Welcome to Turkey! Arrive Istanbul and included transfer to our hotel. Spend the afternoon at leisure or head out to explore the city. This evening our tip filled welcome meeting takes place.
Istanbul. This morning we enjoy a guided tour of Istanbul's old city. Our tour includes visits to the stunning Blue Mosque famed for it’s blue Iznik tiles and unique 6 minarets, the ruinous Hippodrome – now a small park of sorts and once scene of chariot races and political activities in Byzantine times, Hagia Sofia Museum - constructed as a Basilica in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian, Topkapi Palace and the Underground Cistern – an ancient underground water tank - replete with carved and fluted Corinthian columns and a puzzling head of Medusa. Visitors walk on walkways suspended above the shallow water. It’s very cool and peaceful.
Overnight: Istanbul | Breakfast
Istanbul – Gallipoli. Early this morning, we travel to the WW1 battlefields of Gallipoli. Here, we’ll embark upon a guided tour of the region, once the site of fierce fighting and today almost hauntingly beautiful, with its wooded landscape dotted with understated memorials to the war dead. Our guided tour of the region will take in sights such as ANZAC Cove, Lone Pine Australian War Memorial and cemetery, Chunuk Blair New Zealand War Memorial and cemetery, the Nek, Johnston’s Jolly and the many fortified trenches still clearly visible amongst the scrub after all these years.
This afternoon we'll make our way to the Lone Pine to attend the official commemorative service marking (to the day) the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Lone Pine. The battle of Lone Pine saw some of the most fierce fighting of the Gallipoli campaign. Over four days, Australia suffered more than 2,000 casualties. Seven Australians were awarded the Victoria Cross for their bravery at Lone Pine. With dignitaries, current and ex-service men and women present it is sure to be a memorable, yet moving occasion.
After we cross the Dardenelles by ferry (offering panoramic views of the entire Gallipoli Peninsular) arriving at our hotel late in the evening.
Overnight: Canakkale | Breakfast
Returning to the Gallipoli Peninsular we visit Shrapnel Valley cemetery and walk up to Shell Green where the Australians infamously played cricket in full view of the Turks. After we'll tour some of the British landing sites such as X beach, Seddul Bair and W beach - the site of the Lancashire Landing. Later we head over to Krithia Vineyard, the war museum and nearby Redoubt Cemetery. Before visiting Kilitbaher Fort, another site that had much effect on the Gallipoli Campaign where artillery was set up to fire on the British warships as they tried to sail up the Dardanelles prior to the landing campaign.
After lunch we take a boat trip off the cove to see the Gallipoli Peninsular from a different perspective before heading back to our hotel for dinner and free time.
Overnight: Canakkale | Breakfast, Lunch
Gallipoli – Kusadasi. Heading south, we enjoy a guided tour of Homer’s Troy, famed for the Trojan wooden horse and fabled Helen. Continuing to ancient Pergamum - the cultural and political capital of its time, before continuing onto coastal Kusadasi. Make the most of the hotel facilities this evening.
Overnight: Kusadasi | Breakfast
Today, we enjoy a guided tour at the legendary Roman ruins of Ephesus. Positively the best-preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean, and among the best places in the world to get a feel for what Roman life must have been like. Ephesus, under the Romans was a vast city with a population nearing 250,000. It became the Roman capital of Asia Minor. We’ll have plenty of time to tour the marble ruins of Ephesus. Be sure to see the famous Library of Celcus, the gymnasium of Vedius and Stadium, the great theatre and stroll the streets in the ruins of this large Roman ruined city. It’s completely fascinating. We’ll see public toilets, a brothel, fountains and various temples. Carpet weaving has long traditions in Turkey and afterward we stop to watch a demonstration of how they are made.
Overnight: Kusadasi | Breakfast
Kusadasi - Pamukkale - Istanbul. Today, after breakfast, we drive to Pamukkale visiting the region’s famed calcium rich terraced pools. Known locally as the Cotton Castles, they are a natural phenomena and gift of Mother Nature.
Pamukkale was formed when warm, calcium rich mineral water cascaded over the cliff edge, cooling and depositing in the process. The calcium built natural shelves and pools on the cliffs, known as travertines. Today, some of the pools are closed. However, areas of the travertines can be walked upon, albeit in bare feet. We can however opt to enjoy a unique and very pleasant dip in the warm waters at the Pamukkale Thermal, with its submerged fragments of fluted marble columns in the centre of the ruined spa town of Hierapolis, which was a was a cure centre founded around 190 BC by the Romans.
At approx 10:30pm this evening we bid farewell to our guide and travel by overnight bus to Istanbul.
Overnight: Overnight Bus | Breakfast
Tuesday. Arrive Istanbul early this morning (approx 8 - 8:30am) where our representative will be waiting to meet you. We transfer to a nearby hotel where our luggage can be stored till our airport transfer to Ataturk International Airport depart later in the day (11am and 1:30pm). Consider heading out to one of the local cafes for a hearty breakfast followed by a visit to the Egyptian Spice market or the legendary, if cavernous Grand Bazaar - boasting some 4000 shops under one immense roof. The Grand Bazaar is just the ticket for souvenir, clothing, scarves, brassware, silver and handbag purchases.
Alternatively, you could choose to extend your stay by purchasing an additional nights hotel accommodation.
Opt to upgrade from the unescorted, overnight public bus journey from Pamukkale to Istanbul on day 6 to a short evening flight and enjoy the comfort of spending your final night in an Istanbul hotel.
Includes: Economy flight Pamukkale to Istanbul, airport transfers, 1 night 4* hotel in Istanbul with breakfast. Note: must be booked at least 45 days before travel.
The relevant price for our 'Aegean Explorer Flight Upgrade' can be found under the 'Supplementary Prices' heading on our Prices/Dates page.
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
Renovated in 2009, the charming Kent Hotel offers is a great example of contemporary design and a friendly atmosphere. Guest rooms are superbly equipped with modern facilities including Wi-Fi connectivity, state of the art technology and bright marbled bathrooms. Enjoying a delicious Turkish meal at the in house Calcedoine Restaurant after a hard days sightseeing is highly recommended. Fantastically located within 10 minutes walk of the Grand Bazaar and Old Town in the Bayazit area in the European side of Istanbul.
The family run Tusan Hotel offers modern facilities in a tranquil setting. Rooms are comfortable and well equipped and offer guests beautiful forest or sea views. The hotel benefits from a private beach and an indoor and outdoor restaurant. A refreshing pint of beer in the English Pub whilst challenging the bar staff to a game of pool is a great way to spend the evening. Set within a beautiful pine forest looking across the Dardanelles with a private beach exclusively for guests.
Opening in 2012, the Alish Hotel and Spa is one of Kusadasi's most modern hotels. All rooms are well equipped with modern facilities, private balconies and laminate flooring. A number of restaurants and bars exist including the pool bar that serves refreshing beverages and snacks whilst you sunbathe. An early morning swim in the pool is a great way to start the day. Well located with close links to the city centre, local beaches and the famous waterparks.
Tipping is not a natural part of many Western cultures and many of us feel uncomfortable, or unsure, about when, or how much, to tip. However, in ANZAC Day, tipping makes up a significant part of many people's wages so it's important that we get it right. For this reason we've developed a very simple system to take all the hassle out of tipping. With our 'tipping made easy' policy, a nominal pre-determined amount is collected from all group tour participants to cover tips en route. This then saves you the hassle of when and how much to tip bellhops, luggage handlers, local guides and other support staff through the tour. Our 'tipping made easy' doesn't include a tip to your group tour leader. Naturally, though, the amount is up to you as tipping is an entirely personal gesture.