Day 1: Arrival
Welcome to Istanbul, the city which unites Europe and Asia since the ancient times. It is a city of mosques, tulips and bazars, a city with amazingly rich history, and now you have a great opportunity to discover your own Istanbul!
Upon arrival, your private driver takes you to your centrally-located hotel for check-in. After check-in, the rest of the day is free for you to enjoy the city on your own.
Day 2: Discovering the Old Istanbul
In the morning after breakfast, meet your private guide and driver to embark on a half day tour of Istanbul and discover its most iconic sights.
You start the day with a visit to the St. Sophia, one of the finest architectural works in the world. It has been nominated as the 8th wonder of the world by many historians. Considered one of the world’s most beautiful buildings, the Hagia Sofia, which means Church of Holy Wisdom of God, is an important surviving example of Byzantine architecture.
Then you proceed to the Blue Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Istanbul and is one of the principal adornments on the skyline of Istanbul. It is also famous for its blue tiles and 6 minarets.
Next on your itinerary for today is the Hippodrome, the former centre of sportive and political activities of Constantinople. During the visit you’ll be able to see the Obelisk from Egypt Serpentine Column from Delphi and fountain of Wilhelm II.
As a culmination of the tour you visit the famous Grand Bazaar, experience its bustle and meet its unique characters. As a special treat, at the Grand Bazaar you learn to play the ancient game of Backgammon with the locals.
After the tour you return to your hotel and have the afternoon at leisure.
Day 3: Bosphorus Cruise, Topkapi Palace & the Flavours of Istanbul
In the morning after breakfast, meet your private guide and driver and embark on a full day tour to explore the enchanting sights Istanbul has to offer.
You start the tour today with a Bosphorus Cruise, an unforgettable experience providing a great opportunity to admire the beautiful city from water, a strait separating Europe from Asia.
After the cruise, you visit the Spice Market, where you meet the spice experts that tell you all the secrets and specialties of spices. Here you also smell the various spices, learn how to distinguish them and use them with different meals.
You continue your exploration of Turkish specialties with a visit to the Haci Bekir shop, one of the remnants of the Ottoman times. This special little shop was opened in 1777 by a confectioner Haci Bekir Effendi and has sold Turkish delights for more than two centuries. Now the fifth generation in the family business run this shop, which is the country's oldest company and one of 100 oldest companies in the world!
Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi was the first company to sell roasted and ground coffee to the public and today, Turkish Coffee is synonymous with Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi both in Turkey and around the world. Today you get to experience this special coffee during the tour!
As a culmination of the tour you visit the magnificent Topkapi Palace, its Harem and Treasury. In 1465, Sultan Mehmet, The Conqueror of Istanbul, ordered the construction of the first palace; his successors added new pavilions, thus spreading the palace to a total area of 70,000 sqm (7 hectares). The Ottoman Sultans lived in and reined the empire from this palace until the 19th century.
After the tour you return to your hotel and have the evening at leisure.
Day 4: Departure
Following breakfast, you check out, meet your private driver and depart from Istanbul.
Day 4: Arrival
Welcome to Cappadocia, known for its otherwordly landscape and rich history. Upon arrival at Kayseri airport, your private driver takes you to your hotel in Cappadocia for check-in. After check-in, the rest of the evening is free for you to enjoy the town on your own.
Day 5: Full Day Tour of Cappadocia
In the morning after breakfast, you meet your private guide and driver to explore the spectacular landscapes of Northern Cappadocia.
Today you start your exploration of Cappadocia with a visit to the Goreme Open Air Museum, the most famous tourist attraction in Cappadocia. Here you witness ancient cave churches from the 10-12th centuries, cut into the rock by Orthodox monks, decorated by original frescoes.
Next on your list is the Zelve Valley, an amazing cave town, honeycombed with dwellings, religious and secular chambers. Zelve is among the earliest-settled and last-abandoned monastic valleys in Cappadocia, which was an inhabited town and a living community up until 1952.
Devrent Valley which you visit next, in contract to Goreme and Zelve, also known as Imaginary Valley, was never even inhabited, but boasts incredible pink hued rock formations and geological anomalies that have been formed by centuries of erosion and forma an amazing lunar landscape. The valley also has many animal shaped rocks, it looks like a sculpture zoo made by nature.
You then proceed to the Cavusin Village, one of the oldest settlements in the area, is famous for its Church of St.John the Baptist that dates back to the 5th century and is the oldest church in the region. The old Cavusin village, which was abandoned several decades ago due to rock falls, was all carved into the hillside. The inhabitants of Cavusin lived in houses which were cut into a massive rock wall. Now the insides of many of the dwellings are exposed due to hundreds and hundreds of years of weathering and erosion. So, now from a distance you can look into a church or what was once someone’s cozy little cave home.
As a culmination of the tour you visit the town of Avanos set on the banks of Kizilirmak (Red) river, which supplies the town with clay for pottery, from which the area derives its main livelihood for centuries. It is believed that some of the techniques still used today date back to 2000 BC, and today you have a chance to learn these ancient techniques on a pottery masterclass at a local pottery.
After the tour and masterclass, you are transferred to your hotel and have the evening at leisure.
Day 6: Optional Hot Air Balloon Ride & Departure
At dawn you have a chance to participate in an amazing hot air balloon experience in this unique location.
At midday you check out, meet your private driver and depart from Cappadocia.
Day 6: Arrival
Welcome to Izmir, located on Turkey’s Aegean coast! This city was founded by the Greeks, taken over by the Romans and rebuilt by Alexander the Great before becoming part of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century.
Upon arrival, you are transferred to your hotel for check-in. After check-in, the rest of the evening is free for you to enjoy the city on your own.
Day 7: Ephesus Full Day Tour
In the morning after breakfast, you meet your private guide and driver for a full day tour of Ephesus, located just 1 hour away.
Ephesus, a UNESCO site and one of the largest and best-preserved ancient cities in the world, is a must for those who are interested in archaeology and culture. Ephesus, once the most important commercial center of the western Anatolia, is one of the top highlights of Turkey. Temple of Artemis, one of the “Seven Wonders of the World" has once been located here as well. Together with your guide you enter through the Magnesia Gate and begin a slow, downhill walk into the ruins of this Roman provincial capital. Your route takes you past the Odeon, the Celsus Library, the Temple of Hadrian, the Fountain of Trajan and the Great Theater. The theater had seating for 25,000 spectators, which was the site where St. Paul preached to the Ephesians, and is used today for a local spring festival.
After a break for lunch, you proceed to the Archeological Museum, where you are escorted through the nine exhibits tracing the religious and chronological history of the ancient city. Filled with attractively displayed mosaics, statuary, and other artefacts, the museum exhibits several marble statues of the Mother Goddess Artemis. The Open Air Museum and the Archeology Museum combined give you a very fulfilling idea of the city of Ephesus and its importance in the ancient times.
Today you also visit the House of the Virgin Mary, the place where Mary may have spent her last days. Indeed, she may have come in the area together with Saint John, who spent several years in the area to spread Christianity. Although this sights has never been officially recognised by the Catholic Church as the home of Mary, a lot of gestures made by the popes authenticated its history in the eyes of the faithful and House of the Virgin Mary became a major place of Christian pilgrimage.
Another sight on your list for today is the ruins of St. John’s Basilica. It is believed that the evangelist St. John spent his last years in this region and was buried in the southern slope of Ayosolug Hill. Three hundred years after the death of St. John, a small chapel was constructed over the grave in the 4th century. The church of St John was changed into a marvellous basilica during the region of Emperor Justinian.
Please note: The site requires stair climbing at the entrance and walking over uneven ground, stones and gravel walkways. The site has some fallen ruins and some light climbing will be required.
After the tour you are transferred to your hotel in Izmir and have the evening at leisure.
Day 8: Departure
Following breakfast, you check out, meet your private driver and depart from Izmir.
Day 8: Arrival
Upon arrival to Athens, you have a transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is at your own leisure.
Day 9: Guided City Tour with Acropolis
Enjoy an 8-hour guided sightseeing tour around the most outstanding Athens attractions, including Constitution Square, the House of Parliament, the National Library, the Presidential Palace, the Panathenaic Stadium, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian's Arch. Following a stop for lunch continue to the world-renowned Acropolis, its museum and the Parthenon - one of the world's greatest cultural monuments that are regarded an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, Athenian democracy and western civilization.
Day 10: Full Day Private Tour to Corinth and Nemea Winery
Today you embark on a full day trip with an English-speaking driver to Ancient Corinth, Nafplio and wine region Nemea. The first stop is a Corinth Canal opened in 1892 and separating the Peloponnese peninsula from the rest of Greece. Continue to Ancient Corinth where you visit the city dominated by the hill of Acrocorinth and the old Castle, the oldest and largest castle in southern Greece. Travel to Nemea known for the Nemean Games, the Temple Of Zeus and also for the vineyards. Nemea has the most wineries in Greece as grape growing has been a tradition here since ancient times. Driving through the grape yards of the largest wine production zone in Greece, we will visit one of the best wineries for tasting. The last stop for today is Nafplio which is considered to be the most scenic city, it functioned as the capital of Greece until 1834. After the trip you are taken back to the hotel in Athens.
Day 11: Departure
Following breakfast in your hotel, you check out and depart from Athens.
Not included: international flights, multiple arrival/departure transfers, other meals not mentioned in the program, optional tours and services, all personal expenses.
1. Hotels availability is subject to change. In case current hotels are booked out we will provide alternative hotels of an equal value for you.
2. We include 1 vehicle for your arrival and departure transfers. If multiple vehicles are required additional transfer costs will apply.
Stress-free Booking Book your journey without stress and at convenient pace. You can pay a deposit of 20% to book any tour in any major currency; the final balance will be due 90 days before start date. In event if you decide to change or postpone your trip, you can transfer your deposit to any other packages we offer. Cruise bookings and special offers may be subject to different booking terms.
Trip Assurance If you need our assistance during your trip, you can call our support line available from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (CET) on weekdays and weekends.
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