Discover Turkey's Rich Heritage: 18 Days East and West Tour from Istanbul
Embark on an unforgettable 18 days journey through Turkey, where the East meets the West in a harmonious blend of culture, history, and natural beauty. Our meticulously crafted "East and West Turkey Tour Package from Istanbul" is your gateway to explore the diverse landscapes and rich heritage that this remarkable country has to offer. From the ancient wonders of the East to the vibrant cities of the West, this adventure promises to immerse you in the heart and soul of Turkey. Join us on a cultural odyssey that will leave you with lasting memories and a deep appreciation for this captivating crossroads of civilizations. Don't miss your chance to experience the best of both worlds, all in one incredible tour. Book now and let the journey begin!
18 Days East and West Turkey Tour: Unveil the Beauty of Two Worlds
Prepare for an extraordinary adventure that will take you on an 18 days journey across the enchanting landscapes of Turkey. Our "East and West Turkey Tour Package from Istanbul" offers you the opportunity to explore the captivating heritage and natural wonders of both Eastern and Western Turkey. This comprehensive tour will lead you through ancient historical sites, bustling metropolises, and breathtaking natural wonders, providing you with a unique perspective of this diverse country. Below, you'll find a detailed itinerary for this remarkable tour that will help you uncover the beauty of two worlds in one unforgettable journey. Get ready to make memories that will last a lifetime!
Day 1: Istanbul Arrival and Welcome
Your Journey Begins in Istanbul: Arrive in Istanbul, a city where the ancient and modern meet. After landing at the airport, our friendly team will greet you and accompany you to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to unwind or start your exploration. In the evening, we'll gather for a tip-filled welcome meeting, a perfect chance to get acquainted with your tour guide and fellow travelers before we kick off our thrilling 18 days adventure. Overnight - Istanbul.
Day 2: Istanbul City Exploration
Discover the Essence of Istanbul: Istanbul, the city where two continents meet, is a treasure trove of history, culture, and vibrant street life. Today, we embark on a classic guided tour of the city's iconic landmarks. Our first stop is Sultanahmet, the historic heart of Istanbul, brimming with parks, gardens, and awe-inspiring attractions.
- Blue Mosque: Our journey begins at the famous Blue Mosque, renowned for its exquisite blue Iznik tiles and its unique six minarets.
- Hagia Sophia: Next, we visit the Hagia Sophia, an architectural marvel built in the 6th century. It once stood as the grandest and largest church in Christendom before the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, when it was transformed into a mosque.
- Topkapi Palace: Just a stone's throw away is the majestic Topkapi Palace, where we explore its sprawling grounds and a variety of museums housed within the palace walls. The palace was the epicenter of Ottoman rule for centuries.
The evening is yours to enjoy at your leisure. Overnight - Istanbul.
Day 3: Gallipoli's Historic Battlefields
Istanbul to Gallipoli: In the early hours, we set off for the WW1 battlefields of Gallipoli. This region, once a theater of intense conflict, now stands as a hauntingly beautiful landscape adorned with subtle memorials to honor the fallen soldiers.
Guided Tour: Our guided tour of Gallipoli will lead us to significant sites, including ANZAC Cove, Lone Pine Australian War Memorial and cemetery, Chunuk Bair New Zealand War Memorial and cemetery, the Nek, Johnston’s Jolly, and the well-preserved fortified trenches. These trenches, only about 3 feet deep, provided crucial protection for the troops during the intense battles of that era.
Ferry Crossing: After our tour, we'll board a ferry that offers panoramic views of the entire Gallipoli Peninsula as we cross the Dardanelles. Our journey continues as we reach our hotel, where you can unwind by the waterside and reflect on the day's experiences. Overnight - Canakkale.
Day 4: Explore Troy and Journey to Kusadasi
From Gallipoli to Kusadasi via Troy:
Troy - Legendary City: Our day begins at the legendary city of Troy, renowned as the inspiration for Homer's "Iliad" and more recently, the film "Troy." Here, we get the chance to see the famous Trojan Horse and explore the ancient ruins. Troy's history dates back to 3000 BC, making it an archaeological gem.
Pergamum's Rich Heritage: En route to Kusadasi, we stop to explore the fascinating ruins of Pergamum. This ancient city was known for its remarkable temples, libraries, and medical facilities, making it a significant cultural and political center of its time.
Overnight - Kusadasi: We arrive in Kusadasi, where you'll spend the night. Kusadasi is a coastal town known for its beautiful landscapes and vibrant atmosphere.
Day 5: Discover Ancient Ephesus and Serene Sirince
Kusadasi to Sirince via Ephesus:
Ephesus, the Roman Marvel: Today, we embark on a guided tour of the legendary Roman ruins of Ephesus. It stands as one of the best-preserved classical cities in the eastern Mediterranean. Under Roman rule, Ephesus flourished as a sprawling city with a population of nearly 250,000, serving as the Roman capital of Asia Minor. The city's prosperity stemmed from trade and the influx of pilgrims who came to visit the grand Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders. Ephesus showcases the grace of Roman urban life, with meticulously restored features including the Great Theatre, Curetes Way, the Temple of Serapis, and the Library of Celsus. You'll even have the opportunity to see the ancient public toilets and brothel!
Carpet Weaving Demonstration: Turkey has a rich tradition of carpet weaving, and you'll witness the artistry behind it during a carpet weaving demonstration.
Sirince Village: After the demonstration, we visit the charming Greek village of Sirince, nestled on a peaceful mountainside amidst vineyards and orchards. It's the perfect place to unwind and soak in the picturesque surroundings.
Overnight - Kusadasi: We return to Kusadasi for the night. Kusadasi is known for its scenic beauty and vibrant atmosphere.
Day 6: Pamukkale's Natural Wonders and Journey to Marmaris
From Kusadasi to Pamukkale, then Marmaris:
Hierapolis and Pamukkale: Today's journey takes us through vast plains and endless cotton farms until we reach the ancient ruins of Hierapolis and the mesmerizing hot springs of Pamukkale. Marvel at the surreal landscape, shaped by frequent earthquakes in the fault depression of the Menderes River basin. The crystalline marble, quartzites, and stalactites glisten in the sunlight, creating a unique and otherworldly scene. You'll have the chance to walk the terraces and even take a dip in the thermal baths.
Leather Manufacturing House: Later in the day, we make a stop at a leather manufacturing house, where you can explore the craftsmanship behind Turkey's renowned leather products.
Overnight - Marmaris: Our day concludes in Marmaris, where you'll spend the night. Marmaris is a charming coastal town known for its stunning scenery and lively atmosphere.
Day 7: Turtle Beach and Tranquil Fethiye
From Marmaris to Koycegiz, then Fethiye:
Koycegiz Lake: As we arrive in the lakeside town of Koycegiz, a delightful boat cruise awaits. We'll sail to Turtle Beach and have a unique opportunity to pamper ourselves with a rejuvenating mud bath in the local mud bath facility.
Fethiye, the Turquoise Coast Gem: Our journey continues to Fethiye, a picturesque port town nestled along Turkey's Turquoise Coast, surrounded by the majestic Taurus Mountains. Here, we'll spend the next two nights, soaking in the coastal beauty and embracing the serene atmosphere.
Overnight - Fethiye: Enjoy a restful night in Fethiye, known for its breathtaking coastal landscapes and a tranquil ambiance.
Day 8: Kayakoy's Charm and Oludeniz's Blue Lagoon
From Fethiye to Kayakoy and Oludeniz, then back to Fethiye:
Kayakoy, the Quaint Greek Village: Begin your day with breakfast and a visit to the charming Greek village of Kayakoy. Explore the village's unique history and quaint architecture.
Oludeniz and the Blue Lagoon: In the afternoon, we drive to Oludeniz, a popular resort town known for its stunning Blue Lagoon. Take the opportunity to swim in the crystal-clear waters before we return to the neighboring town of Fethiye.
Overnight - Fethiye: Spend the night in Fethiye, where you can relish the coastal atmosphere and relax after a day of exploration.
Day 9: Saklikent Gorge and Arrival in Antalya
From Fethiye to Antalya via Saklikent Gorge:
Saklikent Gorge, Nature's Masterpiece: Today, we venture to the breathtaking Saklikent Gorge, Turkey's longest and deepest canyon. You can take a nature walk, unwind, or simply admire the world passing by while perched on the wooden platforms shaded by fig trees overlooking the river.
Through the Taurus Mountains: We then wind our way through the Touros Mountains, making our way to Antalya. On the journey, we make a stop to visit the stunning Duden Waterfalls, a natural wonder en route.
Overnight - Antalya: Our day concludes in Antalya, where you'll spend the night. Antalya is a coastal city known for its remarkable landscapes and historical significance.
Day 10: From Antalya to Cappadocia via Whirling Dervishes
Departing from Antalya to Konya, en route:
Aspendos Ancient Theater: Our day begins with an early morning departure to Konya. On the way, we make a stop to visit the ancient theater of Aspendos, known for its historical significance and architectural grandeur.
Konya's Spiritual Journey: Upon reaching Konya, we embark on a tour of the Mevlana Whirling Dervishes Monastery and the mausoleum of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi. This spiritual experience provides insight into the mystical world of the whirling dervishes and pays homage to the renowned poet Rumi.
Silk Road Caravanserai: Our journey also includes a visit to a caravanserai along the Silk Road. These ancient structures served as vital rest stops for travelers and traders on the Silk Road.
Overnight - Cappadocia: Our day concludes in Cappadocia, where you'll spend the night. Cappadocia is celebrated for its unique landscapes and historical treasures.
Day 11: Exploring Cappadocia's Underground Treasures
Cappadocia's Surreal Landscape: Today, we embark on a tour of the remarkable Cappadocia region, a true national treasure. The landscapes here are so surreal that they must be seen to be believed. Entire troglodyte villages, subterranean churches, and fortresses have been carved into the soft, porous, and eerily eroded rock of Cappadocia. These remnants are a testament to the persecuted Christians who sought refuge by going underground during the Muslim onslaught from the 1st to the 10th centuries AD. It's a captivating glimpse into one of Turkey's most extraordinary attractions.
Guided Exploration: Our guided tour of the region includes a visit to the World Heritage-listed Goreme Valley, where you can marvel at stunning examples of rock-cut Byzantine churches and chapels. We also explore the Kaymaki Underground City and Uchisar Castle, each with its own unique history and significance.
Pigeon Valley: On the outskirts of Goreme Village, we'll have the chance to witness Pigeon Valley, where centuries-old pigeon houses are carved into the cliffs. The pigeon droppings in the area have been used as natural fertilizer on crops for generations.
Onyx Shop and Leisure: During our tour, we'll make a stop at an Onyx shop, known for its historic jewelry designs unique to Turkey, crafted by local artisans using local materials. If shopping isn't your interest, you can relax and enjoy a drink at a local cafe.
Optional Turkish Dinner and Folklore Evening: For those interested, there is an optional Turkish dinner and folklore evening available tonight, providing a deeper immersion into the local culture.
Overnight - Cappadocia: Spend the night in Cappadocia, where you can truly appreciate its otherworldly beauty and historical significance.
Day 12: Journey on the Silk Road from Cappadocia to Kahta
Leaving Cappadocia: This morning, we bid farewell to the captivating rock formations of Cappadocia and embark on a journey across Turkey's hinterland, tracing the path of the ancient Silk Road via Kayseri.
Karatay Han, a Caravanserai Gem: Along the way, we make a stop at Karatay Han, a well-preserved caravanserai adorned with intricately carved features. These caravanserais were vital stops for travelers and traders on the Silk Road.
Mt. Nemrut in Adiyaman: Our journey continues to Mt. Nemrut in Adiyaman, where you'll discover the magnificent funerary monument perched at the mountain's peak. This monument stands as a testament to the ambitious aspirations of an ancient king.
Overnight - Kahta: Spend the night in Kahta, where you can reflect on the historical richness of the region and the grandeur of Mt. Nemrut.
Day 13: Journey to Sanliurfa - The City of Prophets
From Kahta to Sanliurfa via Ataturk Dam:
Ataturk Dam: Today, we make our way to the imposing Ataturk Dam, a significant engineering feat, before continuing our journey to Sanliurfa, an ancient city known as the city of prophets.
Abraham's Birthplace: In Sanliurfa, we explore the cave and shrine believed to mark the birthplace of the biblical patriarch Abraham. This city holds immense historical and religious significance, and the sacred pools of Abraham are nearby, home to sacred carp fed by the pilgrims who visit this holy site.
Beehive Houses of Harran: Later in the afternoon, we visit the famous beehive houses of Harran, an ancient city mentioned in Genesis as the place where Abraham once lived.
Overnight - Sanliurfa: Spend the night in Sanliurfa, immersing yourself in the city's rich history and religious heritage.
Day 14: Gobeklitepe - Diyarbakir
Gobeklitepe Archaeological Site: Our morning commences with a visit to the ongoing archaeological excavation at Gobeklitepe. This relatively lesser-known site is possibly one of the most significant archaeological discoveries globally, and it remains shrouded in mystery. The site is believed to be around 12,000 years old, and one of its enigmas is how the massive 60-ton pillars were erected.
Diyarbakir, the Ancient City with Mighty Walls: Our journey then takes us to Diyarbakir, another ancient settlement. This overwhelmingly Kurdish city is renowned for its ancient city walls, constructed by the Romans using massive black basalt blocks. After the Great Wall of China, Diyarbakir boasts the longest continuous defensive wall in the world.
Overnight - Diyarbakir: Spend the night in Diyarbakir, a city with a rich historical heritage and impressive architecture.
Day 15: Saffron Monastery, Mardin, and Hasankeyf
From Diyarbakir to Tatvan via Mardin and Hasankeyf:
Mardin, the Ancient Town: Our journey takes us to the ancient town of Mardin, perched on a high hill overlooking the plains of southern Turkey and Syria. In Mardin, we visit the Deir-Al-Zafaran, also known as the Saffron Monastery. This active monastery serves as the center of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchy and has been a sacred site for centuries.
Hasankeyf's Hidden Treasures: We then drive to Hasankeyf, where we explore the many caves, hidden waterways, tombs, palaces, and the ruins of the Great Mosque. Hasankeyf is situated by the Tigris River and is on the verge of being submerged under the floodwaters of a new dam.
Overnight - Tatvan: Our day concludes in Tatvan, where you'll spend the night. Tatvan offers a unique blend of history and natural beauty, and you can relish the serene surroundings.
Day 16: Akdamar Island - Van
From Tatvan to Van via Akdamar Island:
Armenian Church of the Holy Cross: Following breakfast, our journey takes us to the vibrant city of Van. En route, we visit the beautifully restored 10th-century Armenian Church of the Holy Cross on the island of Akdamar. This church was constructed as part of a palace and religious complex between 915 and 921 by an Armenian king and is set against the backdrop of the stunning mountains surrounding Lake Van.
Van City: From Akdamar, we continue to the city of Van, known for its historical significance and captivating culture.
Overnight - Van: Spend the night in Van, where you can immerse yourself in the city's unique heritage and hospitality.
Day 17: Sunset at Van Citadel
Silk Road Journey to Hosap Castle: Today, we embark on a journey once again along the historic Silk Road, leading us to Hosap Castle. The main structure of Hosap Castle was strategically built spanning the Silk Road, serving as both a protective fortification for the road and a point for collecting tolls from travelers.
Return to Van for Lunch: After exploring Hosap Castle, we return to Van, where you'll have time for lunch, allowing you to savor local flavors and specialties.
Sunset at Van Citadel: Our day concludes with a visit to the Citadel of Van, where you'll have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful sunset. This ancient citadel, perched atop a large rock outcrop, has a history spanning 3,000 years. It once served as the heart of the Urartian capital and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city, Lake Van, and the majestic Mt. Nemrut.
Overnight - Van: Spend the night in Van, relishing the rich history and natural beauty of the region.
Day 18: Departure from Van
Today brings our extraordinary adventure to a close. Following breakfast and hotel check-out, we provide a transfer to Van Airport for your onward departure journey.
If you wish to return to Istanbul on day 18, we are happy to arrange the internal flight for you upon request. Please don't hesitate to contact us for further details and assistance.
- 17 breakfasts and 13 dinners
- Airport arrival and departure transfers
- Escorted by an English-speaking tour guide
- 17 nights in 4-star hotels and special class hotels
- Guided sightseeing in various locations, including 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 Dardanelles
- All relevant transfers and transportation in private, modern air-conditioned vehicles
- Museum fees as mentioned in the program
- International flights and visas
- Personal expenses
Pick-up and Drop-off Details
- Istanbul Airport
Exploring the Wonders of Turkey: An 18 Days Adventure from Istanbul
Buckle up for a journey that will sweep you off your feet as you traverse the diverse landscapes of Turkey. From the vibrant streets of Istanbul to the ancient wonders scattered across the country, this 18 days tour promises an unforgettable adventure.
Istanbul - Where East Meets West
Our adventure begins in Istanbul, the only city in the world straddling two continents. The unique blend of European and Asian influences is palpable here. Stroll through the historic Sultanahmet district, where you'll be greeted by the iconic Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace. The enchanting Bosphorus strait divides the city and offers a picturesque setting for a ferry ride. Istanbul will set the tone for the incredible experiences awaiting you.
Gallipoli - A Walk Through History
Early in the morning, we head to the historic WWI battlefields of Gallipoli. As you walk through the hallowed grounds, you'll retrace the steps of the ANZAC soldiers and pay your respects at significant memorials like ANZAC Cove and Lone Pine Australian Memorial. The haunting beauty of this place leaves an indelible mark on all who visit.
Turtle Beach and Fethiye - Nature's Tranquility
Koycegiz and Fethiye are your destinations today. A boat cruise to Turtle Beach and a mud bath adventure await. Nature lovers will revel in this experience. Fethiye, with its stunning Blue Lagoon, offers a perfect backdrop for relaxation and swimming.
Underground Cities - A Journey Through Time
Cappadocia, the land of surreal rock formations and underground cities, will leave you in awe. Discover the legacy of persecuted Christians who carved troglodyte villages and subterranean churches to escape adversity. The region boasts rock-cut Byzantine churches, Kaymaki Underground City, and Uchisar Castle. Pigeon Valley is a unique sight, where ancient pigeon houses are carved into the cliffs.
Gobeklitepe - Uncovering Ancient Mysteries
Prepare to be astounded by Gobekli Tepe, one of the world's most significant archaeological sites. The mystery surrounding these 12,000-year-old pillars continues to intrigue scientists and history buffs. Diyarbakir's ancient city walls and rich history will transport you back in time.
Akdamar Island - A Glimpse into History
On Akdamar Island, you'll explore a 10th-century Armenian Church, a testament to ancient craftsmanship and history. The church's stunning mountain setting on Lake Van is a sight to behold. Van city is your final destination for the day, offering a blend of history and culture.
Farewell to Van
As we bid farewell to Van, you'll carry memories of Turkey's rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and the warmth of its people. This 18-day adventure is more than a tour; it's a journey that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Prepare to be captivated by Turkey's East and West, where history and nature unite to create an enchanting tapestry of experiences.