Day 1 - Arrive in Istanbul
HOS GELDINIZ! Welcome to Turkey. We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. After a short briefing about your tour you will have the afternoon free to rest and explore Istanbul on your own.
Overnight in Istanbul
Day 2 - Istanbul - (B/L)
Today is dedicated to exploring Istanbul's most historic sites:
* Hippodrome: the backdrop of chariot races and the center of Byzantine civic life. Of the ornaments which once decorated it, only three remain: The Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column, and the Column of Constantine.
The Obelisk is in the Egyptian style and was erected in 1547 BC and stood 60m tall. The German Fountain is also within the hippodrome area, constructed in Germany to mark German Emperor Wilhelm II's second visit to Istanbul; it was imported and officially opened on January 1 1901. The fountain's three domes are decorated with gold mosaics.
* Topkapi Palace was the imperial residence and administrative heart of the massive Ottoman Empire, beginnng with Fatih Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, in 1453, until 1856. It was converted to a museum in 1924. Parts of the palace such as the Harem, Baghdad Pavilion, Revan Pavilion, Sofa Pavilion, and the Audience Chamber distinguish themselves with their architectural assets. The museum also has collections from the Imperial Treasury, as well as Chinese porcelain, weapons, calligraphy, etc. The Treasury also houses the Topkapi Dagger, the 86-carat "Spoon Maker's Diamond", and the jewel-encrusted bones of St. John the Baptist.
* Blue Mosque/Sultanahmet Mosque (Camii) built during the reign of Sultan Ahmet I during 1609-1616. It is the only mosque in Turkey with six minarets. Due to its magnificent hand-dyed blue, green and white Iznik tiles it has been named the "Blue Mosque" by Europeans. The central dome is 43 m in height and is 33.4 m in diameter; it also boasts 260 windows.
* Hagia Sophia/Aya Sofya is a truly awe-inspiring, 1,400-year-old Byzantine cathedral which houses mosaics, relics and iron work. Hagia Sophia was, for nearly a thousand years, the largest enclosed space in the world, and still seen as one of the world's most important architectural monuments. It is one of Turkey's most popular attractions, drawn by the sheer spectacle of its size, architecture, mosaics and art. Built during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD.
Overnight in Istanbul
Day 3 - Istanbul - (B/L)
After breakfast we will pick you from your hotel for another exciting full -day tour of Istanbul.
* The Spice Bazaar/Egyptian Bazaar (Misir Carsisi) transports you back to the Silk Road days with its mystical aromas of various spices. Here, you'll also find other shops selling fruits, vegetables, teas, flowers, fish, and Turkish Delight (lokum).
* Bosphorus Cruise takes you though the waterway separating the two continents, Europe and Asia; along its shores, you can take photographs of marble palaces and antique wooden Ottoman-era villas that sit beside luxurious modern residences.You will also see Dolmabahce Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, and Ortakoy Mosque.
* Rumeli Hisari (Fortress) : A monument built in the narrowest of the Bosporus, covering a 30,000 m2 area. In preparation of the conquest of Istanbul, the castle was built in a rapid four-month period. In some historical documents, it's been stated that 1,000 architects/masters and 2,000 workers were employed. On the opposit shore, on the Asian side, you can see its twin sister, Anadolu Hisari.
* Dolmabahce Palace , the last residence of the Ottoman Sultans, as well as Turkey's founder and first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Dolmabahce has 365 rooms and 22 salons. It is famed for its great collection of European antiques, furniture and a 4.5-ton crystal chandelier.
* Bosphorus Bridge - delivers panoramic views and a unique chance to cross continents in only two minutes!
* Camlica Hill is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike take in magnificent views of the city.
Afterwards, we will return you to your hotel; you will then have the evening free at your leisure.
Overnight in Istanbul
Day 4 - Istanbul to Athens - (B)
We will meet you at Athens International Airport, and transfer you to your hotel. After a short briefing, you will have the afternoon free to relax or discover Athens on your own. (Your hotel will be centrally-located and within walking distance to all of the main attraction areas.) Overnight in Athens
Day 5 - Athens - (B)
After breakfast around 8:30 AM, we will meet you at your hotel for your guided tour of Athens. You will explore Temple of Olympian Zeus, Panathinaiko Stadium (where the first Olympic Games took place in 1896). After that, we will drive by the Prime's Minister's residence, the Royal Palace, (guarded by colorful Evzones), Zappion (Conference and Exhibition Hall), National Garden, Hadrian's Arc, St. Paul's Church, Parliament, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Schlieman's House (Numismatic Museum), Catholic Cathedral, Academy, University, National Library, Old Parliament, Constitution Square, and the impressive Russian Orthodox Church.
At the ACROPOLIS, you will visit Propylaea, Temple of Athena Nike, Parthenon, Erechtheion and the Museum of the Acropolis.
In the early afternoon, we will provide a transfer to your hotel, or we can also drop you off at the Plaka so you can wander and explore. Overnight in Athens
Day 6 - Athens to Istanbul - (B)
Breakfast provided in the hotel; your morning will be free. After lunch, around 2:00 PM, you will be picked up from the hotel and
driven along the scenic coastal road affording splendid views of the Saronic Gulf, and the beautiful Athenian suburbs of Glyfada,Vouliagmenia and Varkiza.
At Cape Sounion, you will visit the 5th century B.C. Temple of Poseidon. Here is one of the most breathtaking panoramic views in the world (on a clear day you can see at least seven islands); the precipice is a sheer 197-foot drop into the sea. After the tour, you will depart Athens and fly back to Istanbul (or to wherever your next destination may be).
(This is a fully-customizable program and is available any time of the year.)
Prices are starting from $__________ per person in a double, contact us to get a price quote for your dates
* Centrally-located, distinctive hotels - all serving breakfasts
* All land transfers with comfortable vehicles
* Professional, English-speaking tour guides
* Flight tickets from Istanbul to Athens
* Admission fees
* All taxes and service charges
* International flight tickets to Istanbul and from Athens
(We can also extend your stay by adding more days/sites in either Turkey and/or Greece.)