Take in the main highlights of Turkey on this eight-day tour of the Cultural Triangle. Discover the highlights of Istanbul, from Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque to the bustling Grand Bazaar. Marvel at the incredible Roman ruins of Ephesus, take a dip in the thermal pools of Pamukkale, and visit the Roman spa town of Hierapolis. Explore the warren of subterranean cave cities at Cappadocia and opt for a hot air balloon ride over the landscape.
Enjoy a full-day guided sightseeing tour of the cosmopolitan city of Istanbul, formerly known as Constantinople. You will see highlights of the city including the iconic Hagia Sofia, which was built by Emperor Justinian in the year 537 AD and was the largest church in Christendom for a thousand years!
Take in the Hippodrome, Topkapi Palace, and the beautiful Blue Mosque before venturing into the labyrinthine Grand Bazaar, which is a delightful assault on the senses. The evening is at leisure, or you could opt for a dinner cruise on the Bosphorus Strait, which divides Europe and Asia (book and pay locally).
Overnight: Istanbul | Breakfast, Lunch
Istanbul - Kayseri - Cappadocia. Leaving Istanbul, you will be transported to the airport for your included flight to Kayseri in Central Turkey. Upon arrival transfer to Cappadocia, one of Turkey's most popular destinations. See the unique fairy chimneys of the Devrent Valley and the mushroom-shaped pinnacles of Pasabagi (Monks Valley).
Later, head to Goreme, which is a beautiful open air museum, home to incredible rock-cut cave churches and settlements that date back centuries. The stunning landscapes of Cappadocia are sure to take your breath away. Touring today also includes a visit to a carpet manufacturing house.
Overnight: Cappadocia | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
This morning there is an optional hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia (book and pay locally). Leaving the hotel mid-morning, enjoy a hike through the Rose Valley to see more of the incredible rock-cut churches the area is famed for. Visit the old Christian village of Cavusin, the beautiful Pigeon Valley, and the Kaymakli Underground City. This incredible settlement is connected with more than 100 tunnels between houses, stables, churches, and more. The final stop of the day is at the natural rock castle of Ortahisar, which towers over the surrounding landscape.
Overnight: Cappadocia | Breakfast, Lunch
Cappadocia - Kayseri - Izmir - Kusadasi. Say goodbye to Cappadocia as you are transferred to the airport for your included flight west to Izmir. From here you will be transported to the popular beach resort town of Kusadasi. The evening is at leisure.
Overnight: Kusadasi | Breakfast, Dinner
Today there is a full-day tour of the legendary ancient city of Ephesus. The city dates back centuries and there are relics from the ancient Greek and Roman empires. One of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World was once found here, the Temple of Artemis. Sadly it has been completely destroyed apart from a single column which you will see. The main highlights of Ephesus are the striking colonnaded Library of Celsus and the amphitheatre. This had a capacity of 25,000, which made it the largest amphitheatre in the ancient world.
There's also a visit to the House of Mother Mary, where the Virgin Mary is alleged to have spent her final years. After the tour, you will return to Kusadasi stopping at a leather manufacturing factory en route.
Overnight: Kusadasi | Breakfast, Dinner
Kusadasi - Pamukkale. Leave Kusadasi and travel to Pamukkale, a jaw-dropping region where white calcium formations have built up over thousands of years due to the chemical properties of water in the area. The results are the 'cotton castles' and thermal pools of Pamukkale. Take a walk along the white water terraces known as travertines and enjoy a dip in the man-made pools at the bottom.
There is also a visit to the Roman spa town of Hierapolis, which was built by this historic civilization to make the most of the travertines. Explore the ruins and opt for a swim in Cleopatra's Pool. It was reportedly a gift to the Egyptian pharaoh from Marc Anthony and is the only place in the world where you can swim amongst real Roman columns; an earthquake hit the site in the 7th century which caused a nearby Temple of Apollo to collapse into the pool.
Overnight: Pamukkale | Breakfast, Dinner
Pamukkale - Istanbul. Transfer to Denizli Airport today for your included flight back to Istanbul, where your tour comes to an end.
Alternatively, if you would like to extend your stay in Istanbul then we would be happy to arrange this for you. You can also opt to exclude the flight back to Istanbul if you wish.
Prices & Dates
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour when booking 4 star. For the frequently used 5 star hotels, please refer to the 5 star Trip Notes. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard.
Kent Hotel, Istanbul
The charming Kent Hotel 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. The hotel is also fantastically located within a 10-minute walk of the Grand Bazaar and Old Town in the Bayazit area in the European side of Istanbul.
Dilek Kaya, Cappadocia
Set in a restored old house, the Dilek Kaya offers comfortable accommodation in a beautiful setting. Rooms are spacious with original stone walls and en suite facilities. The hotel also sports an outdoor pool and complimentary Wi-Fi for all guests to enjoy. There is also an impressive Spa and Health Club onsite which includes Turkidh Bath, Sauna, Steam Room and Fitness Room.
Marina Hotel, Kusadasi
Marina hotel is a modern hotel with a sea view and balcony from nearly every spacious room. It has recently been renovated and features an indoor and outdoor pool and you may also use the facilities and beach of 5-Star Pine Bay.
Colossae Thermal Spa Hotel, Pamukkale
Set in landscaped gardens, the Colossae Thermal Spa Hotel has an envious location in Pamukkale. Guest rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated and offer a wonderful level of comfort, ensuring a good night's sleep. The on site thermal spa offers guests the chance to relax, revitalise and enjoy what this region is most famous for. Breakfast can be eaten outside on the terrace while dinner is often taken by the shimmering water of the pool.