Grand Tour of Turkey
Travel through time from Istanbul to Ankara
This all-encompassing tour of Turkey reveals some of the many historic sites and natural wonders that this splendid country has to offer. Explore the iconic Hagia Sophia and historic Topkapi Palace in the vibrant metropolis of Istanbul, visit the poignant World War I battlefields of Gallipoli, and tour the UNESCO-listed ancient sites of Ephesus and Troy. As you travel, well unveil the staggering scenery Turkey boasts, from the picturesque azure waters and forested hills of Antalya, to the extraordinary towering boulders on the stark plains of the Cappadocia region. Youll also have the chance to sample Turkeys delicious culinary specialities, such as Turkish coffee, baklava, and lokum, or Turkish delight
14 nights in hotels
Excursions and visits
Day 1 UK to Istanbul
Fly to Istanbul and transfer to the locally rated 5-starThe Bank HotelIstanbul(4Q+), where youll stay for the next three nights. Located in the trendy harbourside district of Karaky, the hotel boasts impressive views across the Bosphorus Strait to the Hagia Sophia. Look forward to a welcome drink and dinner this evening for the chance to get to know your fellow travellers. D
Day 2 Istanbul
Set off a full day sightseeing tour of Istanbul, once the capital of Turkey, and the only city in the world to straddle two continents Europe and Asia. The final stage on the legendary Silk Road, Istanbul is a melting pot of cultures and incredible architecture that includes Roman ruins, Byzantine churches and Imperial Ottoman mosques. Youll visit the impressive complex of Topkapi Palace, the home of the Ottoman sultans for nearly four centuries, and now a a colourful museum offering a fascinating glimpse into their lives.
Continue to the Grand Bazaar; with over 4,000 merchants, its the largest covered market in the world. Browse the labyrinth of shops selling jewellery, antiques, carpets, pottery and more, and perhaps spend a few lira on souvenirs. Finally, youll have the unique opportunity to experience a Turkish coffee cooking demonstration, complete with an energy-boosting tasting of Turkish coffee and lokum, commonly known as Turkish delight. B
Day 3 Istanbul
Istanbul has many important monuments, but none are quite as impressive as Hagia Sophia, which dominates the citys skyline. Join a morning tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, famed for its immense dome and beautiful gold mosaics. This afternoon is free to continue exploring the city independently, or alternatively, you could join an optional cruise on the Bosphorus. B
Day 4 Istanbul to Cannakale
Travel to Cannakale in the Dardenelles and stay overnight at the locally rated 4-starTroia Tusan Hotel(3Q). En route youll visit Gallipoli, the scene of one of the most disastrous campaigns of WWI, when the Allies tried for nearly a year to get a foothold in the then Ottoman Empire. Explore Cape Helles, Sulva Bay and Anzac Cove, all sites of military landings during the campaign before continuing to your hotel. Dinner is included this evening. B, D
Day 5 Cannakale to Kusadasi
Journey south this morning towards Kusadasi, stopping first to visit the ancient site of Troy. This UNESCO-listed site was the legendary setting for the Trojan War, finally conquered by the Greeks using the infamous Trojan Horse. Take a stroll around the ramparts and look out for the Temple of Athena and the Bronze Age ramp.
After lunch lunch in a local village, continue to the ancient town of Pergamon, considered one of the most important classical sites in Turkey. The extensive ruins here include Greek and Roman temples, a theatre and a medical library, which was once the largest in the ancient world. Arrive in Kusadasa for dinner and a three-night stay at the locally rated 5-starCharisma De Luxe Hotel(4Q). B, L, D
Day 6 Kusadasi
Spend a full day exploring one of the best-preserved classical cities, Ephesus.
The UNESCO-listed site is home to the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean. Highlights include the great Library of Celsus, originally built to house 12,000 scrolls, and the dramatic amphitheatre on the side of the Panayir mountain which has seating for an astonishing 24,000 people! A single pillar now marks the site of the original Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, which was destroyed in 356 BC.
After a visit the the Ephesus Museum, complete your tour with a visit to a local olive oil production atelier where youll have the chance to taste the produce for yourself. Return to Kusadasi for dinner this evening. B, D
Day 7 Kusadasi
Today is at leisure, or you may like to join an optional excursion visiting the House of the Virgin Mary and St John, and the village of Sirince. B, D
Day 8 Kusadasi to Antalya
Embark on the lengthy but rewarding journey to Antalya, the largest city on Turkeys Mediterranean coast.
Pause en route to visit the beautiful limestone terraces of Pamukkale where hot springs have sculpted a series of stepped pools, fluid forms and mineral forests. The hot running water in this area has been revered for its medicinal properties since Roman times.
Continue to Antalya where youll spend two nights at the locally rated 5-starAkra Barut Hotel(4Q). B, D
Day 9 Antalya
Spend a day at leisure in Antalya, perhaps making the most of the hotels facilities, or choosing to explore independently. Alternatively, you could join an optional excursion to Perge and Aspendos where you can discover well-preserved Greco-Roman ruins. B, D
Day 10 Antalya to Konya
Upon checking out of your hotel, join an included tour of Antalyas picturesque old town to see its 13th-century fluted minaret, the triple arched Hadrians Gate, built in 130AD, and the Hidirik Kulesi tower reputed to be a former Roman lighthouse.
After free time for lunch, drive to Konya in Turkeys Central Anatolia region. Stay overnight at the locally rated 5-starDedeman Konya Hotel & Convention Centre(4Q). B, D
Day 11 Konya to Urgup
Travel into the stunning Cappadocia region in central Turkey, visiting the Mevlana Museum en route. The museum houses the tomb of Konyas famous 13th-century poet and Sufi mystic, Celaleddin Rumi, who founded the order known as the Whirling Dervishes. This Islamic order performed spinning dance movements as a form of devotional exercise. Continue through the arid landscapes dotted with extraordinary rock formations to Urgup for a two-night stay at the locally rated 4-starKapadokya Lodge(4Q). B, D
Day 12 Urgup
Todays optional excursion ventures into the UNESCO-listed Goreme National Park to see its amazing rock formations and hoodoos, also known as fairy chimneys. B, D
Day 13 Urgup to Ankara
Journey north, passing Lake Tuz, a vast and shallow salt lake en route to Ankara, the Turkish capital. Located in the central Anatolia region, the lively, beating heart of Turkey features great museums, parks and restaurants. Stay overnight at the locally rated 4-starRadisson Blu Ankara(4Q). B, D
Day 14 Ankara to Istanbul
This morning, on a tour of the city, visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations which details Turkeys ancient past. The fascinating museum displays artefacts dating from dating from the Palaeolithic and Neolithic Ages and from Hittite, Phrygian, Urartu and Roman civilisations.
Next, explore the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatrk, a national hero and the founder of the Republic of Turkey, then travel back to Istanbul this afternoon for a final night at the locally rated 5-starThe Bank Hotel Istanbul(4Q+). Look forward to a special farewell dinner this evening at a local restaurant. B, D
Day 15 Istanbul to UK
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. B