This 19 day tour, starts and ends in Istanbul, Turkey.
Welcome to Istanbul! You will be transferred to your hotel and the remainder of the day is yours free to explore at your own pace.
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 Bosphorus cruise'.
Today we visit the WW1 battlefields of Gallipoli including Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair Memorials, ANZAC Cove, The Nek, Johnston's Jolly, original trenches and tunnels.
Step back in time today as we visit Troy and its famed Trojan Horse. We continue on to Bergama and catch the new cable car up to the magnificent acropolis of Pergamon. Its impressive temples and library made it a renowned cultural and political centre in its time.
Absorb yourself in history today with a guided tour of Ephesus and a visit to the site of the Temple of Artemis. Feel the mystical atmosphere of the ancient city and theatre before continuing to the former Greek village of Sirince, famous for its fruit wines. Carpet weaving has long traditions in Turkey and at the carpet village we learn how the carpets are made by hand and what determines their value.
After a leather shop visit, we will head to Aphrodisias the ancient city dedicated to Aphrodite, the goddess of Beauty, Love and Fertility, also famous for its school of sculpture, we visit the stadium, which is the best preserved in Anatolia, the Temple of Aphrodite, the Tetrapylon, theatre and the Museum. Then, we continue to Pamukkale.
This morning we will explore the magnificent white calcium terraces, known as Travertines, in Pamukkale where we also tour the ancient city of Hierapolis. Take a dip, amongst ancient columns, in the hot springs that were used in Roman times for their therapeutic powers.
Then we will head to Salda Lake, is known as Turkish Maldives. It is a mountain lake and located in the mountains before we travel down to South.
Today, you are free to explore the town at your own pace and there is also optional tours and activities.
Optional tours & activities; 12 island boat trip & Saklikent Gorge tour
This morning we head to Kayakoy. The morning light provides excellent photos of this deserted Greek village. Afterwards we drive to the resort town of Antalya. We will visit the Antalya Museum with its wealthy collection from the ancient cities around the Antalya Province.
We will visit Perge a famous antique site, early in the morning. After Perge we drive to Aspendos which has the best preserved 2nd Century Amphitheatre in Turkey. We return back to Antalya city in the afternoon and the remainder of your day is free.
We will visit the mausoleum of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi with its accompanying Mevlana museum. We continue along the ancient Silk Road visiting the former Greek village Sille.
We will be heading to Cappadocia, visiting Sultanhani Caravansary on our way, and explore the many levels of an underground city.
Marvel at the lunar landscape of Cappadocia today as we visit the Goreme Valley Open Air Museum and the fairy chimneys. We then visit Pigeon and Red Valley, followed by Cavusin village and lastly Avanos town where we will learn about hand-made pottery.
Departure in the morning from Cappadocia, we head to Ankara for our direct flight to Van. On arrival to Van Airport, you will meet with your tour guide. Before we go to our hotel, we will explore the Citadel with its three thousand Urartian fortress of Van and witness the extraordinary sunset.
After breakfast, we will travel by ferry stopping at Akdamar Island to see a spectacular 10th century church built by an Armenian king, if there is time swim in Lake Van.
Then, we will drive back to city centre to visit the largest Urartu Museum in the World. Artifacts from the Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Urartian, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic, Seljuk, Turkish-Islamic, and Ottoman Periods are exhibited in chronological order taking our visitors on a unique historical journey.
After the museum visit Van Cat House. Van cats are relatively large, have a chalky white coat, sometimes with ruddy coloration on the head and hindquarters, and have blue, amber eyes or one eye of each colour. This variety has been referred to as "the swimming cat", and has been observed to swim in Lake Van.
Today we leave for Dogubayazit via Muradiye and the Bendimaahi Falls. In Dogubayazit, we visit the spectacular Ishak Pasha Palace, 1685 - 1784, which has a unique fusion of architecture from Seljuk, Ottoman, Georgian, and Armenian - Persian styles.
We continue our journey north, skirting around the western edge of Mt Ararat. Mt. Ararat is one of the great natural spectacles of the world,. The name Ararat derives from the Bible (Jeremiah 51:27) and is a transliteration of 'Urartu' the name foreigners gave to this region and its inhabitants in Biblical times.
This morning we journey to the site of Ani, the former capital of the Armenian kingdom. In the mid 10th century, nothing in Europe could rival this capital of the Armenian kingdom in terms of either size or magnificence. The remains of the ruined city include several churches as well as the shell of the Cathedral of Ani, the citadel and a mosque. There are also some exciting remains of frescoes in the Church of St Gregory (Tigran Honentz) despite having been exposed to the elements for centuries.
Afternoon, we will visit 12 Aposotles Church and Kars Castle.
Transfer to Kars Airport for your onward flight back to Istanbul. On arrival to Istanbul Airport, you will be transferred to your hotel.
After breakfast our tour concludes and we say goodbye to our new friends and are transferred to the airport for your onward flight.