Istanbul to Athens - 14 Days
From 2020-06-13 to 2021-09-25
Breakfast daily and 4 hotel dinners.
13 nights 4 star and special class hotels.
Guided sightseeing - Istanbul, Gallipoli, Troy, Ruins of Ephesus, Pergamum, Pamukkale and Roman Hierapolis.
Escorted by an English speaking, degree qualified Turkish tour guide (days 1-6).
Rhodes to Santorini - One way economy flight.
Marmaris to Rhodes and Santorini - Athens ferry tickets.
One arrival transfer on day 1 and one departure transfer on day 14 included per booking.
All relevant transfers and transportation in private modern air-conditioned vehicles (days 1-6).
Please Note: This tour is semi independent days 7 - 14 (you will not be escorted by a tour guide).
Itinerary / more information
Day 1 - Istanbul Saturday. Welcome to Turkey, after arriving into Istanbul a transfer will be provided to our hotel. Istanbul is easy to get around on foot and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes dotted about the city. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to explore the city at your own pace.
Day 2 - Istanbul We explore the incredible old city of Istanbul today, steeped in fascinating history and from where the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires were ruled from. We’ll visit the stunning Blue Mosque, famed for its blue Iznik tiles. Continue to the Hippodrome, Hagia Sofia (constructed as a Basilica in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian), and Topkapi Palace.
Day 3 - Canakkale Istanbul – Gallipoli. Departing Istanbul today we make our way to ANZAC Cove and the many memorials dotted across the WW1 battlefields. Our guided tour takes in sights including ANZAC Cove, Lone Pine Memorial and cemetery, Chunuk Bair Memorial and cemetery, the Nek, Johnston’s Jolly and the many fortified trenches still clearly visible amongst the scrub after all these years. These trenches were only around 3 feet deep and provided vital cover for the Australian and New Zealand troops fighting the enemy.
We continue across the Dardenelles by ferry this afternoon before we reach our hotel.
Day 4 - Kusadasi Gallipoli - Kusadasi. Step back in time as we visit the legendary Roman ruins of Troy and Pergamum. We enjoy a guided tour of the ancient city of Troy, which dates back to 3000BC. We see the replica Trojan horse before we explore the ruins of Pergamum with it’s impressive temples, library and medical facilities. Visit a local carpet emporium en route to Kusadasi and understand how Turkey produces some of the finest carpets in the world.
Day 5 - Kusadasi Today we explore ancient Ephesus, considered to be the best preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean. Highlighting the sophistication of Roman urban life, Ephesus boasts incredible excavated ruins including a Great Theatre, Curetes Way, the Temple of Serapis and the Library of Celsus. With a population numbering nearly 250,000 people it became the capital of Asia Minor and gained much of it's prosperity from commerce and pilgrims visiting the Temple of Artemis. We have time to explore the marble ruins and you may wish to stop by the ancient public toilets and public brothel amongst other points of interest.
Day 6 - Pamukkale Kusadasi - Pammukale - Marmaris. Our drive today sees us meander through sweeping plains and cotton farms until we arrive at the ruins of Roman Hieropolis and the hot springs of Pamukkale. Pamukkale was formed when warm, calcium rich mineral water cascaded over the cliff edge, cooling and depositing in the process. Admire this surreal landscape created by frequent earthquakes. Marvel at the crystalline marble, quartzites and stalagtites, which shimmer in the sunlight. There will be time to paddle our feet as we walk the terraces or opt for a dip in the thermal baths before visiting a leather fashion house.
We continue to the ruined spa town of Hierapolis before we continue to Marmaris for our overnight spot.
Day 7 - Marmaris After breakfast, we transfer to Marmaris Port for a ferry to the Greek island of Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese group. Spend the rest of the day at leisure - perhaps visit Rhodes City and see the walls of a very well preserved Venetian castle. Built by the Knights of Saint John, it is one of the finest examples of medieval architecture.
This tour is semi independent in style from days 7 - 14, so from once you arrive in Rhodes until you depart from Athens you will not be escorted by a tour guide.
Day 8-9 - Stunning Santorini Rhodes - Santorini. This morning you'll transfer to the airport for a flight (via Athens) to Santorini. Spend the next two days at leisure on this beautiful island. Santorini, located in the Cyclades island group, is a dramatically striking volcanic island and is the only inhabited Caldera (volcano cauldron) in the world, with towns and villages perched on top of the massive cliffs of the caldera and beautiful black and red beaches. Renowned for it's beautiful sunsets and stunning blue and white villages, Santorini is a feast for the eyes. Santorinis infamous villages of Fira and Oia are a must visit, perched on the edge of the caldera and offering amazing views over the Aegean and the volcano.
Day 10-11 - Cosmopolitan Mykonos Santorini - Mykonos. On day 10 you'll be transferred to the pier to catch the ferry to Mykonos. Enjoy the beautiful views from your ferry as you make your way through the turqoise waters of the Aegean sea. Upon arrival you'll have a transfer to take you to your hotel where you'll spend the next two days at leisure. Mykonos island is famous for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and exciting nightlife. The picturesque Cycladic capital is full of whitewashed houses and blue domed churches and the island boasts magnificent sandy beaches.
Day 12 - Ancient Athens Mykonos - Athens. Today you take the ferry to Athens, upon arrival we transfer to the hotel. Athens is the capital of Greece and took its name from the ancient goddess Athena. It is thought to have at least a 3000 year old recorded history which makes it one of the oldest cities in Europe.
Day 13 - The Acropolis Athens. We are free to independently explore the ancient capital today. Visit the legendary Acropolis and discover the architectural masterpieces of the Golden Age of Athens: the Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erectheion and of course the spectacular and iconic Parthenon. Other sights of interest include Constitution Square, Hadrian’s Arch, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympic Games of the modern era were held in 1896. You can also see Evzones (ceremonial guards) in their distinctive uniforms at the Memorial of the Unknown Soldier and the Presidential Palace.
Day 14 - Athens Friday - Athens. After breakfast, included transfer to Athens Airport for your onward journey.
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