Day 1 - Leave United States
Fly from the United States and arrive in Istanbul the morning of the second day. Once you arrive you'll go straight to the hotel.
Day 2 - Arrive in Istanbul, Welcome Dinner
We will meet at the hotel around 10.30 a.m. and after a short brief of orientation we will leave the hotel for sightseeing to visit the Hippodrome, where Romans raced chariots, The Blue Mosque, built in the 17th Century and still one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the world;, Hagia Sophia, built by the Emperor Justinian in the 6th Century AD and the largest building in the world for at least a thousand years. Welcome dinner. Night at Rixos Pera hotel. LD
Day 3 - Tour Istanbul, Gocek, Board Yacht
We leave the hotel after breakfast and start to visit Topkapi Palace, the fabulous home of the Sultans and their harem. After lunch we will walk to Grand Bazaar for a short trip and meet with our vehicle for the transfer to the airport.
We will fly to Dalaman airport and then transfer to Gocek to embark on our gulet; a traditional Turkish wooden-hulled boat. Cruise to an isolated cove to anchor for the night. Night on board. BLD
Day 4 - Oludeniz, Kayakoy, Gemile Island
This morning we sail to the beautiful beach at Oludeniz, one of the prettiest - and most photographed - in Turkey. Those who wish can hire local boats for water skiing or parasailing. We will anchor here for lunch and in the afternoon we drive to the ghost town of Kayakoy. Once a thriving Greek village, the town has been deserted since 1924 when the villagers, along with more than a million other Greeks, were expelled to Greece. The town has sat empty since then. Only in the past few years have Turks --mainly artists-- begun to move in. From Kayakoy we have a choice of walking (1 to 2 hours downhill) or driving to Soguk Bay to meet our yacht. Night on the yacht. BLD
Day 5 - Hamam, Agalimani
After a leisure morning we sail to another cove. Those who wish may enjoy swimming, kayaking or relaxing before our lunch. Later we will sail to Hamam cove where you can see an ancient sunken ruins of a bath so-called as Cleopatras Bath. Optional hike, crossing the peninsula, visiting the ancient Roman tombs, visiting a nomad family will end at a beautiful cove of Agalimani, which means “harbor of the respected elders.” We will anchor here for dinner. Night on the yacht. BLD
Day 6 - Ekincik Bay, Dalyan River, Caunos
We sail to sheltered Ekincik Bay, where we board a smaller boat and ride up the meandering Dalyan River to the ruins of Caunos, another Lycian city with wonderful rock tombs and an incredibly high acropolis. We head back to our yacht and sail to Cennet Island, close to the town of Marmaris. Night on the yacht. BLD
Day 7 - Depart Yacht, Tour Ephesus, Kusadasi
We say goodbye to the crew and leave the boat from Marmaris this morning. We will drive first to Ephesus, one of the most famous and extensive archeological sites in the Mediterranean. After Istanbul, Ephesus is the most visited place in Turkey. The site was continuously inhabited since around 3000 BC, when it was the center for the worship of the goddess Cybele, later called Artemis. It then became Ionian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine as each succeeding civilization enjoyed its fine harbor. Its Library of Celsus is one of the most photographed buildings in the world. Ephesus slowly faded as the Little Meander River silted in this harbor in the 5th century AD. St. Paul and St. John preached here, and we still have Paul’s “Letter to the Ephesians.”
After visiting Ephesus we drive to the town of Selcuk to visit the Basilica of St. John, where the Saint is buried, and the Ephesus Museum, with its wonderful statues of Artemis. Then we return to the hotel to relax before dinner which will be served at the restaurant of our hotel. Night at La Vista hotel. BLD
Day 8 - Cappadocia
We will be transferred to Izmir airport to catch our flight to Kayseri via Istanbul. Upon arrival our minivan will start to follow the ancient Silk Road and we will proceed to our hotel. This evening we will visit a Caravanserai. Caravanseraies were public way stations built along the trade routes for the protection and comfort of traders. This huge, fortress-like structure was built in the 13th century by the Selcuk Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad. All merchants, including foreigners, were allowed to stay here for up to 3 days at no charge. We will watch a Whirling Dervish ceremony at that Caravanserai. We will have dinner at a restaurant and return back to our hotel. Night at a cave hotel. BD
Day 9 - Cappadocia
Here we find a truly exotic landscape. The earth is a soft volcanic rock called “tuff” that has been carved by wind and water into bizarre and fantastic shapes. Since the Stone Age, people have been creating shelter in the rock, and the area is now a virtual museum of rock-carved homes, churches, and even underground cities. Some of these cities are up to eight stories deep and housed up to 20,000 people. Once a Hittite stronghold (Cappadocia means “land of well-bred horses” in Hittite) the area was ignored by many of the subsequent conquerors. For many centuries it was the center of Christianity for the eastern Mediterranean, and there are over 1,000 churches, dating from the 9th to the 12th centuries, in the area. Most are cut from the soft tuff; yet many interiors contain the features of traditional Byzantine churches such as domes, barrel vaulted ceilings, and pillars that are strictly decorative. In some places the rock houses and “fairy chimneys” are still inhabited. If you wish you can start your day earlier to see all these formations from a bird’s eye perspective with an optional hot-air balloon ride. Night at a cave hotel. BD
Day 10 - Cappadocia, Lunch with Villagers, Flight Back to Istanbul
After exploring more of Cappadocia we visit a small traditional village, where a village family invites us into their home for a private lunch. After lunch we drive to Kayseri to catch an afternoon flight to Istanbul, where you may catch a connecting flight home or extend your stay in Istanbul. Upon arrival to Istanbul airport the tour ends. If you wish we can make any hotel reservation for your extension days in Istanbul. BL
Day 11 - Fly Home or Continue Vacation
Head back home or continue to another destination.