The Treasures of Turkey
Duration: 25 Days
1 September - 25 September 2019
We intend to help you sample the best of Turkish Delights! This trip is a fascinating journey to the most beautiful and historic areas, including Gallipoli and Anzac Cove. You will experience the magical lunar landscape of Cappadocia, epic monuments of Ephesus, ancient cities of Troy, exotic spice markets and bazaars of Istanbul, swim in the beautiful azure blue waters of the Mediterranean and meet the wonderful friendly Turkish people who just love the Kiwis. A truly spectacular destination and itinerary!
This itinerary is the very best of Turkey, a fascinating journey to the most beautiful and historic areas. Marvel at the awesome scenery of Cappadocia, the epic monuments of Ephesus, Pergamum and Troy, see the vivid colours of exotic Istanbul, spectacular coastlines and sandy beaches.
We take in Turkey’s stunning scenery, unique history and colourful culture. Linking Europe and the Middle East, Turkey is a living museum with over 10,000 years of history.
Suspended between the new and old, Turkey retains a balance of both east and west. It is three times the size of Great Britain and has a unique cultural heritage. Modern city boutiques and exotic bazaars clamour for customers – you can still haggle for bargains from leather to jewellery! The weekly tolling of church bells interrupts the daily calls of the muezzin. Roman ruins and the beginnings of Christianity compete for attention with the history of the Ottoman Empire.
We intend to help you sample the best of the Turkish delights! Istanbul, with one part in Europe and the other in Oriental Asia, is a fascinating city. It has frenzied market places, imperial residences and minarets. We take time to pay tribute to the many who lost their lives in Gallipoli. We go on to explore the wonderful ancient cities of Troy, hot springs of Pamukkale, and let your head spin while watching the Whirling Dervishes’. Cappadocia in Central Turkey offers a magical lunar landscape of eroded volcanic rock cones and fairy chimneys, remarkable subterranean cities and rock-hewn houses that merge harmoniously with the ochre-coloured landscape.
There is always a warm welcome from the friendly Turkish people and June is an excellent month for travelling through this amazing country.
Just a few highlights of this tour:
Istanbul: Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hippodrome and Grand Bazaar
Gallipoli: Tour of Anzac Cove, Lone Pine, Chunuck Bair, trenches and tunnels
Ephesus: Reputedly, the best preserved classical Roman city in the world
Pamukkale: Famous Travertine Terraces - Spectacular white cliffs formed by warm mineral water
Dalyan: Boat trip to the ancient city of Kaunos built 9th Century BC
Mediterranean Coast: Cruise the islands on a typical Turkish boat
Chimaera: An eternal flame which springs from the earth
Cirali – Olympos: The beauties of the Mediterranean
Cappadocia : UNESCO Site - Underground cities and amazing rock formation
Day 1: New Zealand, Istanbul
Depart New Zealand on our flight to Istanbul, Turkey.
Day 2: Istanbul B & D
Arrive early morning then transfer to our 3 Star hotel with a free morning to recover from the flight. Our hotel is centrally located just a few minutes walk from all the major sights. In the afternoon we take a leisurely walking tour through the streets of the old city visiting the Grand Bazaar with its hundreds of colourful shops, the spice market and the Golden Horn waterfront area before returning to our hotel.
Day 3: Istanbul B & D
Walking tour today to visit the highlights of Istanbul which are all close by. Visit the Hippodrome – remains of the great sports stadium where chariot races were held in Roman times. The stunning Topkapi Palace – The great palace of the Ottoman sultans from the 15th – 19th century. The Blue Mosque – the most unique mosque in the world built 1609-1616. St Sophia – built 532-537 AD, was the largest Christian Church for nearly 1,000 years. Underground Cistern - contained the vast water supply required for Constantinople.
Day 4: Istanbul, Gallipoli, Cannakale (B, D)
This morning we drive to the Gallipoli peninsular. We start our tour at Anzac Cove, before continuing up the hill to Lone Pine Cemetery, Katatepe Museum, and of particular importance to New Zealanders - Chunuck Bair trenches and tunnels where many our soldiers are remembered. We finish our day with a short ferry trip across the Dardanelle straight to Cannakale.
Day 5: Cannakale, Troy, Assos, Kucukkuyu B & D
From Cannakale we visit Troy. Despite popular belief there is more to Troy than just the wooden horse, with multiple ancient cities built one on top of another dating back to 3000BC. Later in the morning we visit the ancient village of Assos (now Behramkale) where Aristotle (Plato’s protégé) founded a school of philosophy here in 340 BC. St Paul also visited Assos on his third journey to Rome. We drive down from the Acropolis perched on top of the hill to visit the picturesque fishing port. Our beautiful hotel for the night is in nearby Kucukkuyu by the sea.
Day 6: Kucukkuyu, Pergamum, Kusadasi B & D
Today we journey south to visit Pergamum (modern day Bergama). With its impressive Ancient Acropolis high on the hill above the town, with its Altar of Zeus. Pergamum was one of the most powerful and wealthiest cities in the Middle East in the days of Alexander the Great. The city prospered under the Pergamene dynasty (263-133BC) and became one of the ancient world’s main centres of learning with the library reputedly containing 200,000 parchment scrolls. Late afternoon we arrive at our stunning four star hotel, 4 – 5 minutes walk from the beach, situated in the characteristic seaside town of Kusadasi.
Day 7 : Kusadasi, Ephesus, Sirince, Pamukkale (B, D)
Today we spend the morning visiting the most famous of all ancient sites – Ephesus. With extensive excavations and 2,000 year old marble streets, it is the best preserved classical Roman city in Asia. Later we visit the stone house where St John the Evangelist brought Mary, Mother of Jesus, to spend the last years of her life. Afterwards, we journey into the nearby hills to visit the authentic Turkish village of Sirince. After lunch we travel through fertile valleys to Pamukkale, to see its amazing limestone cascades (formed by calcium rich mineral water). The nearby Hierapolis Roman Theatre and Health Spa ruins, was once a cure centre founded in 190BC.
Day 8: Pamukkale, Dalyan B & D
We drive towards the Mediterranean coast to Dalyan where we take a boat ride through the delta reeds; see the intriguing Lycian temples and tombes carved into the face of the cliff, also the Loggerhead Turtles. We continue on to the sand spit beach, where there is time for a swim or just a stroll along the sandy beach. Part of the beach is also the nesting place of the Loggerhead Turtles.
Day 9: Dalyan, Island Boat Cruise, Fethiye B, L & D
Today is a day for relaxing. We cruise aboard our own Turkish Gullet around the many beautiful islands of Fethiye Bay which boasts some of the prettiest beaches in the Mediterranean, plenty of time for swimming and sightseeing. Our delightful hotel in Fethiye is another of the hotels we stay in that has a swimming pool.
Day 10: Fethiye, Kayakoy, Oludeniz, Saklikent, Fethiye B & D
We start the day with a visit to the deserted village of Kayakoy with its 2,000 stone houses, followed by a swim in the beautiful lagoon of Oludeniz. Continue on by road to the Saklikent Canyon, a spectacular gorge where waterfalls cascade into the Esen River, we then return to our hotel in Fethiye for a second night.
Day 11: Fethiye, Pinara, Xanthos, Kas B, L & D
Morning departure. Continue on by road to Saklikent Canyon, a spectacular gorge where waterfalls cascade into the Essen River then onto to the Pinara Acropolis where thousands of pigeon-type tombs are found. The Pinara Amphitheatre, remains in a remarkably preserved state. We have lunch in a village house, then on to Xanthos an amphitheatre which dates back to the Roman Age and see the Byzantine churches. Continue on to Kas, a delightful little seaside town with cobbles streets and an interesting harbour. Our hotel is situated in a beautiful part of the bay; the terrace dining has wonderful panoramic tranquil ocean views.
Day 12: Kas B
A free day in Kas, as the hotel is lovely with beautiful panoramic ocean views. This gives you a rest day and free time to browse the quaint township, relax by the pool or take a stroll to the beach. Your evening meal is at your own cost.
Day 13: Kas, Kekova, Kas B & D
Another relaxing day today cruising the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean to visit the Island of Kekova. Along the edge of the island facing the mainland lie the fascinating half-submerged remains of a Lycian sunken city, built over 2,000 years ago. We visit the ancient site of Simena known today as Kale (castle) and walk to the fortress hill for a spectacular view over the bay (a photographers dream!). We return to our hotel in Kas for a second night.
Day 14: Kas, Myra, St Nicholas, Phaselis, Cirali, Antalya B & D
From Kas we continue along the coast to visit the ruins of Myra with its Lycian rock tomb honeycombed into rock faces and well preserved Roman theatre. St Paul stopped here on his voyage to Rome. Visit the church of St Nicholas where the legend of Santa Claus is believed to have begun in the 4th century. We drive to Phaselis where you will have opportunities for swimming and / or walking through the Roman city. We travel on to Antalya to our perfectly situated accommodation, a beautiful oasis of calm.
Day 15: Antalya, Aspendos, Konya B & D
Today we leave Antalya to visit Aspendos with one of the best preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world, built around AD162 with a seating capacity of 12,000. The theatre is still in use today. Continue along the coast then inland through the stunning scenery of the Taurus mountain range to Konya. After arrival in Konya, we will visit the Mevlana Rumi Museum, a religious and conservative town where Mevlana Rumi founded the Whirling Dervisches in the 13th Century.
Day 16: Konya, Sultanhani, Ihlara Canyon, Kaymakli Underground City B & D
Today we continue to the Seljuk Caravanserai of Sultanhani and drive to Ihlara gorge to walk, a dramatic gorge with sheer cliffs riddled with homes, pigeon lofts and churches hidden amongst its valley floor, where there are many frescoed churches. Lunch is at Bellisimar, a very special setting by the river Melendiz. Then we visit Kaymakli Underground City, one of several built as refuge from invaders. The city has underground rooms, including stables, cellars, storage rooms and churches. Chance to see the Whirling Dervishes (own cost).
Day 17: Urgup, Kizilcukur, Cavusin Village, Pasabag, Goreme Open Air Museum, Urgup B & D
Watch the sun rise over the spectacular landscape of Cappadocia from a hot air balloon. We will be exploring the district of Cappadocia, starting with a walk in the Red Valley with the camion expedition transfer for the visit of Pasabag to view its fairy chimneys. We continue to Dervent Valley with its unbelievable rock formations. After lunch we drive to Goreme Village, which is surrounded by volcanic cones and pinnacles. Here, clustered within a relatively small area are numerous monasteries and some of the most fascinating churches of the region. We then continue to Urgup where we visit a local carpet gallery to learn more about the handcrafted Turkish Carpet. Return to our accommodation in Urgup and departure for a fantastic barbecue, Turkish music, and dance. (The balloon ride is optional and extra cost).
Day 18: Urgup, Avanos, Uchisar Castle, Panoramic view of Goreme Village at Esentepe, Urgup B & D
Today, we visit Devrent Valley in the morning then drive to Avanos to see local art pottery making. After visiting the beautiful town of Avanos, we have lunch. We continue to Uchisar where we stop to take pictures of the castle. On the way back, we stop at Esentepe to take pictures of the panoramic view of Goreme then we travel through traditional villages and amazing, panoramic landscapes, “fantastic photo opportunities”, and arrive at Soganli, a semi-abandoned village.
Day 19: Urgup B
You have a free day today to explore this unique and incredible area, or just relax in our beautiful hotel. Your evening meal is at your own cost.
Day 20: Urgup, Kaymakli, Ihlara, Ankara B & D
This morning we drive to Ankara, the capital of Turkey. Ankara is situated in the heart of Anatolia, surrounded by fertile land and is home to the famous Museum of Anatolian Civilisations and the informative Mausoleum of Ataturk, a man considered to be the father of the nation.
Day 21: Ankara, Istanbul B
We return to Istanbul arriving later in the afternoon.
Day 22: Istanbul B
A picturesque morning boat cruise on the Bospherous, the straight which is 32km long and from 500m to 3km wide, connecting the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara - where one side is Asia and the other side is Europe. Free time in the afternoon to do some last minute shopping.
Day 23: Depart Istanbul B
Depart Istanbul for our return journey to New Zealand.
Day 24: In Transit
Day 25: Arrive New Zealand
We stay in 3 and 4 star hotels and very good “boutique” accommodation, on a share twin/room basis. If you are traveling alone, we will endeavor to match you with another single traveler (of the same gender) unless you request a single room and pay the single room supplement.
The Tour Group
Our friendly, companionable group size accommodates a minimum of 10, but no more than 20 clients.
What to Take
We recommend you include one piece of warm clothing, a very lightweight raincoat (just in case) as well as solid footwear.
Food and Water
All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 17 dinners are provided in Turkey on the days shown on the itinerary. Bottled water is available in shops.
Extending the trip
Talk to us if you want to travel to Europe before your tour starts and meet us there and/or stay on after the tour and return home at your convenience.
Personal Spending Money
Lunches (not included) may be bought from cafes or food stores, depending on our location. For lunches and drinks, an allowance of NZD $20 - $25 per day should be adequate.
All prices are indicative
Prices are subject to change and can move either upward or downwards as a reflection of alterations in airfares, local prices and currency rates. Please refer to booking conditions.
The itinerary is subject to change in the event of unexpected circumstances.