Turkey Uncovered - 10 days
Thanks to its great location Turkey, the crossroads of Europe and Asia, reflects the cultural influences of many empires that once ruled here and this experience-oriented Turkey tour offers unique experiences as well as sightseeing the highlights of Turkey’s beautiful spots such as Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, Pamukkale and Fethiye.
Itinerary of this Turkey tour
Hosgeldiniz (Hoshgeldiniz) as they say in Turkey, one of most diverse places on earth.
You will be met at the airport and taken to your hotel by private transfer. You will be able to rest overnight to get ready for your full-day tour of Istanbul in the morning. Please note that this private Turkey tour is fully guided and you will journey with your guide for the all 10 days.
The magical city of Istanbul links the east and the west, and has been the centre of several empires over the centuries, the most powerful of which were the Eastern Roman and Ottoman.
Your first day in Turkey tour begins with the one of most spectacular spots of the city, standing still for 1500 years, the grand Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia is the former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral, later an Ottoman imperial mosque and it is one of the rarest structures that showcases a blend of architectural styles of both a church and a mosque. Constructed in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian of the Byzantine Empire, it is still among the world’s greatest architectural achievements. It is known as a long-enduring symbol of the cosmopolitan city and its role in the history of the city touches upon matters related to international politics, religion, art and architecture.The building reflects the religious changes that have played out in the region over the centuries, with the minarets and inscriptions of Islam as well as the lavish mosaics of Christianity.
Afterwards, we will just walk for a few minutes to the Basilica Cistern, one of Istanbul’s splendid historical buildings. It is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city. This big underground water reservoir was also constructed in 6th century and used to meet the water needs of the great Byzantium palace that covered a wide area where the emperor resided. It was constructed using 336 columns, the symmetry and sheer grandeur of conception are quite breathtaking.
Next stop will be the worldwide famous Blue Mosque which is built between 1609-1616. This impressive mosque has six minarets and considered as one of the world’s most beautiful mosques. You will understand why it is called “blue” as you step inside. The impressive interior is covered in beautiful blue Iznik tiles.
After the delicious lunch, we will visit the Topkapı Palace which is one of Turkey’s most enchanting historical landmarks. It served as the main residence and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman sultans since 15th century. The construction of the palace began in 1459, ordered by Mehmed the Conqueror, six years after the conquest of Constantinople. It rambles over an enormous area, populated by armouries, apartments, bathhouses, kitchens, libraries and a historical church; Hagia Eirene.
Since Turkey became a republic, it has been a museum, where visitors are lured by ornate tiled walls and collections of jewels, relics and textiles, as well as courtyard gardens studded with trees and fountains.
We will end your first day in Turkey tour with a lovely dinner in one of Istanbul’s famous rooftop restaurants. It’s a great time to meet the worldwide famous Turkish cuisine after a tiring day.
Today we will experience the true vibe of Istanbul by joining a local food, history and hidden places tour which is organized by our sister company Taste of Istanbul Food Tours. The foodie walk spreads across the historical city center and through Istanbul’s vibrant neighboring districts. We will lead you to the best traditional Turkish restaurants, cafes and shops throughout the city that we have carefully selected for being run by locals whose passion is to serve authentic and delicious Turkish food, accompanied with the typical warm-hearted Turkish hospitality. Meanwhile you will have the chance to explore the captivating sights, have the opportunity to taste mouth-watering delicacies of the Turkish cuisine and hear the stories that lie behind the classic dishes.
The walk will start in bustling Taksim square and after promenading down the colorful Istiklal Street, we will keep exploring the local tastes walking through Galata Tower, Spice Market, Grand Bazaar and some sightseeing points which are considered as hidden gems of the city.
After the walk is over and we are literally full, we will head to a captivating hamam, the Turkish bath. A Turkey tour will definitely be incomplete without this unique traditional experience.
In an extraordinary meeting of nature’s artistic splendor and humankind’s resourcefulness, Cappadocia is one of those rare places that must be experienced at least once in a lifetime. With unique rock formations, splendid landscapes, impressive walking trails, mysterious underground cities, rock-cut churches and of course, the hundreds of hot air balloons that soar in the sky during sunrise each morning, Cappadocia is the must-see destination in a Turkey tour.
After arriving at Kayseri airport with an early morning flight and checking in our extraordinary cave hotel, our adventure in Cappadocia will start at the World Heritage property Goreme Open Air Museum and its famous fresco-adorned rock-cut churches. First an important Byzantine religious settlement that housed some 20 monks, then a pilgrimage site from the 17th century, this splendid cluster of monastic Byzantine artistry with its churches, chapels and monasteries is an amazing sight.
We will have our lunch in a traditional restaurant and next stop will be the Monks Valley with its epic fairy chimneys and cave dwellings. The final stop of the day will be the incredible Zelve Open Air Museum that once housed one of the largest communities in Cappadocia. In this amazing cave town, you can walk amongst historic dwellings, churches, and religious chambers as well as the town square.
Before having a rest for for the next day, we will have our dinner on a nice rooftop setting the beautiful landscape of Cappadocia.
Cappadocia is known as one of the best places on earth to fly with a hot air balloon. The picturesque surrealistic landscapes combined with wonderful flying conditions allow the balloons to gently float over and between the fairy chimneys and impressive valleys. In order to join this once-in-a-life-time experience this morning, you will be collected from your hotel very early in the morning, just before the sunrise and transferred to the take-off site. While having a light breakfast, the balloon will be inflated and you will receive a passenger brief which simply explains the basic rules as well as safety measures for the ride. Then it’s time to get into the basket and one of best experiences in all your life begins! You will amazed by the gorgeous view of the spectacular landscape under the first lights of the day and you will never forget this unique sunrise experience.
After the memorable balloon ride, we will get back to our hotel to get freshed and then we will have an hour ride to visit one of the many underground cities in the area; Derinkuyu Underground City. This miraculously well protected and maintained structure dates back to 3000 B.C. and is a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just like other underground cities, Derinkuyu was built by carving the rocks down on volcanic tuff land and it spreads under the ground just like the roots of a tree. It is often associated with ancient civilizations and most of the mysteries are still unsolved. Right now it has 8 open floor that reaches 50 meters down and it is assumed that approximately 50.000 people were living at the same time in Derinkuyu Underground City which was a home to living spaces, dining halls, kitchens, stables and churches.
Leaving the underground city, another short ride will take us to the Ihlara Valley; an incredible gorge with a stunning river running right down the heart. It is believed that the valley housed more than 4.000 dwellings and 100 cave churches decorated with frescoes. Around 80.000 people once lived in Ihlara Valley. We will hike through the valley, walking by the churches, vineyards, poplars and pistachio trees to the soothing sound of the rushing water for around an hour. The walk will end in Belisırma where we will have our delicious lunch on the tables located in the river.
In the afternoon, we will visit Selime Cathedral. Facing Roman pressure in 66 A.D., the first Christians living in the Cappadocia region in the Roman Empire era turned this place into a huge monastery in order to conduct religious ceremonies secretly. They also established chapels, churches and multi-functional rock-carved places here. Even the first vocal religious ceremony was held in this cathedral by Christians 1,700 years ago.
In the evening another delightful dinner full of Turkish traditional tastes will be waiting for us.
We get a morning flight to Izmir city and from there proceed to Ephesus, now Selçuk in modern Turkey. Ephesus was one of the most famous cities of the ancient Mediterranean. Founded in the Bronze Age and important from ancient Greek times, it contained the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and served as a crossroads between the East and West for centuries. During the height of its power, there were over 200,000 people living in the city around 3000 years ago. Besides Artemis, we will have a chance to visit the Celsus Library, Agora, Theater, Odeon, Trajan Fountain, Domitianus Temple and Roman Latrines as well.
After the lunch, we will visit the House of Virgin Mary where Mary may have spent her last days. Indeed, she may have come in the area together with Saint John, who spent several years in the area to spread Christianity. Mary preferred this remote place rather than living in crowded place. Paul VI was the first pope to visit this place in the 1960’s. Later, in the 1980’s, during his visit, Pope John-Paul II declared the Shrine of Virgin Mary has a pilgrimage place for Christians.
On the way to Kusadasi town we will visit a nice village called Sirince meaning pretty in Turkish. This village is a perfect synthesis of Turk-Greek culture and famous for its fruit wines. We visit several spots and taste different kinds of fruit wines in this lovely village. After that we will proceed to spend the night in Kusadasi; a nice town not to be missed in your Turkey tour.
Having our breakfast early in the morning, we will depart for Pamukkale which has been made eternally famous by the gleaming white calcite travertines (terraces) overrunning with warm, mineral-rich waters on the mountain above the village – the so-called ‘Cotton Castle’ (pamuk means ‘cotton’ in Turkish). A walk on and around the picturesque travertines will be an unforgettable experience.
After spending some time in white stepped pools, we will head to the ancient city of Hierapolis which lies just above the travertines. Hierapolis, whose name means “sacred city,” was believed by the ancients to have been founded by the god Apollo. It was famed for its sacred hot springs, whose vapors were associated with Pluto, god of the underworld. Today, Hierapolis is a World Heritage Site and in addition to interesting classical ruins, such as temple of Apollo, theater, necropolis and the baths, the site offers a thermal sacred pool in which you can swim with ancient artifacts. The pool is known as Cleopatra’s pool and it is believed that once Queen of Egypt Cleopatra swam in it. This healing hot spring water has been serving people for more than 2000 years and is still open to the public. You will definitely love to swim inside an ancient pool.
A 3 hour ride will bring us to the lovely seaside town of Fethiye which is the last stop in your Turkey tour. After checking in our hotel, we will have our dinner by the sea and of course the menu will be full of fresh seafood.
Today is the day for another unique experience in your Turkey tour; paragliding over the Dead Sea. Paragliding is the simplest form of experience flying above the blue sky and mount Babadag of Fethiye has been one of the highest and most attractive paragliding take-off points worldwide. After the breakfast, you will be taken to Belcekız beach where the paragliders land and a 30 minute ride through the villages and a beautiful cedar-pine forest will take you to the top of Mt. Babadag. A breathtaking view awaits you at the top!
At the launch site you will be briefed by the pilot regarding the safety procedures taken during the take off and flight itself. Once the pilot and passenger are fully equipped and ready to take off, the parachute will be gently lifted up in the air. That’s the moment when the magic happens! Your dream of flying comes true! Surrounded by breathtaking mountains and beautiful beaches, this flight will definitely be a memorable experience.
The final day of your Turkey tour is reserved for sailing around turquoise waters and swimming as much as you want. Your private blue cruise will depart from Fethiye to discover the secret islands and secluded blue green bays. You will have opportunity to relax, swim in turquoise waters and sunbath on board while delicious open buffet meals with BBQ are prepared by the friendly crew.
The gala dinner after the cruise will be a great way to say goodbye to all Turkish food we have tasted so far.
Today is the departure day in your Turkey tour. You will be transferred to Dalaman airport after the breakfast. If you don’t have a direct flight back home and fly through Istanbul, we will be happy to help you book a connecting flight.
If you require any assistance with onwards travel within Turkey, accommodation bookings, queries, please let us know and we will be happy to assist.
Accommodation Options in this Turkey tour
Standard style accommodation in Turkey is your where you will find basic style guesthouses and/or hostels that have a variety of private rooms and some dorm rooms. The rooms will be clean but basic with no extras found within. Most standard style accommodation options would be 1-2 star equivalent.
Type of accommodations at this range: Guesthouse, Boutique guesthouse, Hostels, 1* and 2* Hotels.
Price of this Turkey tour
This tour can be customized in detail according to your preference. You can request a different itinerary, adjust the number of nights, select different hotels and experiences, include or exclude the meals.
Please contact us in order to submit an inquiry for this tour.