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Highlights of Western Turkey

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Slider 1 Initial region Western Turkey
Slider 1 Duration 19 Days
Slider 1 Language English
Slider 1 Price € 1.950 / person
Highlights
  • Istanbul and its historical peninsula
  • Gallipoli and LegendaryTroy
  • Ephesus Aphrodisias Hierapolis Unesco Sites
  • Antalya and surroundings
  • Cappadocia, caves, fairy chimneys
  • Capital city of Turkey, Ankara
  • Dinner with Local Family, Cavusin
  • Turkish Village Homestay, Pinara
  • Istanbul city walking tour
  • Visit to the Göreme Open Air Museum
  • Underground city exploration
  • Capital city of Hittities
  • Amasra and Safranbolu
Itinerary

Highlights of Turkey in 15 Days

Discover all of Turkey’s foremost sights in a fortnight, get to swim in the Mediterranean, sample the delicious foods of Turkish cuisine, witness the Anatolian cultural diversity and enjoy the fantastic scenery of the beautiful Turkish landscape.

 

Day 1 Arrive Istanbul

Meet at the airport. Transfer to the hotel.  Time permitting, after the check-in, we will take an orientation walk in the city. Grand Bazaar is certainly a great option do on your own.

 

Overnight at hotel in Istanbul

 

Day 2 Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia, Cistern Basilica

After we have our breakfast, we will visit Topkapi Palace, is administrative palace of the Ottoman Dynasty that rule on three continents for centuries. Amazes of the buildings are at the centre of the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 19th centuries. In these opulent surroundings, the sultans and their court lived and governed. Continue with Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque) is more familiarly known as Blue Mosque because its interior gleams with a magnificent paneling of blue. It has 6 minarets and very nice cupolas. It was built by architect Mehmet between 1609 and 1616. After visiting we stroll around Ancient Hippodrome the scene of chariot races and the centre of Byzantine civil life, stood in the open space in front of the Blue Mosque. We will see tree charming monuments. . We continue to visit the great Hagia Sophia, crowning glory of Byzantium, now called Ayasofya museum. It is really on of the finest buildings of all time. Built by Constantine the Great and reconstructed by Justinian in 6th century. Its immense dome rises 55 meters above the ground and its diameter spans 31 meters. We will absorb the building’s majestic serenity and admire the fine Byzantine mosaics. Later we will visit the Cistern Basilica.

 

Overnight at hotel in Istanbul

 

Day 3 Fly Izmir, Transfer to Selcuk

This morning we are heading onto the airport to fly over to Izmir. After our transfer to Selcuk town, we will get to stroll around the Artemis Temple, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Time permitting, we will have free time in the rather pleasant laid back town center as well as paying a visit to a nearby traditional village carpet atelier to learn about the organic dying and weaving techniques of Turkish carpets.

 

Overnight at hotel in Selcuk

 

Day 4 Visit Ephesus, Ephesus Museum

We will have a full day exploration of the Ephesus region. In the morning, the world’s most famous and best preserved ancient sights Ephesus will be our first visit. After lunch at a local restaurant and having a look at the well set-up Ephesus Museum, we will explore the ruins of Saint John’s Basilica as well as the medieval Selcuk Castle offering 360 degree views around the town.

 

Overnight at hotel in Selcuk

 

Day 5 Drive Pamukkale via Aphrodisias

Today we are getting to see a magnificent UNESCO site Aphrodisias, a complete marble city of the ancient times. It was also an important statuary center which produced countless marble busts and ornaments once decorated the settlement all around. The site also owns its museum putting the marble master pieces of the Aphrodisias’ artisans on display. In the afternoon, we will continue our drive to Pamukkale, the land of the travertines.

 

Overnight at hotel in Pamukkale

 

Day 6 Visit Pamukkale, Drive to Dalyan

The pearl white travertines of Pamukkale are a true wonder of nature. This incredible must visit destination also boasts a well preserved ancient sight: Hierapolis. You can relax in the ancient spa pool swimming above ancient column capitals, paddle your feet in the travertines and visit the scenic Hellenistic Theater to admire the aerial views. In afternoon we will move on to our next target: the small fisherman town of Dalyan. Upon reaching our hotel, our guests can take a walk along the promenade decorated with the lit-up monuments of Dalyan rock tombs in the background.

 

Overnight at hotel in Dalyan

 

Day 7 Boat Trip in Dalyan

Dalyan meaning fish trap is such a nice little town situated upon a little creek named after it. Thanks to its history and nature, Dalyan has a lot offer to its visitors. In order to take it all in, we will go on a pleasant river boat trip. Our first stop is Caunos ancient sight. Then, we will continue onto the massive wildlife delta by Iztuzu beach where Dalyan creek runs into the Mediterranean. The 3 km strip of the sandy Iztuzu beach is an important breeding ground for famous Caretta Caretta (loggerhead) sea turtles. Dalyan is still a fisherman town, where many locals catch gray mullet, sea bass and blue crab for a living.

 

Overnight at hotel in Dalyan

 

Day 8 AM Drive to Fethiye, PM Explore the Town

Reaching Fethiye, the crown of the Turquoise coast, we take a stop at the Fethiye view point to admire scenery of Fethiye Bay as well as the Lycian Rock Tombs of Amintas and the old ancient theatre. We will then have a short drive to the ghost town Kayakoy. After having lunch at a local restaurant with tasty local dishes, we will continue to the famous Lycian Way view point to admire the true wonder of the nature, Oludeniz Lagoon.We will have an opportunity to put our feet in the cool waters of the Mediterranean sea to relax. For our overnight we drive Pinara Village for our home-stay accomodation. We learn locals culture, enjoy the local dinner and expeirnce village life

 

Overnight at homestay village house

 

Day 9 Drive to Antalya

A scenic mountain route will bring us to our eventual destination today, Antalya the Turkish Riviera. Before we get to our hotel, we will have a number of photo stops including the lengthy Konyaalti beach stretching onto the stunning Bey Daglari Mountains in the background making up for dramatic scenery. We will then stroll around for sightseeing in the old town also called “Kaleici” among the locals. It is surrounded with solid medieval city walls and travertine bluffs. The old town was established as a colony of Pergamum Kingdom in the 2nd century B.C.

 

Overnight at hotel in Antalya

 

Day 10 In Antalya

This morning we are going to a fantastic museum. Antalya Archaeological Museum is definitely a must visit in Turkey. In the afternoon, we will take a transfer along the winding turquoise coast. Our destination is called the Olympos beach and Chimera, the flaming rock which is a rather peculiar feauture in this part of the world. Although it takes a hike to reach there, the rocky slabs dotted with self-igniting flames are so interesting that they are certainly worth seeing. We will be able to swim on the Olympos beach as well.

 

Overnight at hotel in Antalya

 

Day 11 Visit Aspendos Theatre, Drive to Konya

Having discovered the coastal Turkey in it entirety, it is now time to go inland. Aspendos theatre, en-route to Konya is a magnificent ancient theatre that once seated up to 20.000 spectators.

 

Next, we will continue onto Konya and visit the lodge of Whirling Dervishes, the eternal rest place of Rumi, his family and his avid followers. We will also take the opportunity to explain the doctrines of his philosophy. Konya stands out with thin crispy pizza like snacks that are served with various toppings in butter. Okra soup is also a must to try as well as tandoor lamb.

 

Overnight at hotel in Konya

 

Day 12 Visit Catalhoyuk, Drive to Cappadocia

When we head to Cappadocia, we will stop at Catalhoyuk. Discovered in 1954 by the British Archeologist James Mellaart, Catalhoyuk turned out to be one of the first villages founded in the world which was established in the New Stone Age (circa 7000 BC). Then we will be stop at a Seljukid heritage called Sultanhani, a caravanserai built circa 1200. A network of these masonry inns was constructed at certain intervals during the Anatolian Seljukid period in order to facilitate the silk route trading. Before we call it a day, we will visit a cultural center in Cappadocia to watch the Whirling Dervishes Ceremony which will complete picture for Rumi’s order and its significance.

 

Overnight at hotel in Cappadocia

 

Day 13 In Cappadocia

The surreal landscape of Cappadocia, created by successive volcanic eruptions and continuous erosion is a huge national park. Its incredible formations and rock-cut churches from the early Christianity are being enlisted as a UNESCO world heritage site! People are still living caves within the region and each town has a somewhat troglodyte character! There are more than 100 underground cities adding an unbeatable feature to the area.

 

Our in depth tour will start with a visit to the world famous UNESCO World Heritage site Kaymakli Underground City. The natural rock formation of Uchisar town called Uchisar Citadel offers the best views of the whole region below your feet. The UNESCO Goreme Open Air Museum contains some of the best frescoes in the world representing the early Christian art and existence in Cappadocia region. Pasabag fairy chimneys are a must due to the fact that they are colossal and each spearing into the sky by their tall and pointy shapes. Cavusin village is where once Christians and Turks settled together. There, once inhabited homes reflect the beauty of the Cappadocian civil architecture. Devrent imagination valley is, as the name implies, going to invoke your senses where thousands of big and small mother nature carved figures scatter across the landscape.

 

Overnight at hotel Cappadocia

 

Day 14 In Cappadocia

This morning while we have the best light, we will go for a hike around Red and Rose valleys. The views will be absolutely spectacular out there. Moreover, the surreal formations are partially carved-out and decorated with frescoes by the Byzantine Christian monks will be among the things to see during our walk. This afternoon, we are going to Avanos for lunch and to see the longest river of Turkey, Kizilirmak (eg. red river). For thousands of years, Cappadocian people used the red clay obtained from the old banks of the river and shaped it on the kick-wheels. It is still an important income for the region. We will get to see one of the pottery ateliers to learn more about the still used ancient techniques of shaping, outlining, glazing and painting. We will deliberately finish our last day early to give you some time on own.

 

Overnight at hotel Cappadacia

 

Day 15 Drive to Hattusa visit Capital of Hittities, Bogazkoy 

After two hours drive, We visit the World Famous UNESCO Sites Hattusa, Alacahoyuk and Yazilikaya and we start our visit with ceremonial site - Yazilkaya (Rock Inscriptions - in Turkish). This open-air natural shrine, with wonderful reliefs of the gods and goddesses cut into the rock walls, was home to fresh water springs and is thought to have been a place of worship. After, we continue to the spectacular city of Hattusa  this sprawling city set on the acropolis now all in ruins was the capital of the Hittite empire. As we make our way around and through the grounds we will see excellent carvings and pillars adorning the entrances including the magnificent Lion's Gate as well as Sphinx-like carvings. We will also see a great example piece of engineering the pottern tunnel by the royal city walls. After our adventure in the open-air, we will have lunch at a local restaurant featuring traditional meals. In the afternoon we will visit the local archeology museum of Bogazkoy bearing exaqmples of artifacts from the anatolian civilazations in a chronological order, with an emphasize on the Hitite an Hattusa remains,such as written tablets stamps, bronze tools etc. The glorious ancient peoples, Hittites founded the first kingdom of Anatolia around 1800 BC. For hundreds of years, they had been the rivals of Egyptians as the two major powers of the world. The seat of their long-lived kingdom was Hattusa where archaeologists found thousands of red-clay cuneiform tablets with an enormous variety of topics inscribed on them including the first written treaty and the first written correspondence between the two empresses in the world. The ever glorious Hittite capital covers a massive area of 250 acres. Yazilikaya (Turkish: inscribed rock) was a holy sanctuary for the Hittites. It has two chambers bearing the incredible inscriptions of the Hittite deities. Alacahoyuk (Turkish red tumulus) was a settlement dating back to the Copper Age (5500 BC) where Hittites also settled. The royal tombs (circa 2350 bc) are one of the most sees of the region.

 

Overnight in Ankara

 

Day 16  Ankara Tour

Ankara, the dynamic capital of Turkey is not only a very modern city but also renowned for its rich ancient history. Today we will visit the notable sights and landmarks of the city. The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is an incredible museum that offers so many interesting artifacts from the ancient past of Anatolia. Walking up to the ancient Ankara Castle is a great way to enjoy the views of the whole city under our feet. Roman Bath and Augustus Temple are two fine examples of the Roman past in Ankara. Hamamonu district offers some of the best preserved historical civil mansions. The colossal Mausoleum of Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey is a great representation of the modern Republic of Turkey before we finish our pleasant day. Whhat we are going to do today is Visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Walk up to the Ankara Castle, Lunch, Visit Roman Bath and Augustus Temple, Walk in Hamamonu old town, Visit the Mausoleum of Ataturk and its museum.

 

Overnight in Ankara

 

Day 17 Sarfanbolu and Amasra Tour

We drive to old town of Safranbolu and start sightseeing tour which takes about one hour and a half. We will drive through the narrow streets and stop at some important places (old wooden houses, bazaars, hamams, squares, mosque, etc) to take photos and get some information about them. We will see Cinci Turkish bath, Clock Tower, Arasta Bazaar, Bakizadeler Mansion, Topcu Bridge, Cinci Hodja House, the old government building, blacksmiths bazaar during the tour.Later we drive Amasra visit Roman castle, city walls, wood carving bazaar,and port.Then we return Safranbolu

 

Hotel in Safranbolu

 

Day 18 Drive to Istanbul 

Today we drive back to Istanbul and check in to hotel for our last night in Turkey

 

Overnight at hotel Istanbul

 

Day 19  Fly Home

Tour ends. Transfer to the airport and fly home.

 

Included
  • Private tour guide for entire tour
  • Comfortable new a.c. vehicle with driver for entire tour
  • 15 DaysTurkey Museum Pass
  • All breakfasts
  • All accomodaiton
Excluded
  • Personal expenses
  • Lunch, Dinners, Drinks
  • Tipping
Trip Information
  • Please feel free to ask all quesitons about your tour plan, this itinerary is extendable or shortened
  • Overland Travel offer tailor made personalized tours for your ideal travel plan
  • For more details please contact us
2 pax 3-5 pax 6+ pax
3250 € pp 2375 € pp 1950 € pp

 

 

Reviews
  • Fantastic Guide, Perfect itinerary, Best Private Tour Guide

    What now seems impossible was well and truly possible. Ten days doing most of Turkey was an absolute challenge but we came back with more than just a goal in mind. After our last breakfast in Istanbul we were about to start the biggest journey of them all. We started our roadtrip along the shoreline of the Marmara Sea to Tekirdag on the Gallipoli (Gelibolu) Peninsula. The drive seemed too long but suddenly it was nearly dark and the last rays of light were awaiting us so that we could catch a quick glimpse of this special place. It must have been magic, but as soon as we stepped out of the car a bright colourful rainbow formed above the valley. It was one of those memorable evenings, that will remain one of the highlights of the trip. It also has a personal meaning to us as our great-grandfather from Australia fought for his life here and by miracle came back alive. Not all had the same faith. It was hard to believe that over 10,000 men died here, as it now seemed to be a peaceful place. The quietness of this previous battlefield valley allowed us to look back on all the lost lives and visualize the horrific tragedy… No time to dwell on the past for too long though. After a good nights sleep, we started the day nice and bright and were very much looking forward to our next visit: Troy. People always assume that its only about the Trojan horse which was built for the legendary war. I myself, was surprised to find not only this horse but amazing ruins of city walls, house foundations, a temple and an ancient theatre. All this beauty made me forget that a thunderstorm was only minutes away. And obviously, it was too late not to get caught in the middle of it. However, being wild at heart, that did not stop us from running back into the car and driving to our next location: Pergamon. Once a great centre of culture, it remains Turkey’s finest archaeological site. We were so fortunate to have Fatih, our personal driver / guide. He knew everything about his country and gave us a very in depth Art History lesson or else I would not be able to remember any of it, let alone name all the sites. In the Acropolis, above the modern town, were the remains of the celebrated library, a steep and impressive theatre, the temples of Trijan and Dionysus, the monumental altar of Zeus, the sanctuary of Demeter, a gymnasium laid out on the terrace and Agora. Your probably thinking, no idea what she is talking about! Too much food for the brain, even for me, but I included some of my favourite pieces of architecture, nature and of course the most photogenic ancient cat I have come across! By then, it was about time our brains could have a good nights sleep to digest all the information and impressions from our cultural day. It was already day three and it seemed like we had been here for weeks. A quick stop to Dalyan where the most amazing façades of Lycian rock-cut tombs where to be found above the river’s sheer cliffs. The next place would have to be yet another WOW location. It is known as one of Turkey’s most amazing natural wonders. The “frozen waterfall” of Pamukkale has been an attraction since Roman times (as Hierapolis – the Sacred City, a health spa). The romans really did know how to treasure themselves. Just when you think you know all about the art of relaxing, you come across the most mind blowing site of them all! The hot springs of Pamukkale were something out of this world. Our challenge of the day was to walk through this steamy wonderland and capture it in the process. Being in the middle of Winter one does not look forward to walking barefoot; but as soon as our feet were greeted by the warmth of the hot springs, we got along just fine. It looked like snow but the structure of the mountain was composed of baths of large stone blocks with multiple open and closed areas all linked together. It was the best spa experience one could wish for, especially being as close to nature as it could ever be. With only a day at each area, we were already on our way to our next stops: An abandoned ruin village, a local fishermen’s sea village and the picturesque coastline of Fethiye. This city was a little hidden gem with a charm like no other. It was as close as it got to feeling like it was Summer when it actually was supposed to be Winter. The crystal clear waters were beautifully set against the backdrop of wild mountains and dense forests. A dream come true for nature and sunshine lovers. This day could not have come at a better time. It’s easy to loose track of time when your mind is given so many different insights that it was a perfect afternoon to reflect on our experiences and start taking in all the rich history of Turkey. After a few hours of relaxing under the sun while sipping fresh pomegranate and orange juice… We were back on the road. Kas was our next stop. Just when you thought you were leaving heaven, a new form of magic was right in front of you. The best part was that it was a living reality where one was greeted by hammocks which were surrounded by mandarin trees. A peaceful little oasis. To end this dream we woke up and were blown away in a great setting at the foot of a wall of mountains, facing the Mediterranean. It was getting difficult to leave these fantastic settings, and one night was never enough to let it sink into our hearts. Looking back on it now; it still feels unreal. After yet another long drive in the car, we finally made it to Antalya where we spent the afternoon exploring Kaleici, the old town centre. Nothing inspires me more than getting lost on unknown ground. My highlight must have been strolling though the vibrant narrow, winding streets and coming across picture perfect old wooden houses and secret courtyards; only to end up at a local scenic cafe to enjoy some much needed çai (tea) while watching the sun go down to yet another amazing day. We were reaching the end of our nightly stopovers and coming to our final destination. As much as I loved seeing all these areas on such a tight schedule, I was really looking forward to actually unpacking for a few days and just being in one place. Cappadocia was nothing like I thought it would be (and much colder then I expected!) It was so different to the rest of Turkey that it intrigued me beyond my control. It was as if one was going back in time. Three million years ago violent eruptions of Mount Erciyes and Mount Hasan covered the surrounding plateau of Cappadocia with tuff, a soft stone comprised of lava, ash and mud. The wind and rain eroded this brittle rock and created a surrealist landscape of rock cones, capped pinnacles and fretted ravines, in colours that range from warm reds and gold’s to cool greens and greys. Goreme is one of those rare regions in the world where the works of man blend into the natural surroundings. The caved architecture was deeply inspiring and blended in so well that at times it just seemed like one big valley. Cappadocia is a living natural wonder and truly is a unique area in the world, loaded with so much raw beauty and history that its easy to get lost in it all. The evil eye tree was such a powerful symbol. For those unfamiliar with the meaning of this object, it is meant to protect you from the evil spirits and negativity around you. I just fell in love with the concept of it all, so much that it inspired me to start my own little collection. Apart from the amazing scenery, architecture and of course endless photography opportunities there was one particular part I will always look back on being very special. Contrary to what you might have experienced, Turkish cuisine is of the greatest cuisines in the world. Not spicy, except for the Southern part of the country, which has a strong Middle Eastern influence. We were lucky enough to eat with a local family while trying some of the best traditional Turkish food we have come across. It was such a heart warming experience. Greeted by an incredible variety of starters, to the traditional local pasta and of course the most amazing dessert. A rich food tasting of so many different tastes and flavors filled with laughter where language barriers had no meaning. The simple way in how they delicately prepared each and every meal was truly touching and to see how proud they were of their country and background was a great reminder to never forget ones identity. The varied climate allows for almost everything to be grown within the country and most of the products were freshly grown from the garden and local organic dishes which were as homemade as it gets. The best part of world travel is the people you meet along the way. It’s the differences which brings us together and lets us learn a little more each day. This trip has definitely been one of the most educational journeys, to new horizons I had not yet uncovered. I feel as if Turkey has taught me so much in terms of just enjoying the simple things we all have around and within us, yet so many forget to use it in this fast paced world. The warmth and genuine friendliness of the people in Turkey will be something I will carry in my heart and try to use as a living example: in showing how important it is to be willing to give a little bit of one’s wisdom to every soul we meet along the way...

    Yvonne Whitney Published 2020-09-02
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