Stand at the ancient crossroads between Europe and Asia, embarking on a journey of discovery through ancient lands and the marauding empires who fought to rule it. Arriving in vibrant Istanbul, you will be transferred to your hotel before joining your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a memorable Welcome Reception to kick off your epic adventure.
Spend your day delving into a city where modern and ancient coexist effortlessly. Gain insights into the Ottoman Empire's power during your guided tour of the Topkapi Palace and see the 4th century Egyptian obelisk. Visit Hagia Sophia, the Hippodrome and the exquisite Blue Mosque, said to rival even the Great Mosque in Mecca. Spend your afternoon at your leisure haggling with passionate market vendors lining the labyrinthine lanes of the Grand Bazaar to ply their wares to the highest bidder. This evening, consider an optional dinner with Turkish folk and belly dancing.
Pay tribute to the brave souls who lost their lives at Gallipoli - the national pride of two nations, the Turkish and Australians, were awakened at the site of the bloody WWI battlefields and are commemorated to this day. See Anzac Cove and Dardanelles, and visit the cemeteries of Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair, the final resting place of many Allied soldiers. We continue to Çanakkale where we dine at our hotel tonight.
Explore the legends of Troy and see the symbolic replica of the famous Wooden Horse that the Greeks used to break their siege of this ancient city. Visit the ancient Asclepion Medical Centre in the city of Pergamon before retiring in seaside Izmir this evening where we'll dine at our hotel.
Meander through the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, past the amazingly intact façade of the Library of Celcus and down to what was once its thriving port. See the House of Virgin Mary at Mt. Koressos then spend the rest of the day at leisure. This evening you may consider joining an optional dinner at a local restaurant in Izmir and perhaps a spot of raki to wash down delicious seafood flavours.
Leave the coastal city of Izmir behind as we journey inland to Pamukkale. Relax and enjoy the blissful thermal pools at your hotel before dinner.
Tread in the footsteps of the ancients who sought relief and relaxation at the Roman health spa at Hieropolis, and admire the bubbling pools and delicate white cascades of water of Pamukkale's Cotton Castle Springs. whose ruins we will have an opportunity to explore this morning along with the enchanting Cotton Castle Springs at Pamukkale. Later, we travel through scenic countryside and join the Yazir community in the Taurus Mountains for an unforgettable Be My Guest lunch and insights into their traditions. Our stop for the next two nights is the Mediterranean retreat of Antalya where we have some time at leisure to able through the winding lanes of its old city and admire beautifully preserved Ottoman architecture. This evening, join your companions for a rousing Regional Meal at a local restaurant.
Enjoy a morning on your terms to soak up the beguiling seaside atmosphere of the Turkish Riviera, embarking on an optional yacht cruise or relaxing at the hotel pool. This afternoon, we travel to Roman city of Perge to visit the impressive Antalya Archaeological Museum to see treasures spanning the centuries. Your evening is free to find an inviting meyhane for some local chit chat and delicious flavours of kebab and baklava.
Witness the world's best-preserved theatre of antiquity during our first stop in Aspendos this morning, before continuing to Konya, where we will gain unique insights into the mystical Whirling Dervish sect whose remains lie in the Mevlana Museum and Mausoleum. We continue to the Karatay Tile Museum, spellbound by its exquisitely Seljuk-tiled dome before returning to our hotel where we'll dine tonight.
See where weary travellers once rested at a well-preserved 13th century caravansary. We then journey to the fairy-tale land of Cappadocia with its honey-coloured rocky spires providing an enchanting backdrop for our visit to the underground city of Sarhatli on the ancient Silk Road and sights of the cone of Uchisar. This evening, indulge in the flavours of traditional pottery kebabs during a Regional Meal at a local restaurant before retiring to your hotel with beautiful views of the surrounding fairy chimneys.
The other-worldly landscapes of Cappadocia take centre stage today as we explore its volcanic landscape dotted with caves and troglodyte dwellings. We visit the Göreme Open-Air Museum to admire the extraordinary rock-hewn churches and learn about the art of pottery making in Avanos before dining in our hotel this evening.
Arriving in the youthful capital of Turkey today, we visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations and the final resting place of the country's beloved Atatürk, the first president of the modern Turkish nation. This evening we dine at our hotel in Ankara.
Returning to Istanbul, we enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Delve into the depths of the Basilica Cistern, savour the intoxicating smells of the Spice Market or ascend Galata Tower for exquisite views of east and west. Consider an optional cruise meandering along the waters of the Bosphorus before meeting your Travel Director and fellow companions for a memorable Farewell Dinner.
Our epic journey into antiquity has come to an end as we bid Istanbul and newfound friends a fond farewell. Transfers are available. Conditions apply.
Cruise Connection: This trip starts or ends in a popular cruise port, so you can combine a cruise with a more in-depth guided holiday in Europe.
Special Rate Solo Rooming: Departures 9 December 2018, 10 February and 17 March 2019 include 20-100% discount on our standard single supplement.
Shared Rooming: Room Share is available on this trip.
Itinerary: Some departures may operate in reverse. Included sightseeing will not be affected. If Sarhatli is unavailable, an alternative underground city may be visited instead.
New Year's Eve Highlights: Christmas Day is not celebrated in Turkey. Departure 23 December 2018 will celebrate New Year's Eve in Konya. And the 30 December 2018 departure will celebrate New Year's Eve in Istanbul. Each of these specially arranged festive meal celebrations will replace one of the included meals featured in the itinerary.
Important Visa Information: Visas may be required for this trip. Please speak with your Travel Agent when making your reservation to assess your specific requirements.