Turkey Culture and Hike (14 Days)
DAY 1 Istanbul Upon your arrival at Istanbul Airport, you will be escorted to your hotel. Depending on the arrival time, we will have some time to start exploring the magnificent city.
DAY 2 Istanbul Today we have a full day to discover Istanbul, which was declared as ’New Rome’ by Constantine, its founder. We start our tour with Sultanahmet Square and visit the ancient Byzantine Hippodrome. The important monuments of the Hippodrome are; Egyptian Obelisk dating back to the 16th century B.C., the Serpentine Column from the 5th century B.C., and the Stone Obelisk erected in the 10th century A.D. On the edge of Sultanahmet Square also stands the Blue Mosque, famous for its six minarets and beautiful Iznik tiles as interior decoration. Topkapı Palace was once the residence of the Ottoman Sultans, located on a hilltop dominating the Bosphorus and Golden Horn. Today it’s used as a museum where precious displays such as porcelains, crystals, Sultan’s costumes, books, portraits and diamonds can be seen.
DAY 3 Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Spice Bazaar, Bosphorus Cruise, Sariyer, Teahouse of Pierre Loti Hagia Sophia, one of the greatest marvels of architecture, was constructed as a basilica in 536 by Emperor Justinian. The Church was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in the 15th century and into a museum after the Republic. Our visit continues to the Spice Bazaar with its domed and vaulted shops selling spices and herbs, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar. Then we go to the pier for a Bosphorus cruise by public ferry. Starting the trip from the Golden Horn and sailing through the waterway separating the two continents – Asia and Europe – we have a possibility to take pictures of the marble palaces and old wooden villas of Ottoman architecture, still standing besides modern residences. We get on land in the Sariyer district which combines the old and modern tastes together. Then we take a drive to the Golden Horn for a short break at the Café known as the Pierre Loti, it commands a superb view of the Golden Horn.
DAY 4 Istanbul-Cappadocia Early flight to Kayseri. 1 hour transfer to Cappadocia. (We may take a train to Ankara to see the new capital of the Turkish Republic and mausoleum of Atatürk and to see the magnificent Anatolian civilization museum which was selected as the best museum in Europe twice. Transfer to Cappadocia, on the way we will visit a salt lake and a Seljuk caravanserai.) We start our first day trekking with spectacular views of the White Valley, and make a moderate walk through the vineyards surrounded by fairy chimneys. After visiting the castle of Uchisar we walk down Pigeon valley, which gets its name from the pigeon lofts on the rock faces (total walk 5 hours).
DAY 5 Cappadocia Today we walk through some remote villages where time has stood still. Starting from Kavak, we pass through Bahçeli and Ayvalı and finish our day at the ruins of the 11th century Greek town of Gomeda (5 hrs walk).
DAY 6 Cappadocia Early balloon flight; please check: www.kapadokyaballoons.com After breakfast we take a transfer to Gomeda valley where we finished our walk the day before. Our morning walk through the Pancarlik valley takes us to Ortahisar, a quiet town with Byzantine-Seljuk fortress. After a short wander in the town we drive to Kızılçukur (Red valley) where we walk in the afternoon. We finish our walk at Göreme. (5 hrs walk)
DAY 7 Cappadocia-Konya Check out hotel. Our transfer will take us to Ihlara town centre (1.15 hrs). On the way we will visit Kaymaklı underground city. The amazing underground city was made by carving into the solid rock underground.
It consists of 5 levels. The deepest level is 30 meters under the ground. It is one of the wonders of Cappadocia and the largest of the other forty or so of underground cities.
After a short tea break, we walk about 3.5 hours through the beautiful Ihlara Valley and en route visit three rock-cut churches. After a late lunch at around 13:30, we continue walking by the river down to the monastery at Selime which is famous for its 300 steps (6 hrs walk). After the hike, we are going to meet our vehicle and drive to Konya.
DAY 8 Konya-Pamukkale-Fethiye In the morning in Konya, we are visit the famous Mevlana Museum (Whirling Dervishes). Mevlana who was a great theologist and the founder of sufism lived in the 13th c AD and was well-known for his tolerant doctrine. We reach Pamukkale with its travertine hillsides and the ancient site of Hierapolis after 4 hours drive. This site was an important settlement by the hot springs during the Roman period. The cotton looking travertines are formed by the hot calciumed water for thousand of years and are considered one of the wonders of nature in Anatolia. The pool known as Cleopatra’s Pool still contains hot springs and has ancient remains in it, thus creating a unique place in the world. We drive to Fethiye and the beginning point of the Lycian Way.
DAY 9 Walk Ovacık – Faralya We transfer to the beginning of the Lycian Way and start walking with spectacular views as we climb the shoulder of Baba Dağı (Father Mountain) (5-6 hrs walk). Dinner and overnight in pension in Faralya, overlooking the Butterfly Valley.
DAY 10 Walk Faralya – Alınca In the morning we have an optional descent to Butterfly Valley, passing steep rock slopes and dry waterfalls. We then trek from Faralya to Kabak along a forested path. There is a possibility for a swim break in Kabak bay. Afterwards we trek into the forested Kabak valley, splash in the waterfalls, and climb up a beautiful old mule trail to Alınca, with spectacular views over Yedi Burun (Seven capes) (6 hrs walk). Dinner and overnight in village house.
DAY 11 Walk Alınca – Gey From Alınca village we have an optional descend to a secret beach where we can explore and swim in crystal waters. Then we return to the main trail (4 hrs). We walk along cliff tops to Gey village (3 hrs). Dinner and overnight in village house.
DAY 12 Walk Gey – Gavurağili/Patara We trek a tiny goat path around a spectacular bay to Bel, then to Belceğiz and descend a steep rocky Roman road to Gavurağili (7 hrs). We meet our vehicle here and take a transfer to Patara. We will explore the ancient site of Patara which is also famous for its very long beach where the giant sea turtles, Caretta Caretta come for laying eggs. Overnight in Kalkan, a small old greek town on the coast.
DAY 13 In the morning we start the drive in the direction of Ephesus (5 hrs). In the afternoon we visit St John Basilica, Isa Bey Mosque and the ruins of theTemple of Artemis which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
DAY 14 Ephesus Ephesus is one of the most beautiful ancient cities in the world. In ancient times, its convenient location at the mouth of the Cayster river made it the foremost commercial city of a coastal region, but the silting up of its harbour gradually resulted in the loss of this importance. The ancient site is being excavated for more than one hundred years. Some of the stunning ruins are the Temple of Hadrian, Celsus Library, terrace houses and the theater. After Ephesus we visit an important Christian site, the house of Mother Mary. It is known with certainty that Virgin Mary has been to Ephesus and lived there for some time. Whether or not she died in Ephesus is not clear. The house which is 10 km away from Ephesus is visited by millions of Christians as a sacred place today.
After we complete the tour we are transferred to Izmir Airport and fly to Istanbul.
12 pax per person 1990 Euros
10 pax per person 2065 Euros
8 pax per person 2165 Euros
6 pax per person 2330 Euros
4 pax per person 2790 Euros