15 days

Treasures of Turkey

Treasures of Turkey

Underground city of Derinkuyu

UNESCO World Heritage-listed archaeological site of Troy

UNESCO World Heritage-listed pools and terraces of Pamukkale

The surreal rock formations and valleys of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cappadocia

The mystic Sufi order known as the 'Whirling Dervishes'

Gulet cruise on the Mediterranean to a sunken Lycian city near Kekova

Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar - a labyrinth of 4500 stalls

The First World War history of Gallipoli

Ephesus - the greatest Greco-Roman site in the world

Trip rating
  • The more you see of Turkey, the more you realise you have yet to see. From the cosmopolitan delights of Istanbul to the Roman remains of Ephesus, you’ll discover a country of fascinating contrasts. You’ll cover a lot of ground in 15 days but still have plenty of time to stroll, shop and relax with a pot of apple tea.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Arrive Istanbul

    If arriving at Istanbul's Atakurk International Airport (IST) you will be met and transferred to your starting hotel. If arriving at Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) airport please make your own way to the hotel (unless you have booked a transfer). As today is an arrival day, there is no formal sightseeing planned. Istanbul is one of the great cities of the world, with a history spanning thousands of years. It has been through several incarnations, firstly as Byzantium, then Constantinople and finally Istanbul. The city today is bustling and its streets are crowded with locals busily going about their daily lives. If you arrive early enough, you can wander and absorb the vibrancy of this exciting city that links Europe and Asia. In the evening there will be a Welcome Meeting (please check noticeboard for exact time) held in the hotel, where you will meet your tour leader and fellow travel companions.

    Hotel Golden Horn or similar

    Day 2 - Istanbul - Ankara

    This morning our guide introduces us to the treasure trove of the historic old town. We visit the iconic 17th century Blue Mosque, built for Sultan Ahmet I and a unique piece of architecture because of its six minarets rather than the usual four found across the rest of the Muslim world. Another striking feature is its 20,000 beautiful Iznik tiles. The ancient Hippodrome with Obelisk of Theodosius, Snake Pillar and German Fountain of Wilhelm II are also visited. At around midday , we farewell Istanbul and take a private minibus to Ankara, Turkey's capital, where we spend the evening.

    Akyüz or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 3 - Ankara - Cappadocia - Goreme

    We spend the morning visiting the Anatolian Civilisation Museum of Ankara exhibiting a rich collection of archeological objects found during excavations in Anatolia. We then depart in our minibus for a four hour journey to Cappadocia. We travel through the Anatolian landscape via a salt lake (tuz gölü), one of the richest salt beds in the world. Approximately 300,000 tons of salt per year (60% of total salt production in Turkey) is produced by this lake. Before arriving to Göreme in the heart of Cappadocia we stop to visit 13th century Agzikarahan Caravanserai, which was built by the Seljuk sultan, Alaettin Keykubad I. 'Caravanserais,' were developed along old trade routes to provide shelters and protection to nomadic traders. These centuries-old buildings were built of stone and housed Caravaneers and their cargos plus their horses, donkeys and even camels as they made their way along the old Silk Road trading route that stretched all the way from China.Don't forget to pack sturdy, well worn in, walking shoes or boots and a comfy daypack . We end the day at our hotel in Goreme.

    Heybe Hotel or Cinar Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 4 - Cappadocia - Goreme

    This morning we visit the Göreme Open Air museum: The people of Göreme, at the heart of the Cappadocia Region, realised that the soft rocks of the area could be easily carved out to form houses, churches, monasteries. This Christian sanctuary contains many examples of Byzantine art from the post-iconoclastic period. These frescoes are a unique artistic achievement from the 10th - 12th centuries. There are several Byzantine cave chapels to explore, most of them decorated with exquisite and colourful biblical frescoes. In the afternoon we discover the local handcraft of the region and visit a carpet workshop, a tradition that reveals the nomadic origins of the Turkish people. Later in the afternoon we embark on a short walk through the unusual 'Love Valley' before heading back to our hotel in Goreme. There is the option of enjoying a traditional Turkish bath to unwind from the day's activities.

    Heybe Hotel or Cinar Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 5 - Cappadocia - Goreme

    After a relaxing breakfast we take a walk toward Kizilcukur (Red Valley), where its magnificently sculptured, red rock formations have created arguably the most beautiful valley in Cappadocia. Small valleys, cones, peaks and fairy chimneys blend harmoniously with fascinating cave chapels that date back to the early Christian period. In the afternoon we 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. A chapel dedicated to St. Simeon and a hermit's shelter are built into one of the fairy chimneys, which appears to have three heads! We walk today for a total of about three hours. In the afternoon we will take the opportunity to discover the local handcraft of pottery. Returning to Goreme, we have a night at leisure. We may have an opportunity to attend a folk dance show or witness an original Whirling Dervish 'Sema' performance.

    Heybe Hotel or Cinar Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 6 - Ihlara - Konya

    We start the morning with a visit to the incredible underground city of Derinkuyu, with some dwellings containing rooms expanding seven levels beneath ground level

    For early birds, there is the possibility of rising before dawn to take an awe-inspiring optional hot-air balloon ride over the 'other-worldly' Cappadocia landscape and witness an amazing sunrise in the process. Those preferring a more leisurely start to the day can relax over breakfast before leaving the fairytale landscapes of Cappadocia behind and driving to the village of Belisirma in the Valley of Ihlara on the slopes of Mount Hasan, one of the volcanos responsible for the forming of Cappadocia. From here we embark on a wonderful walk along the Melendiz River and experience traditional village life, as we walk through the beautiful Ihlara Valley to Ihlara village. There are dozens of Byzantine cave chapels to explore along the way and most of them are decorated with exquisite biblical frescoes (1.5 hour walk). We then leave the area of Cappadocia behind and drive to Konya, our stop for the night. Please note that Konya is a very religious town, so it is best that we dress conservatively during our time here.

    Bera Mevlana or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 7 - Aspendos - Antalya

    Konya, known as 'Iconium' in Roman times, was also the capital of the Seljuk Turks from the 12th to 13th Centuries and home of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, who founded a mystic Sufi order popularly known as the 'Whirling Dervishes'. We visit Mevlana's Mausoleum and the museum housing manuscripts of his works, as well as various artefacts relating to the mystic sect that he founded. We then take a five hour drive to the coastal city of Antalya one of the best-known classical sites in Turkey. A highlight here is the beautifully preserved theatre at Aspendos - one of the finest in the ancient world.

    Khan Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 8 - Antalya - Phaselis - Kas

    After breakfast we stop at the Lycian city of Phaselis, which was founded in the 7th Century BC and flourished as a commercial trading centre where anything could be bought and sold, including citizenships for 100 drachmas! The Phaselians were more concerned about preserving the affluence of their commerce than with staking any political independence, so they pragmatically accepted any conquerors that came their way. The city thrived until the 12th Century when it was superceded in importance by the nearby ports of Antalya and Alanya. The beauty of Phaselis is in its picture postcard setting. It is built around three small bays, each with its own beach, surrounded by fragrant woods and mountains. We continue on to the beautiful seaside village of Kas (pronounced 'karsh'). This has charming whitewashed houses graced with bougainvilleas as well as an ancient Greek theatre. This fishing village is a wonderful place to sample the local cuisine and we have a two nights here to soak up the atmosphere in the quaint town centre.

    Linda Hotel , Maki Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 9 - Kekova Boat Cruise - Kas

    This morning we drive to Kekova, where we will board our local boat for a relaxing cruise through a series of peaceful and picturesque islands, all with very distinctive rock formations. Look out for some ancient houses that are submerged under the clear water! On board we are cooked a home made Turkish meal by our host family for the day. Our cruise also takes us to the settlement of Ucagiz and also the quaint village of Simena, with its stone houses covered in bougainvilleas. We can enjoy a spectacular view from the castle. We also sail from large bays to beautiful protected inlets, where we have the opportunity to enjoy a swim off our boat. All in all a day of relaxation and beautiful vistas. We return to Kas for the evening.

    Linda Hotel , Maki Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 10 - Fethiye

    This morning we visit the Lycian site of Xanthos, which was once the capital city of the Lycian Federation. Because of its remoteness, Xanthos is usually not overcrowded with tourists and the place has retained a tranquil atmosphere. We continue from here through pine trees and over a mountain, which commands breathtaking views, before arriving at the Greek ghost town of Kayakoy. It was a thriving township with a population of 3,500 until 1923 when Ataturk instituted the exchange program with Greece, where itinerant Greek and Turkish populations were repatriated to country of origin. Kayakoy is seemingly an instant, became a derelict town and was further destroyed by ensuing earthquakes. Today, only a few Turkish families inhabit houses at the bottom of the town's rolling hills and the whole place has a marvelously eerie feel. We have time to relax and enjoy the area before driving to the culturally rich town of Fethiye, situated on a bay surrounded by pine forests and full of islands. We have a free evening to enjoy a meal and the views from a waterfront restaurant.

    Atapark Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 11 - Pamukkale

    After breakfast this morning we drive to Pamukkale, also known as 'Cotton Castle' and a truly unique sight. This magical and spectacular natural phenomenon was created by deposits from thermal waters that cascaded down the mountainside over hundreds of years, forming a myriad of pools and terraces. As the water overflows from the pools, dazzling cream-coloured stalactites are formed that, from afar, resemble cotton or snow. The pools are filled with hot spring waters that supposedly have healing properties for a person's circulation and digestive systems. Close to Pamukkale are the ruins of Hierapolis, which was founded by the King of Pergamon in 190 BC and by the 2nd Century AD it had become an important Roman bath centre. The extensive ruins of Hierapolis are well worth exploring and include a theatre, temple, holy area, monumental fountain, bath, basilica and necropolis. We spend our night in a hotel in Pamukkale.

    Tripolis or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 12 - Ephesus - Selçuk

    After breakfast we make an early start for a drive of about four hours to Selçuk, which is our base for visiting Ephesus - one of the best-preserved classical cities in the eastern Mediterranean and a great example of Roman architecture. We drive to Ephesus, possibly the greatest Greco-Roman site in the world and definitely a highlight of your trip! Always an important religious centre, Ephesus was founded by Ionian Greeks in the 11th Century BC and flourished under Roman rule. The Greeks replaced the cult of the Anatolian fertility goddess Cybele with Artemis and built a fabulous temple in her honour. With the arrival of the Romans, it became the Temple of Diana and was one of the original seven wonders of the ancient world. We visit the vast amphitheatre, walk the marble street once trodden by Cleopatra and Mark Antony, and marvel at the gymnasium, baths and wonderfully restored Library of Celsus. An orientation tour familiarises us with Selçuk, a sprawling town lying at the base of the ancient fortress on Ayasoluk Hill. Those who wish can take an option visit to the last home of the Virgin Mary, who as legend states came here accompanied by St John and lived out her days in this beautiful spot. We spend the night in a hotel in Selçuk and have a chance to reflect and fully comprehend the history and splendour of our days discoveries.

    Hitit Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 13 - Selçuk - Troy - Çanakkale

    Early this morning, after breakfast we begin the drive to Çanakkale, 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, we visit an important historical site near Çanakkale, Troy. Troy (Truva) was a city that existed over 4.000 years ago and was known as a major ancient civilization. For many years people believed that it was the city mentioned only in the tales and never truly existed, as the area had become known as Ilium, or New Ilium. Archaeological digs subsequently proved that there had been nine separate periods of settlement. (3000 BC-AD 400) on what became accepted as the site of ancient Troy. Each successive period of habitation lies on top of its former incarnation. Here we can see the remnants of the ancient city walls in addition to a replica of the famous wooden horse. Historian's are still at odds as to whether or not this fable or indeed the battle itself is stuff of lore or reality. Arriving in Çanakkale where we have the remainder of the day free to wander around this vibrant waterfront town and perhaps view the Trojan horse used and subsequently gifted to the city by the producers of the movie Troy filmed in 2004.

    Grand Anzac or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 14 - Gallipoli - Istanbul

    We cross the Dardanelles and return to 'Europe,' and visit the Gallipoli Peninsula - a place of enormous significance to Australians and New Zealander's. Located at Turkey's most westerly point this area is now serene, but the role it played in April 1915 during the First World War is now firmly etched on the psyche of the New Zealand and Australian nations. We visit the beach and cemeteries of Anzac Cove, then head up the hill to pay homage at the poignant memorials of Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair. The latter the highest ground secured in the campaign on the 8th of August, 1915 (by New Zealand and British troops) before being beaten back due to lack of reinforcement. From the Ataturk Memorial at this spot we can view the Allied troops goal - the Dardenelles. We can look down upon the rough and barren hills and gulleys that became the graveyard for so many thousands of young men from both sides. Around this area we can find remnants of trenches used by the Turkish soldiers. After touring the former battlefields we head back to where our adventure began - Istanbul. We will arrive back in Istanbul in the late afternoon or early evening and the remainder of the evening is free. This unique city that is built embracing two continents (Europe and Asia), is a great place to spend our final night together, indulging in a true feast for the senses!

    Hotel Golden Horn or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 15 - End Istanbul

    Our journey ends after breakfast, in Istanbul. For those wishing to further explore this intriguing city, additional nights' accommodation can be booked here.

    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • Peregrine tour leader, arrival transfer, transport, sightseeing & entrance fees.

    Not Included

    • International flights, departure transfer, departure taxes, visas, insurance (compulsory on all trips), meals not listed (lunches and dinners), any optional tours or activities during free time, camera fees, excess baggage charges, tips and items of a personal nature.
  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Treasures of Turkey

    Suzanne - Australia, 9 Apr, 2014
    5
    Overall Rating

    From the moment we gathered on the evening before our tour began until we returned to Istanbul our group of 13 got on exceptionally well together, interacted well, assisted each other in all sorts of ways, made sure everyone was included and generally enjoyed ourselves AND laughed a lot!. Our Tour Leader/Guide, Iskender, was exceptional. His knowledge in all areas was extraordinary. He kept us entertained as well!

    Treasures of Turkey

    Carol - Australia, 13 Jun, 2013
    5
    Overall Rating

    The Treasures of Turkey trip was wonderful. The introduction to the long ago great empires of the Hittites, Greeks, Romans, Ottoman was so interesting, and in addition, the early Christian history made for a fascinating trip.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PETT
Group size 6 - 15
Start City: Istanbul
End City: Istanbul

What to know

This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.

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