Delve into one the greatest cities on earth as you explore the back streets and alleys of Old Istanbul then spend the night in the classic Legacy Ottoman hotel; designed in 1911 styled as first Turkish national architecture, also called Ottoman Revivalism (your feature stay hotel in Turkey). Visit two of the Ancient Wonders of the World; the last column of the Temple of Artemis and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. . Explore Turkeys most elegant beachside resort town; Bodrum with its white plastered walls and stylish café culture it is the place to see and be seen.
Combine the cosmopolitan city of Istanbul, classic cities of antiquity and the surreal landscapes of Cappadocia with an island hopping adventure across the Greek Aegean Sea. This is a wonderful Mediterranean mix of antiquity, culture and some of the best cuisine you’ve ever tasted!
Breakfast Included: 16 Lunches Included: 1 Dinner Included: 3
Welcome to Istanbul, the continent-straddling metropolis that the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans have all called home. Your welcome meeting will take place at 1 pm today, after which the group'll head out to explore the Old City of Istanbul, visiting the Blue Mosque, Hippodrome and Grand Bazaar. The rest of the afternoon and evening is free for you to explore and there are plenty of sights left to see, including the Archaeology Museum and Hagia Sophia.
Transfer to the airport after breakfast for a one-hour flight to Bodrum, a modern resort town that was once the ancient city of Halicarnassus. Here, along the southern end of Turkey's Aegean coast, lies the original Mauosoluem, which the group will visit during an afternoon walking tour of Saint Peter's Castle, the Underwater Archaeological Museum, the Ancient Theatre and Mindos Gate. Potentially finish up at Cevat Sakir Caddesi, a main thoroughfare surrounded by alleys and streets hosting the local fish markets and a number of mayhanes (taverns), where you can select your own catch of the day and have it prepared for dinner.
There's a reason Bodrum is considered a boating paradise. Spend a day sailing off the beautiful peninsula on a gulet, a traditional wooden sailing vessel originating in this area. Sit back on the deck and soak up some sun as the boat sails down the coast with stops to swim, snorkel and explore the shore, as well as a break at the small island of Kara Ada. Enjoy lunch on board and a relaxing afternoon before returning to the hotel in the evening.
Drive to Selcuk (3 hours) this morning after breakfast. Check into the hotel then take a walk through this sprawling town lying at the base of the ancient fortress on Ayasoluk Hill. Visit the last remaining column of the Temple of Artemis and the 14th-century Isabey Mosque, then journey to gorgeous little village of Sirince, nestled in the hills outside Selcuk. This was a predominantly Greek village before WWI and the narrow streets host beautifully decorated houses, silversmiths, leather shops, jewellers and market stands. Enjoy a special Peregrine Moment and meet Pervin, from whom you'll learn the art of Manti (Turkish ravioli) whilst relaxing over a glass of the local fruit wine.
Selcuk / Overnight Train
Wake up early this morning to beat the crowds and head to Ephesus, one of the best-preserved classical cities in the Eastern Med and arguably the greatest Greco-Roman site in the world. Tour around the amphitheatre, stroll the marble streets once walked by Cleopatra and Mark Antony, and marvel at the gymnasium, baths and beautifully restored Library of Celsus. Return to the hotel to relax before checking out and heading to the Ephesus Museum, then transfer to Izmir for an overnight train to Konya, in Central Anatolia. The train will arrive in Konya at 7.30 am, so enjoy the first-class sleeping compartments and included dinner in the restaurant car (with backgammon lessons courtesy of your Peregrine leader).
Konya / Cappadocia
Arrive early in Konya, an important ancient-Roman city, and tuck into a full Turkish kahvalti (breakfast). Konya is the home of the mystic Sufi practice of whirling and after breakfast you'll visit the mausoleum of Mevlana, a famous mystic, as well as the museum housing manuscripts of his work and various mystic artefacts before driving three hours to the captivating region of Cappadocia. Check in to the hotel then head out with your leader to stretch your legs on a valley walk.
It could be Red Valley, it could be Love Valley, but each leader has their own special place to introduce you to.
Without a doubt, one of the most amazing memories of this journey is a hot-air balloon ride over this otherworldly landscape at sunrise. It's an optional experience, but is truly once-in-a-lifetime, pardon the cliche. Please speak to your leader on Day 1 to organise a flight.
As previously mentioned, there's an option of taking a hot-air balloon over the Cappadocian landscape this morning. Even if you don't choose to take a flight, it's worth getting up just to see the balloons rising with the sun. Have a relaxing breakfast from your terrace overlooking the valley then visit the Goreme Open Air Museum, featuring houses, churches and monasteries carved into the soft cliff faces. The Christian sanctuaries contain many examples of Byzantine art, cave chapels and colourful biblical frescoes from the 10-12th centuries.
Later in the afternoon, go underground and make the short journey to Kaymakli to discover what life was like lived underground.
Cappadocia is perhaps one of the most famous areas in Turkey for rug making, we spend some time this afternoon discovering the art of rug making from early nomadic styles to plush palace rugs clearly pieces of art.
Head back to the hotel in Goreme, and maybe take a relaxing Turkish bath to unwind after a long day experiencing some truly incredible history.
Drive to the airport after breakfast for a 1.5 hour flight back to Istanbul, where you'll be transferred to your hotel on arrival. Enjoy a free afternoon then jump on a ferry early in the evening and head to Kadikoy, on Istanbul's Asian shore. Take a walk around this lively area, perhaps finding a harbourside spot for dinner with your travelling companions.
This morning after breakfast you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Athens. Please check with your tour leader for details of this time and other important information for continuing your tour. Your Leader will supply with a PNR number for flight check in and details on your arrival transfer in Athens.
Arrive in Athens, Greece’s lively capital. In the evening you will meet your tour leader and fellow travelling companions at a welcome meeting (this is usually at 6pm, but please check for the exact time and place on a noticeboard located near the reception at our hotel), where your tour leader will give you a briefing on what lies ahead on the tour. This evening you will enjoy a group dinner together at a local restaurant in the Psiri neighbourhood of Athens.
Cape Sounion / Athens
This morning travel to the town of Cape Sounion and visit the ruins of the ancient Temple of Poseidon, the god of the sea in classical mythology. The remnants are perched on the headland and surrounded on three sides by the sea, creating spectacular views of the Greek coastline. Look closely and you'll also find the ruins have been engraved with the name of English Romantic poet Lord Byron. Return to Athens in the afternoon and enjoy the rest of the day to explore. Perhaps visit the Parthenon or the Acropolis Museum, where you can find relics from Ancient Greece. Another option is to watch the uniquely theatrical changing of the guard at Parliament or see where the Olympics once took place at the Panathenaic Stadium. At dusk, pull up a chair at one of the local restaurants and dine on traditional souvlaki and ouzo.
This morning you will be transported to Athens' port at Piraeus and board a ferry bound for the island of Mykonos (often also spelled Mikonos). Ferries are a great way to travel between the islands and are the life blood of many remote islands in Greece's multitude of archipelagos. Mykonos, considered the most glamorous and cosmopolitan of the Cycladic islands, still holds on to its old-world charm and many locals maintain their peaceful island existence among the many foreigners who grace their shores. Upon arrival you will be transferred to the area of Tourlos, where the hotel is located. After settling in, you'll visit Mykonos’ charming Old Town, a captivating labyrinth of stone-paved laneways, traditional whitewashed houses and windmills. This evening you will make your way to the village of Ano Mera for a delicious dinner at a local taverna and taste the local Myconian delicacies mostra and louza.
Delos / Mykonos
Today you will make an excursion to the island of Delos, a short boat trip from Mykonos. Delos has a vast and interesting history and is one of Greece's most important archaeological sites. It's considered a sacred place. You will explore the site in depth and gain an insight into the island’s intriguing history. New discoveries of the ancient world are still made here from time to time. Delos is acclaimed as the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis and has been inhabited since around 3000 BC. The earliest shrines and temples were built around the 8th century BC. When the Romans set their sights on the island in 167 BC it became a free trading port and home to a flourishing slave trade market, with thousands of slaves being traded daily. In the afternoon you will take a return ferry back to lively Mykonos.