5 days : Istanbul & Ephesus tour
Istanbul is Turkey's most populous city, and its cultural and financial center. Located on both sides of the Bosphorus, the narrow strait between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, Istanbul bridges Asia and Europe both physically and culturally.
The best-preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean, Ephesus is the place to get a feel for what life was like in Roman times.
Ancient Ephesus was a great trading city and a centre for the cult of Cybele, the Anatolian fertility goddess. Under the influence of the Ionians, Cybele became Artemis, the virgin goddess of the hunt and the moon, and a fabulous temple was built in her honour. When the Romans took over and made this the province of Asia, Artemis became Diana and Ephesus became the Roman provincial capital.
Flexible and customizable for private departures.
Istanbul (Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Egyptian Obelisk, Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Spice Market, Grand Bazaar, Bosphorus cruise)
Ephesus (ancient city of Ephesus, House of Virgin Mary)
Please contact us for a price quote
Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final hotel choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.
DAY 1 - ISTANBUL
Welcome to Istanbul. After clearing customs and immigration, a representative meets you at the airport and helps you transfer to your hotel. After check-in to the hotel, afternoon is at leisure. You can rest in your room or you can take a walk around the hotel.
DAY 2 - ISTANBUL
Our first stop will be the Hippodrome. The Roman Emperor, Septimus Severus, built the original building in 203 when he rebuilt Byzantium. Constantine the Great reconstructed, enlarged and adorned it with beautiful works that were brought from different parts of the Roman Empire. The place had been the site for public activities, chariot races, and celebrations in honor of the emperors. Today there is not much left from the original building except the Egyptian Obelisk and the Serpentine and Constantine Columns.
From the Hippodrome you will travel to visit St. Sophia (Hagia Sophia) which means divine wisdom. The magnificent Byzantine church is one of the finest architectural works in the world. Many historians have nominated it as the Eighth Wonder of the World. The Hagia Sophia was probably the largest building on the world's surface, barring the Egyptian Pyramids or the Great Wall of China. For many centuries it was the largest church and today it is the fourth largest in the world after St. Paul's in London, St. Peter's in Rome and the Duomo in Milan.
Our next stop is the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, better known as the Blue Mosque, was built by Sultanahmet I. The mosque is situated in a wide courtyard, which has five gates. There is an inner courtyard next to the mosque with three entrances. Porticos consisting of 26 columns and 30 domes surround the inner courtyard. There are four minarets at the corner of the mosque having three serefes each. There are six minarets in all, each of which is fluted. The walls all along the galleries are covered with 21,000 17th-century Iznik tiles having many flower motifs in a dominant blue color. Later on you will enjoy a splendid cruise on the Bosphorus and discover the wonderful sites and photo opportunities. (B)
DAY 3 - ISTANBUL / IZMIR / KUSADASI
This morning we will explore the famous Topkapi Palace, which served as the Imperial Residence to 25 sultans and 4,000 people for nearly 4 centuries, during the great Ottoman Empire. During this time successive sultans added to the palace, resulting today in a variety of architectural styles. In 1924 it was converted into a museum. The palace has several sections. During the tour you will see the Porcelain Section that displays one of the richest collections in the world of Chinese and Japanese porcelain. The Grand Bazaar has almost 5,000 shops spread out in a giant maze of small streets and passages which are arranged according to their trade - rugs, antiques, gold, silver, leather, etc. It is one of the most interesting sights in Istanbul. Throughout the Ottoman period, the bazaar withstood earthquakes and fires and was restored several times. The interesting atmosphere of the Grand Bazaar has become a very popular place for foreign visitors. Later, transfer to Istanbul Airport for your flight to Izmir. Dinner and overnight at Kusadasi. (B,D)
DAY 4 - KUSADASI / EPHESUS / KUSADASI
After breakfast we drive to the ancient city of Ephesus to visit one of the 12 cities of Ionia, and a major departure point for trade routes into Asia Minor. Ephesus is renowned for its sacred ancient shrines, including a famous temple (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World). At Ephesus you will see the beautiful Celsus Library, built in the beginning of the 2nd century A.D. You'll also visit the Grand Theater, one of the most impressive buildings in Ephesus, where St. Paul once preached. Afterward, visit the Temple of Hadrian across the way. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. After lunch, stop by the nearby Basilica of St. John, and then visit the Ephesus Archeological Museum, which contains two wonderful marble statues of Artemis and 25,000 items found in the ancient city. Then we will continue to visit the House of the Virgin Mary on the Aladag Mountains, five miles from Ephesus. On July 26, 1967, Pope Paul VI visited this place and prayed here. (B,D)
DAY 5 - KUSADASI / IZMIR / ISTANBUL / USA
Early morning departure from the hotel for your flight to USA. (B)