Grand Tour of Western 16 Days

DAY 1: ISTANBUL
Arrival in Istanbul and transfer to your hotel. Overnight Istanbul.

DAY 2: ISTANBUL OLD CITY CLASSICS AND HIGHLIGHTS
09:00 Departure from your Hotel. We continue to the Blue Mosque, which was built in the 17th century and is the only imperial mosque with 6 minarets, then the Hippodrome, a stadium and meeting place in Byzantine times, the Serpent Pillar from Delphi and the Egyptian Obelisk, with the Fountain of Wilhelm. Visit the Caferaga Medresesi which was designed by the architect Sinan and built in the 16th century, now used as a learning center for traditional Turkish arts. We will then explore the Topkapi Palace. It was the home of the Ottoman sultans from the 15th-19th century A.D. We see the Imperial Treasury with the famous Spoonmaker Diamond. (Harem section is optional and due an extra entry fee). The tour ends in the Grand Bazaar, which has over 4000 shops full of treasures Return to your hotel around 17:30. Overnight Istanbul. (B)
This tour may be done completely as a walking tour.
Note: Sunday the Grand Bazaar is closed - On Tuesday the Topkapi Palace is closed

DAY 3: ISTANBUL – TROY – GALLIPOLI – CANAKKALE
8.30 Depart from Istanbul to Canakkale - on the way head to Gallipoli. You will be given a full explanation of the famous WWI battle. We will visit: Brighton Beach, the intended landing place, Beach Cemetery on the southern tip of Anzac Cove, the landing place of the first wave of Australian and New Zealand. After lunch in Eceabat isit Canakkale the legendary site of Troy with its nine levels of civilization. You will see the reproduction of the Trojan Horse. We will proceed by ferry across the part of the Dardanelles - the ferry pulls in at the small fishing village. Overnight Canakkale. (B.D)

DAY 4: CANAKKALE – TROY – ASSOS – PERGAMON
Today is an enjoyable odyssey of the North Aegean Coast past the area is known as the “Troad”. We visit Troy, the legendary city of Homer and the beautiful Helen, which has nine principal levels of occupation covering a period of 3000 years. We will continue to Behramkale Village and visit the ancient city of Assos and Temple of Athena, high upon a hill. You can see the Greek Island of Lesvos from here. Aristotle founded his first school of philosophy in Assos. We will continue to the town of Bergama and overnight. (B.D.)

DAY 5: PERGAMON – KUSADASI
Departure in the morning after breakfast and we will visit the lofty Pergamon Acropolis, and the ruins of Zeus Altar. The Acropolis is situated high above the plain and has a unique panoramic view, with a very narrow and steep theater that could seat up to 10,000. See what remains of the Great Library, which rivaled the one of Alexandria in Egypt, and Temple of Trajan. We will drive by the Red Hall for a view then continue to the Aesclepion, which was the first known hospital and therapy center in the world. Overnight Kusadasi. (B.D.)

DAY 6: EPHESUS – HOUSE OF VIRGIN MARY – ST JOHN – KUSADASI
Today we will visit the House of Virgin Mary, which is a major pilgrimage site, then Ephesus, with the Library of Celsius, Temple of Hadrian, Agora and fantastic Greco-Roman theater (Terrace Houses are extra and optional). We will also see a carpet weaving demonstration today and learn about Turkish carpets. Continue to Sirince Village, where you may taste different types of fruit wine. We will also visit the Basilica of St. John and remains of the Temple of Artemis, one of Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Overnight Kusadasi. (B.D.)

DAY 7: KUSADASI – APHRODISIAS – PAMUKKALE
We will drive through the valley following the Meander River, which gave us the word “Meandering. We spend some time at the Greco-Roman site of Aphrodisias, which is still being excavated. It features the Temple of Aphrodite, two agoras, a huge intact stadium, baths of Hadrian and theater, and was the site of a famous sculptural school. We continue to Hierapolis (Pamukkale) with the Temple of Apollo and extensive Necropolis not to mention the famous calcium formations it is famous for. Overnight in Pamukkale. (B.D.)

DAY 8: PAMUKKALE – DALYAN BOAT TOUR – FETHIYE
Today we will drive to Dalyan and have an enjoyable day in this fishing town with lunch and a Riverboat tour, where you may enjoy thermal waters and a mud bath, view ancient rock tombs and lay on the natural sandy Iztuzu Beach, which is a breeding ground of the famous Caretta Caretta turtle. We will continue to Fethiye and will have some time in the old town with remains of the ancient theater, bazaar area, and promenade by the seashore. Overnight in Fethiye. (B.)

DAY 9: FETHİYE – XANTOS – PATARA – KALKAN – KAS
Visit Patara, with its 17km long white sandy beach and ruins half buried in sand dunes. Patara was the birthplace of the 4th c Byzantine bishop known later as Santa Claus. We will visit the old part of Kalkan, which was a fishing village once occupied by Ottoman Greeks. Kalkan is on a steep hill and boasts old whitewashed churches (now mosques) and small stone houses with wooden balconies. Passing some wonderful coves and beaches we continue to the small waterside town of Kas which means “Eyebrow” in Turkish as it faces Meis “Eye”, the Greek Island known also as Kastellorizo. Overnight in Kas. (B.D.)

DAY 10: KAS – LEISURE DAY OR OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES
Today you are free to discover the pleasant fishing and tourist town of Kas on your own or** go with your guide and see the Lycian Tomb, the Theater and the Hellenistic Temple or even a visit to a Turkish Village or beach depending upon groups’ wishes, or you may join an optional cruise to Kekova, a peaceful group of picturesque islands with very distinctive rock sarcophagi and ancient houses submerged under the clear water. The cruise also includes Ucagiz Village with Lycian Tombs and Simena Village with its stone houses and the castle and opportunities for swimming OR you may take the ferry to the Greek Island of Kastellorizo which is picture perfect with its small tavernas, old churches and a fortress. Overnight in Kas. (B. D.)
**Note that excursions are optional

DAY 11: KAS – ANDRIAKE – CHURCH OF ST NICHOLAS – ANTALYA
We drive to Demre and will have a view of villages and the Toros Mountains on the way. We approach the ancient harbor and view Andriake with the Granary of Hadrian and shops at the edge of the water bordering on Bird Paradise. According to weather and the wishes of the group you may want to take a dip in the cold curative waters of the Burguc Spring or a swim on one of the unspoiled bays nearby. We will also see the Church of St. Nicholas (The legend of Santa Claus originated in Turkey and the church is a pilgrimage site). After Lunch we will continue along the unspoiled scenic coast and then arrive in Antalya in a few hours where we will get settled into the old city and can visit the old part of Antalya called Kaleici, with the Gate of Hadrian, the Clock Tower, Fluted minaret and the ancient harbor. Overnight Antalya. (B.D.)

DAY 12: ANTALYA – PERGE – ASPENDOS – KONYA
Today we visit Perge, which was originally settled by the Hittites around 1500 BC. We will see the impressive colonnaded street, baths, nymphaeum, and agora and the fountain of the River God, where waters once poured down the center of the city. Aspendos, which is one of the best-preserved amphitheaters in the world. Then we turn inland and drive through the Toros mountains to Konya. Konya was known as Iconium in Roman times and was the capital of the Seljuk Turks from the 12th to 13th centuries. Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi founded a Sufi order known as the Whirling Dervishes. We will visit the Museum of Mevlana and see some of the great Seljuk monuments such as the Karatay Medrese and the Ince Minareli Medrese from outside. Overnight in Konya. (B.D.)

DAY 13: KONYA – SILK ROAD – CAPPADOCIA – GÖREME OPEN AIR MUSEUM
We will continue from Konya on the Old Silk Road trade and see Sultanhani Caravanseraybefore arriving in Cappadocia. Visit Devrent Valley - natural rock formations with fantastic shapes, some of which are reminiscent of people and animals. Visit the Zelve area with Pasabagi for a walk in the vineyards among strange multiple "mushroom-capped" fairy chimneys, then continue to Avanos, which has been a center of terra cotta work since 3000 BC. See a pottery demonstration using the ancient kick-wheel technique. We will also visit Goreme Open Air Museum, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Overnight in Cappadocia. (B.D.)

DAY 14 : UNDERGROUND CITY
- Recommend - Hot Air Ballooning with sunrise (extra)
Hike along the Red/Rose Valley, the most breathtakingly beautiful valleys in our unique area. Finish the hiking tour at the Cavusin Cave Village. After a 1 hour walking and Cavusin village visit continue to Kaymakli Underground City and explore four levels of this underground city which is a maze of tunnels where it is believed up to 3500 people may have lived. You will see storage rooms, kitchens and living areas with ventilation shafts. There are also wineries, stables and “millstone” doors which could be rolled to seal tunnel entrances from invaders. Parts of the underground city may be from the Hittite era but were also used by early Christians as a refuge as there is a small church. Last stop at one of the most important symbols of Cappadocia, the Legend of Three Beauties takes its name from the fairy chimney of two adults and a child. Overnight in Cappadocia. (B.D.)

DAY 15: CAPPADOCIA – ISTANBUL
Transfer to the airport and take the morning flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival transfer to your Hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure and overnight in Istanbul. (B.)

DAY 16: ISTANBUL – HOME
Pick up from your hotel and transfer to the airport 3 hours prior to your flight departure. (B)

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