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Discovery of Caucasus Holiday Planner Tours to Turkey Best of Turkey Tour - 13 days (TR-05)

Best of Turkey Tour - 13 days (TR-05)

Group size
2-8 people
All year
13 days
Ankara, Antalya, Aspendos, Cappadocia, Ephesus, Istanbul, Konya, Kusadasi, Pamukkale, Perge, Troy
Ankara - 1 night
Antalya - 2 nights
Cappadocia - 2 nights
Istanbul - 3 nights
Kusadasi - 2 nights
Pamukkale - 1 night
from $3,895
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This 13 day tour offers a comprehensive itinerary for those keen to see Turkey in depth. Combining the cosmopolitan city of Istanbul with many of Turkey’s historic treasures, it provides the opportunity learn more about its rich cultural heritage and key players such as Helen of Troy, King Midas, Kemal Atatürk and the Whirling Dervishes. Among the many sightseeing visits are those to Gallipoli, Ephesus and Troy. The country’s incredible scenery hasn’t been overlooked, with the chance to be wowed by the breathtaking valleys and rock formations of Cappadocia, the pretty coves near the resort of Antalya on the stunning Turquoise Coast and of course the exquisite terraces and hot springs of Pamukkale. 

Day 1
Transfer from the airport to the hotel
Your Turkey holiday begins as you arrive in Istanbul. We’ll meet you at the airport and transfer you to a city centre hotel. Overnight in Istanbul
Day 2
Visit to Topkapi Palace
Visit to Hagia Sophia
Visit to Blue Mosque
Visit Grand Bazaar
Many of Istanbul’s most fascinating sights are concentrated in the area of Sultanahmet in the European part of the city. We’ll begin at Topkapi Palace, built for the Ottoman Sultans and as splendid today as it was in its heyday. Its lavish interiors rival its position overlooking the Bosphorus when it comes to the wow factor. Nearby, you’ll discover the magnificent Hagia Sophia. Constructed at the time of Constantine the Great, this extraordinary building has been a mosque, church and museum in its lifetime. Architecturally superb, the interior also reveals dazzling mosaics and calligraphic panels. After a break for lunch, the next stop is the wonderful Blue Mosque. Inside, admire the latticework and also the Iznik tiles which lend the place its nickname. Outside is the Byzantine Hippodrome, once the stage for chariot races; a short stroll away is the atmospheric Basilica Cistern with its columns and echoing subterranean chambers. Last but by no means least is a visit to the Grand Bazaar where you can shop till you drop at its 4000 stalls. Overnight in Istanbul. (Breakfast, lunch)
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Gallipoli - Canakkale
Day 3
Transfer by car / minibus: Istanbul - Gallipoli - Canakkale
Visit to the Lone Pine Cemetery
Visit to Chunuk Bair
The 1915-1916 Gallipoli campaign was a defining moment of World War One. The Allies attempted, and failed, to defeat the Ottomans. Although, with enormous casualties on both sides, you could argue there was no winner. In the UK, Gallipoli cost Winston Churchill his job and Asquith his government, but it led to a strengthening of national identity for Australia and New Zealand who commemorate the anniversary of the landings as ANZAC Day each April 25th. We’ll pay our respects at ANZAC cove and the Lone Pine Cemetery. A visit to Chunuk Bair, site of a crucial battle in August 1915, and to Gabatepe War Museum will give us the opportunity to reflect on the campaign and its consequences. Overnight in Canakkale. (Breakfast, lunch)
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Troy - Kusadasi
Day 4
Transfer by car / minibus: Gallipoli - Canakkale - Troy
The ruins at Troy
Visit the ancient kingdom of Pergamon with its Acropolis
Temple of Athena and library
Transfer by car / minibus: Troy - Kusadasi
On today’s itinerary is the legendary city of Troy. This ancient city was the setting for Homer’s Iliad; many historians now believe that the archaeological ruins we see today were those that Homer wrote about. During your visit to this UNESCO World Heritage site, you’ll find out about the Trojan Wars, a 10 year siege of the city by Greek forces. Lay eyes on a model of the famous Trojan horse that enabled the Greeks to trick the Trojans and put an end to the fighting. Your guide will also explain the complex relationship between the Trojan prince Paris and Helen, the woman he abducted or seduced depending on which account you believe. It’s a fascinating piece of history, all the more compelling if you are standing amid the ruins as you learn about it. On leaving Troy, we’ll visit the ancient kingdom of Pergamon with its Acropolis, Temple of Athena and library, where we’ll learn about the contribution of Asclepion to the understanding of medicine. Overnight in Kusadasi. (Breakfast, lunch)
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Day 5
Transfer by car / minibus: Kusadasi - Ephesus
Walking tour of Ephesus
Visit leather factory in Selcuk
The home of the Virgin Mary
Transfer by car / minibus: Ephesus - Kusadasi
Today we’re treated to a walking tour of Ephesus. It was originally a port city, located at what was once the estuary of the River Kaystros. Highlights include the Great Theatre; built between 41 and 17AD, it’s still used for performances today. We’ll learn about some of its most famous sights, including the Library of Celsus and the Temple of Hadrian, guarded by what’s thought to be a head of Medusa on account of its wavy hair. Sadly, little remains of the famous Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. A few miles away is the House of the Virgin Mary, an important place of pilgrimage for those who believe that it was her home. Other stops today include the Archaeological Museum of Ephesus in Selcuk, and Sardis, where the Greco-Persian wars took place. Overnight in Kusadasi. (Breakfast, lunch)
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Day 6
Transfer by car / minibus: Kusadasi - Pamukkale
Terraces of Pamukkale
The focus today is the breathtaking complex of calcite-encrusted terraces at Pamukkale. Known as the “Cotton Castle”, mineral-rich hot springs have sculpted an incredible landscape of terraced pools which cascade down a steep hillside. It’s one of Turkey’s most photogenic spots, particularly seen from above in the clear waters of Cleopatra’s Pool (also referred to as the Roman Antique Pool). Our opportunity to swim here is enriched by the knowledge that it’s been a spa for over 2000 years, as evidenced by the proximity of the ancient ruined city of Hierapolis. In fact, step into the 36°C waters and you’ll be sharing a bath with submerged columns which date back many centuries. Just beyond the city walls we’ll discover a sprawling necropolis whose 1200 tombs span a period from the Ancient Greeks to the early Jewish and Christian era. Overnight in Pamukkale. (Breakfast, lunch)
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Perge - Aspendos - Antalya
Day 7
Transfer by car / minibus: Pamukkale - Perge
Visit to the ancient city of Perge
Transfer by car / minibus: Perge - Aspendos
Visit Roman theatres in Aspendos
Aqueduct in Aspendos
Transfer by car / minibus: Aspendos - Antalya
On the itinerary this morning is a visit to the ancient city of Perge. It’s about a three hour drive to what was the capital of Pamphilia and dates back to 1000BC. It has a colonnaded street similar to the one we saw in Ephesus, as well as well-preserved baths, unusual gate towers and several temples. From Perge we continue on to Aspendos, which boasts one of the most intact Roman theatres anywhere in the Mediterranean. It seats a crowd of 20000 and is still used for music and drama productions - the International Opera and Ballet festival is an annual event. The other important landmark at Aspendos is its aqueduct. Built by the Greeks in 155AD, it carried water from the hills to the town, a distance of 19km. It’s an easy drive to Antalya, our next base. Overnight in Antalya. (Breakfast, lunch)
Day 8
Your guide will offer a programme of optional excursions today. Perhaps you’ll fancy a cruise around the Gulf of Antalya; the views of its pretty little coves and bays are delightful. For those who haven’t yet had their full of ruins, we’d suggest Phaselis, which was a Greek and Roman city on the coast of ancient Lycia. If you prefer, you can relax and spend a leisurely day in Antalya or go out exploring on your own. Overnight in Antalya. (Breakfast, lunch)
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Day 9
Transfer by car / minibus: Antalya - Konya
Caravanserai of Sultan Han
Visit to the Mevlâna Museum
Transfer by car / minibus: Konya - Cappadocia
Departing Antalya, we drive first to Konya. Our sightseeing this morning is at the Mevlâna Museum, where the mystic Celaleddin Rumi founded the Sufi order which we know as the Whirling Dervishes. The museum, opened almost a century ago, is a mausoleum containing his tomb, but it’s also fascinating to study the musical instruments, textiles, carpets and calligraphy on display. We leave Konya to move on to the Sultan Han caravanserai, built in 1229. Caravanserais such as this were constructed as fortified inns and played an important role on ancient trade routes such as the Silk Road. This one is particularly special with a huge gate, elaborately embellished in Seljuk style. With a photo stop to catch the sunset, we arrive in Cappadocia in the early evening. Overnight in Cappadocia. (Breakfast, lunch)
Day 10
Sunrise from a hot air balloon (optional)
Cappadocia Sightseeing
We suggest waking up early in the morning and participate in the optional hot air balloon excursion. Our standard programme for the day will start as usual at about 10 am. Those who are not participating in the optional excursion will be able to discuss their options with the guide, you might simply want to drive to the place where the balloons are launched, and enjoy spectacular views from the ground. The Cappadocia region is one of the most breathtaking in Turkey. This volcanic landscape has been weathered over time to create a fantastical place crammed with quirky landforms. Volcanic eruptions three million years ago left a layer of tufa, a soft stone which is easily removed by wind and rain. Underneath, the rock is more resistant, and the result is an almost surreal landscape of rock pinnacles, steep ravines and spindly fairy chimneys with capped tops which look a little like mushrooms. Within the valleys you’ll find tumbling streams and fruit trees laden with apricots. People have lived in this place for many centuries and have left their mark in the form of underground cities, such as that of Kaymakli. Littered throughout the region are frescoed chapels hewn from the soft rock. The best known are found at Göreme Open-Air Museum, which we will visit on a guided tour. There will also be an opportunity to see rugs being made, which make a great souvenir purchase. Overnight in Cappadocia. (Breakfast, lunch)
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Day 11
Transfer by car / minibus: Cappadocia - Ankara
Anatolian Civilisations Museum
Mausoleum of Kemal Atatürk
Our Best of Turkey itinerary wouldn’t be complete without Ankara, the country’s capital. Here, we’ll learn about Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who founded modern Turkey as a secular state. Included in today’s programme are his mausoleum and also the Atatürk Museum. We’ll also visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations and its impressive collection of antiquities covering a period from prehistoric times onwards. One of the highlights is some incredibly well preserved furniture recovered from the tomb of King Midas, who famously turned everything he touched into gold, so legend has it. Overnight in Ankara. (Breakfast, lunch)
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Day 12
Transfer by car / minibus: Ankara - Istanbul
Discover the city by metro
We complete the loop as we return to Istanbul. Today’s programme gives you the opportunity to discover the city by subway. Beginning on the Bosphorus, we travel to the Golden Horn Metro Bridge; opened in 2014, the station is located right in the middle of the bridge. From it there’s a fabulous view of the river, Galata Tower, Süleymaniye Mosque and the Topkapi Palace which we visited earlier in the holiday. Next we’ll take you to a station of a different kind: the historic departure point for the Orient Express, Sirkeci Terminal. Another metro ride, this time on the Cross-Continental Subway, gets us underneath the Bosphorus in a subterranean tunnel. We board in Europe and disembark in Asia. Tonight, we’ll spend our final night in Turkey at lively Taksim Square, at the heart of Istanbul’s entertainment district. (Breakfast, lunch)
Day 13
Transfer from the hotel to the airport
After breakfast, you’ll bid farewell to Istanbul as we transfer to the airport for your flight home. (Breakfast)
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Dates and prices
Please read notes at the bottom of the table to learn more about the meaning of each pricing section
Travel package
Comfort - 3*
Year of travel
Travel dates Excluding flights Single supplement Book
07/27/2024 - 08/08/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
08/03/2024 - 08/15/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
08/10/2024 - 08/22/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
08/17/2024 - 08/29/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
08/24/2024 - 09/05/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
08/31/2024 - 09/12/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
09/07/2024 - 09/19/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
09/14/2024 - 09/26/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
09/21/2024 - 10/03/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
09/28/2024 - 10/10/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
10/05/2024 - 10/17/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
10/12/2024 - 10/24/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
10/19/2024 - 10/31/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
10/26/2024 - 11/07/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
11/02/2024 - 11/14/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
11/09/2024 - 11/21/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
11/16/2024 - 11/28/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
11/23/2024 - 12/05/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
11/30/2024 - 12/12/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
12/07/2024 - 12/19/2024 $3,895 $595 book now
12/14/2024 - 12/26/2024 $3,895 $595 book now

Note on pricing:

  1. All prices are per person, in US dollars. All included services are listed in the tour dossier and the section "Included" in the tour description.
  2. Price "Excluding flight" does not cover airfare, you are free to book your own flights. Alternatively we can quote for flights from any international airport.
  3. Single supplement goes towards single room accommodation.
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