8 Days | 7 Nights
Welcome to Turkey! Your chauffeur meets you at the airport and drives you to the hotel for check-in or storing your luggage. The rest of the day is at leisure, depending on your arrival time start your own explorations. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Istanbul.
In the old city discover the sights of Istanbul’s glamorous past. Visit the Hagia Sophia, a former Byzantine church, now classified as a mosque. Be amazed by the interior with its striking mosaics and frescoes. Next is a visit to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, better known as the 'Blue Mosque'. With its six minarets, it is unique in the Islamic world. Walk across the Sultan Ahmet Square, once the Hippodrome, the former horse racing track in ancient Constantinople. See here the Obelisk of Theodosius and the German Fountain. In the afternoon, visit the Topkapi Palace, the centuries old residence of the mighty Ottomans. It houses the imperial treasury, holy relics, weapons and royal garments. Then to Misir Çarsisi, the Egyptian Spice Bazaar, where spices, herbs and teas are sold since the 17th century. Time to wander along the shops with its aromatic smells. Return to the hotel. *The Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays, as replacement we’ll visit the underground Basilica Cistern from the 6th century.
Leave Istanbul, drive 4 hours to the peaceful Gallipoli Peninsula. Due to its location in the Dardanelles Strait, which connects the Sea of Marmara with the Aegean Sea, the peninsula has often been the scene of bloody battles. During World War I the Allied Powers fought here against the Ottoman Empire to control the sea route from Europe to Russia, without success. Around 100,000 soldiers died during these battles. Visit today the scenes of the 1915 Allied-Turkey campaign and the allied cemeteries and memorials, like ANZAC Cove, the Lone Pine Australian Memorial, Brighton Beach, Nek Ridge, the Chunuk Bair New Zealand Memorial. You'll also see the famous Johnston's Jolly, a trenches battlefield where many Turkish and Allied soldiers took cover. Then cross by ferry the Dardanelles Strait. Overnight in Çanakkale.
Check out of the hotel and drive to the nearby archaeological site Troy. The site tells about the Trojan War, caused by the abduction of Helena, portrayed in Homer's Iliad. Highlights are the Sacrificial Altars, the old city walls and the replica of the wooden Trojan Horse. Then head 2.5 hours to Pergamon, once the capital of the Attalid dynasty and a cultural and medical center in the ancient world. Enjoy the views from the Acropolis with the Temple of Athena and the Temple of Trajan. See the impressive Athenaeum library once held 200,000 volumes, which Mark Antony later offered to Cleopatra as a wedding present. Then to the Asclepion, the ancient medical center, devoted to Asclepius, the son of Apollo. Finally visit the Red Basilica, a huge Roman Temple later converted into a Byzantine church. Proceed 1.5 hours to your hotel in Izmir on the Aegean Sea.
Within an hour reach Ephesus, the most important Greek city in Ionian Asia Minor. Around 3,000 years ago up to 200,000 people lived here. Visit the Library of Celsus housing once 12,000 scrolls, the Temple of Hadrian, the Odeon, the Baths of Scholastica and Theatre offering space for 25,000 visitors. See the few remains of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders. Ephesus was an important place for early Christians. Have a look at the Basilica of St. John who wrote his Gospel here and the decent House of the Virgin Mary. Afterwards drive 3 hours to the south to Hierapolis, named after the goddess Hiera. Here, in this Greek-Roman city it is worth seeing the Necropolis with 1,200 stone graves, the Theatre and the Temple of Apollo. Due to its hot springs Hierapolis was a spa town since the second century BC. Dinner and overnight at Pamukkale hotel.
The word Pamukkale means Cotton Castle and you will understand the reason for this name today. Warm water dissolved in white calcium, erupts to the surface and by running down the hill the calcium forms beautiful snow-white travertines. Simply formed by nature! When accessing this UNESCO World Heritage Site you need to remove your shoes to protect these natural pools. For a swim in the thermal waters you have time to visit the Cleopatra Antique Pool (extra fee for swimming not included), on its bottom you see marble columns belonging to the nearby Temple of Apollo. Say goodbye to the Denizli Province and drive 3 hours to Antalya at the Turkish Riviera. Experience a pleasant ride along the pretty Salda Lake and through the Taurus Mountains, enjoying the beautiful landscape and the mountains of Turkey. Check into your hotel.
Free day in the city of Antalya. Sunbath at the Mediterranean Sea or continue with your own explorations, Antalya and its surroundings have a lot to offer. Explore Kaleici, the old city centre, with its narrow streets, Ottoman Houses, Hadrian’s Gate and the ancient port. Worth seeing is also the Hidirlik Tower, the Yivli Minaret, the Kesik Minaret and the Antalya Museum. If you just can’t get enough of historical sites, book an optional tour to the Greek remains of Perga or Aspendos. For outdoor activities choose a hike in the Gulluk Mountain National Park, or go rafting in the Koprulu Canyon National Park. Around Antalya many waterfalls can be found like the one at Manavgat, Kursunlu, Duden or Ucansu. Overnight Antalya.
Dependent on your departure time, we pick you up from the hotel lobby for a short transfer to Antalya Airport to say farewell.