tour by Argeus
Travel & Events begins
in biblical Cappadocia and
visits Istanbul and the ancient
cities of Ephesus, Didyma, Miletus, Priene,
Hierapolis, Aphrodisias as well as the spa of Pamukkale—all in only 10 days, counting your day of arrival Turkey, and your day of departure for home.
Not only do you visit all of Turkey's top sights in this time, you can choose any dates you want for it to happen. The tour fee is determined by the number of participants (as few as two, as many as 16), so if you gather a group of friends to do the tour with you, the price goes down for all of you.
The hotels you'll
stay in are among my favorites:
small, charming, historic, perfectly
located. You benefit from Argeus's
ability to reserve rooms in these choice
places even at preferred travel times.
Day 1: Arrive in Istanbul, Flight to Cappadocia (D)
An Argeus representative
greets you at Istanbul's Atatürk
Airport and assists with your transfer to an evening flight to Cappadocia and transfer to your hotel, where you settle into
a comfortable cave room,
then enjoy a late supper.
Day 2: Cappadocia (BLD)
Recover from travel during a leisurely morning. After lunch in an old village house we drive to the Soğanlı Valley to visit one of Cappadocia's oldest cave-monastery sites.
We continue to
the fabled Underground
Cities, and enter a
subterranean labyrinth that
protected local people from marauding
armies over the centuries. Imagine
being in a huge "Swiss cheese" made
of volcanic stone! Wandering through
the labyrinth is an unforgettable experience.
Day 3: Cappadocia (BLD)
After breakfast, we plunge into the
lunar landscape of Cappadocia at
the Dervent Valley,
then we head to Zelve
Open Air Museum, which
is one of the earliest inhabited
and latest abandoned monastic settlements
Seeing the best examples of the fairy
chimneys at Paşabağı Fairy
Chimneys Valley, we drive
famous for its pottery. After lunch
at a local restaurant, we tour Göreme Open
Air Museum, with its
dozens of beautifully painted cave
churches, monasteries, refectories
and other troglodyte dwellings. We
end the day with the climb to the
top of Uçhisar, a
natural rock fortress that is the highest
point in the region, offering
us a breathtaking panorama of
the Cappadocian moonscape. Then it's
off to dinner and our comfortable
Day 4: Silk Road, Konya & Pamukkale (BLD)
Driving along the ancient Silk Road, we stop at the Sultan Han, a 13th-century Seljuk Turkish caravansaray—the largest in Anatolia. Continuing on our drive, we stop in the medieval Seljuk capital of Konya for lunch, a stroll, and a visit to the Mevlana Museum, burial-place of Jelaleddin Rumi, founder of the Whirling Dervishes.
We then continue our drive to Pamukkale, arriving for dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Hierapolis, Aphrodisias & Kuşadası (BLD)
Pamukkale was the Roman spa city of Hierapolis. We visit the extensive ruins of the Roman city and the gleaming white travertine pools of Pamukkale, then drive to Aphrodisias, the city of the Goddess of Love. After lunch and a tour of the ruins, we drive along the Meander River valley to the seaside resort city of Kuşadası, our hotel, and dinner.
Day 6: Ephesus (BLD)
We start today's explorations at the pine-shaded hilltop
site proclaimed by the pope to be the House
of the Virgin Mary. Then we descend to the
marble streets of ancient Ephesus,
the most impressive ancient city in the Mediterranean,
with its marble temples, mosaic-rich houses,
its noble library, 25,000-seat Great
Theater, public baths and
latrines, and even a brothel.
Later in the afternoon we visit St
John Basilica, believed
to be built atop the tomb of the
Apostle. From the basilica, we look
down on the remains of the huge Temple
of Artemis, one of the Seven
Wonders of the Ancient World.
We end the day with a visit to the
grand İsa Bey Mosque,
just down the hill from the basilica.
Then it's back to our hotel
for dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Istanbul (BLD)
We drive to İzmir's Adnan Menderes Airport for our flight to Istanbul, and transfer to our hotel. The rest of the day is yours to explore the fascinating Byzantine/Ottoman capital. The major sights of Istanbul are right here: the Blue
Mosque, the Byzantine
Hippodrome, the Basilica Cistern, Hagia
Palace and many more. Feel free to wander and browse
until dinnertime. (Here's Tom's list of top Istanbul sights.)
Day 8: Istanbul (BLD)
We stroll to the Byzantine
Hippodrome and its
most famous architectural monument,
the fabled Blue
Mosque, built on the
site of the Byzantine imperial palace.
Then we walk next door to Hagia
Sophia, the grandest
church in Christendom for 1000 years.
Finally, we descend into the dank,
eerie depths of the Basilica
a look at this strategic Byzantine water-storage
facility featured in the James Bond
Russia With Love.
we enter the
splendid realm of Topkapı
Palace, one of the world's
premier historical treasures, with
its sumptuous pleasure kiosks, verdant
gardens, mysterious Harem,
and a Treasury filled
with the incredible wealth of the sultans.
After lunch, we dive into Istanbul's
Bazaar: 4000 shops selling
everything from priceless antiques
to everyday necessities. Laden with
purchases—or just dazed by the glitter of
window-shopping (one bazaar street
is lined with nothing but jewellers'
shops) —we make our
way back to our hotel for a relaxing dinner and
Day 9: Istanbul (BLD)
After a buffet breakfast, we walk to Eminönü to
visit the Rüstem
Pasha Mosque, an Ottoman gem
famed for its beautiful faïence (colored
tiles). We then visit sumptuous Dolmabahçe Palace on the Bosphorus before boarding a boat for a leisurely Bosphorus
Cruise to the village of Sariyer.
Returning to the center of Istanbul and the Golden Horn, we penetrate the Egyptian (Spice) Bazaar where Genoese and Venetian
goods were sold at a time when there was no Suez Canal,
and all the spices from the East were also brought
here by way of Egypt.
Day 10: Istanbul (B)
We escort you to the airport for your homeward flight.
Additional Days & Nights
If you wish, Argeus will be happy to arrange
additional nights in Istanbul
(optional, at extra cost) so you can
shopping or see even more
of the imperial city, perhaps the Great
Palace Mosaic Museum,
or the Archeological
Museums, or the Museum
of Turkish and Islamic Arts.
For more information and availability,
Argeus. When you do, please mention
TTP. Here's why.
—by Tom Brosnahan
Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia), Istanbul.
Basilica Cistern, Istanbul.
Waterside mansions (yalı) on the Bosphorus, Istanbul.