This 15 day tour, starts from Istanbul, Turkey, and ends at Athens, Greece. Highlights include :- Istanbul Old City (UNESCO Heritage site) - St. Sophia Museum - Topkapi Palace - Blue Mosque - Hippodrome - Mycenae (UNESCO Heritage site) - Cappadocia - Kaymakli Underground City - Göreme (UNESCO Heritage site) - Göreme Open Air Museum - Pamukkale Calcium Travertines (UNESCO Heritage site) - Hierapolis - Ephesus (UNESCO Heritage site) - Site of the Temple of Artemis - Olympia (UNESCO Heritage site) - Acropolis - Hadrian's Arch - Parthenon - Propylaea - Temple of Athena Nike - Temple of Olympian Zeus - Corinth Canal - Kalambaka (Hilltop Monasteries)
Welcome to Istanbul. You will transferred to your hotel and the remainder of the day is yours, free to explore Istanbul.
Tour the exotic city that spans both Europe and Asia visiting the Topkapi Palace (including Hagia Irene), Blue Mosque, St Sophia Museum and the Hippodrome. Cruise between two continents on the stretch of water that separates Europe from Asia in the afternoon with an optional 'Half day Bosphorus cruise'.
After breakfast we drive towards the nation's capital, Ankara to visit Anitkabir, the Mausoleum of the famed Mustafa Ataturk before continuing on to the surreal landscape of Cappadocia.
Today we tour the Goreme Open Air Museum, Pasabag, Uchisar Castle and Kaymakli Underground City. Photo opportunities are everywhere so have your cameras ready! Carpet weaving has long traditions in Turkey and at a carpet village we learn how carpets are made by hand and what determines their value. Tonight, don't miss the optional Turkish folklore evening featuring folklore and belly dancers... a night you won't forget!
This morning we visit and explore Kaymakli underground city. Then leaving Cappadocia we head south, towards Konya, along the ancient Silk Road, visiting Sultanhani Caravansary, just as the ancient traders did. Once in Konya we tour the Mevlana Museum and Alaeddin Mosque.
Today we head for Pamukkale and it's calcium travertines. Along the way we visit the ancient site of Sagalassos. Conquered by Alexander the Great in 333 BC, earthquakes and plague saw its demise in 541-2. Today it is one of the best preserved sites in Turkey and is on the UNESCO Tentaice list.
Visit the ruins of Hierapolis, the Temple of Apollo, Necropolis, and stroll over the magnificent white calcium terraces of Pamukkale. This afternoon we will enjoy a display of locally handcrafted leather goods.
Absorb yourself in history today with a guided tour of Ephesus and a visit to the Temple of Artemis. Feel the mystical atmosphere of the ancient city and theatre.
Carpet weaving has long traditions in Turkey and at the carpet village we learn how the carpets are made by hand what determines their value.
After the Ephesus tour, you will drive to Izmir Airport for a flight to Athens. On arrival in Athens, our transfer will be waiting for you at the airport to take you to your hotel.
Today you are free to explore Athens at your own pace.
Athens city tour starts from the Panathenaic Stadium, where the first Olympic Games of modern times were held in 1896. Continue and pass by the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Hadrian's Arch, the Parliament and the memorial to the Unknown Soldier, the Academy, the University, the National Library, the Constitution Square (Syntagma). On the Acropolis visit, the Architectural Masterpieces of the Golden Age of Athens: The Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and finally "the harmony between material and spirit", the monument that "puts order in the mind", the Parthenon.
You depart early in the morning and cross the Corinth Canal. Next stop will be a visit at the famous Mycenae, a UNESCO World Heritage site. See the home of Mythical Agamemnon, the Cyclopean walls, the Lions gate and the royal tombs. Depart for Nafplion, the first capital of Greece in Argolis, the picturesque town nestling at the foot of a cliff crowned by the mighty ramparts of the Palamidi Fortress.
Early departure for Olympia, the birth place of the Olympic Games. Visit the archeological site of Ancient Olympia, Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus, the Ancient Stadium and the Archaeological Museum, with the impressive statue of Hermes of Praxiteles. In the afternoon the journey continues to the north, over the Rio-Antirio Bridge, and to Delphi.
Visit at Delphi, a place that was once characterized as the center of the ancient world. You can see the well preserved remains of Temple Apollo, the Castalian Spring and Temple of Athena, the Oracle of Delphi. Afterwards, you will proceed to the small picturesque city of Kalambaka, passing through beautiful villages and cities of Central Greece, all built according to the traditional local arquitecture.
After breakfast we will visit Meteora. Meteora has unique rock formations, rising high, stand ageless Christian Monasteries among striking scenery, perched on top of huge rocks which seem to be suspended in mid-air. It is truly fascinating to visit the interior part of them, but also enjoy the amazing views. Return to Athens via Trikala, Lamia, Thermopylae with a short stop to see across the road Leonida's Monument. Arrival in Athens early in the evening.
After breakfast our tour concludes and we say goodbye to our new friends. (B)