This 9 day tour, starts and ends in Istanbul, Turkey.
Welcome to Istanbul. After picking you up from the airport, we'll drop you off at your hotel for a free day in Istanbul to explore the city.
Today's itinerary begins with a visit to the Topkapi Palace (including Hagia Irene), which was once the home of the Ottoman Empire's sultans. We continue with stops at the Blue Mosque, St. Sophia Museum, and Hippodrome.
On an optional, afternoon, 'Half day Bosphorus cruise', you can cruise between two continents on the stretch of water that separates Europe and Asia.
After breakfast, you fly to Cappadocia. As you arrive at the airport, your guide in Cappadocia awaits to show you the highlights of Cappadocia. To marvel at Cappadocia's lunar scenery, we'll visit the Goreme Valley Open Air Museum and the fairy chimneys, as well as tour the various levels of an underground city. Prepare your cameras because photo opportunities abound!
Don't miss tonight's optional Turkish folklore event, which will feature folklore and belly dancers... it'll be a night to remember!
There's more to explore in Cappadocia today. We'll visit Pigeon Valley and Red Valley today, then Cavusin Village, and finally Avanos Town, where we'll learn about hand-made pottery.
Departing Cappadocia early in the morning we travel via the Tekir plateau to Adiyaman and Mt Nemrut. Along the way, we'll stop at the Seljuk Karatay Caravansaray. Then a brief stop in Pinarbasi for a cup of tea. We travel to Arsemia, the ancient capital of the Commagene Kingdom, via Adiyaman, where we see the ancient Severus (Cendere) Bridge and the Karakus Tumulus, where members of the royal family were interred. This evening, we'll travel to Mt Nemrut, where we'll climb the mountain, see the massive old rock statues, and watch the sunrise over the plateau. After the sunset, we return to Adiyaman.
Today travelling to Sanliurfa, we stop to marvel at Turkey's largest dam, the Ataturk Dam, along the way. After a short break, we drive to Gobekli Tepe, which is claimed to be the world's oldest temple and predates Stonehenge by 6,000 years. Following that, we travel to Harran, a community of mud-brick "beehive" homes mentioned in Genesis and where Abraham lived his final years. We'll not only see the city walls of Harran, and also the oldest Islamic university and an eighteenth-century castle. On the way to Sanliurfa, where we'll stay, at the Mevlid-i Halil Mosque, you will have the opportunity to tour the Prophet Abraham Cave and the Pools of the Holy Carp.
We leave Sanliurfa for Gaziantep to see the iconic 'Gypsy Girl' mosaic and visit the world's largest mosaic museum. Before the Birecik Dam inundated most of the site, the spectacular mosaics were unearthed from the Roman site of Belkis - Zeugma are now housed in this museum. Then we head to Hatay province to see the incredible Roman Titus tunnel. Hatay is an enthralling city with an enthralling history. The Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires, as well as Jews, Christians, and Muslims, all left their mark. Antakya, or biblical Antioch, Hatay's capital, offers an appealing lifestyle with its restaurants, cafes, and bars, as well as a culinary culture that draws gourmets from all over the world.
The day will begin after breakfast with a visit to the Church of St. Peter. Following that, we'll go to the amazing Hatay Archaeology Museum, which is known for its extensive collection of Roman and Byzantine Era mosaics. Take advantage of the opportunity to sample the delicious regional cuisine before we depart Hatay. We drive to Tarsus in the afternoon. Upon arrival, we'll take a walking tour through the narrow streets lined with restored old houses, stopping at the Well of Paul, St. Paul Church, and Cleopatra Gate.
We drive to Erdemli after breakfast to see the Maiden's Castle. Then we'll see another natural wonder known as "Heaven and Hell." After you have visited this amazing gorge, we drop you off at Adana Airport. This tour includes a flight from Adana to Istanbul.