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Best of Turkey and Greece
 

16 day tour
(Explore highlights of Turkey and Greece)
Istanbul - Cappadocia - Pamukkale - Ephesus - Athens - Mykonos - Santorini
Small groups, skip the line admissions & excellent services

Program

- Day 1 - Arrival in Istanbul -
HOS GELDINIZ! Welcome to Turkey! We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. After a short briefing about your tour,
you will have the afternoon free to rest and explore Istanbul on your own.
Overnight in Istanbul.

- Day 2 - Istanbul - (B/L)
In the morning we will meet you at your hotel and take you on a guided tour of the old part of the city.
Sites you’ll see today:
* Blue Mosque/Sultanahmet Mosque (Camii) built during the reign of Sultan Ahmet I during 1609-1616. It is the only mosque in Turkey with six minarets. Due to its magnificent hand-dyed blue, green and white Iznik tiles it has been named the "Blue Mosque" by Europeans. The central dome is 43 m in height and is 33.4 m in diameter; it also boasts 260 windows.
* Hagia Sophia/Aya Sofya is a truly awe-inspiring, 1,400-year-old Byzantine cathedral which houses mosaics, relics and iron work. Hagia Sophia was, for nearly a thousand years, the largest enclosed space in the world, and still seen as one of the world's most important architectural monuments.
* Hippodrome: the backdrop of chariot races and the center of Byzantine civic life. Of the ornaments which once decorated it, only three remain: The Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column, and the Column of Constantine.
The Obelisk is in the Egyptian style and was erected in 1547 BC and stood 60m tall.
* Topkapi Palace was the imperial residence and administrative heart of the massive Ottoman Empire, beginning with Fatih Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, in 1453, until 1856. It was converted to a museum in 1924. Parts of the palace such as the Harem, Baghdad Pavilion, Revan Pavilion, Sofa Pavilion, and the Audience Chamber distinguish themselves with their architectural assets. The museum also has collections from the Imperial Treasury, as well as Chinese porcelain, weapons, calligraphy, etc. The Treasury also houses the Topkapi Dagger, the 86-carat "Spoon Maker's Diamond", and the jewel-encrusted bones of St. John the Baptist.
* Grand Bazaar: this is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 streets and over 4,000 shops attracting between 250,000 and half-a-million visitors every day!
The Bazaar's construction began in 1455 and opened in 1461, and is still renowned today for its jewelry, ceramics, spices, textiles, and of course, carpet shops. Many of these shops are grouped together according to the wares being sold.
After the tour, return to the hotel. Overnight in Istanbul.

- Day 3 - Istanbul - (B)
In the morning , we will meet you at your hotel and take you on this enlightening walking tour down to the water front near Eminonu.
You'll see hundreds of interesting shops lined up cozily side-by-side. Of course, there will be time for for a break at a typical Turkish cafe before indulging our taste buds in the Egyptian Spice Bazaar, tasting lokum (Turkish Delight) and other sweets.

* The Spice Bazaar/Egyptian Bazaar (Misir Carsisi) transports you back to the Silk Road days with its mystical aromas of various spices. Here, you'll also find other shops selling fruits, vegetables, teas, flowers, fish, and Turkish Delight (lokum).
* Bosphorus Cruise takes you though the waterway separating the two continents, Europe and Asia; along its shores, you can take photographs of marble palaces and antique wooden Ottoman-era villas that sit beside luxurious modern residences.
You will also see Dolmabahce Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, and Ortakoy Mosque from the Sea which will give you great advantage of taking wonderful photos.

Enjoy rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Istanbul.

- Day 4 - Istanbul to Cappadocia - (B/L)
Early in the morning we will provide a transfer to Istanbul domestic airport and put you on a short domestic flight to Cappadocia.
Upon arrival, we will provide a transfer to the Cappadocia region and continue on the guided tour of Cappadocia.
Today will be devoted to exploring more of Cappadocia's unforgettable sites.
Sites you'll see today:
* Goreme Open-Air Museum - A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Goreme is an ancient town carved right out of the rock (tufa); you'll explore Byzantine-era churches, chapels and monasteries which house wonderfully-preserved 11th- and 12th-century cave frescoes.
* Fairy Chimneys--This strange geological phenomenon was created over millions of years, and were formed during regional volcanic eruptions. Reaching at times 40 meters in height, they are conical in shape and have a whimsical "hat" top to them.
* Devrent Valley--This valley is known as "the pink valley" because of the color of its soil. This is a lovely place to wander about and really take in the magical rock formations indicative to Cappadocia, including the Fairy Chimneys.
* Uchisar Castle, also known as Uchisar Fortress, is actually a formation of two gigantic rocks surrounded by smaller ones that together, form a natural fortress with towers. These formations were inhabited during both the Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
We'll also visit local crafts people and learn the special art of making dolls and traditional pottery.
Overnight in Cappadocia.

- Day 5 - Cappadocia - (B)
(If you have purchased the optional hot-air ballooning tour, please note that you'll need to rise very early in the morning to go to the balloon-launch site. After the trip has concluded, we'll come back to the hotel for breakfast and have a rest before setting out in later in the morning to see the rest of the sites listed below.)
* Underground City of Derinkuyu--You'll gradually make your way down into the depths of the earth of this ancient settlement that has 18-20 floors which boast depths as long as 40 meters. (Don't worry, we'll only go down to the 8th floor!) You'll marvel at the fact that Derinkuyu is just one of 36 Cappadocian underground cities, which archaeologists date back to the time of the Hittites around 4,000 years ago.
* Ihlara Gorge is an oasis in the middle of the Anatolian plain. We'll explore the canyon and take in the beautiful green scenery as we stroll casually alongside the river. Here, you'll see ancient monasteries complete with pigeon holes carved into the cliffs by the monks; the pigeons acted as messengers to communicate with neighboring monks!
* Traditional Anatolian village -- You'll see head-scarved women in the fields (where they work from sun up until sundown) and the moustached, vest-wearing men hard-at-work playing cards or tavla (backgammon) in the kahvehane (coffee shop). You'll get time to stroll in a village such as this and see the average Turkish villager at work...or play.
Overnight in Cappadocia.

- Day 6 - Cappadocia to Pamukkale - (B/D)
After breakfast we will depart from Cappadocia on a scenic drive to Pamukkale,
on the way we will stop and visit the former home of the whirling dervishes, now the turquoise-tiled Mevlana Museum in Konya.
Free time to explore on your own for photography, note taking, and enjoyment.
Overnight stay in Pamukkale.

- Day 7 - Pamukkale to Kusadasi - (B/L/D)
After breakfast we will continue on our tour visiting Pamukkale and Hierapolis.
* Pamukkale ("cotton castle" in Turkish) is the result of limestone formations created over thousands of years. Warm, calcium-rich mineral water from nearby thermal hot springs flowed over these cliffs and, as these waters cooled, they deposited the calcium that we see today.
* Hierapolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded as an ancient healing care center in 190 BC, taking advantage of the mineral waters. It was one of the most important intellectual, artistic, religious and commercial centers of the Roman Empire.

After the tour we will continue onto Kusadasi where you will spend the night
Overnight in Kusadasi.

- Day 8 - Kusadasi - Ephesus - Kusadasi - (B)
In the morning we will met you at your hotel and take you on a guided tour of Ephesus, Temple of Artemis and the House of Virgin Mary.
About the sites you will visit ;
*Ephesus is the best-preserved classical cities from ancient times, and was inhabited by Greeks, Macedonians, Romans and Turks. St. Paul lived here circa 60 AD, when it was at its most populated at 250,000.  During your visit, you’ll walk its stony boulevards, stand in the grand theatre, marvel at the beauty of the Celsus Library, the agora, as well as the baths, giving you the unique chance to get up-close-and-personal with history by literally being able to walk into it.
*The Temple of Artemis is situated in serene countryside celebrates the Greek goddess Artemis, the virginal huntress and twin of Apollo, who supplanted the Titan Selene as goddess of the Moon.  This temple, known as Artemision in Greek times, was the largest of its kind at the world
*The House of The Virgin Mary, (Turkish: Meryemana Evi), high on a hill overlooking the town of Selcuk, is where it is believed that St. Mary came to live with St. John the Baptist in the later years of her life.
Overnight in Kusadasi.


- Day 9 - Kusadasi to Athens - (B)
In the morning we will provide a transfer to Izmir Airport and put you on a flight to Athens.
KALOS ORISATE! Welcome to Greece!
We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. After a short briefing about your tour, you will have the
afternoon free to rest and explore Athens on your own.
Overnight in Athens.

- Day 10 - Athens - (B)
After breakfast around 8:30 AM, we will meet you at your hotel for your guided tour of Athens.
You will explore Temple of Olympian Zeus, Panathinaiko Stadium (where the first Olympic Games took place in 1896).
After that, we will drive by the Prime's Minister's residence, the Royal Palace, (guarded by colorful Evzones), Zappion (Conference and Exhibition Hall), National Garden, Hadrian's Arc, St. Paul's Church, Parliament, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Schlieman's House (Numismatic Museum), Catholic Cathedral, Academy, University, National Library, Old Parliament, Constitution Square, and the impressive Russian Orthodox Church.

At the ACROPOLIS, you will visit Propylaea, Temple of Athena Nike, Parthenon, Erechtheion and the Museum of the Acropolis.
In the early afternoon, we will provide a transfer to your hotel, or we can also drop you off at the Plaka so you can wander and explore. Overnight in Athens.

- Day 11 - Athens to Mykonos - (B)
Early in the morning, we will transfer you from your hotel to Pireaus ferry port, and put you on a fast ferry to Mykonos Island. After arrival, we will meet you at the harbor and provide a transfer to your hotel, after check in the hotel you will have a full free day to relax and or explore the Island.
Overnight in Mykonos.

- Day 12 - Free day to Explore Mykonos - (B)
Breakfast provided in the hotel; today is free for you to explore Mykonos on your own.
Optional tour to Delos is available at your request.

Located in the middle of the Aegean Sea, Mykonos is one of the most popular Greek islands, thanks to its beaches with crystal-clear water, windmills, charming waterfront buildings, stunning archeological sites and excellent nightlife. Archaeological records here indicate that the Ionians settled Mykonos in the early part of the 11th century BC; more recent discoveries have uncovered ruins in Ftelia beach from the Neolithic-era Kares tribe dating back to 3,000 BC.
Overnight in Mykonos.

- Day 13 - Mykonos to Santorini - (B)
In the morning, we will provide a transfer to Mykonos ferry port for a ferry to Santorini Island. After arrival, you will check in at your hotel.
After check-in, you will have a free day to relax and explore on your own.

* Santorini is one of those iconic places that will be permanently etched in your mind. Everywhere you turn is a photo opportunity. Essentially, the island is what remains of an enormous volcanic eruption, which destroyed the earliest settlements on what was formerly a single island. The aftermath of the explosion created what you see today, a caldera. All of the whitewashed, charming houses cling to the high cliffs of the rim, while the deep blue Aegean Sea wraps around the geological masterpiece, hundreds of feet below. Its spectacular physical beauty, along with its lively nightlife, has made this island a perennial tourist favorite.
Overnight in Santorini.

- Day 14 - Exploring Santorini - (B)
After breakfast we will take you on a tour of Santorini. You will hop on a boat to explore the caldera, take in the hot springs, view the ruins of Thirrassia, and afterwards, you will be taken back to your hotel.
Overnight in Santorini.

- Day 15 - Santorini - (B)
After breakfast, you will have a full free day to relax and explore Santorini on your own.

Many take this opportunity to relax and tan on one of the islands many beaches, such as Red Beach, or, you may opt to return to Oia for more sightseeing.
Overnight in Santorini.

- Day 16 - Departure from Santorini - (B)
In the morning We will transfer you to the airport and wish you well, asking you to keep Greece and Turkey in your heart, and hope that our paths will cross again.
Upon arrival in Athens, walk to the international departures for your out bound flight to your next destination.

*** Program ends ***

Total cost : $_________ for per person in a double room & $ ______ in a single room
Contact us for price options and to get a based on your dates.


Price includes
* Centrally located superior & charming hotels
* All land transfers with comfortable vehicles
* All of the meals mentioned in the itinerary (B-breakfast, L-lunch & D-dinner)
* Professional, English-speaking tour guides
* Admissions to Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Cappadocia site, Pamukkale, Ephesus, Acropolis Museum& sites
* Cruise on the Bosphorus
* Domestic fight tickets from Istanbul to Cappadocia
* Flight tickets from Izmir to Athens
* Ferry tickets from Athens to Mykonos Island
* Ferry tickets from Mykonos to Santorini
* Flight tickets from Santorini to Athens
* All taxes and service charges

Excludes
* International flight tickets to Istanbul & from Athens to your next destination after the tour.
* Hot Air Balloon tour on Cappadocia (%15 percent discount if booked with this package)
* Drinks with meals

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