From Istanbul to Athens. The great capital of the Ottoman Empire to the ancient capital of Greece in 14 magical days. Discover archaeological treasures, natural wonders, and the jewels of the Greek Islands; Rhodes, Santorini and Mykonos
Saturday. Welcome to Turkey, after arriving into Istanbul a transfer will be provided to our hotel. Istanbul is easy to get around on foot and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes dotted about the city. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to explore the city at your own pace.
We explore the incredible old city of Istanbul today, steeped in fascinating history and from where the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires were ruled from. We’ll visit the stunning Blue Mosque, famed for its blue Iznik tiles. Continue to the Hippodrome, Hagia Sofia (constructed as a Basilica in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian), and Topkapi Palace.
Overnight: Istanbul | Breakfast
Istanbul – Gallipoli. Departing Istanbul today we make our way to ANZAC Cove and the many memorials dotted across the WW1 battlefields. Our guided tour takes in sights including 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. These trenches were only around 3 feet deep and provided vital cover for the Australian and New Zealand troops fighting the enemy.
We continue across the Dardenelles by ferry this afternoon before we reach our hotel.
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, which dates back to 3000BC. We see the replica Trojan horse before we explore the ruins of Pergamum with it’s impressive temples, library and medical facilities. Visit a local carpet emporium en route to Kusadasi and understand how Turkey produces some of the finest carpets in the world.
Overnight: Kusadasi | Breakfast, Dinner
Today we explore ancient Ephesus, considered to be the best preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean. Highlighting the sophistication of Roman urban life, Ephesus boasts incredible excavated ruins including a Great Theatre, Curetes Way, the Temple of Serapis and the Library of Celsus. With a population numbering nearly 250,000 people it became the capital of Asia Minor and gained much of it's prosperity from commerce and pilgrims visiting the Temple of Artemis. We have time to explore the marble ruins and you may wish to stop by the ancient public toilets and public brothel amongst other points of interest.
Overnight: Kusadasi | Breakfast, Dinner
Kusadasi - Pammukale - Marmaris. Our drive today sees us meander through sweeping plains and cotton farms until we arrive at the ruins of Roman Hieropolis and the hot springs of Pamukkale. Pamukkale was formed when warm, calcium rich mineral water cascaded over the cliff edge, cooling and depositing in the process. 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.
We continue to the ruined spa town of Hierapolis before we continue to Marmaris for our overnight spot.
Overnight: Marmaris | Breakfast, Dinner
After breakfast, we transfer to Marmaris Port 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 | Breakfast
Rhodes - Santorini. This morning you'll transfer to the airport for a flight (via Athens) to Santorini. Spend the next two days at leisure on this beautiful island. Santorini, located in the Cyclades island group, is a dramatically striking volcanic island and 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. Renowned for it's beautiful sunsets and stunning blue and white villages, Santorini is a feast for the eyes. Santorinis infamous villages of Fira and Oia are a must visit, perched on the edge of the caldera and offering amazing views over the Aegean and the volcano.
Overnight: Santorini (2) | Breakfast x 2
Santorini - Mykonos. On day 10 you'll be transferred to the pier to catch the ferry to Mykonos. Enjoy the beautiful views from your ferry as you make your way through the turqoise waters of the Aegean sea. Upon arrival you'll have a transfer to take you to your hotel where you'll 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) | Breakfast x 2
Mykonos - Athens. Today you take the ferry to Athens, upon arrival we transfer to the hotel. Athens is the capital of Greece and took its name from the ancient goddess Athena. It is thought to have at least a 3000 year old recorded history which makes it one of the oldest cities in Europe.
Overnight: Athens | Breakfast
Athens. We are 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.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates marked with a 'G' are operating. All departure dates from 1 Apr 2023 are guaranteed to operate when there are 2 persons booked on the tour. Prior to this date a departure is guaranteed with 4 persons. 'Twin Share' prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a room. 'Single Room' prices are applicable to solo travellers or anyone wanting the privacy of a single room.Read More
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.
Point Hotel Taksim, Istanbul
Well-located just a short walk from the nearest Metro station, this modern hotel is a great base for exploring the sights of Istanbul. Light and spacious guestrooms offer air conditioning and free high speed WiFi. There’s also a indoor pool, spa facilities and a fitness centre. Guests can enjoy a choice of eateries, including an authentic Japanese Restaurant and two café bars. However, this hotel’s highlight is the top-floor View Point Restaurant, which boasts delicious Turkish and world cuisine alongside sweeping views of the Bosporus Strait.
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.
Charisma Hotel, Kusadasi
The Charisma is a modern and elegant hotel with spacious rooms. The rooms are equipped with jacuzzi, LCD screen television, split air conditioning, mini-bar, electronic safe box, hairdryer and free internet connection. Towering over the Aegean Sea's outstanding view, the Hotel is just 15 minutes by walk from Kuşadası's shopping and entertainment area.
Orsmaris Boutique Hotel, Marmaris
Örsmaris Boutique hotel was completely renovated in 2006. The hotel offers a warm and inviting atmosphere with a professional approach and excellent service. The rooms are spacious, beautifully decorated and command spectacular views out over the sea. Diner have the option of sitting indoors or al fresco as they feast on sumptuous Turkish and international cuisine. Guests can also enjoy the two outdoor pools and surrounding flower garden. The Hotel is situated by the sea and 5 km away from Marmaris city center.
Semiramis City Hotel, Rhodes
Located in the heart of Rhodes town and just a 3-minute walk from the beach, the Semiramis City Hotel is the perfect place to soak up the charm of Rhodes. Many of the rooms boast sea views and are elegantly decorated to a modern standard with smart wooden flooring. Rooms are ensuite and equipped with satellite TV and minibar, and the majority of rooms offer balconies. There is an outdoor pool and sun terrace. Wi-Fi is available for free in the lobby and the onsite buffet restaurant serves a great mix of local and international cuisine. There's also an onsite cocktail bar and an outdoor pool bar for guests to enjoy at their convenience.
Daedalus Hotel, Santorini
Tucked away in the centre of Fira town with sweeping coastal views of the volcanic caldera and decorated in the typical whitewashed Santorini style, the Daedalus Hotel is a delight for travellers to the Greek island. Each room comes with a balcony and other amenities including a TV, air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi and security safe. Ensuite bathrooms have been decorated in typical Santorini style on the inside, a pleasant and unexpected feature. There's an outdoor pool and snack bar, with a buffet breakfast offered from the onsite restaurant.
Giannoulaki Hotel, Mykonos
Located within walking distance of the beach and boasting an outdoor pool, gym, and poolside bar, the Giannoulaki Hotel is a great option for travellers to Mykonos. Air-conditioned rooms all feature either a balcony or veranda, as well as TV, fridge, safe and private bathrooms with marble bath. The onsite restaurant Noo Noo serves up traditional Mediterranean cuisine and the pool-side bar serves cocktails until late.
Airotel Parthenon, Athens
The best thing about the Airotel Parthenon Hotel is its location. Steps away from the Acropolis Museum and the pretty Plaka district, it's as good as it gets as a base for exploring the Greek capital. Rooms are air-conditioned with ensuite bathrooms and are equipped with free Wi-Fi, fridges, TV, and tea and coffee making facilities. There are balconies in many of the rooms. The sunny Acropolis restaurant serves up great Greek food, and there's a daily buffet breakfast.
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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. ”