Istanbul Gaziantep Urfa Adiyaman Mt. Nemrut
Kahramanmaras Cappadocia
(11 days/10 nights)

 

2 Travelers
$4,990
4 Travelers
$3,490
6 Travelers
$2,890
10 Travelers
$2,490

Above rates are per person, in USD, and are based on double occupancy at hotels
Subject to availability and dates selected 
Single room supplement: +$790

Itinerary: 

Day 1: Arrival at Istanbul Ataturk International Airport
Meet your guide and enjoy a private transfer to your hotel, located in the charming Old City district of Sultanahmet. Traveling along the old city fortifcation walls, you’ll learn a bit about this exciting city along the way. The remainder of the day is at leisure; why notstretch your legs with a walk around the neighborhood, then with dinner on your own at a rooftop restaurant. We can suggest several with great views over the Sea of Marmara! 

Day 2: Istanbul
Enjoy two full days of private sightseeing in Istanbul with your knowledgeable guide. Today we explore the Sultanahmet area and visit the Roman-era HippodromeBlue MosqueHagia Sophia Museum, the underground Basilica Cistern, and the Grand Bazaar. (B) 

Day 3: Istanbul
Your private sightseeing continues today with visits to the sprawling Topkapi Palace and its Harem Quarters, the Spice Market, a boat ride on the Bosphorus Strait, as well as a walking tour through Istanbul's winding backstreets. (B)

Day 4: Istanbul / Gaziantep
Today we will transfer you to the airport for your flight to Gaziantep, also known as simply “Antep”.  After our arrival, we start off with a visit to the ancient site of Zeugma, which in ancient Greek means "bridge" or “crossing”, due to its geographic location on the Euphrates River.  We then stroll through the streets of the old town replete with historic housesa picturesque castle, and delightful handicraft workshops in the old bazaar. Here, we’ll observe craftsmen still keeping centuries-old traditional ways alive by watching a demonstration. Overnight in Gaziantep. (B)

Day 5: Gaziantep / Halfeti & boat tour / Sanliurfa
This morning, we drive to the town of Halfeti and embark on a boat tour on the Euphrates River, to see "the sunken city" of Halfeti: it dates back to the Ottoman period (19th c.) and is now partially-submerged.  Several of Halfeti’s structures remain underwater, including a mosque, school, bath (hamam) and other buildings. In connection with the construction of the Birecik Dam, the area was flooded in 1999. The people of this region make their living from fishing and riverbank farming; the most famous of these crops is the cultivation of black roses. We’ll also cruise past Rumkale Castle, dramatically built atop a steep cliff. At the end of the tour, we’ll drive on to Sanliurfa, or “Urfa”,  where we will spend our next two nights. (B, L, D)

Day 6: Sanliurfa / Harran / Gobekli Tepe ("Potbelly Hill")  
As one of the oldest cities in Asia Minor, the first settlements around Urfa date back to the 11th century BC, and, as it sits squarely in the Tigris/Euphrates River Basin, better known as the Cradle of Civilization. Urfa was under the rule of various civilizations from the Hittites to the Romans and is also believed to be the place where the Prophet Abraham was born as well as where other prophets lived. We begin our tour with a short drive to Harran, inhabited for nearly 6,000 years and later becoming an academic center starting during the Roman period. Harran’s famous beehive-like adobe houses have coneshaped domes with a hole at the top to allow light and air in; these could also be blocked in wintertime. We also visit the ruins of the Moon Temple that was once the site of a cult during the Assyrian period, about the time when  Mesopotamian civilizations first appeared. We then drive on to an absolutely show-stopping site due to its immense importance in our studies of human history. Recently discovered in 1994, by German and Turkish archaeologists, the Göbekli Tepe stone circles dates back to 12,000 B.C., 7,000 years older than Stonehenge;thus, this site is widely regarded as an archaeological discovery of the greatest magnitude. Until recently, scientists believed that it was only when humans discovered agriculture that they were able to settle and live in larger communities. The sheer age of Göbekli Tepe tells us that this was not the case, and it is believed it was a place of worship. Adding to the puzzle is that Göbekli Tepe appears to have no places of residence.
Upon returning to Urfa, we visit the Halil-ul Rahman Mosque complex and the sacred lake named for Abraham adjacent to it, Balikli Gol, the iconic symbol of Urfa, and a popular place for locals to converge. We then enjoy a stroll through the old bazaar/marketplace in the old town. Overnight in Urfa. (B, L, D)

Day 7: Urfa / Adiyaman / Kahta / Mt. Nemrut
We will drive to Kahta, the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mt. Nemrut, a 2,000-meter-high burial mound (tumulus).  Iconic Mt. Nemrut is also the site of a hilltop temple complex built for the Commagene King Antiochus, who ordered its construction beginning in the 1st century BC as a monument to himself. The most striking (and most-photographed) images are of the headless statues of the gods Antiochus wished to pay tribute to; the damage to these statues are widely believed to have been caused by earthquakes. Afterwards, we continue on to visit Arsemia, the summer capital of the Commagene royalty, and also to the Adiyaman Museum, where axes and drills from the Palaeolithic Age, vessels of the Chalcolithic Age and other relics of the Bronze Age are on display. (B, L, D)

Day 8: Adiyaman / Kahramanmaras / Cappadocia
As this is a long day’s drive to Cappadocia, we leave Adiyaman early in the morning.   En route, we pass through the city of Kahramanmaras (Maras) and have a relaxing lunch along the way. It is in Maras where you’ll sample the world’s most interesting ice cream: one you’ll want a knife and fork for! We arrive at our hotel late in the afternoon. (B, L, D)

Day 9: Cappadocia – Full day tour
Today, we begin discovering breathtaking Cappadocia, a region renowned for its awe-inspiring tufa rock formations early Christians used for refuge from persecution and from where they also carved churches as well as entire underground cities. The tufa is a soft rock formed by volcanic ash accumulation over millions of years of eruptions from nearby Mt. Erciyes,  which created a fertile pocket in an otherwise prairie-like central Anatolian plateau. Against this beautiful backdrop, Cappadocia's traditional rural life still continues,  providing unique opportunities to the visitor wishing to observe a lifestyle which is rapidly modernizing. Along with specific sites mentioned in the following program, we’ll visit a local winery, stop at many vantage points to enjoy the beautiful scenery around us, and, even better yet, walk through remote and colorful valleys to see more surprises. In addition, we’ll enjoy beautiful panoramic vistas of the Ortahisar Valley and visit the hidden homes and churches at the Goreme Open Air Museum, an entire city that dates to the late 9th century AD and nestled in steep cliffs. Several wonderful local restaurants for dinner will be suggested by your guide or by the hotel staff. (We recommend that you try “testi kebap”, a Cappadocian specialty.) (B)

Day 10: Cappadocia – Full day tour
An optional early morning hot-air balloon ride is available for those wishing to try this unforgettable experience. After breakfast, we head out on another private tour  to one of the remarkable underground cities of Cappadocia (such as Ozkonak or Kaymakli), which housed amazingly-complex communities replete with houses, churches, storage areas, a communal kitchen, burial chambers and many more astounding features. Next, we visit the beautiful town of Uchisar -  its natural fortress was used both for housing and defense.  You will also see the iconic and otherworldly fairy chimneys at Pasabag, and the small town of Avanos, known for its local pottery made with clay from the Kizilirmak River. Enjoy a traditional lunch in a cozy family village home. (B, L) 

Day 11:  Cappadocia / Istanbul
Gule gule!  Farewell!  Today we begin our journey back to Istanbul with a drive to either the Nevsehir or Kayseri airport, where you’ll board a flight back to Istanbul and connect to your flight home, or to your next destination. We look forward to welcoming you back to Turkey in the near future! (B)

Price of the package includes:

  • Accommodations: 
    3 nights in Istanbul: Hotel Ottoman Imperial – Premium Room
    2 nights in Gaziantep: Hotel Divan – Superior Room  
    2 nights in Urfa: Hotel Hilton Garden Inn Sanliurfa – Standard Room
    1 night Adiyaman: Hotel Bozdogan – Standard Room
    3 nights in Cappadocia: Hotel Yunak Houses Cave – Deluxe Room 
  • Domestic flights in coach class within the program (Istanbul to Gaziantep and Nevsehir/Kayseri to Istanbul)
  • Meals as indicated by (B, L, D) - B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner 
    19 meals: 10 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 4 dinners (includes bottled water)
  • Private, licensed, professional English-speaking guide throughout 
  • All transfers and travel in a non-smoking, modern, air-conditioned vehicle with a driver
  • All entrance fees to the sites and museums mentioned in the program
  • Parking, ferry, and toll road fees (not applicable if driving a rental car)
  • Gratuities at restaurants (where a meal is included in the program)
  • Porterage fees at airports (when our guide travels with you)

Price of the package excludes:

  • Airfare for international flights
  • Beverages other than water (during included meals)
  • Optional gratuities to the tour guide(s) and driver(s)
  • Tipping for porters at hotels
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas, laundry, and other personal item