Friday 8 December | Meet at the airport at 7am to board Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul departing at 9.25am. On arrival, transfer by private coach to our hotel in Istanbul – Buke Hotel Sisli. Check in and allocation of rooms will be followed by some free time to explore the area.
Saturday 9 December | Full day optional excursion away from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul on a day trip to the Gulf of Ismit and the freshwater lake of Sapanca. Located on a tectonic hole, between Izmit bay and the Adapazari Meadow, Lake Sapanca is known for its scenic beauty. Continue to the picturesque village of Masukiye to enjoy lunch under a canopy of trees. Short stop at Masukiye waterfall before transfer back to our hotel in Istanbul.
Sunday 10 December | Full day optional excursion to Sile. After breakfast, head north-east of Istanbul on the Anatolian side to Sile, a small Black Sea fishing town known for its sandy beaches, open-weave cotton fabric, and its past role as a port of call for ships sailing east from the Bosphorus. Free time will be allocated to take a stroll along the fishing harbor or relax with a cup of tea at the hilltop café overlooking the lighthouse. Transfer to Agva passing through picturesque Turkish villages such as Kabakoz and Suaybli, where time seems to stand still. Agva is situated between the Yesilcay and Goksu rivers that flow into the Black Sea. An optional leisurely boat ride down the Goksu River will be available to enjoy the rich green landscapes and views of Agva. Free time for lunch and to relax along the Goksu River or on one of Agva’s sandy beaches. Surrounded by forest and cliffs, you will find the fresh, blue green waters of the sea calling you.
Monday 11 December | Breakfast followed by a visit to the Pierre Loti, a teahouse perched on a ridge overlooking the Golden Horn. Pierre Loti, the French author for whom it is named today, was the patron of this teahouse. The terrace of this coffeehouse has a breathtaking view of the Golden Horn and its surroundings. The next stop will be to the Mosque and Mausoleum of Eyüp Sultan. Eyüp Ensari was the standard-bearer to the Prophet Mohammed and is said to have died during the first Arab attack on Constantinople in the 7th century. Today, this mosque is known as an important Islamic pilgrimage site. The tour will end with a visit to the Panorama Museum. The Panorama 1453 History Museum, established by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality in 2009, holds the title of ‘the world’s first full-panoramic museum’. As one of the most popular spots in Istanbul, the museum gives its visitors a chance to relive the conquest of Istanbul.
Tuesday 12 December | Breakfast followed by transfer to boat for a cruise on the Bosphorus. During the Bosphorus cruise, you will be passing through the strait which divides Europe and Asia where you will admire Ottoman Palaces, fortresses, ancient wooden houses and modern residential homes. Amidst the shoreline of beautiful mosques, lavish palaces, and decadent yalıs, you will see Dolmabahçe Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, Ottoman summer mansions, the Ortaköy Mosque, the defensive Rumeli Fortress, and the Bosphorus Bridge, one of the world’s largest suspension bridges.
Following the cruise, transfer to the Egyptian Bazaar, known as the Spice Bazaar. The bazaar is a centuries-old market in Eminönü with many tantalizing sights and sounds, but more importantly smells and tastes. Shops here offer Turkish delight, Turkish coffee, spices, dried fruits, caviar and much more. The last stop of the day will be at the Shopping Mall where free time for shopping will be allocated.
Wednesday 13 December | Breakfast followed by free time at leisure. In the afternoon we leave to the airport for our flight back to Malta departing at 6.35pm.