Airbound Turkey Tour
Istanbul & More
Istanbul, “If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Constantinople,” marveled Alphonse de Lamartine, the 19th-century French writer and politician. Sixteen centuries as the legendary capital of the Byzantine, Roman, and Ottoman Empires, Istanbul has long entranced the civilized world. The sole city to span two continents, it physically and metaphorically bridges the cultures and philosophies of Europe and Asia, Occident and Orient. Historically a tolerant melting pot—as the center of Christendom for over a millennium and Islam’s seat for another 500 years—it remains home to the Patriarchate of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Sephardic Jewish heritage sites, and legacies of numerous ethnic groups. It sits at the crossroads of human history, a sprawling 700-square-mile (1,812-square-kilometer) hilly metropolis studded with nearly 20,000 cultural sites from the sixth millennium B.C. to present day. Flanking 19 miles (30 kilometers) of the Bosporus strait between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, it is a linchpin for trade routes in all directions. Though no longer a capital, Istanbul is the cosmopolitan heart of the Turkish Republic, its financial center and most populous city. The mushrooming population exceeds ten million, crowding cobbled-lane waterfront villages and glass-and-steel corporate districts, spirited premier soccer matches and haute couture boulevards. Byzantium, New Rome, Constantinople, Old Stamboul. Its name has changed, but the glory endures.
Day 1 – Istanbul D
Arrive in Istanbul Atatürk International Airport. Meeting and greeting by Airbound’s local representative and transfer to your hotel. (Early check in might not be possible, because the check in time is normally 14:00. It depends on the occupancy of the hotel). Rest of the day is free at leisure. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 2 – Istanbul B, D
Topkapi Palace: Topkapi Palace which was the first Ottoman palace to be built (1466-1478) in the newly conquered capital of the Empire by Mehmet II. Located on the spot where the foundations of the city were first laid in ancient times by Megarian Chief Byzas in the 7th century BC, the palace boasts one of the most beautiful views of Istanbul, incorporating the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn, the two shores and the sea of Marmara. Unlike the European palaces, Topkapi is not a single monumental structure but a more organic complex made up of various kiosks, gardens and areas spread over the tip of the historical peninsula at the entry of the Golden Horn.
Blue Mosque built between 1609 and 1616 by Mehmet Aga, a student of the Great Sinan with 260 windows and named for the beautiful Iznik tiles which give the mosque its interior colour. Blue Mosque is one of the world’s great buildings with its six slender minarets gracing the outside, while the interior is a sea of blue. The original seventh minaret was later presented to the mosque at Mecca for diplomatic reasons. The Blue Mosque, is an architectural masterpiece famed for its exquisite blue tiles and six elegant minarets.
Built during the reign of Sultan Ahmet, it remains the centre of religious demonstrations in the Islamic religion. The nickname of “blue mosque” was given due to the numerous blue Iznik tiles in the interior, which is illuminated from the light of its windows.
Hippodrome was built by the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus in 203 A.D. The hippodrome was a stadium which served as a meeting place for the politicians, for chariot races, wrestling, boxing, and other athletic activities that took place. Obelisk of Theodosius (The Egyptian obelisk) erected by Tutmosis III 1504-1450 B.C. before the temple of Karnak at Heliopolis. The Obelisk brought to Istanbul by Emperor Theodosius I was made of pink granite and its height is 17 meters. Originally, the Obelisk was 27 meters in height, 10 meters higher than it is today and weighed 800 tons. Constantine Column was the landmark of the city because of its height of 32 meters. The column was erected in the fourth century by Constantine the Great.
Then we will continue with the Haghia Sophia. The massive dome and four elegant minarets of Haghia Sophia rise above the Istanbul city for more than a millennium, forming the most impressive silhouette on both Asia and Europe’s sky.Not only haunting beauty of its dimly interior, it is one of the largest enclosed spaces in the world.Considered to be the 8th Wonder of the World, Hagia Sophia Cathedral is now a museum.
Visit the Underground Cistern, the largest of the underground water reservoirs from the Byzantine era. The pillars were brought from antique cities of Asia minor.
Continue with the shopping at Grand Bazaar. One of the largest and the oldest shopping malls in the world . It is a mini city that sprawls accross 65 streets and 50 acres and includes some 4000 shops, tiny cafés, and restaurants – all surrounded by a wall, and entered through any of eleven gates. It offers a sea of choices that will tempt even the nonshoppers with its local curios and souvenirs: carpets,jewellery, icons, leather, meerschaum pipes, ceramics, bronze and copperware. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 3 – Istanbul B, D
Right after breakfast we start our Bosphorus Cruise Tour. The cruise along the Bosphorus will take you past Ottoman Palaces, mosques, castles as well as beautiful wooden mansions and modern villas of the 19th & 20th century which from this elegant section of the city. Continue your tour with Kariye Museum Church of St. Saviour in Chora, an ancient Byzantine church later converted into a mosque in the 15th century AD. It is now a museum of Byzantine mosaics and frescoes.
Day 4 – Gallipoli Tour B, D
Morning departure for Gallipoli and visit Anzac Cove, Lone Pine Cemetery, Chunuk Bair and Kabatepe War Museum, then across the Dardanelles to Canakkale for overnight. Dinner and Overnight at your hotel in Canakkale.
Day 5 – Izmir B, D
After breakfast journey to Troy, the UNESCO listed World Heritage Site, where Greek and Trojan heroes fought the Trojan War for the honor of the beautiful Helen. Also visit its legendary walls, building and famous Wooden Horse. Right after breakfast we will drive to Kusadasi. On the way to Kusadası we will stop by Pergamon for a visit which was one of the most beautiful cities of the ancient world. Its architects and sculptors were amongst the finest in the Hellenistic world. The majestic acropolis looms behind the modern town. The places to be visited are Pergamon Acropolis with Temple of Trojan, Hellenistic Barracks, Library, Temple of Athena, Theatre and the Altar of Zeus. Then, we will proceed to Izmir. Dinner and Overnight at your hotel. Overnight in Izmir.
Day 6 – Izmir, Kusadasi B, D
After breakfast we will visit Ephesus, which was one of the largest and most interesting ancient cities of Asia Minor. It is considered to be the most fantastic Greco-Roman site in Turkey. You may imagine the Ephesians shouting at the silversmith Demetrius, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians” in reaction to the preaching of St. Paul against man-made idols. A visit to the house where The Virgin Mary spent her last days, and the Temple of Artemis, which was one of te Seven Wonders of the World. *It is also possible to visit the basilica of St. John built around the grave of the Saint. A visit to the house where The Virgin Mary spent her last days, and the Temple of Artemis, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Dinner: At Hotel. Overnight in Kusadası.
Day 7 – Kusadasi – Pamukkale B, D
Right after breakfast we will proceed to Pamukkale or “Cotton Castle” – a magical and unique terraces and castles created by deposits of white limestone from ,thermal springs. This spectacular natural wonder is also in World Heritage protection list of UNESCO. You will have time to enjoy the beauty of lime cascades. After Cotton Castle, we will visit Hierapolis. Hierapolis is located 20 km North of Denizli’s provincial center near the Pamukkale traventines woven like a lace by the healing thermal waters. It was founded by the Pergamon King Eumenes II in 190 B.C. Its closeness to Laodicea created commercial and military rivalry. The town was built in Greek style. Although suffering a violent earthquake in 17 A.D., it reached its peak during the Roman and Byzantine periods.Traditionally St. Philip is connected with the early church in Hierapolis. Apostle Philip was martyred here and many Christian tombs are found close to the ruins of the church of St. Philip. The faithful wished to be buried as close as possible to the holy dead. Dinner and Overnight at your hotel. Overnight in Pamukkale.
Day 8 – Pamukkale, Antalya B, D
Morning drive to Antalya, arrival at mid-noon, pay a visit to the ancient city of Perge, a relax afternoon by the Mediterranean coast. Dinner and Overnight at your hotel. Overnight in Antalya
Day 9 – Antalya, Konya, Cappadocia B, D
After breakfast we will drive through Konya. The entire Konya basin was a lake 18 thousand years ago.Over 10 thousand years ago, it had drained to form a rich alluvial plain. Today its importance is as a place of pilgrimage for Christians and Muslims. In the days of the Roman Empire Konya was called Iconium, ‘the city of icons’. As in Antioch, Paul and Barnabas used the synagogue in I conium and Paul preached here on his first missionary jpurney.From the late 12th. Century for over a hundred years Konya was the capital of the Muslim Selcuk Empire.Today the most interesting monuments in the city are the beautiful Selcuk mosques and schools and the monastery of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, the great poet, mystic and humanist philosopher.On his death, 1273, people of many religious persuasions – Christians, pagans, Jews, Moslems- joined in the funeral cortege.
En route visit the famous theatre in Aspendos. Visit Mevlana Mausoleum and Karatay Koran School (if the restoration is completed by the visit date), then overnight in Konya . Dinner and Overnight at your hotel. Overnight in Konya.
Day 10 – Konya, Cappadocia B, D
Morning departure for Cappadocia, passing by the 13th century Agzikarahan Caravanserai, the land of Fairy Chimneys. We visit to one of the underground cities before we check in our hotel. Tonight Optional: Whirling Dervishes performance Dinner and Overnight at your hotel. Overnight in Cappadocia
Day 11 – Cappadocia B, D
Early Morning Optional: Balloon Tour. Experience of floating through volcanic valleys, fairy chimneys and caves with the unrise of Cappadocia. After breakfast, visit Goreme, Avanos, Pasabagi, Red Valley and have a brief regional pottery workshop in a cave. Dinner and Overnight at your hotel. Overnight in Cappadocia
Day 12 – Cappadocia, Ankara B, D
Right after breakfast we will drive to Ankara. We will visit The Antikabir – the eternal resting place of M. Kemal Ataturk who is the founder of Turkish Republic and its first President. Ataturk never requested a monumental tomb for himself but the adoration and respect shown to him by Turkish people would never have allowed him to be buried in an ordinary place. The construction of a huge mausoleum similar to the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World was started on the summit of Anittepe.. Dinner and Overnight at your hotel. Overnight in Ankara.
Day 13 – Ankara, Istanbul B, D
Right after breakfast, we will drive to Istanbul with approximately a 5.5 hours journey. After arrival free time at leisure. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 14 – Istanbul B
Right after breakfast free time until check-out from hotel at 12:00. Then proceed to the airport to catch your homebound flight.
Note: The above itinerary is subject to the final discretion of the local land operator.
TOUR PACKAGE INFORMATION
Hotels 4-5 stars:
Istanbul – Kent Hotel
Canakkale – Buyuk Truva Hotel
Izmir – Wyndham Ozdilek Hotel
Kusadasi – Derici Hotel
Pamukkale – Pam Thermal Hotel
Antalya – Best Western Khan hotel
Konya – Dedeman Hotel
Cappadocia – Alfina Cave Hotel
Ankara – Rixos Grand Ankara Hotel
Breakfast – 13
Lunch – 0
Dinner Hotel – 13
Tour package includes:
Air conditioned minibus/midibus or coach for sightseeing and transfers
English speaking guide
Turkish style breakfast at all 4 and 5 star hotels
All road tolls and taxes
Costs do not include:
International air fare to/from Turkey
Domestic air fare
Tips to Guide and Driver
Items not specially mentioned above and/or in the itinerary
CONTACT Airbound today!