Arrival in Istanbul and meeting at the airport, transfer to the hotel, check- in. Leisure afternoon.
Overnight Istanbul. (B)
Day 2 - Istanbul - Old city
Visit The St. (Haghia) Sophia, which was built by the Emperor Justinian. It was the largest building in the world for over 1000 years. See its intricate mosaics and huge central dome. Continue to the Topkapi palace, which was used by the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th to 19th centuries. We will also see the impressive collection of priceless jewels, crystal, silver and porcelain, robes worn by the sultans and relics of the prophet Mohammed. (Entrance to the Harem is extra). After lunch we will see the Blue Mosque, built for Sultan Ahmet I, which is a unique piece of architecture with its six minarets and features 20,000 beautiful Iznik tiles. Visit the ancient Hippodrome with Obelisk of Theodosius, Snake Pillar and German Fountain of Wilhelm II. Walk through the back streets of Old Istanbul and visit the elegant little Sokullu Pasa mosque and the hidden underground Theodosian Cistern. See the Grand Covered Bazaar. *May be done as a walking tour if your hotel is centrally located. (B)
Day 3 - Istanbul- Bosphorus
The tour starts with a visit to the exotic and aromatic Egyptian Spice Market. You may buy spices, caviar, and almost anything imaginable. Continue over the Galata Bridge and the Golden horn. We will visit the "Selamlik" chambers of the incredible 19th c. Dolmabahce Palace. We continue up the Bosphorus and cross over to Asia to Camlica Hill for a view of Istanbul. After lunch visit the Sadberk Hanim Museum, with its well-organized archaeological and ethnographical sections. The Bosphorus cruise begins in the afternoon (ferry). We pass by the Rumeli Fortress and you will enjoy crossing from continent to continent traveling down the Bosphorus, which is lined with old Ottoman seaside mansions, marble palaces and small fishing villages.
Overnight Istanbul (B)
Day 4 - Istanbul- Cappadocia
Take the early morning flight at 08:35am by Turkish Airlines from Istanbul Ataturk airport to Kayseri. Arrival at 10:00am and meeting at Kayseri airport just outside the arrival's gate with a sign bearing your name and transfer to Cappadocia. In the morning, first meeting with the lunar landscape of Cappadocia: rock formations beyond belief in Devrent valley; walking in Zelve Open Air Museum: a journey in the past with its troglodyte houses; visit to Pasabag "fairy chimneys" where the voice of wind mixes with the "songs of fairies". Lunch in Avanos, center of terra cotta work of art since 3000 BC. and a demonstration in a traditional pottery workshop. Afternoon, visit the famous Goreme Open Air Museum and see the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia in rock-cut churches with frescoes and paintings (10th to 13th century). Climb on top of the Uchisar Rock-Castle to have a panoramic view of the valleys of Cappadocia. Overnight Hotel Cappadocia. (B)
Day 5 - Cappadocia
Drive to Ihlara Valley, on the way, visit to Crater Lake of Narligol. Walking in Ihlara Canyon, a "mirage" in the Steps of Anatolia up to Belisirma village, the ancient Peristrema: "Valley of the Sky" along the Melendiz River. Rock-cut churches, spread across a wild plantation, surprise you with their successfully painted representations from the Bible. Lunch in Belisirma a local restaurant by the river. Stop by Selime, a village with cave houses at the end of the canyon and a "star wars" like landscape. On the way back, visit to Caravanserai of Agzikarahan, a safe stop for camel caravans on the legendary Silk Road. (B)
Overnight Hotel Cappadocia.
Day 6 - Cappadocia- Ephesus
Tour to Kaymaklı Underground City, one of the most interesting underground settlements in Cappadocia. Soğanlı Valley, an Open Air Museum in a wild natural setting near a typical Cappadocian village with its different style Rock-Cut churches and frescoes. Villages in the valleys, surrounded by the "table top" mountains, are spectacular. Lunch and Visit to Sahinefendi newly discovered (01 May 2002) mosaic houses & Archaeological excavation site. Continue with Keslik Monastery near Cemil, that hides its frescoes behind a very thin smoke layer which we can only see by torch light. Our tour finishes with a visit to Mustafapaşa (Sinasos), an old Greek town with its spectacular old Greek houses; very fine examples of late Greek settlements and architecture. Take the evening flight from Kayseri to Izmir (Sunday, Monday, Thursday - direct flights by Sunexpress - Departure: 19:30pm Arrival: 20:30pm, the other days via Istanbul by Turkish airlines) . Arrival and meeting at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Overnight Sirince or Kusadasi near Ephesus. (B)
Day 7 - Ephesus
Visit to the ancient city of Ephesus and first visit the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Ephesus was undoubtedly one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world. Impressive structures we will see include the Library of Celsus, Temple of Hadrian, Theatre and Odeon. We also visit the House of the Virgin Mary and church of St. John.
Overnight Sirince or Kusadasi near Ephesus. (B)
Day 8 - Ephesus - Pamukkale
Drive to Pamukkale, on the way, visit to Aphrodisias. Aphrodisias was primarily known as a center for the arts, specifically sculpture. The Aphrodisias School of Sculpture had a distinctive style and was very well circulated throughout the Greek and Roman world. Discovery of Travertine terraces and Hierapolis. The travertine terraces at Pamukkale are one of the most spectacular natural wonders we ever have seen from various mineral springs in a vast white cliff side, about 200 m overlooking the plain, calcite-laden waters have dripped down over a series of terraced levels and created a fairyland of bizarre solidified cascades and shell-shaped basins. It looks like creations from snow or like balls from cotton, which gave the scenery the Turkish name Pamukkale (cotton castle): "pamuk" for cotton and "kale" for castle. Moreover the water in the basins is changing its color according to how the light enters.
Overnight Pamukkale. (B.D)
Day 9 - Pamukkale - Istanbul
Transfer to Denizli airport and take the Turkish Airlines morning flight at 08:55 from Denizli to Istanbul Ataturk airport. Arrival at 10:05am and transfer to Hotel. Free afternoon for a last chance to complete your visits. Overnight Istanbul.
Connect to your international flight and leave Turkey. (B)
B = Breakfast D = Dinner