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Welcome to Istanbul. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Relax after your journey. In the evening attend a trip briefing with your Travel Director and meet your fellow travellers.
Enjoy a full-day sightseeing tour including a visit to see parts of the Topkapi Palace Museum, residence of the Ottoman Sultans between 1453–1852. Visit the Hippodrome, once the centre of life where chariot racing and other public events took place. Visit the Blue Mosque built between 1609 and 1616, and the world’s largest and oldest covered market with over 60 streets. Consider joining a delicious Turkish optional dinner where local cuisine is served along with traditional belly dancing entertainment. (BB)
This morning enjoy free time in the city or take an Optional Experience Bosphorus cruise to enjoy views of the strait that seperates Asia and Europe, and visit Hagia Sophia. This church was built in the Byzantine capital during the 6th century and converted into a mosque by the Ottomans. Today it houses a museum and is known as one of the world’s greatest architectural wonders. Early this afternoon depart for the capital city of Ankara for an overnight stay. (BB, D)
Visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, a historic caravanserai holding artifacts dating back 7,500 years including the most extensive and valuable collection of Hittite artifacts in the world. Visit the Mausoleum of Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey. Perhaps take an Optional Experience this evening to see a Whirling Dervish performance with dinner. (BB)
This morning visit Pasabagi and the Red Valley and later stop at a regional rug production centre. This afternoon you may wish to take an Optional Experience to Göreme and Avanos. Göreme, a historical region of Turkey located among unique rock formations, was first settled back in the Roman period. Many rock churches can still be seen today, as Christianity was then the prevailing religion in that region. Afterwards continue to the town of Avanos renowned for its high quality earthenware. This evening dinner will be served at your hotel. (BB, D)
This morning visit the underground city of Sarhatli, one of the many underground settlements built for protection and religious reasons. Drive to Konya and visit the famous mausoleum of the Sufi philosopher Mevlana. This was also the dervish lodge of the Mevlevi order, better known as the Whirling Dervishes. Later check into your hotel in Konya and enjoy dinner. (BB, D)
After breakfast leave Konya and travel to see the unique cotton fortress of Pamukkale with its white lime cascades formed by mineral springs. You will also get to see the ruins of the ancient Roman health spa of Hierapolis. This evening enjoy a relaxing dinner at your hotel. (BB, D)
Today travel to Selçuk and tour the famous ruins of Ephesus, an important cultural centre of the ancient world and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore 2,000 year-old marble streets, view a magnificent theatre, see the Library of Celsus, a gymnasium and finally Hadrian’s Temple. Then take a short drive from Ephesus to visit St. Mary’s stone cottage, where it is believed Virgin Mary spent her last years accompanied by St. John. Continue to Izmir. (BB)
Visit the ancient Medical Center Asclepion in Pergamon and continue to Troy with its famous wooden horse. This town is best known for being the setting of the Trojan War as well as a place where many cities are built on top of each other. Continue to Çanakkale for the night with dinner served at your hotel. (BB, D)
In the morning depart for Gallipoli, the site of many WWI battles. Visit poignant Anzac Cove, Lone Pine Cemetery and Chunuk Bair before returning to Istanbul. Enjoy a last night in Istanbul with your travel companions. (BB)
This morning bid a fond farewell to this wonderful city as your memorable holiday comes to an end. Transfers are available to the airport. Conditions apply. (BB)
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