Beneath dazzling Mediterranean skies a crossroads of civilizations splendidly traces human history through the ages. Scattered amidst landscapes of ethereal beauty, this unique vacation visits 11 of the country's 13 UNESCO World Heritage sites, plus many more on the tentative list. Journey from Neolithic Catalhoyuk to Bronze Age Hattusha, explore ancient Greco Roman cities, continue to Ottoman and Byzantine Empires, and discover some of the planet's finest religious buildings.
Istanbul – A Whirling Dervish Welcome
Spinning and spinning, the famous Whirling Dervishes provide a glimpse at the surreal wonder that's to come. These Sufis are lost in a trance, resplendent in white and turning to the harmonic poetry of local music. After landing in Istanbul you're greeted by your driver guide and transferred to the hotel. Freshen up and relax before an evening of entertainment that showcases one of the country's most bewitching traditions. A lavish banquet accompanies the Whirling Dervishes as delicate choral tones float across the domes of historic Sultanahmet. Welcome to Istanbul and welcome to Turkey, a country that revels in preserving the beauty of a forgotten time.
Istanbul – Exploring Istanbul's Historic Neighborhoods
Istanbul – The Elegant Beauty of Selimiye Mosque
Cannakale –Discovering the Birthplace of the Ottoman Empire in Bursa
Cannakale – The Dazzling Ancient City of Troy
Sirince – Greco Roman Brilliance at Pergamon
Pamukkale – The Evocative Ruins of Ephesus and Aphrodisias
Pamukkale – Soothing Beauty in Pamukkale and Hierapolis
Pamukkale – Pisidian Termessos and the Archaeological Splendor of Zanthos
Konya – Neolithic Catalhoyuk and the Classical Wonder of Konya
Cappadocia – First Impressions of a Sublime Landscape
Cappadocia – Exploring Goreme and Cappadocia's Underground Cities
Corum – The Hittite Capital of Hattusha
Day 14 - 15
Safranbolu – Relaxing in the Quaint City of Safranbolu
Istanbul – Departure
- Visit 11 of Turkey's 13 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a day dedicated to each sublime marker of history and beauty
- Explore many sites on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list, including the vast ruins of Ephesus and elegant splendor of Konya
- Fully immerse yourself in a historical paradigm by reliving chronicles dating to Neolithic periods, ancient Greece, Byzantine Rome, and Ottoman Turkey
- Experience the beauty of ancient Greco Roman cities by visiting Ephesus, Troy, Pergamon, Aphrodisias, and more
- Admire the intricacy and soporific charm of Turkey's religious landmarks, including the Selimiye Mosque and Hagia Sophia
- Settle into quaint destinations that beautifully recreate a sublime atmosphere of yesteryear, like serene Sanfranbolo and surreal Cappadocia
- Relive historic chronicles as you explore the birthplace of the Ottoman Empire and the Hittite capital of Hattusha
- Turkey's UNESCO sites are connected via scenic mountain and coastal roads, ensuring that each journey between destinations is dominated by photogenic panoramas and stops in traditional villages
Scattered across Turkey you'll find the odes to ancient Western civilization. Greco Roman cities have been built upon the country's rolling hills and natural thermals. Empires have elegantly developed from village bases. Classical chronicles hide amongst landscapes of grace and spring blossoms. Thirteen of Turkey's historic destinations have been recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites and this unique vacation visits 11 of them. In addition, the circular itinerary enables you to experience an eclectic range of sites that are on UNESCO's tentative list, including Ephesus and Konya. Each day is dedicated to a new site, a new effusion of beauty nestled amongst a diaphanous landscape. Yet despite the constant immersion in sublime markers and aesthetic delights, this itinerary maintains an easy pace and there's ample time to sit back, relax, and gaze out onto exquisite backdrops.
Start in Istanbul, in historic neighborhoods that dance to a beat of Roman and Ottoman history. Famous monuments shimmer as they dominate the cityscape: the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, and the Topkapi Palace. But while these grab the attention, the rest don’t go unnoticed. You're submerged in one of the planet's oldest cradles of civilization, 20 centuries of artistic splendor extending across streets of cobblestone and boutiques. On day three you spend the afternoon at nearby Selimiye Mosque, where impressions of humility accompany the aesthetics. Heading east with a private driver guide, your journey then starts to connect empires and chronicles. Discover the birthplace of the Ottoman Empire in Bursa, admire the dramatic ruins of Troy, before day six unveils the Greco Roman resplendence of Pergamon, site of Satan's Throne as recorded in the Bible.
Pammukale is the world's original spa town, 3000 years of history built upon its natural springs and hypnotic waters. It becomes your base for three days; the hotel's spa is a soothing end to each day lost amidst odes to archaeological splendor. Visit the renowned sites of Ephesus and Aphrodisias, marvel at calcite terraces, and swim above Greek ruins collapsed into thermal pools. Pisidian Termessos and Zanthos; continue the ride through UNESCO sites, each showcasing new diversity to the country's history. Turkey's land has been a crossroads since the dawn of man, illustrated by Neolithic Catalhoyuk, the chief attraction on day ten. While the country's UNESCO list is filled with the famous, the lesser visited sites help to complete a fascinating jigsaw puzzle; Turkey has forever been at the forefront of human development and Western cultivation.
By day 11 you're lounging in a boutique cave hotel, marveling at the lunar landscapes of Cappadocia, before taking journeys into underground cities and churches carved from precipitous rock. The circular route takes you on a northern trail back to Istanbul, stopping at the remote and charming Hittite capital of Hattusha. Wander, indulge, step back in time, and soak up the Bronze Age brilliance of this hidden charm. Sanfranbolu is your final stop, the centuries old houses cascading and meandering down a verdant hillside. Like each of the other UNESCO World Heritage sites, inspiring first impressions give way to a gentle and unforgettable charm.
For more travel options, you may want to browse the tours to Turkey section on Zicasso.
$4,155 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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