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Highlights of Turkey
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At a glance
Visit some of Western civilisation's most iconic sites in Turkey
Trip Highlights
Start Destination
End Destination
What's included
  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers

All hotels are included on a bed and breakfast basis. All other main meals are not included, and we suggest you allow about £300 to cover them, add more if you include alcoholic or expensive fruit juice drinks with each meal. Your group leader will normally assist in organising group meals at most stops so that you may benefit from better choice and prices. Lunches are normally taken in local restaurants, known as lokantas, or organised as a picnic, and evening meals in lokantas in each town or village; such eating places are widespread throughout Turkey, and the variety, price range and choice is usually quite extensive, but obviously less so in some of the smaller towns in Central Anatolia.

Day 1
Fly to Istanbul
Fly to Istanbul; transfer to city centre. There is no formal sightseeing planned. Istanbul is one of the great cities of the world, with a history spanning thousands of years. It has been through several incarnations, firstly as Byzantium, then Constantinople and finally Istanbul. The city today is bustling and its streets are crowded with locals busily going about their daily lives. If you arrive early enough, you can wander and absorb the vibrancy of this exciting city that links Europe and Asia. This evening there will be a Welcome Meeting (please check noticeboard for exact time) held in the hotel, where you will meet your tour leader and fellow travel companions. Tonight after our group meeting we take a short walk to admire the old city. The Hagia Sofia, first a church, then a mosque and now a museum, and the Iconic Blue Mosque, both have long been symbols of the City and stand proudly side by side. We take a seat in the park and watch the light of the day fade over these two masterpieces. We can enjoy our first dinner together in one of the lively cobblestone streets of the Sultanahmet area. Accommodation: Golden Horn Istanbul Hotel or similar
Day 2
Morning tour of Istanbul including Blue Mosque; afternoon transfer to Cannakale via Gallipoli peninsula.
This morning we will take a short orientation walk through Istanbul, discovering the lively port district of Eminonu, the Spice Market and back streets full of local merchants selling their wares, as well as the Hidden Rustem Pasha Mosque with some of the best examples of the famous iznik tiles adorning the walls. We then return to the hotel and depart for Canakkale mid-morning. After a short stop in Gallipoli to visit the Landing beaches of the ANZACs and the well-preserved Turkish Trenches, we arrive in the early evening. Approx driving time Istanbul to Canakkale 5.5 hours. Accommodation: Anzac Hotel or similar
Day 3
Visit the ancient city of Troy; head to Aegan coastal town Ayvalik.
This morning after breakfast we visit the City of Troy, immortalised in Homer’s Iliad. Troy (Truva) was a city that existed over 4.000 years ago and was known as a major ancient civilization. For many years people believed that it was the city mentioned only in the tales and had never truly existed, as the area had become known as Ilium, or New Ilium. Archaeological digs subsequently proved that there had been nine separate periods of settlement. We continue this afternoon to the seaside town of Ayvalik; the town centre is surrounded by the archipelago of Ayvalik Islands, which face the nearby Greek island of Lesbos. It was alternatively called Kydonies by the town's former Greek population. Today a haven for holiday makers and the olive oil capital of Turkey, Ayvalik and nearby Cunda Island, are fine representations of the Greek/Turkish heritage of the Aegean coast. Renowned local produce includes olive oil, seafood and Ayvalik Tost - like a club sandwich but better! Approx driving time Canakkale to Ayvalik 3.5 hours Accommodation: Deniz Hotel or similar
Day 4
To Bergama; visit the ancient city of Pergamon; afternoon transfer to Selcuk.
This morning we depart to Bergama, where we can explore the ruins of the ancient city. Pergamum was an ancient Greek city that became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period, under the Attalid dynasty, 281–133 BC. It was cited in the book of Revelation as one of the seven churches of Asia. This afternoon our journey continues to the town of Selçuk: a sprawling farming town at the base of the ancient fortress on Ayasoluk Hill. Our early evening orientation walk will take in sites such as the Basilica of St John, (entry not included) Isa Bey Mosque (a fine example of early Seljuk Turk architecture), and the last remaining column of the Temple of Artemis. This evening we may have the opportunity to enjoy local meze in the town square and meet the locals. Approx driving time Ayvalik to Selcuk 3 hours. Accommodation: Jimmy's Place or similar
Day 5
From Selcuk visit the historic site of Ephesus; head to Pamukkale this afternoon.
Today we head out to the ancient site of Ephesus, one of the best preserved classical cities in the eastern Mediterranean and a great example of Roman architecture. Always an important religious centre, Ephesus was founded by Ionian Greeks in the 11th Century BC and flourished under Roman rule. The Greeks replaced the cult of the Anatolian fertility goddess Cybele with Artemis and built a fabulous temple in her honour. With the arrival of the Romans, it became the Temple of Diana and was one of the original seven wonders of the ancient world. We visit the vast amphitheatre, walk the marble street once trodden by Cleopatra and Mark Antony, and marvel at the gymnasium, baths and wonderfully restored Library of Celsus. This afternoon our journey continues to our overnight base in Pamukkale. Approx driving times Selcuk to Pamukkale 3 hours. Accommodation: Grand Sevgi Hotel or similar
Day 6
Explore the limestone cascades of Pamukkale and the Roman ruins of Hierapolis; afternoon transfer to Fethiye.
Pamukkale, also known as 'Cotton Castle', is a truly unique sight. This spectacular natural phenomenon was created by deposits from thermal waters that cascaded down the mountainside over hundreds of years, forming a myriad of pools and terraces. As the water overflows from the pools, dazzling cream-coloured stalactites are formed that, from afar, resemble cotton or snow. The pools are filled with hot spring waters that supposedly have healing properties. Close to Pamukkale are the ruins of Hierapolis, which was founded by the King of Pergamon in 190 BC and by the 2nd Century AD had become an important Roman bath centre. The extensive ruins of Hierapolis are well worth exploring and include a theatre, temple, holy area, monumental fountain, bath, basilica and necropolis. We spend the morning discovering the travertines and ancient city before continuing to Fethiye on the Mediterranean Coast. Modern Fethiye is located on the site of the ancient city of Telmessos, the ruins of which can be seen in the city; the Hellenistic theatre is by the main quay. This evening we take a walk along the boat harbour and the lively market square. Approx driving time Pamukkale to Fethiye 4.5hours. Accommodation: Rebin Beach Hotel or similar
Day 7
Depart Fethiye for coastal town Kas.
This morning we depart from Fethiye and take the coastal highway to the seaside town of Kaş. Situated on the Teke Peninsula, Kaş was known as Antiphéllos in ancient Lycia and was a member of the Lycian League. Today you can see evidence of Lycian tombs scattered around the town. This afternoon is free to explore this charming coastal town with cobbled streets and lively cafes. Approx. driving time Fethiye to Kaş 2.5 hours. Accommodation: Kayahan Hotel or similar
Day 8
Free day to rest or choose from the many activities available.
Today is a free day to relax or take advantage of the many activities available on the Turquoise Coast in and around Kaş. Options include a boat trip to Kekova and view a sunken city; sea kayaking; mountain biking through the local countryside or trekking on the Lycian way. For more cultural options, take a day tour to Xanthos the first capital of the Lycian Federation, or visit the ancient theatre in Kaş. Accommodation: Kayahan Hotel or similar
Day 9
Transfer to the lively city of Antalya.
This morning we depart for Antalya, Turkey's biggest international beach resort. Arriving in the early afternoon, we will visit the ancient Kaleiçi. With its narrow cobbled streets and historic Ottoman era houses, it is the old centre of the city. Restored to retain much of its historical character, the area now houses a plethora of bars, restaurants and shops. History buffs may also want to visit the Antalya Museum this afternoon; ranked third in the country, it is among the leading museums of the world on account of the sculptures from the Roman period and other unique finds. Approx driving time from Kaş to Antalya 4 hours. Accommodation: Argos Hotel Antalya or similar
Day 10
Visit the Greco-Roman site of Aspendos, famous for its theatre; afternoon transfer to Konya, home of the whirling dervishes.
This morning we travel to Konya via the ancient Greco-Roman city of Aspendos, known for housing the best-preserved theatre of antiquity. With a diameter of 315 ft, the theatre provided seating for 7,000 spectators. After exploring the ancient site, we continue on to Konya, known as 'Iconium' in Roman times. It was the capital of the Seljuk Turks from the 12th to 13th centuries and home of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, who founded a mystic Sufi order popularly known as the 'Whirling Dervishes'. Approx. driving time Antalya to Konya 5.5 hours. Accommodation: Selcuk Mevlana Hotel or similar
Day 11
To the Cappadocia region; visit the Ilhara Valley and the underground city of Derinkuyu.
This morning we visit Mevlana's Mausoleum and the museum housing manuscripts of his works, as well as various artefacts relating to the mystic sect that he founded. We continue on to the fascinating Cappadocia region. Shaped by wind and water, the rock formations, rock hewn churches, cave dwellings and underground cities have to be seen to be believed! This afternoon we will visit the village of Belisirma in the Valley of Ihlara on the slopes of Mount Hasan, one of the volcanoes responsible for the formation of Cappadocia. From here we embark on a wonderful walk along the Melendiz River and experience traditional village life, as we pass through the beautiful Ihlara Valley. There are dozens of Byzantine cave chapels to explore along the way and most of them are decorated with exquisite biblical frescoes. We continue on to the underground city of Derinkuyu, with some dwellings containing rooms spread out over seven levels beneath ground level. Early this evening we arrive in Urgup, our base for the next two nights. Approx. driving time Konya to Cappadocia 5 hours Accommodation: Ciner Hotel or similar
Day 12
Visit Cappadocia's Open Air Museum and fairy chimneys.
Cappadocia’s main attraction, the World Heritage-listed Goreme Open Air Museum, is a monastic complex composed of churches, rectories and dwellings. This morning we explore the rock cut churches of the Museum. Later in the afternoon we drive to the unique Pasabaglari Valley, where multiple fairy chimneys, hewn from the earth and shaped by centuries of erosion, lend a moon-like landscape and atmosphere to the valley. A chapel dedicated to St. Simeon and a hermit's shelter are built into one of the fairy chimneys, which appears to have three heads! Accommodation: Ciner Hotel or similar
Day 13
To Ankara; visit the salt lake of Tuz Golu en route.
This morning we have an early departure for Ankara. En route we will visit Agzikarahan Caravanserai, built by the Seljuk sultan Alaettin Keykubad we the stop at Tuz Golu (salt lake), one of the richest salt beds in the world. Approximately 300,000 tons of salt (60% of Turkey's total salt production) are produced by this lake every year. We arrive in the capital in time for a late lunch and a visit to Anatolian Civilisation Museum of Ankara, known for its rich collection of archaeological exhibits. Approx. driving time Cappadocia to Ankara 5 hours. Accommodation: Akyuz Hotel or similar
Day 14
Visit the Museum of Civilisations; transfer to Istanbul.
This morning after breakfast we travel back to Istanbul. Arriving in the early afternoon we check into our hotel and take a late afternoon tour of the iconic Blue Mosque with its impressive iznik tiles and the ancient Hippodrome, before enjoying a last night group meal together. Approx. driving time Ankara to Istanbul 5.5 hours Accommodation: Golden Horn Istanbul Hotel or similar
Day 15
Fly to London.
Our adventure ends after breakfast in Istanbul. Those on group flights will be transferred to the airport for the flight to London..
Prices & Availability

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