Turkey is a brilliant mix of great food, blue skies, Ottoman history, Roman archaeological sites set against a sparkling sea, and dotted with spring wildflowers and with bright displays of tulips. We’ll cover a lot of ground in 15 days but still have plenty of time to stroll, shop and relax with a pot of apple tea.
Meet your tour leader, Libby Cameron, at Sydney airport for flight to Istanbul.
Check in for the next five nights at the five-star Dosso Dossi Hotel located in the heart of the city. Welcome dinner tonight.
Sultanhamet,the Old City, is up first with a glimpse of ancient Turkish life at the Topkapi Palace. Then to the largest church of its era, the 6thC Hagia Sophia. After lunch we visit the 17thC Blue Mosque famous for its minarets and beautiful tiles depicting tulips, carnations and other flowers. Finish our first day in the heart of Constantinople, the Hippodrome Square.
Shop till we drop with a visit to the leather, jewellery and antique filled Grand Bazaar. Then the Egyptian Bazaar, known for its spices and tasty sweets. We can’t miss the Rustem Pasa Mosque for those striking Iznik tiled walls. Unforgettable belly dancing performance in an old Turkish Bath house tonight.
Our adventure today takes in the sparkling Bosphorus Strait with a boat cruise from the former fishing village of Ortakoy, and fish lunch. Visit museums this afternoon to walk in their gardens, and see silver, ceramics and embroidery.
Today we celebrate many aspects of the Turkish tulip, with Gursan Ergil, a well known landscape architect.. An early start to witness the exciting and chaotic flower auction in Istanbul, the biggest of its kind in the Middle East. Fields filled with tulips in full flower, and this afternoon we delve into how tulips have influenced Ottoman art.
Flight to Cappadocia where we visit the Underground city of Kaymakli, dating back to 1200BC. Walk along the shaded river valley of Ihlara dotted with cave churches, wildflowers and rock formations. If you are lucky, you will hear nightingales singing! Lunch in the chill zone on the river. Uchisar Castle on our way to check in to our cave hotel for a two night stay.
One of the wonders of the world – a moon landscape that has been formed by intense volcanic activity, Goreme Open Air Museum has dozens of painted cave churches. A stop at pottery village, free time this afternoon to prepare for a very special ‘Sema’ unique local dancing performance.
An early hot air balloon ride is optional. Free day to explore canyon walks, go shopping, or just chill out. Evening flight to the archeologically significant, Bodrum where we’ll check in to the El Vino Hotel for three nights.
Our outing around Bodrum takes in historic sights such as Bodrum Castle, and the underwater Archeological Museum. Later enjoy an intimate farm visit to see the production of local delicacies such as chemical-free wine, goats cheese, olives, jams and breads made with traditional methods. We have lunch sharing stories and wine with the farm owners.
The Aegean Sea is so turquoise it’s hard to believe today, our private traditional gulet taking us to pretty inlets and glittering bays. A relaxed lunch served on the boat is the perfect way to say goodbye to Bodrum.
Local textile specialist, Frances Ergen, will join our travels today.
Drive to Lake Bafa and visit a local house, and walk with the villagers through a sea of spring wildflowers at the ruins of Heraklia. Continuing on along the scenic Aegean coastline, we will visit The Temple of Apollo, and check in to the hotel in Kusadasi for three nights.
We’ll visit Sirince, a small hillside village famous for wine, oils and soaps, drive to Camlik village to see naturally dyed carpets, then visit The House of Virgin Mary. Avoiding the crowds we’ll savour Ephesus city with a walk along the marble road late afternoon. A special ‘Roman’ afternoon taking in the Grand Library of Celcius, Great Theatre and Terrace Houses. Later, a delicious dinner at the Yedibilgeler Winery
Delve into Turkey’s traditional crafts today with a visit to the bustling Tire local street market, then handicraft markets and sampling of delectable Tire meatballs. This is an area famous for silk and linen weaving. We will see collections of lace and needlework, visiting Odemis and Birgi. Dinner with a sea view this evening.
We head north to the ancient city of Pergamum, the capital of the east Roman Empire with the steepest theatre in Anatolia. As we head north we will stop and enjoy an olive oil museum with wonderful traditional jars and presses.. Dinner and overnight stay at the Akol Hotel in Canakkale tonight.
A full day at Gallipoli. We’ll visit Kabatepe museum, and after lunch at Suvla Winery, spend the whole afternoon at the World War 1 battlefields, visiting Lone Pine Australian Memorial and Chunuk Bair, NZ Memorial, ANZAC Cove and Johnson’s Jolly. Drive to Istanbul for dinner and check in to the Dosso Dossi Hotel for two nights.
Free day to catch up with shopping, enjoy a Turkish bath, visit the underground Cistern, Arasta Bazaar and Mosaic Museum, and relax in one of the many welcoming Istanbul cafes. Fine-dining farewell dinner tonight.
Transfer to airport for flight home.
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