Arrive Istanbul International Airport. All day on your own. Overnight in Istanbul.
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:30 for a full day private tour Our tour will start at the Hippodrome, which was the scene of chariot races and great public occasions throughout the immensely long history of the Byzantine Empire. Close by looms the enourmous mass of Hagia Sophia, which was built by the Emperor Justinian and inaugurated in 537 AD. For over nine centuries it was the center of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and it remains the world’s 4th largest church. Hagia Sofia contains some of the finest mosaics to have survived from the Byzantine period, including a hounting Virgin and Child in the eastern apse. Just across a park stands the Blue Mosque, so called because of its exquisite Iznik tile decoration. Thousands and thousands of these exteremly precious tiles line the walls in a mezmerizing display of floral extravangance. The mosque’s courtyard is exceptional beautiful, and it is the only mosque in Istanbul to have six minarets. Our next stop is the Underground Cistern which , like Hagia Sophia, is the work of Justinian. Its roof a supported by a forest of over 300 columns. Overnight in Istanbul
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:30 for a full day private tour. Start the day visiting Devrent Valley, also known as “Imagination Valley”, this is the most surreal-looking landscape. Your next stop will be Pashabagi also called the Monks Valley because Christian hermits chose to locate hermit cells and churches in these three-headed pinnacles symbolic of the Holy Trinity, it’s possible to see all the stages in the formation of fairy chimneys at this spot. Proceed to Avanos (Venessa) the pottery centre of Cappadocia, this village is set on the banks of the Kizilirmak/Red River. The river gets its name from the red clay it deposits. You can watch the potters at work using kick wheels, the technique which has remained unchanged for generations. Lunch in a Local Restaurant Continue to Göreme Open Air Museum. The world’s most important Byzantine cave churches are found in these once remote valleys where monks and nuns pursued monastic life from the 3rd century on. Here you can see the best preserved Byzantine cave wall paintings and frescos from the Iconoclastic period through to the end of Seljuk rule. Icons with scenes from the Old Testament and the New Testament above portraits of Church Fathers and saints depict the structure of the Byzantine universe. Panoramic view point Esentepe. With a spectacular view over Göreme, see the complete view of Goreme valley and Goreme village: fairy chimneys, rock formations and cave houses. End your day with Uchisar Castle. This tall rock, the highest point of the Goreme region. Overnight in Cappadocia.
60 minute Hot Air Balloon ride over the lunar landscape of Cappadocia at dawn. Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:30 for a full day private tour. Start the day with a hike along the Red & Rose Valley, the most breathtakingly and mysteriously beautiful valleys in the region. The valleys, with their fabulous volcanic rock formations, are in the heart of Cappadocia but well away from the mainstream tourist haunts. Our hike will end in Cavusin Cave Village, where we will see a rock castle and troglodyte dwellings where people lived until the 20th century. After lunch in a local restaurant we descent towards the centre of the earth, with a trip to the Underground City of Kaymakli, one of the largest and deepest of Cappadocia’s many such settlements. This city is approximately 40m deep and contains all the usual rooms found in an underground city (stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, churches, wineries etc.) We will take a visit to the Pigeon Valley where we will have a spectacular view of dovecotes, old abandoned cave homes and old Greek houses of Uchisar and for our last stop we will visit Ortahisar Castle the biggest mass of fairy chimneys in Cappadocia. Overnight in Cappadocia
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:30 for a full day private tour. Today we first drive to the Virgin Mary’s House; after that we visit to the Church of St. John for a tour and a scenic overview of the surrounding area. From here our guide will point out the location of the ancient harbor of Ephesus and describe the silting process that led to the demise of this important Roman city. Of special interest is the tomb of John and the baptismal where new believers were immersed. We will also be able to view the site of the ancient wonder – the Temple of Artimus and the nearby Mosque of Jesus (Jesus is a respected prophet to Muslims). This afternoon we’ll view a wealth of artifacts awaiting us at the Museum of Ephesus and visit the archeological site of Biblical Ephesus, which hosts a large restoration effort and miles of ancient treasures. Ephesus was once a thriving port town of 250,000 people. Today you can still see the spectacular excavations of the major streets in this ancient city where we view the Library, Agora, theatre, colorful mosaics, a panoramic view of the surrounding ancient port area including a wealth of church history and cultural insight. After the tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel at around 17:30. Overnight in Kusadasi
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:30 for a full day private tour. We depart fort he ancient cities of Didyma, Miletus and Priene. In ancient times, Didyma was linked to Miletus by a sacred way. Like Claros, this was a sacred dedicated to Apollo and the seat of an oracle, but it dwarfs Claros. With a double-colonnade of over 150 columns, the temple can only be described as stupendous. Its design was so over-ambitious that work continued in it for 500 years without ever being completed. Miletus is a much larger and more important city and for many centuries was an extraordinary center of intellectual ferment. Beginning in the late 7th century BC, the city produced a succession of distinguished figures, including the philosophers Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes, who are generally credited with the invention of true, scientific inquiry, and the architect and town-planner Hippodamus, who if he did not actually invent the grid-plan, gave it a new sophistication and popularity. The destruction of Miletus in 479 BC by the Persians presented him with a golden opportunity, enabling him to redesign the city according to rational principles. Although Miletus has suffered many vicissitudes since (including the silting up of its harbor), the broad outlines of his plan, which was centered on three spacious agoras, are still visible. Other notable Milesians are the geographer Hecataeus, the enterprising and highly intelligent courtesan Aspasia, who became the mistress of Pericles and the friend of Socrates, and the architect Isodoros who, along with Anthemius of Tralles, designed Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia. Fort he non-specialist, the site’s most striking features are the Roman theatre, the vast Baths of Faustina and the exquisite early 15th century Mosque of Ilyas Bey. Hermogenes, the architect of the temple of Artemis Leukophryene (Artemision) at Magnesia and noted aeshetic thinker whose work centered on the issue of rationally based architectural proportions, was a native of Priene, which is our next point of call. This is perhaps the most enchanting of the Ionian sites and has a fine location situated on the slopes of Mount Mycale. It is not an especially large site, but that only adds to its charm. Virtually everything you will see at priene dates from the Hellenistic period, since the Romans largely ignored the city. It is thus a perfect example of a Hellenistic city with a Hippodamian grid plan. After the tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel at around 17:30. Overnight in Kusadasi.
You can catch a shuttle to Izmir airport for the flight to Istanbul International Airport that gives best connection to your international flight.
Price: Euro 885 per person in 2 participants
– 6 night’ accommodation including breakfast at the mentioned hotels (standard rooms)
– 60 minute sunrise hot air balloon ride
– Air conditioned luxury car with driver on private tours
– Professional guiding on tours
– Lunches on tours
– All admission fees to the museums and sights
I recommend the following hotels:
Vicenza Hotel www.vicenzahotelistanbul.com
Elevres Hotel www.elevres.com
Tatlıses Hotel www.tatliseshotel.com
– International and domestic flight tickets
– Drinks during the lunches
– Not mandatory but customary tips