Short and sweet, this 12 day itinerary gives you a taste tester of this fascinating country!
This itinerary can be tailored to suit your tastes, time and budget.
Today will be your first glimpse of Byzantium, Constantinople, modern-day Istanbul. Check in to your hotel in Sultanahmet, right in the centre of the historical peninsula. The hotel is 5 minute walk from the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya and Topkapi Palace.
Private walking tour of Sultanahmet. You’ll first walk to Aya Sofya, once one of the greatest churches in the Roman Empire, then a mosque after the conquest in 1453; Aya Sofya is now a museum where you can see medallions inscribed with Arabic letters, side-by-side with ancient mosaics of the Virgin Mary. Following this, you’ll have lunch at the famous Grand Bazaar, wind through narrow alleyways to the wholesale bazaar district and the Egyptian Spice market for Turkish delight, spices and friendly banter. You’ll also visit the tiny and highly-decorative Rustem Pasa Mosque.
Spend today at leisure in Istanbul. Mosaic Travel will provide a list of suggested things to see and do!
Departing Istanbul early, you’ll head towards the Gallipoli Peninsula for an afternoon tour of the battlefields with a specialist Guide. Once the scene of the bloody battles of World War 1, the peninsula is now a beautiful, serene site. Our comprehensive tour will include visits to the Kabatepe Museum, Anzac Cove, Brighton Beach, Lone Pine Australian memorial, Chunuk Bair New Zealand memorial, beach cemeteries, trenches and more. Our local guide will tell you personal stories of life in the trenches, and you’ll also have plenty of time to silently contemplate the history of our ancestors. Dinner overlooking the Dardanelles in Canakkale.
Driving time: Approximately 5 hours
On a small group tour, you’ll depart at 08.00am. Begin your day with a morning tour of the ancient city of Troy. Dating back to 3000BC, this site tells the famous story of Helen and the wooden horse. We continue our journey along the Aegean Sea coastline, stopping along the way for locally grown nuts, olives and dried fruit and a glimpse at Mount Ida, from which Zeus used to watch over the battles of Troy. Our next stop is the acropolis of Pergamum, one of the finest ancient cities in Turkey, whose heyday was around 280BC. Arrival in historic Selcuk in the evening.
Driving time: Approximately 6.5 hours
Spend this morning at leisure. At midday, with your Guide, you’ll first head to the old Greek village of Sirince, in the hills above Selcuk. Settled by Ottoman Greeks a century ago, this village is now home to the villagers who moved here from Greece during the population exchange in the 1920s between the Turks and the Greeks. The village is famous for olives, fresh fruit and fruit wine. We’ll taste the local wines and traditional village food for lunch. Late afternoon, when it starts to cool down, visit the awe-inspiring ancient Roman city of Ephesus, a great trading city with a population of 250,000. Highlights including the ancient plumbing systems, the Great Theatre and the massive Library of Celsus.
A big, but fascinating day today as you depart on a small-group tour, inland to Pamukkale. You’ll first visit the ancient city of Hierapolis before exploring the famous white calcium terraces of Pamukkale. You’ll have a chance also to swim in the healing thermal waters.
Return to Selcuk in the late afternoon.
Approximate driving time: 5.5 hours
A driver will meet you in the lobby of your hotel to drive you to the airport for your flight to Cappadocia.
On arrival to Cappadocia, you’ll be transferred to lovely little Goreme village. Spend this afternoon at leisure.
Approximate drive time: 30 minutes to Istanbul airport and 1 hour from Nevsehir airport to Goreme village.
Private tour of Cappadocia. You’ll visit one of Cappadocia’s extensive underground cities. Possibly dating back to Hittite times, these cities were definitely inhabited by the 7th Century BC. In peace time, the people of Cappadocia lived and worked above ground, using the caves underground for storage, however, when invasion threatened, entire communities moved underground. After lunch you’ll visit a rock-cut monastery and hike through a picturesque valley littered with rock-cut churches.
This tour includes lunch and entrance fees to the underground city. Tipping is at your discretion; however a reasonable amount to tip the Guide is 30 – 50 lira, and the Driver 10 lira.
Start your morning early with an optional hot air balloon flight over the unbelievable Cappadocian moonscape.
A hot air balloon flight over the unbelievable Cappadocian moonscape is incredible. You will go low enough to touch the tops of trees and wish a good morning to the villagers who are laying apricots on their rooftops, ready to dry them in the sun, and then soar high above Cappadocia, up to 1500 feet into the air- this is considered the best place to balloon in the world.
You’re given a light breakfast at the balloon office before flying off, and you can return to Tas Konak for a lovely relaxing breakfast after you’ve landed.
Today is free to shop, play backgammon and drink tea with the locals. Alternatively, hike through nearby famous valleys such as Red, Rose, Love and Pigeon valley, and stumble upon churches, exquisite frescoes and strange rock formations.
Spend this morning at leisure before being transferred to the airport for your afternoon flight back to Istanbul.
On arrival to Istanbul, you’ll be transferred to the Galata area, in the modern part of Istanbul, for a new perspective of the city!
Spend today at leisure in Istanbul, before being transferred to the airport for your onward flight.