This 23 day tour, starts and ends in Istanbul, Turkey. Its focus as the name suggests is on some of the lesser visitied areas of Turkey. Highlights include :- Istanbul Old City (UNESCO Heritage site) - St. Sophia Museum - Topkapi Palace - Blue Mosque - Hippodrome - Cappadocia - Kaymakli Underground City - Göreme (UNESCO Heritage site) - Göreme Open Air Museum - Mt. Nemrut (Ancient Site) - Safranbolu (UNESCO Heritage site) - Dogubeyazit - Ishak Pasa Palace - Mt. Ararat - Alacahöyük (Ancient Site) - the Crystal Terrace
Welcome to Istanbul! You will be transferred to your hotel and the remainder of the day is yours, free to explore.
After breakfast, you enjoy a fully guided tour of the only city to span two continents, visiting the Blue Mosque, St Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace (including Hagia Irene) 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 Bosphorous cruise'.
This morning we drive to the coastal town of Akçakoca. Its old town area, situated on a gentle hill is a well preserved neighbourhood of traditional houses of wood and firebricks, lining square-shaped blocks. We then drive to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed town of Safranbolu.
After breakfast, we start our tour from Hidirlik Hill to get a city view then discover Safranbolu's well-preserved wooden houses, Cinci Inn and Bath, old goverment building, the clock tower and the Arasta Bazaar where we will learn about the traditional handicraft shops. In the afternoon we drive to Amasra and visit the Roman castle and walls, wood-carving handicraft bazaar and the outer and inner piers of the city.
After breakfast we will drive to Kastamonu, which is one of the rare cities where you can find great examples of traditional Turkish houses. Along the way we'll stop at the crystal terrace, an unbreakable glass platform attached to a cliff edge 80 meters above the Incekaya Canyon.
This morning we head for Inebolu with its wooden houses reflecting Rum (Byzantine or Ottoman Greek) architecture, dark green nature and excellent coastline which amazes visitors.
We depart from our hotel and visit Akliman Cove, Hamsilos Bay which offers rich natural beauty with green forests, colourful flowers and small inland bays where military ships took strategic advantage of the bays' hidden location during the First World War. Lastly we visit Erfelek Waterfall where you will be able to trek through the park and find many cascading waterfalls and other beautiful natural scenes.
Today we will drive towards the Black Sea coast to Trabzon, stopping on the way for a short visit to Yason Church which stands along one of the most picturesque locations on the Black Sea coast. Then you will have great photo opportunity at Boztepe before heading to Trabzon.
Today we tour Trabzon and surrounds, visiting the breathtaking Byzantine Sumela Monastery and Uzungol, a picturesque lake surrounded by thick woods before returning back to the hotel.
Today we travel along the Black Sea coast towards Artvin before driving through the wild landscapes of Çoruh Valley. We also visit picturesque Ishan village on our way to the scenic heights of Erzurum.
This morning we visit the Seljuk monuments of Erzurum before continuing through Kars to Ani, close to the Turkish Armenian border. We continue to Dogubeyazit located at the foothill of Mount Ararat, the highest mount in Anatolia and where Noah's Ark is thought to have landed.
After breakfast we tour Ishak Pasha Palace before driving through barren landscapes of volcanic stones stopping at Muradiye Waterfalls. We continue to Van, home to Lake Van, Turkey's largest lake.
Morning drive to Çavustepe, to explore the ancient Urartian citadel before continuing to the village of Hosap. Early afternoon from the town of Gevas we take a boat excursion to Akdamar Island which is home to the 10th century Holy Cross Church.
Today we drive along the north shore of Lake Van to visit Ahlat, Tatvan and the picturesque town of Bitlis. Late afternoon arrival in Diyarbakir.
Morning drive to Hasankeyf, to visit the cliff top Roman ruins of ancient Cephe, and the old town of Midyat, an architectural treasure.
On the way to Sanliurfa, we will visit Göbeklitepe which will allow you to discover the region and observe the excavation currently running at the site. Visit the famous 'beehive' village houses of Harran and the ancient city of Urfa, home of Abraham. Discover the "City of the Prophets" as we visit Abraham's Caves, the pool of sacred carp and the busy and colourful bazaar.
We have an interesting drive today as we pass by Bozova and see Ataturk Dam before arriving in Adiyaman.
We set off for Mt. Nemrut before dawn and after a short ascent of the mountain watch the magical sunrise over the plateau, and visit the massive ancient rock statues. Visit the ancient Roman city of Zeugma and tour Gaziantep, and the Mosaic Museum where the superb Roman mosaics of Zeugma are displayed.
After breakfast we set off for Cappadocia, stopping off at Kahramanmaras (produces Turkey's best ice cream!) along the way.
Marvel at the lunar landscape of Cappadocia as you visit the Goreme Valley Open Air Museum, the fairy chimneys and explore the many levels of an underground city.
After breakfast, we drive via Kozakli to the city of Hattusa, the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. First we visit Yazilikaya, the ruins of the open air temple where there are rock carvings of Hitite gods. Then we go to Hattusa, 'the Great Temple', the city ruins including the Lions' Gate and the Royal Gate and the summer palace of Hitites. Then we drive to Alacahoyuk seeing the Sphinx Gate and the Royal Tombs.
This morning we visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, an award winning museum located near the ancient citadel of Ankara and then continue on to Istanbul.
After breakfast our tour concludes and we say goodbye to our new friends before being transferred to the airport for your onward flight.