Beyond the Bosphorus

Cappadocia, Antalya, Pamukkale, Sirince and Ephesus
Overview

overview

Indulge your senses with the sight of turquoise coastline, the sound of traditional music, the smell of burning incense, the taste of Mediterranean cuisine, and the touch of hand-woven carpets. This trip takes you to the best corners of Turkey, combining cosmopolitan cities and their historic foundations, charming rural villages, and stunning landscapes and seascapes on an unhurried two-week exploration of the country.  Begin in historic Istanbul, on either side of the Bosphorus waterway, the crossroads where Europe and Asia meet. Lose yourself in the otherworldly terrain of Cappadocia. Explore the Sunken City near Kas, on the Mediterranean, then wonder at the travertine rock formations as you soak in the hot springs at Pamukkale. Weave your way through the hillside village of Sirince on your way to the massive, well-preserved ancient city at Ephesus.  At the journey's end, back in Istanbul, make time to wander the great bazaars one last time and sample the many interesting spices and sweets on offer. Try a nargileh (water pipe), sip some cay (tea) or Turkish coffee, and nibble on baklava while unwinding and taking in the sights at a sidewalk cafe. Perhaps you will even choose to venture to a classic hamam (Turkish bath)!  Listen for the imams' last calls to prayer as your exotic adventure winds down.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Istanbul
    Arrive in fascinating Istanbul

    Welcome to Turkey!  Our representative will meet you at Istanbul's international airport for a private transfer to your hotel for a three-night stay in Istanbul. Tonight, connect with your group and guide, and enjoy a welcome dinner.

    Meals
    Dinner
    Lodging
    Sultanhan Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: Istanbul
    View of the Blue Mosque

    After breakfast, begin a journey through Istanbul, the only city in the world situated on two continents. Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul -- its three names span more than 2,600 years, nearly 1,600 of them as the capital of two of the greatest empires the world has known, the Byzantine and Ottoman. You will visit the Topkapi Palace, including its harem, the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Hippodrome, where chariot races and the Byzantine riots took place. Visit the Grand Bazaar for amazing photography opportunities and a huge diversity of wares, from food to incense to carpets. Return to your Istanbul hotel for the night.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Sultanhan Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Istanbul/Bosphorus
    Savor the scents and sights of Istanbul's bazaars

    You'll be picked up at your hotel after breakfast for another fascinating day in this crossroads capital. First visit the Spice Bazaar, where the air is filled with the enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme, and practically every other herb and spice you can imagine.  Later, enjoy a traditional excursion by boat along the the Bosphorus, the waterway separating Europe and Asia. The shore is lined with old wooden villas, marble palaces, fortresses, and small fishing villages.  Later in the afternoon, visit the evocative Basilica Cistern, the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns under the city. Tonight, we have organized a delicious dinner for you at a family-run traditional seafood restaurant at the edge of the Bosphorus.  Return to your hotel for your last night in the city.  Consider visiting Istanbul's famous hamams for the local version of a cleansing and relaxing steam bath, a quintessential Turkish experience.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Sultanhan Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Cappadocia
    Spend a few days in the unusual landscape of Cappadocia

    Have an early breakfast, then transfer to the airport for your one-hour morning flight to Kayseri, Cappadocia, where you will head to your cave hotel for a three-night stay. In the afternoon, head out for Uchisar Citadel, driving first to Uchisar Rock Castle, the highest and most dominant point in the area, with breathtaking panoramic views. End the day with a visit to Esentepe Windy Hill for panaromic views and photos, then return to your evocative, comfortable cave hotel for the night.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Gamirasu Cave Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Cappadocia
    Visit fascinating villages, cave homes, fairy chimneys

    Early morning hot-air ballooning is an option before breakfast (additional cost). Following breakfast at the hotel, begin your full day exploration of this fascinating region, visiting Three Sisters Fairy Chimneys in Urgup, then Güvercinlik, or Pigeon Valley, which runs between Göreme and Uçhisar.  Pigeons have always been important here, and you'll see that the pigeon houses that the Cappadocian people have carved into the rock look much like their own houses! Later, you will head underground at Kaymakli Underground City, one of the largest and the deepest of 200 such ancient communities in Cappadocia. Afterward, drive to Mustafapasa, through the unspoiled villages of Cappadocia, surrounded by picturesque tabletop mountains, visiting Ayvali Village on the way. Mustafapasa (also known as Sinasos) is an ancient town with spectacular old houses, very fine examples of late Greek architecture. Your next stop is Rose Valley, far away from tourist crowds, where your group will embark on an easy 5-km walk (about three miles) in one of Cappadocia's most attractive valleys. Stop to visit hermit churches cut right into the rock with well-preserved ancient frescoes and paintings and reflect on the strange, beautiful history of the area. Your walk ends in the ancient village of Cavusin, where you will explore a bit before returning to your village for dinner in a cave restaurant, then to your hotel for the night.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Gamirasu Cave Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Cappadocia
    Walk through Devrent Valley's lunar landscape

    Embark on a second day of exploring Cappadocia after breakfast. First, you'll drive to a local handicrafts center where you can see traditional carpet weaving techniques.  Drive to Devrent Valley, taking a walk through its lunar landscape and bizarre rock formations. You'll see some of the area's best examples of fairy chimneys at Pasabag Fairy Chimneys Valley before driving on to the town of Avanos, famous for its tile and pottery workshops. After lunch, your next stop is Goreme Open Air Museum, where you'll enjoy fantastic rock churches and beautiful, ancient frescos decorating their walls. After dinner, return to your cave hotel for your final night in Cappadocia.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Gamirasu Cave Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Konya/Antalya
    Admire the 13th century Caravanserai on your travels today

    After breakfast, you'll depart on a drive toward Antalya, visiting the 13th-century Seljukian masterpiece Sultanhan Caravanserai along the way. Caravanserais made the Silk Route passable, housing camels and their drivers during their journeys. Have lunch in Konya, then visit the Mausoleum of Mevlana, the world-famous Sufi mystic. Proceed to Karatay Theological School, in which beautiful tiles are on display.  You'll wind up the day at your hotel in Antalya, your base for the next two nights.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    Tuvana Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: Antalya
    Explore historic ruins

    Following breakfast, head out on a private tour of the ruins of Perge, Aspendos, and Side, taking the day to savor the sights and explore in depth. At day's end, enjoy a special fish dinner in Antalya (cost not included) and return to your hotel for the night.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    Tuvana Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Antalya/Myra/Kekova/Kalkan
    Explore the streets of Kas lined with traditional homes

    Drive south to the Mediterranean coast's untouched bays, visiting St. Nicholas along the way and stopping in Kekova to take a private boat to the Sunken City and Simena. After a delicious fish lunch in an atmospheric little village, drive to Kalkan though the charming seaside town of Kas and nearby Kaputas Beach.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    Patara Prince (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: Kalkan/Pamukkale
    Explore the strangely-shaped mineral pools at Pamukkale

    After breakfast, visit the ancient city of Patara and enjoy a morning swim at Patara Beach. In the afternoon, relax on a drive to Pamukkale, then explore the travertine terraces and Hierapolis at Pamukkale, one of the most spectacular natural wonders in this part of the world.  Here, mineral springs form a white cliff about 200 yards long, overlooking the calcite-laden waters that have dripped down over a series of terraced levels to create a fairyland of bizarre solidified cascades and shell-shaped basins. The Turkish name Pamukkale translates roughly as cotton castle -- "pamuk" for cotton and "kale" for castle -- you'll immediately see why. After your visit - and maybe a swim! - head to a hotel in Pamukkale for the night.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    Tripolis Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: Pamukkale/Aphrodisias/Sirince
    Enjoy getting to know picturesque, small Sirince

    Leave Pamukkale after breakfast for a drive to Sirince, visiting Aphrodisias on the way. Aphrodisias was primarily known as a center for the arts, specifically sculpture, and the Aphrodisias School of Sculpture had a distinctive style and made its way throughout the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. Arrive at the traditional Greek village of Sirince in the afternoon, check into your hotel, wander the town's narrow streets, and meet with local people. Later today, you will also have the opportunitiy to taste different kinds of local fruit wines. Overnight in Sirince, your base for the next two nights.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Nisanyan Evleri (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 12: Sirince/Ephesus/Sirince
    At Ephesus, marvel at the great Library of Celsus

    After breakfast, drive to Ephesus where you will spend several fascinating hours walking in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, Caesar, Cicero, apostles Paul and John, and many other familiar historical names. The recently-opened slope houses on the site, where the wealthiest Romans lived, are an excellent example of sensitive excavation and preservation, with spectacular mosaics and frescos. Tradition has it that the Virgin Mary was brought here by St. John after Christ's crucifixion and that she lived her final years near the city of Ephesus. Visit a lovely chapel on the site, a major Catholic pilgrimage destination, then stop at the Basilica of St. John and the Ephesus museum before returning to Sirince at the end of the day.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Nisanyan Evleri (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 13: Sirince/Istanbul
    Make one last trek to Istanbul's bazaars for some shopping

    After an early breakfast at your hotel in Sirince, transfer to Izmir airport for your flight to Istanbul . On arrival, you'll be met and transferred to your hotel to settle in, then spend a free afternoon as you wish -- perhaps in the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market. If you have not yet partaken, consider trying a traditional and restorative Turkish bath - ask your guide for suggestions of where to go for the best experience.  Return to your hotel for your last night in Turkey.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Sultanhan Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 14: Istanbul/Onward
    Along the Bosphorus...

    You will be picked up at your hotel after breakfast and transferred to Istanbul's airport for your flight home.  Or, if your schedule permits, why not consider a few days in the Greek islands?  Contact Journeys for more information about this and other extension options.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Weekly guaranteed departures from May to October
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$3,660
based on double occupancy Domestic flights add $150 2-3 person cost: $3,960
Single Supplement:
$850
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
14 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
2
wonderful, unique, small boutique hotels
Group Size:
4-16
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
2
wonderful, unique, small boutique hotels

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

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