Friday 24 April 2015. Welcome to Turkey! Included arrival transfer from Ataturk International Airport to our hotel. This evening at 8pm meet your guide and the rest of the group at our welcome meeting.
This morning we enjoy a guided tour of Istanbul's old city. Our tour includes a visit to the stunning Blue Mosque famed for its blue Iznik tiles and unique 6 minarets, 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. Later in the afternoon you can hone your bargaining skills at the famed Grand Bazaar – one of the largest covered markets in the world, boasting more than 4000 stores. You can also visit the Egyptian Spice Bazaar at this time too.
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 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 among the scrub after all these years.
Overnight: Eceabat & Gallipoli | Breakfast
Returning to the Gallipoli Peninsular today we visit Shrapnel Valley cemetery and walk up to Shell Green where the Australians famously played cricket in full view of the Turks. We'll tour some of the British landing sites such as X beach, Seddul Bair and W beach - the site of the Lancashire Landing and then head over to Krithia Vineyard, the war museum and nearby Redoubt Cemetery. We travel on to 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: Eceabat & Gallipoli | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Gallipoli – Kusadasi. After crossing the Dardenelles by ferry, which offer panoramic views of the entire Gallipoli Peninsular we travel south, to Homer’s Troy, famed for the Trojan wooden horse and fabled Helen. After a guided tour we continue 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, Dinner
Kusadasi - Sirince. Today, we enjoy a guided tour of the legendary Roman ruins of Ephesus. Positively the best preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean, Ephesus, under the Romans, was a vast city with a population nearing 250,000 and became the Roman Capital of Asia Minor. Ephesus revelled in its prosperity from commerce and visiting pilgrims who came to see the great Temple of Artemis - one of the Seven Ancient Wonders. Exemplifying the finesse of Roman urban life, Ephesus boasts carefully restored elements including a Great Theatre, Curetes Way, the Temple of Serapis and the Library of Celsus. Stop by the ancient public toilets and public brothel.
Carpet weaving has long traditions in Turkey and afterwards we stop to watch a demonstration of how they are made before visiting the quaint Greek village of Sirince, perched on a mountainside within a valley of vineyards and orchards.
Overnight: Kusadasi | Breakfast, Dinner
Kusadasi - Pamukkale. After breakfast today we drive to Pamukkale to visit the region’s famed, calcium rich terraced pools which are known locally as the Cotton Castles and the neighbouring ancient ruined spa town of Hierapolis, which was a cure centre founded around 190 BC by the Romans. Wade through the warm waters of Pamukkale's travertine pools, explore the remarkable ruins of Heirapolis and perhaps opt for a dip in Pamukkale's thermal pool.
Overnight: Pamukkale | Breakfast, Dinner
Pamukkale - Cappadocia. On day 8 we travel on to Cappadocia, visiting an ancient caravanserai en route. Very early the following morning (weather permitting), there's the opportunity to take an exhilarating hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia (bookable locally). We then enjoy a guided tour of Cappadocia, with its surreal landscape of cave dwellings and fairy chimneys. Whole troglodyte villages, subterranean churches and fortresses have been hewn from the soft, porous, eerily eroded rock of Cappadocia. The crumbling legacy of persecuted Christians trying to escape the Muslim onslaught in 1st-10th centuries AD by effectively heading underground is one of Turkey’s finest attractions. We'll see the UNESCO World Heritage listed site of the Goreme Valley where you’ll see stunning examples of rock-cut Byzantine churches, chapels and temples, Zelve with its eroded landscape known as fairy chimneys, Kaymakli Underground City and Uchisar Castle. In the evening you can opt to attend a folklore perfermance with dinner and wine included.
Overnight: Cappadocia | Breakfast x 2, Dinner x 1
Cappadocia - Istanbul. Via Ankara - the nation’s capital, we visit the mausoleum of Mustafa Ataturk - the father of modern Turkey, before continuing to Istanbul.
Overnight: Istanbul | Breakfast
Monday 04 May 2015. After breakfast our tour draws to a close. Onward departure transfers to Ataturk International Airport are offered complimentary at 11am and 1:30pm today. Happy travels!
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.
Looking out across the Aegean Sea, the Hotel Tatlises is modern and bright offering fantastic views from its upper floors. All guestrooms have excellent facilities and offer a pool or sea view. Wi-Fi is available throughout and the outdoor restaurant serves excellent Turkish and International cuisine. A refreshing early morning dip in the outdoor pool is a great way to start the day. The hotel is located a few blocks from the beach and in the middle of Kusadasi town.
Set in landscaped gardens, the Colossae Thermal Spa Hotel has an envious location in Pamukkale. Guest rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated. The on site thermal spa offers guests a chance to relax and enjoy what this region is most famous for. Why not take breakfast on the terrace or dinner by the pool? Two of our top tips! The hotel is well located close to the travertines in Pamukkale.
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 Turkey, 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.