Day 1 - Arrival 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 to explore Istanbul on your own. Overnight in Istanbul
Day 2 - Istanbul - (B/L)
This will be a full day of exploring Istanbul's most iconic sites:
* 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.
* 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 (Topkapi Sarayi), the residence and administrative center of the Sultans during the Ottoman Empire, was constructed in 1459-1465 shortly after the establishment of Constantinople. You'll see the Treasury that houses the Topkapi Dagger, the 86-carat Spoon Maker's Diamond, and the jewel-encrusted bones of St. John the Baptist.
* The Grand Bazaar will also be visited during the tour. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 3 - Istanbul to Kusadasi then to Pamukkale - (B/L/D)
Very early in the morning, we'll transfer you to the domestic airport for the 1-hour flight to Izmir, whereupon you'll be transferred to Ephesus for your comprehensive full-day tour. We'll tour Turkey's most impressive Roman and Biblical sites, in what promises to be one of your most memorable excursions in Turkey.
*Ephesus is the best-preserved classical cities from ancient times, and was inhabited by Greek, Macedonian (Hellenistic) , Romans and Turks. St. Paul lived here circa 60 AD, when it was it most populated at 250,000. During your visit, you’ll walk its boulevards, stand in the grand theatre, marvel at the beauty of the Celsus Library, the agora, as well as the baths, giving you the unique chance to get up-close-and-personal with history by literally being able to walk into it.
*The House of The Virgin Mary (Turkish: Meryemana Evi), high on a hill overlooking the town of Selcuk, is where it is believed that St. Mary came to live with St. John the Baptist in the later years of her life. Masses are held here on Sundays.
We will arrive in Pamukkale in the evening, where you will check in to the hotel.
Day 4 - Pamukkale to Marmaris - (B/L)
Sites you'll see today:
After breakfast, we will depart from Kusadasi to Pamukkale; upon arrival we will continue on the guided tour of Pamukkale and Hierapolis. Our drive will take us through a rich agricultural area that's teeming with cotton fields and fruit orchards.
* Pamukkale ("cotton castle" in Turkish) is the result of limestone formations created over thousands of years. Warm, calcium-rich mineral water from nearby thermal hot springs flowed over these cliffs and, as these waters cooled, they deposited the calcium that we see today.
* Hierapolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded as an ancient healing care center in 190 BC, taking advantage of the mineral waters. It was one of the most important intellectual, artistic, religious and commercial centers of the Roman Empire. Over time, the city hosted large numbers of both Jewish and Christian residents.
After the tour, we will depart from Pamukkale on a 3-hour bus ride to Marmaris, where you'll check in at the hotel.
Overnight in Marmaris
Day 5 - Marmaris to Rhodes - (B)
After breakfast, we will transfer you to Marmaris' ferry port and put you on a 2-hour ferry ride to Rhodes (Rodos), Greece. After arrival in Rhodos, check into your hotel, free day to Explore the Island & Overnight stay on Rhodes.
Day 6 - Rhodes to Crete - (B)
After breakfast, you will depart from Rhodes to Crete Island, and, after arrival in Crete, you'll check into the hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to explore the island. Overnight in Crete
Day 7 - Crete - (B)
Breakfast at the hotel; you then have a free day in Crete to spend at your leisure. Overnight in Crete
Day 8 - Crete to Santorini - (B)
After breakfast,we'll take you to the airport for your 45-minute flight to Santorini Island. After arrival in Santorini, check in the hotel and enjoy a free day to rest and relax. Overnight in Santorini
Day 9 - Santorini - (B/L)
After breakfast, we will take you on a full-day tour of Santorini. Today, you will visit Acrotiri, go on a boat trip to view the caldera, visit hot springs, view the ruins of Thirrassia, and wrap up the day watching the romantic sunset from Oia. Afterwards, you will be taken back to your hotel. Overnight in Santorini
Day 10 - Santorini - (B)
After enjoying breakfast, you will have a free day to relax and explore Santorini on your own. Many take this opportunity to relax and continue working on their tan on one of Santorini’s famous beaches, such as Red Beach, or return for some more sightseeing in Oia. (We can organize a day tour for you if you wish, for an additional fee.)
Day 11 - Santorini to Athens - (B)
After breakfast, we will provide a transfer to Santorini Airport and put you on a 50-minute flight to Athens. Upon arrival in Athens, we will provide a transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Athens
Day 12 - Athens - (B)
After breakfast, around 8:30 AM, we will meet you at your hotel for your guided tour.
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 13 - Athens to Home - (B)
Andio sas! Farewell! It's time to go home. We will transfer you to the airport and wish you well, asking that you keep Turkey, Greece and all of us in your hearts. We do hope that our paths cross again.
* * * Program ends * * *
Prices are starting from $_________ per person in a double, contact us to get a price quote for your dates
* All hotels (all individually chosen by us)
* All land transportation and ferry tickets
* All guided tours mentioned in the itinerary
* Entrance fees to museums and ancient sites
* Professional tour guides
* Meals mentioned in the itinerary ( b-breakfast, l-lunch and d-dinner )
* All taxes and service charges
* All of the drinks with meals
* International flight tickets
* Optional tour in Santorini
(This is a fully-customizable program and is available all-year-round. If you are interested in getting more information, simply send us an e-mail inquiry and indicate the dates you would like to travel.)