12 Days - Classic Escorted Tours

Turkey is an intriguing country with a unique identity straddling both Europe and Asia. In a place where familiarity merges with the exotic, we find a magical blend of the ancient, Christian and Ottoman worlds.  One of the greatest pleasures of visiting this diverse country is to meet the Turks themselves, a wonderfully, welcoming people with a well-deserved reputation for friendliness. Genuine hospitality has been refined to an art-form here with even the smallest transaction often being accompanied by a cup of refreshing apple tea.  We see the very best of Cappadocia and Anatolia, including the unique underground city of Kaymakli and the amazingly shaped rocks of Monks Valley and Goreme where early Christian buildings are carved into the mesmerising rock formations themselves. The unique 30 million-year-old volcanic scenery in Cappadocia is utterly striking with a variety of rocks eroding at different rates creating valleys of contorted shapes probably unmatched anywhere in the world.  Following the ancient Silk Road, with its astonishing sense of history, we visit the Sultanhani Caravanserai and the historic home of the Whirling Dervishes in Konya and staying in the brilliant white wonderland of Pamukkale, with its extraordinary mineral-rich pools and falls. We also discover Aphrodisias, the delightfully ancient city of Aphrodite – the Greek goddess of love with its outstanding relics.  We discover Ankara, today’s capital where the wealth of history underpinning the emergence of Turkey as a nation is clearly encapsulated in the Anatolian Civilizations Museum and where the founder of modern Turkey, Kemal Ataturk, lies in his Mausoleum.  We visit three of the most famous ancient sites in the country: Troy, Pergamon and Ephesus. Each one is very different, with Troy being the oldest, dating from 3,000BC. Pergamon, once a Greek colony, has amazing views in all directions and flourished as one of the ancient world’s greatest centres of learning and healing. During Roman times, the greatest city in the eastern Mediterranean was Ephesus, boasting an extraordinary number of superbly preserved monuments. The jewel in the crown is the incredible city of Istanbul. A city of great diversity, it’s a combination of tree-lined boulevards, cafés and cosmopolitan restaurants set against a backdrop where little else has changed for centuries. You still see the thriving street market-stalls, groaning with immense displays of produce and even live poultry for sale, with noise and atmosphere in abundance. Turkish cuisine is an interesting blend of Mediterranean specialities: lots of freshly grilled lamb, fish and shellfish combine with aubergines, peppers and various fragrant olive oils, to create tasty, healthy menus all washed down with the excellent local and very reasonably priced red wine.  Turkey is the perfect place if you are looking for something a little different - a genuinely unique blend of diverse cultures, centuries of history and an atmosphere which links the mysterious east and modern west.

Highlights

  • Happy by day two or we'll bring you home with a full refund
  • Tour of Ankara and Ataturk’s mausoleum
  • Explore the Anatolian Civilisations Museum
  • See Cappadocia’s amazing rock pinnacles
  • Walk through the Goreme Open-air museum
  • Visit Kaymakli, the extraordinary underground city
  • Tour one of the best-preserved Seljuk caravanserais
  • Visit Mevlana Rumi’s Mausoleum in Konya
  • Discover the natural phenomena at Pamukkale
  • Guided tour of Aphrodisias, the city dedicated to the goddess of love
  • Visit Ephesus for a walking tour
  • Guided tour of the Acropolis of Pergamon
  • See the remains of Homer’s Troy
  • Cross the Straits of the Dardanelles 
  • Visit Gallipoli, Anzac Cove and the Commonwealth cemeteries
  • Walking tour of Istanbul and visit Hagia Sophia
  • Tour the extraordinary Topkapi Palace
  • Explore the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market