12-day Affordable Turkey + Flights

Sunday departure itinerary:

DAY 1, Sunday – Depart for Turkey
Depart for Turkey

DAY 2, Monday – Arrive in Istanbul
Arrive in Istanbul and transfer to your hotel. Balance of the day is at leisure. This evening, enjoy dinner and an orientation meeting with your Tour Manager
Overnight: Istanbul
Meals: Dinner

DAY 3, Tuesday – Istanbul City Tour
Enjoy a half day morning tour of Istanbul, the only city that straddles two continents. Your tour includes a short briefing and a picture stop at the courtyard of the Blue Mosque, a 17th century Ottoman Mosque famous with its six minarets and magnificent interior with blue tiles. Continue to the Hippodrome, the place chariot races and competitive athletic events took place during the Roman period. You will also visit St. Sophia – the great Byzantine Basilica built in the 6th century, which remained the largest cathedral in the world for almost a thousand years, it was later converted to a mosque and now serves as a museum. Then onto the lively Spice Market with its unforgettable aromas. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure, exploring this city that blurs the line between East and West, with incredible architecture that is rivaled only by its spectacular natural setting on the Bosphorus Strait. Perhaps, embark on the optional cruise along the Bosphorus, the winding straits separating Europe and Asia. View humble fishing villages and suspension bridges set against the dramatic outline of the Strait 
Optional: Half Day Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise (PM) 
Overnight: Istanbul 
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 4, Wednesday – Anzac Cemetery, Drive to Canakkale
This morning, drive to the town of Gallipoli, site of the famous Ottoman victory against the Allies during World War I. Visit the Anzac Cemetery, a memorial to the casualties of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, who’s fame grew back home as word of their heroic efforts spread. Afterwards, cross the Dardanelles by ferry and continue to the Canakkale province, located in northwest Turkey, where you will arrive in the early evening 
Overnight: Canakkale 
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 5, Thursday – Visit Troy, Pergamum, Drive to Kusadasi
This morning, proceed to the classical city of Troy. Tour this 4000-year-old city and legendary center of the Trojan War, made immortal by Homer’s epic poem The Iliad. Then, drive to Pergamum, a powerful kingdom during the ancient Hellenistic period, and visit the Asclepion, the ancient Roman spa center. Continue to Kusadasi, a city believed to be the birthplace of Homer, where you will arrive in the early evening 
Overnight: Kusadasi 
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 6, Friday – Full Day in Kusadasi
Enjoy a full day at leisure in Kusadasi. Or, join the optional tour to Ancient Ephesus where the Temple of Artemis, one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World” once stood. Walk along the 2000 year old marble streets; see the Great Theatre, the Odeon, the Fountain of Trajan, Temple of Hadrian, and the Library of Celsus. Visit the peaceful House of the Virgin Mary, believed to be her last residence and the Basilica of St. John. Following the tour, participate in an optional leather factory visit to shop or return to the hotel 
Optional: Full Day Ephesus & House of Virgin Mary with Lunch 
Overnight: Kusadasi 
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 7, Saturday – Pamukkale Hot Springs, Necropolis, and Hierapolis
Depart Kusadasi and drive to Pamukkale. Visit the Necropolis and the ancient city of Hierapolis “Holy City,” a UNESCO a World Heritage Site situated atop the Pamukkale hot springs. The Pamukkale hot springs have served as a therapeutic thermal spa since the 2nd century B.C.
Overnight: Pamukkale
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 8, Sunday – Travel to Konya
Today, travel from Pamukkale, the “Cotton Castle,” to Konya, a city renowned for its Seljuk architecture and also as the home of the “Whirling Dervishes.” Arrive in the afternoon and visit the Mausoleum of Mevlana before dinner this evening 
Overnight: Konya 
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 9, Monday – Visit Caravanserai of Sultanhan en route to Cappadocia*
Depart for Cappadocia, visiting the magnificent Caravanserai of Sultanhan en route. Afterward, visit Guzelyurt, a fine example of cave dwellings and Greek influences in the Cappadocia region. Following a special home-hosted lunch, continue to Nevsehir in Cappadocia. Upon arrival in Cappadocia, visit a carpet atelier and have a demonstration of carpet weaving. Tonight, attend the optional Whirling Dervish performance; their captivating mystical ritual connects one in infinite spinning to perfect harmony 
*Due to renovations at Sultanhani Caravenserai, Nov 26-Dec 25 departures will visit Selime Cathedral instead. 
Optional: Whirling Dervishes Performance (PM) 
Overnight: Cappadocia 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10, Tuesday – Full Day in Cappadocia
Awake very early to participate in the optional hot air Balloon Ride* that takes you soaring over the magnificent Cappadocian landscape with its incredible fairy chimney rock formations — the feeling is both serene and sublime. Then, enjoy a full day exploring Cappadocia independently. Famed for temples and houses cut directly into the region’s spectacular rock formations, Cappadocia has captivated travelers for centuries. Or opt to join the full day tour of Cappadocia* that includes the Open Air Museum in Goreme Valley; see early Christian churches decorated with unique frescoes. Explore the fascinating Ozkonak Underground City, built on the northern slopes of Mt. Idis. The tour ends at the village of Avanos famous for its beautiful old houses, pottery and onyx (sightseeing order is subject to change) 
*The Cappadocia Balloon Ride tour ends before the Full Day Cappadocia tour begins. Both tours can be done on the same day. 
Optional: Cappadocia Balloon Ride (AM) 
Optional: Full Day Cappadocia (AM) 
Overnight: Cappadocia 
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 11, Wednesday – Ankara, Mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk
This morning depart for Ankara, the capital and the second largest city of Turkey. Upon arrival, visit the Mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk, founder and first president of the Turkish Republic. Leading up to the Mausoleum, also known as the Anitkabir, lies a vast brick courtyard and monumental avenue lined with NeoHittite stone statues and cenotaphs beneath its colonnades. The most noted cenotaphs within the complex are those of General Ismet Inonu, a close comrade of Ataturk’s and his successor, and that of Ataturk himself, a large and highly decorative marble cenotaph, beneath which lies his tomb. Continue to the Anatolian Civilizations Museum – built in two Ottoman buildings located near Ankara Castle. The Museum, being among exceptional museums with its unique collection, exhibits Anatolian archaeological artifacts, as well as artifacts from the Paleolithic Age to the present 
Overnight: Ankara 
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 12, Thursday – Full Day in Istanbul
Depart for Istanbul, arriving in the early afternoon. Leisure time to explore on your own on this last day in Turkey. In the afternoon, don’t miss the optional tour to the Topkapi Palace residence of Ottoman Sultans and the Grand Bazaar, where bargaining is an art. Tonight, a festive Farewell Dinner with your newfound friends 
Optional: Half Day Istanbul with Topkapi Palace & Grand Bazaar (PM) 
Overnight: Istanbul 
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 13, Friday – Depart Turkey
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight 
Meals: Breakfast