Western Turkey & Turquoise Coast

Last Updated on May 2, 2019

WESTERN TURKEY AND TURQUOISE COAST (10 Days/9 Nights, by Orion Tour)

Istanbul, Çanakkale, Troy, Pergamon, Izmir, Ephesus, Kusadasi, Aphrodisias, Pamukkale (Hierapolis), Antalya, Perge, Aspendos

ORION TOUR has designed this tour for the visitor who enjoys history as well as nature: introducing majestic Istanbul, followed by a southward journey that touches antique cities along the Aegean and finally to the Turkish Riviera in Antalya on the Mediterranean coast.

Day 1 – Istanbul
Arrival at Istanbul airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Day 2 – Istanbul
Following breakfast, we drive to the ‘Old City’ where we will visit the Hippodrome,the Blue Mosque, famous for its delicate blue ceramic tiles and Saint Sophia. This church – turned mosque – turned museum takes the breath away with the sheer architectural size of its interior and magnificent dome and next we will visit the spectacular Topkapi Palace. Built on one of the seven hills of Istanbul, this huge complex commands views of the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. It was the seat of government for the Ottoman Empire for many centuries (1453-1852) and we will see the extravagant Treasury, the priceless Chinese porcelain. (BL)

Day 3 – Istanbul
Our morning starts with a visit to the aromatic Spice Bazaar, where the smells of cinnamon, cloves and thyme, rise from hundreds of colorful muslin bags at every store-front. We then board our ferry boat for a relaxing cruise along the shores of the legendary Bosphorus, the natural gateway that divides Asia and Europe. As you sit back and enjoy Turkish coffee or well-brewed tea from traditional small cups, numerous summer palaces and palatial homes will pass by on either side. Disembarking at the northern end of the Strait, we proceed to a restaurant for a tasty meal of local fish. Following lunch we will travel by coach to the Suleymaniye Mosque, built by master architect Sinan during the reign of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, the Lawgiver. The last stop will be Grand Bazaar which is amongst attractive shopping centers and the biggest “souk” in the world with nearly 4000 shops of antiques, gold, jewelry, carpets and leatherwear. (BL)

Day 4 – Çanakkale – Troy
After an early breakfast, we will begin our scenic drive down to Gallipoli, historically famous for being the site of many battles during WW1. Following a lunch break, we will cross the second strategic waterway, the Dardanelles, and land in Asia and proceed to Troy. Referred to in Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey”, Troy has in fact nine cities superimposed one upon another. Troy Vl pertains to the famous Trojan War of Homer where the legendary heroes included Agamemnon, Achilles, Ulysses and Nestor on the Greek side and, Priam, Hector and Paris on the Trojan side. We will check-in our hotel in Çanakkale for the evening. (BD)

Day 5 – Pergamon – Izmir – Kusadasi
On our journey to Izmir we will stop by the hauntingly beautiful Pergamon. Among the impressive structures of this city, dating from 399 BC, we will see the Altar of Zeus, Temples of Dionysus and Trajan and the 200,000 volume library which was surpassed only by that found in Alexandria at the time. The Asclepieum of Pergamon was a famous health center where methods of treatment included blood transfusions, music therapy and meditation. Leaving Pergamon behind us we settle at our hotel. (BD)

Day 6 – Kusadasi – Ephesus
Following an early breakfast we will proceed further south and arrive at the ancient city of Ephesus. Ephesus was undoubtedly one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world. Impressive structures we will see include the Library of Celsus, Temple of Hadrian, Theatre and Odeon. We will also stop by at the Temple of Artemis which was one of the Seven Wonders of the antiquity. Close by is the House of the Virgin Mary where she is believed to have spent her last years. On August 18, 1961, Pope John XXll proclaimed the House of Virgin Mary at Ephesus to be sacred. You will have a chance to take some of Holy Water from the Sacred Spring. (B, D)

Day 7 – Pamukkale (Hierapolis)
Leaving our hotel early after breakfast, we will journey to Pamukkale but on the way, we may include an optional tour of Aphrodisias. This city was famous throughout the ancient world for her Temple of Aphrodite and enjoyed great prosperity during the Roman period. Some of the highlights will include the Stadium, the Baths of Hadrian and the Theatre. We continue on to Pamukkale where the thermal water flows from natural pools in white terraces. The ancient city of Hierapolis was named after Hiera, wife of the founder of Pergamon. Highlights include calcified terraces, the Roman Baths, the Temple of Apollo and the Nymphaeum. Overnight stay in Pamukkale. (BD)

Day 8 – Antalya
We leave our hotel straight after breakfast and begin a long and scenic journey towards the sparkling turquoise coast. After checking into our hotel in Antalya, we even have time for a swim before dinner. (BD)

Day 9 – Antalya 
Free time to explore Antalya as you like.
Optional tour:
A leisurely visit to two ancient cities situated close to the hotel. With its architectural and archaeological wealth, Perge is one of the most interesting remains. Even though there is not much left to see on the Acropolis, there are wide porticoed streets, lined with many fine buildings, market places and gymnasiums and a beautiful Roman bath. Next on our itinerary is Aspendus whose theatre is the best preserved in the world with marvelous acoustics. Two of the other highlights will be the stadium and the aqueducts. Our last stop for the day will be at the magnificent archaeological museum in Antalya for the finds from Perge and other ancient nearby cities. (BD)

Day 10 – Istanbul
Free time until we transfer to the airport for your flight back home via Istanbul. (B)

(Tour code: ORNDTWT4)

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