Departure Date: 01/07/2019
Explore stunning Istanbul with its bazaars and mosques and wander around the battlefields of Gallipoli See Roman ruins in Pergamum and Ephesus, discover the beautiful Aegean Coast, the natural wonder of Pamukkale and the jewel in Turkey’s crown - Cappadocia, with its amazing underground cities and whimsical landscape.
Day 1: Welcome to Turkey
Saturday. Welcome to Turkey and the start of your holiday. There's an included arrival transfer to our hotel before the afternoon is at leisure. Relax in the hotel or head out to explore the city. Istanbul is easy to get around on foot and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes dotted about the city. Overnight: Istanbul
Day 2: The Old City
Enjoy a tour of the Old City, from where the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires were ruled. We’ll visit the stunning Blue Mosque, famed for its blue Iznik tiles. Discover the Hippodrome and Hagia Sofia, which was constructed as a Basilica in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian. Finally, we explore the impressive Topkapi Palace, which was the main residence of the Ottoman sultans in the 15th century.
Overnight: Istanbul | Breakfast
Day 3: Gallipoli - WW1 Battlefields
Istanbul – Gallipoli. Today we explore ANZAC Cove and the many memorials dotted across the WW1 battlefields. Our guided tour takes in sights including ANZAC Cove, Lone Pine Memorial and cemetery, Chunuk Bair Memorial and cemetery, the Nek, Johnston’s Jolly and the many fortified trenches still clearly visible amongst the scrub after all these years. Overnight: Canakkale | Breakfast
Day 4: Troy & Kusadasi
Gallipoli – Kusadasi. This morning we enjoy a short guided tour of Troy. The legend of the lost city of Troy and Homer’s poetry was brought to life by it’s rediscovery in 1863. Subsequent excavations revealed nine ancient cities, one on top of the other, dating back to 3000 BC. We enjoy a tour of the ruins and admire a replica of the Trojan wooden horse that, as legend goes, was filled with Aechaean soldiers who helped to sack Troy.
Driving further south we reach the ancient ruins of Pergamum, home to one of the steepest amphitheatres in the classical world. Pergamum was also famous for its Asclepion (medical centre). We continue to Kusadasi on the Aegean Coast via a leather manufacturing house. Overnight: Kusadasi | Breakfast
Day 5: Ancient Ephesus
Today, we explore legendary Ephesus - perhaps the best-preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean. Under Roman rule, Ephesus was a vast and prosperous city with a population nearing 250,000. It was an important centre of commerce and a popular destination for pilgrims who came to see the great Temple of Artemis - one of the Seven Ancient Wonders.
We have plenty of time to tour the marble ruins of Ephesus. Discover the famous Library of Celsus, the Stadium, the gymnasium of Vedius and the Great Theatre. We’ll see ancient public toilets, a brothel, fountains and various temples. There's also a visit to a carpet manufacturing house. Overnight: Kusadasi | Breakfast
Day 6: Pamukkale Thermal Pools
Kusadasi – Pamukkale. Driving east, we arrive at Pamukkale - home of the famous gleaming white calcium terraced pools. Known locally as the Cotton Castles, they're a natural phenomena and gift from Mother Nature. Pamukkale was formed when warm, calcium rich mineral water cascaded over the cliff edge, cooling and depositing in the process. The calcium built natural shelves and pools on the cliffs are known as travertines. Take a barefoot walk along the travertines or opt for a dip in the warm waters of the thermal pool, with its submerged fragments of fluted marble columns.
Our last stop of the day is the ruined spa town of Hierapolis, famed for the curative powers of its mineral springs. These were dammed to create communal baths. Overnight: Pamukkale | Breakfast
Days 7-8 Fairytale Cappadocia
Pamukkale - Cappadocia. On day 7 we drive to Cappadocia, stopping to visit some ancient caravanserais (roadside inns) such as Sultanhani. Tonight there's a fun optional evening of Turkish folklore.
On day 8 we enjoy a guided tour of Cappadocia - perhaps the jewel in Turkey’s crown. Cappadocia is one of Turkey’s most extraordinary national treasures. The utter improbability of the surreal landscape has to be seen to be believed with its ‘stuff of fables’ cave dwellings and phallic ‘fairy chimneys’ landscape. Whole troglodyte villages, subterranean churches and fortresses have been hewn from the soft, porous, eerily eroded rock of Cappadocia.
A guided tour of the region takes us to the World Heritage listed Goreme Valley. See stunning examples of rock-cut Byzantine churches, chapels and temples. Marvel at Zelve, with its phallic-like eroded landscape. Stopping on the outskirts of Goreme Village we have the opportunity to see Pigeon Valley, where centuries old pigeon houses are carved into the surrounding cliffs. Our tour also takes in the incredible Uchisar castle-mountain. Enjoy marvelous views of Cappadocia from the summit and explore the underground city of Kaymakli.
You'll also have the opportunity to visit an Onyx shop, which specializes in historic jewellery designs that are unique to Turkey and crafted using local materials. For those not interested in shopping, there's time to relax and grab a drink from the local cafe. This evening, we enjoy dinner at the hotel. Overnight: Cappadocia | Breakfast x 2, Dinner x 1
Day 9: Back to Istanbul
Cappadocia - Istanbul. Today we head back to Istanbul, stopping en route for lunch (payable locally). We arrive into Istanbul in the evening.
If you'd prefer to avoid the long journey over land today, we also offer the opportunity to fly from Cappadocia to Istanbul.
Overnight: Istanbul | Breakfast
Day 10: Istanbul
Monday. After breakfast our tour draws to a close. An onward departure transfer is included to Istanbul International Airport and is offered at 11am or 1:30pm today. Breakfast
9 breakfasts and 1 dinner, 9 nights 4 star and special class hotels, airport arrival transfer on day 1 of tour and departure transfer (to Istanbul Airport) at 11am & 1:30pm on day 10, Guided sightseeing - Istanbul, Gallipoli, Troy, Ruins of Ephesus and Pergamum, Pamukkale, Hierapolis and Cappadocia, escorted by an English speaking, degree qualified Turkish tour guide, all relevant transfer and transportation in private modern air-conditioned vehicles
10 Days from R19,710 pps
These offers are brought to you by Travel Counsellors (Pty) Ltd. Offers are per person sharing. Rates for other periods are available on request. Packages are subject to availability, seasonal surcharge; high season supplements and currency fluctuations. Supplier's terms and conditions are available on request. Packages exclude items of personal nature, Tipping Kitty: USD$40 pp, entrance fees: USD$115-130 pp all paid in local currency, all flights and airport taxes and visas, tip for your tour guide & driver, it is recommended that you allow USD$5 - 7 per day per traveller as a tip for your guide and USD$2 per day for your driver. Note: Tipping your guide is an entirely personal gesture. Additional information available on request. Valid for SA residents only. Terms and conditions apply. Prices and information correct at time of publishing. E&OE.