Days
15
Price from
$2,395AUD

Tour Black Sea citadels, ancient cliffside kingdoms and the covered bazaar of Darende on this rarely travelled route through Turkey's east

This is the Turkey less travelled, and in the hands of your local leader it will captivate you. From the Black Sea and the unspoilt Ottoman old town of Safranbolu to the out-of-this-world landscapes of Cappadocia, the hidden heart of this fascinating destination is revealed.


Start
Istanbul, Turkey
Finish
Antalya, Turkey
Country
Turkey
Style
Peregrine
Theme
Explorer
Code
PECE
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
(58 reviews)
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 14

Why we love this trip

  • Take fully guided explorations of Istanbul's icons the Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern and Topkapi palace

  • Nestled in the mountains above the Black sea amid the Yeşilırmak River, Ottoman timber houses and cliff-carved tombs of Pontus kings, the location of Amasya is not something you will forget

  • Spend some quality time on Mount Nemrut, witnessing the 10-metre-high stone heads in their best light

  • Enjoy three days taking in the surreal scenes of Cappadocia, from the subterranean labyrinths of Derinkuyu to the amusingly shaped rock towers of Love Valley

  • Your 3-night 'feature stay' in Goreme is at one of the earliest boutique hotels in the region

Is this trip right for you?

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

  • Nighttime temperatures can be quite cool, particularly in April and October. Not all hotels will have heating so make sure you bring a few warm items with you.

  • You'll be covering a lot of land during the trip, which means a couple of long days of driving. Usually, however, longer drives are broken up with stops in interesting places.

  • 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.

Itinerary

Welcome to Istanbul. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until an important meeting in the evening. Please check with hotel reception or look on the reception noticeboard for the exact time of this meeting. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these to provide to your leader.

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 colourful streets are always brimming with busy locals. You may like to arrive a few days earlier to wander through the city, but you'll be returning to Istanbul at the end of the trip and will have the option of staying on your own then.

Notes: if you arrive at Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport (IST) you will be met and transferred to your hotel. If you arrive at Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) please make your own way to the hotel or book your own transfer. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel in time for the meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Accommodation
  • The Golden Horn Hotel Sirkeci (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning you'll see some of Istanbul's most important sites. Start with a visit to the Topkapi Palace, former home of the Ottoman sultans, then visit the Blue Mosque, with its 20,000 Isnik tiles. You'll also visit the 6th-century Basilica Cistern. This floodlit cistern is the largest and most impressive of the ancient cisterns that lay beneath the city of Istanbul. For the remainder of the day, you'll be walked through the famous covered Grand Bazaar or the Spice Market. Your leader will give you some advice on how to get the best bargains by the fine art of haggling. You'll find from clothing and jewellery to sweets and spices at the frenetic marketplaces.
Accommodation
  • The Golden Horn Hotel Sirkeci (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Basilica Cistern
  • Istanbul - Topkapi Palace
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Head to Amasra today. This is arguably one of the prettiest of the coastal towns on the Black Sea: a fortified promontory overlooking harbours and sandy beaches. You'll go on a sightseeing tour of the town, including the Kale (citadel), the old bazaar and the Byzantine church which later became a mosque. Continue to Safranbolu where you'll stay for the evening. The time spent driving today is approximately six hours.
Accommodation
  • Akce Konak Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Spend the day in Safranbolu, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The town has a strong Ottoman heritage, with beautifully preserved timber houses and cobblestone streets. Here you'll get a feel for Turkish life and see the works of traditional artisans practicing their age-old crafts. In the evening you will continue on to the town of Kastamonu and spend the night there.
Accommodation
  • Akce Konak Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Make the 4-hour journey to the charming town of Amasya today, which sits in a valley on the banks of the Yepilyrmak River. Once the capital of the Pontic Kingdom, Amasya still has tombs of Pontic kings in the cliffs. Today, the town is famous for its attractive Ottoman-period timber houses and its lush orchards. Venture out to explore the 13th-century Seljuk Burmali Mosque, the fountain, Seljuk tombs and the bedesten (covered bazaar). Stay in Amasya for the night.
Accommodation
  • Apple Palace Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Pontic King Tombs Amasya - TRY5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy some free time in Amasya this morning, perhaps by taking a stroll along the banks of the river or by sitting down to some lunch beside the water. In the afternoon you will head to Sivas, which should take around 3 hours. This is the most mountainous city of the central Anatolian region and sits at an altitude of 1,275 metres. Once an important commercial centre due to its location at the crossroads of the Persia and Baghdad caravan routes, the city later became an important centre for learning and culture during the rule of the Seljuks. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you please. You might take this opportunity to try some regional dishes.
Accommodation
  • Buruciye Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Witness some of the most famous monuments and sites of Sivas. The Çifte Minare Medressa with its twin minarets and grand gateway was built in 1271 and was formerly a law faculty. The Ulu Cami or Great Mosque, built in 1197 by the Seldjoukides Sultan Kýlýçaslan II, is the oldest building in the city. The Gok Medressa (theological school) and the Buruciye Medressa, both built in 1271, display the best examples of Seljuk art work. The city of Sivas is also famous for its nomadic Kangal dog, a unique breed of sheep dog which has become the national dog of Turkey and a designated 'national treasure'.
Accommodation
  • Buruciye Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel towards Darende. On the way, you'll go for a walk to the picturesque Gunpinar waterfalls. Perhaps stop at a riverside eatery and sample the local fish. After lunch, take another walk in the beautiful surrounds and get back in the bus to Darende. Today's drive will take a total of three and a half hours. Reach the Darende town centre and go on an orientation walk. During this tour you'll see the 300-year-old covered bazaar. If you're lucky, you'll come across the Turkish dried apricot which is famous in the area. Stay the night in Darende.
Accommodation
  • Tiryandafil or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast you'll drive to Adiyaman, located in the Central Euphrates. The driving time today is approximately four and a half hours. Part of the Fertile Crescent, Adiyaman sits at the crossroads of major ancient routes and has been occupied by many civilisations. This town will be your base for visiting Mount Nemrut National Park. Mount Nemrut is thought to house the tomb of the ancient king, Antiochus. Here you will see archaeological relics from the Commagene civilisation, including enormous statues of human and animal heads. If it's clear today, you'll catch the spectacular sunset over the ruins before heading back to Adiyaman for the night.
Accommodation
  • Antiochos Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mt Nemrut
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today will be a long day of travel towards Cappadocia. You'll spend about seven and a half hours in the bus and reach the town of Goreme in the evening. Your first glimpse of a fairy chimney will make it all worth it. Enjoy an orientation walk of this enchanting town. You will be based here for the next three nights to explore the wonders of Turkey's most surreal region. Don't forget to pack sturdy, well worn-in walking shoes or boots and a comfortable day pack for exploring the valleys of Cappadocia.
Accommodation
  • Heybe Hotel, or Similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you have the option of taking a very early hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia to see this otherworldly scene at sunrise. Those who are interested in this optional extra will have a truly awe-inspiring experience. The day officially starts with a tour of the Goreme Open Air Museum. Here you can explore houses, churches and monasteries carved out of the cliff. See colourful early Christian frescoes dating as far back as the 10th century. In the afternoon, you'll visit a carpet workshop and learn about the nomadic origins of the Turkish people. Finally, take a short walk through the unusual Love Valley, which is full of bizarre phallic rock formations. In the evening, you have the option of taking a traditional Turkish bath to unwind from the day's activities.
Accommodation
  • Heybe Hotel, or Similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hamam Cappadocia - TRY85
  • Hot air balloon Goreme - EUR165
Included Activities
  • Goreme - Open Air Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
Today you'll travel to Konya. It is approximately a three-hour drive in in total. Along the way, you'll make a stop to the underground city of Derinkuyu. This fascinating ancient labyrinth goes as deep as seven levels underground. After exploring the underground city, continue your drive to Konya where you will stay the night. Note that Konya is a very religious town, so please dress conservatively to show your respect.
Accommodation
  • Şemsi Tebrizi or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Goreme - Derinkuyu Underground City
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Konya was known as Iconium in Roman times and later became the capital of the Seljuk Turks from the 12th to the 13th centuries. It was also home of the famous Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi who founded the Whirling Dervishes. Today you'll visit Mevlana's mausoleum, and the museum devoted to his works. Take a five-hour drive to the coastal city of Antalya, one of the best-known classical sites in Turkey. You'll visit the old city, the old Roman harbour and the famous Hadrian's Gate. Perhaps enjoy an optional dinner of fresh local seafood.
Accommodation
  • Aspen Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Visit the Antalya Museum this morning. Ranked third in Turkey, it includes 13 exhibition halls and an open-air gallery, exhibiting an illuminating array of works relating to the history of the Mediterranean and Pamphylia regions of Anatolia. With your trip officially over from 1 pm, enjoy a free afternoon to explore Antalya. Perhaps head down to the harbour for an afternoon boat tour, or venture a bit further out to Konyaalti Beach to soak up some sun. To make the most of this wonderful coastal city, you may wish to book further accommodation.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

14 breakfasts

Transport

Private aircon bus

Accommodation

Comfortable Hotel (14 nights)

Included Activities

  • Istanbul - Basilica Cistern
  • Istanbul - Topkapi Palace
  • Mt Nemrut
  • Goreme - Open Air Museum
  • Goreme - Derinkuyu Underground City

Reviews

Our Central Turkey & the Black Sea trips score an average of 4.76 out of 5 based on 58 reviews in the last year.

2015 Central Turkey & the Black Sea, October 2015

Robin Fischle

2015 Central Turkey & the Black Sea, October 2015

Kerrie Leifels

Dates & availability

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Important notes

A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.

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.