8 Days Turkey Tour Turkey Attractions. Spend eight glorious days in Turkey seeing all the must see sights. Soak up the culture and history of Istanbul. Soar above the fairy chimneys at dawn on a hot air balloon ride over…
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8 Days Turkey Tour Turkey Attractions. Spend eight glorious days in Turkey seeing all the must see sights. Soak up the culture and history of Istanbul. Soar above the fairy chimneys at dawn on a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia. Explore the ancient city of Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis, one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. Luxuriate in the thermal hot springs of Pamukkale and retain your youth in Cleopatra’s Pool. Relax in the ever-popular seaside resort town of Antalya. Don’t miss this trip, which is jam packed with adventure and beautiful places waiting to be seen!
About Antalya, Istanbul, Ephesus, Cappadocia, Pamukkale – Your Turkey Tour Destination
Turkey Attractions – Antalya:
The coastal city of Antalya is quite popular in the summer time as beach goers flock here to soak up the sun and sand. Antalya is on the Mediterranean coast, which is often times referred to as the Turquoise Coast due to the stunning blue color of the water. Between the water, the beaches and the mountains that line the backdrop of the city, you’ll have endless photo opportunities. King Attalus II of Pergamon founded the city in the second century B.C. The city came under Roman control in 133 B.C. and became a prosperous port city. During the crusades, soldiers used the city as a base of sorts before the set out into the Middle East to fight for Christianity. The area was conquered by the Seljuq Turks and eventually annexed into the Ottoman Empire when they gained control. The city has remained inhabited for all these years and is as busy as ever.
There are two main stretches of beach in Antalya, Lara Beach and Konyaalti Beach. Both are quite crowded in the summer months. There are lots of bars and restaurants surrounding the beach and many vendors rent lounge chairs and umbrellas for the day.
The old city area of Antalya is just a short tram ride from the beach and features Hadrian’s Gate which was built for the Emperor of Rome when he visited the city in 130 A.D. Behind the gate is a beautiful street lined with Ottoman style houses that are now hotels and restaurants. It’s definitely worth a visit to wander around the shops and take in the old city.
Since the city dates back to Roman times, there are ruins that can be found around the city, including Aspendos, which is an immaculately preserved Roman theater with an excellent view of Antalya. Spend a day exploring the ruins and Duden waterfall, which is also, close by.
Turkey Attractions – Cappadocia:
Cappadocia is one of the most popular destinations in Turkey. The area’s daily hot air balloon rides at sunrise have become something of legend and people flock here to get the best photos. The “fairy chimney” rock formations that make up the landscape were formed thousands of years ago as a result of volcanic eruptions. The earliest documented settlers here were the Hittites around 2,500 BC. Over the next few thousand years, control over the region passed between the Assyrians, Phrygians, Lydians and Persians before finally coming under Roman rule around 17 AD. With the Romans came Christianity and communities started sprouting all over the region. During that time, people were being persecuted for following Christianity so they built underground cities and carved monasteries into the rock formations as a way to survive while still being able to practice their religion. In 1071, the Seljuq Turks took control over the region. It eventually was annexed into the rapidly growing Ottoman Empire after they defeated the Byzantines for control of the region in 1453. With the Ottomans came Islam and the area was converted.
Archeologists have uncovered the underground cities built by the early Christian settlers and the most famous is called Derinkuyu. The city is 18 stories deep and is open for visitors daily. However, for safety reasons, visitors can only tour the first 8 stories. Day tours of the area also include the Goreme Open Air Museum and Selime Monastery. Both are well-preserved monasteries carved into the rocks. Visitors can still see the frescoes painted on to the rock. Other highlights of the area include Uchisar Castle, a castle carved into a boulder with a stunning view of the region and the Ihlara Valley, a beautiful scenic gorge that is a treat to hike through.
A trip to Cappadocia isn’t complete with out a sunrise hot air balloon ride. However, in the past few years, their fame has skyrocketed and the balloons fill up fast. If you are unable to ride in one, the next best thing is to have breakfast at your hotel while the balloons fly overhead. The site of all of the balloons in the air is the next best thing!
If you’ve ever wanted to spend the night in a cave, then Cappadocia is the perfect place for you! Many of the hotels are carved into the rocks that line the landscape of the region. However, despite their cave-like appearance, they are all fully furnished with modern facilities. Don’t miss out on the unique experience of staying in one of these hotels.
Due to the volcanic tuff that covers the area, the land is quite fertile and the perfect condition to grow grapes! As a result, the region is also known for wine making. You can take tours of the wineries and see how Turkey’s wines compare to those around the world!
Turkey Attractions – Istanbul:
Istanbul has been around for thousands of years. It’s packed with culture, history and amazing sites. Every part of the city has something exciting waiting to be discovered. Give yourself at least 3 days to see everything. The city has been around since 600 BCE and there is so much to explore.
The city was founded by the Greeks around 600 BCE who named it Byzantium after their leader Byzas. After the Romans came into power, they conquered the city and implemented their Christian religion. In the year 306 AD the Emperor of Rome, Constantine, declared Byzantium the Roman capital of the East and renamed it Constantinople and so began the Byzantine Era. Constantinople enjoyed prosperity until the Ottoman Turks conquered it in 1453. The Ottomans renamed the city Istanbul and changed the religion to Islam. Istanbul was part of the Ottoman Empire until it fell in 1918 after its defeat during WWI. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded the Republic of Turkey in 1923 and moved the capital from Istanbul to Ankara. However, Istanbul still remains the country’s central hub of all things historically, culturally and socially.
Due to the many different cultures and religions that have occupied the city over its long history, Istanbul is packed with historical relics from every era. It is a treat to visit the old city, or Sultanahmet, as locals know it, and visit the palaces, mosques, basilicas and bazaars that are so well preserved today. The main square in Sultanahmet boasts the city’s two most popular sites, the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. The Blue Mosque was built in 1603 by Sultan Ahmet II and was quite controversial. This was the first mosque to be built with six minarets instead of four. The Hagia Sophia dates back to the Byzantine Empire and was built in the year 537 AD as a Christian basilica and still remains standing today.
Within easy walking distance of Sultanahmet Square are Topkapi Palace, the Basilica Cistern and the Grand Bazaar, all a must see on a visit to Istanbul. Topkapi Palace was built in the late 1450’s and was the place of residence for 30 sultans. Today it is open as a museum where you can see what life was like in court during the Ottoman Empire. It also contains other precious relics of the Islamic faith. The Basilica Cistern was used during the Byzantine Empire to store water for the city to use. Back in its heyday it held 80,000 meters of water. It is no longer filled with that much water and tourists can walk through the beautifully lit passages. The Grand Bazaar is the largest covered bazaar in the world and is still fully operational. While there was always a bazaar in that location, it was covered in 1463 by Fatih Sultan Mehmet. The Grand Bazaar contains over 3,600 stores and is definitely worth a visit.
Istanbul is unique in being the only city in the world that spans two continents. The Bosphorus Bridge connects the European side of the city to the Asian side. Other great sites around Istanbul are Dolmabahce Palace, the Galata Tower, Pierre Loti Hill and Taksim Square. Another popular activity is to take a cruise on the Bosphorus. It’s a great way to see the city from a different view.
The Greeks founded the ancient city of Ephesus in the eleventh century B.C. Its history after that is largely undocumented, however, in the seventh century B.C., the city was taken over by the Lydians. The Lydian King Croesus, who ruled from 560 B.C. TO 547 B.C., is known for building the Temple of Artemis in the city, which would become one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Over the next few hundreds of years, the city was conquered by many different empires, but eventually came to be ruled by the Roman Empire in 129 B.C. and under the reign of Caesar Augustus it became one of the greatest cities in the Empire. After the death of Jesus Christ, his followers Saint John and Saint Paul traveled to Ephesus and converted many of the citizens to Christianity. It is also believed that Ephesus is the final resting place of the Virgin Mary as it is said that she traveled there with Saint John near the end of her life. In 262 A.D. the Goths invaded the city and destroyed everything, including the beautiful Temple of Artemis. After that, the city was never rebuilt and fell into decline. When the Ottoman Empire took control of the region, the city and the harbor were almost useless. It was officially abandoned and left for archeologists to explore much later.
Many of the ruins of the city are still very well preserved and visitors and walk through the ancient city and get a feel for what life was like back then. The Celsius Library and the theater are in excellent condition and are definitely worth a visit.
The final resting place of the Virgin Mary is also open for visitors. Tourists can walk through her modest stone house and leave thoughts and prayers for the Virgin Mary. A mass is held outside her house every Sunday.
When visiting the ancient city of Ephesus, the best place to stay is the nearby seaside town of Kusadasi. After the tour, relax on the beach or take a stroll through the castle that juts out into the sea. At night, the area comes alive with tourists and locals alike relaxing at the many restaurants and bars that line the seaside.
Pamukkale translates to cotton castle and gets its name from the large white travertines that have formed on the side of the hill near the ancient city of Hierapolis. The “cotton castle” is formed due to a buildup of limestone in the thermal waters that flow down the side of the mountain. Eumenes II, King of Pergamon built the city for his wife Hiera sometime around 175 B.C. The thermal hot springs around the city were said to have healing powers and many flocked to the city from all over to bathe in the waters. In 133 B.C., the King of Pergamon willed the city of Hierapolis to the Roman Empire. During the Roman reign, the city rose to prosperity. The city began to decline in the 6th century and finally, after an earthquake in 1334, the city was abandoned.
The highlight of the ancient ruins is the Roman theater, which is in impeccable condition. You do have to hike up a little hill, so wear comfortable shoes! The view from the top is definitely worth the climb.
Make sure to bring a bathing suit with you when you visit the site as the main attraction are the travertine pools that you can walk and bathe in. Try to arrive as early as possible as the travertines get very crowded during the day. In addition to the travertines is Cleopatra’s Pool. It’s open for visitors to swim in as well. It is said that Cleopatra traveled to the ancient city and bathed in this bath believing that the thermal waters would help her retain her youth. Don’t miss the opportunity to swim where a queen once did!
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Arrival to Istanbul and transfer to hotelOnce you arrive in Istanbul, our driver will be waiting to pick you up and escort you to your boutique hotel in the heart of the Old City, also known as Sultanahmet. After checking in the Byzantium Hotel, or similar, you'll have the rest of the day to get acclimated and explore the city on your own.
Istanbul Old City Walking Tour (B,L)Following breakfast at your hotel, you'll be picked up at 8:30 by our experienced guide to begin a full day walking tour of the Old City. You'll start by seeing the Hagia Sophia, one of the oldest buildings in the city. From there, you'll continue on the Blue Mosque where you can admire the beautiful interior. The Blue Mosque lets out on to the Hippodrome where your guide will tell you of the significance of each item. Lunch is provided at a traditional Turkish restaurant. After lunch, you'll walk through the historic neighborhoods of Fener and Balat before coming to Topkapi Palace. Admire the longtime palace of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire as you learn how they spent their days. You'll finish your tour in the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered bazaars in the world. At the end of the tour, our guide will take you back to your hotel. You will have the rest of the evening to rest or explore.
Istanbul to Izmir by plane and Day tour of Ephesus (L)Our driver will pick you up at 4:30 AM and take you the airport for a one-hour flight to Izmir. Upon your arrival, our driver will pick you up and take you to our office in Selcuk town. At 9:30 AM you'll be picked up for a full day Ephesus tour. The tour begins at the site of the last dwelling place of the Virgin Mary. You can tour her modest home and leave her a message before departing for the main event. Next, your guide will take you through the ancient city of Ephesus explaining the history and stopping for pictures through the site. Following the tour, you will have lunch at a traditional Turkish restaurant before continuing on the view what remains of the Temple of Artemis. Once one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World, only one pillar remains. You'll make a quick stop to learn about the history and take some photos. At the end of the tour, you'll be taken to your hotel in Kusadasi. You'll be staying at Efe Boutique Hotel or similar. The rest of the evening is free for you to relax or explore.
Day tour of Pamukkale and Hierapolis / Transfer to Antalya (B,L)After a quick breakfast at your hotel, your guide will pick you up at 7:30 for the 3-hour bus ride to Pamukkale. When you arrive around 11:00 AM, you'll begin the tour with lunch at a traditional Turkish restaurant. Following lunch, your guide will gibe you a tour of the ancient ruins of Hierapolis. After, you'll have two hours of free time. You'll be free the explore the onsite archeological museum, swim in Cleopatra's Pool or head to the main attraction, the white travertines where you can wade through the thermal waters. At the end of the tour, you'll make one final stop at the base of Pamukkale for a great photo op. From there, our driver will take you to the bus station and you'll take a four-hour bus ride to Antalya. When you arrive, our driver will pick you up and take you to your hotel in Kaleici.
Day tour of Perge, Aspendos, Kursunlu, and Manavgat (B,L)Following breakfast at your hotel, our guide will pick you up at 8:30 AM for a full day tour of the historic sites of Antalya. Your first stop will be in the ancient city of Perge, which was originally settled by the Hittites around 1,500 B.C. From there, you'll move on to the ruins of Aspendos, which houses one of the best preserved Roman theaters in the country. Lunch will be served at a traditional Turkish restaurant. You'll finish your tour exploring the impressive Manavgat waterfall. Once the tour is finished, our guide will take you back to your hotel in Antalya. At 20:00, our driver will pick you up and take you to the bus station for the 8-hour night bus to Cappadocia.
Arrival to Cappadocia- (Goreme Town) and Day tour of Northhern Cappadocia -Red Tour (L)Your bus will arrive in Goreme town around 7:00 AM. When you arrive, our driver will pick you up and take you to your hotel. You'll be staying at Holiday Cave Hotel or similar. You can rest or have breakfast before our guide picks you up at 9:30 AM for a full day tour of Northern Cappadocia. Your first stop will be at Uchisar Castle, which is one of the best views in the area. Next, you'll visit the Goreme Open Air Museum, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and take in the stunning frescoes. For lunch, you will be stopping in Avanos at a traditional Anatolian restaurant. Following lunch, you'll make short stops for photo ops at the beautifully scenic landscapes of Pasabag Monk's Valley, Devrent Valley and the Urgup Fairy Chimneys. Before returning to your hotel, you'll stop at a traditional kick wheel pottery factory and see a demonstration. If you're lucky, you may even get to try it yourself! At the end of the tour, your guide will drop you back at your hotel. You'll have the rest of the evening free.
Day tour of Southern Cappadocia and Flight back to Istanbul (B,L)You can enjoy breakfast before your tour. Our guide will pick you up from your hotel at 9:30 AM for a full day tour of Southern Cappadocia. You'll begin your tour with a visit to Derinkuyu Underground City before continuing on to the Ihlara Valley. After a pleasant stroll through a section of the gorge, you will stop for lunch at a traditional Turkish restaurant. From there, you will continue on to Selime Monastery and explore the rock formations that the Monks called home. You're next stop is Pigeon Valley for a spectacular view and photo op. Your last stop will be at an onyx factory to learn how it's made. At the end of the tour, our driver will take you to the airport for a one-hour flight to Istanbul. When you arrive, our driver will pick you up and take you back to your hotel.
Istanbul Airport transfer (B)According to your flight time, our driver will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the airport.
Flight tickets with all domestic taxes
All airport transfer
1 Night Cave Boutique Hotel with breakfast in Cappadocia
1 Night hotel in Kusadasi with breakfast
3 Night Hotel in Istanbul with Breakfast
1 Night Boutique hotel in Antalya City Centre with breakfast
6 day small group tour with guide, lunch, transportation and entrance fees
All meals mentioned by the itinerary (B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner)
Full travel insurance
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