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Welcome to Istanbul and the start of your holiday! You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Overnight Blue House Hotel
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 is at your leisure to explore independently. Overnight Blue House Hotel
Today we embark on a classic guided tour of the city's highlights. We visit The Blue Mosque is famed for it’s blue Iznik tiles and unique 6 minarets and the stunning Topkapi Palace where we spend time exploring the grounds and various museums contained within the Palace walls. After stopping for lunch, continue on to Rustem Pasha Mosque and the Egyptian Spice market with its array of coloured spices and herbs. End the day at the behemoth Grand Bazaar, a chaotic labyrinth of lanes, mosques, boutiques, artisan workshops, and market stalls. Browse the shops, try your hand at bargaining, and try a cup of the thick sweet Turkish coffee. Overnight Blue House Hotel
After breakfast we visit the Byzantine Hippodrome which was once the scene of chariot races and political activities in Byzantine and later Ottoman times. Continue on to Hagia Sofia constructed as a grand basilica in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian, reigned as the grandest and biggest church in Christendom until the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 when it became a mosque. After lunch drive to Chora Church, one of the most beautiful examples of Byzantine churches. Overnight Blue House Hotel
Today we explore the imperial Dolmabahce Palace, set on the shores of the Bosphorus River. Constructed in the 19th century, this opulent palace was at the centre of the Ottoman Empire in its final years, and home to the last Ottoman Sultan. Marvel at the extravagant decor, high ceilings and twinkling chandeliers of the Medhal Hall; find out how the Crystal Staircase got its name; and wander around the lavish Secretariat’s Room. We will then enjoy a cruise on the Bosphorus, to view the city from a different perspective. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Izmir, you will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel in Kusadasi.
Enjoy an early morning visit to the Virgin Mary's House, before taking 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. 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. Later visit St John's Basilica before ending the day with a trip to Isa Bey Mosque, a late fourteenth century mosque, with a bath house at the southern end.
This first stop this morning is Priene with its dramatic mountainous setting, and with one of the most active Ionian ports in ancient times. Proceed to Miletus the home of Thales, and which also provided the alphabet to the rest of the classical world before stopping at Didyma, a sacred place of pagan worship and famous for its Temple of Apollo, with gigantic columns.
Today we drive to Pamukkale, stopping enroute to visit to Aphrodisias, an ancient city home to some of the worlds most beautiful architectural wonders. Stop off at ancient Hierapolis, with its Necropolis graveyard of over 1200 graves before exploring the incredible white calcium terraces of Pamukkale. 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.
Travel the scenic coastal road to Phaselis an ancient coastal city. Founded by Greek colonists, its wealth came from being a port for the shipment of timber, rose oil and perfume. There will be time to take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea before we continue on to Antalya, one of the fastest growing cities in Turkey and is set on a cliff above the sea with Roman walls and a quaint harbour. Enjoy a visit to the Archaeology Museum.
Today we visits to the Roman ruins of Perge and Aspendos. Perge boasts a great theatre, stadium, colonnaded street and impressive baths. After lunch the rest of the afternoon is at your leisure to relax and soak up the sunshine on Lara Beach.
Early this morning we depart for the archaeological site of Sagalassos. After lunch continue on to Beysehir where we will enjoy a visit to the Esrefoglu Mosque. Late afternoon we will arrive into Konya, one of Turkey's oldest continuously inhabited sites, it is known throughout the world as the home of the whirling dervishes. Visit the 13th century Mevlana Museum, the original lodge of the Mevlevi Whirling Dervishes.
This morning we drive to Cappadocia visiting along the way the 13th century Seljukian masterpiece of Sultanhan Caravanserai. Lunch will be taken in the spectacular Ihlara Valley. Afterwards we walk in Ihlara Canyon, a "mirage" in the Steps of Anatolia up to Belisirma village, the ancient Peristrema: "Valley of the Sky" along the Melendiz River.
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. Our tour includes the Devent Valley, Zelve Open Air Museum and Pasabag to see the most interesting mushroom-shaped pinnacles. After lunch visit the World Heritage Listed Goreme Valley to see stunning examples of rock-cut Byzantine churches and chapels and Uchisar Castle which gives amazing vistas of the Cappadocia region.
Continuing on our tour of Cappadocia we see Soganli Valley which is divided into two, and has been occupied since the Roman period. The Medrese in Taskinpasa before visiting Kaymakli Underground City where dwellings for the christian communitiest to use as refuge.
This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Istanbul where your arrangements with us come to an end.
The earliest settle of Kusadasi dates back to the Leleges people in 3000BC and all through the ages, Kusadasi was ...