||Istanbul ♦ Cappadocia ♦ Trabzon ♦ Mount Nemrut ♦ Harran ♦ Urfa ♦ Hasankeyf ♦ Mardin ♦ Van ♦ Erzurum ♦ Dogubeyazit ♦ Kars / Ani ♦ Istanbul
||16 Days / 15 Nights
||Charming Boutique Hotels
||Meals are included as shown in the itinerary
||Luxury, Private, Chauffeur-DrivenVehicleswith A/C, DomesticFlights
||Guaranteed Daily Departures, year-round
DAY 1: ISTANBUL - CAPPADOCIA [No Meal]
Arrival in Kayseri or Nevsehir airport and meet with shuttle driver. Transfer to your hotel in Cappadocia. Overnight stay in Cappadocia.
DAY 2: CAPPADOCIA [B]
Optional Hot Air Balloon Flight in the morning! (The flights are scheduled early in the morning to catch the sunrise. Pick-up and drop-off from the hotels are included)
Pick-up from your hotel after the breakfast around 09:00 – 09:30. Today the tour will start with Kaymaklı Underground City with rock-cut stables, wineries, chapels and housing - the resourcefulness of the carvers to create fully-functioning underground cities allowed these villagers to escape from marauders throughout the millennia.
Next we’ll drive to see some of the most spectacular rock formations - Devrent Valley (aka. Imagination Valley). Here the rocks have eroded naturally to form magical and interesting shapes which includes the well-known camel rock that stands at the entrance of the valley. We’ll continue our tour with Pasabag Valley (Monk’s Valley) where the iconic Fairy Chimneys dot the landscape. Our tour will continue with a tasty lunch at a local restaurant offering traditional Turkish dishes from the region.
The next destination is the town of Avanos, located along the longest river in Turkey. This ancient city was the center of the Hittite pottery-makers and today the same red and white clay from the surrounding hills is used to create the famous pottery. Before our final stop we will visit the famous UNESCO World Heritage site of the Goreme Open Air Museum. Our final location of the day is at the highest village in Cappadocia - the stunning Uchisar rock-castle fortress panaroma. At the end of the tour your driver and guide will bring you back to your hotel. Overnight stay in Cappadocia.
DAY 3: CAPPADOCIA [B]
After breakfast at your hotel you will be picked-up from your hotel by your guide & driver. Our first destination is the Old Greek Village of Mustafapasa. This village is also known by it’s ancient name Sinasos. We will a chance to examine the old Greek and Ottoman Houses and witness the nowadays village life in Mustafapasa.
Leaving the beautiful village behind our next stop is; Taskinpasa. We will visit an old Ottoman theological school here, Taskinpasa Medresesi. We will continue our tour with Sobesos. Located in Sahinefendi Village, this ancient city contains Roman Bath Section, Agora, The Basilica sections for now. There are still some more parts to discover and excavate…
Moving on to Soganli Valley we will stop to admire the Keslik Monastery located in Cemil Village. Also known as the Monastery of Archangels, this ancient monastery is containing two churches from 8th and 12th century and a refectory.
Arriving to Soganli Village first we’ll have a traditional village lunch in a local restaurant which located inside a beautiful garden with fruit trees. Our tour will continue with a 3km hike through the Soganli Valley. Visiting ancient churches and experiencing different rock tombs from Byzantine era will make this hike a relaxing and a pleasant one. On the way back we will visit the most enchanting fairy chimneys of the region; 3 Beauties and just before heading back to your hotel, we will have a chance to see the beautiful panaroma through Orthahisar Castle. After the tour you will be dropped off to your hotel. Overnight stay in Cappadocia.
DAY 4: CAPPADOCIA – GAZIANTEP - URFA [B]
After breakfast we’ll drive towards Sanli Urfa with a stop on the way in the town of Nizip - famous for olive oil and soap making. We will also pass through the ancient city of Belkis (Zeugma in Roman times) at the Euphrates River. After lunch break in Urfa we will walk through a local bazaar. Your guide and driver will bring your to your hotel for check-in. Afternoon at your leisure in Urfa, a historically-rich city. Overnight stay in Urfa.
DAY 5: URFA - KAHTA [B]
After breakfast at the hotel we will depart for Harran to see the unique beehive houses. The locals have built their houses for millennia out of local earth, entirely without wood and with tall cone-like roofs - when viewed together they look like a beehive. We will visit Ainzelha, a holy site also famous for the many tame fish in the lake. In Harran we will visit the cave where the Prophet Abraham was born - where he lived for many years before moving onto the Promised Land. In the afternoon we drive to the city of Kahta, with a stop at the incredible Gobekli Tepe, a current archeological site with artifacts found there dating back to the 10th century. The sculptures and walls found so far feature carved animal shapes. We will also pass by the Ataturk Dam, the 3rd largest dam in the world. Overnight stay in Kahta.
DAY 6: MT. NEMRUT - MARDIN [B]
Before sunrise we will drive by car up to Mount Nemrut - with a short walk to the summit to watch the sunrise over the plains surrounded by ancient stone-cut statues of mythological gods, eagles, lions and giant statues of King Antiochus, who created this sanctuary more than 2000 years ago. Afterwards we will return to our hotel for breakfast and check-out and continue on towards to Mardin - with a car-ferry ride across the dam and lunch break in Siverek. After lunch w wille arrive to the splendid city of Mardin. Famous for its Arabic-style architecture, unique stonework, winding alleys and lively bazaar - we will check in to your hotel and then explore the city on foot. Overnight stay in Mardin.
DAY 7: MARDIN - TATVAN [B]
Departing after breakfast from your hotel, we will explore more of what Mardin has to offer. This city is terraced onto the hill with spectacular views over the Mesopotamia Plains. This ancient city is rich in history and played an important part in early Christianity. Just outside of the city, we will also visit the Deyr-az-Zaferan Monastery - the seat of Syrian Orthodox Patriarchy for almost 800 years. Afterwards we will visit the village of Midyat with beautiful ancient houses and then onto the breathtaking village of Hasankeyf. The incredible history of this village began more than 10,000 years ago with nine civilizations making Hasankeyf their home After lunch break on the Tigris river, we will drive to Tatvan, a small village at the edge of Lake Van. Here we can watch the sunset over Lake Van. Overnight stay in Tatvan.
DAY 8: TATVAN - VAN [B]
After breakfast at the hotel we will drive around Lake Van to visit the ancient city of Van. Established in at least 5000 BCE, with some artifacts showing civilization as far back as the 13th Century - Van is often referred to as "The Pearl of the East" due to the incredible mountains and scenery. From Van we will travel by ferry to reach the Akdamar Island and the magnificent Armenian Church of the Holy Cross. Continuing on to the Van Castle, we will see the hieroglyphs of the Urartu civilization which ruled this region in the 9th century. Overnight stay in Van.
DAY 9: VAN – DOGUBEYAZIT - KARS [B]
Today we’ll begin the tour by driving on the Silk Road to Dogubeyazit located at the border of Iran. On the road we can see the spectacular views of Mount Ararat. Some, believe this majestic mountain to be the resting place of Noah's Ark, however, the proof has yet to be verified and the search is still on. The ancient city of Dogubeyazit has a long history with many cultures from the Urartus to the Persians, Romans and Mongols laying siege on this important trade border. We will visit the impressive Ishak Pasa Palace with views over the plains and soaring mountain peaks surrounding the stone walls. This Ottoman-period palace is perched among the rolling hills adding to the exotic landscape. We will continue to the city of Kars for check-in to your hotel. Kars is the largest city near the border to Armenia and has maintained architectural influences from the many peoples who inhabited or conquered this city over the centuries. Overnight stay in Kars.
DAY 10: KARS [B]
We begin with an early morning drive to the ruins of Ani, a cultural, religious and national heritage site for Armenians - Ani was once known as the "City of 1001 Churches". Today we can see a few of the incredible structures that were technically and artistically advanced in their day. Although Ani was abandoned in the 16th Century, one can still get a sense of awe from what remains as we enjoy a walk around this triangular-shaped site. As we return to Kars, we will visit the beautiful Kars Castle and several historical sites surrounding the city. Overnight stay in Kars.
DAY 11: KARS - ERZURUM [B]
After breakfast we depart Kars and head for Erzurum. This bustling city still retains a few important remnants from medieval times including the 12th century "twin minaret" madressa (a theological school) with carvings of the famous double headed eagle near the door, and the mosque - where we may have a chance to talk with the imam. Next we will visit the Turkish-Islamic Arts and Ethnography Museum where you can see Ottoman era embroidery, cloths, weapons, coins, as well as Seljuk era artifacts. We will also visit an interesting caravanserai with the natural stone from this area - jet stone - usually used for jewelry and prayer beads - adorning the caravanserai. Overnight stay in Erzurum.
DAY 12: ERZURUM - TRABZON [B]
With an early departure, we make our way to Trabzon. The route has many picturesque stops and we will visit the Karaca Cave, a series of caves with beautiful dripstones and travertines. Upon reaching the Trabzon area, we will visit the famous Sumela Monastery, also called the Monastery of the Virgin Mary. Carved into the ledge of a steep cliff, this monastery complex was founded in the 4th century and features murals of Christ and the Virgin Mary. With breathtaking views over the deep valley, the Sumela Monastery appears as though its hanging down from the clouds. We will take a short hike back through the forest and then check in at your hotel. Evening at your leisure. Overnight stay in Trabzon.
DAY 13: TRABZON - ISTANBUL [B]
After breakfast we will visit the city of Trabzon in the morning - an important port city on the Black Sea and for a brief period, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Inspired by Constantinople, churches were built to bring the grandeur to Trabzon including the Hagia Sofia of Trabzon - built on a much smaller scale than the majestic original in Istanbul, the 13th century church was also used as a mosque, then museum and since 2013 a mosque again. The name Hagia Sofia comes from Greek, meaning "Divine Wisdom". The tour will finish at noon with a transfer to the Trabzon airport for your flight back to Istanbul. Overnight stay in Istanbul.
DAY 14: ISTANBUL OLD CITY [B]
After breakfast at your hotel, we will pick you up from you hotel reception (09:00) and begin your day tour of Old Istanbul. Our first introduction to Istanbul is at the magnificent Topkapi Palace. This jewel of the Ottoman Sultans was used from the 15th to 19th centuries and features the sprawling palace grounds with spectacular views. Inside the palace compound we will see the impressive architecture and some smaller museum rooms with priceless artifacts from the days of the Sultans. The famed Harem of the Sultans is also located here (for an extra admission fee). After touring the palace and grounds, we will break for lunch. Afterwards we will visit the Blue Mosque - a working mosque with 20,000 Iznik tiles. The architecture, light and colors inside this mosque are breathtaking. Our next journey takes us through and around the ancient Hippodrome with the Obelisk of Theodosius, as well as the Snake Pillar and the German Fountain of Wilhelm II. Through the back streets of the Old City, we will arrive at the Underground Cistern - with beautiful columns and sunken carvings. At the end of the tour there may be free time to visit the famous Grand Covered Bazaar (closed on Sunday). This may be done as a walking tour for guests with centrally located hotels. Overnight Istanbul Hotel.
DAY 15: ISTANBUL [B]
Pick-up from your hotel around 08:30 and start your half day Bosphorus Tour. Our first stop is at the Egyptian Spice Market - this covered market is famous for the beautiful displays of exotic spices, Turkish delights and unique herbs. We continue on to board our cruise of the Bosphorus - the waterway separating the continents of Europe and Asia. Along the cruise route we will pass the Rumeli Fortress - built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 to prepare for his conquest of Istanbul. We will also cross under the Bosphorus Bridge - separating Europe and Asia to visit the magnificent Beylerbeyi Palace - the summer residence for the Ottoman Sultans. This cruise is done by public ferry, unless other arrangements are made. Overnight Istanbul Hotel.
DAY 16: ISTANBUL [B]
Pick-up from your hotel according to your international flight and transfer to Istanbul Ataturk Airport. Goodbye!
- Flight tickets are not included in the package but we can gladly offer and book flight tickets for you. Please inform us if you need more services. We’re a fully operational agency and we can assist you with all your needs in Turkey.
- We can also offer these tours in private basis with other languages; Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French…etc .
Customize Your Tour: Add-On Options
Flight Bookings: Domestic or International flights and upgrades. We are a full-service travel agency
Hotel Upgrades / Changes: we offer our Top Picks for hotels in each area. If you have a different hotel in mind or would like an upgrade please let us know. You may also book your own hotels and join in the tour. For more information please email us