An Indulgent Journey to the World's Oldest Spas & Thermal Baths

A 11 day trip to Turkey 
4.555555
4.56 out of 5 stars
9 reviews

Indulgently relaxing and endlessly soothing, this unique tour threads together the history of today's modern luxury spa. Salubriously relax in ancient hamams, bathe in waters once savored by Cleopatra, and use a private luxury yacht to sail between hot springs and hidden thermal baths. An eclectic range of therapeutic treatments blend renowned tradition with modern style, and 3,000 years of spa history is etched into the marble pools and ornate ceilings.

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Istanbul, Cagaloglu Hamami, Suleymaniye Hamam, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet, Blue Mosque, Cappadocia, Goreme Open-air Museum, Pamukkale, Hierapolis, Aphrodisias, Marmaris, Turquoise Coast, Caunus, Koycegiz Lake, Cleopatra's Hamam (Batik Hamam), Aga Limani Cove, Kas

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Istanbul – Sensual Spa Welcomes to an Exotic City

This vacation is a complete escape and every detail has been carefully selected and planned. From the moment you land in Istanbul there's absolutely nothing to interrupt the stress-free atmosphere and royal pampering. A luxury chauffeur greets you in arrivals and whisks you off to your fabulous five-star accommodation. Forget about your bags. Get dropped at the spa where a two hour hamam experience provides an aromatic welcome to the city. Relax on the hot stone as soothing classical music mingles with the mist. Be gently massaged into a blissful mood and then lounge in pools that complete the stress alleviation.

The opulent spa is modern and luxurious yet based on the ancient traditions of the city's hamams. In some respects it aesthetically resembles spas at home. However, there are sensual and exotic tones that confirm you've landed in the birthplace of therapeutic indulgence. With the call to prayer resonantly levitating above Istanbul, and sunset casting a pink hue across the rooftops, dinner will be served on your private balcony overlooking the city.

What's Included: accommodation in a deluxe suite at five-star hotel including unlimited use of the spa, two-hour spa welcome experience, dinner, airport transfer

Day 2: Istanbul – Beautiful Sultanahmet Tour and a Traditional Hamam Experience

Istanbul awakes. Coffee fumes creep in through the windows, hypnotic bells occasionally jangle in the distance, and the sun reflects in the Bosphorus. Time to get up? Or time to snooze and slumber? This tranquil vacation doesn't have any alarm calls or time schedules. Only you decide when to call room service for a lavish breakfast. Whenever you're ready, a local guide takes you on an easy tour of historic Sultanahmet. Explore the 6th century wonder of the Hagia Sophia, its radiant domes recreating the grandeur of Roman Byzantine. Just across the Hippodrome Square is the Blue Mosque. Elaborate Iznik tiles dominate the walls and a thick carpet is soothing beneath bare feet. Sit and absorb the atmosphere. Much like grand cathedrals can be peerlessly peaceful, the Blue Mosque has a tranquility that captures the imagination.

After a fresh meze lunch you're transferred to Cagaloglu Hamami, the most famous of the city's hamams. Three-hundred years of history are engraved in the embellished ceilings, hand-painted tiles and sculpted curves reminiscing about the Ottoman Empire. Turkish hamams, or bath houses, thrived during Ottoman times and became places to both socialize and get clean (most homes didn't have piped water). Some were for the masses. Cagaloglu was for the elite, an epitome of grandeur reserved for discerning locals. In a gender segregated room you lie back on a hot marble slab. At first the heat shocks the system. But your skin adapts and soon the steam opens your pores. A masseuse appears and begins the scrubbing, firmly stripping away layers of dirt and skillfully pummeling the body into a serene state. After showering, do what the locals do and enjoy a Turkish coffee in the cafe.

What's Included: accommodation in a deluxe suite at a five-star hotel including unlimited use of the spa, breakfast, lunch, half-day Sultanahmet tour, Cagaloglu Hamami experience

Day 3: Istanbul – Lavish Topkapi Palace and the Therapeutic Powers of Istanbul's Oldest Hamam

Another morning, another delectable breakfast overlooking a city that straddles two continents. Cobblestone streets emerge from shadows, minarets begin to shimmer, and the scents of pastry emanate from boutique bakeries. Today you head to the Topkapi Palace, the imperial home of Sultans and an important jigsaw piece in the history of spas. Evocative Ming Dynasty Chinese porcelain fills a vast courtyard, staggering jewels and sacred relics relive history, and then you enter the ostentatious marble chambers of the sultan's hamam. Admire the alabaster bathing chambers and picture the scene of concubines lining the Golden Passageway as they competed for a sultan's attention.

After the palace, take your time exploring the historic boutiques that fill this part of Sultanahmet. You can even shop till you drop because your driver is waiting patiently to transfer you to Istanbul's oldest bath house, the Suleymaniye Haman. Regally built in the 16th century, and once the city's most fashionable hamam, Suleymaniye fell into disrepair and was closed for almost 80 years. It's since rediscovered the ceremonial razzmatazz and offers a salubrious two hours of scrubbing and massaging as domed ceiling illuminate the flumes of mist.

What's Included: accommodation in a deluxe suite at a five-star hotel including unlimited use of the spa, breakfast, lunch, Royal Topkapi Palace tour, Suleymaniye Hamam experience, all transfers

Day 4: Cappadocia – A Day of Sublime Landscapes and Surreal Caves

Cappadocia soothes the eyes, its iridescent fairytale chimneys filling gaping valleys. Fly from Istanbul to Kayseri and the short drive into Cappadocia is framed by magnificent panoramas. Gaze across caves and bizarre mushroom-shaped geology, stand above valleys dissected by meandering rivers, and watch the cliffs burn red from afar. Check into your historic cave hotel and admire the corridors of antiquity in this boutique exemplar of elegance. The locals have lived in converted caves for centuries and the Museum Hotel pays homage to this history. Of course, it also enhances it with modern indulgence. An afternoon tour explores more of the region's chronicles as you visit the underground city of Kaymakli and the beautiful frescoes of Goreme's churches, each sculpted into the cliffs and poignantly expressing early Christian history.

What's Included: accommodation at the Museum Hotel, breakfast, lunch, airport transfers, half-day Cappadocia tour

Day 5: Pamukkale – Iridescent Terraced Pools and Soothing Hot Springs in Pamukkale

Sending its glow across a vast valley, Pamukkale is one of the planet's most surreal baths. A succession of white calcite terraces tipple down the hillside, their waters a lucid blue and the former bathing spot of queens. It's a relatively short drive from Cappadocia to Pamukkale where you take lunch and then spend the afternoon absorbed in the terraces. The whole town is built on natural thermals and the Spa Hotel Colossae Thermal has its foundations around the soothing water. This is Pamukkale's first five-star hotel and attraction in its own right, a succession of quiet pools and hot springs dominated by marble columns and solitude. Unlimited use of the spa is included throughout your two-day stay.

What's Included: accommodation at Spa Hotel Colossae Thermal, breakfast, lunch, transfers, Pamukkale tour

Day 6: Pamukkale – Relaxing in the Ancient Spa of Hierapolis and Swimming Above Greek History

Beneath translucent water an ancient city sleeps. Columns and carved statues lie crestfallen, partly cracked, yet hypnotic as they rest in the water. The spa of Hierapolis has its roots in ancient Greece. An earthquake toppled the city and sent the marble tumbling into the water. Lie back in the soothing waters and soak up the panorama; tiny villages cling to mountainsides and the valley swirls as if painted by a brush. Then you're eyes glance below and the relics of an empire lie unperturbed. Take a quick swim and explore the old city, a gentle breaststroke taking you along streets and between columns. Snorkeling equipment is included if you'd like to delve deeper underwater. This excursion to Hierapolis is close to your hotel and can be taken at any time during the day. The hotel's opulent spa is available for the rest of the day.

What's Included: accommodation at Spa Hotel Colossae Thermal, breakfast, lunch, Hierapolis tour

Day 7: Marmaris – The Marble Remains and Greco Roman Brilliance of Aphrodisias

From the serene turquoise of Pamukkale you head to the coast where sublime sapphire awaits. The drive takes you meandering through hidden Turkey, passing villages of tradition and Greco Roman remains that command isolated peaks. Before reaching your private yacht there's time for a leisurely stop at Aphrodisias, a vast site of archaeological ruins that always make for a quiet and evocative excursion. It's a city built in honor of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Even amongst Turkey's vast maze of ancient cities, Aphrodisias has an endearing grace and nobility.

Arrive in Marmaris and settle onto an al fresco terrace where lunch is a leisurely Mediterranean affair. Your transport rocks gently in the harbor. Seventy feet long and built from local teak, the yacht is a wonderful reminder of traditional styles. Its roasted brown exterior is a sharp contrast to the white plastic of other boats in the harbor. When the sails are raised it's even more elegant, a timeless ode to history standing proud as other skippers eye it with envy. While the build follows a centuries-old design, the interior and small touches reflect modern luxury. Check out the huge master bedroom, settle onto the vast wooden deck, and allow the discreet crew to do all the work. Cocktails, snacks, massages; whatever you need it's delivered promptly as the Turquoise Coast gently rolls by. Set sail in the afternoon and spend the night in a deserted cove, where a three-course dinner is served beneath a dazzling night's sky.

What's Included: accommodation on a private luxury yacht, all meals, Aphrodisias tour, transfers

Day 8: Turquoise Coast – Luxury Sailing to Hot Springs and the Ancient City of Caunus

Cerulean waters shimmer under dawn light and a silence prevails as you wake for breakfast. Your private chef delivers the meal you requested as the coastline offers vistas of pine forests and rocky bays. The final member of the crew is a skilled masseuse. Throughout these four days you can slumber and enjoy healing massages at any time. And there are few better backdrops than this slowly moving coastline. Today's sailing takes you to Candir where you transfer to a riverboat and cruise along the Dalyan River. Ascend into the fertile hills and the ornate tombs of Caunus's kings are the first glimpse of the history that hides. The remains surround a natural hot spring that's deep within the green. Take a dip and then walk just a few more minutes to another mesmerizing place for a swim, the Koycegiz Lake. Return to your yacht and enjoy another night in a secluded cove.

What's Included: accommodation on a private luxury yacht, all meals

Day 9: Turquoise Coast – Evocative Lydian History and Bathing in Cleopatra's Hamam

You're not the first to be soothed by the waters along the Turquoise Coast. Today's charming journey is a slow and easy one, the yacht passing deserted islands and scenes of Mediterranean splendor before you enter ancient Lydia and Cleopatra's bath. Corinthian columns mark the entrance to these thermals steeped in history. Wander alongside the sarcophagi and admire the inscribed calligraphy. Keep going and you reach the Batik Hamam, a vast Lydian bath that hypnotized Cleopatra. The Egyptian queen was a regular bather here and the hamam's millennia-old walls evoke her idealized glamor. Wallow in the soporific waters of history and then return to the yacht where your masseuse completes the indulgence.

What's Included: accommodation on a private luxury yacht, all meals

Day 10: Turquoise Coast – Sailing to Kas and a Gentle Afternoon on Cafe Terraces

Utopian colors chaperone a final day of sailing. Emerald greens dominate tiny bays, iznik tones extend from deserted beaches, while sapphire merges into deep blue as you gaze across the Mediterranean. The coastline is alive in all its unperturbed majesty, just you and your yacht to be seen for miles. Spend most of the day on board, watching the coastline roll by and enjoying a final day of regal treatment. After lunch you dock in Kas, a quaint town of boutique shops and cafe terraces hidden between bougainvillea blossoms. It's an idyllic final stop, epitomizing the elegance of the Mediterranean with the tranquility of a unique spa break. Enjoy a final dinner on the yacht as the sun blurs into the horizon.

What's Included: accommodation on a private luxury yacht, all meals

Day 11: Antalya – Departure

After ten days of reposeful luxury you must return from hibernation. Re-energized and invigorated, you're transferred to the airport at Antalya for a domestic flight to Istanbul. Here you change planes and return home.

What's Included: breakfast, airport transfer

You may want to read the reviews for Turkey tour operators on Zicasso.

Price

Starting Price 

$2,855
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.