TREASURES OF TURKEY
Where the East meets the West
9 DAYS/7 NIGHTS

DESCRIPTION

Enjoy the ultimate experiential 9-day Turkey vacation package on this East meets West adventure that takes you to discover the treasures of Istanbul and Kusadasi. Delve into the Ottoman empire as you explore Istanbul visiting amazing sites including the majestic Blue Mosque, fascinating Hagia Sophia, and the Roman Hippodrome. Discover the Golden Horn and hone your haggling skills as you shop for unique gifts and mementos in the world-famous Grand Bazaar. Revel in the splendors of Topkapi Palace Museum and see the seventh-largest diamond in the world. From the bustling city ambiance, head on to the seaside town of Kusadasi for more one-of-a-kind moments you are sure to cherish. Cross-off visiting one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World from your bucket list and show the proof in the pictures of you standing in front of the Temple of Artemis, Temple of Hadrian, and the Library of Celsius in ancient Ephesus. Take time to explore the Basilica of St. John and the House of Virgin Mary. Consider further enhancing your ultimate trip to Turkey with an extension to Aphrodisias, dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite; Pamukkale famous for its travertine terrace formations and hot springs; and Konya, home of the Whirling Dervishes. Amazing moments await you on this captivating Turkey travel package at every turn!

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Experience Istanbul
  • Where Europe and Asia meet
  • Learn of the Ottoman Empire
  • Majestic Blue Mosque
  • Fascinating Hagia Sophia
  • Roman Hippodrome
  • Golden Horn
  • Bosporus Straight
  • Topkapi Palace Museum
  • See the seventh-largest diamond in the world
  • Galata Bridge
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Famous Grand Bazaar
  • Seaside town of Kusadasi
  • Ephesus, the world’s best preserved ancient city
  • Temple of Hadrian
  • Library of Celsius
  • Turkish Rugs - Basilica of St John
  • House of Virgin Mary
  • Aphrodisias
  • Spectacular rock formations of Pamukkale
  • Konya, home of the Whirling Dervishes
  • The Path of St. Paul
  • Enchanting Cappadocia
  • Fairy Chimneys
  • Göreme Open-Air Museum
  • Whirling Dervish performance

Photo and Video



DAY BY DAY ITINERARY


Day 1 Depart USA
Depart from US on your overnight flight to Istanbul, Turkey. Meals and refreshments served on board.

Day 2 Arrive Istanbul, Turkey
Welcome to Turkey! Upon your arrival in Istanbul, clear customs and immigration. Proceed into the arrival area and meet your Tour Director. Along the way to your hotel, enjoy an orientation to the city. See the remnants of empires that rose and fell, from the Greeks and Romans to the Venetians before the Ottomans that still remain. The city was the end of the legendary Silk Road linking Asia with Europe, and many merchants who came here liked it so much that they, too, decided to stay. We know you will love this destination as much as they did. There is a welcome dinner at the hotel tonight. (D)

Day 3 Istanbul - Old City Tour
Following breakfast, head out for a full day exploration of Istanbul's Old City. Begin at the Roman Hippodrome that served as the center of Byzantine life for a thousand years. Next, visit the Blue Mosque, the single most recognizable monument along the Istanbul skyline. The immense interior is basked in sunlight that streams through 260 windows and is decorated with more than 20,000 precious Iznik tiles detailing traditional flowers of Ottoman design. Afterwards, visit the Church of Divine Wisdom – Hagia Sophia – one of the best examples of Byzantine Architecture in the world. Enjoy free time for lunch before heading to Topkapi Palace, the center of the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 19th centuries. In the Treasury section, see breathtaking displays, including the seventh-largest diamond in the world. The day’s tour concludes with a visit to the Basilica Cistern that brought water into the city via numerous aqueducts. (B)

Day 4 Istanbul – Galata Bridge/Grand Bazaar Tour
Rise and shine with breakfast at your hotel and get ready to embark on a tour to explore unforgettable Istanbul. First is a stroll on the Galata Bridge with its restaurants and coffee houses where local people enjoy their meal while watching the rush of the ferry boats and fishermen. Time for a selfie stop to view the Galeta Tower or Topkapi Palace in the distance. Then onwards, make your way across the Golden Horn by coach to reach the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. The Grand Bazaar dates from the 15th century and is visited by locals and visitors alike. This shoppers delight contains 4,400 authentic shops, 25,000 full time staff, 61 covered streets, 18 entrances, and looks as much to the present as it does to the past. Shop for handmade carpets and kilims, Turkish silver art, souvenirs and decorations made of copper and bronze and high-quality ceramics, onyx, and leather goods. Finally, as part of our Cultural Discovery Series, head over to Caferağa Medresesi, a lovely little building and charming tea garden. Built in 1560, it now houses a cultural organization that teaches and promotes traditional Turkish handicrafts. Spend some time participating in your choice of a variety of workshops: ceramic tile art, calligraphy, water marbling (ebru), jewelry, felt, carpet weaving, and more. The rest of the day is free to explore. (B)

Day 5 Istanbul
Today you can enjoy a day at leisure to explore independently or take an optional tour to the Spice Bazaar, Ortaköy fishing village and a cruise on the Bosphorus. Start the day in the Spice Bazaar, brimming with stalls full of Turkish delight, teas and spices. Then onwards to the Golden Horn to cruise along the Bosporus Strait. The Bosporus is a narrow, navigable strait that divides the continents of Europe and Asia. Your cruise will take you past late Ottoman Palaces, Dolmabahçe and Beylerbeyi, as well as beautiful wooden mansions and modern villas of the 19th and 20th centuries. Your last stop will be the Ortaköy fishing village on the Bosphorus strait where Turks, Armenians, Greeks, and Jews historically lived peacefully side by side for centuries. (B)

Day 6 Istanbul/Kuşadasi
Have breakfast at your hotel and then head to Istanbul Airport for a short flight to Izmir, the country’s 3rd largest city. Upon arrival, you will enjoy a scenic ride to the seaside town of Kuşadası. This resort town, located on the Aegean coast, boasts restaurants, bars and is an ideal location to explore the coast and the world-famous Ephesus archaeological site. The remainder of the day is yours to relax and enjoy at your own pace! Dinner tonight will be served at your hotel (B,D)

Day 7 Kuşadasi - Ephesus Tour
After breakfast at your hotel, drive to nearby Ephesus, perhaps the world’s best-preserved ancient city. In Roman times, Ephesus was the provincial capital of Asia, with a population of some 250,000 at the height of its glory. The most significant relic of the site is the immense amphitheater that holds 24,000 people and is still used today. You will walk along the Sacred Way and see the ingenious water and sewer system that was constructed beneath paving stones of marble. You will also see the Temple of Hadrian, a Corinthian-style building with the head of Medusa to keep away evil spirits, and the Library of Celsius. Next, continue to Sultanköy, where you will participate in one of our Cultural Discovery Series and learn about the entire rug-making process. After this cultural experience, you will break for a fresh and organic al fresco lunch showcasing ingredients from Sultanköy’s own farm and orchards. Continue on to the town of Selçuk where you will see the artifacts in the Museum of Archaeology. Return to the hotel, relax, and enjoy dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 8 Kuşadasi
Enjoy a full breakfast at your hotel, then enjoy the day at leisure or take an optional tour to the Basilica of St John, Isa Bey Mosque, Şirince village and the House of Virgin Mary. Our first stop will be the town of Selçuk to visit the Basilica of Saint John, said to be built over the Apostle John’s burial site. Situated just down the hill from the basilica is Isa Bey Mosque, one of the most delicate examples of Seljukian architecture. Then head to the town of Şirince, an old Greek Orthodox village that will give an authentic taste of Turkish/Greek culture and rural village life. After lunch in a family-run Turkish restaurant, you visit an elementary school located in Şirince (Cultural Discovery Series). This give you a great opportunity to learn about the Turkish educational system, meet teaches and their students. To end this exciting day, visit the House of Virgin Mary, who is believed to have come to Ephesus near the end of her life in 37 AD. This place was officially declared a shrine of the Roman Catholic Church in 1896. Dinner is served at your hotel tonight. (B,D)

Day 9 Kuşadasi to USA or extend your stay with an optional Pamukkale & Cappadocia extension
This morning you will say goodbye to Kusadasi and the Aegean and drive to the airport for your flight back to the U.S. (B)

OPTIONAL CAPPADOCIA EXTENSION
Day 9 Kusadasi - Aphrodisias Tour - Pamukkale Tour/Isparta
After breakfast at your hotel, you will drive to Aphrodisias. Dedicated to the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, Aphrodisias flourished during the Hellenistic period, then later under Roman and Byzantine rule. See the unearthed stadium with more than 30,000 seats, the Temple of Aphrodite and Baths of Hadrian. Later, continue on to Pamukkale. For countless millennia, a spring here has been pouring out streams of hot mineral water. These have plunged down the mountain-side creating enormous circular basins fringed by stalactites and surrounded by a huge area of smooth, dazzling, white calcareous rock. Explore the travertine formations as well as the extensive ancient site of Hierapolis where you can soak in the soothing waters of Cleopatra Pool and wade in the shallow hot spring pools. After lunch continue eastbound to reach your hotel located in Isparta, known as the "rose garden of Turkey." During his missionary journeys, St. Paul happened to pass by Isparta, and the road he used is now a popular trek known as the "The Path of St. Paul". (B,L)

Day 10 Isparta - Konya Tour/Cappadocia
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel and then join in a 3-hour scenic journey to reach the city of Konya in the plains of Anatolia. Konya is the home of the whirling dervishes’ founder, Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi. Enjoy a city tour, including visits to the Mevlana Museum and the Alaeddin Mosque. Rumi is one of the world's most read poets, and his tomb is Turkey's second most-visited tourist attraction after Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. Later, depart Konya for Cappadocia, and what is perhaps the most magical landscape in Turkey. Upon arrival, check-in and relax in your typical cave house hotel. This evening experience a whirling dervish performance. (B)

Day 11 Cappadocia - Cappadocia Tour
Today, based on weather conditions, there is a possibility of an optional hot air balloon ride. After breakfast, embark on a full day tour of Cappadocia. The biblical realm of Cappadocia is a wonderland of unusual geographic formations sprinkled with green vineyards, fruit orchards and frescoed churches. Wind and rain have eroded the brittle volcanic rock and formed rock cones, capped pinnacles, and fretted ravines. Visit Monk’s Valley with its unique Fairy Chimneys that can reach up to 130 feet from the ground. Next, discover the Göreme Open-Air Museum, consisting of steep cliffs with many hidden churches dating from the 9th century. Then enjoy a home-cooked lunch in the village of Ayval?. Beginning in the 2nd century, as successive armies swept across Asia Minor, the residents of Cappadocia created uniquely defensible communities by digging approximately eight stories down into the volcanic tufa stone. Tour one of these underground cities that features a complex community replete with houses, churches, storage areas, a communal kitchen, and burial chambers. Finally, make a stop at the Avanos Hand-craft Center built along the banks of Kizilirmak (Halys) River. (B,L)

Day 12 Cappadocia to USA
This morning you will be transferred to Nevsehir airport for a flight to Istanbul, connecting with your flight back to the U.S. (B)

(B) – Breakfast, (L) – Lunch, (D) – Dinner


INCLUDES

  • ROUND TRIP AIR TRANSPORTATION - Air transportation from New York and all intra-Turkey flights
  • FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS - Hotel accommodations for 7 nights
  • SUPERB CUISINE - 12 included meals consisting of 7 buffet breakfasts, 1 lunch and 4 dinners
  • SIGHTSEEING TOUR PROGRAM - Sightseeing, including local guide and all entrance fees as follows: Full day Istanbul tour including the Old City, the Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia & Basilica Cistern, a half day tour including the Galata Bridge and Grand Bazaar, and a tour of Ephesus and Selçuk. Optional tours available
  • CULTURAL DISCOVERY SERIES - Our program encompasses cultural connections, in-depth learning on the local economy and social systems, and interaction with locals such as a Turkish crafts workshop, visit to an elementary school, and Turkish carpet factory
  • PROFESSIONAL TOUR DIRECTOR - Assistance of a professional Tour Director for the entire length of the tour upon arrival in Istanbul
  • DELUXE MOTORCOACHES - Touring by private deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach
  • BAGGAGE HANDLING AND TRANSFERS - Baggage handling for one piece of checked luggage outside of the airport

OPTIONAL CAPPADOCIA EXTENSION FEATURES
  • FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS - Hotel accommodations for 3 nights
  • SUPERB CUISINE - 5 included meals consisting of 3 buffet breakfasts and 2 lunches
  • SIGHTSEEING TOUR PROGRAMS - Sightseeing, including local guide and all entrance fees as follows: Tours of Pamukkale, Konya, and Cappadocia
  • PROFESSIONAL TOUR DIRECTOR - Assistance of a professional Tour Director for the entire length of the tour
  • BAGGAGE HANDLING AND TRANSFERS - Baggage handling for one piece of checked luggage outside of the airport

OTHER PROGRAMS

Croatia

CROATIA'S ENCHANTING COAST

9 DAYS/7 NIGHTS

Austria

SWITZERLAND & AUSTRIA

9 DAYS/7 NIGHTS

France

THE RHINE RIVER CRUISE

9 DAYS/7 NIGHTS