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Istanbul, Turkey

Historical and Cultural Turkey

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TK04: 9 Days Istanbul - Ephesus - Pamukkale - Konya - Cappadocia - Istanbul

Tour Type: Private tailor-made tour, experienced guide and driver
Hotel: 4 to 5-star well selected hotels, also be open to your own choice

  • Explore Istanbul - capital of Rome, Byzantium and Ottoman three great empires.
  • Must-see Ephesus Ancient City, world’s largest and most complete ancient Roman city ruins.
  • Enjoy swimming in natural hot spring pools in Pamukkale.
  • Appreciate moon-like landscapes in Cappadocia.

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Day 1: Arrival in Istanbul
Welcome to Istanbul, once the capital of Rome, Byzantium and Ottoman, the three great empires in history! Once you landing at the airport as scheduled, our local representative will pick you up timely and escort you to the hotel. After helping you finish the check-in procedure, he or she will say goodbye and leave you to enjoy the rest time of the day as you like. 

You may either have a rest in the room to get refreshed from the long flight; or explore this ancient city spanning Europe and Asia on your own. The hotel is only a couple of minutes’ walking away from the Cemberlitas Tram Station. Hopping on one of those trams, you can have a rough impression of the city in a short time.

Accommodation: Yasmak Sultan (4 stars) or similar

Day 2: Istanbul Old City Tour
Today, our local guide will show you around the old city area of Istanbul to trace its past glory. The first stop will be the Blue Mosque. It is a Byzantium style building with round roofs and 6 minarets; going inside, you will find its walls are decorated with lots of blue and white tiles, which is the name origin of the mosque. The next stop will be Hippodrome from the Roman Period. It was built as the city’s sports and entertainment center and currently a square where many important monuments and buildings stand on or around, including the Knitted Obelisk, Serpent Column, a German pavilion, and the previously visited Blue Mosque. Afterwards, we'll visit the Hagia Sophia Museum opposite the Blue Mosque, a rare religious architecture dated to the Byzantium period. 

After lunch, you'll be guided to Topkapi Palace, the imperial palace of Ottoman Sultans for nearly 4 centuries. It is like a small city, made up of courtyards, gardens, libraries, schools, mosques and more. In addition to the architecture, you will see many treasured porcelains, weapons, paintings, jewelry and more inside. The last stop of today will be Grand Bazaar, one of the largest fairs in the world. It is also a good place to look into the locals’ daily lives. When today’s visits end, send you back to the hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Yasmak Sultan (4 stars) or similar

  • Grand Bazaar in Turkey
    Beautiful lamps in Grand Bazaar
  • Turkey Spice
    Spices in Grand Bazaar
Day 3: Bosporus Cruise, Fly to Izmir & Transfer to Kusadasi
After breakfast, the guide will transfer you to the wharf for a two-hour Bosporus Cruise. It is a great way to enjoy the amazing views of Istanbul. You can see Dolmabahce Palace, Bosporus Bridge, Camlica Hill and many Ottoman-style buildings on two banks of Bosporus Strait during the cruise. 

After the cruise, send you to the airport and help you check into the afternoon flight to Izmir. On your arrival at Izmir Airport, our local driver will pick you up and transfer you to the hotel in Kusadasi. The rest of the day will be left for you to explore the beautiful and charming seaside town of Kusadasi.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Ilayda Avantgarde Hotel (4 stars) or similar

Day 4: Full Day Ephesus Sightseeing
We will drive for about half an hour to visit Ephesus Ancient City after breakfast. It is currently world’s largest and most complete city ruins dated to Roman Empire. You will see Marble Street; Celsus Library, one of the three major libraries in the East Roman era; the Temple of Hadrian, which was named after the Roman Emperor Hadrian with the statue of snake-haired Madusa exquisitely carved on the front of the interior wall; the Trajan Fountain and Great Theater where Saint Paul preached.

We will then arrange lunch for you at a local restaurant. After lunch, continue to visit the Ephesus Archeological Museum, where relics excavated from the Ephesus Ancient City are displayed, among which the most famous is the statue of the Goddess Artemis, who in Greek myth is in charge of hunting, vegetation and childbirth. After, have a look of Temple of Artemis, which is one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. Today’s guided sightseeing will be ended at the House of Virgin Mary, where the Virgin Mary spent her last 5 years. At last, escort you back to the hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Double Tree by Hilton Hotel (4 stars) or similar

  • Ephesus Ancient City
    Celsus Library in Ephesus ancient city
Day 5: Drive to Pamukkale, Visit Hierapolis Ancient City
Today, the guide will accompany you to the next destination of this private Turkey tour, Pamukkale, literally “Cotton Castle”. It is about 2.5 hours’ drive away. There, hot springs gushes out from the 200-meter-high (655 feet) rock and flows down slowly. As the calcium contained in the springs settles year after year, many semi-circle ponds in milky white have been formed layer upon layer, which look from afar like white cottons scattering on the hillside, hence the name “Cotton Castle”. Prepare your swimsuit, because you will have the opportunity to swim in these hot springs pools upon arrival.

In the afternoon, we will go on to visit Hierapolis Ancient City on the mountain top of Pamukkale, where you'll see a large number of cemeteries, beautifully carved Roman stone pillars, amphitheaters and city gates. At the end of the day, send you to the hotel in Pamukkale for overnight stay. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Colossae Thermal Hotel (5 stars) or similar

  • Cotton Castle Turkey
    The white calcium ponds of Pamukkale
  • Hierapolis Ancient City
    Hierapolis Ancient City
Day 6: Drive to Konya for a Visit, then to Cappadocia
Early this morning, we will leave for Konya. After arriving approximately 5 hours later, visit the Mausoleum of Mevlana. Mevlana is the most famous sage of Turkey, who was not only the founder of Whirling Dervishes but also the spiritual leader of Islam. Thus his mausoleum is a holy temple for all Muslim in Turley, too. Then continue to visit Sultanhani Caravanserai, a 13th-century caravan station survived and well protected on the ancient Silk Road. 

After lunch at a local Turkish restaurant, we'll continue driving to Cappadocia, taking about 2.5 hours on the way. After checking into the hotel and unpacking the luggage on arrival, the rest of the day will be given to you to explore the region featured by moon-like landscapes on your own. Cappadocia is also one of the best places to ride hot air balloon on the earth. If you want to enjoy it, book a seat in advance as they are limited. We will also be glad to make a reservation for you. Just inform us in advance.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Hera Cave or similar

Day 7: North Cappadocia tour
After breakfast, we will set off to explore the north Cappadocia. The guide will firstly accompany you to Goreme Open Air Museum with more than 30 churches carved out in rocks, most of which are in Byzantine style with beautiful frescoes. Then proceed to Avanos, a small town famous for pottery making. The potteries here are made of the clay from the Red River flowing by, very unique. 

Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. After, go to the Devrent Valley famous for the lava rocks. There, you will see many peculiar rock formations, among which the most famous is the one shaped like a camel. Next, go on to Pasabag Monks Valley, where many tall and natural stone pillars like chimneys in the fairy tales stand, hence it is also named Fairy Chimney Valley. The last stop of today will be the Love Valley, where you can take in the stunning evening views of Cappadocia. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Hera Cave or similar

  • Goreme Open Air Museum, Cappadocia
    Goreme Open Air Museum, Cappadocia
Day 8: South Cappadocia Tour, Fly to Istanbul
Today’s tour in south Cappadocia will begin with Uchisar Castle dug out on a 60-meter-high (200 feet) giant rock. It was used as a defensive fortress in ancient times. When invaders came, the dwellers can stay inside for months. Climb to its top, you can overlook the whole Cappadocia. Then the guide will escort you to hike in the Red Valley noted for many churches carved in the rocks. After about 2 hours hike, arrive at Cavusin Village to visit two well-known churches, namely Great Basilica and Cavusin Church.

After lunch, we'll drive to visit Pigeon Valley rich in caves resembling pigeon nests and Kaymakli Underground City. With a depth of 40 meters (130 feet) and 8 levels, Kaymakli is the largest underground city in Cappadocia once dwelled by about 10,000 people. Going inside, you will find bedrooms, churches, meeting rooms, wells, washing rooms, wineries and more.

At the end of the day, the guide will drop you off at the airport and help you board the flight back to Istanbul.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Yasmak Sultan (4 stars) or similar

  • Uchisar Castle
    Uchisar Castle, the highest point in Cappadocia
  • Kaymakli Underground City, Turkey
    Exploring Kaymakli Underground City
Day 9: Departure from Istanbul
After having breakfast in the hotel, please pack your luggage and check out before 12:00. Then, our driver will escort you to the airport based on your flight time. If your flight departs late, you may go to the Grand Bazaar again, to shop for some unique souvenirs or feed your stomach with local delicacies and snacks. See you and hope that we can serve you again in other world’s destinations in the future!

Meals: Breakfast

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This trip can be tailored to match your dates and interests!
Tour Prices

2024 & 2025 Special: 10% off - Book before Apr 30, 2024

2-3 travelers4-5 travelers
USD3719 USD3347USD3089 USD2780
  • Prices are per person based on double occupancy.
  • The prices in red reflect 10% discount.
What's Included
  • Domestic airfares of Istanbul - Izmir, Cappadocia - Istanbul.
  • Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels.
  • Service of English speaking guides per itinerary.
  • Services of a private driver and air-conditioned vehicle.
  • Entrance fees for mentioned sights visited.
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • All government applicable taxes and service charges.
What's Excluded
  • International flight into and out of Istanbul.
  • Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.).
  • Tips for guides and drivers.
  • Personal travel insurance.
  • Turkey visa fee.
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