The city of amazing landmarks
Admire the white terraces formed by thermal waters in Pamukkale
Visit the famous valley of Cappadocia
An intriguing cultural collision between Europe and Asia, Turkey’s epic historical tales and magical landscapes have fascinated travellers for years. Come with us as we capture the essence of its archaeological and cultural heritage, meet friendly people and uncover its fascinating history. Starting and finishing in Istanbul, our 9-night adventure will be a ‘full on’ and rewarding trip!
Welcome to Turkey! Upon arrival we will transfer to our hotel and at this time we will catch the first glimpses of this fascinating city where the continents meet!
After check in we will meet for our Welcome Drink followed by dinner in the hotel.
After breakfast we begin our day of exploration in fascinating Istanbul.
We begin at the remains of the Hippodrome, once decorated with marble statuary and columns. In its heyday it was the site of chariot races and the focal point of the city’s civic life. The remains of some of its walls are still visible as is an obelisk brought from Egypt in 390 AD by Theodosius I.
Adjacent to the Hippodrome is the Sultan Ahmet Mosque. Built during the period of 1609-1617 it is also known as the “Blue Mosque” thanks to the light which shines through over 2,500 stained glass windows and reflects onto the dark blue Iznik tiles within. The next stop will be the Basilica of Saint Sophia, one of the largest historical Christian shrines ever built with its rich mosaic murals, colossal columns and exposition of divine serenity. Our next stop is the Topkapi Palace where in the 15th century Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror started the first stages of its construction. The famous Topkapi is built around four inter-connecting courtyards. We view the many treasures of the Ottoman sultans including fine porcelains, gem encrusted objects d’art, traditional armour and imperial costumes, stunning tile work and sacred relics of the Christian and Islamic faiths.
After breakfast, we will continue exploring Istanbul. We visit the Egyptian Spice Bazaar of which dates back to the 17th Century with its bustling atmosphere. It is still the most popular bazaar visited by locals to shop for fresh ingredients to spice up the dishes prepared in the kitchens of Istanbul.
From here we continue to Eminonu Pier and board a private boat for a Bosphorus Cruise. We will travel through the waterway separating Asia and Europe, seeing the old Ottoman wooden mansions, marble palaces, foreign embassy estates and small fishery villages all located along both the Asian and European sides of this famous river….
Cappadocia will thrill you with its unique landscapes formed by rock erosion. Today’s inactive volcanoes of Erciyes and Hasan used to be active thousands of years ago and erupted continuously covering the region with a blanket of tuff that gets eroded so easily due to its soft character. Cappadocia has been occupied by various civilizations including Hittites, Greeks, Romans and Turks living in rock dwellings for centuries.
Our expedition will start with the Monastic Center of Goreme. Goreme was founded by St. Basil as the first Monastic Center of Christianity during 4th century. This morning we will have an extensive tour of the Monastic Centre that functions as an open-air museum, having very well-preserved rock-hewn churches decorated with Byzantine frescoes.
Our next stop is Kaymakli Underground City, a subterranean settlement composed of troglodytic cave dwellings providing shelter for early Christians protecting themselves from invaders.
Today we will meet our guide in the hotel lobby and drive to Konya. Once called Iconium during the Roman period, Konya was an important post for the Roman legion and served as the Capital of the Seljuk Turkish Kingdom during the 13th century. We will have the chance to visit the Mausoleum of Mevlana, the founder of Whirling Dervishes, Sultanhan Caravanserai, a building that ranks as one of the Seljuk masterpieces and we will also visit Karatay Medrese which is a medrese, meaning a school with a frequently but not absolutely religious focus, built in 1251 by the Emir of the city Celaleddin Karatay, serving the Seljuk sultan.
Following our tour of Konya we will have dinner and overnight at our hotel.
After breakfast, we will drive to Pamukkale. Upon arrival we will start our exploration with Hierapolis. Founded during the Hellenistic period as a control point of trading routes connecting East to West. In the Roman Period, Hierapolis became a center of worship to Hades and Apollo as well as a thermal center where massive Roman Baths were built to serve the Romans that visited the city from around the ancient world. Upon arrival at the site, we will be welcomed by the spectacular views of calcium pools that have been irrigated by the spring waters of Hierapolis for thousands of years. After a short break to take pictures and enjoy the view, we will continue on to the ancient site that is still being excavated by Italian archaeologists.
Today’s ancient city of Hierapolis has recently been appointed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wandering through the colossal tomb chambers of Necropolis, we can comprehend the wealth of the society that could afford such impressive graves to be buried in the grounds of the “Sacred City”. This is the meaning of Hierapolis in ancient Greek. We will visit the ancient site by touring the Gate of Domitianus and the Byzantine Baths. Once we reach the lower slopes of the hills that rise behind the site, we will see one of the best-preserved Roman Theatres of the world of archaeology. Built during 2nd century, the theatre of Hierapolis was used for both theatrical activities and shows of violence.
After breakfast we will drive to Aphrodisias, was built from a marble quarry near Baba Dağ (ancient Salbakos) that was extensively exploited in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, and the sculptors from Aphrodisias became famous in the Roman world. In Greek times, the site was dedicated to Aphrodite, the goddess of love and fertility. The site was named Aphrodisias during the 2nd century BC and the great Temple of Aphrodite was built in the 1st century AD.
We then head to the timeless city of Ephesus where history and archaeology will offer us incredible richness. Ephesus was the Capital of the Province of Asia Minor famed for its flavorsome market during the Roman Era and was, therefore, the scene of many political intrigues while commanding an immense wealth due to its port and its trading activities. A city with such importance, authority and prosperity had prestigious buildings that have been able to survive up to today in a wonderful state of preservation.
After an early breakfast we will depart from the hotel and drive to the Greco-Roman city of Pergamon which is famous for its Asclepion. Asclepion of Pergamon became one of the most famous ancient healing centers and the world’s first psychiatric hospital!
Leaving the Asclepion, we will see the Acropolis, the Altar of Zeus, and the Temples of Athena, Trajan, and Dionysus. It is from a staircase leading from the Temple of Athena that the magnificent 10,000 seat theater will be seen.
We will then explore the very well-known Ancient City of Troy. Founded during 3000 BC, Troy had both strategic and commercial importance that made it a target for many assaults in history. Discovered in the 19th century, Troy was excavated by Heinrich Schliemann and has a rich history of not only mythology but also excavations. We will be thrilled by the ancient city that witnessed the battle of heroes. While exploring the ruins of Troy, we will enjoy hearing about this legendary city including both the historical facts and the mythological stories that immortalized its name.
Following breakfast, we begin our drive to Istanbul. Our scenic drive will first take us to Gallipoli, the site of the incredible battle during World War I. Following our visit we will cross the Dardanelles and proceed to Istanbul.
We will have dinner and overnight at our hotel in Istabul.
After breakfast you will have further free time to explore before our transfer back to the airport for our flight home.
We stay in comfortable hotels throughout as details below (or similar);
The transfer time from Istanbul Ataturk Airport to Kent Hotel is approximately 30 minutes.
Dressing in layers is recommended. Casual evening wear is recommended and comfortable shoes for sightseeing.
A reasonable level of fitness/mobility is required for sightseeing. There is a lot of travelling and some early starts.
Cappadocia – Hot air ballooning over the nature-formed valleys. Early in the morning (5.30 am), you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the selected launch site for your hot air ballooning experience. You will much appreciate the tranquility of your morning over the colorful valleys and rock formations, gliding in your balloon. Concluding your experience, enjoy a glass of champagne to celebrate the joy of seeing Cappadocia from the air and get transferred to your hotel approximately by 8.30 am
We suggest a Group Collection to cover guides, transfer drivers, and hotel staff of minimum £10.00 per day. Your Tour Leader will collect this on your behalf and distribute it accordingly, thus relieving you of the burden of who, when and how much to tip. The tipping of housekeeping will be left to your individual discretion (a small amount left in your room on departure should cover this and would be much appreciated). As is customary, ‘the hat’ will be passed around for the driver and guide on all optional excursions. For any meals that are not included in your itinerary, or taxi fares, your Tour Leader can advise of an appropriate % to add on.
I was so nervous about embarking on my first Solos Holiday, but I shouldn’t have been – it was the best thing I have ever done!
Wow! Got to see the famous shipwreck beach in Zakynthos with Solos. Can’t wait to discover more of their destinations!
Our tour leader Monica was exceptional! Had such a good time and will be rebooking with Solos. Thanks for a great holiday!
Had the best time with Solos! Discovered beautiful destinations and met some lifelong friends.