This 15 day tour, starts and ends in Istanbul, Turkey. This magical trip is a true showcase of the best of Western Turkey. You'll soak up the rich history of cosmopolitan Istanbul, be amazed by incredible landscapes and waterfalls, soak up the sun, swim in crystal-clear waters, walk in the footsteps of some of history's greats as you visit impressive ruins before venturing east to Van and see Mt Ararat.
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 Bosphorus cruise'.
One of the most emotionally touching places in Turkey, today we visit the WWI 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, followed by a tour of 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.
This morning we will enjoy a display of locally handcrafted leather goods before heading to 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.
After breakfast we head for the resort town of Antalya, stopping along the way to visit the ancient Lycian city of Termessos which was built at a height of 1050 metres in the beautiful Taurus Mountain range. Once in Antalya we will take a walking tour of the old town area of Antalya known as "Kaleiçi". Amongst other things we'll visit Hadrian's Gate, the Ancient Harbour and Suna-Inan Kiraç, Kaleiçi Museum which even has a Greek Orthodox Church in its garden!
Full day tour of the ancient ruins of Perge and Aspendos and Side. In Aspendos, you can see the Roman Theatre built in the 2nd century and seating 15,000 people. Side is one of the best classical sites in Turkey with its Temple of Apollo and ancient ruins.
Today we travel to Cappadocia, through the central part of the country, visiting Sultanhani Caravansary and the Mevlana museum in Konya along the way.
Today we will visit Pigeon and Red Valley and then we visit Cavusin village and lastly Avanos town where we will learn about hand-made pottery
Marvel at the lunar landscape of Cappadocia today as we visit the Goreme Valley Open Air Museum and the fairy chimneys, and explore the many levels of an underground city.
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.
After breakfast, 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.
In the afternoon we skirt 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.
In the afternoon we will drive to Igdir Airport for our flight to Istanbul.
After breakfast our tour concludes and we say goodbye to our new friends and are transferred to the airport for your onward flight.