Best of Turkey Tour provides the comfort of your private van while your private tour guide shows the best of the sites you visit including the top four sites (Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus and Pamukkale) and beautiful Aphrodisias:
•Istanbul with its thousands of years of history at every corner while managing to be a bustling cosmopolitan city;
•Cappadocia with its fairy chimneys, incredible rock formations and its famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Goreme Open Air Museum and Kaymakli Underground City;
•Ephesus, yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site, a Greco-Roman City with its incredible library and marble streets lined with the ancient ruins of the shops, houses and temples and one of the seven churches in Asia cited in the Book of Revelation; and its nearby sites including Temple of Artemis (Diana) as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the House of Virgin Mary.
•Aphrodisias, one of the oldest sacred sites in Turkey, with its Temple of Aphrodite, a well-preserved ancient stadium, a theater, carvings of hundreds of human faces with different emotions, Hadrian baths, and a beautiful museum displaying Aphrodisias’ famous marble structures as well as the famous statue of Aphrodite.
•Pamukkale, meaning ‘cotton castle’, a natural site with its hot springs and white travertines, with the ancient Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis nestled nearby.
The tour includes the most popular sites in Turkey – Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, Pamukkale, and Aphrodisias. Transportation between the sites are provided with flights and buses with the longest drive between Ephesus and Aphrodisias about 2 hours. All your local tours and transfers are private. Recommended if you have a tight agenda in Turkey and want to avoid long drives while enjoying your private tours.
1st Day – Arrival at Istanbul
You will be greeted you at the airport and transferred to your hotel with a private van. Accommodation in Istanbul.
2nd Day – Istanbul Old City Walking Tour
You will be picked up from your hotel by your guide at around 09:00 to visit the Byzantine and Ottoman Relics found in Sultanahmet area. The tour is on foot as the places of visit are within walking distance to each other. You will visit: Topkapi Palace (Harem section is extra), Basilica Cistern (Underground Water Palace), Roman Hippodrome. After lunch you will see: Hagia Sophia Museum, Blue Mosque, Million stone, Tomb of Sultan Mahmud and an ancient Ottoman cemetery, and Cemberlitas (Burnt Column). The tour ends about 16:30 with free time at Grand Bazaar, the most popular historical shopping center of Istanbul. You will be advised by your guide for getting back to your hotel on your own. Accommodation in Istanbul. (breakfast at hotel, lunch on the tour)
Please note that Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays, Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays and Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays.
3rd Day – Dolmabahce Palace & Bosphorus & Pera Tour
Departure from your hotel at around 08:30 and start the day by visiting Dolmabahce Palace, the last residence of Ottoman Sultans located on the shores of Bosphorus. It was home to six sultans from 1856, when it was first inhabited, until 1922. The construction of the palace cost five million Ottoman Mecidiye gold coins, the equivalent of 35 tons of gold. The design contains eclectic elements from Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical styles. The Museum-Palace has golden gilded ceilings, crystal staircases and the largest Bohemian and Baccarat Crystal Chandelier collection in the world. After visiting this magnificent palace, you will get on a public boat for your Bosphorus tour of about 2 hours. Bosphorus is a 33 km long strait and is a natural border between Asia and Europe. The boat will go up to the narrowest part where Rumeli and Anatolian Fortresses are. During the cruise, you will see the most impressive sights along the shores of the Bosphorus including Ciragan Palace, Maiden´s Tower, Bosphorus bridges, Rumeli and Anadolu fortresses and million dollars seaside mansions.
In the afternoon, you will visit Istiklal Street and Pera District packed with music shops, bookstores, movie theaters, cafes, restaurants and bars. You will have lunch at a kebab restaurant in the area. At the end of the tour, public transportation will be used for getting back to the hotel. Accommodation in Istanbul. (breakfast at hotel, lunch on the tour)
Please note that Dolmabahce Palace is closed on Mondays and Thursdays.
4th Day – Golden Horn Tour
Departure from your hotel at around 08:30 and drive to Suleymaniye Mosque, the imperial mosque of Ottoman Empire constructed by Architect Sinan. The next visit is to Chora Church Museum, a small but impressive building dating to 11th century and unique with Christian frescoes and mosaics inside. The best spot looking over the Golden Horn is Pierre Loti Hill. We will have a break at the tea house there. The tour will go on with a short boat tour on Golden Horn. After lunch, the tour ends at Egyptian Market (Spice Bazaar), the most popular place in the city for spices, Turkish delights and coffee. You will be transferred to the airport for a late afternoon flight to Kayseri. Upon your arrival, you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel in Cappadocia. Accommodation in Cappadocia. (breakfast at hotel, lunch on the tour)
5th Day - Northern Cappadocia Tour
Pick up from your hotel at around 09:00 and you will visit Devrent Imagination Valley and walk through this lunar landscape. Next, visit Zelve Open Air Museum, where you will witness houses carved into the rocks, a Seljukian mosque as well as the traces of the ancient civilizations, Pasabagi (the world-famous Fairy Chimneys), the village of Avanos, where you will witness a pottery-making demonstration using ancient Hittite techniques. After your lunch at a local cave restaurant, we will visit Uchisar Rock-Castle, (the highest point in the region, Esentepe (a panoramic view of Goreme Valley) and Goreme Open Air Museum (Rock-carved churches, frescoes, and monastery). Then return to the hotel about 17.30. Accommodation in Cappadocia. (breakfast at hotel, lunch on the tour)
6th Day – Southern Cappadocia Tour
Depart from your hotel at around 09:00 and the tour starts with a 4km hike through the Rose Valley visiting the churches. The next visit is to Christian & Greek village of Cavusin. We will have lunch in Pigeons Valley unique with small niches carved in the rocks. Cappadocia has several underground cities used by the residents to escape from their enemies and Kaymakli Underground City is among the most famous ones. You will also visit the Ortahisar Natural Rock Castle offering a beautiful view over the valley. Drop off at your hotel in the afternoon. Accommodation in Cappadocia. (breakfast at hotel, lunch on the tour)
7th Day – Ephesus Tour
You will be transferred to the airport for an early flight to Izmir. Upon your arrival, you will be transferred to Ephesus ancient city, the most splendid ancient city in Turkey and requires about 2 hours to visit. The next visit is to Virgin Mary’s House where it is believed she spent the last years of her life and buried there. After lunch, you will visit the remaining important places to see in the area: Ephesus Museum where the objects discovered in Ephesus are exhibited, Temple of Artemis (Diana) which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, St. John Castle and the remains of Church situated at the top of Ayasoluk Hill and Isa Bey Mosque an important structure belonging to Turkish heritage. Accommodation in Kusadasi. (lunch on the tour)
8th Day – Aphrodisias Ancient City, Hierapolis and Pamukkale Tour
Departure from the hotel at around 08:30 and drive to Aphrodisias ancient city, the famous sculpture school and center of ancient Asia Minor. Aphrodisias Museum keeps some of the best examples of Greek and Roman sculpture works. We arrive at Pamukkale at around lunch time. It is famous with white colored rocks formed by thermal waters containing calcium bicarbonate. The ancient city Hierapolis at site was a famous healing center and the hotels at site are still booked for their thermal water pools in present day. The Roman Pool at site is still in use. After the tour you will be transferred to the airport for a late afternoon flight to Istanbul. You will be met and transferred to your hotel. Accommodation in Istanbul. (breakfast at hotel, lunch on the tour)
The tour ends with the last night accommodation in Istanbul. Further arrangements can be provided upon request.
The tour includes:
- 4 or 5 star hotel accommodation
- Domestic flight tickets, economy class. Business class flights available upon request if available.
- Private tour arrangements at all sites visited; Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, Pamukkale and Aphrodisias, includes private tour guide with you on all the tours, with no other tour attendees. All your land transportation on the tours will be provided with air-conditioned luxury private vans.
- All the entrance fees on the tours
- Meal services as noted in the itinerary. Breakfasts are continental type, lunch are local cuisine suitable for foreigners. Vegetarian or Celiac food is available with advance notice. The drinks are extra.
The tour cost is as follows :