BIRD WATCHING TOUR OF TURKEY
July 5, 2021
SKIING IN THE LYCIAN REGION
July 5, 2021
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HIGHLIGHTS OF TURKEY IN 15 DAYS

Discover all of Turkey’s foremost sights in a fortnight, get to swim in the Mediterranean, sample the delicious foods of Turkish cuisine, witness the Anatolian cultural diversity and enjoy the fantastic scenery of the beautiful Turkish landscape.

Arrive Istanbul

Meet at the airport. Transfer to the hotel.  Time permitting, after the check-in, we will take an orientation walk in the city. Grand Bazaar is certainly a great option do on your own (closed on Sundays).

Overnight at hotel in Istanbul

Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia, Cistern Basilica

After we have our breakfast, we will visit Topkapi Palace, is administrative palace of the Ottoman Dynasty that rule on three continents for centuries. Amazes of the buildings are at the centre of the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 19th centuries. In these opulent surroundings, the sultans and their court lived and governed. Continue with Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque) is more familiarly known as Blue Mosque because its interior gleams with a magnificent paneling of blue. It has 6 minarets and very nice cupolas. It was built by architect Mehmet between 1609 and 1616. After visiting we stroll around Ancient Hippodrome the scene of chariot races and the centre of Byzantine civil life, stood in the open space in front of the Blue Mosque. We will see tree charming monuments. . We continue to visit the great Hagia Sophia, crowning glory of Byzantium, now called Ayasofya museum. It is really on of the finest buildings of all time. Built by Constantine the Great and reconstructed by Justinian in 6th century. Its immense dome rises 55 meters above the ground and its diameter spans 31 meters. We will absorb the building’s majestic serenity and admire the fine Byzantine mosaics. Later we will visit the Cistern Basilica.

Overnight at hotel in Istanbul

Fly Izmir, Transfer to Selcuk

This morning we are heading onto the airport to fly over to Izmir. After our transfer to Selcuk town, we will get to stroll around the Artemis Temple, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Time permitting, we will have free time in the rather pleasant laid back town center as well as paying a visit to a nearby traditional village carpet atelier to learn about the organic dying and weaving techniques of Turkish carpets.

Overnight at hotel in Selcuk

Visit Ephesus, Ephesus Museum

We will have a full day exploration of the Ephesus region. In the morning, the world’s most famous and best preserved ancient sights Ephesus will be our first visit. After lunch at a local restaurant and having a look at the well set-up Ephesus Museum, we will explore the ruins of Saint John’s Basilica as well as the medieval Selcuk Castle offering 360 degree views around the town.

Overnight at hotel in Selcuk

Drive Pamukkale via Aphrodisias

Today we are getting to see a magnificent UNESCO site Aphrodisias, a complete marble city of the ancient times. It was also an important statuary center which produced countless marble busts and ornaments once decorated the settlement all around. The site also owns its museum putting the marble master pieces of the Aphrodisias’ artisans on display. In the afternoon, we will continue our drive to Pamukkale, the land of the travertines.

Overnight at hotel in Pamukkale

Visit Pamukkale, Drive to Dalyan

The pearl white travertines of Pamukkale are a true wonder of nature. This incredible must visit destination also boasts a well preserved ancient sight: Hierapolis. You can relax in the ancient spa pool swimming above ancient column capitals, paddle your feet in the travertines and visit the scenic Hellenistic Theater to admire the aerial views. In afternoon we will move on to our next target: the small fisherman town of Dalyan. Upon reaching our hotel, our guests can take a walk along the promenade decorated with the lit-up monuments of Dalyan rock tombs in the background.

Overnight at hotel in Dalyan

Boat Trip in Dalyan

Dalyan meaning fish trap is such a nice little town situated upon a little creek named after it. Thanks to its history and nature, Dalyan has a lot offer to its visitors. In order to take it all in, we will go on a pleasant river boat trip. Our first stop is Caunos ancient sight. Then, we will continue onto the massive wildlife delta by Iztuzu beach where Dalyan creek runs into the Mediterranean. The 3 km strip of the sandy Iztuzu beach is an important breeding ground for famous Caretta Caretta (loggerhead) sea turtles. Dalyan is still a fisherman town, where many locals catch gray mullet, sea bass and blue crab for a living.

 Overnight at hotel in Dalyan

AM Drive to Fethiye, PM Explore the Town

Reaching Fethiye, the crown of the Turquoise coast, we take a stop at the Fethiye view point to admire scenery of Fethiye Bay as well as the Lycian Rock Tombs of Amintas and the old ancient theatre. We will then have a short drive to the ghost town Kayakoy. After having lunch at a local restaurant with tasty local dishes, we will continue to the famous Lycian Way view point to admire the true wonder of the nature, Oludeniz Lagoon. Finally, we will drive over to the Calis Beach. We will have an opportunity to put our feet in the cool waters of the Mediterranean sea to relax.

Overnight at hotel in Fethiye.

Drive to Antalya

A scenic mountain route will bring us to our eventual destination today, Antalya the Turkish Riviera. Before we get to our hotel, we will have a number of photo stops including the lengthy Konyaalti beach stretching onto the stunning Bey Daglari Mountains in the background making up for dramatic scenery. We will then stroll around for sightseeing in the old town also called “Kaleici” among the locals. It is surrounded with solid medieval city walls and travertine bluffs. The old town was established as a colony of Pergamum Kingdom in the 2nd century B.C.

Overnight at hotel in Antalya

In Antalya

This morning we are going to a fantastic museum. Antalya Archaeological Museum is definitely a must visit in Turkey. In the afternoon, we will take a transfer along the winding turquoise coast. Our destination is called the Olympos beach and Chimera, the flaming rock which is a rather peculiar feauture in this part of the world. Although it takes a hike to reach there, the rocky slabs dotted with self-igniting flames are so interesting that they are certainly worth seeing. We will be able to swim on the Olympos beach as well.

Overnight at hotel in Antalya

Visit Aspendos Theatre, Drive to Konya

Having discovered the coastal Turkey in it entirety, it is now time to go inland. Aspendos theatre, en-route to Konya is a magnificent ancient theatre that once seated up to 20.000 spectators.

Next, we will continue onto Konya and visit the lodge of Whirling Dervishes, the eternal rest place of Rumi, his family and his avid followers. We will also take the opportunity to explain the doctrines of his philosophy. Konya stands out with thin crispy pizza like snacks that are served with various toppings in butter. Okra soup is also a must to try as well as tandoor lamb.

Overnight at hotel in Konya

Visit Catalhoyuk, Drive to Cappadocia

When we head to Cappadocia, we will stop at Catalhoyuk. Discovered in 1954 by the British Archeologist James Mellaart, Catalhoyuk turned out to be one of the first villages founded in the world which was established in the New Stone Age (circa 7000 BC). Then we will be stop at a Seljukid heritage called Sultanhani, a caravanserai built circa 1200. A network of these masonry inns was constructed at certain intervals during the Anatolian Seljukid period in order to facilitate the silk route trading. Before we call it a day, we will visit a cultural center in Cappadocia to watch the Whirling Dervishes Ceremony which will complete picture for Rumi’s order and its significance.

Overnight at hotel in Cappadocia

In Cappadocia

The surreal landscape of Cappadocia, created by successive volcanic eruptions and continuous erosion is a huge national park. Its incredible formations and rock-cut churches from the early Christianity are being enlisted as a UNESCO world heritage site! People are still living caves within the region and each town has a somewhat troglodyte character! There are more than 100 underground cities adding an unbeatable feature to the area.

Our in depth tour will start with a visit to the world famous UNESCO World Heritage site Kaymakli Underground City. The natural rock formation of Uchisar town called Uchisar Citadel offers the best views of the whole region below your feet. The UNESCO Goreme Open Air Museum contains some of the best frescoes in the world representing the early Christian art and existence in Cappadocia region. Pasabag fairy chimneys are a must due to the fact that they are colossal and each spearing into the sky by their tall and pointy shapes. Cavusin village is where once Christians and Turks settled together. There, once inhabited homes reflect the beauty of the Cappadocian civil architecture. Devrent imagination valley is, as the name implies, going to invoke your senses where thousands of big and small mother nature carved figures scatter across the landscape.

Overnight at hotel Cappadocia

In Cappadocia

This morning while we have the best light, we will go for a hike around Red and Rose valleys. The views will be absolutely spectacular out there. Moreover, the surreal formations are partially carved-out and decorated with frescoes by the Byzantine Christian monks will be among the things to see during our walk. This afternoon, we are going to Avanos for lunch and to see the longest river of Turkey, Kizilirmak (eg. red river). For thousands of years, Cappadocian people used the red clay obtained from the old banks of the river and shaped it on the kick-wheels. It is still an important income for the region. We will get to see one of the pottery ateliers to learn more about the still used ancient techniques of shaping, outlining, glazing and painting. We will deliberately finish our last day early to give you some time on own. Our farewell dinner will be at a special place tonight.

Overnight at hotel Cappadocia

Fly Home

Tour ends. Transfer to the airport and fly home.

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