Discover Mystical Turkey on a Exciting 16 Days Tour
Explore some of the best highlights of Turkey and see some of the fantastic places of history and stunning landscape that this beautiful country has to offer. Throughout your trip, you’ll visit Istanbul’s highlights, including Hagia Sofia and cruise between two continents on a Bosphorus cruise.
Explore the fairy-tale landscape of mystifying Cappadocia where you can also see the labyrinth of the underground city. You may even have the option to take a hot balloon ride, which is a memory you won't want to forget.
You will go to Şanlıurfa (the Prophets' City; also known as Urfa), is a pilgrimage town and spiritual centre. You will also visit Mount Nemrut, one the highest peaks of the Mesopotamia, with a summit at 2,206 metres above sea level and contains the tomb of King Antiochus I of Commagene that was commissioned by himself.
Visit Mardin, which is unique with old-Arabic style houses which are often decorated with intricate carvings. Mardin is a vivacious trading centre with people coming from surrounding villages to buy and sell, and you will have a fantastic view of the Plain of Mesopotamia.
Drive on the “Silk Road” to Dogubeyazit, a beautiful, yet rugged area with the opportunity to see Mt. Ararat from all sides. Explore the medieval Armenian City of Ani, which lies mostly in ruins, but impressive fortified walls still surround the ruins of numerous churches, mosques and caravansaries.
Visit the Sumela Monastery, known as the Monastery of the Virgin Mary and go to Trabzon, after the crusaders invaded Constantinople in 1204, Trabzon became the capital of the Byzantine Empire for a short time.
These are just a few places you will visit on this grand itinerary of mystical and magical Turkey.
- Explore Istanbul with its many sights including Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar
- See the mysterious landscape of cappadocia and visit an underground city
- Hike to the summit of the Mt. Nemrut (one of the most popular UNESCO world cultural heritage sites)
- See Mardin, a very unique city with lovely old-Arabic style houses
- Explore the huge Van Castle from the days of Urartu and see the hieroglyphs
- Drive on the “Silk Road” to Dogubeyazit with an opportunity to see Mt Ararat
- Drive to the medieval Armenian City of Ani,
- Visit the Sumela Monastery, also known as the Monastery of the Virgin Mary
- Scheduling: Private
- Languages offered on activity/tour: English, German, French, Italian
- Duration: 16 days
- Printed or Mobile Voucher Accepted
- Pick-up servicePick up from Istanbul Airport
- CancellationYou can cancel your tour 7 days prior to the travel date with a full refund except for the domestic flights which are non-refundable.
- On Request
- Cut-off TimeAvailable to be booked until 3 days before the tour starts. Please note we reserve the option to confirm the tour or not due to availability.
- Domestic flights in the program
- Transportation by a comfortable AC non smoking Luxurious car/Van with professional driver
- Professional and experienced licensed guide during the tours
- All accommodation
- Entry fees to the sites and museums
- Meals as stated in the itinerary
- Other services not mentioned
- Personal expenses
- Tips and gratuities (optional)
- Meals that are not stated in the itinerary
Arrival to Istanbul Airport where our driver/guide will meet you and transfer you to your hotel for check-in before having the rest of the day at your leisure.
Go to the Topkapi Palace, which was once used by the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th to 19th centuries and see the magnificent collection of priceless jewels, silver, crystal, and porcelain, robes that were worn by the sultans and the relics of the prophet Mohammed. (Entrance to the Harem is extra).
Visit the Hagia Sophia, which was built by Emperor Justinian and was the largest building in the world for over 1000 years and has intricate mosaics and a huge central dome.
After lunch, we will visit the stunning Blue Mosque that was built for Sultan Ahmet I, and is a unique piece of architecture with its six minarets and features 20,000 beautiful Iznik tiles.
Visit the ancient Hippodrome with Obelisk of Theodosius, Snake Pillar and German Fountain of Wilhelm II and visit the hidden Underground Cistern.
See the Grand Covered Bazaar with its many shops perfect for your holiday souvenirs.
Visit the exotic Egyptian Spice Market located on the Golden Horn before boarding your cruise of the Bosphorus where the waterway separates the two continents Europe and Asia.
Pass by Rumeli fortress which was built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452, so he could prepare for his conquest of Istanbul.
Cross over the Bosphorus Bridge to Asia where you will visit Beylerbeyi Palace, which was once the summer address of the Ottoman Sultans, then on to Camlica Hill for a fantastic view of Istanbul.
Time for lunch in a lovely seaside fish restaurant. Cruise is on a public boat unless other arrangements are made.
Fly from Istanbul to Cappadocia, and upon arrival, you will be met at the airport just outside the arrival’s gate and transfer to Cappadocia.
Tour the Kaymaklı Underground City, one of the fascinating underground settlements in Cappadocia then drive to Sahinefendi (Sobesos) which is newly discovered (01 May 2002) mosaic houses and Archaeological excavation site.
Villages in the valleys are surrounded by the “tabletop” mountains which are spectacular.
Continue to the Keslik Monastery close to Cemil, that hides its frescoes behind a thin smoke layer which you can only see by torchlight.
Visit Mustafapaşa (Sinasos), an old Greek town with its spectacular old Greek houses; outstanding examples of late Greek settlements and architecture.
Visit Saruhan Caravanserai, a roadside inn where travellers would rest and recover from their day’s journey. Caravanserais supported the flow of information, commerce and people across a network of trade routes of North Africa, Asia, and South-Eastern Europe on the legendary Silk Road and the Spice Road.
Continue with the panorama of the Red Valley, with its fabulous volcanic rock formations and is in the heart of Cappadocia but still away from the tourist crowd.
Meet at the hotel reception after breakfast, then have your first meeting with the lunar landscape of Cappadocia with some rock formations beyond belief in Devrent valley, walk-in Pasabag near Zelve and wonder at the “fairy chimneys” where the sound of the wind mixes with the “songs of fairies”.
Lunch in Avanos which has been the centre of terra cotta work of art since around 3000 BC and you will get a demonstration in a traditional pottery workshop.
In the afternoon, visit the famous Goreme Open Air Museum and see the best examples of Byzantine art that are in Cappadocia in rock-cut churches with frescoes and paintings (10th to 13th century).
Continue to Uchisar Rock-Castle to have a panoramic view of the valleys of Cappadocia.
After some breakfast at your hotel, you will depart from your hotel at approximately 08:00.
Your first stop will be at Kahramanmaras for lunch and a taste of its famous ice cream before continuing onto visit the world-famous Gaziantep Mosaic Museum.
This museum exhibits superb mosaics discovered on the Roman site of Belkıs-Zeugma before the Birecik Dam flooded and damaged most of the site.
We will then visit the old city castle which is located in the centre of the city and copper bazaar which is one of the most special and oldest bazaars in Turkey, and you can find a variety of copper handicrafts.
We will also have the chance to taste famous baklava; a sweet pastry made of layers of filo full of chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey (Baklava is originally from Gaziantep). After visiting the city, drive to hotel and check-in. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight stay in Gaziantep.
Today we drive to Sanliurfa, stopping at Nizip, a soap and olive oil district. Then see the remains of the old city of Belkis or (Zeugma) by the River Euphrates.
The importance of this settlement which demonstrates an uninterrupted inhabiting since prehistoric ages is that it is one of the two points allowing the easiest passage across the River Euphrates with a bridge first built by Alexander the Great.
Have lunch in Urfa and after a walk through the local, covered bazaar.
Spend the afternoon at the hotel or walk through the town to discover the many hidden treasures.
After breakfast, check-out from your hotel and drive to Sanliurfa which has been occupied since the Babylonians were followed by the Hurrites, Hittites, Assyrians and Greeks.
Today we will visit Urfa Archaeological Museum that exhibits a vast collection, founded from Harran and Gobekli Tepe Area. We will also see the holy sites at the Ainzelha, which is a lake that has millions of domesticated fish.
We will also visit the cave where the prophet Abraham was born then, walk through the local, covered bazaar of Sanliurfa.
In the afternoon drive to Kahta city and on the way, you will see Gobekli Tepe (Garden of Eden), a hilltop sanctuary erected on the highest point of an elongated mountain ridge some 15 km northeast of the town of Urfa.
You will also see the Ataturk Dam, the third-largest in the world.
Hike to the summit of Mount Nemrut (one of the most popular UNESCO world cultural heritage sites) and watch the sunset, be in awe of the colossal heads and the statues of ancient deities, as you take a step into mythology. This magnificent landmark sits at an elevation of 8000 ft.
The mountain top complex is made up of two flat areas that are strewn with statues and are separated by a false peak of crushed rock. Antiochus constructed the entire complex around 2000 years ago as a dedication to his divine ancestry.
Also, you should take time to visit the old castle, Arsemeia, cross over the still functioning Cendere Bridge (Septimius Severus bridge) dating back to the 3rd century and Tumulus Tomb of Karakus.
Then drive back to your hotel for breakfast before we depart to Mardin with a lovely ferry ride across the dam and lunch in Siverek.
We will reach Mardin and check into the hotel and take the time to visit and walk in its busy streets and bazaars, and admire the stonework all around the town.
In the morning, visit Mardin, a unique city with lovely old-Arabic style houses, which are often decorated with delicate carvings.
This is a lively trading centre with people coming from different villages to buy and sell. Mardin also has a fantastic view of the Plain of Mesopotamia.
It is a city that played an essential part in the early development of Christianity. Visit the fascinating Monastery of Deyr-az-Zaferan just outside of Mardin and founded in 762 A.D.
We drive to Hasankeyf, with a stop at the charming little town of Midyat to see the Monastery and ancient houses on the way. Hasankeyf, with its history that spans nine civilisations, going back 10,000 years.
This is three times longer than the Giza pyramids, 10 times longer than Stonehenge, and makes the glorious civilisations of the Maya and Inca seem as if they were flourishing just yesterday.
Some of the city’s historical treasures will be inundated if the construction of the Ilısu Dam is completed including ornate mosques, Islamic tombs and cave churches.
After lunch by the Tigris River, we depart to Tatvan, a small village on the edge of Lake Van and watch the sunset over the lake.
Depart from Tatvan and have a beautiful drive around the lake to Van city that was established in the 13th century BC.
We will then take a ferry across the lake to visit the most exceptional Armenian architecture, the Church of the Holy Cross that is on Akdamar Island.
Explore the huge Van Castle from the days of Urartu where you will see the hieroglyphs and sense the spirit of the once Urartu capital Tushpa and feel the salty waters of the great Lake Van called ‘the Sea’ by the locals.
Drive on the “Silk Road” to Dogubeyazit a beautiful, yet rugged area.
We will have the chance to see Mt. Ararat from all sides and is claimed to be the resting-place of Noah’s Ark, but so far no one has found any evidence – yet the search is still on.
We will then stop and see the Ishak Pasa Palace. This complex is made up of a mosque, a palace and a fortress, which initially had a different room for every day of the year and you can also see the remains of Eski Beyazit, and Urartian City which flourished in 1000 BC.
You will have an early morning departure and a 45-minute drive to the Armenian medieval City of Ani, that lies mostly in ruins.
Impressive fortified walls still surround the ruins of numerous churches, mosques and caravansaries and you can enjoy a stroll around the ruins and see the beautiful view to the Armenian border imagining it as a city with one million people rivalling Bagdad in its time.
This city has experienced the cultures of Urartians, Armenians, Georgians, Mongols, Russians and finally the Turks.
Also, visit the impressive Kars Castle and historical sites surrounding the city.
Depart from Kars after you have enjoyed breakfast and drive southwest to Erzurum.
The villages that are made up of stone houses and black sheep on green meadows will be of great interest.
Visit the 12th-century Medrese (a Seljukian School) and talk with the imam at the 12th-century Mosque and explore the ethnographic museum.
See an old caravan stop where the local black stone is mounted in gold and silver by the local artists.
we begin a beautiful 5-hour drive to Trabzon, winding along the rivers with many photo stops and visit the Karaca Cave along the way.
Visit the Sumela Monastery which is also known as the Monastery of the Virgin Mary, and has been said that it is neither in heaven or on earth.
Carved on the mountain, it looks like a nine-story high building that hangs down from the clouds and sits on the top of the forest.
A short hike through the beautiful rain forest will leave no question in your mind about where you are in Turkey.
In 1204, after the crusaders invaded Constantinople, Trabzon became the capital of the Byzantine Empire for a short amount of time.
Longing for the grandeur of Constantinople, in Trabzon, they imitated the Churches of their beloved city on a smaller scale.
St. Sophia of Trabzon, although much smaller will leave with you the same sense of religious devotion as the original one in Istanbul.
The tour will finish at noontime, and you will then transfer to Trabzon Airport and fly back to Istanbul.
- Please check if you need a visa to enter Turkey
- Make sure you have adequate insurance before you travel
- This itinerary is subject to change and may be reversed without prior notice according to weather, museum closing days, daily events or other unforeseen circumstances
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