st - 10th centuries AD by effectively heading underground is one of Turkey’s finest attractions. A guided tour of the region includes the World Heritage Listed Goreme Valley to see stunning examples of rock-cut Byzantine churches and chapels, Kaymaki Underground City and Uchisar Castle. Stopping on the outskirts of Goreme Village we have the opportunity to see Pigeon Valley where century’s old pigeon houses are carved into the surrounding cliffs, the pigeon droppings that litter the area have been used as fertilizer on crops for generations. Here you will also have the opportunity to visit an Onyx shop, specialising in historic jewellery designs unique to Turkey and using local materials and craftsmen. For those not interested in shopping spend a little time relaxing and grab a drink from the local cafe. An optional Turkish dinner and folklore evening is available tonight. Overnight - Cappadocia (B)
Day 12: The Silk Road Cappadocia – Kahta.
This morning we leave the weird rock formations of Cappadocia and head out across Turkey’s hinterland following the ancient Silk Road route via Kayseri. Along the way we stop at Karatay Han, a well-preserved caravanserai with ornately carved features. Proceeding to Mt. Nemrut in Adiyaman, discover the magnificent funerary monument that stands at the peak of the mountain, a testament to an ancient king’s ambition. Overnight - Kahta (B, D)
Day 13: Ataturk Dam Kahta – Urfa.
Today we continue to the massive Ataturk Dam on our way to Urfa, the ancient city of prophets. It was here where the biblical patriarch Abraham was supposedly born and we’ll visit the cave and shrine that marks his birthplace. Nearby are the sacred pools of Abraham filled with sacred carp that are fed by the many pilgrims who visit this holy site. Later in the afternoon we visit the famous beehive houses of Harran, an ancient city mentioned in Genesis as the place where Abraham lived. Overnight - Sanli Urfa (B, D)
Day 14: Gobekil Tepe Urfa – Gobekli Tepe –Diyarbekir.
Our morning begins with a visit to the ongoing archaeological dig at Gobekli Tepe. Relatively unknown, Gobekli Tepe is possibly one of the most important archaeological sites in the world and mystery surrounds how the 60 tonne pillars were erected some 12,000 years ago. Diyarbekir, another ancient settlement, is our next stop. An overwhelmingly Kurdish city, Diyarbekir is famed for its ancient city walls built from massive black basalt blocks by the Romans. After the Great Wall of China, Diyarbekir has the longest continuous defensive wall in the world. Overnight - Diyabekir (B, D)
Day 15: Saffron Monastery Diyarbekir – Mardin – Tatvan.
Arriving at the ancient town of Mardin, located on a high hill overlooking the plains of southern Turkey and Syria, we visit the Deir-Al-Zafaran (Saffron Monastery). An active monastery and the centre of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchy, the site of the Saffron Monastery has been considered sacred for hundreds of years. We later drive to Hasankeyf to visit the many caves, hidden waterways, tombs and palaces, as well as the ruins of the Great Mosque. Situated by the Tigris River, Hasankeyf is soon to be submerged under the flood waters of a new dam. We continue on to Tatvan where we spend the night Overnight - Tatvan (B, D)
Day 16: Akdamar Island Tatvan – Van.
After breakfast we begin our journey to the sophisticated city of Van. Along the way we visit the beautifully restored 10th century Armenian Church of the Holy Cross on the island of Akdamar. The church was built as part of a palace and religious complex between 915 and 921 by an Armenian king, and enjoys a stunning mountain setting on Lake Van. From Akdamar we continue to Van city. Overnight - Van (B, D)
Day 17: Sunset at Van Citadel
Today we follow the Silk Road once again to Hosap Castle. The main castle structure of Hosap was built straddling the Silk Road and served as both a means of protecting the road and as a point of charging tolls on travellers. From Hosap we return to Van where you will have time for lunch. We end the day with a visit to the Citadel of Van to enjoy sunset. Dominating the city’s skyline atop a large rock outcrop, the 3,000 year-old castle was once the centre of the Urartian capital and commands wonderful panoramic views of the city and lake, as well as Mt. Nemrut. Overnight - Van (B, D)
Day 18: Van .
Today marks the end of our unique adventure. After breakfast and hotel check out we transfer you to the Van airport for your onward departure journey. (B)
If you would like to return to Istanbul on day 18, we can arrange the internal flight for you upon request. Please contact us for details.
17 breakfasts and 13 dinners
Airport arrival and departure transfers
Escorted by an English speaking tour guide
17 nights 4 star hotels and special class hotels.
Guided sightseeing - Istanbul, Gallipoli, Troy, Ruins of Ephesus, Pergamum, Sirince, Pamukkale, Hierapolis, Koycegiz, Kayakoy, Marmaris, Antalya, Konya, Cappadocia, Urfa, Gobekli Tepe, Deit-Al-Zafaran, Hasankeyf, Akdamar Island and Van.
Wine tasting in Sirince Ferry crossing of the Dardenelles
All relevant transfers and transportation in private, modern air-conditioned vehicles Museum Fees as mntioned programme.
International flights and visas.