May 21 - June 1, 2015
Day 1: USA-Istanbul
Enjoy a relaxing non-stop overnight flight to Istanbul.
Day 2: Istanbul-Arrival
You are greeted upon arrival and escorted to your hotel. Remainder of the day is at leisure. A welcome briefing will be held in the evening.
Day 3: Istanbul
Enjoy a full-day tour of Istanbul including Topkapi Palace (excluding harem), the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar. Consider an optional dinner with belly-dancing entertainment.
Day 4: Istanbul-Ankara
Consider an optional morning tour of St. Sophia and a Bosphorus cruise. In the afternoon depart for Ankara.
Day 5: Ankara-Cappadocia
Visit the Mausoleum of Ataturk, father of modern Turkey, and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations with its Hittite treasures and artifacts from the world's oldest city. Continue to Cappadocia, famous for it's "moon-like" landscapes. En route visit a 13th century caravanserai. Pay a visit to the underground city of Saratli. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant and consider joining an optional Whirling Dervishes performance.
Day 6: Cappadocia
Consider an early morning optional balloon tour to experience floating through volcanic valleys, fairy chimneys and caves at sunrise. After breakfast, visit Goreme, a historical region of Turkey, located among the rock formations, which was first settled back in the Roman period. Many rock churches can still be seen today, as Christianity was then the prevailing religion in that region. Continue to the town of Avanos renowned for its high quality earthenware. Also visit Pasabagi, the Red Valley and attend a brief regional pottery workshop in a cave.
Day 7: Cappadocia-Pamukkale
Depart for Pamukkale, en route you will see the famous mausoleum of the sufi philosopher Mevlana.
Day 8: Pamukkale - Kusadasi
Today visit the unique Cotton Fortress, the white calcium cascades formed by mineral springs, and the ruins of the Roman health spa of Hierapolis. Continue to Kusadasi.
Day 9: Ephesus & Virgin Mary's House-Kusadasi
Today tour the ruins of Ephesus and explore the 2,000 year old marble streets, a theater, the Library of Celsius, and Hadrian's Temple. Take a short drive to see the Virgin Mary's cottage. Continue to a regional rug production center to have firsthand experience of this unique art form. Consider joining an optional afternoon tour to the village of Sirince. Overnight in Kusadasi.
Day 10: Pergamum-Troy-Canakkale
Visit the ancient medical center Asklepion in Pergamum. Continue to a traditional village for lunch with locals. Then continue to Troy and tour its legendary walls and the replica of the famous wooden horse used during the Trojan War. Continue to Canakkale for an overnight.
Day 11: Gallipoli-Dardanelles-Istanbul
Morning departure for Gallipoli. Visit Anzac Cove, the Lone Pine Cemetery and Chunuk Bair. Cross the Dardanelles to Istanbul. Enjoy a farewell dinner.
Day 12: Istanbul-Return
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight home.