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Cappadocia
Ephesus

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I am very impressed with your response to my inquiry. After looking at all the websites I could find on Turkey tours, I sent essentially the same message I sent to you to two other tour companies in Turkey. I received prompt responses from each of you. But your reply was so far superior in reflecting understanding, capability, and creativity that I do not plan to give further consideration to either of them. I did initially contact a tour operator here in the US, to inquire about the general feasibility of the trip. His response to everything has been, "Yes, I can do that." But he has yet to indicate how he would do anything. I realize that itinerary building is difficult given the limited information I'm able to provide. That is why I appreciate your perceptiveness.

Dick Schutz

USA
 
     
     
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
FLY & DRIVE 15 DAYS (Suggested Itinerary)
Day 1 : Arrive at Istanbul's International Airport and transfer to hotel. Overnight : Istanbul.



Day 2 : Start your first morning in Istanbul by strolling to the great square which was once the Byzantine Hippodrome. Now it is a great parklike area surrounded by the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the Underground Cistern, commonly called the Basilica Cistern. After lunch at a local restaurant, retrace your steps and visit Topkapi Palace. More than a palace, it is an assemblage of museums containing the collections amassed by the Sultans over almost five centuries. After Topkapi Palace, finish the day with a visit to the Grand Bazaar. Overnight: Istanbul.



Day 3 : First walk to the Rustem Pasha Mosque, then visit Dolmabahce Palace. Overlooking the Bosphorus, its beauty is incomparable with 14 tons of pure gold used for its interior decoration, its priceless paintings, furniture, and a rich collection of Bohemian crystal in addition to its famous Harem section. Right after Dolmabahce Palace, get on board and take a leisurely Bosphorus Cruise from Eminonu, to the still unspoiled village of Sariyer. After returning to Eminonu, take a stroll through the Spice Market where Geneose and Venetian goods were sold when there was no Suez Canal, and spices from the East were also brought here from vessels loaded in Egypt. Overnight: Istanbul.



Day 4 : After checking out, go to The Mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent and the Chora Museum, where you will to see the finest examples of the Byzantine Mosaic Art. In the afternoon, transfer to the Airport for your flight to Cappadocia, and another transfer to your hotel. Overnight: Cappadocia.



Day 5 : Pick up your car early in the morning, and drive for sightseeing to the lunar landscape of Cappadocia, best seen at Dervent valley, then go on to Zelve Open Air Museum, which is one the earliest inhabited and latest abandoned monastic settlements of Cappadocia. Seeing the best examples of the fairy chimneys at Pasabag Fairy Chimney Valley, then drive to Avanos for lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon we visit Goreme Open Air Museum where you can visit the rock carved churches and see the colorful Byzantine frescoes. End your day hiking up to the top of Uchisar Castle, which is the highest and the most dominant point that gives us a breathtaking panorama. Overnight: Cappadocia.



Day 6 : Today drive a little further to the outskirts of Cappadocia, firstly descending to the centre of the earth at Kaymakli Underground City, and then driving further south-west passing close to Mount Hasan for hiking in Ihlara Valley, having lunch midway along the valley by the stream. Then drive back to your resort, giving an en route visit to Agzikarahan Caravanserai, where the medieval traveling merchants used to stay overnight. Overnight: Cappadocia.



Day 7 : After checking out, leave the Cappadocian landscape and start driving through the steps of Anatolia to Turkey's bread basket: Konya. Strolling in the streets of Konya, have lunch at a local restaurant, and then visit the Mevlana Museum, where the 13th century mystic Mevlevi philosophy was taught. Overnight: Konya.



Day 8 : Leaving the steps of Anatolia, drive further to the South, with the sun shining on your faces and, through a bright and blue sky, see the turquoise blue waters of the Mediterranean from the high Taurus mountains before arriving at the coast. Manavgat waterfalls should not be missed for a wonderful lunch next to the waterfalls; then head on to the ancient city of Side before arriving in Antalya. Overnight: Antalya.



Day 9 : Visit Antalya Archaeology Museum to see the best artefacts taken from the sites to be visited today. Using your imagination, you can put these artefacts into their original settings as you visit Thermessos, with its beautiful view; then Perge, the capital of ancient Pamphylia; and yes, you save the best to the last: Aspendos, the world's best preserved ancient theatre. Now you may drive back to Antalya to discover a good restaurant at the old district of the city, for a well-earned dinner. Overnight: Antalya.



Day 10 : While driving to Kalkan with the pine forests on your right and the turquoise blue waters on your left, stop at Phaselis first, the famous port of Lycia. Olympos is where you may stop for a swim, and enjoy lunch in a local restaurant in the shade of an orange tree. Your next stop before arriving at Kalkan should be Myra, with its famous rock tombs. Arrive at Kalkan in the evening, formerly a sleepy fishing village. Overnight: Kalkan.



Day 11 : Today you can make an excursion to Xanthos, the capital of the Lycian League, Letoon, the sanctuary, just across the Xanthos river; and then Tlos. Now it is time for lunch, best found at one of the family restaurants on the way to Saklikent Gorge. The more adventurous can hike further into the Gorge. Overnight: Kalkan.



Day 12 : Leave Kalkan in the morning, and head on to Bodrum. En route, stop for a visit to the ghost town of Kayakoy (Lovissi). Lunch at one of the friendly family restaurants on the way to Dalyan. After a short cruise down the river, visit Caunos, and you still have time to take a mud bath before driving for the rest of the journey to Bodrum. Overnight: Bodrum.



Day 13 : After breakfast, drive to Kusadasi. First visit Didyma en route, important for its sanctuary of Apollo and oracle. As you drive further North, stop at Miletus, then head on to Prienne which, in its day, was a leading member of the Panionic League. Overnight: Kusadasi.



Day 14 : First drive up to the Virgin Mary's house; and then Ephesus which was founded in the eleventh century by the Ionians. Strolling through the streets of Ephesus, you will witness the perfection of Graeco-Roman Art. Late in the afternoon go to St. John's Basilica, which is believed to be the tomb of the Apostle John, Christ's beloved disciple. From the basilica, stroll to Isa Bey Mosque, and finish the day. Overnight: Kusadasi.



Day 15 : Drive to Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport to drop off the car and take your flight back home.



ARGEUS recommends the itinerary above for the fly & drive programs. Your car would be picked up in Cappadocia and dropped off in Izmir, as driving and parking in Istanbul is not easy and suggested places are mostly in walking distance. A well-organised fully guided Istanbul tour, at least one day guiding in Cappadocia and Ephesus is highly recommended.
 
   
 

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