The Best of Turkey tour is the ideal travel choice for those who wish to enjoy the main historic sites and major attractions of Turkey in a longer tour but without a lot of bus travel. Instead we connect the major destination cities by short 1 hour flights.
We’ll explore Istanbul and it’s ancient structures, from the mosques to the Roman influenced architecture. Next, we’ll fly to Cappadocia and experience this amazing landscape. While staying at luxurious cave hotels at night, we will explore the lunar like topography and cave mosaics during the day.
A quick flight departing Cappadocia to Izmir will allow you to experience the unique Aegean culture. With a visit to the wonderful village of Sirince. The next day you'll tour the highlight site of Turkey - Ephesus - once a great Roman city it still has the glory as a must see site. The next day will allow you to "meander" along the river of its name to the much sought after site of Pamukkale before continuing overland to Antlaya. This journey will allow you to see some of the Anatolian landscapes and some impressive mountains along the way on our way to the beautiful, turquoise Mediterranean coast of Antalya. There, we will enjoy a mix of touring and seaside lounging, where 8000 foot mountains rise from a backdrop of crystal clear waters. 3 nights here will allow you to see a mix of sites and enjoy the warm beaches.
You'll return for one last night to Istanbul before departing the final day on your international flight.
- An enormous public entertainment arena, it once seated as many as 100,000 zealous fans who came to watch chariot races, executions, and mock battles. Formerly the center of Byzantine civic life, it is still marked by the Egyptian Obelisk, the Bronze Serpentine Column, and the Column of Constantine.
- With its massive central dome flanked by six slender minarets, the Blue Mosque stands as the single most recognizable monument in the Istanbul skyline. Built between 1609 and 1616, the enormous complex also included a hospital, caravansary, public kitchen, marketplace, schools and the Mausoleum of Sultan Ahmet I. The mosque’s immense interior, flooded with sunlight streaming through 260 windows, is decorated with more than 20,000 precious Iznik tiles detailing traditional flowers of Ottoman design. In fact, it is the deep blue glow of the tiles in the sunlight that gives the building its name.
- This famous basilica was constructed in the 6th century A.D.. It is often described as the greatest work of Byzantine architecture. Once the Church of Holy Wisdom, Christendom’s crowning glory, it glittered with mosaics and artistic treasures. Today, the Hagia Sophia is the fourth largest building constructed as a church in the world. It was dedicated to Hagia Sophia which means Divine Wisdom – an attribute of Christ.
- Istanbul, besieged countless times, has always needed permanent water supplies. As a result, many underground cisterns were built during the Byzantine Empire. Water was brought to these big reservoirs from distant sources via aqueducts. We will visit the largest and most ornate of these cisterns.
- The area of the Grand Bazaar was a trade center during the Byzantine period. Two domes were built by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror to enrich the economic life of the city. Today, the atmosphere of the Grand Bazaar is mysterious and intriguing. It has become a very popular place, where visitors explore a labyrinth of streets and passages housing eighteen entrances and more than 4,000 shops.
- The home for 400 years of ruling Sultan’s in Istanbul, this is a not to be missed site. The second palace built in Istanbul after its conquest by the Turks, it served as the center of the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 19th centuries. This palace’s maze of oppulent buildings is where the sultans, their courts, and their harems lived and governed.
- This covered market, built as part of the Yeni Cami (New Mosque) complex, is filled with the fragrant scent of spices from the Orient.
- This narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. It is about 20 miles long and up to one and a half miles wide. Our cruise will take us past the late Ottoman Palaces – Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi, as well as beautiful, wooden mansions and modern villas built in this elegant section of the city during the 19th & 20th centuries.
- Once a leading city of Rome - it fell prey to silting up of the harbor - which also lead to the cities downfall and protection, to our benefit as it is now one of the best preserved cities from the ancient world.
- The ancient city of Hierapolis sits atop the white cliffs of Pamukkale. The “Sacred City” was thought to have been founded by the god Apollo, and it was believed that its ancient, hot spring fed baths had the ability to heal injuries and remove ailments. It is also the site of the largest Necropolis (city of the dead) in existence. Above the ruins of the city sits its amphitheater and the St. Philip Martyrium.
- An unusual natural and historical site with its sparkling, white, castle-like cascades, it is unique in the world. The site’s name means “cotton castle”, a name which accurately describes its calcareous formations, which were formed by limestone-laden thermal springs.
- An overlooked delight- set on the coast of Antalya - this museum has collections from so many ancient sites - they have to store the less well known pieces in the garden! Its section's include pre-historic tombs, a wonderful pottery timeline with rooms of intact specimens, all the best Statues from Perge, an overview of St. Nicholas (from nearby Demre, Antalya), the unbelievably impressive Lycian tombs, to the ruins recently discovered from the Antalya necropolis.
- Built in 2nd Century BC -and always well protected since, the harbor is now the center of a thriving city - Antalya's old town is a remarkable mix of 'get lost alleyways', sleek new restaurants, upscale bars, and delightful old protected Roman and Byzantine ruins - it was expanded under the Keykubat reign during Ottoman times and there are both Churches and Mosques to visit.
- Don't miss walking along the shore or the harbor- with impressive views of the bay and Toros mountains.
Perge / Perga Ancient Site
- Perga is located 15 km east of Antalya and is an impressively restored Greek/Roman/Byzanitine city. Don't miss one of the largest Roman bath complexes, the center of the road fountains, or the partially restored shops in the NE part of the city. This NE gate was the start of the Via Sebaste - the way of fame from St. Paul's first journey.
Aspendos Ancient Theater
- This ancient city is known for having the best-preserved theatre of antiquity. Not much of the city remains, but the theater is intact and you can in September often see evening performances. It is a marvel and not to be missed.
Side (Ancient ruins and seaside town)
- A bizarre mix of Ancient city/ Theater that encompasses a touristic downtown area on a isthmus jutting into the sea - this is a unique place- swimming beaches on either side of town make this a 3 way draw - ancient city, modern shopping and relaxing beaches.
Day 1: Istanbul
- Our representative will welcome you at the airport and take you to your Sultanahmet Hotel which can range from the luxurious Four Seasons to the more moderate Celal Sultan (hotels depending on price package chosen) All the hotels sit atop the tallest of the seven hills of Istanbul in the historic Sultanahmet district. You will have time to become acquainted with the celebrated historic district of this bustling city before turning in for the night.
Day 2: Istanbul
- The Saint Sophia was the greatest church in Christendom for over a thousand years. Today, we will enter this ancient wonder and discover it’s remarkable story. We will also visit one of the Ottoman Empire’s greatest architectural achievements: the Blue Mosque. After lunch, we will also marvel at the Hippodrome and the Basilica Cistern. In the afternoon, we can browse the shops of the Grand Bazaar before retiring to the hotel.
Day 3: Istanbul
- After conquering Constantinople in the 15th Century, the Ottomans built Topkapi Palace. Tour the palace and its treasures, including the hidden chambers of the Imperial Harem. A visit to the Spice Market /Egyptian Bazzar before a boat tour of the Bosphorous Strait and a quiet cafe offers a bit of rest in the afternoon. Depending on the days, the morning and afternoon may be reversed. You'll spend your final night in Istanbul.
Day 4: Istanbul to Cappadocia
- After breakfast, we begin our Cappadocia adventure. A transfer from your hotel to Istanbul airport for a one hour flight to Cappadocia, where you'll discover the charms of luxury cave dwelling. In Cappadocia your private guide and your private driver will be waiting for you. After your transfer you will continue your tour by visiting Uchisar Fortress, OrtaHisar and Red Valley.
Day 5: Cappadocia
- You may choose to rise today or day 6 before dawn for an hot-air balloon ride over the picturesque Cappadocian valleys.(Optional Hot Air Balloon Flight)
- Today your Cappadocia guide will take you to explore Pasabaglari (Fairy Chimneys), Zelve Open Air Musuem (houses carved in rock, Seljukian Mosque and remains). After a lunch break, continue to Esentepe (panoramic view of Goreme Valley) ,Goreme Open Air Museum (rock cut churches, frescos, monastery) and Kaymakli Underground City.
Day 6: Cappadocia - Ephesus
- In the morning you will be transferred directly to Cappadocia Airport for your flight to Izmir. Once here, you will be met again by a guide and driver and have a tour of Sirince village as you make your way to your hotel on the coast in Kusadasi.
Day 7: Ephesus
- Today you will visit the magnificent city of ancient Ephesus. We will enjoy a leisurely exploration of the city, including the Terraced Houses, followed by trip to the Ephesus Archeology Museum. We also visit St. John’s Basilica, reputed burial site of the Apostle John, and see the ruin of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Also we'll make a stop at Mary's House. You'll return to your hotel in Kusadasi for a relaxing evening.
Day 8: Pamukkale - Antalya
- A morning departure will take us overland to the much desired and most photographed site of Pamukkale. With an optional chance to swim in the thermal waters of Cleopatra's baths, you'll see the beautiful white travertines and the remarkable site of Hierapolis. Later in the afternoon you will continue through the mountains to the pearl of the Mediterranean - Antalya. Your hotel will be on the coast allowing you access to swimming when the weather is warm.
Day 9: Antalya
- Perge and Aspendos were sister cities that still marvel in the sun. A morning departure will take you to each to spend some time. You may also visit a local waterfall before returning to your hotel in Antalya.
Day 10: Antalya
- Today, we will tour Termessos, one of the best located historical sites in Turkey- on top of a mountain overlooking the sea. After a morning outdoors there, you'll return to see the magnficient Antalya Museum before touring the old town of Kaleici where you may choose to enjoy the nightlife, restaurants or bars that make this a hot spot for evening activity.
Day 11: Antalya - Istanbul
- Today you'll have some leisure time before a transfer to Antalya airport, a flight to Istanbul, and transfer to your hotel where again you'll be overnight for one last hurrah before you departure tomorrow.
Day 12: Departure
- Transfer for a flight to Istanbul and connection to your departure flight home.
What is included in the tour
- Accommodation in your choice of hotel category, or inquire to include your own selection of hotels or to exclude accommodation:
- Platinum Category 5 Star Hotels (Four Seasons Sultanahmet 4 nights, Argos Cappadocia 2 nights, La Vista Boutique Hotel 2 Nights, Akra Barut Hotel 3 Nights)
- Gold Category Hotels (Hagia Sophia Mansions 4 nights, Taru Cave Suites 2 nights, Doubletree by Hitlon Kusadasi 2 Nights, Cap d' Perge Hotel 3 Nights)
- Silver Category Hotels (Sultanhan Hotel 4 nights, Kale Konak Hotel 2 nights, Nisanyan Hotel 2 Nights, Marina Puding Suites Hotel 3 Nights)
- Bronze Category Hotels (Celal Sultan Hotel 4 nights, MDC Cappadocia Hotel 2 nights, Ilayda Avantgarde Hotel 2 Nights, Dogan Hotel 3 Nights)
- Meals: 11 breakfasts, 9 lunches
- Services of a private licensed professional English speaking tour guide
- Airport Transfers with air conditioned transportation with driver
- Air conditioned transportation with driver in Cappadocia, Izmir, Antalya
- Domestic flights: Istanbul-Cappadocia, Cappadocia-Izmir and Antalya-Istanbul
- Admission fees to sites and museums
- Parking, portage, tipping (except guide & driver), toll roads
- Coordination and attentive customer service throughout the tour by Sojourn staff
- Required Association of Turkish Travel Agencies Foreign Visitors Insurance (a basic mandatory policy and not an adequate replacement for purchasing your own travel insurance.)
What is not included in the tour
- International flight tickets and international air and departure taxes
- Beverages at lunch
- Optional gratuities to your guides and drivers
- Travel insurance
- Visas, laundry, and personal items
- Entry visas to Turkey (purchased online before arrival)
- Optional programs listed in itinerary
Costs shown are per person in private groups
Comparison Chart of Tour Packages
|Transfers||Private Luxury Vehicles||Private||Private||Group|
|Airport Greeting Service||Private Guide||Private Guide||Private||Group|
|Guided Language||Per Request||English||English||English|
|Hotels||Luxury 5 Star||Elite Boutique||4 Star||3 & 4 Star|
|Domestic Flights||Yes at preferred times||Yes||Some||No|
|Tour Guide||Private Top rated guides||Private Guides||Small Groups||Groups|
|Entry Tickets||Unlimited Included||Included||Included||Partial Included|
|Sojourn Tour Operations Involvment||Daily||Daily||Daily||Partners|
|Sojourn Tour Manager Oversight||Daily||Daily||Weekly||None|
|Sojourn American Owner Oversight||Daily||Weekly||None||None|
|Daily Itinerary||Unlimited Flexibility||Unlimited Flexibility||Limited Flexibility||No Flexibility|
|Cancellation Policy||Fully Refundable up to 90 days, Credit towards future tour||Fully Refundable up to 90 days||Fully Refundable up to 90 days||No Refund|