TOUCH OF TURKEY (7 Nights / 8 Days)
DISCOUNT PRIVATE TOUR – ISTANBUL, CAPPADOCIA & IZMIR
Land Only price (includes double occupancy and three Turkey domestic flights):
2 PEOPLE - $1,990 per person
4 PEOPLE - $1,890 per person
DAY 1 - ARRIVE IN ISTANBUL / CAPPADOCIA
Upon arrival in Istanbul, you will take a connecting flight to Kayseri. Upon arriving at the Kayseri airport, you will be picked up by a driver, who will take you to Cappadocia to check into the spectacular Cappadocia Cave Suites, the newest and most luxurious “cave living” in Cappadocia. Located in Göreme, a World Heritage site, our hotel’s spacious units almost all have windows with views to the outside and most feature a Jacuzzi. Some units have beautiful 200-year-old wooden ceilings and one unit is decorated in original 8th century painted frescoes showing the Maltese cross. The views are spectacular with the Fairy Chimneys in sight (www.cappadociacavesuites.com). Breakfast and dinner will be at the Cave Suites restaurant.
DAY 2, 3, 4 - CAPPADOCIA
After breakfast, we will enjoy the unique landscapes of wind and rain-eroded volcanic rock formations and have opportunities for incredible hikes. Our hotel is just a few minutes walk from the starting point of five different hiking routes. During the hikes, you will see amazing formations, valleys, grapevines and orchards full of fruit trees as hot air balloons fill the sky early in the morning. Cappadocia is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a World Heritage site. You will see why. Also amazing is the incredible underground cities of Cappadocia, some of which were home to as many as 15,000 inhabitants. We will go to Derinkuyu where ancient civilizations from 3,000 to 4,000 years ago started carving layers of living quarters into the bedrock connected by catacombs. In the region of Cappadocia, a 10,000 square mile area, there are 1,000 churches carved into bedrock by early and later Christians. About 100 of the churches still have frescoes from the Old and the New Testament. We will visit these churches and living quarters at the Open Air Museum, which is less than a mile from our hotel.
We will also visit ancient handicraft shops and a caravanserai, an ancient caravan motel.
While in the Cappadocia region, we will visit Kanesh, a nearly 5,000 year old Assyrian trade colony site where excavations have been going on for 40 years and, yet, nobody but our tours go to this site. It is “archaeology at work” and many of the objects displayed in the Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara were originally found here. We will then continue on to a city called Güzelyurt. Walking down the ancient living quarters (now abandoned) all carved into the rocks is an amazing feeling and offers many incredible photo opportunities. After this site, we will drive through the Ihlara Valley, which looks like a miniature Grand Canyon. Discovering the unknown Cappadocia, we will go off the "tourist track". One of these outings will be to the Ballidere Valley where many formations of rocks, carved by nature (similar to phallic symbols) 100 feet tall (or higher) and 10 to 15 feet wide, create otherworldly vistas. Cappadocia is also famous for its rugs and kilims. We will have an excellent lecture-demonstration on Turkish kilims and carpets.
- Hot air balloon rides over Cappadocia at reduced rates. A balloon ride in Cappadocia (for people of all ages) is safe and nothing less than spectacular. Discounted rates available in Cappadocia.
- Attend a Whirling Dervish ceremony at a 12th century caravanserai. There will also be an opportunity to take cooking lessons from the Cave Suites chef. A Cappadocia Cave Suites Turkish cookbook will also be available for sale.
DAY 5, 6 – IZMIR / KUSADASI (Ephesus) / ISTANBUL
Today we will fly from Kayseri to Izmir (please note that because this flight does not depart daily, the Izmir dates may be subject to change), which is the third largest city in Turkey and a major shipping port. Arriving in Izmir, a driver will pick us up and drive us to the LaVista Hotel in Kusadasi to check-in. This hotel features a beautiful view of the Aegean Sea. The rest of the day will be free to enjoy the many amenities the hotel has to offer (there will be no guide on this day). Dinner will be at the hotel.
The next day we will drive to the incredible city of Ephesus and its colossal Greek Theater, which is still used for performances today. The Marble Road, the Celsus Library, and the Temple of Diana are just a few of the things that we will be seeing here. We will also visit the house where the Virgin Mary lived her final days. After the crucifixion of Jesus, St. John brought her to Ephesus. We will have a simple dinner in Ephesus before going to the Izmir airport for a return flight to Istanbul. Arriving in Istanbul, we will be picked up and taken to the 5-star Barcelo Eresin Topkapi hotel.
DAY 7 – ISTANBUL
In Istanbul, we will start the day in the morning and visit several of Turkey's most famous museums and mosques. Topkapi Palace was first built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453 and was the home of the sultan until the 19th century. St. Sophia was built by Roman Emperor Justinian and was completed in 537 A.D. It was the greatest Christian church in the world for more than 1000 years. The Blue Mosque was commissioned by Sultan Ahmet in 1603 and was constructed with the deliberate intention of rivaling the St. Sophia. In addition, we will visit the Underground Cistern, the Hippodrome and the Rüstem Pasha Mosque with its exceptional tiles. In the afternoon, the guide can take you to the location of your choice such as the Spice Market or the Grand Bazaar. Your stay will again be at the Barcelo Eresin Topkapi hotel. Dinner will be at a seafood restaurant with lots of live music and entertainment by a gypsy orchestra.
DAY 8 – DEPART FOR THE U.S.
After breakfast, we will take you to the airport for your return flight back to the U.S. or you can extend your stay in Istanbul on your own and we can assist you with hotel reservations at the Barcelo Eresin (double room will cost around $140 per night).
Please Note: The order of events may vary and itinerary may be subject to change.
Cappadocia only tour (3 nights)
2 people: $590 per person
4 people: $490 per person
Please see Day 2, 3 & 4 for details
WHAT IS INCLUDED:
· Private tour with guide (except for Day 1 in Cappadocia and Day 8 in Istanbul)
· Driver/car or mini van
· All hotel accommodations throughout the tour
· Breakfast & dinner
· All scheduled lectures, shows and performances
· All entrance fees to museums, ancient cities and sightseeing excursions as set forth in the itinerary
· Three domestic air flights from Istanbul to Cappadocia, Cappadocia to Izmir and Izmir to Istanbul
· All baggage handling for check-ins and check-outs in hotels
· All local and hotel taxes
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED:
· Tips for guides, driver and hotel service
· Wine and beverages on most meals
· Visa ($20 (required for all U.S. citizens) to be paid in advance online at www.evisa.gov.tr)
· Tour cancellation insurance
· Room service, laundry, telephone call and personal items
· Airport tax