Cappadocia, Ephesus and the Coast

Comprehensive itinerary includes the best-known sites and sailing on the Mediterranean
Overview

overview

Explore Turkey's buzzing bazaars, pristine coastline, rural villages and fairy-tale Cappadocian landscapes.  Immerse yourself in historic and cosmopolitan Istanbul.  Enjoy the attractions that have drawn travelers here for millenia.  Begin with Istanbul and the Bosphorus, continue to  Fethiye and Oludeniz, exploring small islands of the Mediterranean while staying aboard a traditional gulet. Visit the Roman ruins at Ephesus, the mountain towns of Sirince and Gokcealan, the spa town of Pamukkale, and Konya and the whirling dervishes. Behold the amazing region of Cappadocia with its otherworldly rock formations, cave churches, and the ancient underground city of Kaymakli.  While touring, be sure to schedule time for a hammam (Turkish bath) treatment, sample the sweets and the spices, listen for the atmospheric calls to prayer, and find at least one opportunity to relax at a sidewalk cafe with cay (tea) and nargileh (water pipe), or a Turkish coffee and some pistachio baklava.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Istanbul
    View of Ortakoy Mosque

    Upon arrival at Istanbul Airport, you will be met and escorted to your hotel. Stay overnight in Istanbul in a lovely small boutique hotel.

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Amiral Palace or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: Istanbul
    Feast your eyes on the iconic Blue Mosque

    After a post-breakfast hotel pick-up, your journey begins in 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. We visit the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Hippodrome, where chariot races and the Byzantine riots took place.  Later, visit the Grand Bazaar, a centuries-old fascinating warren of more than 4,000 (!) small shops filled with intriguing sights and scents, for shopping.  Although a good spot for travelers, it's also a flourishing hub for locals as well as import/export businesses.  Overnight in Istanbul.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Amiral Palace or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Istanbul / Bosphorus
    Explore Istanbul's atmospheric Basilica Cistern

    Embark on a second day of exploring Istanbul, where today you'll investigate the intriguing watery depths of the 6th century Basilica Cistern. Afterward, you'll have some free time in the Spice Bazaar (also known as the Egyptian Bazaar) with its domed and vaulted shops selling spices and herbs, a real treat that will engage all the senses.

     

    Later, head to the pier for a public ferry cruise on the Bosphorus.  Start the trip at the Golden Horn and sail along the waterway separating two continents, Asia and Europe, with marble palaces, old wooden villas of Ottoman architecture, and modern residential mansions along the way.  Stop in Sariyer district, an interesting blend of old and modern, and visit Ortakoy, more of a local destination. Ortakoy, once literally "the village in the middle" on the European side of the Bosphorus, is now among Istanbul's most eclectic, arty neighborhoods, with unusual boutiques, atmospheric cafes, cozy bistros, and great people watching.  Afterward, return to your hotel for your overnight in Istanbul.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Amiral Palace or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Istanbul / Dalaman / Fethiye
    Check out fellow gulet travelers moored in a quiet cove

    After breakfast, transfer to Istanbul Airport for an hour and 20 minute flight to Dalaman and a short drive to Fethiye, where you'll meet your gulet, home for the next three nights, and depart in the late morning.

     

    Traveling by gulet (traditional two-masted wooden sailing vessel) is an evocative and relaxing way to experience Turkey's western Mediterranean coast.  After setting sail from Fethiye, there are opportunities to swim at Turunc Bay or Karacaoren before lunch is served, then the afternoon is spent sailing along the coast.  The gulet will moor for the night at St. Nicholas Island with its remains of an old settlement and its ancient church.  Some medieval sources claim that Nikolaos of Myra, known asSaint Nicolas (Santa Claus), lived here for some time; one of the island's churches has frescoes dedicated to him.  Watching the sunset on St. Nicholas Island offers a lovely end to a perfect day.

     

    Enjoy a quiet evening on board.  Weather permitting, you may even wish to sleep on a mattress on deck under the stars.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Onboard a lovely gulet (5 to 8 cabins)
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Oludeniz
    Hike in lush Butterfly Valley

    Breakfast is served on deck before continuing the cruise for Butterfly Valley, the Oludeniz area, and then on to Cleopatra’s Bay or Merdivenli Bay.  Oludeniz is Turkey's most famous beach with its beautiful blue lagoon. Butterfly Valley, just around the corner, is a conservation area for Jersey Tiger Moth butterflies.  The bays offer scenic, protected anchorage for yachts and gulets.  All of these areas also provide interesting opportunities for hiking verdant valleys and swimming in turquoise waters, whatever you prefer.

     

    The gulet will moor overnight in Sarsala Bay or Tasyaka.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Onboard a lovely gulet (5 to 8 cabins)
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Yassicalar / Samanlik
    Aerial view of the Turquoise coast

    Today we sail to Tersane Island (once used as a ship dockyard during the Ottoman period) to swim, snorkel, or just laze in the sunshine. The island was inhabited in the past as evidenced by its many ruined houses, fruit trees, and goat herds. However, islanders migrated to Rhodes in 1922 after Greece and Turkey agreed to a foreign population exchange. There are also remains of two churches and a tomb that can be explored by the ambitious.

     

    After lunch, sail to Yassicalar (Flat Island), stop at Red Island or Samanlik Bay for a break, then head onward to Fethiye harbor, where you will spend a final night onboard before your adventure continues on land.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Onboard a lovely gulet (5 to 8 cabins)
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Fethiye / Sirince
    Get to know small-town Turkey at your Sirince boutique hotel

    Bid farewell to the gulet and her crew after breakfast, then drive to the Ephesus area, where you will spend two nights in the historic hilltop village of Sirince in a small family-owned boutique hotel.  The late afternoon and evening are yours at leisure.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Nisanyan Evleri or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: Ephesus
    Imagine the rich past of Ephesus while climbing the theater steps

    Set off for Ephesus, where you will spend several hours exploring one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.  One of the most splendid cities of its time, Ephesus had a commanding location at the mouth of the Cayster River, making it the foremost commercial city of the region.  As the river gradually changed course and the harbor silted up, Ephesus eventually lost its importance and was abandoned.  The best-preserved classical city on the eastern Mediterranean and among the best places in the world to get a feel for what what life was like in Roman times, Ephesus has been under excavation for more than 100 years.  You'll explore around, learn about, and marvel at the stunning ruins, including the Temple of Hadrian, the Library of Celsus, the Sacred Way, the Great Theater, the agora, the Gate of Hercules, and more.

     

    After visiting Ephesus,  stop at nearby Meryemana, by legend -- and later affirmed by Pope Paul VI -- the house of the Virgin Mary near the end of her life.  The house and its small shrine are visited by religious pilgrims, and the views of Ephesus and the surrounding countryside along the way are wonderful.

     

    Return to your inn at Sirince village, where the remainder of the afternoon and evening are yours at leisure.  You may wish to visit the ruins of the Church of St. John the Baptist to see its frescoes, wander the town's backstreets, see the lovely old houses, and poke your head into shops and homes selling locally-produced olive oil, wines, olive soap, handmade lace, and other finds.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Nisanyan Evleri or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Sirince / Halkapinar Village
    Visit Sirince's bazaar and local organic farms

    Sirince is famous for its vineyards, fruits, and fruit wines, and today we will spend time exploring village farms together.   Also visit the Soke plain, a rich agricultural land, one of Turkey's largest cotton-growing areas, and also important for wheat and flour, as well as handicrafts, and forestry.

     

    Travel to Halkapinar Village day's end, your base for the next two nights.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    In a comfortable Turkish family home
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: Halkapinar Village
    Discover Sirince and Halkapinar village life

    Spend a relaxing day exploring village life in and around  famous for its Sultana grapes and hillsides full of citrus, olive, and fig trees, as well as cotton, wheat, and other crops.

     

    Halkapinar Village offers an attractive countryside of lazy charm with a pleasingly warm climate, the scent of oranges, and an impressive backdrop of mountains.  Return to your village hotel for the night.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    In a comfortable Turkish family home
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: Halkapinar Village / Pamukkale / Hierapolis
    Take the waters in the ancient spa town of Pamukkale

    Depart early for a drive to the lovely ancient spa town of Pamukkale, known for the curative powers of its waters as well as fabulous ruins.  Shortly after arriving, visit the ruins of ancient Hierapolis, where life in the early centuries of the modern era is brilliantly preserved.  See the Antique Pool, Temple of Apollo, Hellenistic Theater, Byzantine church, Roman baths, and magnificent necropolis.

     

    After visiting Hierapolis, check in at your Pamukkale hotel, a thermal hotel where you can enjoy the warm mineral waters and the settlement's sleepy village charm.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Pam Thermal Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 12: Pamukkale / Konya
    Enjoy Konya's contrasts of old and new, ancient and modern

    Head out early for Konya.  On arrival, have lunch and then set off to see the sights, including the Mausoleum of Mevlana, the world-wide famous mystic, and Karatay Theological School, known for its beautiful tiles.  Stay overnight in Konya, charming in its juxtaposition of old and new, ancient mosques and market mazes, orders of whirling dervishes and modern tea houses.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Bera Mevlana or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 13: Konya / Cappadocia
    Experience life off the beaten track in Red Valley

    Set off early on a full day adventure, beginning with a stop at the 13th Century Silk Road Sultanhan Caravanserai.  Afterward, drive to Cappadocia's surreal landscape of mountain-fringed high plateau, craggy mushroom and conic rock formations, and underground cities. Visit Urgup and its Three Sisters Fairy Chimneys in the heart of Cappadocia, then head on to Pigeon Valley in Uchisar, where people have carved pigeon houses and beehive homes into the rock. Afterward, descend into the spectacular 7th century underground city of Kaymakli, one of the largest and the deepest of some 200 ancient underground communities in Cappadocia.

     

    At day's end, check in at an interesting and atmospheric Cappadocia hotel, your base for the next three nights, and relax for the evening.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Gamirasu Cave Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 14: Cappadocia
    Float above rock valleys and amazing scenery in Cappadocia

    Early this morning you may take an optional hot air balloon ride over the area (additional cost).  Return to your Cappadocia hotel in time for a leisurely breakfast.

     

    Later, drive to Mustafapasa through the tabletop mountains and small villages of Cappadocia.  In  Mustafapasa (known as Sinasos in Greek), there are many spectacular old Greek houses, very fine examples of late Greek settlements, and interesting architecture.

     

    In the afternoon vist the Goreme Open Air Museum to see the world famous cave churches with biblical frescoes from the 11th Century.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Gamirasu Cave Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 15: Cappadocia
    Find your own fantastical rock formations to explore

    Continue with your relaxing rural break, visiting small communities of friendly people, exploring rock-cut churches and caves, or simply studying rocky valleys from the comfort of the hotel grounds. 

     

    Stop for a ~three-mile walk to Cavusin Village through Rose Valley, one of the most attractive valleys of Cappadocia with its fabulous volcanic rock formations and ancient rock-cut hermit churches adorned with frescoes and paintings. Stop at Pasha's Vineyards to view best examples of Fairy Chimneys.

     

    Spend a final night at your hotel in Cappadocia before wrapping up your time in this fine area.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Gamirasu Cave Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 16: Cappadocia / Istanbul
    Take one last chance to wander around and explore Istanbul (view of Hagia Sophia)

    After breakfast, transfer to Kayseri Airport for your flight to Istanbul, where you'll be transferred to your Istanbul hotel on arrival.  If you're up for it, spend one final afternoon and evening exploring this alluring capital that spans two continents.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Amiral Palace or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 17: Istanbul / Onward
    Leave this ancient, yet modern, city with fond memories

    After breakfast, transfer to Istanbul's Ataturk Airport for your international flight.  Or contact us if you haven't had your fill of Turkish delights and allow us to arrange a trip extension designed just for you.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Apr 26-May 12, 2015
Jul 19-Aug 4, 2015
Sep 27-Oct 13, 2015
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$4,295
- $5,595
based on double occupancy, 1 Traveler: $ Ask 2-3 Travelers: $5,595 4-5 Travelers: $4,695 6-12 Travelers: $4,295 Groups over 8 will have a private gulet; groups under 8 will join others.
Single Supplement:
$635
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:
17 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
comfortable and delightful hotels and gulet
Group Size:
2-12
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
comfortable and delightful hotels and gulet

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

×