$4799 AUD per person twin share

$1129 AUD Single supplement


  • Return airport transfers
  • 13 nights hotel accommodation
  • 13 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
  • English speaking guide
  • Air conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees as specified in the itinerary
  • Boat tour in Halfeti and Akdamar Island
  • Cultural night at Urfa
  • Domestic flight Istanbul to Trabzon
  • Scrubba Wash Bag


  • International and domestic flights not mentioned above
  • Visas
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • All services, meals other than those indicated above
  • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program
  • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc

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Eastern Borders of Turkey


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In a different world to Turkey’s bustling seaside resorts, the exciting lands of eastern Turkey offer adventure, rich cultural experiences and breathtaking scenery. Beginning in the lush mountains of the Black Sea region, travel across arid plains, past crumbled villages and deep blue lakes.

The tangle of ancient and current cultures will intrigue you as you visit evocative, historical sites such as the ancient Armenian capital of Ani, the Byzantine masterpiece that is Sumela Monastery, the Ishak Pasa Palace, the architecture of Mardin and many seldom visited spots such as Lake Çildir and the remote Georgian churches and fortresses in the northeast. Mount Ararat at 5137m dominates the Iranian border and Lake Van, vast and mountain encircled, feeds the plains near the Iraqi frontier.

With its broad vistas and dramatic scenery, its ubiquitous borders, and a fascinating history and culture, this trip gives a truly varied insight into a part of Turkey rarely seen by foreign visitors.

Day 1 – Arrive in Istanbul

Welcome to the fascinating city of Istanbul. Split across two continents with a rich swirl of European elegance and an exotic Asian flair, it is a city sure to impress even the worldliest traveller. Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure before meeting with your fellow travellers at 6pm followed by a delicious ‘Welcome Dinner’. (D)

Overnight Sultanhan Hotel or similar

Day 2 – Istanbul to Trabzon

After a hearty breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for a short flight to Trazbon, a town nestled on the Black Sea boasting a dizzying and ever-evolving mixture of religions, languages and cultures. Upon arrival in Trazbon, you will be met and begin your exploration of this fascinating city. You will visit Ataturk’s Pavilion and the 13th Century Hagia Sophia Museum (with its extraordinary collection of Byzanitine-era frescoes). You will also visit Gulbahar Hatun and Ortahisar Mosques as well as a Comneni Cathedral in the Old Town before visiting the charming Girl’s Monastery (a 13th century nunnery). You will then enjoy a scenic ride along the Black Sea coast, pausing here for great photo opportunities. (B)

2 nights Zorlu Grand Hotel or similar

Day 3 – Trabzon, Macka, Sumela Monastery, Zigana

Today’s journey begins with a visit to the confounding Sumela Monastery (4th century Greek Orthodox), impossibly clinging to the sheer cliff-face 1200m in altitude and nestled amid the natural beauty of the deep forest of Macka. Lunch today will be in a rustic village setting and feature tasty traditional dishes which comprise of the culinary delights of Trabzon. Succulent preparations of Hamsi (steamed or fried fish) will be served both in pide (Turkish pizza) and pilaf (rice), as well as sides of Kuymak (corn meal mash). After lunch, on the banks of the fast flowing stream in Altindere Valley National Park, you will travel along the Old Silk Road – through the Zigana Pass, beautifully bathed in a myriad colours and geo formations – before returning to Tabzon. (B,L,)

Day 4 – Tabzon, Meydancik, Savsat

Your adventure continues today as you travel through Meydancik, where you will witness the stunning view of the city from Boztepe. Departing from here, you will then head for scenic Uzungol, to visit the Botany Garden, and to enjoy a panoramic view of Rize. You then continue on to Camlihemsin, through the beautiful Firtina Valley, enjoying the many waterfalls, stone bridges and lush green forests which skirt the magnificent Kackar Mountains. (B)

2 nights Laset Motel or similar

Day 5 – Savsat, Sahara National Park

Today’s itinerary consists of a visit to the expanse of the Karagol Sahara National Park, a varied, mysterious and provocative landscape of all nature has to offer. (B)

Day 6 – Savsat, Cildir, Kars

Departing early this morning, you head towards Cildir County, where the infamous and foreboding Devils’ Castle awaits. You will also visit the man made Wild Lake Bird Island, an aviary sanctuary, and the village of Akcakale. (B)

Overnight Kar’s Luxury Boutique Hotel or similar

Day 7 – Kars, Ani, Dogubeyazit

This mornings departure leads towards the ruins of the ancient ghost town of Ani, once the capital city of the Armenian Empire. You continue to Dogubeyazit, located at the foot of Mount Ararat, the highest mountain in Anatolia, and where Noah’s Ark is believed to have come to rest. (B)

Overnight Tehran Boutique Hotel or similar

Day 8 – Dogubeyazit, Van

Today you will tour the semi ruined complex of Ishak Pasa Palace before driving through a barren volcanic landscape and arriving at Muradiye Waterfalls for lunch. You continue on to Van, and gaze at the enormous lake – Turkey’s largest. (B)

Overnight Elite World Van or similar

Day 9 – Van, Akdamar, Tatvan

A lavish breakfast awaits you this morning. A traditional Turkish ‘Van Breakfast’ which consists of at least 20 different dishes, such as herbal cheese (made with a mixture of various herbs unique to the region), martuga (a delicious pastry made with flour, butter and egg), and kavut (a sweet porridge made from pan-roasted barley flour and ground wheat).

After the feast, you will take a ride to Cavustepe Castle (an impressive Armenian fortress) to explore the ancient Urartian citadel before continuing on to the Village of Hosap. After lunch in Gevas, you take a boat excursion to Akhtamar Island and Holy Cross Church, a 10th century Armenian-Apostolic cathedral. (B)

Overnight The Crater Hotel or similar

Day 10 – Tatvan, Hasankeyf, Mardin

Begin the day with a morning drive to Hasankeyf, to visit the cliff top Roman ruins of ancient Cephe and the old town of Midyat, an ancient architectural treasure. You then explore Anitli and visit the Church of the Virgin Mary, before continuing to Mardin, which overlooks the vast plains of Mesopotamia. (B)

Overnight Kasr-I Nehroz Hotel or similar

Day 11 – Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gobekli Tepe

In the morning we head towards Urfa, with an en route visit to the famous ‘beehive’ village houses of Harran. Discover the ‘City of the Prophets’ as you visit Abraham’s Caves, the Pool of Sacred Carp and the colourful bustling bazaar. You will also visit Gobekli Tepe (Turkish for ‘Hill with a Tummy’), a hilltop sanctuary which is the location of the world’s oldest known temple (dating back to the 10th millennium BC) and the planet’s oldest known example of monumental architecture (together with the site of Nevali Cori, Gobekli Tepe has revolutionised the understanding of our ancient past).

After your visit, a special treat awaits you this evening, as you will experience the festive and millennial tradition of Urfa nightlife, featuring folk singers, musicians, poetry readings, dancing, all accompanied by delicious dishes and a seemingly endless supply of Turkey’s traditional spirit, Raki! (B,D)

Overnight El-Ruha Hotel or similar

Day 12 – Sanliurfa, Kahta

Today will be an experience to remember as you visit Mount Nemrut and the mountain top sanctuary of Antiochus I. at sunrise. You will then have a brief look at Ataturk Dam (built on the Euphrtes River), before exploring the Eski Kahta Castle. (B)

Overnight Kommegane Hotel or similar

Day 13 – Kahta Gaziantep

A three hour drive in the morning leads us to Halfeti, where we take a boat ride on the life-sourcing Euphrates River to explore Rumkale Fortress. For your midday meal, you will enjoy a menu of the two most recognised dishes from Turkey – Kebab and baklava, a rich sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey. Yum! After the feast, you will visit the Roman city of Zeugma and tour Gaziantep (the birthplace of baklava) and its Archaeological Museum where the most superb Roman mosaics are displayed including the famed ‘Gypsy Girl of Zeugma’. (B,L)

Overnight Sirehan Hotel or similar

Day 14 – Departure

Following breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight to your next destination. (B)