7 Days - Classic Escorted Tours

A city of great diversity, Istanbul is a combination of tree-lined boulevards, cafés and cosmopolitan restaurants set against a backdrop where little has changed for centuries. High-class jewellery and fashion shops jostle with hawkers selling freshly prepared food, shoe-shine boys and the largest covered bazaar in the world. During its 3,000 years of turbulent history, it has been home to the Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Ottomans and, finally, the Turks themselves – all leaving their mark. We are taught the Roman Empire fell in 410AD when Attila the Hun sacked Rome, but rarely told is that the eastern and wealthier half lasted another thousand years. This lead to some amazingly preserved monuments, with perhaps the greatest legacy being the 6th-century Hagia Sophia, the largest ever church and for over a thousand years, the largest covered space on earth. During the Middle Ages, the Ottoman Empire built another range of monuments to match, including the amazing Topkapi Palace, which was the seat of government of arguably the greatest empire of the medieval age. We also visit three of the most famous ancient sites in the country: Troy, Pergamon and Ephesus. Each is very different, with Troy being the oldest, dating from 3000 BC, and during more than a century of excavations, nine separate cities have been unearthed, all built over each other. Once a Greek colony built high on a huge rock, Pergamon is an impregnable defensive site with 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, which boasts an extraordinary number of superbly preserved monuments, including the stunning two-storey Library of Celsus. We cross from Asia back to Europe on a scenic ferry journey across the Dardanelles Straight – you’ll be surprised by how close Europe is to the Asian shore and it’s not hard to imagine the great armies of Xerxes and Alexander the Great crossing here at their narrowest point. Turkish cuisine is an interesting blend of Mediterranean specialities: fresh grilled lamb, fish, shellfish with aubergines, peppers and various fragrant olive oils combine to create tasty, healthy menus, all washed down with the excellent and very reasonably priced local red wine. Turkey is the perfect place if you are looking for something a little different and it will not disappoint. It possesses a genuinely unique blend of diverse cultures, centuries of history and an atmosphere that links the mysterious east with the familiar west. We also visit three of the most famous ancient sites in the country: Troy, Pergamon and Ephesus. Each is very different, with Troy being the oldest, dating from 3000 BC, and during more than a century of excavations, nine separate cities have been unearthed, all built over each other. Once a Greek colony built high on a huge rock, Pergamon is an impregnable defensive site with 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, which boasts an extraordinary number of superbly preserved monuments, including the stunning two-storey Library of Celsus. We cross from Asia back to Europe on a scenic ferry journey across the Dardanelles Straight – you’ll be surprised by how close Europe is to the Asian shore and it’s not hard to imagine the great armies of Xerxes and Alexander the Great crossing here at their narrowest point. Turkish cuisine is an interesting blend of Mediterranean specialities: fresh grilled lamb, fish, shellfish with aubergines, peppers and various fragrant olive oils combine to create tasty, healthy menus, all washed down with the excellent and very reasonably priced local red wine.Turkey is the perfect place if you are looking for something a little different and it will not disappoint. It possesses a genuinely unique blend of diverse cultures, centuries of history and an atmosphere that links the mysterious east with the familiar west.

Highlights

  • Follow in the footsteps of St Paul and St John in Ephesus, the Eastern Mediterranean’s greatest Roman city
  • Visit the mountainside site reputed to be the house of the Virgin Mary
  • Guided tour of the remarkable and little-visited Acropolis of Pergamon
  • See the remains of Homer’s Troy
  • Cross the Straits of the Dardanelles and visit the poignant sites of the Commonwealth cemeteries in Gallipoli and Anzac Cove
  • Visit Hagia Sophia, for a thousand years the greatest church in Christendom
  • Walking tour of Istanbul including the Galata Bridge across the Golden Horn and the Grand Bazaar
  • Tour the extraordinary Topkapi Palace
  • Stay in hand-picked four-star hotels, with daily breakfast and three dinner

Inclusions

  • The price of this holiday is per person based on two people sharing a twin room. The price includes:
  • Six nights' accomodation in four-star hotels
  • Daily breakfast and three buffet dinners
  • All tours as mentioned
  • Hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person
  • Scheduled return flights
  • All local taxes
  • The services of a Riviera Travel tour manager
  • Not included: US$20 Turkish visa payable on arrival and optional entrance to Topkapi Harem quarters is 25 Turkish lira.