Turkey is located where the three continents making up the old world, Asia, Africa, and Europe are closest to each other and straddle the point where Europe and Asia meet. Because of its geographical location, the mainland known as Anatolia has witnessed the mass migration of diverse peoples shaping the course of history. Your journey will highlight Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Ephesus. From iconic sites to hidden underground cities, you can expect to be captivated from the moment you arrive!
Welcome to Turkey! Upon arrival to Istanbul Airport you will be met after you exit Customs and Immigration by your local guide (holding a sign with your names on it) and transferred to your accommodation. You may coordinate with your guide as to pick-up times for all tours while in Istanbul. (This service is on a private basis.)
This afternoon enjoy a stroll along the streets of this glamorous city. Highlights include: Spice Market, University Square, and the Covered Bazaar. After a glimpse of the old city, return back to your hotel for a welcome cocktail. This evening enjoy dinner at a traditional restaurant.(This service is on a private basis.)
An international center as long as there has been trade, most of the world's cultures have passed through Istanbul at some point, and it shows in the diversity of its religious monuments, architectural styles, and city streets.
Your guide will meet you at your hotel this morning at the agreed upon time. Begin to visit the glorious highlights of Istanbul (once known as Constantinople) with your private guide. Visit Topkapi Palace, and then walk to the other splendid relics such as the 400-year-old Sultanahmet Mosque (the Blue Mosque), and the 2000-year-old Roman Hippodrome and the Underground Cistern. You'll also visit the Hagia Sophia Church, miraculously built in the first half of the 6th century, by Emperor Justinianus. Your full day includes lunch and dinner at local restaurants and you can discuss with your guide where to enjoy these meals. (This service is on a private basis.)
The day begins with a visit to the Spice Market and its colorful environs. Then take the ferry to the Asian Side of Istanbul, visit the marketplace and enjoy a special lunch at Çiya Restaurant. Founder and chef of Çiya, Musa Daideviren is a culinary anthropologist. In 1987 he opened Ciya/Kebap-Lahmacun, and in 1990, Zeynep Caliskan, who would later become his wife, joined the Ciya family. Musa’s experiences and his further researches enriched the kebab menu containing a list of 100 items. He also created the first vegetarian lahmacun and kebab. In 1998 he opened Ciya Sofra, where he created a unique menu with the local food, desserts, and drinks of a vast area. In 2001 he started another kebab restaurant, Ciya Kebap II. In 2005 Musa and Zeynep established Çiya Publishing Company and started to publish a semi-academic quarterly magazine called Food and Culture. They have now published five books and three translated books. In 2018 Netflix’s Emmy Award-winning program Chef’s Table featured Musa in Season 5. His first cookbook in English, The Turkish Cookbook, contains 550 recipes and was published by Phaidon in April 2019. Musa and Zeynep established the Çiya Foundation 10 years ago; it produces research and projects in relation to food and drinks culture.
Continue on the Asian side to Usküdar for the best panorama of the old city of Constantipole. From Usküdar you'll take a 10 minutes ferry ride to Besiktas to catch the Bosphorus Ferry. While the boat meanders between the European and the Asian banks of the Bosphorus, you'll see the historic palaces, mosques, castles and the famous waterfront wooden houses (yali). (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning you will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Cappadocia.
Upon arrival, you will be picked up at the airport by your local Cappadocia guide (holding a sign with your name) and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
After checking into your hotel, you will walk (with your guide) to Uchisar Castle, an impressive rock formation long use by locals as a castle. It offers a superb panorama of the surrounding area. Continue to visit the Goreme Open Air Museum with its excellent examples of Byzantine rural art. Finish the day with a stop at a local carpet factory. Turks started making knotted carpets in the 5th century BC in Central Asia and they have been given as highly prestigious gifts since medieval ages. Discuss with your guide any shopping concerns and she will steer clear of tourist traps and high pressure sales situations. You can focus more on hiking if you wish, too. (This service is on a private basis.)
Cappadocia has dozens of subterranean towns. These elaborate settlements are up to eight stories deep (only yet partially excavated) with a tangle of tunnels leading to churches, private living quarters, storage areas, deep water wells, carved chimneys for air shafts and even wine producing chambers. There is one tunnel nearly 6 miles long that connects the two underground cities. Up to 60,000 people lived here for months underground. The determination and motivation behind the creation of these subterranean fortresses is nearly inconceivable.
Coordinate with your guide the pick-up time this morning. The day begins with a guided walk to some of the best picturesque spots, including Red Valley, Pasabag vineyards, Love Valley, and Pegion Valley. Then visit a local home for a cooking class and lunch.
After your self-made lunch, we'll take a short drive to Avanos. This part of Cappadocia is well known for its pottery, and this afternoon we'll stop to visit a local studio to learn more about this ancient art. (This service is on a private basis.)
Cappadocia has dozens of subterranean towns, but the most impressive are Kaymakli and Derinkuyu. These elaborate settlements are up to eight stories deep (only yet partially excavated) with a tangle of tunnels leading to churches, private living quarters, storage areas, deep water wells, carved chimneys for air shafts and even wine producing chambers. There is one tunnel nearly 6 miles long that connects the two underground cities. Up to 60,000 people lived here for months underground. The determination and motivation behind the creation of these subterranean fortresses is nearly inconceivable.
Next, it’s off to the beautiful stream-lined canyon of the Ilhara Valley for an afternoon visit. This narrow canyon is simply delightful with dozens of hidden, Byzantine churches, along with their original frescos, to explore along the way. After lunch in the valley at a small cafe situated on the banks of the river, you'll head back on a different track to see more.(This service is on a private basis.)
This morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Cappadocia and transferred to the airport for your flight to Izmir via Istanbul. Upon arrival in Izmir you'll be met by your next guide and transferred to your hotel in Urla. (This service is on a private basis.)
In Urla, with your guide, you'll visit the oldest olive oil press in the world near the ancient site of Klazomenai. You'll then embark on the Urla Wine Route for wine tasting. Visit the Olive Museum before we check into your boutique hotel in Alaçati. Alaçati is a charming small town, famous for art, live music and good food.(This service is on a private basis.)
Urla is located on the Izmir Peninsula. The region is known for its charm, culinary experiences and wine route.
Today you will be driven about 100km to Ephesus. The international port of Ephesus has attracted the world’s merchants, artists and the statesmen interest for centuries. During the scenic drive, we stop to visit the pretty old village of Sirince. The lush greenery of the natural setting of Sirince is complemented beautifully by the two-story architecture of the buildings in the village. From afar the village looks like a painting, and its homes are as enchanting up close. The homes are connected by windy, cobblestone streets and no cars are allowed in the village center. The village's name means "cute" in Turkish and is known for its beautiful views, wonderful food, warm hospitality and fun local shopping. Then as we arrive into Ephesus, we'll visit St John's Basilica Church, which provides a nice view over the whole area. (This service is on a private basis.)
This is a very important delta, where the river Kaystos silted for millenniums. The international port of Ephesus has attracted the world’s merchants, artists and the statesmen interest for centuries. In this area we will visit the successive Hellenistic and Roman settlements founded on new locations, which followed the coastline as it retreated westward. Excavations have revealed grand monuments of the Roman Imperial period including the Library of Celsus and the Great Theatre. Little remains of the famous Temple of Artemis, one of the “Seven Wonders of the World,” which drew pilgrims from all around the Mediterranean. Since the 5th century, the House of the Virgin Mary, a domed cruciform chapel seven kilometers from Ephesus, became a major place of Christian pilgrimage. The Ancient City of Ephesus is an outstanding example of a Roman port city, with sea channel and harbor basin.
Today we'll visit the other impressive sites in Ephesus, including the impressive museum and Artemission, which was rated as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the House of Virgin Mary, which was authenticated by the Vatican as a pilgrimage destination. The Virgin Mary was entrusted to St. John the apostle and is said to have come to Ephesus with him. You will eat in Selçuk Town at a traditional restaurant. This unique village is under preservation and famous for its nice architecture, wineries and olive oil. The highlight of the day is the great Ephesus ruins. You will walk the marble streets, admire the library, the temples and dream of the big riot against St Paul in the 25,000 seat Roman Theater. (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning you will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Istanbul. Enjoy some last minute shopping and visit other favorite parts of this magnificent city on your own for your last night in Turkey. (This service is on a private basis.)
Although your time in Turkey must come to an end today, your adventure is still far from over! After checking out of your hotel, you will be met by your driver and transferred to the airport in good time to board your international flight! (This service is on a private basis.)
We hope you had an incredible time in Turkey and we wish you safe and happy travels home!
The Galata Istanbul Hotel-MGallery is a boutique hotel representing luxury and originality. Its distinctive character is displayed in the spectacular views from the hotel focusing on two splendid figures of Istanbul: Galata Tower, Golden Horn. The five-star hotel offers peaceful accommodation for travelers who prefer to rest in an elegant atmosphere which is a combination of modern furniture, professional service and traditional glimpses of the historical zone around.
Taskonaklar Boutique and Cave Hotel was built with respect to the region's nature and history. Every stone, every arch, every old chimney was preserved while Taskonaklar was brought to life. That’s why not one room is similar to another and each room has its own character, where simplicity is blended with comfort. Within a five minute walk from Taskonaklar lies a valley that will take you to another world. Surrounded by fairy chimneys, you feel you are a character in a fairy tale.
Featuring unique architecture with its stone built structure, this hotel is only 2 miles from the sandy Ilica Beach. The classically decorated rooms of Imren feature stone walls and hardwood floors. They all have a minibar, LCD TV and a private balcony with views. Free Wi-Fi is also included. A Turkish village breakfast with fresh organic products is served every morning. Guests can also enjoy a cup of Turkish tea and a piece of cake at the terrace with olive trees all around. The lively Alacati town center is just 150 feet from the hotel with its authentic shops, restaurants and bars.
Nisanyan House is considered one of Turkey's finest hotels, yet it is a simple and friendly sort of place. It offers you beauty and peace, even a certain degree of elegance. The grounds are extensive, but they make you feel you own the place by yourself. Set in a remote rural village, it is only ten minutes from Ephesus, one of Turkey's top tourist destinations. It probably serves the best food within 100 miles, though you'd think it is mom and pop cooking. It has the most intricately detailed decor of any hotel in the country, yet it all feels perfectly spontaneous and casual.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.
Our entire team is dedicated to making this custom journey come true. Request a free quote by filling out the form and please share any details to help us customize this perfect trip just for you.
Can’t wait another minute? We understand, call us directly at (866) 577-2462 and speak with one of our extraordinary travel specialists.