Savour the highlights of two of Europe’s most historic regions. Turkey and Greece both offer centuries of history paired with scenic Mediterranean coastline and stunning natural features. Discover the cultural crossroads of Istanbul, heart of empires for hundreds of years, the ancient Roman structures of Troy and Ephesus, and the beautiful beaches and unique history of the Greek islands Rhodes, Santorini and Mykonos. In this 2-week tour, we will visit 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
|UNESCO World Heritage Sites covered in this tour|
|1.||Historic Area of Istanbul||2.||Archaeological Site of Troy|
|3.||Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape||4.||Ephesus|
|Price (From)||:||US$ 3075|
|Includes international air|
Day 01: Arrive Istanbul (TURKEY)
Upon arrival at Ataturk Airport (IST)**, we will be met and transferred to our hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. Hotel check in time starts at 1500 hrs. Founded in 657 BC, Istanbul is perhaps one of the most important cities in history. In 330 AD, it was declared as the new Roman capital, leading it to become a center of trade and commerce along the Silk Road. It remained a capital city for 16 more centuries, through the rise and fall of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires.
** For those arriving at Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW), a surcharge of US$ 50 per person per transfer will apply, based on a minimum of two people.
Overnight: Point Hotel Taksim, Istanbul (2 nights)
Day 02: Istanbul
After breakfast at our hotel, we explore this beautiful city on a guided tour. Be ready to be amazed as we discover the variety of historical monuments, including palaces, museums, cisterns, fountains, and pillars, which surround us on all sides. The many architectural and historic masterpieces found in Istanbul were given World Heritage Site status in 1985. Our first stop is Topkapi Palace, main residence of the Ottoman sultans during the 15th and 16th centuries, followed by the ancient Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque, sitting imposingly across from one another. A trip to Istanbul is not complete without a visit to the Spice Bazaar, one of the largest markets in the city, where we find a fresh supply of spices, nuts, honeycomb, Turkish delight, dried figs and more. The unique setting of this market sweeps us back to the times of the 1001 tales in Arabian Nights. Tonight, an optional dinner with a Turkish show is available. (B)
Day 03: Istanbul/Canakkale (Drive)
After breakfast, we drive to Gallipoli to visit Anzac Cove, Nek, Conk Bair, Lone Pine and 57th Regiment Memorial. It was here in World War I where the Gallipoli campaign sought to break the stalemate on the Western and Eastern fronts to help the Russians. It is perceived as a defining moment in Turkey's history—a final surge in the defense of the motherland as the Ottoman Empire crumbled. The struggle formed the basis for the Turkish war for independence and the founding of the Republic of Turkey eight years later under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a commander at Gallipoli. The Gallipoli campaign is the first campaign of World War I that led to heavy casualties for Australia and New Zealand. The campaign is often considered to mark the birth of national consciousness in Australia and New Zealand, and the date of the landing, April 25, is known as "Anzac Day”. Dinner and overnight in Canakkale.
Overnight: Kolin Hotel, Canakkale (1 night) (B, D)
Day 04: Canakkale/Troy/Pergamum/Kusadasi (Drive)
After breakfast, we drive to legendary Troy*. This ancient city in northwestern Turkey, known as Truva or Troya in Turkish, was made famous in Homer’s epic poem, the Iliad. According to the Iliad, it was here that the legendary Trojan War took place. Today, it is one of the most popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey. Drive by Mount Ida, home of the legendary Idaean cave. Here, baby Zeus is believed to have been born and concealed from his father Cronus. We arrive at Pergamum* and visit the Acropolis. Perched atop a high steep-sided hill, the great temples and dramatic theater here are visible from anywhere in the city. Pergamum was one of the main cultural centers of the Greek world and has been well-preserved, still reflecting its former majesty. We then take a drive to the beautiful resort town of Kusadasi, where we enjoy a two-night stay at the Charisma Deluxe Hotel.
Overnight: Charisma Deluxe Hotel, Kusadasi (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 05: Kusadasi/Ephesus/Kusadasi
A comfortable drive brings us to the age-old city of Ephesus*, once a trade center of the ancient world and, later, a religious center of early Christianity. The structures found here are a reminder of the city’s former status as a major port in the ancient Mediterranean. There is nothing like standing on the stage of the amphitheater where John of Ephesus (or of Asia) spoke to the Ephesians. We then walk to the ancient library where scholars studied. The Library of Celsus, which was reconstructed out of its original pieces, was built in 125 BC by Julius Aquila, and held over 12,000 scrolls, making it the largest library in the Mediterranean. We also explore the 2000-year-old plumbing system, which is more sophisticated than what we have in many parts of the world today. After our exploration, we have the opportunity to discover and understand the rich history behind local handicrafts such as hand-made carpets and leather. (B, D)
Day 06: Kusadasi/Hierapolis/Pamukkale/Marmaris (Drive)
Driving alongside scenic cotton farms, we head for Pamukkale – home to the magnificent Hierapolis*. The Greeks believed that this ancient city, was founded by the god Apollo. It was famed for its sacred hot springs, whose vapors were associated with Pluto, god of the underworld. Hierapolis was also mentioned by Paul in his Letter to Colossians in the Bible. Today, Hierapolis is a World Heritage Site. We will also have the opportunity to swim in the thermal pools, with views of ancient artifacts and the spectacular white terraces of the Pamukkale lime cascade. The extraordinary terraces here are created when water from the hot springs loses carbon dioxide as it flows down the slopes, leaving deposits of limestone. The layers of white calcium carbonate, built up in steps on the plateau, gave the site the name Pamukkale ("cotton castle"). Continue to our hotel in Marmaris for overnight.
Overnight: Ors Maris Hotel, Marmaris (1 night) (B, D)
Day 07: Marmaris/Rhodes (Ferry) (GREECE)
After breakfast, transfer to Marmaris for a ferry (approx. 1 hour) 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, the castle is one of the finest examples of medieval architecture in Greece.
Overnight: Semiramis Hotel, Rhodes (1 night) (B)
Day 08: Marmaris/Rhodes (Ferry) (GREECE)
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. The city 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: Daedalus Hotel, Santorini (2 nights) (B)
Day 09: Santorini
Day at leisure. The beaches in Santorini are much different than other beaches in Greece due to their special geological features. The most famous of Santorini’s beaches is the Red Beach, while other popular options are Perissa Beach, Kamari Beach and Perivolos Beach. (B)
Day 10: Santorini/Mykonos (Ferry)
Transfer to the pier for a hydrofoil or an approximately 2.5-hour ferry ride to Mykonos. Upon arrival, we are met and transferred to our hotel. 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: Giannoulaki Hotel, Mykonos (2 nights) (B)
Day 11: Mykonos
Day at leisure. The beaches in Mykonos are among the best in the Mediterranean – and unlike several Greek islands, where beaches are mainly rock and pebbles, Mykonos has plenty of wide, sandy beaches, perfect to relax with a cocktail in hand. (B)
Day 12: Mykonos/Athens (Ferry)
This morning, we enjoy an approximately 5-hour ferry to Athens. Upon arrival, we are met and transferred to our hotel. Athens is the capital of Greece and took its name from the ancient goddess Athena. The city is thought to have at least a 3000-year-old recorded history, which makes it one of the oldest cities in Europe. Balance of the day is free. Our hotel’s location in the Old Town gives us a good opportunity to walk to Athen’s most historic sites.
Overnight: Parthenon Hotel, Athens (2 nights) (B)
Day 13: Athens
Day at leisure in Athens. We may want to 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. Evzones (ceremonial guards) in their distinctive uniforms are also visible at the Memorial of the Unknown Soldier and the Presidential Palace. (B)
Day 14: Depart Athens
Morning transfer to the airport for our departure flight. Check out time is by 1100 hrs. (B)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Departure Dates & Prices
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This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 28 participants
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