The Wonders of Turkey
2016 & 2017
Turkey is at the crossroads of civilizations, from Istanbul to Cappadocia, and Ephesus to Bodrum. Join an extraordinary journey starting in Istanbul – take in the amazing historical sites of the Roman Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, and the Grand Bazaar. Cappadocia is perhaps the most unique “architectural” heritage in the country; some of the Cappadocian cave houses and churches carved into “fairy chimneys” and underground cities (in a literal sense), date back to early Christians hiding from persecution. Then follow in the footsteps of Ancient Greeks and Romans who have left their mark mostly in the Aegean and Mediterranean Regions, leaving behind the marble ruins of hundreds of cities, temples, and monuments. Some are largely restored to their former glory, such as impressive Ephesus. Visit the towns of Izmir and Kusadasi with their lavish history and beautiful seaside towns. Lastly, embark on a private luxury gulet and cruise the crystal clear turquoise waters, enjoy swimming, snorkeling, delicious fresh local cuisine, and Turkish specialties. Explore hidden bays, ancient harbor towns, Greek ruins, amphitheaters, and dramatic coastline.
Day 1: USA to Istanbul – lose a day crossing date line
Day 2: Arrival at Istanbul International Airport, Turkey
Day 3: Istanbul
Day 4: Istanbul to Ankara
Day 5: Ankara to Cappadocia
Day 6: Cappadocia
Day 7: Cappadocia
Day 8: Cappadocia to Kayseri / Izmir / Kusadasi
Day 9: Kusadasi / Priene / Miletus / Didyma / Bodrum
Day 10: Gulet Cruising Bodrum / Aspat Bay / Gumusluk/ Myndos
Day 11: Knidos, Mersincik Bay
Day 12: Kissenbukku, Rabbit Bay
Day 13: Bodrum to Istanbul / USA
Interested in more information? Please contact Expedition Easy by calling 1-800-617-2319 or click here to e-mail the Expedition Easy Team.
The Wonders of Turkey
2016 & 2017
Day 1 – Depart USA for Istanbul, Turkey, day lost crossing dateline
Day 2 – Arrival at Ataturk International Airport, Istanbul, Turkey
Upon arrival at the Istanbul Airport, you will be met by a representative who will be holding a sign with your name on it and will transfer you to the Pera Palace Hotel, your base in Istanbul.
Optional Activity: Depending on your arrival time, a leisurely cruise on the Bosphorus on a private boat can be arranged. Crossing back and forth between Europe and Asia, sail past opulent palaces, mosques, imposing fortresses and traditional wooden Ottoman mansions. Dinner on own account. Overnight Pera Palace – B&B.
Day 3 – Full Day Private Tour of Istanbul
Visit the Roman Hippodrome, which was the scene of chariot races and the great public occasions throughout the immensely long history of Byzantine Empire. Visit the Blue Mosque, one of the most important temples of worship in the world. It is named for the blue Iznik tile work that decorates its interior and its dome can be seen from all over the Sultanahmet district.
Then, visit the Topkapi Palace Museum, lavish home to the Ottoman Sultans. For centuries this was the place from which the Sultans ruled over an empire that stretched from Eastern Europe to the Atlantic Ocean. It contains a priceless collection of jewelry, porcelain and costumes. Legend claims that the ancient rod on display in the Treasury, is the one used by Moses to part the Red Sea. Other artifacts of similar fame include John the Baptist’s gilded arm and Mohammad’s beard, fingernails and foot imprint. Visit the treasury section which contains jewel-encrusted thrones; the world’s largest emerald, the famous Topkapi dagger, and the kitchen that currently house the greatest collection of Chinese porcelain.
After lunch, break at the Konyali Restaurant in Topkapi Palace, visit the enormous mass of Hagia Sophia, which was built by the Emperor Justinian and inaugurated in 537 AD. For over nine centuries it was the center of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and it remains the world’s 4th largest church. It contains some of the finest mosaics to have survived from the Byzantine period, including a haunting Virgin and Child in the Eastern apse. Complete the tour at the Grand Bazaar. The Bazaar’s first phase of construction began in 1455 under Mehmet the Conqueror, but it was added to many times over the centuries. The end result is an enormous labyrinth of covered streets lined with thousands of shops selling, for example, hand-woven carpets and kilims, gold and silver jewelry, hand-painted ceramics, leather goods, fine antiques and illuminated manuscript. Welcome dinner and overnight at Pera Palace Hotel.
Day 4 – Istanbul to Ankara
Transfer to the Istanbul Airport for a flight to Ankara. Upon arrival, visit the Mauloseum of Kemal Atatürk, which stands on top of a small hill in a green park about two kilometers west of Kızılay. Its design seeks to capture the spirit of Anatolia; monumental, spare but beautiful. Echoes of several great Anatolian empires, from the Hittite to the Roman and Seljuk, are included in its design. The final effect is modern but timeless. Luncheon at the Zenger Pasa Konagi. Continue to the Anatolian Civilizations Museum, which is housed in a restored covered market, built by order of Grand Vizier Mahmut Paşa in 1471. Exhibits heavily favor the earlier Anatolian Civilizations: Urartu, Hittite, Phrygian and Assyrian. Among the most fascinating items are those brought from Çatal HöyüK, the earliest known human community. Dinner and overnight at the Swissotel Ankara Hotel.
Day 5 – Ankara to Cappadocia
Today, travel via road to the land of wonders, Cappadocia. The area of Cappadocia is justifiably famous for its lunar landscape, with underground cities carved by wind and rain from soft volcanic tuff or pumice like stone. Byzantine Christians carved churches into rock in Cappadocia, and sheltered themselves from the armies of the Abbasid Caliphate in cities descending hundreds of feet below the earth. Over 3,500 rock churches have been identified in the area. Elaborate churches-by some counts over a thousand of them-were carved in the porous rock, and lavishly decorated with frescoes; many of these 9th and 11th century art works still remain.
After a picturesque trip along the Salt Lake, the second largest lake in Turkey, pass by the 13th century Seljukian Caravansarai Agzikarahan. The last stop will be the amazing underground city of Kaymakli. Signs of an early troglodyte lifestyle are evident in the communal kitchens blackened by smoke, stables and storage spaces carved into the rocks as need arose. The maze of living quarters hundreds of feet below ground is startling proof that tens of thousands of people existed deep within the earth. Dinner and overnight at the Karlik Evi Hotel, your base in Cappadocia. Optional Evening Whirling Dervishes Ceremony at the Sarihan Caravansarai
Day 6 – Full Day Tour of Cappadocia
The full-day sightseeing will start with the rock formations beyond belief in Dervent Valley; then visit Zelve Valley, the oldest example of Cappadocian architecture, elaborate shelters carved into the rock by the earliest monastic settlers. Nearby Pasabag, also known as Monk’s Valley, has amazing examples of hermitages hollowed out of volcanic rock formations.
Enjoy lunch in Avanos, center of terra cotta work of art since 3000BC. and a demonstration in a traditional pottery workshop. Through the magical valley of Goreme, now an open-air museum, see fairy chimneys and early Byzantine Churches like the Karanlik Kilise (the Dark Church). Goreme Valley is where thousands of people once lived in homes cut into the soft rock walls of caves and “fairy chimneys.” Many of the churches in Goreme are from the 11th century and you will visit the Karanlik Kilise to see its frescoes. It is also a good example of how the architects gave the exteriors of the buildings a familiar church design with an artificial facade. Also visit the Elmali Kilise (1190-1200). In the ceiling above the entrance to the Elmali Kilise there is a scene of the Ascension. Each of the faces of the Apostles in this was carefully drawn to show the individual character. The next stop will be the Church of St.Eustace (970-1148) in Goreme which shows the flight of Elizabeth with her pursuer holding a drawn bow. The last stop is Uchisar, an extraordinary rock formation towering above the landscape and visible for miles around. This rock, riddled with windows and tunnels, was once used as a fortification and offers a magnificent panoramic view of Cappadocia and Mt. Erciyes in the distance. Dinner and overnight at Karlik Evi Hotel.
Day 7 – Cappadocia – Optional Hot Air Balloon
Early departure transfer from the hotel to the take-off field where the balloon has been prepared by fully trained staff. Following the safety briefing from the pilot, the balloon takes off and expect to be airborne approximately 15 minutes before sunrise. The 45 minutes of flying includes low level flight, following the landscape contours of Cappadocia, and flying high enough to enjoy the topography from above.
The tour today starts out with a visit to Mustafapasa (Sinasos), an ancient Greek town with its spectacular old Greek houses: very fine examples of late Greek settlements and architecture. Visit Keslik Monastery, which houses the well-preserved 9th century Chapel of St. Stephen, several refectories and the Archangel Chapel; and Cemil Village, home to descendants of the village’s earliest Orthodox Christians. Lunch at Soganli, a peaceful and picturesque corner in the region with representative rock formations in the shape of donkeys, camels and dolls. Soganli was a monastic rock settlement famous for its pigeon-houses. Further stops include Ayvali and Taskinpasa, a 900 years old village that shows its Seljuk roots in its Medrese (theological school) and a mosque. Dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at Karlik Evi Hotel.
Day 8 – Cappadocia / Kayseri / Izmir / Kusadasi
After breakfast, transfer to the Kayseri Airport for a direct flight to Izmir. Upon arrival, visit Ephesus, which was considered one of the most complete cities of antiquity. It was supposed to contain everything for education, politics, entertainment and sport. So it boasted the Library of Celsus, the Roman Baths, the Gate of Hadrian and Roman Terrace Houses. Ephesus is still the best-preserved classical city on the Mediterranean, and perhaps the best place in the world to get the feeling for what life was like in Roman times. As a strategic coastal gateway to the Eastern World, this Ionian refuge grew to be the second largest city in the Roman Empire, the site of a Christian shrine, and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Lunch break in the pastoral village of Sirince. Located on a hillside surrounded by apple and grape orchards is the neighboring village of Sirince. Originally settled by Greeks, the village was inhabited by the Ephesian Christians, who, displayed during the Selcuk conquests, moved up into the surrounding hills. In the Greek exchanges of 1924, Muslims from Salonica resettled here, creating a farming community highly adept at winemaking. Apple wine is a local specialty. Afternoon visits to the Basilica of St. John and the house where the Virgin Mary spent the last years of her life. Dinner is at a local seafood restaurant. Overnight at the Charisma Deluxe Hotel, your base in Kusadasi.
Day 9 – Kusadasi / Priene / Miletus / Didyma / Bodrum
Today, travel to Bodrum via Priene Miletus and Didyma. The first stop, Priene, was found on the Ionian coast by the inhabitants of an abandoned Ionian city of the same name in 350 BC. It participated in the battle of Iade with 12 ships in 494 BC. Alexander the Great assigned the city to watch the unreliable city of Miletus. He also lived in the city and paid for the construction of the Athena Temple. The city is organized in four districts, the religious (Athena Temple), the political (Bouleterion and Prytaneion), the cultural (Theater) and the commercial (Agora). In addition to the Athena Temple, the people of Priene built shrines dedicated to Zeus, Demeter and Egyptian Gods. Then, visit Miletus to see its ancient theater and temple.
The last stop is Didyma, which was famed as a prophecy center dedicated to Apollo, serving a similar purpose as the Delphi of Anatolia. The excavations here are extraordinary and the visit very worthwhile. Even in its unfinished state, the Apollo Temple was regarded as one of the largest temples of the Hellenistic World, comparable to the Artemis Temple in Ephesus or the Heraion at Samos. Bodrum enjoys a picturesque setting on the Aegean. It was named as Halicarnassus in the ancient times, the birthplace of Herodotus and the home of one of the seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Mausoleum that remains totally ruined now. Gulet embarkation at Bodrum Marina Harbor with welcome meeting and introduction to the crew. Cruise to a nearby bay for swimming and snorkeling. Dinner and overnight onboard the Gulet.
Day 10 – Bodrum to Gumusluk
After breakfast, sail 1.5 hours to Aspat Bay, once the favorite bay for smugglers and pirates due to its small size and sandy beach surrounded by high cliffs. Opportunities for water sports are close by. Enjoy lunch with the scenic backdrop and continue 1.5 hours of cruising to the ancient town of Gümüşlük. In antiquity, this was the town of Myndos renowned for its silver mines and the Myndians were the first to mint coins. Alexander the Great tried, but could not conquer Myndos and continued on to Bodrum instead. There are a multitude of excellent fish restaurants along the seaside, and construction is absolutely forbidden so Gümüşlük remains untouched and charming. Dinner and overnight onboard the Gulet.
Day 11 – Knidos and Mersincik Bay
Early start cruising southwest towards the ancient town of Knidos, (approximately 3-4 hours). Knidos is the only surviving city of the Dorian Hexapolis and a famous port and medical center in antiquity. Lunch and swim in the quiet southern bay. Explore the ancient amphitheater, temples and harbor. Continue for about 1.5 hours to Mersincik Bay for the evening, considered one of the most picturesque bays in Turkey. Dinner and overnight onboard the Gulet.
Day 12 – Kissebukku
After breakfast, sail to Kissebükkü (2-3 hours) and explore the old Greek ruins located on the shore. Excellent swimming and snorkeling is possible in this serene bay. In the late afternoon, cruise for approximately one hour to Rabbit Bay, named for its plentiful rabbits, at anchor for the evening. Dinner and overnight onboard the Gulet.
Day 13 – Bodrum to Istanbul
Cruise to Bodrum after breakfast for disembarkation. Transfer to the Bodrum Airport and fly to Istanbul, connecting with your return flights home. Lunch and dinner on own account.
Depending on individual flight schedules, a forced overnight in Istanbul may be necessary, and a local partner can make hotel reservations for you; this would be on own account.
*Please note: This itinerary is subject to change. In the spirit of expedition travel, plans may change slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination.
The Wonders of Turkey
2016 & 2017
2016 Rates May – October:
Approx. $4,285 per person sharing, with 12 guests traveling
Approx. $4,485 per person sharing, with 10-11 guests traveling
Approx. $4,870 per person sharing, with 8-9 guests traveling
Approx. $5,145 per person sharing, with 6-7 guests traveling
Approx. $5,530 per person sharing, with 4-5 guests traveling
Approx. $8,025 per person sharing, with 2-3 guests traveling
Single Supplement: $935 per person
2017 Rates May – October:
Approx $4,630 per person sharing, with 12 guests traveling
Approx $4,845 per person sharing, with 10-11 guests traveling
Approx $5,260 per person sharing, with 8-9 guests traveling
Approx $5,560 per person sharing, with 6-7 guests traveling
Approx $5,975 per person sharing, with 4-5 guests traveling
Approx $8,670 per person sharing, with 2-3 guests traveling
Single Supplement: Approx $995 per person additional
Please note: rates include the 3-day gulet tour, which is available May through October.
Rates are approximate until the time of booking. Please note rates are subject to change without prior notice due to circumstances beyond our control; i.e. fuel increases, currency fluctuations, etc.
Included – Non Set Departures:
– Accommodation at the mentioned hotels in the itinerary
– 3-day Gulet Tour, which is available May through October
– Touring with licensed tour guide on the mentioned dates including the cruise portion (English speaking)
– 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches and 6 Dinners
– All meals on Gulet tour
– Coffee, tea and water included throughout
– Internal Airfare (Istanbul/Kayseri & Kaysesi/Izmir, Bodrum/Istanbul)
– Local taxes VAT and service charges
– Service and handling fees
Not Included – Non Set Departures:
– International Airfare
– Customary tips to your local guides and drivers
– Drinks during meals
– Personal expenses
– Optional Tours, such as Hot Air Balloon over Cappadocia and Whirling Dervish
– Visa fees
Deposit & Payments
A completed & signed Expedition Easy Reservation Form, along with your 20% trip deposit and full regional and/or domestic air payment (if applicable) is required at the time of booking.
This itinerary is subject to the availability of all services at the time of making a reservation. No space is being held at this time. Please contact Expedition Easy for the full terms and conditions that apply. We are happy to answer questions and discuss your trip.
To reserve space on a trip on the Expedition Easy website, please contact Expedition Easy by calling 1-800-617-2319 or click here to e-mail the Expedition Easy Team.
May-Oct 2016 (Flexible Departure Dates)