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. This evening, consider an optional dinner with Turkish folk and belly dancing.
Delve into the treasures of the Ottoman Empire this morning. Stroll through Topkapi Palace and see the 4th-century Egyptian obelisk before journeying south to Çanakkale, crossing the Dardanelles, immortalised in the legend of the Golden Fleece.
Your morning begins with a poignant reminder of the many thousands of men who fought bravely at Gallipoli. We witness a stirring dawn tribute at Anzac Cove, then continue to an ancient city immortalised by Homer. We admire the archaeological excavations at Troy and the replica Trojan horse, commemorating the war machine constructed by the Greeks to end a lengthy siege.
We'll see Lone Pine Cemetery and the battlefields that today still hold special significance for the Turkish, Australian and New Zealand nations. Spend a quiet moment commemorating the lives lost at Anzac Cove and Chunuk Bair. Then, continue to Pergamon to visit the Asclepion Medical Centre whose staff of entwined snakes remains a symbol of modern medicine today. This evening, we arrive in the coastal city of Izmir.
Leave the coastal city of Izmir behind as you 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, then admire the bubbling pools and delicate white cascades of water of Pamukkale's Cotton Castle Springs. Later, we travel through scenic countryside and join the Yazir community in the Taurus Mountains, where we'll 'Connect With Locals' and gain insights into their traditions at our Be My Guest lunch. Our stop for the next two nights is the Mediterranean retreat of Antalya. Enjoy some time on your own ambling through the winding lanes of its old city and admiring 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 enchanting seaside atmosphere of the Turkish Riviera, embarking on an optional yacht cruise or relaxing at the hotel pool. This afternoon, we travel to the Roman city of Perge to visit the impressive Antalya Archaeological Museum and 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 your first stop in Aspendos this morning, before continuing to Konya, where we will gain 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 a well-preserved 13th-century caravanseray, at which weary travellers used to rest. We journey to 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. 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. Tonight we stay in one of 'Trafalgar's Stays With Stories', located alongside the ancient Ortahisar rock castle.
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 on our own. 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 navigating 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.