Istanbul to Athens - 14 days
From Istanbul - the great capital of the Ottoman Empire, to Athens - the ancient capital of Greece in 14 magical days. Discover archaeological treasures and natural wonders and discover the jewels of the Greek Islands; Rhodes, Santorini and Mykonos
Istanbul. Enjoy a tour of the Old City from where the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires were ruled. We’ll visit the stunning Blue Mosque famed for it’s blue Iznik tiles, Hippodrome, Hagia Sofia - constructed as a Basilica in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian and Topkapi Palace.
Overnight: Istanbul | Breakfast
Istanbul – Gallipoli. Today we explore ANZAC Cove and the many memorials dotted across the WW1 battlefields. Our guided tour takes in
sights such as ANZAC Cove, Lone Pine Memorial and cemetery, Chunuk Bair Memorial and cemetery, the Nek, Johnston’s Jolly and the many fortified trenches still clearly visible amongst the scrub after all these years.
Overnight: Canakkale | Breakfast, Dinner
Gallipoli - Kusadasi. Step back in time as we visit the legendary Roman ruins of Troy and Pergamum. We enjoy a guided tour of the ancient city of Troy dating back to 3000BC! En route to Kusadasi, we explore the ruins of Pergamum with it’s impressive temples,library and medical facilities, before visiting a local carpet emporium - Turkey produces some of the finest carpets in the world!
Overnight: Kusadasi | Breakfast, Dinner
Today we explore ancient Ephesus. Exemplifying the finesse of Roman urban life, Ephesus boasts incredible excavated ruins including a Great Theatre, Curetes Way, the Temple of Serapis and the Library of Celsus. Stop by the ancient public toilets and public brothel!
Overnight: Kusadasi | Breakfast, Dinner
Kusadasi – Pammukale - Marmaris. Meandering through the sweeping plains and cotton farms we arrive at the ruins of Roman Hieropolis and the hot springs of Pamakkule. Admire this surreal landscape created by frequent earthquakes. Marvel at the crystalline marble, quartzites and stalagtites, which shimmer in the sunlight. There will be time to paddle our feet as we walk the terraces or opt for a dip in the thermal baths before visiting a leather fashion house.
Overnight: Marmaris | Breakfast, Dinner
After breakfast transfer to Marmaris for a ferry to the Greek island of Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese group. Spend the rest of the day at
leisure; perhaps visit Rhodes City and see the walls of a very well preserved Venetian castle; built by the Knights of Saint John, it is one of the finest examples of medieval architecture.
This tour is semi independent in style from days 7 - 14, so from once you arrive in Rhodes until you depart from Athens you will not be escorted by a tour guide.
Overnight: Rhodes. Hotel: Mediterranean Hotel, Rhodes | Breakfast
Rhodes - Santorini. Transfer to the airport for a flight (via Athens) to Santorini. Spend the next two days at leisure on this beautiful island. Santorini is located in the Cyclades island group, in the Aegean Sea. This dramatically striking volcanic island is the only inhabited Caldera (volcano cauldron) in the world, with towns and villages perched on top of the massive cliffs of the caldera and beautiful black and red beaches. Santorini is renowned for its spectacular sunsets and gorgeous villages with traditional white and blue architecture. Be sure to visit Fira and Oia, Santorini’s most famous villages, which are perched on the edge of the caldera, offering amazing views over the Aegean and the volcano.
Overnight: Santorini (2) Hotel: El Greco | Breakfast x 2
Santorini - Mykonos. On day 10 you'll be transferred to the pier to catch the ferry Mykonos. Included transfer to your hotel and spend the next two days at leisure. Mykonos island is famous for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and exciting nightlife. The picturesque Cycladic capital is full of whitewashed houses and blue domed churches and the island boasts magnificent sandy beaches.
Overnight: Mykonos (2) Hotel: Manoula's Beach | Breakfast x 2
Mykonos - Athens. Today take the ferry to Athens, transfer and hotel check in. Athens is the capital of Greece and took its name from the ancient goddess Athena and is thought to have at least a 3000 year old recorded history which makes it one of the oldest cities in Europe.
Overnight: Athens. Hotel: Herodion | Breakfast
Athens. You’re free to independently explore the ancient capital today. Visit the legendary Acropolis and discover the architectural masterpieces of the Golden Age of Athens: the Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erectheion and of course the spectacular and iconic Parthenon. Other sights of interest include Constitution Square, Hadrian’s Arch, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympic Games of the modern era were held in 1896. You can also see Evzones (ceremonial guards) in their distinctive uniforms at the Memorial of the Unknown Soldier and the Presidential Palace.
Overnight: Athens | Breakfast
Friday - Athens. After breakfast, included transfer to Athens Airport for your onward journey.
Novotel Istanbul Bosphorus (Karakoy), Istanbul
Opened in February 2016, the Novotel Istanbul Bosphorus is the latest in the Novotel range. Guest rooms have a contemporary design and the hotel also benefits from an indoor pool, onsite spa and fitness centre. The Novist restaurant serves up a delicious array of Turkish and international dishes. Set in the trendy Karakoy district of the city it's a great place to base yourself when visiting the city.
Kolin Hotel, Canakkale
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.
Ramada Kusadasi, Kusadasi
Perched on the coast next to the Aegean Sea, the palatial Ramada Kusadasi has no less than six outdoor pools with water slides, a stunning indoor pool and luxury spa centre. Guest rooms are spacious and well equipped all with private balconies. Guests can choose from Turkish or Italian inspired restaurants as well as a number of bars. There is also a large golf club with excellent facilities and beautiful grounds.
Bluebay Platinum Hotel, Marmaris
Sitting right on the beach, the Bluebay Platinum Hotel offers no fewer than 4 outdoor pools. This 5 star resort includes a full service spa, expansive restaurant and Wi-Fi in public areas. Guest rooms are spacious and bright and all come with private balconies and plasma TVs. The restaurant serves both Turkish and international cuisine in a vast buffet within the modern dining hall. The staff at the hotel come highly recommended and the Blue Bay has an enviable location close to the centre of the vibrant resort town of Marmaris.
Cultural Experiences, Local Partners
Our guide, Erkan, was excellent. He took time to explain things to our group to help maximise our experience & knowledge. His management skills of the group were first class. He is a valuable employee. Our coach driver Omar, acted very professional & handled his coach safely & skilfully. ”
On our OTG Handpicked range we bring you best-of-the-best cultural experiences in destinations where you’ll join travellers from other travel brands on your tour, safari or sailing holiday. Collaborating with our carefully handpicked portfolio of local partners, these holidays represent exceptional value and there’ll be plenty of cultural experiences shared with other like-minded travellers.
Group sizes and accommodation standards vary by destination where typical group size is 18 travellers and hotels, boats and safari lodges are of a 3-4 star standard.
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!
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.