Highlights of Western Turkey
Join us for this intimate tour of Turkey. Caravan-Serai’s tours are always much more personal, getting you even closer to the people and cultures you are visiting. And we make sure we use comfortable, air conditioned cars/vans/buses, with room for everyone to spread out and relax in between stops.
We use 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 are 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. This is a sample itinerary. Please call us to get a price for your group, and we can customize this program to fit your interests.
Day 1: Arrival
Welcome to Turkey! On arrival in Istanbul, you will be met and transferred to the hotel for overnight.
Day 2: Istanbul – Ankara
After breakfast we will depart for Ankara with stops on the way for photos and breaks. Arrive in Ankara and check in to our hotel for overnight.
Day 3: Ankara – Cappadocia
After breakfast we will take a tour of Ankara, visiting the Haci Bayram Mosque, the Temple of Augustine, the Roman Bath, the Mausoleum of Ataturk and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, famous for its unique collection of Hattian sun discs and stag cult figures as well as spectacular Hittite statues and reliefs. Continue to the Agzikarahan Caravan-Serai and then to Avanos, in the central region of Cappadocia, noted for its lovely traditional homes, pottery and onyx. Overnight in Avanos.
Day 4: Cappadocia
Today we will have a full day of sightseeing in Cappadocia. Settled around 4000BC, the dwellings have been carved into the surrounding rocky hillsides and include churches painted with beautiful frescoes from the Byzantine era. Wind and rain have eroded the brittle rock into a spectacular surrealistic landscape of cones, capped pinnacles and fretted ravines of many colors. Continue to explore the Zelve Valley, and Goreme and the underground cities of Derinkuyu, Kaymaki, and Cuvasin. Stop at the village of Uchisar to enjoy the typical life style of this area and ride donkeys. Dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Cappadocia – Konya
This morning we travel to Konya, the center of the Seljuk culture. En route, we visit one of the best preserved caravanserias called Sultanhani. This caravanseria was built in the 13th century as a highway inn and used as a camel stop by the traders. Upon arrival to Konya we will visit the stunning green tiled Mevlana Mausoleum, known as the Green Dome and is Konya’s most conspicuous landmark. There will be a stop at the Karatay Medrese, once famous for its colored tiles; this former theological school is now a museum of Seljuk and Ottoman ceramics, and we will see the Ince Minara and Ulu Mosque. Dinner and overnight in Konya Kartay.
Day 6: Konya – Alanya
After breakfast we will depart for Alanya. On arrival we will visit the vast Seljuk Turkish fortress which dominates the town from its promontory; the tall, octagonal Seljuk Red Tower; and the Tersane (shipyard). We will also visit Dalmatas and the museum. Overnight in Alanya.
Day 7: Alanya – Antalya
After breakfast we will depart for Antalya, another coastal city with a central old town called Kaleici. On the way we will stop at the ancient cities of Perge and Aspendos to view the ruins and an amazing amphitheater. In Antalya we will see the Roman harbor, the old city wall and one of the most visible monuments – the stone tower called the Kalekapisi which marks the castle gate. Enjoy the souk and the pedestrian district where you can explore and see the old city up close. Overnight in Antalya.
Day 9: Antalya – Pamukkale
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel then we depart for the city of Pamukkale, known for its mineral water pools, in particular the spectacular white mineral pools that have formed a cascade down the slope. Pamukkale, “Cotton Fortress”, has been a spa since the Romans built the spa city of Hierapolis around a sacred warm-water spring. The Sacred Pool is still there, littered with marble columns from the Roman Temple of Apollo. Overnight in Pamukkale.
Day 10: Pamukkale – Kusadasi
This morning, after breakfast, we will head to the coast and the city of Kusadasi. Along the way we will stop at Aphrodisias, dedicated to the goddess of love, Aphroditie. Nearby the site we will visit the museum of Aphrodisias. During Roman times Aphrodisias was home to a famous school for sculptors and the museum has an excellent collection of the statues. Kusadasi is a seaside resort where many cruise ships on the Aegean islands circuit stop. Overnight in Kusadasi.
Day 11: Kusadasi – Izmir
After breakfast we will check out and depart for a full day sightseeing tour of Ephesus. Ephesus is the best preserved and restored ancient city in Turkey. A visit to Ephesus which is known to be the commercial, the religious and the social center of antiquity, is one of the highlights of any visit in Turkey. Ephesus is probably the best combination of Greek, Roman and Byzantine civilizations, and with its mythological stories and spectacular ruins you will feel the life in ancient Ephesus. We will visit the Fountains of Trajan, Polio, the Temple of Hadrian and Domitian, private house, the Library of Celcius, Varius and Scholostica Baths, Bouleterion and the Great Theatre with a capacity of 25.000 spectators.
After enjoying our optional Turkish cuisine at lunch, we will visit the House of the Virgin Mary, where she spent last days of her life on top of the Nightingale Mountain. Afterwards, we will visit rest of the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and Archaeological Museum in Selcuk town. In the late afternoon we will drive to Izmir. Once famous for figs, Izmir (formerly Smyrna), is now Turkey’s 3rd-largest city, the “capital” of the Aegean region, a major port and commercial center set dramatically around a huge bay and backed by mountains to the south. Continue to Izmir for overnight.
Day 12: Izmir – Pergamon – Izmir
After breakfast we will have a full day excursion to Pergamum. This city was renowned in Hellenic and Roman times for its great library and as the medical center where Galen laid the foundation for medical practice. Pergamum (or Pergamon) was an important kingdom during the second century BC, having grown from a city-state captured by Alexander the Great. The Asclepion (Asklepieion) of Pergamum was perhaps the world’s most famous ancient medical center, and is the second-most important site in Bergama. Return to Izmir for overnight.
Day 13: Izmir – Sardes – Izmir
Today we will have an excursion to Sardis. Sardis was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia, one of the important cities of the Persian Empire, the seat of a proconsul under the Roman Empire, and the metropolis of the province Lydia in later Roman and Byzantine times. Its importance was due to its military strength, its situation on an important highway leading from the interior to the Aegean coast, and to its command of the wide and fertile plain of the Hermus. Return to Izmir and we will see the Izmir Museum, the Old City and the Agora. Overnight in Izmir.
Day 14: Izmir – Istanbul
Check out after breakfast and if time permits we will have a city tour of Izmir before going to the airport for our flight to Istanbul. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 15: Istanbul
Istanbul with dinner at the Bosporus We will spend the day exploring this fascinating city of the Byzantines. Our tour includes visits to Topkapi Palace where the Ottoman Sultans ruled parts of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa for over 500 years, the Blue Mosque, Suleyman Mosque, the Haggia Sophia, the Hippodrome, the Islamic Museum, Yerebatan – the Byzantine underground cistern, and shopping in the Grand Bazaar — Istanbul’s covered souk, and the Misr Charshi – Egyptian Spice Bazaar. In the evening we will have a farewell dinner cruise on the Bosporus. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 16: Departure
Transfer to the airport for departure.
End of services.
- Airport transfer on arrival and departure
- Air conditioned minibus with 31 seats with a microphone
- Accommodation in boutique or 4 star hotels based on double occupancy
- 14 breakfasts at hotels, 14 lunches outside of the hotel, and 13 dinners
- Sightseeing with entrance fees as listed in itinerary
- 1 liter of water on the bus per person, per day
- Izmir – Istanbul domestic flight
- English speaking guiding services throughout the journey
- Hotel tips
- Bosporus Cruise tour by night including dinner and unlimited local drinks
- Visa expenses to enter into the country
- Personal expenses such as minibar, telephone calls, etc.
- Hot and cold drinks during the meals
- International flights
- Tips to the guide & driver
- Trip insurance
- Istanbul: Celal Sultan or similar
- Ankara: Ic Kale Hotel or similar
- Cappadocia: Buket Cave Hotel or similar
- Konya: Dündar Hotel or similar
- Alanya: Alaiye Cleopatra Hotel or similar
- Antalya: Apsen Hotel or similar
- Pamukkale: Collossae Hotel or similar
- Kusadasi: Kismet Hotel or similar
- Izmir: Crowne Plaza Izmir or similar