- Day 1
Depart from the UK, to Kayseri in Cappadocia – via Istanbul airport. You will be collected at Kayseri airport and taken to your hotel.
- Day 2 CAPPADOCIA
At 09.00 you will be collected from your hotel, and begin today’s tour which will take you to Devrent Imagination Valley, then on to the Zelve Open Air Museum. The next leg of the tour is to Pasabaglari and Avanos. Lunch will be at a cave restaurant in the Pigeon Valley. After lunch the tour continues with the Uchisar Rock Castle, Esentepe and finally the Goreme Open Air Museum.
You will be taken back to your hotel, and the rest of your evening will be at your leisure.
- Day 3 CAPPADOCIA
After breakfast you will be collected for another full day tour of this fascinating part of central Turkey. You can also choose an optional extra sunrise hot air balloon flight over the land of the fairy chimneys.
Today you will be taken to Mustafapasa, the Keslik Monastery, Taskinpasa Medresesi, the Soganli Valley, Sobesos and the underground city at Kaymakli.
After the tour you will be taken back to your hotel, where you will need to pack for tomorrow’s onward journey.
- Day 4 GAZIANTEP
You will be collected at 08.00. You will stop at Kahramanmaras for lunch, where you can sample the region’s famous ice cream! Then continue onwards to the world famous Gaziantep Mosaic Museum. You will also visit the old city castle, copper bazaar and one of the baklava shops (baklava originated from Gaziantep).
Tonight you will be staying at a hotel in Gaziantep, and your evening is at your leisure.
- Day 5 SANLI URFA
Today’s tour takes you to Sanli Urfa. On the way there will be a stop at Nizip, where you will be able to see the remains of the old city of Belkis (Zuegma) by the River Euphrates. This recently discovered site is an important historic region of the Hellenistic era, and also incorporates Roman and Byzantine history. Lunch will be at Urfa, and you will have time to visit the bazaar for some shopping. As you will be staying overnight in Urfa, you can chose to spend the afternoon relaxing at the hotel, or take a walk in to the town to explore more of the sights.
- Day 6 SANLI URFA
The first part of the day will be spent in the town visiting more of the area and the history and culture, the birth place of the prophet Abraham. Then the journey continues to Harran, which is nearby and is home to the incredible bee hive houses. The prophet Abraham is of key importance here and many of today’s tour elements will be centred round his life … also visiting the holy sites at Ainzelha, and then to hilltop sanctuary of Gobekli Tepe. En route to Kahta, you will see the Ataturk dam which is the third largest in the world. Overnight stay in Adiyaman.
- Day 7 MOUNT NEMRUT
After an early start you will depart from the hotel and commence the walk to visit Mount Nemrut. The early start enables you to see the sunrise, and the amazing colossal heads and statues of the ancient gods. Small mini buses will take you up the mountain, so it is not too strenuous in order to reach the 8,000 feet plateau where the landmarks are. There will be time to visit the old castle of Arsemeia – which entails a crossing over the Septimius Severus Bridge which dates back to the third century.
You will be taken back to the hotel for a late breakfast.
The journey then continues on towards Mardin, which includes a ferry ride across the dam with lunch at Siverek. Arrival at your hotel in Mardin will be at about 16.00, and after settling in, you will be taken by your guide on a walk through the unusual town of Mardin, and its streets and bazaars.
- Day 8 MARDIN
The morning will be spent exploring more of Mardin. Included in the tour is a visit to the Monastery of Deyr-az-Zaferan. The journey carries on to Hasankeyf, and there is a stop off in this picturesque town located in a valley – which is a great photo opportunity. The town has a history dating back 10,000 years. Following lunch by the Tigris River, the final part of the day is the drive to Tatvan, which is a small village on the shores of Lake Van where you will stay overnight.
- Day 9 VAN
The first stop of the day is the crater lake of Mount Nemrut. From here there is a ferry ride across the lake to visit the historical Armenian Church of the Holy Cross on Akdamar Island. Then it is over to the large Van Castle, and the impressive Hosap Castle which was built to celebrate the first millennium. Then it is back to Van, where you will spend the night.
- Day 10 DOGUBEYAZIT
After leaving the hotel you will travel the “silk road” to Dogubeyazit. At the Iranian border you will get to see a site known as the Crater Hole. Today’s journey will give you the opportunity to see Mount Ararat from all sides – the resting place of Noah’s Ark – and photo opportunities abound in this rugged, but beautiful part of Turkey. Later you will stop at the Ishak Pasa Palace. From here you are also able to see the remains of Eski Beyzait and Uratian City. Following this you will travel on to Kars, where tonight’s hotel is located.
- Day 11 KARS/ANI
An early morning departure from the hotel will enable the group to get permission to visit Ani, which is on the Turkish/Armenian border. There will then be a 45 minute drive to the mediaeval Armenian city of Ani, which unfortunately is mainly in ruins now. Before returning to the hotel the tour will visit the impressive Kars Castle. Following the tour you will stay overnight at a hotel in Kars.
- Day 12 ERZURUM
After breakfast the journey to Erzurum begins with lush green fields, with black sheep, as a back drop. On arrival in the town, the first stop will be the 12th Century theological school, and then it is on to see the imam at the mosque and then the ethnographic museum.
Before heading to the hotel for your overnight stay the tour will stop at a Kervansaray where local craftsman set the area’s black stone in to silver and gold.
Over the centuries Erzurum has been occupied by the Hittites, Armenians, Byzantines, Mongols and Ottomans, and in this city you will have a taste of all this different civilizations who have left their mark here.
Overnight stay in Erzurum.
- Day 13 TRABZON
The tour moves on to the Black Sea coast, and the journey will take approximately 5 hours … but there will be many stops en-route to break up the journey. These stops will include the Karaca Cave and the Sumela Monastery – also known as the Monastery of the Virgin Mary. It is a beautifully picturesque drive where you will follow many rivers and passes.
On arrival at Trabzon, you will check in to the hotel for your overnight stay.
- Day 14 TRABZON
The first part of the day gives you time to visit the city of Trabzon, which was the capital of the Byzantine Empire for a short time … the city was reknowned for imitations of the larger churches of what was then Constantinople; you will be able to see the St. Sophia of Trabzon – equally as amazing as the original in Istanbul.
In the afternoon you will be taken to Trabzon airport for your return journey to the UK, via Istanbul airport.