Days
25
Price from
FR5,730CHF

Be spoiled by the offerings of Iran and Turkey, rich in historical sites, memorable culture, and charming hospitality

Explore two of the most historically and culturally rich countries in the world, places where numerous empires, conquerors and civilisations have left their mark. Go behind the headlines and uncover the true Iran, a welcoming country of open-hearted people redefining the word ‘hospitality’. From breath-taking mosques to stepped hillside villages, Ancient Persepolis and Zoroastrian towers, the beauty of the Iranian landscape is a reflection of its inhabitants. Journey to Turkey, a tantalisingly exotic country that mixes the cosmopolitan delights of Istanbul with ancient cities and natural wonders. Visit a dazzling architectural world, from the Blue Mosque and Ephesus, to the bizarre rock-landscape of Cappadocia. Come on a rewarding adventure that takes in one of the world’s least-visited countries.


Start
Tehran, Iran
Finish
Istanbul, Turkey
Countries
Turkey, Iran
Style
Peregrine
Code
PGTTC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Explore one of the greatest cities of antiquity, Persepolis. The relief carvings and towering columns will leave you in no doubt that this was once the centre of the known world

  • Once a major stop on the Silk Road, visit Yazd and discover the role religion plays in the city, from the impressive Jameh Mosque to the Zoroastrian towers and temples

  • Spend 2 nights at our 'feature stay' hotel in Yazd; an old renovated caravanserai that dates back to nearly a century ago

  • Soak up the sights and atmosphere of the jewel in the crown of Persia, the beautiful town of Esfahan.

  • Step back in time at Ephesus, where the Greco-Roman world still feels very much alive. This is one of the best preserved classical cities in all of Europe and yet to be completely excavated

  • Spend some time reflecting on battles fought and lives lost inGallipoli. This peaceful place has seen many atrocities due to its significant role in WW1

  • Enjoy 3-nights at our 'feature stay' hotel in Goreme, one of the earliest boutique hotels in the region

  • Visit the iconic 17th century Blue Mosque, with its unusual number of six minarets and striking collection of Iznik tiles

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip involves a lot of walking, sometimes on rocky or slippery terrain. Please bring sturdy walkingshoes. You also have the option to sit out many of the walks. if you don't feel up to them.

  • You'll be covering a lot of land during the trip, which means a couple of very long days of driving. Days 6 and 8 in particular involve a lot of time in the bus, but the drives are broken up with interesting stops along the way.  

  • Turkey can get hot in the summer months of July and August but this is normally a dry heat and is easier to cope with than humidity.

  • Where possible, you'll be taken to sites in the early morning before it gets too hot.

  • Night time temperatures can be quite cool, particularly in April andOctober. Not all hotels will have heating so make sure to bring a few warm items with you. 

  • Upon arrival in Iran, all women must wear a headscarf and must also have their arms and legs covered. Men must also be conservatively dressed.

  • Iran & Turkey are a big country's  and we cover a lot, which mean a few long travel days. However all land travel is in private airconditioned buses, with regular stops along the way.

Itinerary

Welcome to Iran. A Tehran airport arrival transfer is included, so please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or no later than 14 days prior to travel. Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you and transfer you to your hotel (approximately 1 hour). This is simply an arrival day so you may arrive in Tehran at any time, though please note that hotel rooms are generally only available after midday. There will be a tour briefing at 6pm; please refer to your hotel noticeboard or talk to reception for more details. Until then the rest of your day is free to explore your new surroundings. Iran's capital is exciting, noisy and chaotic. Home to 15 million people, Tehran is the country's beating heart and where its true national identity is found. Expect to see women wearing full-length chadors competing for space with young and hip girls in figure-hugging manteau and headscarves. Also expect to be stopped by friendly locals who love nothing more than to chat with you about anything and everything. This evening perhaps take a seat at a city coffee shop for some people watching.
Accommodation
  • Kowsar Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Peregrine. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Begin your discovery of Tehran with a full day tour, focusing on the sprawling Sa'd Abad Palace and Museum complex. This 104-hectare park is home to 18 palaces, most of them converted into museums, and it is stunningly back-dropped by towering mountains. The site was used as a royal summer residence during the Pahlavi period (from 1925-1979), before the monarchy was overthrown in the revolution. Aside from the artefacts contained within, the palaces offer a fascinating glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the shah and his guests, and their decoration was the height of fashion for the day. Don't miss the bronze boots of Reza Shah outside the White Palace, all that remains of a massive statue that was 'cut down to size' during the revolution. The interior of the 54-room palace is filled with extravagant furnishing, from tiger pelts to the biggest carpet in the country. The Abgineh Museum exhibits three collections of porcelains, glass works and crystals from the 18th & 19th century's BC, while the other museum exhibits range from royal automobiles to royal dishware, miniature paintings and anthropological displays. Tonight, a welcome dinner is your first opportunity to experience traditional Persian cuisine and the legendary hospitality of the Iranians.
Accommodation
  • Kowsar Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tehran - City Tour
  • Tehran - National Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today you will drive west from Tehran to Hamadan (approximately 4.5 hours). Known to classical scholars as Ecbatana, the city has a history that can be traced back to the 8th century BC when it was the capital of the ancient Medes people. It’s thought to be one of the oldest cities in the world, possible dating back as far as 1100 BC, and its fortunes rose and fell in the successive centuries, seeing King Cyrus, Alexander the Great, the Mongols and Turkic conqueror Timur come and go. The city today has a contemporary feel, having been totally redesigned in 1929 by the German engineer Karl Frisch. You will explore the city on a tour, including the tomb of Avicenna (also known as Abu Ali Ibn Sina), one of the greatest medieval scholars; a philosopher, physicist and poet widely considered to be one of the founders of modern medicine. The delightful museum houses local artefacts, historical medical instruments and manuscripts. Stop by the Lion Stone, one remaining part of the Lions Gate that was once the old entrance to the city. It’s thought the lion and its twin counterpart were constructed by Alexander the Great to commemorate the death of his close friend Hephaestion, who died unexpectedly in the city. The Jewish community in Hamadan used to be one of the largest in Iran, and it remains an important Jewish pilgrimage site due to the fascinating Esther and Mordecai tomb. Though most likely medieval in date, local custom dictated that the tomb marks the resting place of the Old Testament's Esther, who won royal permission for the Jews to return from exile. Spend the night in Hamadan.
Accommodation
  • Buali Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You will continue heading west towards Kermanshah (approximately 200 kilometres, 3 hours) today, but will stop at many interesting sights en route. Begin with the cuneiform rock carvings of Ganjnameh. These panels, whose name translates to ‘Book of Treasures’, are caved into the rock and date from the 5th Century BC. They list the victories of Achaemenid king Darius the Great and his son Xerxes I, and contain messages of thanks to the Zoroastrian god Ahuramazda. You will also have time to visit the stunning rock carvings of Taghe Bostan. Among other things, these Sassanid Empire reliefs show the crowing of Ardashir II, and housed inside a large grotto is impressive carving of Khosrau II on his favourite horse. Continue the drive to Kangavar to visit the 2300-year-old Anahita Temple. Though little remains of what was once a major place of worship, the skill and scale involved in this temple is clearly visible. The major attraction of the day comes at Bisotun, a UNESCO-protected cliff area with bas-relief carving and inscriptions which dominates the skyline. The most impressive of these honours Darius and his generals, who stand victorious over the rebel Gaumata and accept the submission of regional governors. Although you can walk a short way to the base of the cliff face, the carvings are some way up and quite detailed, so you may like to use a zoom lens or binoculars here to inspect them more closely. Continuing on to Kermanshah, you will arrive in the late afternoon and spend the night here.
Accommodation
  • Azadegan Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kermanshah - Anahita Temple
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your desert journey continues today as you travel via Shush to Ahvaz (approximately 500 kilometres, 6 hours). Once as grand and important as Persepolis, Shush today is a pleasant small town with several places of historical interest. You will visit remains of the ancient city, like the citadel and the Palace of Darius. Also here is the Tomb of Daniel, a pilgrimage site for Muslims, Christians, and the Jewish community alike, which brought great wealth to the local townspeople thanks to the sheer number of pilgrims. Tradition states that the relics here belong to the same Daniel who fell foul of the lions' den in the Old Testament. Though extensively damaged during the Iran-Iraq conflict, the tomb has been carefully restored. Your next stop is at Choga Zanbil, where the splendid Elamite-era brick ziggurat (a shrine-topped pyramid-like structure) has earned World Heritage status, and the astounding condition of the bricks belies their great age. Continue on to Ahvaz for the night.
Accommodation
  • Neyshekar Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Drive from Ahwaz to Shiraz (approximately 8 hours). Along the way, stop and visit Bishapour, which is a historic Sassanid site with some fascinating ancient ruins to explore. Once in Shiraz, settle in and enjoy some free time to explore the town & bazaars. Valerian, the only Roman emperor to have ever been a prisoner of war, lived out his last days in captivity here circa AD 260. Many of the ruins date from this period. Arrive in Shiraz and discover this Pearl of Persia whose very name evokes tranquil gardens, lavish palaces, philosophers, and artists. Settle in and enjoy some free time to explore the town and bazaars. The city has managed to retain its relaxed provincial atmosphere and is lovely to walk around. In the bazaar you might spot the members of nomad groups who come to the city to stock up on provisions.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Arg or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
There is an internal flight on this day. Our preferred airline for this flight is Aseman Airlines.
Take a city tour that covers the highlights of this celebrated historical city. You will visit the lovely, vast garden complex of Eram Garden, also known as the ‘Garden of Paradise’ (Bagh-e Eram). Wander the grounds, filled with young Shirazis, where artificial rivers run through an impressive collection of cypress trees and pool in front of a colourful palace. Following this, visit the tombs of Hafez and Sa'di. Hafez was a Persian poet who was born in Shiraz around 1310, travelled the world and returned to pass away in Shiraz, where he is regarded as a literary giant and folk hero. Look out for how the cupola resembles the hat of a dervish (of Whirling Dervish fame). Sa'di, another great poet and writer from Shiraz, was more of a scholar. His tomb is also set in a garden, beside a fishpond. Appreciate the intricate artwork of their tombs and understand their continued relevance and importance in Iranian society. In the centre of town is the Arg-e Karim Khan, a mud-brick citadel from the 18th century, when the whole of Persia was ruled by Karim Khan from Shiraz. Don't miss the room exhibiting historic photos from the 19th and 20th centuries, and the legendary tales depicted on the tiles at the entrance gate. Nearby is the Aramgah-e Shah-e Cheragh, a beautiful mausoleum of one of Imam Reza's brothers and the holiest site in Shiraz; the forecourt is usually packed with Shiite pilgrims. You will finish by exploring the nearby Bazar-e Vakil, regarded as one of the finest and most evocative bazaars in the country, and specialising in fine carpets, handicrafts, textiles, and spice. The rest of the day is free.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Arg or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shiraz - City tour
  • Shiraz - Hafez Tomb
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a morning excursion to the remains of Persepolis (approximately 1 hour), once the centre of the Persian Empire and one of the great cities of the ancient world. The Takhte Jamshid complex of palaces, considered the historic marvel of the country, was constructed in the reign of Darius I as the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire, and took about 150 years to complete. The imposing gateways, exquisite relief carvings, tombs cut into mountainsides, the grand staircases and towering columns will leave you in no doubt that this was once the centre of the known world. In 330 BC invading armies led by Macedonian Alexander the Great set fire to the city, destroying it and in turn symbolising the destruction of the Persian Empire. While today only the small ruins remain from those once-magnificent edifices, the grandeur is still impressive. You will then visit Naqsh-e-Rostam, a cave-tomb containing the bodies of several Achaemenid kings. There are seven reliefs dating back to Sassanid era, each of which depicts a battle that glorifies a Sassanid king. At one time a Zoroastrian religious centre, perhaps the most important in the world, was located here. Continue on to Naqsh-e-Rajab, the site of four limestone rockface inscriptions and bas-reliefs that date to the early Sassanid era. After lunch you will visit Pasargadae, an ancient city build by Cyrus the Great and which precedes Persepolis. It is not as well preserved as the latter, but still reflects the architectural genius of the Achaemenids, the beauty of simplicity and balance. You will then continue north to Yazd (approximately 4 hours).
Tonight you will stay at our 'feature stay' hotel, and old renovated caravanserai that dates back to nearly a century ago. Stay in the comfortable rooms and relax and enjoy the beautiful courtyard and ambience.
Accommodation
  • Dad Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shiraz - Persepolis and Naqsh-e Rostam guided tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The ancient desert city of Yazd was a major stop on the caravan routes to Central Asia and India during the Silk Road period – Marco Polo visited the city on his way to China – and it retains a rustic feel. It's also the heart of the Zoroastrian religion. This morning you visit the Jameh Mosque, notable for its fine mosaics and twin minarets that tower above the city. From here you are ideally placed to explore the old part of the city, one of the oldest on earth according to Unesco. Walk the narrow kuches (lanes), past simple courtyards and the ornate doors of the mud brick buildings. One of the most distinctive features of Yazd are the wind towers (‘badgirs’) that capture even the softest of breezes and send to the buildings below to cool them in a forerunner of modern air-con. You will also visit the Fire Temple and Towers of Silence, both vestiges of the city’s Zoroastrian heritage. This religion, which dates back over 4,000 years, was the state religion of Iran before the arrival of Islam. In the Zoroastrian religion, fire and water are agents of ritual purity, and the fire in the Atashkadeh Fire Temple is said to have been continuously burning since 470 AD. The intriguing Towers of Silence are part of the Zoroastrian tradition of raised circular structures where the dead are laid out to be picked clean by scavenger birds.
Accommodation
  • Dad Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yazd - Jameh Mosque
  • Yazd - Zoroastrian Fire Altar & Towers of Silence
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leave Yzad and drive to Esfahan (approximately 320 kilometres, 4.5 hours), stopping en route in the quiet town of Na’in. This settlement on the edge of the Central Desert is a place of old clay houses on top of underground aqueducts that bring water from the mountains to the plains; a place that has retained its traditional charm and is very well known for its Persian rugs. You will visit the 10th century Jameh Mosque, which is one of the oldest in Iran, as well as the Kavir Museum and the old part of town. From here it is a three-hour drive to Esfahan, the jewel in the crown of Persia and undoubtedly one of the highlights of your trip. This evening, you may stroll to the Zayandeh River and have a look at its historic bridges, which seem to have come straight from a fairytale. At several of the bridges local people gather to talk, drink tea and sing beautiful folk songs. This is truly a magical place to while away some time, and one of the most atmospheric places in all of Iran.
Accommodation
  • Piroozi Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You’ll have two days to soak up the sights and atmosphere of what’s considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The city reached its peak during the reign of Shah Abbas I in 1587, when it became the capital of Persia. Even though the capital was moved to Shiraz and then Tehran, the city still retains much of its past glory. You will start the tour at the immense Imam Square (formerly Naqsh-e Jahan Square); covering an area of 82,500 square meters it’s the second largest in the world. The square is surrounded by many grand buildings such as the Ali Qapu Palace, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Qeysarieh Portal and the majestic Imam Mosque. It’s truly a remarkable sight. In the Safavid era, this square was a place for parades, military reviews, polo games and festivals. Today it’s popular for local families to meander around and picnic at in the early evenings. Located in the west of Imam Square, the Ali Qapu Palace covers six floors and was originally built as the main palace of Shah Abbas, who used it to receive guests and foreign ambassadors. Its plaster works and paintings are considered masterpieces of the Safavid era. You will also see Esfahan's Jameh Mosque, a fine expression of the heights of classical Persian architecture from the 11th to the 15th century. The rest of the day is free for you to soak up the visual appeal of the city and discovering the many beautiful secrets it holds.
Accommodation
  • Piroozi Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Continue your guided exploration of Esfahan this morning with a visit to Vank Cathedral. This church is located in Jolfa, the Armenian quarter of the city, and the interior is most striking with its gilded ceilings, walls and paintings. The stunning, delicate artwork of the dome depicts the Biblical story of Genesis, from the creation to man’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. There is a museum in this church that contains some very historic manuscripts. Armenian Christians were originally brought there by Shah Abbas I, who valued their skills as artists and merchants. They have been allowed to practice their religion in peace, but are confined to this one area in town. Esfahan also has a wonderful bazaar; walk the covered lanes of this sprawling marketplace, where shafts of light filter through celling and lattice, and browse for fabrics, spices, jewellery and other treasures. Tucked away near the bazaar mosques is a lovely teahouse, the perfect place to rest tired feet and refresh your spirit. Tonight there will be an enjoyable dinner at Shahrzad Restaurant, set in an opulently decorated Qajar-styled building.
Accommodation
  • Piroozi Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you will drive on to Kashan, a merchant town know for its high quality ceramics, silks, carpets, and fine houses. You’ll visit the lush Fin Garden (Bagh-e Tarikhi-ye Fin), a historic and classical Persian garden that contains Kashan's Fin Bath. This is where Amir Kabir, the Qajarid chancellor and a nationalist hero, was murdered under the orders of King Nadir al-Din in 1852. You will also stop by Borujerdi House (Khan-e Borujerdi), which was built in the 1840s for the affluent Tabatabaei family. Here exceptional attention was paid to all minute architectural details demanded by the geographical and climatic conditions of the area. It’s fascinating place to visit, and enables you to see a traditional (albeit exquisite) Persian residential home, which contains features such as a biruni (where visitors and guests are entertained) and an andaruni (the private part only open to family members). You will then continue your journey back to Tehran (approximately 450 kilometres, 6 hours).
Accommodation
  • Kowsar Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kashan - Fin Gardens
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This  morning you will be transferred to the airport to take a flight to Istanbul. On arrival into Istanbul you will be met and transferred to your Istanbul hotel.

This evening, meet your leader and fellow travel companions at a welcome meeting at 6pm (details will be posted on the hotel noticeboard). Until then, head out and get your first taste of this metropolis that so many civilisations have called home. Istanbul is the only city in the world to straddle two continents, so it will come as no surprise that it is home to a beguiling mix of different cultures and traditions, blending the influences of both east and west. In the streets and laneways, discover the cosmopolitan modern world that thrives between the Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman architecture.
Accommodation
  • Golden Horn Sirkeci or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Meet your local guide early this morning to journey in the footsteps of the city’s most famous ruler and conquer Istanbul in just a day. Head to Sultanahmet (the Old City, formerly Constantinople), where ancient empires based themselves and historical sites intertwine with back streets filled with hidden gems. Gaze upon the beauty of the cascading domes of the Blue Mosque, so called for the blue tiles found on its interior walls, and maybe gain a deeper insight into Islam from your guide. When not erecting splendid buildings the Byzantine Emperors loved a bit of entertainment, and the hippodrome was their stadium. Inspect some of the decorative statues and obelisks that remain from a time when this now tree-lined land would hold thousands of chariot racing fans. In the afternoon, drive to the airport for your flight to Cappadocia (approximately 75 minutes). In the heart of Cappadocia, the town of Goreme lies in a fantastic region of cones, needles and columns, fashioned by nature from the soft volcanic tuff rock.  Your hotel in Goreme is one of the first boutique hotels in Goreme, with spectacular views of the popular valleys in Cappadocia.
Accommodation
  • Heybe Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Leader-led walking tour
  • Istanbul - Blue Mosque
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This region is honeycombed with caves scooped out to make churches and dwellings that are known as fairy chimneys and castles. In times of peace, the people of the area lived on the land, but in times of war or persecution, they took to living underground. The first included activity for the day is a visit to the World Heritage-listed Goreme Open Air Museum. It’s a monastic complex composed of churches, rectories and dwellings, and one of the earliest centres for religious education. There are at least 10 churches and chapels in the museum area, dating between AD900 and 1200, each one named after a prominent attribute by the local villagers, who were exploring these caves long before there was an entrance fee. See stunning examples of Byzantine art in the Christian sanctuary and colourful frescoes from 1,000 years ago. In the afternoon, go to a carpet workshop to see how this beautiful handicraft is made, and learn about its connection to the nomadic origins of the Turkish people. Later, take a short walk through 'Love Valley', a strange landscape of phallic rock formations (don’t forget to pack sturdy, well worn-in walking shoes or boots and a comfortable daypack for this trip). Afterwards, head back to your hotel, where it will not take much to convince you to take an optional Turkish bath to unwind after a long day.

Notes: Without a doubt, one of the most amazing memories of this journey is a hot air balloon ride over the majestic landscape to see this otherworldly scene at sunrise. Those who are interested in this optional extra will have a truly awe-inspiring experience. The cost of this activity varies depending on what type of flight you choose. This activity can only be booked locally. Please speak to your trip leader on Day 1 to organise this.
Accommodation
  • Heybe Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Goreme - Open Air Museum
Optional Activities
  • Goreme - Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon - EUR165
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a relaxing breakfast and then go for a walk to the most beautiful valley in Cappadocia, Kizilcukur (Red Valley). Here small valleys, cones, peaks and fairy chimneys blend harmoniously with fascinating cave chapels that date back to the early Christian period. In the afternoon you will drive to the unique Pasabaglari Valley, where multiple fairy chimneys hewn from the earth and shaped by centuries of erosion lend a moon-like landscape and atmosphere to the valley. You'll see a chapel dedicated to St. Simeon and a hermit's shelter built into a three-headed fairy chimney. You will walk today for a total of about three hours, and the path may be slippery, so make sure you bring appropriate walking shoes. Later, discover the local handicraft of pottery before returning to Goreme for the night. Tonight you may have the opportunity to attend a folk dance performance or witness an original Whirling Dervish performance.
Accommodation
  • Heybe Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Relax over breakfast before regrouping and leaving the fairytale landscapes of Cappadocia behind, driving to the incredible underground city of Derinkuyu (approximately 45 minutes). Some of the dwellings here contain rooms expanding seven levels underground. You will then continue to Asikli Hoyuk, where an ancient Neolithic settlement has revealed fascinating details of the lives of the people who lived in this area 11,000 years ago. Continue on to Konya (approximately 2.5 hours), your stop for the night. This ancient city was important in Roman times, and was the capital of the Seljuk Empire between the 12th and 13th centuries. Konya is the perfect opportunity to sample a traditional Turkish city where mainstream tourism is yet to arrive. The city is closely linked with the whirling dervish sect of Islam developed in the 13th century by Celaleddin Rumi (or Mevlana), considered one of Islam's greatest Sufi mystics. Tonight perhaps enjoy a refreshing tea in one of the many tea gardens, and try some central Anatolian cuisine.

Notes: Konya is a very religious town, so to be respectful remember to dress conservatively.
Accommodation
  • Şemsi Tebrizi or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Konya - Mevlana Museum
  • Goreme - Derinkuyu Underground City
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
A five and a half hours drive through mountainous landscapes (approximately 3.5 hours) brings you to one of Turkey's most photographed sites, Pamukkale, which literally translates to “cotton castle”. Here spectacular natural hot springs with high calcium bicarbonate content cascade over the edge of the cliffs, leaving bright white deposit terraces (the ‘cotton’). It's been used as a spa since the 2nd century BC. Though you won't be able to bathe in these travertines, you can take a walk through them (after removing your shoes), and these pools are said to fix up any circulation and digestion problems. Take some time to visit the nearby ancient city of Hierapolis and take a dip in what used to be Celopatras’s old pool – the transparent water-filled pool, sculpted as a gift from Marc to Cleo, is stunning. You can also check out the other ruins of the city – Hierapolis is known for its abundance of temples and religious structures, vast necropolis and strange tombs, and the amphitheatre shouldn’t be missed. Spend the night in a hotel in Pamukkale.
Accommodation
  • Melrose Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis & Travertines National Park
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Get up early for a 2.5 hour drive to the traditional farming village of Selcuk. This will be your base for exploring the nearby ruins of Ephesus, the former capital of the East Roman Empire and the best-preserved ancient city in Turkey. Take an orientation walk of this a sprawling town lying at the base of the ancient fortress on Ayasoluk Hill and the Isa Bey Mosque. Those who wish can take an optional visit to the last home of the Virgin Mary, who legend says came here accompanied by St John, and lived out her days in this beautiful spot.
Accommodation
  • Akay Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ephesus - guided archaeological site visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning take a guided tour of Ephesus. The city has a fascinating history that really comes alive with a local guide to enhance the experience. Considering their age, the ruins are in incredible shape, and it’s not difficult to imagine them in their full glory 2,000 years ago. You will be awed by the sophistication of this ancient city, which had running water, public toilets, a renowned medical institute, a brothel and Roman baths. The theatre is well preserved and regularly hosts concerts, but it's perhaps the magnificent library that takes most people's breath away. Also not to be missed are the tomb of the Seven Sleepers, Marble Street, and the Church of the Virgin Mary. Return to Selcuk, a culturally rich town that retains many Turkish traditions. Its relatively undisturbed nature means this is an opportunity to experience the ‘real’ Turkey.
the afternoon is yours to relax and keep exploring this quaint town
Accommodation
  • Akay Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today our drive time is 3 hours to the seaside town of Ayvalik.
Take a guided orientation walkand discover a town that’s a fascinating mix of Greek and Turkish cultures (in fact the island actually swapped all its Greek residents for Turks in 1923). Check out the cobblestone backstreets, beautiful houses and lively cafes.
Lunch is included for you today and includes some of the regions delights.
Accommodation
  • Deniz Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Early this morning after breakfast, you will begin the drive to Çanakkale (approximately 5 hours), located on the shores of the Dardanelles, which connects the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean Sea and touches both Europe (with the Gelibolu Peninsula) and Asia (with the Biga Peninsula). On the way, you will visit the ruins of Troy, the heritage-listed site of the mythic Trojan War made famous by Homer's the ‘Iliad’. The city was long thought to exist in legend only after all traces of the city appeared to have vanished. The city was gradually overshadowed by eponymous neighbouring cities like Alexander the Great’s Alexandria Troas and Constantine’s Constantinople, and then disappeared under centuries of dust. However, working from a tip off, ruins of the city were uncovered in the 1870s by amateur archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann. Despite his shoddy excavating work, Schliemann did mange to uncover nine different layers of settlement, dating back over 4,500 years. Now you will explore the ruins of the Troy, including a city thought to have been destroyed by an earthquake around 1275BC, and a city rebuild during the powerful days of the Roman Empire. See the Trojan Horse monument, learn about Homer’s tale of the city and its war, and decide for yourself how much of it was true. Arriving in Çanakkale, you will have the remainder of the day free to wander around this vibrant waterfront town that has a great range of dinner and nightlife options, not to mention medieval ruins to explore.
Accommodation
  • Grand Anzac or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Troy - Archeological Guided Site Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Cross the Dardanelles and return to 'Europe' today, visiting the Gallipoli Peninsula, a place of immense significance for Australians and New Zealanders, and a spot of pilgrimage and reverence. Gallipoli was the site of the Anzac landings in 1915 and one of the Allies' great disasters in the First World War. Gallipoli was the plan created by Winston Churchill to end the war early by creating a new front that the Central Powers could not cope with. You’ll see the battlefields of Nek and Lone Pine, and be amazed at how this now serene coastline once saw such brutal scenes of war. Look down upon the rough and barren hills and gullies that sadly became the graveyard for so many thousands of young men from both sides. Tour the former battlefields and encounter remnants of trenches used by the Turkish soldiers. Hear stories of the heroism and camaraderie that unfolded among the tragedies, and take the time to read moving inscriptions etched onto a sea of gravestones. Drive back to where your adventure began, Istanbul (approximately 4.5 hours). You'll arrive in the late afternoon or early evening and have the remainder of the evening free. Maybe gather together your travel companions and head for Istiklal Caddesi for an celebratory dinner, and take advantage of the late night entertainment as your Turkey adventure comes to an end.
Accommodation
  • Golden Horn Sirkeci or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast. There are no other activities planned for the day and you can leave the accommodation at any time. For those who want to stay on in Istanbul to further explore the city, we are happy to help in booking accommodation (subject to availability).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

24 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners

Transport

Private bus, Plane

Accommodation

Hotel (24 nights)

Included Activities

  • Tehran - City Tour
  • Tehran - National Museum
  • Kermanshah - Anahita Temple
  • Shiraz - City tour
  • Shiraz - Hafez Tomb
  • Shiraz - Persepolis and Naqsh-e Rostam guided tour
  • Yazd - Jameh Mosque
  • Yazd - Zoroastrian Fire Altar & Towers of Silence
  • Kashan - Fin Gardens
  • Istanbul - Leader-led walking tour
  • Istanbul - Blue Mosque
  • Goreme - Open Air Museum
  • Konya - Mevlana Museum
  • Goreme - Derinkuyu Underground City
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis & Travertines National Park
  • Ephesus - guided archaeological site visit
  • Troy - Archeological Guided Site Visit

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
An optional single supplement is available on this trip. Please refer to your booking agent for further information. Please note: single supplement rooms are smaller than double or twin rooms. 

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.