A country of almost unparalleled diversity, Turkey is the epitome of that overused phrase ‘east-meets-west’. Literally spanning the two continents of Europe and Asia, its turbulent and fascinating history unfolded as a succession of powerful empires sought control. And as each empire gained the upper hand, so the cultural and artistic heritage of this great country developed and grew. Today, its rich past provides the bedrock of the country’s new dynamic contemporary focus.
Turkey has it all...
- A stunning coastline of over 5,000 miles... the word turquoise was invented to describe the color of the sea around its southern shores
- Breathtaking natural wonders including the volcanic fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, and the astonishing frozen mineral waterfalls of Pamukkale
- Wonders both ancient and modern... from the archeological sites of Ephesus, to the boutique hotels of Bodrum
- Some of most stylish and chic of Europe’s nightlife, restaurants and sporting venues
- A rich cultural heritage encompassing Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman influences... more Greek ruins than Greece; and more Roman ruins than Italy!
- 16 Meals include Breakfast Daily (B), 5 Lunches (L), 3 Dinners (D)
- Professional Visits in Istanbul, Nevershir or Aksaray and Izmir
- Visit the famous Hippodrome
- Enjoy a journey on a Bosphorus cruise
- Visit extraordinary sites in Cappadocia, Ephesus and Pergamon
- Transportation by private air-conditioned comfortable vehicle
- English speaking national or same guidance throughout the tour
- Entrance fees to the museums and sites mentioned in the itinerary
- Accommodation: 4 nights in Istanbul, 2 nights in Cappadocia, 3 nights in Izmir
- Daily breakfasts at the Hotels
- Meals on days mentioned in Itinerary
- Dinner & Show includes English Speaking Assistance and limited local drink (2 glasses of wine or 2 beers or 2 soft drinks)
- Three Professional visits in Istanbul, Nevsehir or Aksaray and in Izmir
- Private Boat during the Bosphorus Cruise in Istanbul
- Tips to the drivers & guides
- Service charges and VAT
Tour Package Does Not Include
- Domestic Flights
- Personal Expenses
- Lunches & Dinners - those that are not mentioned on the itinerary
- Balloon ride in Cappadocia
- All type of Drinks at meals
- Tips to the guide & drivers
THURSDAY | DAY 1| EN ROUTE
Departure from the U.S. on the airline of your choice. Aims Travel will be happy to assist with your air arrangements.
FRIDAY | DAY 2 | ISTANBUL ARRIVAL
Arrive in Istanbul, meet your driver at the airport & transfer to the hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure.
SATURDAY | DAY 3 | HIGHLIGHTS OF ISTANBUL
Today you will focus on Old City as it was in the days of Justinian and the other Roman Emperors. You depart the hotel with your personal guide who is also a lecturer on the history of the City. The morning will primarily be spent at Seraglio Point where you are first taken to the site of the famous Hippodrome. Here you will see the obelisk of Theodosius with its 4th Century reliefs. Walk to Sultan Ahmet Camii, better known to us as The Blue Mosque. With your expert guide you will learn that the Mosque was built in the 17th Century and is famous for its great dome, six minarets and an interior covered in blue Iznik tiles. You then visit Aya Sophia, the great church built by the Emperor Justinian. Walk to the legendary Topkapi Sarayi. Begun by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453, it was the palace of the Ottoman Sultans for over 300 years and is a supreme example of Ottoman architecture. Here we will wander through its many pavilions, courtyards and gardens, see unrivalled treasures from the collections of the Ottoman Sultans including dazzling jewellery and unique porcelain. For lunch walk to the Konyali (Restaurant), in the Topkapi Palace garden offers traditional Turkish cuisine. The day ends at the Grand Bazaar, a unique covered market with over 4,000 shops selling carpets, leather goods, jewelry, and many other items. You will have a chance to shop but with your guide nearby to ensure that you don't get lost. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure. BL
SUNDAY | DAY 4 | ISTANBUL
After breakfast, depart from the Hotel and visit The Health Museum, which opened in Istanbul in 1918 to inform people about epidemic diseases, is now under restoration and will reopen within two years. The museum building was constructed in 1875 as a mansion. One of the seven rooms on the ground floor of the building was a famous coffee house known as “Büyük Kahve.” Water was sold to the public in the other rooms. It is known that the building was later bought by the Committee of National Defense and used during armistice years. The mansion, located on Sultanahmet Divanyolu Street, served the Yıldız Technical University from 1911 to 1914. Two rooms of the mansion were chosen to serve as the Health Museum in 1915. Enjoy a Bosphorus Cruise with Private Boat, during the journey we will enjoy views of some of the few remaining 'yali', picturesque wooden houses built along the water's edge, the twin fortresses of Rumeli Hisar and Anadolu Hisar, and Imperial palaces along the shore. (duration : 2 hours)
Drive through to the Dolmabahce Palace. The palace represents a period in time when Ottoman traditional architectural style was ignored for the more western patterns being used elsewhere in Europe. The palace, which consists of 285 rooms, 46 halls, four grand salons, six galleries and six baths, is divided into two sections: the Ceremonial Section - where the sultan would receive distinguished guests from all over the world, and the Harem - where the Sultan's wife, mother and concubines lived. Return to the Hotel for the evening.
Evening: Tonight’s Dinner and Show, caps a memorable journey. BD
MONDAY | DAY 5 | ISTANBUL
After breakfast, confer with colleagues at a Professional Visit to a Turkish Hospital. Than continue to the day with the impressive 5th century Theodosian Walls and the nearby Kariye Museum. Once the Church of St. Saviour in Chora and dating back to the reign of Constantine the Great in the 4th century, much of the structure you see today largely dates from the 11th century. Once a mosque, it is now a museum famous for its superb mosaics depicting scenes from the life of Christ, which mainly date from the 1320’s. These are some of the most beautiful Byzantine mosaics in the world and were the model for those in Torcello. Visit the Rustem Pasha Mosque, through his marriage to the Sultan’s daughter Mihrimah and his subsequent appointment as Grand Vizier, or mayor, Rustem Pasha became the wealthiest and most powerful courtier in the service of Süleyman I (1520-1566) and his mosque is an ostentatious demonstration of the fortunes which he accumulated. Commissioned from Sinan (c.1490-1588), the most brilliant architect in the history of the Ottoman Empire, in the year of the patron’s death in 1561, the mosque’s design is a masterly solution to the awkwardness of its site rising above a row of the shops and warehouses at street level. Walk to the Spice Bazaar was built in 1660 to help support the upkeep of the mosque. Here is where you can find all manner of Turkish delight candy (lokum), baklava, teas and Turkish coffee, and dried fruits. Formerly, the Spice Bazaar functioned as a ‘natural pharmacy’. Recipes for medicines made from mixtures of various herbs were often hung outside of shops, so that customers could request these herbs if they so desired. This tradition still continues today. Nearby stop at the special coffee shop “Mehmet Efendi Kuru Kahvecisi” Some say that there is a special relationship between smell and memory, and for me the smell of Istanbul is walking out of the Egyptian or Spice Bazaar and being hit by the smell of Coffee.
Enjoy lunch at the famous meat Restaurant, Hamdi. Pera Tour begins at the top of Istiklal Avenue, in Taksim Square, with the French Cultural Institute, which brings French culture to Istanbul and is one of many reasons the area retains its fin de siècle feel. Then we pass from Aya Triada, Istanbul’s largest Eastern Orthodox Church. A short stroll brings us to Ağa Camii mosque, dating back to 1597. Next, we visit Galatasaray High School, founded in 1868. Across the avenue is the 19th century Çiçek Pasajı. Then ride the Tünel finicular, built in 1875. Transfer to your hotel and enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure. BL
TUESDAY | DAY 6 | ISTANBUL - CAPPADOCIA
Transfer to the Istanbul Ataturk Airport for flight from Istanbul to Kayseri or Nevsehir from where we drive to the land of wonders that is Cappadocia, whose name means “the land of beautiful horses”. The region’s unique landscape of multicolored pinnacles and lunar rock formations known as “Fairy Chimneys” is hollowed out with Byzantine churches, monasteries and entire subterranean “cave towns.”
- Suggested Flight Time to Cappadocia
TK 2026 Istanbul – Kayseri 09:50 –11:10
* 1 hour driving distance to Cappadocia
TK 2006 Istanbul – Nevsehir 07:10 –08:25
* 30 minutes driving distance to Cappadocia
Upon arrival to Kayseri, drive to the surrealistic region of Cappadocia (approx. 60 minutes). During the ride your lecturer guide will be giving you information of the area and details of the program.
First stops will be Devrent Valley with animal shaped fairy chimneys and "family fairy chimneys" in Urgup. Here there are streets lined with handsome stone-built 18th century Ottoman mansions, and an entire cave-town with many chambers, halls and passageways. Thereafter visit Pasabagi (Monk's Valley) with multiple stems and caps, peculiar to this area. After visiting Pasabagi, drive to Avanos which is known for the pottery, a craft dating back to the Hittite period. The red clay which is worked by local craftsmen comes from the residue in the Kizilirmak river, the longest river of Turkey. Afternoon, drive to Goreme Open Air Museum (Dark Church is excluded; entrance requires additional admission fee) to see the rock-carved churches Göreme National Park, like an open-air museum. Here, clustered within a relatively small compass, are numerous monasteries and some of the most fascinating churches of the region, deemed worthy of inclusion and protection in a natural museum. Within its precincts are 15 churches large and small, seven refectories, and various tombs and cellars including wine cellars.Check in to the Boutique unique property Hotel where you will feel at home. B
WEDNESDAY | DAY 7 | CAPPADOCIA
Breakfast at the Hotel, free morning at leisure, optional land tours are available.
Optional Ballooning Tour:
This morning you may choose an optional hot air balloon excursion over Cappadocia. Depending on the weather conditions, in the early morning before sunrise guests will be transferred to the meeting point for the tour with Hot-air balloons. Estimated flying time is 1 hour, after the tour champagne breakfast will be served at the landing site. "Out in the wilderness … A Champagne Breakfast". Diplomas will be given to all ballooners. Return back to the Hotel to refresh and enjoy breakfast at the hotel.
Rate per person: $225.00 per person
Departure from the Hotel in the morning and visit to Rose Valley, one of the most beautiful trekking valleys in Cappadocia, and explore the famous rock- cut churches by hiking through the valley. Rest in Cavusin, an old Greek village, known for its Christian houses and churches. After having time for lunch visit Ortahisar Castle, similar to Uchisar Castle in style, where storage caves can also be observed. In the afternoon visit Kaymakli Underground City where early christians lived in fear and faith. On the way back visit to panoramic Pigeon Valley where pigeons contributed to the lives of locals with their manure to fertilize the wineyards. You may also like to taste Cappadocia wine in a local winery. Drive to the old Caravansari performance of Whirling Dervishes, an authentic ceremony in a mystic ambience. Transfer back to the hotel.
Dinner at a local Rstaurant in Cappadocia. BD
THURSDAY | DAY 8 | CAPPADOCIA - ANKARA - IZMIR
This morning enjoy breakfast at the Hotel. Meet your private driver & car at 08.30 and transfer to Nevsehir or Aksaray for a Professional Visit at a Turkish Hospital. Proceed to Ankara and on arrival to Ankara visit to the Anatolian Civilizations Museum at which there are numerous remnants from Stone Age, Neolithic Age, Hittites, Urartians, Phrygians and many others; Citadel of Ankara and the Mausoleum of Ataturk, the burial place of the national hero who founded modern Republic of Turkey. Continue on to the hotel or airport for the departure transfer. Lunch shall be served in Ankara.
*Anatolian Civilizations Museum was under renovation when this tariff was released and all the sections may not be visited during the visits unless completed until then.
Upon arrival at Izmir Airport meet with your Private Guide and Private Vehicle with driver to transfer to the remains of the Hotel in Izmir. BL
- Suggested Flight Times from Ankara to Izmir
TK 7012 Istanbul – Kayseri 19:35 –20:55
FRIDAY | DAY 9 | IZMIR - EPHESUS
After breakfast, drive to the remarkable Greco-Roman archaeological site of Ancient Ephesus dating back to the 11th century B.C. It has been painstakingly excavated and restored and is one of the world’s most fascinating sites of antiquity. Ephesus flourished as a prominent city and seaport between 600 B.C. and 500 A.D. Walk along Royal Road also known as the Arcadian Way, a 4th century white marble chariot thoroughfare whose most striking sight is the two-story Library of Celsus. Uniquely beautiful, with its restored facade now the famed symbol of Ephesus, the Library once housed 12,000 scrolls of papyrus manuscripts making it the 2nd largest in the ancient world after the library in Alexandria, Egypt. Your walk along the Royal Road will also take you past the remains of some of the ancient city’s major civic buildings and temples as you move toward the Ephesus Theater from which St. Paul once preached to the Ephesians. The theater, seating 25,000 has exceptional acoustics and is still in use today for concerts and theatrical performances. Then you will visit the ongoing excavations of the Greco Roman PALACES the ”ELITE YAMAC HOMES OF ANTIQUITY” (Terrace Houses) with their magnificent mosaics and frescoes being restored by archeologists as you visit the site. Drive to House of Virgin Mary, according to many historians and theologians, the divine death of the Virgin Mary took place in Ephesus in the presence of St. John into whose care Christ's mother was given (St. John, XX, 26-27). Afternoon a Professional visit is scheduled in Izmir. Return to the Hotel. BL
SATURDAY | DAY 10 | IZMIR - PERGAMON
Breakfast at the Hotel. Drive to Pergamon, driving along the coast of the mythical Aegean Sea. After lunch at Pergamum, one of the ancient world’s great centers of learning and the arts; visit the modern city of Bergama is the successor of ancient Pergamum. Visit the Acropolis and the Asklepion of ancient site, both listed among the top 100 historical sites on the Mediterranean. Most of the extraordinary buildings and monuments in Bergama date to the time of Eumenes II (197-159 BC), including the famed library, the terrace of the spectacularly sited hillside theater, the main palace, the Altar of Zeus, and the propylaeum of the Temple of Athena. In the early Christian era, Pergamum's church was a major center of Christianity and was one of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev. 2:12-17). The ancient city is composed of three main parts: the Acropolis, whose main function was social and cultural as much as it was sacred; the Lower City, realm of the lower classes; and the Asklepion, one of the earliest medical centers on record. Return to the Hotel in Izmir in the afternoon.
Departure from the Hotel for a Farewell Dinner at a sea-food restaurant on the sea-side. BLD
SUNDAY | DAY 11| IZMIR - ISTANBUL
Transfer to Izmir airport for your Turkish Airlines flight back to Istanbul & then to the U.S. B
- Suggested Flight Time to Istanbul
TK 2311 Izmir - Istanbul 09:00 –10:05
Have a Most Enjoyable Tour!
|CITY||#NIGHTS||5* HOTELS||ROOM TYPE|
|Istanbul||4||Grand Hyatt Hotel||Grand King Room
|Cappadocia||2||Tas Konaklar: May|
Yunak: June, Sept & Oct
|Tas Konaklar: Lux Room
Yunak: Standard Room
|Izmir||3||Movenpick Hotel||Standard Room|
2015 Departure Dates
Prices are based on Four Passengers in Double Occupancy
DEPARTS THURSDAY RETURNS SUNDAY LAND ONLY TOUR PRICE
PER PERSON in Twin/Double rooms
May 7 May 17 June 18 June 28 October 15 October 25
Single Room Supplement Add: $1175.00
Please call for 2016 Dates & Prices