Tour of Istanbul and Turkish Countryside
Turkey is quite literally the bridge between Europe and Asia. Set on both sides of the Bosphorus strait, the city of Istanbul straddles two continents. Frommer’s summarizes Turkey's duality this way: “It's ancient and modern, Westernized and Oriental, religious and secular, wondrous and ordinary, familiar and exotic.” On this 13-day, 11-night trip through Istanbul and the Turkish countryside, you’ll get to experience both sides of Turkey, from the bustling metropolises of Istanbul and Ankara to the ancient ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Pergamum.
Days 1–2: You'll leave the States for Istanbul and arrive on Day Two. That night, enjoy dinner, meet your tour guide, have an orientation with your guide, and a chance to orient yourself in the city.
Day 3: A half-day tour of Istanbul includes stops at the city’s most iconic monuments, including the 17th-century Blue Mosque—named for the tiles decorating its interior—and the Hippodrome, a centuries-old arena that once hosted chariot races and athletic competitions. Pop into the Hagia Sophia, a 6th-century Byzantine basilica that was once the largest cathedral in the world, until it was converted into a mosque and, finally, a museum. The rest of the day is set aside for exploring the city on your own.
Days 4–6: In the morning, the caravan will cross the Dardanelles strait by ferry and drive to the classical city of Troy, which dates back 4,000 years. The next day is spent in the ancient Greek city of Pergamum; you'll visit the Asclepion, an ancient Roman spa and medical center where villagers went to receive herbal remedies and mud-bath treatments. Day 6 is a day of leisure in the town of Kusadasi, believed to be the birthplace of the poet Homer, author of the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Days 7–8: Then it's on to the southern Turkish town of Pamukkale, where you'll see hot springs that have been used for therapeutic bathing since the second century. The ancient city of Hierapolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built on top of the springs, is filled with historic ruins, mineral forests, and petrified waterfalls. The next day, you’ll travel to Konya, where you can witness the prayer rituals of the Whirling Dervishes—worshippers dressed in long white gowns who twirl to the tune of ancient Islamic hymns.
Days 9–11: The group journeys on to Cappadocia, a city burrowed into the cliffs and caves of a desert landscape. On Day 9 you'll attend a carpet-weaving demonstration; the following day is yours to explore as you please. On the morning of Day 11, the group departs for Ankara, Turkey's capital city. Here, you’ll tour the Mausoleum of Kemal Atatürk, the final resting place of the revered first president of the Turkish Republic. Nearby, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations exhibits archaeological artifacts dating back to the Paleolithic Age.
Days 12–13: In the morning, the tour group heads back to Istanbul to relax and enjoy a farewell dinner. The next morning, you’ll be transferred to the airport for a flight back to the United States.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.