Treasures of Turkey
Treasures of Turkey
The cradle of civilisation including visits of Ankara, Cappadocia, Konya, Pamukkale, Ephesus, Troy, Gallipoli and Istanbul.
Travelling through this historic land you will discover why Turkey has been named ‘the cradle of civilisation’ we explore many fascinating historic cities starting in Ankara, the Capital of modern Turkey; and finishing in Istanbul. We trek into the stunning Cappdocia, walk through the impressive scenery and visit the important natural, cultural and historic sites of Western Turkey.
Turkey is commonly considered as the crossroads of two continents and several civilisations. In this country everything is in sublime juxtaposition with one another, times and landscapes coexist hand in hand harmoniously: remains of Greek, Roman, Seljuk, Ottoman civilisations etc… Churches and monasteries built everywhere here and there, are the witnesses of the intense development of the Christianity like nowhere else.
We will spare one day for discovering the place which was successively Constantinople, Byzance and Istanbul: the richest and the most attractive city of the country. It is a unique city, built embracing two continents - Europe and Asia - and it preserves prestigious monuments testifying to the richness of its history. An opportunity of discovering which no one should miss.
Turkey welcomes millions of visitors each year. From all over the world, the origin of civilizations intrigues. The historical richness of its sites will plunge us into a distant past. This secular country, where it is good to live, will open its heart and the kindness of its inhabitants will be in our best memories.
We have selected for you charming hotels located in the best places, an original restoration touring all the gastronomy of Turkey, activities and excursions designed for privileged travelers.
Day 1: Ankara
You meet our Anatolia Cultura Travel tourguide and our driver at the airport. Drive to your hotel for the night. According to your flight time, our tourguide will shortly introduce you the Capital of Turkey. Overnight in Ankara.
Day 2: Ankara; drive to Cappadocia
Departure for the visit to the superb Museum of Anatolian Civilizations which houses the richest collection of Hittite antiquities (2nd millennium BC) in the world. After the tour, we stroll through the narrow streets of the citadel to enjoy the panoramic view of the city of Ankara. Then visit of the Mausoleum of Ataturk, the most imposing monument of the city. It was erected in honor of the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who died in 1938.
Drive to Cappadocia, via the shores of Lake Tuz Gölü (salt lake). With its extraordinary geological formations, Cappadocia is undoubtedly a wonder of nature. On a plateau made of a very tender volcanic agglomeration of ashes and mud released by volcanoes, natural erosion carved cones, fairy chimneys, canyons and valleys. Overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 3: Cappadocia
The lunar landscape of Cappadocia seen from the sky is a special pleasure. Those who wish will have the opportunity to get up at dawn to experience a balloon flight (optional). A walk through the paths of Pasabaglari will allow us to appreciate the enchanting and spectacular landscapes that offer the famous fairy chimneys. We will go to the troglodyte village of Çavucin, left in 1962. After lunchbreach we visit the open-air museum in the Göreme Valley, a World Heritage Site, home to the highest concentration of chapels and rock monasteries, some of which have superb Byzantine frescoes. Drive to Avanos, a charming town famous for the craftsmanship of pottery. Overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 4: Cappadocia
Today's hike will allow us to see what wind and water have conspired to trace the most exotic white landscapes in the world. In Uçhisar, we will enjoy the most beautiful panoramic view of the whole of Cappadocia as well as the valley of Pigeonhouses. The Turkish carpet is part of the main crafts of the country. The ancestral art of its manufacture will be explained to us during a visit of a renowned establishment. In the evening, we will attend a ceremony of whirling dervishes (optional). Overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 5: Cappadocia / Derinkuyu / Konya
Departure to Derinkuyu and visit its underground city testifying to the ingenuity of the civilizations of the past to protect itself from the enemy. Some galleries date back to 2000 BC. J-C. Leaving the fairytale landscapes of Cappadocia behind and driving to the village of Belisirma in the Valley of Ihlara on the slopes of Mount Hasan, one of the volcanoes responsible for the forming of Cappadocia. From here we embark on a wonderful walk along the Melendiz River and experience traditional village life, as we walk through the beautiful Ihlara Valley to Ihlara village. There are dozens of Byzantine cave chapels to explore along the way and most of them are decorated with exquisite biblical frescoes (1.5 hour walk). We then leave the area of Cappadocia behind and drive to Konya; On the way, we will visit the Sultanhani Caravanserai. Built between 1226 and 1229 by a sultan, it is one of the best preserved. This complex allowed merchants to store their goods safely. Arrival in Konya. After dinner In the evening, departure by foot for a guided by-night from Konya to the hill of Alaeddin.
Day 6: Konya / Aspendos / Antalya
Departure to Antalya, an attractive city on the Mediterranean coast. Lunchbreak on the way. We will pass the Alacabel Rakim pass, at 1825 m. And cross the Taurus Range before arriving at the ancient site of Aspendos. We will admire its theater, the best preserved of all the Roman theaters in the world . Arrival in Antalya and transfer to hotel. Touring of the old town. Overnight in Antalya.
Day 7: Antalya / Uçagiz / Kaş
Departure for the small picturesque village of Uçagiz, the best starting point to discover the bay of Kekova, one of the most beautiful places on the southern coast of Turkey! We will board our local boat for a relaxing cruise through a series of peaceful and picturesque islands, all with very distinctive rock formations. Look out for some ancient houses that are submerged under the clear water! On board we are cooked a home made Turkish meal by our host family for the day. Our cruise also takes us to the settlement of Ucagiz and also the quaint village of Simena, with its stone houses covered in bougainvilleas. We can enjoy a spectacular view from the castle. We also sail from large bays to beautiful protected inlets, where we have the opportunity to enjoy a swim off our boat. All in all a day of relaxation and beautiful vistas. Overnight in Kaş.
Day 8: Kaş -Fethiye
This morning we visit the Lycian site of Xanthos, which was once the capital city of the Lycian Federation. Because of its remoteness, Xanthos is usually not overcrowded with tourists and the place has retained a tranquil atmosphere. We continue from here through pine trees and over a mountain, which commands breathtaking views, before arriving at the Greek ghost town of Kayakoy. It was a thriving township with a population of 3,500 until 1923 when Ataturk instituted the exchange program with Greece, where itinerant Greek and Turkish populations were repatriated to country of origin. Kayakoy is seemingly an instant, became a derelict town and was further destroyed by ensuing earthquakes. Today, only a few Turkish families inhabit houses at the bottom of the town's rolling hills and the whole place has a marvelously eerie feel. We have time to relax and enjoy the area before driving to the culturally rich town of Fethiye, situated on a bay surrounded by pine forests and full of islands. We have a free evening to enjoy a meal and the views from a waterfront restaurant.
Day 9: Dalyan
Drive to Dalyan, a tourist destination where the region around is a highly fertile and productive agricultural zone. Cotton is grown intensively as well as many varieties of fruits and vegetables. Above the river's sheer cliffs are the weathered façades of Lycian tombs cut from rock, circa 400 AC. The south of Dalyan on the Mediterranean coast, lies Iztuzu Beach, near the village of the same name is a popular area for sunbathing and swimming; We do a boat trip through the reed labyrinth river to the Iztuzu beach where Careta-Careta turtles lay eggs.Get back to Fethiye for overnight.
Day 10: Fethiye / Pamukkale
Drive towards Pamukkale. In the afternoon we will visit the Pamukkale site, which's spectacular basins of white travertine are one of the most famous sights in Turkey. We will also have the chance to walk in the thermal springs of the ancient Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis. Overnight in Pamukkale.
Day 11: Pamukkale / Selçuk (Ephesus)
Drive to Selçuk dominated by a 6th century Byzantine fortress. Visit to a leather factory. Visit of Ephesus, one of the most famous archaeological sites of the Orient. It was during the Roman period that Ephesus became the first port of the Aegean Sea and the majority of its edifices preserved date from that time. We visit the vast amphitheatre, walk the marble street once trodden by Cleopatra and Mark Antony, and marvel at the gymnasium, baths and wonderfully restored Library of Celsus. Overnight in Ephesus (Selçuk).
Day 12: Selçuk - Troy - Çanakkale
Early we begin the drive to Çanakkale, located on the shores of the Dardanelles, which connects the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean Sea and touches both Europe (with the Gelibolu Peninsula) and Asia (with the Biga Peninsula). On the way, we visit an important historical site near Çanakkale, Troy. Troy (Truva) was a city that existed over 4.000 years ago and was known as a major ancient civilization. For many years people believed that it was the city mentioned only in the tales and never truly existed, as the area had become known as Ilium, or New Ilium. Archaeological digs subsequently proved that there had been nine separate periods of settlement. (3000 BC-AD 400) on what became accepted as the site of ancient Troy. Each successive period of habitation lies on top of its former incarnation. Overnight in Çanakkale.
Day 13: Gallipoli - Istanbul
We cross the Dardanelles and join 'Europe,' and visit the Gallipoli Peninsula - a place of enormous significance to Australians and New Zealander's. Located at Turkey's most westerly point this area is now serene, but the role it played in April 1915 during the First World War is now firmly etched on the psyche of the New Zealand and Australian nations. We visit the beach and cemeteries of Anzac Cove, then head up the hill to pay homage at the poignant memorials of Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair. The latter the highest ground secured in the campaign on the 8th of August, 1915 (by New Zealand and British troops) before being beaten back due to lack of reinforcement. From the Ataturk Memorial at this spot we can view the Allied troops goal - the Dardenelles. We can look down upon the rough and barren hills and gulleys that became the graveyard for so many thousands of young men from both sides. Around this area we can find remnants of trenches used by the Turkish soldiers. After touring the former battlefields we head on to Istanbul. Founded more than two millennia ago, it was first Byzantium, then Constantinople, before becoming the sumptuous capital of the Ottomans for nearly five centuries. Standing on two continents and separated by the Bosphorus, the city of Istanbul proudly preserves the monuments of a past as rich and eventful. Succumbing to the charm of its natural beauty, but also to its geostrategic position, the empires that succeeded made it their capital, rivaling one another as to who would leave the most beautiful inheritance. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 14: Istanbul
Discovery of the fascinating monuments of Istanbul. We will dedicate our morning to the visit of the grand palace of Topkapi, residence of the Ottoman sultans and ladies of the harem for 400 years. We will be subjugated by its collections of art objects, its sumptuous apartments. After lunch, we go on with the Blue mosque. Famous all over the world, it was built between 1609 and 1616 by Ahmet I and dominates its six elegant minarets Sultanahmet Square. Then Hagia Sophia, one of the most remarkable monuments in the world. Its architecture dates back more than 14 centuries and testifies to the refinement of the Byzantine capital in the 6th century. Visit of the Underground Cistern-Basilica, a superb Byzantine work. We will cross the place of the Hippodrome and visit.
Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 15 - End of the tour
Transfer to the airport for your return flight.