Day 1: Arrival in Istanbul
After arrival at Istanbul Atatürk airport, you are met and taken to a hotel in Sultanahmet for dinner and staying overnight.
Day 2: Istanbul
After breakfast at the hotel the guide meets you in the hotel lobby for a full day of exploration in the magical city of Istanbul. The tour begins with a brief visit to the 17th century Spice Bazaar, located in Fatih, which is the second largest covered shopping complex after the Grand Bazaar. Next you go to Rüstem Paşa mosque, built in 1560 in Eminönü district by the Golden Horn, which is among the city's architectural gems. After that you get on board a boat and take a leisurely cruise along the Bosphorus, the majestic strait that runs through Istanbul, dividing Europe and Asia. From the cruise boat you can admire the beautiful sights lining the shores of Bosphorus: mosques, a bridge that used to be the longest in the world and Rumeli Hisar, a massive fortress built by Mehmet the Conqueror in just three months as he prepared to take Istanbul. You can also see the impressive 19th-century mansions of the Ottoman elite and the amazing palaces of Dolmabahçe and Beylerbeyi and hunting lodges of the sultans. You stay overnight in Istanbul.
Day 3: Istanbul
After breakfast at the hotel the guide meets you in the hotel lobby for another full day of exploration in the magical city of Istanbul. The tour begins with a visit to Hagia Sophia, built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century, which is considered one of the most outstanding masterpieces of world architecture.
Next you go to the Blue Mosque which got its name from the exquisite tiles used in its interior decoration. After that the tour takes you to Topkapi Palace, which in the 15th to 19th centuries was the main residence of the Ottoman sultans. Next you walk in the Hippodrome, which was the most important stadium of ancient Byzantium, holding 100,000 spectators and featuring objects from all corners of the empire. Only an Egyptian obelisk and a bronze sculpture of three entwined serpents from Delphi are still there. The tour finishes with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, which was the commercial heart of the old city and nowadays its 4,000 shops sell a wide variety of goods, including carpets, silk, jewellery, ceramics, and leather products. You stay overnight in Istanbul.
Day 4: Istanbul – Cappadocia
In the early morning you are driven to Istanbul Atatürk airport to take a flight to Cappadocia. Our driver waits for you there outside the terminal with a sign with your name on it and takes you to Göreme. After check-in to your hotel you are taken on a tour to get acquainted with the wonders of Cappadocia. The tour starts with a visit to Mustafapaşa (Sinasos), an old Greek town with its spectacular old houses. Next you visit the quite recently discovered Sobesos excavation site with its beautiful mosaics, next to the village of Şahinefendi. Then you go to Soğanlı, one of the most beautiful and interesting valleys in Cappadocia. After a short walk, which includes visits to several churches, you have lunch in a local restaurant. The tour finishes with a visit to Kaymaklı underground city, the widest underground settlement in Cappadocia. You stay overnight in Göreme.
Day 5: Cappadocia
After breakfast at the hotel you continue touring Cappdocia. First you see the fascinating animal-shaped rock formations in Devrent valley, after that you walk in Paşabağ where you can see mushroom-shaped fairy-chimneys in the middle of a vineyard. Next you have lunch in a local home in Göreme. After lunch you go to Avanos, the centre of pottery and ceramics since 3000 BC and see how traditional local pottery is made there. In the afternoon you visit the famous Göreme open air museum with the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia in the rock-cut churches with frescoes and paintings (from 10th to 13th centuries). The last stop is just outside Uçhisar, where you have an opportunity to taste the famous local Cappadocian wines at Kocabağ winery. You stay overnight in Göreme.
Day 6: Cappadocia
After breakfast at the hotel, you are taken to Gaziemir which has probably the only underground caravanserai in the world. Then you go to a monastic complex situated high above Güzelyurt, consisting of the 19th-century Yüksek Kilise (High Church), also known as the Analipsis Kilise (Ascension Church), and a block containing monastic cells and a small refectory with superb views towards Hasan Dağı. Next you stop at a local restaurant for lunch. After lunch you go to Ihlara valley, where you take a hike in the Melendiz river canyon and you can also visit different churches there. The next stop is at Yaprakhisar viewpoint, where you can see the village of Yaprakhisar, which is famous for its lunar landscape resembling that of the Star Wars. Then you go to Selime, the biggest rock-cut monastery in Cappadocia with a cathedral-size church. You stay overnight in Göreme.
Day 7: Cappadocia - Ankara - Kuşadası
After an early breakfast at the hotel, you start the journey to Ankara, the capital of Turkey. On the way you stop for a visit at Agzıkarahan caravanserai, where the medieval merchants used to stay overnight. Then you continue your journey to Ankara along the shore of the Salt Lake, the second biggest lake in Turkey. After lunch, you visit the Anatolian Civilisations Museum, which is very famous for its special collection from the Hittite period. After that you take a flight to Izmir, and then you are transferred to Kuşadası. You stay overnight in Kuşadası.
Day 8: Ephesus
After breakfast at the hotel you visit the ancient city of Ephesus. First you go to the house of Virgin Mary, a Catholic and Muslim shrine located on Mt. Koressos (Bülbüldağı, "Mount Nightingale") 7 kilometres from Selçuk. Catholic pilgrims visit the house based on the belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was taken to this stone house by Saint John and lived there the last years of her life. Next you go to Ephesus, which was first an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city. After lunch you visit the site of the temple of Artemis which was one of the seven wonders in the ancient world. After that you go to the Basilica of St John, which was built in Ephesus. You can also visit the Isabey Mosque, built in 1374-1375, one of the oldest and most impressive works of architectural art remaining from the Anatolian beyliks. You stay overnight in Kuşadaşı.
Day 9: Priene - Miletus - Didyma
After breakfast at the hotel you go to Priene, formerly a leading member of the Ionian League. Next you visit Miletus with its ancient theatre and then Didyma, where you have lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch you visit the gigantic temple of Apollo, the site of one of the most important ancient oracles. You stay overnight in Kuşadası.
Day 10: Kuşadası - Istanbul
After breakfast at the hotel you are transferred to Izmir airport for a morning flight to Istanbul. If you give us the details of your departure flight from Istanbul, we can try to book you on the best connecting flight from Izmir. If you wish, you can also book extra nights in Kuşadasi or İstanbul.