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Welcome to Turkey. You’ll start in vibrant Istanbul, where a representative will pick you up from the airport and transfer you to your hotel. Located in the heart of the city, you’ll be close to Taksim Square, which is famous for its Republic Monument, dining and shopping options. Join your Travel Director at 18:30 for a Welcome Dinner, where you’ll get to know your fellow travellers.
Marvel at breathtaking coastal views as you make your way along the shores of the Sea of Marmara to historic Gallipoli. Located in the southern part of East Thrace, it was here that for nine months during the Great War, Anzac troops fought in an in an attempt to gain control of the Dardanelles Strait. Learn more about these events as you visit Anzac Cove and Lone Pine Cemetery. Later, join your group as you head from Eceabat across the sea to Çanakkale. Home to famous archaeological site, Troy, this historic destination will be your home for the night.
Begin your day of legends with a trip to Homer’s city of Troy, the focal point of the Trojan War and the backdrop to one of history’s most famous love stories, that of Paris and Helen of Troy, the face that launched 1000 ships. A replica of the mighty Trojan horse, which helped the Greeks capture the city in 1200 B.C., can be seen beside the city’s walls. Join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience at Copmadam, a women's co-op turning recycled materials into unique items, and addressing women's employment issues. Continue on to Pergamon, once a powerful ancient Greek city, you’ll find the Asklepion temple here. A famous shrine and healing centre, it was built in honour of Asklepios, the god of medicine. After some time exploring, continue your journey to the coastal city of Izmir.
Start your morning with a trip to the nearby town of Selçuk. Home to the House of the Virgin Mary and the Temple of Artemis, you’ll begin with an educational visit to the Archaeological Museum. Once here, delve into the area’s history as you explore the museum’s exhibits, many of which have been retrieved from the nearby Ephesus excavation site. Later, explore the famous site itself. Walk through the colonnaded Arcadian Way, see the Library of Celsus and the huge Amphitheatre, before visiting the House of the Virgin Mary, a famous Catholic and Muslim shrine, situated above the Ephesus ruins.
This morning, following the winding Maender River Valley, with its twists and turns, head to a local organic farm. Once here, you’ll meet the agricultural director who will take you on a walking tour of the eco-friendly lands. You’ll have the satisfying task of picking fruits and vegetables from his fields. Delight in a mouth-watering Farm-to-Table lunch, prepared with fresh produce from the farm. Continue to Pamukkale. Famous for its mineral-rich thermal waters and chalk-white limestone terraces, explore the area with your Travel Director. See the ruins of the ancient Roman spa city of Hierapolis, founded in 190 B.C. You’ll see the city’s well-preserved theatre and its turquoise travertine pools. Later, head back to your hotel, the esteemed Doğa Thermal Health & Spa. Take full advantage of its indoor and outdoor thermal pools, steam room and its Turkish bath complex.
Today, you’ll travel to Konya. The home of the Whirling Dervish, this city offers tradition in abundance. Noteworthy buildings line its streets, with beautiful mosques and modern buildings providing a delightful contrast. See the Mevlana Tekke museum, with its recognisable turquoise dome. See the Karatay Madrasa, built in 1251, before moving on to the Ince Minaret, a 13th century madrasa. Continue your journey to Urgup, an historic town in the heart of Cappadocia. You will recognise this famous area from the bright balloons that decorate its sky and the striking golden, volcanic landscapes that surround it. Your abode for the night is the unique Alfina Cave Hotel Cappadocia, built in old cave dwellings. Get some rest here before your travels continue in the morning.
Move on to Göreme, a striking town in the Cappadocia region of Turkey, to explore its rock-hewn churches decorated with ancient wall paintings. Join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience at a women’s Coop addressing women’s employment issues. Move on to the Pasabag Valley, located on the road to Zelve. You’ll find otherworldly earth pillars here, ‘fairy chimneys’ and troglodyte dwellings. Visit the underground city of Özkonak, where you’ll have time to explore its tunnels and caves with your Travel Director. Later, join a Cappadocian local who has lived in the city for decades and take a tour of their cave house. You’ll learn more about their unique way of living, local traditions and family life. Complementing the day’s events, dinner tonight will be accompanied by a performance of Whirling Dervishes.
One for art lovers, this morning, you’ll learn about the art of pottery making in Avanos. A town based in Cappadocia, it is famous for its earthenware pottery. On your way, stop off at one of the best-preserved Seljuk Caravanserais in Anatolia. Continue your journey to Ankara, where you’ll visit the Hittite Museum and Anit Kabir, the Mausoleum of Atatürk—Turkey's greatest modern leader and the first President of the Republic of Turkey. Perhaps relax in the spa and wellness centre at your hotel this evening.
It’s time to head to Istanbul. A glorious fusion of east and west, this popular city offers something for everyone, with history, culture, modernity, delicious cuisine and of course, the friendliest of faces. Board a cruise along the Bosphorus. As you make your way from Eminönü to the Black Sea, witness the area’s beautiful Ottoman palaces and fortresses lining the waterfront. Your evening is at leisure, why not ask your Travel Director for suggestions on places to dine.
Today you’ll take in the sites of Istanbul. In the morning, visit the historic Blue Mosque with its tiled interiors. See the Hippodrome, where Roman chariot races were held, before exploring Hagia Sophia. Built in A.D. 537, it is famous for its domed roof. Visit the Topkapi Palace, perched above the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn, the primary inlet of the waterway. Enjoy the excitement of bargaining in the bustling Grand Bazaar. In the evening, join your fellow travellers for a Celebration Dinner at a local restaurant.
It’s time to say goodbye to your new friends, as your trip comes to an end. A transfer will take you to the airport for your onward flights, or for those extending their stay in Istanbul, speak to your Travel Director for tips and tricks on where to head.
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