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On The Go Tours / Europe / Turkey / Tours / East Meets West 18 Days

East Meets West

18 days  |  Istanbul to Van  |  from USD $4,299  |   Guaranteed Departure 

Explore the two sides of Turkey with an adventure from Ottoman Istanbul in the west to the hinterlands of the east. En route discover battlefields, magnificent ruins and underground cities. Enjoy beach time by the Med before travelling east to mysterious mountain shrines, Neolithic hilltop temples, beautiful lakes and the Silk Road.

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Itinerary
Prices & Dates
Hotels
Inclusions
Day 1

Saturday. Upon arrival into Istanbul airport you will be met and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the afternoon offers free time for you to relax or explore. This evening our tip filled welcome meeting takes place. A great opportunity to meet your tour guide and travelling companions before our exciting 18 day adventure gets under way.
Overnight: Istanbul

Day 2

Istanbul is the only city in the world to span two continents resting on the shores of the Bosphorus - the strait of water that divides the continents of Europe and Asia. Its illustrious past leaves a rich legacy of churches, mosques, palaces and museums, complemented by the behemoth Grand Bazaar and colourful street life.

Today we embark on a classic guided tour of the city's highlights. Our first stop is Sultanahmet, the compact old city filled with parks, gardens and stunning sights. The Blue Mosque is famed for it’s blue Iznik tiles and unique 6 minarets. The Hagia Sofia, constructed in the 6th century, reigned as the grandest and biggest church in Christendom until the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, when it became a mosque. Just around the corner is the stunning Topkapi Palace where we spend time exploring the grounds and various museums contained within the Palace walls. Evening at leisure.
Overnight: Istanbul  |  Breakfast

Day 3
Gallipoli's Battlefields

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 Bair 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. Roughly 3 feet deep, the system of trenches provided much need safe cover for troops as they desperately fought the enemy.

Crossing the Dardenelles by ferry (offering panoramic views of the entire Gallipoli Peninsular) we proceed to our hotel for a little rest and relaxation, waterside.
Overnight: Canakkale  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4
Troy & Kusadasi

Gallipoli – Kusadasi. At Troy (the inspiration for Homer's Illiad and much more recently the movie Troy) we visit the Trojan Horse and ruins. We enjoy a guided tour of the ancient city that dates back to 3000BC! En route to Kusadasi, we explore the ruins of Pergamum with it's impressive temples, library and medical facilities which made it a famous cultural and political centre of it's time.
Overnight: Kusadasi  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5

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. It revelled in it's 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 afterward we stop to watch a demonstration of how they are made before visiting the quaint Greek village of Sirince peached mountainside within a valley of vineyards and orchards.
Overnight: Kusadasi  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6

Kusadasi – Pamukkale – Marmaris. Meandering through the sweeping plains and endless cotton farms we arrive at the ruins of Roman Hieropolis and the hot springs of Pamakkule. Admire this surreal landscape created by frequent earthquakes in the fault depression of the Menderes river basin. Marvel at the crystalline marble, quartzites and stalagtites, which shimmer in the sunlight. There will be time to paddle our feet as you walk the terraces or opt for a dip in the thermal baths. Later we stop at a leather manufacturing house.
Overnight: Marmaris  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7

Marmaris - Koycegiz - Fethiye. Arriving at the lakeside town of Koycegiz, we embark upon a boat cruise to Turtle Beach and smother ourselves in mud at the local mud bath. We continue our journey to Fethiye, a charming port town on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, fringed by the Taurus Mountains where we'll spend the next two nights.
Overnight: Fethiye  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8

Fethiye - Kayakoy Greek village - Oludeniz - Fethiye. After breakfast today we explore the quaint Greek village of Kayakoy. This afternoon we drive to Oludeniz, a popular resort town which is home to the beautiful Blue Lagoon. Here you'll have the opportunity to enjoy a swim before travelling back to neighbouring Fethiye.
Overnight: Fethiye  |  Breakfast

Day 9

Fethiye - Antalya. Today we visit the stunningly beautiful Saklikent Gorge, Turkey’s longest and deepest canyon, take a walk through nature, or just relax and watch the world go by from the fig tree-shaded wooden platforms that overlook the river. Weaving our way through the Touros Mountains we arrive to Antalya visiting the Duden Waterfalls en route.
Overnight: Antalya  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10

Antalya – Cappadocia. Early morning departure for Konya, en route we visit the ancient theatre of Aspendos. Arriving at Konya, we tour the monastery of the Mevlana whirling dervishes and the mausoleum of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi. A further stop is made along the Silk Road at the Seljuk - a fine example of an ancient Silk Road caravanserai.
Overnight: Cappadocia  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11
Underground Cities

Today we tour the stunning Cappadocia region - an extraordinary national treasure The utter improbability of the seemingly surreal landscapes have to be seen to be believed, where 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.

A guided tour of the region includes the World Heritage Listed Goreme Valley to see stunning examples of rock-cut Byzantine churches and chapels, Kaymaki Underground City and Uchisar Castle. Stopping on the outskirts of Goreme Village we have the opportunity to see Pigeon Valley where century’s old pigeon houses are carved into the surrounding cliffs, the pigeon droppings that litter the area have been used as fertilizer on crops for generations. Here you will also have the opportunity to visit an Onyx shop, specialising in historic jewellery designs unique to Turkey and using local materials and craftsmen. For those not interested in shopping spend a little time relaxing and grab a drink from the local cafe. An optional Turkish dinner and folklore evening is available tonight.
Overnight: Cappadocia  |  Breakfast

Day 12
The Silk Road

Cappadocia – Kahta. This morning we leave the weird rock formations of Cappadocia and head out across Turkey’s hinterland following the ancient Silk Road route via Kayseri. Along the way we stop at Karatay Han, a well-preserved caravanserai with ornately carved features. Proceeding to Mt. Nemrut in Adiyaman, discover the magnificent funerary monument that stands at the peak of the mountain, a testament to an ancient king’s ambition.
Overnight: Kahta  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13
Ataturk Dam

Kahta – Urfa. Today we continue to the massive Ataturk Dam on our way to Urfa, the ancient city of prophets. It was here where the biblical patriarch Abraham was supposedly born and we’ll visit the cave and shrine that marks his birthplace. Nearby are the sacred pools of Abraham filled with sacred carp that are fed by the many pilgrims who visit this holy site. Later in the afternoon we visit the famous beehive houses of Harran, an ancient city mentioned in Genesis as the place where Abraham lived.
Overnight: Sanli Urfa  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 14
Gobekil Tepe

Urfa – Gobekli Tepe –Diyarbekir. Our morning begins with a visit to the ongoing archaeological dig at Gobekli Tepe. Relatively unknown, Gobekli Tepe is possibly one of the most important archaeological sites in the world and mystery surrounds how the 60 tonne pillars were erected some 12,000 years ago. Diyarbekir, another ancient settlement, is our next stop. An overwhelmingly Kurdish city, Diyarbekir is famed for its ancient city walls built from massive black basalt blocks by the Romans. After the Great Wall of China, Diyarbekir has the longest continuous defensive wall in the world.
Overnight: Diyabekir  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 15
Saffron Monastery

Diyarbekir – Mardin – Tatvan. Arriving at the ancient town of Mardin, located on a high hill overlooking the plains of southern Turkey and Syria, we visit the Deir-Al-Zafaran (Saffron Monastery). An active monastery and the centre of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchy, the site of the Saffron Monastery has been considered sacred for hundreds of years. We later drive to Hasankeyf to visit the many caves, hidden waterways, tombs and palaces, as well as the ruins of the Great Mosque. Situated by the Tigris River, Hasankeyf is soon to be submerged under the flood waters of a new dam. We continue on to Tatvan where we spend the night
Overnight: Tatvan  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 16
Akdamar Island

Tatvan – Van. After breakfast we begin our journey to the sophisticated city of Van. Along the way we visit the beautifully restored 10th century Armenian Church of the Holy Cross on the island of Akdamar. The church was built as part of a palace and religious complex between 915 and 921 by an Armenian king, and enjoys a stunning mountain setting on Lake Van. From Akdamar we continue to Van city.
Overnight: Van  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 17
Sunset at Van Citadel

Today we follow the Silk Road once again to Hosap Castle. The main castle structure of Hosap was built straddling the Silk Road and served as both a means of protecting the road and as a point of charging tolls on travellers. From Hosap we return to Van where you will have time for lunch. We end the day with a visit to the Citadel of Van to enjoy sunset. Dominating the city’s skyline atop a large rock outcrop, the 3,000 year-old castle was once the centre of the Urartian capital and commands wonderful panoramic views of the city and lake, as well as Mt. Nemrut.
Overnight: Van  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 18
Van

Tuesday. Today marks the end of our unique adventure. After breakfast, hotel check out and transfer to Van Airport for your onward flight.
Breakfast

End Your Tour In Istanbul

If you would like to return to Istanbul on day 18, we can arrange the internal flight for you upon request. Please contact us for details.

The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.

Accommodation on Tour

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.

Simple
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.

Standard
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.

Superior
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
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
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!

Crowne Plaza Harbiye, Istanbul
Our Category: Deluxe   |   Regional Category: 5 Star Hotel

Opened in 2011, Crowne Plaza Harbiye is housed in a brand new building close to downtown. Guest rooms are well equipped with state of the art design including a rain shower and high speed internet. The hotel includes 2 restaurants including the Palm Court Restaurant that serves delicious Mediterranean dishes. Facilities at the hotel include a fully equipped Spa and a Turkish Hamman for the ultimate Turkish experience! Well located in Taksim, close to the Military Museum.

Kolin Hotel, Canakkale
Our Category: Deluxe   |   Regional Category: 5 Star Hotel

Looking out across the Dardanelles the modern and bright Kolin Hotel offers well appointed rooms with hard wood flooring and tasteful decor. The hotel also boasts a luxury spa, wellness centre and a number of mouth watering restaurants all set within perfectly manicured lawns. Sipping a sundowner on the Roof Bar overlooking the beautiful strait is the perfect way to end the day. The hotel is located on the water’s edge a short drive from the town centre with beautiful views out to sea.

Grand Belish, Kusadasi
Our Category: Deluxe   |   Regional Category: 5 Star Hotel

Sitting along the magnificent Aegean Coast, the Grand Belish is impressively designed hotel. Offering guests a fantastic service and rooms with quality amenities and a private balcony overlooking the grounds. The delightful outdoor pool is great for lazing by during the day and at night a trip to the Terrace Bistro Bar for a delicious cocktail whilst looking out across the magnificent sea views is a must. Located just outside Kusadasi on a gorgeous stretch of beach along the Aegean Coast.

Anemon Hotel, Marmaris
Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

Just a stone’s throw from the beach, the Anemon Hotel welcomes guests in its grand marble lobby. Rooms are comfortable with modern amenities and excellent en suite facilities. The buffet breakfast is plentiful and the Sensus Wine and Cheese Boutique is well worth a visit. Starting the day with a traditional Turkish Bath is our top tip! Well located just two blocks from the beach on the main boulevard.

Hotel Ata Park, Fethiye
Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

Set with a beautiful green backdrop, the Hotel Ata Park is a comfortable with well equipped rooms and a gorgeous outdoor pool. The rooms boast hard wooden flooring, some quirky furnishing and balconies with fantastic views across the bay. Tempt your palate with delicious local seafood at the in house Bahriyeli Fish House or a quaff beautiful local wines at the Wine House. Both come highly recommended. Located right on the bay overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean Sea with the wonderful green peninsular as a good looking backdrop.

Barut Hotel, Antalya
Our Category: Deluxe   |   Regional Category: 5 Star Hotel

Built in 1997, the white washed Dedeman Park offers wonderful views of the Mediterranean coast. Rooms are modern and bright with excellent en suite facilities and some benefitting from stunning balcony views. Complementary Wi-fi is available throughout and guests also receive free access to the nearby Aquapark . Relaxing at the complimentary in house Turkish baths is our top tip for ending the day. Beautifully located overlooking the stunning Mediterranean Sea and in the centre of town.

Dinler Hotel, Cappadocia
Our Category: Deluxe   |   Regional Category: 5 Star Hotel

The Dinler Hotel has breathtaking Urgup / Kayakapi views, from all the rooms, which are spacious and welcoming.

Kervansary Hotel, Diyabekir
Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

Built in the 16th century to offer travellers and pilgrims on the Silk Road a place to stay, the Karvansary is a wonderful heritage building set around two traditional courtyards. Rooms are simple and cosy but the courtyards and the restaurants are a major draw card. There are three restaurants and a couple of bars – perfect for sitting relaxing and enjoying this wonderful authentic environment. Located at the south end of the old city, just a 10 minute walk to the centre.

Rescate Hotel, Van
Our Category: Deluxe   |   Regional Category: 5 Star Hotel

Affording great views of Lake Van, the Rescate Hotel is a chic and luxurious hotel. Guestrooms are tastefully decorated with modern amenities and wonderful views of the lake, city or mountain. Ending the evening with a delightful Turkish Bath is the perfect way to relax after a busy day sightseeing. Perfectly located on the shores of Lake Van just south of the city and 5 minutes away from the airport.

Trip Highlights

The stunning Hasop Castle that straddles the famous Silk Road.
Akdamar Island and a beautifully restored 10th century Armenian church.
The magnificent funerary sanctuary at Mount Nemrut
Gobekli Tepe - ongoing architectural dig
The beautiful Lake Van
Gallipoli Peninsular - ANZAC Cove, Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair memorials, trenches and battlefields
Aegean coast
Pamukkale thermal pools and Roman Hierapolis
Greek villages of Sirince and Kayakoy
Konya - Silk Road, ancient caravanserais and Mevlana Whirling Dervish Museum
Cappadocia region, UNESCO World Heritage listed Goreme Valley, Kaymakli Underground City and Uchisar Castle
Van - 3000 year old citadel in all its glory at sunset.
The massive Ataturk Dam
The famous beehive houses of Harran
The Deir-Al-Zafaran - active monastery in Syrian Orthodox Patriarchy.
Istanbul - old City, Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar
Troy - Trojan horse and ancient ruins
Roman ruins of Ephesus and Pergamum
Carpet weaving demonstration and leather showroom
Marmaris, Saklikent Gorge, Antalya and the ancient theatre of Aspendos
Fethiye, Koycegiz and Olu Deniza - lake, Turtle Beach, mud baths and the beautiful Blue Lagoon

Included

17 breakfasts and 13 hotel dinners
Airport arrival and departure transfers on day 1 and day 18
Koycegiz lake cruise and mud baths
Saklikent Gorge - canyon walk and tubing (optional)
Escorted by an English speaking, degree qualified Turkish tour guide
17 nights 4 star hotels and special class hotels.
Guided sightseeing - Istanbul, Gallipoli, Troy, Ruins of Ephesus, Pergamum, Sirince, Pamukkale, Hierapolis, Koycegiz, Kayakoy, Marmaris, Antalya, Konya, Cappadocia, Urfa, Gobekli Tepe, Deit-Al-Zafaran, Hasankeyf, Akdamar Island and Van.
Wine tasting in Sirince
Ferry crossing of the Dardenelles
All relevant transfers and transportation in private, modern air-conditioned vehicles

Not Included

International flights and visas.
Items of a personal nature.
Tipping Kitty: $45 USD
Tipping - an entirely personal gesture.
Entrance Fees: $120-140 USD

Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged provided there is another single traveller booked on the tour date of your choosing.

2015
Price/Person
Single Supp.
 
USD $4299
USD $1629
 
USD $4299
USD $1629
 
USD $4299
USD $1629
 
USD $4299
USD $1629
 
USD $4299
USD $1629
 
USD $4299
USD $1629
2016
Price/Person
Single Supp.
 
USD $4299
USD $1629
 
USD $4299
USD $1629
 
USD $4299
USD $1629
 
USD $4299
USD $1629
 
USD $4299
USD $1629
 
USD $4299
USD $1629
Tour Details
Starts
Istanbul
Ends
Van
Departs
Saturdays
Hotel Rating
4 star
Local Payment
None
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour guide
Meals
Breakfast: 17, Dinner: 13
Tour Bolt-ons
Enhance your trip with these amazing added extras and bolt-ons
Princes Islands
USD $179 / 1 day
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Guaranteed Departures
This tour is 100% guaranteed to depart with 4 travellers.