Highlights of Central Turkey
Create an intimate tour of Turkey with this itinerary. Caravan-Serai’s tours are always much more personal, getting you even closer to the people and cultures we are visiting. And we make sure we use comfortable, air conditioned buses, with room for everyone to spread out and relax in between stops.
We are mostly staying in smaller boutique hotels, often found in the center of the historical districts, and located in older buildings that have been renovated. Our lunches and dinners will be at local restaurants – where the locals dine, not tourist-oriented venues.
It’s our mission to provide you with an experience of a lifetime, and we are good at what we do.
Day 1: Welcome to Turkey
On arrival in Istanbul we will be met and transferred to our hotel for overnight.
Day 2: Istanbul
After breakfast we will depart for a tour of Istanbul. Our tour will include the Haggia Sophia Basilica and Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and the Blue Mosque of Sultan Ahmet. The rest of the day is free to explore on your own. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 3: Istanbul to Ankara flight
After breakfast we will transfer to the airport for our flight to the capital city of Ankara. If time permits we will do some sightseeing around the city that may include the ancient hilltop fortress, its famous Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, and the grand Mausoleum of Kemal Atatürk. Overnight in Ankara.
Day 4: Ankara to Cappadocia
Today we will depart Ankara for the unique region of Cappadocia. We will have stops on the way, and once we are there we will make our way to the city of Uchisar. Time permitting we will do some sightseeing, then check into our hotel for overnight.
Day 5: Cappadocia
We will have a full day of sightseeing in Cappadocia. A few examples of sites we may be visit include Kizilcukur, the center of the regions wine production industry. Kizilcukur is a couple of kilometers northwest of Urgup and also contains churches cut into the strange rock formations and decorated with grape figures. Sarihan Sarihan (Yellow Caravanserai): Around 10km north of Urgup, was constructed by Seljuk Sultan Alaattin Keykubat in 1217. It has a huge courtyard with elaborate gateway, and was used for the loading of animals and a place for travelers to take a rest on their journey. It is also a great example of Seljuk-Turkish architecture.
Halacdere: Engraved into the tuffs, these basilica-type churches were thought to have been used as hospital buildings by the Christians, and are now almost destroyed. Similar ones can be seen in Ortahisar, like St Peter and St Paul Churches, and the one near the Meskendir River. Göreme: Hiding among fairy chimneys, it is the heart of Cappadocia. Ortahane, Durmus Kadir, Yusuf Koc and Bezirhane churches are in Göreme. These are just examples of all that is available for sightseeing in this unique and culturally rich region of Turkey. Overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 6: Nigde
After breakfast we will check out and depart for Nigde. Nigde is an old city on the southern outskirts of Cappadocia with several exceptional historic buildings and, on its outskirts, a striking Byzantine troglodyte monastery. Other historic sites include the Seljuk Turkish Alaeddin Mosque (1223), on the hill with the fortress; the fascinating Süngür Bey Mosque, built by the Seljuks but extensively modified (1335) by the Mongols, of all people. The Ak Medrese (1409) is in post-Seljuk, quasi-Mongol style. Ni?de’s museum houses the mummified remains of a blonde Byzantine nun of the 900s discovered in the church-filled Ihlara Valley. Overnight in Nigde.
Day 7: Adana
After breakfast depart for Adana. We will see the 16th-century Ulu Cami Great Mosque, the Ethnography Museum set up in a sweet little Crusader church, the Regional Museum known for its Roman artifacts, and the Ta? Köprü (Stone Bridge) built by Roman emperor Hadrian (117-38 AD) over the Seyhan River. Overnight in Adana.
Day 8: Antakya
This morning we will continue our journey and head to Antakya, near the far eastern Mediterranean coast. Known as Antioch ad Orontes in Roman times, this is where St Peter is said to have preached in a cave belonging to St Luke and is said to be the first Christian church. Antakya was also on the Silk Road, and silk cloth is still made and sold in the area. Overnight in Antakya.
Day 9: Gaziantep
Today we will drive to Gaziantep on the southern border of Turkey. This region is a center of pistachio nut cultivation in Turkey, and has extensive olive groves and vineyards. The area was also a crossroads for the Assyrians, Persians, Romans, the Byzantines, Abbasid and the Seljuk Turks. Sites to see in Gaziantep include the Old City, fortress, museum, an open air museum, sculpting school, and many workshops of traditional crafts. Overnight in Gaziantep.
Day 10: SanliUrfa
After breakfast we depart for SanliUrfa, or simply Urfa as it is also know. In Urfa we will have lunch and then enjoy some sightseeing. Urfa is called the city of prophets for its biblical connections. After a stop off at the castle with Roman columns we will visit the “Pool of Sacred Carp” and then on to the birthplace of the Prophet Abraham. In the late afternoon we will visit the on going archaeological dig at Gobekli Tepe. Although this site is not widely known it is one of the most important archaeological digs currently being undertaken. It represents a major shift in our understanding of man’s early history: here lie the remains of the earliest religious structures built by man yet to be discovered. At about 11000-13000 years old they pre-date pottery, writing, Stonehenge and the Pyramids! Overnight Urfa.
Day 11: Sanliurfa
We will continue our sightseeing of Urfa then transfer to the airport for our flight to Istanbul. Arrive in Istanbul and transfer to the hotel for overnight.
Day 12: Istanbul
Today we will have additional sightseeing in Istanbul and free time. In the evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner cruise on the Bosporus. Overnight in Istanbul.
Istanbul Airport transfer.
End of services.
- Air conditioned minibus with 31 seats with a microphone.
- Accommodation in boutique or 4 star hotels.
- 12 Breakfasts at hotels 12 lunches out side of the hotel.
- 12 diners at our side of the hotel.
- Istanbul – Ankara & Sanliurfa – Istanbul domestic flight.
- English speaking guiding services throughout the journey.
- Historical sites entrance fee.
- Parking fees in each historical sites.
- Hotel tips.
- Bosphorus Cruise with diner.
- 1 liter water on the bus per person per day.
- Visa expenses to enter into the country
- Personal expenses such as minibar, telephone call, etc
- Hot & cold drinks during the meals
- International flights
- Tips to the guide and driver
- Istanbul:Celal Sultan or similar
- Ankara: Ickale Hotel or similar
- Cappadocia/ Uchisar: Buket Cave Hotel or similar
- Nigde: Grand Hotel Nigde or similar
- Adana: Bosnali Hotel or similar
- Antakya: Naris Hotel or similar
- Gaziantep: Grand Hotel Gaziantep or similar
- Sanliurfa: Robis Hotel or similar
Minimum group size is 12 people.