Thursday 2 September | Meet at the airport at 8.30am for Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul departing at 10.35am. On arrival, transfer by private coach to our 4* hotel in Istanbul – Hotel Yigitalp. Free time for check in and settling in. At 7pm, pick up from hotel for a dinner cruise on a luxurious yacht on the Bosphorus. Dinner will be served while sailing up the waterway between Europe and Asia, passing under suspension bridges and viewing Ottoman summer palaces, waterside mansions and modern villas which line the European and Asian Coasts. The panoramic view of Istanbul by the Bosphorus at night while enjoying a number of spectacular traditional shows on deck will definitely account for a memorable night. Transfer back to the hotel at midnight.
• welcome cocktail on deck
• Uskudara Gideriken (a traditional Turkish melody musical performance)
• Asuk Masuk (an imitation play of dwarfs which belongs to the Taseli district of Silifke and is performed by 2 male dancers)
• Belly dancer
• Henna night
• Anatolian Folk Dance
• Turkish Romany Dance
o Hors d’oeuvres dishes
o Fresh seasonal salad
o Grilled fish/chicken steak/meat balls/ vegetarian meal
o Unlimited local drinks (selection of local wines, beers, spirits and soft drinks)
o Turkish coffee
Friday 3 September | Breakfast at the hotel, followed by pick up at 8am for a full day city tour. Visits include a number of architectural gems such as the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome of Constantinople, the Cafer Aga Madrasa, the Topkapi Imperial Palace and the Grand Bazaar. Lunch will be included as well. At the end of the tour, transfer back to the hotel for dinner.
Saturday 4 September | Early pick up from the hotel and transfer to Eceabat. First stop in Gallipoli, a site for a naval battle, followed by a visit to the Kabatepe War Museum. Next stop will be at Brighton Beach and Anzac Cove, the Lone Pine Australian Memorial, Johnston’s Jolly and Chunuk Bair New Zealand Memorial. After visiting the Kilitbahir fortress, cross over the Dardanelles Straight to spend the night in Canakkale.
Sunday 5 September | Breakfast followed by departure for Troy, the setting for the mythology surrounding the Trojan Horse and Helen of Troy. Here ten cities have been discovered built on top of each other dating back to 3500 BC. Following a lunch break, drive to Pergamon to visit Pergamon ancient city. Dinner and overnight in Kusadasi.
Monday 6 September | Breakfast at the hotel followed by a full day tour of Ephesus. The tour will start off with Isa Bey Mosque and a short drive. In Ephesus, attractions include the Celsus Library, the Temple of Hadrian, and the Trajan Fountain. The morning tour will end at the Great Theater where St Paul preached. Lunch break at a local Turkish restaurant. In the afternoon, visit to the shrine of Mother Mary and the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Transfer back to the hotel for dinner.
Guests must be able to walk approximately 2.5 miles over uneven and cobblestone surfaces, inclines and 10-30 steps. In summer comfortable shoes, a hat and plenty of sunscreen are recommended as shade is limited. The order of the itinerary may vary in order to avoid congestion. Guests should watch their step at all times in order to avoid injuries.
Tuesday 7 September | Breakfast at the hotel and drive to Pamukkale (approximately 3 hours). First stop will be at Karahayit Springs also known as Kirmizi Su (Red Water), where natural hot thermal springs bubble from beneath calcite rocks. Next stop will be Hierapolis ancient city where one can explore the basilica, theatre, temple of Apollo, Roman bath and St Philip Martyrium amongst other parts. Free time to swim in the historical Roman pool of Hierapolis. Amongst these archaeological treasures, the highlight of the excursion will be walking barefoot on the spectacular travertine thermal pools of Pammukale. Some time will also be allocated to try swimming in Cleopatra Pool. Dinner and overnight in Pamukkale.
Wednesday 8 September | Breakfast followed by departure from Pamukkale to Cappadocia through Konya. In Konya stop to visit the Mevlana Museum, famous for the mausoleum of a Turkish Sufi mystic and poet who founded the sect of the Whirling Dervishes. Brief stop at 13th century Seljuk caravanserai “Sultanhan” in Konya, a fortified structure considered to be one of the best examples of Seljuk architecture in Turkey. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.
Thursday 9 September | Breakfast at hotel and departure to visit Red Valley, also known as Pigeon Valley, which earned its name from the countless man-made pigeon houses or dovecotes carved into the rocks and cliffs. Since ancient times pigeons have been used in the Cappadocia region as message carriers and fertilizer for the infertile soil. After a short hike, visit Cavusin village. Old Cavusin was abandoned several decades ago due to avalanches, while the current village is located on the road. Old Cavusin, with its rock-cut dwellings and stone houses, has several hermitages and churches. In the afternoon visit Kaymakli underground city, where early Christians lived. Its ancient name was Enegup. The houses in the village are constructed around the nearly one hundred tunnels of the underground city. The tunnels are still used today as storage areas, stables and cellars. On the way back, stop to visit the castles at Ortahisar.
Guests must be able to walk approximately 1.5 miles over uneven and cobblestone surfaces. Comfortable shoes, a hat and plenty of sunscreen are recommended as shade is limited. The order of the tour itinerary may vary in order to avoid congestion. Guests should watch their step at all times in order to avoid injuries. It is not recommended to visit the underground cities for guests who have asthma or claustrophobia.
Friday 10 September | Breakfast followed by departure for the Dervent valley, our first real encounter with Cappadocia’s almost Martian landscape. Visit Pasabag’s “fairy chimneys”, where the voice of the wind harmonizes with songs of the fairies. Short stop at Avanos center of terracotta art, a popular destination because of its attractive old town with cobbled streets, to see how ceramics are made by hand. Lunch followed by a visit to the famous Goreme Open Air Museum to see the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia. The tour will end by a visit to the Uchisar Rock Castle, welcoming visitors as silent witnesses to history while giving a panoramic view of the valleys of Cappadocia.
Guests must be able to walk approximately 1.5 miles over uneven and cobblestone surfaces. Comfortable shoes, a hat and plenty of sunscreen are recommended as shade is limited. The order of the tour itinerary may vary in order to avoid congestion. Guests should watch their step at all times in order to avoid injuries.
Saturday 11 September | Breakfast at the hotel followed by pick up for transfer to Ankara (approximately 3 hours). Visit to the Anatolian Civilizations Museum at which numerous remnants from various ages are on display, the Citadel of Ankara and the Mausoleum of Ataturk, the burial place of the national hero who founded the modern Republic of Turkey. Dinner and overnight in Ankara.
Sunday 12 September | Breakfast and check out, followed by departure from hotel for our transfer to Istanbul. Our flight from Istanbul will depart at 5.15pm, landing in Malta at 6.45pm.