Here’s an excellent 6-day self-drive tour from Istanbul to Gallipoli, Troy, Assos (Behramkale), Mount Ida, Pergamum(Bergama), Ephesus and Kuşadası. It takes you to all of Aegean Turkey‘s most important sites, and includes a day of nature activities on legendary Mount Ida.
Take delivery of the rental car at your hotel at 09:00 am in the morning, then drive west from Istanbul to Gallipoli where you can visit the military memorials left from the World War I Gallipoli campaign. Drive around the battlefields and the ruins. Take the car ferry to Çanakkale where you can have lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, visit the Military Museum and Naval Museum. Wander on the streets of Çanakkale, then settle in for the night in Çanakkale.
After breakfast, drive to Troy National Park, and visit the ruins of the ancient city. Excavations by Schliemann and others have revealed nine ancient cities, one on top of another, dating back to 3000 BC. Drive further south to Mount Ida (Kazdağı), rising 1774 meters with a wonderful view, peaceful green glades and hot springs. Dinner and overnight on Mount Ida at the İliada Hotel.
After breakfast, drive down to Pergamum (Bergama) along the coast. Drive to the Acropolis to see the Temple of Dionysus. The Altar of Zeus was once covered with magnificent friezes depicting the battle between the Olympian gods and their subterranean foes but most of these famous buildings were removed to Berlin by 19th-century German excavators.
From the Acropolis, drive to the Asclepion, the foremost medican and psychological treatment center of its time. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the cathedral-sized Red Basilica. St John the Divine wrote that the Red Basilica was one of the seven churches of the Apocalypse, singling it out as the throne of the devil.
Having seen the sights in Bergama, drive south to Kuşadası, settle in at your hotel, and spend some time in the late afternoon watching the sun set over Kuşadası Bay.
After breakfast, drive up to the Virgin Mary’s House where she is thought to have spent her last days, then visit the great city of Ephesus which was founded in the eleventh century BC by the Ionians.
Strolling through the streets of Ephesus, you will witness the perfection of the Greco-Roman Art. Later in the afternoon, visit St John’s Basilica, believed to be the tomb of the Apostle John, Christ’s beloved disciple. From the basilica, you will be able to look down on the remains of the Temple of Artemis. End youir day with a visit to the stately İsa Bey Mosque, then head on to Kuşadası for a good night’s rest.
İstiklal Caddesi No: 47
50400 Ürgüp – Nevşehir / Turkey
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