Turkish Delight

20 Days
from AUD$ 13,771

Highlights

  • Explore Istanbul’s Greek and Jewish Heritage
  • Unravel the secrets of the Silk Roads and Ancient Trade Routes
  • Cappadocia’s sunrise balloon flight experience
  • Savour Turkish delights
  • Explore Anatolia’s treasures from underground cities to mystic mausoleums
  • Discover the historic battlegrounds of Gallipoli
  • Unveil the legends of Ancient Battles and Mythical Heroes
  • Explore the magnificent remnants of an Ancient Civilisation at Pergamum Acropolis
  • Sail through Istanbul’s Historic Bosphorus waterway
Embark on a journey through the enchanting realms of Byzantine splendour and the mystical lands of crusaders and whirling dervishes. 
Delve into a world of culinary delights infused with exotic spices, unearth underground cities, and bask in the allure of the turquoise Aegean coastline. Meander through the bustling alleys of the Grand Bazaar and uncover Istanbul’s best-kept secrets. Prepare to be mesmerized by dwellings carved into caves, valleys adorned with traditional villages, and the surreal landscapes of Cappadocia. Indulge in the flavours of mint tea, succulent Turkish kebabs, aromatic couscous, and delectable sweet pastries, perhaps even learning to craft your own culinary masterpieces. Embrace landscapes adorned with citrus groves, limestone terraces, and fragrant pine forests.

Journey map

Fitness level

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Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival in Istanbul

Welcome to Türkiye!  Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

The remainder of your day is at leisure to explore the magical city of Istanbul where east meets west. 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. The cultural diversity in Istanbul dates back to Silk Road trading days and the layers of armies, empires and treasures will unfold before you.

Meals

N/A

Accommodation

Levni Hotel-Istanbul or similar

Service

Airport transfer

Day 2 – Istanbul

Topkapi Palace

After breakfast, start your day with a visit to Topkapi Palace including the Harem section (Closed on Tuesdays), the former residence of Ottoman sultans.  Built in 1468 on one of Istanbul’s seven hills by Mehmet the Conqueror. This huge complex served as the seat of the Ottoman sultans for 400 years. Today, it houses a museum showcasing the treasures of the Sultans, featuring an extravagant Treasury Section with magnificent jewels, including the emerald dagger that inspired the 1964 movie “Topkapi”. And priceless Chinese porcelain, renowned as one of the world’s best collections, along with weaponry, a calligraphy section, and more. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus, and the Golden Horn from the palace grounds.

Yerebatan Underground Cistern

Continue to the Yerebatan Underground Cistern, an ancient water reservoir that features atmospherically lit rows of columns, totaling 336. Built in 532, it can store 80,000 cubic meters of water. Over the years, the Yerebatan Cistern has also been used for cultural events and performances due to its exceptional acoustics and unique setting. It has hosted famous singers and served as a setting for film productions.

Enjoy lunch at a Sultanahmet restaurant offering authentic Turkish cuisine. (not included)

St. Sophia

In the afternoon, visit St. Sophia (Closed on Friday mornings), one of the great architectural marvels of the ancient world, constructed as a basilica in 536 AD by Emperor Justinian, and turned into a mosque in 1453. Explore its stunning interior, which features impressive domes, intricate mosaics, and centuries-old frescoes.

Blue Mosque

From here, head to the Blue Mosque. Explore its 20,000 distinctive blue tiles and six minarets and take in the serene atmosphere of its vast courtyard. Built in the 17th century by Sultan Ahmet, it stands as a masterpiece of classical Turkish art.

(Please note that it may be closed on Friday mornings, and partial or complete closures might occur due to unforeseen events or ongoing restoration work, for which we cannot be held responsible.)

Hippodrome

Then, walk through the Hippodrome, an ancient stadium renowned for hosting chariot races, athletic competitions, victory ceremonies, and political gatherings in the old city. Explore Sultanahmet Square, where the Hippodrome is situated, and marvel at the historical monuments nearby, including the “Obelisk of Egypt,” the “Serpent Column” from Delphi, the “German Fountain of Wilhelm II,” and the “Colossus.”

Enjoy dinner at Matbah Restaurant before heading back to your hotel.

Meals

Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation

Levni Hotel-Istanbul or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English-speaking guide

Day 3 – Istanbul

This morning, continue exploring Istanbul’s Rich Heritage.

Istanbul Archaeological Museum

Begin your day by delving into the treasures of history at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. Here, ancient artefacts and relics unveil stories of civilisations past, offering a glimpse into Istanbul’s rich and diverse heritage.

Little St. Sophia

Next, explore the charming neighbourhood of Little St. Sophia, also known as Küçük Ayasofya Camii. Tucked away in Sultanahmet, it’s a hidden gem dating back to the 6th century. Step inside and wander through its historic halls, and you’ll find yourself transported by the stories of bygone eras.

Yedikule

Continue to Yedikule, locally known as Yedikule Hisarı or Yedikule Zindanları, translates to “Fortress of the Seven Towers.” Built in the 5th century, it functioned as a defensive stronghold guarding the western approach to the city. One of its notable features is the Golden Gate, which served as the principal ceremonial entrance. This gate welcomed Byzantine emperors following military triumphs or during coronation ceremonies. Over time, the fortress underwent renovations and expansions under various rulers, including the Byzantines and Ottomans. Explore its ancient ramparts, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city, and trace the historical paths of past empires and civilisations.

Palace of the Porphyrogenitus

Visit the Palace of the Porphyrogenitus, also known as Tekfur Palace. Built in the 13th century, it was once a residence for Byzantine emperors and their families. It is believed to be named after Constantine Palaiologos, a son of Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos. “Porphyrogenitus,” translating to “born to the purple,” referred to a child born to a reigning emperor. Traditionally, the emperor would display the newborn heir from the balcony, proclaiming them “Caesar Orbi,” meaning “ruler of the world.” Here, you’ll transported back in time as you explore the remnants of Byzantine splendour, imagining the grandeur of imperial life.

In the afternoon, explore Greek and Jewish heritage in Istanbul.

Fener district

Visit the Fener district, situated along the shores of the Golden Horn,  once the Greek centre in Istanbul and is now emerging as one of the city’s trendy design districts. Its steep cobblestone streets are dominated by landmarks like the Rum Lisesi (Greek Orthodox College) and the Ecumenical Patriarchate Church of St. George, which holds significant importance for Orthodox Christians, equivalent to St. Peter’s in Rome.

Balat

Afterwards, explore the colourful streets of Balat, once the Jewish quarter during both the Byzantine and Ottoman periods, still hosts three operational synagogues. Balat is known for its colourful houses along sloping cobbled streets. These historic wooden homes, some over 50 years old and others dating back 200 years, are among the city’s most photographed buildings.

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

Levni Hotel-Istanbul or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English-speaking guide

Day 4 – Istanbul

This morning, you will explore the vibrant streets of Istanbul, where ancient allure meets modern vibrance.

Covered Bazaar

Explore the Covered Bazaar (closed on Sundays), the largest “souk” in the world. Here, wander through winding pathways filled with the scent of spices, the gleam of artisanal jewellery, and the vibrant hues of traditional fabrics. Dating back to the 15th century, this market is filled with nearly 4000 shops offering a glimpse into Istanbul’s past as a major trading hub of the Ottoman Empire.

Rustem Pasa Mosque

Next, visit Rustem Pasa Mosque, known for its exquisite 16th-century Iznik tiles, designed by Ottoman imperial architect Sinan the Great with more than 80 different patterns of floral and geometric designs. These masterpieces showcase the era’s craftsmanship, featuring vivid colours and intricate designs of flowers, geometric shapes, and calligraphy.

Spice Bazaar

Continue to the Spice Bazaar, a historical market dating back to 1663, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar. Here, let your senses come alive as you wander among stalls filled with aromatic spices, dried fruits, nuts, and Turkish delights. Take a moment to savour the flavours of Istanbul as you taste some of the local delicacies.

Arab Mosque

Visit the Arab Mosque in Istanbul, originally constructed in 1325 as a Roman Catholic church dedicated to Saint Paul by Dominican friars. Despite undergoing Ottoman-era alterations, it stands as the only remaining example of medieval religious Gothic architecture in the city. Converted into a mosque between 1475 and 1478 under Sultan Mehmed II, it holds the distinction of being the oldest and most sacred mosque in Istanbul, marking an important historical and architectural landmark.

Galata Tower

Continuing, head to the Galata Tower, originally built as a watchtower in the 14th century. Now transformed into an exhibition space and museum, it offers stunning views of Istanbul and the Bosphorus Strait. Climb to the top for panoramic vistas of the cityscape, where you can admire the meandering Bosphorus and the iconic domes and minarets that adorn Istanbul’s skyline.

Istiklal Street

Explore Istiklal Street. This lively boulevard is filled with shops, cafes, and a rich history. Join the bustling crowds as you walk past elegant buildings, soaking in the vibrant energy of this iconic street.

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

Levni Hotel-Istanbul or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English-speaking guide

Day 5 – Istanbul – Hereke – Izmit – Ankara

Hereke

After breakfast, drive to Hereke, the cosy town where the old Ottoman silk rug factory is located. Most of the rugs that are still available in most of the palaces that adorn Istanbul had been woven in this small town. Even today this spot is widely known for its most quality Hereke silk carpets. Hereke is also home to the majestic Hereke Castle. Explore its imposing walls and towering turrets, soaking in the panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Izmit

Next, visit Izmit, a charming town known for its picturesque streets and historical landmarks. Take a stroll along Kapanca Street, immersing in the local ambience and admiring the quaint architecture. Then make your way to the iconic Clock Tower, representing Izmit’s enduring charm and heritage.

Sakarya

Head towards Sakarya and explore the pristine beauty of the Ormanya forest. This lush sanctuary provides a serene escape from the urban hustle. Explore its tranquil trails and verdant groves, reconnecting with nature as you breathe in the fresh, crisp air of this untouched landscape.

Afterwards, board the fast train bound for Ankara, the vibrant capital city of Istanbul.

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

Latanya Hotel-Ankara or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English-speaking guide

Day 6 – Ankara

Today, you will explore Ankara, Turkey’s dynamic capital in central Anatolia, celebrated for its political and cultural importance.

Anatolian Civilisations Museum

Start with a visit to the Anatolian Civilisations Museum, displaying artefacts from diverse Anatolian civilisations across millennia. From the Hittites to the Phrygians, delve into the rich cultural history of the region, gaining valuable insights into its ancient past.

Ankara Castle

Next, head to the Ankara Castle, a prominent landmark overlooking the city. Dating back to the 7th century, this historic fortress has witnessed countless events throughout history. Climb up to its ramparts for panoramic views of Ankara and its surroundings, while also exploring the inner chambers and ruins within the castle complex.

Mausoleum of Atatürk

Visit the Mausoleum of Atatürk, also known as Anıtkabir, which serves as the final resting place of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey. Its modern Turkish architecture features a grand marble staircase leading to the Hall of Honor, where Atatürk’s sarcophagus rests. Explore the surrounding courtyards adorned with statues and visit the museum exhibiting Atatürk’s belongings, offering insights into Turkish history and culture.

Gordion

In the afternoon, drive to Gordion for about 100 km, an ancient Phrygian city around 80 kilometres southwest of Ankara.  It’s renowned as the capital of King Midas, the legendary figure from Greek mythology whose touch turned everything to gold.

Acropolis

Upon arrival, visit the Acropolis, an ancient fortified citadel that served as the focal point of the city’s political and cultural life. Explore remnants of Phrygian architecture, including defensive walls, towers, and other structures that provide insights into the city’s layout and strategic importance.

Local Museum

From here, continue to the Local Museum, where you’ll find artefacts and remnants from the surrounding area. While the main findings are displayed at the Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara, the Local Museum still offers valuable insights into Gordion’s history and culture. Explore pottery, tools, jewellery, and other artefacts that provide context to the ancient Phrygian capital.

Midas’ Tumulus

Then, head to Midas’ Tumulus, a significant archaeological site associated with the legendary King Midas of Phrygia. The tumulus is a large burial mound believed to contain the remains of King Midas or other members of the Phrygian royal family. Marvel at the imposing mound and gain insights into its role in the ancient Phrygian civilisations, as well as the enduring legacy of King Midas.

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

Latanya Hotel-Ankara or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English-speaking guide

Day 7 – Ankara – Hattusas – Cappadocia

After breakfast, enjoy a scenic drive to Cappadocia via Hattusas, an ancient city around 208 kilometres east of Ankara.

Yazılıkaya

Then make a stop at Yazılıkaya to witness the breathtaking open-air sanctuary. Visit Yazılıkaya and explore the open-air sanctuary. Witness the mesmerizing bas-reliefs illuminated by the morning sunlight, creating a captivating ambience.

Explore the capital of Hattusas

In the afternoon, continue your exploration with a visit to the capital of Hattusas. Explore iconic sites like the Lion’s Gate, a majestic entryway guarded by stone lions, and the intricate Tunnel, showcasing the engineering prowess of the ancient civilisation. Discover the significance of the King’s Gate, once the main entrance to the city, and marvel at the imposing Citadel, a symbol of Hittite power. Lastly, visit the Grand Temple, a sacred centre of religious and cultural importance. These historic landmarks offer a glimpse into the grandeur and complexity of the Hittite capital. Then drive back to Ankara.

Continue to Cappadocia. Upon arrival, enjoy a delightful dinner at a nearby restaurant, followed by the mesmerising Whirling Dervishes show, a captivating display of spiritual devotion (subject to cancellation based on audience attendance).

Meals

Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation

Gamirasu Hotel-Cappadocia or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English-speaking guide

Day 8 – Cappadocia

Cappadocia’s Sunrise Balloon Flight 

This morning is an early start as you are picked up from your hotel before sunrise at around 4 am. It is time for an exhilarating 60-minute balloon flight, offering a breathtaking perspective of Cappadocia’s stunning landscapes. Drift gently over deep canyons and lush valleys, where the balloons gracefully glide, providing a unique and unforgettable experience. With gentle winds guiding your journey, you’ll explore areas inaccessible by other means, floating intimately amidst the iconic fairy chimneys and soaring over the magnificent Cappadocian terrain. After an hour of floating, you will land and enjoy champagne and cakes. You will then return to your hotel for breakfast.

Devrent Valley

Following breakfast, visit Devrent Valley, renowned for its fascinating fairy chimneys of various shapes and sizes. Take a leisurely walk through this enchanting valley and explore the unique rock formations sculpted by nature over centuries.

Pasabagi

Visit Pasabagi, famously known as Monks Valley, renowned for its unique rock formations. Admire the whimsical shapes sculpted by centuries of natural erosion and learn about the area’s rich historical significance.

Avanos

Next, drive to Avanos, a town famous for its pottery-making tradition. Visit local workshops to witness artisans crafting intricate ceramics using age-old techniques. Here, you’ll have the chance to try your hand at pottery under the guidance of skilled craftsmen.

Goreme Open Air Museum

Afterwards, visit Goreme Open Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its rock-cut churches and frescoes dating back to the Byzantine period. Explore the ancient churches, chapels, and monasteries, admiring the exquisite artwork that adorns their walls. (Dark Church is excluded, entrance requires an additional admission fee) Enjoy free time to capture photos of the breathtaking landscapes in the neighbouring valleys before returning to your hotel.

Pigeon Valley

On your way back, stop at the panoramic Pigeon Valley, where pigeons play a crucial role in the local ecosystem by fertilizing the vineyards with their manure. Optionally, indulge in a tasting of Cappadocian wine at a local winery, savouring the flavours of the region.

Later, indulge in a delightful dinner at one of the rock-carved venues while enjoying Turkish music and dances.

Meals

Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation

Gamirasu Hotel-Cappadocia or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English-speaking guide

Day 9 – Cappadocia – Konya

Kaymakli Underground City

Following breakfast, visit the ancient Kaymakli Underground City, a remarkable subterranean complex where early Christians sought refuge from persecution. Explore the intricate network of tunnels, chambers, and living quarters carved deep into the rock, gaining insights into the ingenious architectural design and the daily lives of its inhabitants.

Sultanhan Caravanserai

Continue to the Sultanhan Caravanserai, a majestic 13th-century Seljukian structure that once provided shelter and respite for weary travellers along the ancient Silk Road.  Situated along the ancient Silk Road, it served as a crucial stopover for traders, offering them shelter, safety, and a place to rest during their journeys across the Anatolian plains.

Mausoleum of Mevlana

Afterwards, visit the Mausoleum of Mevlana, the final resting place of the famous Persian poet and mystic, Rumi. Step into the tranquil atmosphere of the mausoleum and pay your respects to this revered figure, whose teachings continue to inspire and resonate with people around the world.

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

Selcuk Hotel-Konya or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English-speaking guide

Day 10 – Konya – Pamukkale

Today, drive to Pamukkale and make a stop at Laodicea along the way.

Laodicea

Laodicea is an ancient city located in the Lycus River Valley of Anatolia. It was founded in the 3rd century BC by Seleucid King Antiochus II in honour of his wife, Laodice. It was one of the wealthiest cities in the region and was a major centre for trade and commerce during ancient times. Not only was Laodicea located on major trade routes that connected it to important cities like Ephesus, Smyrna, and Sardis, but also it was a centre of textile production and banking. It is also home to the renowned Temple of Apollo, dedicated to the Greek god of sun and light. And became an important centre of Christianity with its church being referred to as one of the Seven Churches of Revelation, turning the city into an archbishopric.  Explore the ruins of this once-thriving Roman city, marvelling at its well-preserved structures, including the stadium, theatre, and ancient water pipes.

Hierapolis

Continue to the healing city of Hierapolis, also known as Pamukkalea, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its stunning terraces of white travertine created by mineral-rich thermal waters. Pamukkale is also home to the ancient city of Hierapolis, founded around the 2nd century BC boasting well-preserved ruins that offer insight into the area’s rich history and cultural significance.

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

Doga Hotel-Pamukkale or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English-speaking guide

Day 11 – Pamukkale – Kusadasi

Today, drive to Kusadasi, with a stop at Aphrodisias along the way.

Pamukkale

Begin your day in Pamukkale, famously known as the “Cotton Castle,” renowned for its healing thermal and mineral baths, and remarkable petrified waterfalls.

Ancient city of Hierapolis

Then, explore the ancient city of Hierapolis, known as a spa centre during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Explore the well-preserved Necropolis, where ornate tombs and sarcophagi line the pathways, offering insight into ancient burial practices and societal norms. Continue along Main Street and pass through the imposing Gates that once welcomed visitors to the city. Marvel at the remains of the Thermal Baths, where locals and travellers alike once indulged in the restorative waters. Then, make your way to the Apollo Temple, a sacred site dedicated to the Greek god of sun and light and witness the enigmatic Devil’s Hole, a natural phenomenon shrouded in myth and legend. Continue to the magnificent Theatre, an impressive structure carved into the hillside with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Ancient city of Aphrodisias

Visit Aphrodisias, an ancient city named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty Aphrodite. Visit the Museum, home to a remarkable collection of artefacts and sculptures that offer insight into the city’s artistic prowess and ancient splendour. From here, visit the Temple of Aphrodite, a sacred sanctuary dedicated to the goddess herself, where worshippers once paid homage and sought her blessings.

Continue to the Grand Theatre, where theatrical performances and festivals once captivated audiences with their drama and spectacle. Nearby, the Stadium, Agora, Hadrian Baths, Odeon, and Bishop’s Palace provide further glimpses into the city’s vibrant past and architectural ingenuity.

Kusadasi

Continue to Kusadasi, a scenic resort town on the Aegean coast known for its breathtaking beaches, dynamic nightlife, and closeness to historical treasures like Ephesus. Originally a small fishing village, Kusadasi has transformed into a lively tourist destination, boasting a charming harbour, bustling markets, and luxurious hotels. Its strategic location near ancient ruins and modern amenities makes it an ideal base for exploring both the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the region.

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

Unique Life Style-Kusadasi or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English-speaking guide

Day 12 – Kusadasi

This morning, delve into the rich history and culture of Kusadasi with visits to Ephesus and Sirince.

Ephesus Antique City

After breakfast, drive to Selcuk to visit the Ephesus Antique City, one of Turkey’s most renowned ancient sites. Explore the meticulously excavated ruins spread across many acres, including the impressive Hillside Houses (please note that parts of it may be closed due to ongoing restorations).

Temple of Artemis

Afterwards, make a stop at the Temple of Artemis, dedicated to the goddess Artemis, the Greek goddess of hunting and wilderness. Built around 550 BCE, it was a massive structure with 127 marble columns, standing about 60 feet tall.

Ephesus Archaeological Museum

Continue your journey with a visit to the Ephesus Archaeological Museum, where artefacts and treasures from the ancient city are showcased, offering deeper insights into its rich history and culture.

House of Virgin Mary

From here, head to the House of Virgin Mary, a sacred site believed to be the final residence of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and St. John.

Sirince

Continue to Sirince, a charming hilltop village renowned for its quaint cobblestone streets, traditional houses, and vibrant market stalls. Visit a local wine house to taste the renowned Sirince wines.

Afterwards, return to Kusadasi and the remainder of the day is yours at leisure.

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

Unique Life Style-Kusadasi or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English-speaking guide

Day 13 – Kusadasi – Kutahya

After breakfast, drive to Kutahya, with a fascinating visit to Aizonai along the way.

Aizonai

Explore the ancient ruins of Aizonai, dating back to the Hellenistic period, including the impressive temple dedicated to Zeus. Gain insights into the cultural and architectural achievements of this once-thriving city in modern-day Turkey. Discover remnants showcasing artistic and religious practices of the time. Aizonai’s enduring ruins offer a glimpse into history, attracting archaeologists, historians, and curious tourists alike.

Kutahya

Kütahya is a city in western Turkey, renowned for its rich history, ceramics, and thermal springs. Admire Ottoman-era architecture and explore centuries-old ceramic craftsmanship.

Kütahya castle

Visit the castle of Kütahya castle, an ancient fortress that stands as a testament to the city’s rich history and strategic importance. Perched atop a hill, the castle offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and serves as a symbol of Kutahya’s cultural heritage.

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

Hilton Garden Inn-Kutahya or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English-speaking guide

Day 14 – Kutahya – Ayvalık

After breakfast, drive to Pergamum, a city steeped in ancient history and renowned for its architectural and artistic prowess during the Hellenistic era.

Explore Pergamum Acropolis

Explore the remnants of Pergamum Acropolis, a once-flourishing civilisation. Here, explore the remnants of a once-great civilisation, including the imposing Temple of Trajan, a majestic structure dedicated to the Roman emperor Trajan. From here, visit the Hellenistic Barracks, once home to the elite soldiers of Pergamum, offering insights into ancient military life and strategy. Next, visit the Theatre Renowned as the steepest theatre in the world and the Altar of Zeus, this monumental altar was once believed to be the seat of Satan.

Continue to the Temple of Dionysus, dedicated to the god of wine and revelry, showcasing the spiritual and cultural significance of Dionysian worship in Pergamum. Then, head to the library, a grand repository of knowledge and wisdom, reflecting the intellectual richness of Pergamum during its heyday. Afterwards, visit the Asklepion, an ancient healing centre dedicated to the god Asklepios. Explore the ruins and learn about the medical practices of the time.

Continue to Ayvalık, and pass by the Red Courtyard, originally dedicated to Serapis but later significant as one of the Seven Churches of Anatolia. Upon arrival, enjoy dinner amidst the charm and beauty of Cunda Island (not included)

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

Bacacan Hotel-Ayvalık or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English-speaking guide

Day 15 – Ayvalik – Canakkale

Following breakfast, drive to Assos, a picturesque small harbour in the northern Aegean. Explore the impressive Hellenistic and Byzantine fortifications that adorn the landscape.

Temple of Athena

Visit the majestic temple of Athena. This ancient structure, dedicated to the goddess of wisdom, provides a captivating panorama of the Aegean Sea stretching out before you. The views encompass not only the shimmering waters but also the distant silhouette of the Greek island of Lesbos, adding to the enchantment of the experience.

City of Troy

In the afternoon, head to the city of Troy, and delve into the legendary history of the city, where the tales of the Trojan Wars, Helen of Troy, and the epic battles between Achilles and Paris come to life. Explore the sacrificial altars and marvel at the 3700-year-old city walls. Wander through the reconstructed houses of Troy I, dating back to 3000-2500 BC, and discover archaeological treasures such as the Bouleterium (Senate Building) and the Odeon (Concert Hall). Witness the remains of various cities spanning from Troy I through Troy IX.

Çanakkale

Afterwards, head to Çanakkale and check in at your hotel. Çanakkale is known for its historical significance, particularly for the Gallipoli Campaign during World War I. The Çanakkale Strait, also known as the Dardanelles, is a strategic waterway connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. The region is rich in history, with ancient ruins, including the city of Troy, which is legendary for the Trojan War.

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

Bengodi Boutique Hotel-Canakkale or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English-speaking guide

Day 16 – Canakkale – Gallipoli – Canakkale

Today, drive to Gallipoli and explore its historic battleground.

Brighton Beach and Beach Cemetery

Visit Brighton Beach, where the troops landed during the Gallipoli campaign. Here, you’ll gain insights into the challenges they faced as they stormed the shores under heavy fire. Next, pay your respects at the Beach Cemetery, a solemn reminder of the lives lost in the conflict.

Anzac Cove

Then, head to Anzac Cove. Step back in time where the echoes of bravery and sacrifice resonate through the ages.  Here, the courageous soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed during the pivotal Gallipoli Campaign of World War I.

Ariburnu Cemetery

Continue to the Ariburnu Cemetery, which serves as a resting place for soldiers from various nations who fought during the Gallipoli campaign of World War I. The cemetery, overlooking the Aegean Sea, is a solemn reminder of the human cost of war, with rows of headstones marking the final resting places of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Lone Pine-Australian Memorial and Johnston’s Jolly

From here, continue to the Lone Pine-Australian Memorial, dedicated to the Australian soldiers who fought bravely during the campaign, then Johnston’s Jolly, where you’ll traverse Turkish and Allied trenches and tunnels, gaining a deeper understanding of the harsh conditions faced by soldiers on both sides.

57th Regiment Turkish Memorial, Nek and Chunuk Bair New Zealand Memoria

Explore the 57th Regiment Turkish Memorial, honouring the Turkish soldiers who defended their homeland with valour and determination.

Then, pay homage at the Nek. Here, you’ll learn about the tragic events that unfolded as Australian and New Zealand troops bravely charged into battle, facing heavy casualties in their quest to capture strategic positions.

Afterwards, continue to the Chunuk Bair New Zealand Memorial, a site of significance for New Zealanders. Gain a profound appreciation for the courage and resilience displayed by soldiers from all nations involved in the Gallipoli campaign.

The Monument and Kilitbahir Fortress

Continue to the western part of the peninsula, where you’ll encounter two more significant sites. First, explore the Monument, a symbol of remembrance for the sacrifices made during the Gallipoli campaign. Its solemn presence stands as a tribute to the soldiers who gave their lives in the service of their countries. Then, delve into the history of the region at Kilitbahir Fortress. Learn about the strategic importance of the Dardanelles and the role played by fortifications during times of conflict.

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

Bengodi Boutique Hotel-Canakkale or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English-speaking guide

Day 17 – Canakkale – Bursa

This morning after breakfast, take a scenic drive to Bursa. Bursa, known as the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, boasts a rich cultural heritage evident in its well-preserved mosques, tombs, and historical sites.  Surrounded by lush greenery and the striking backdrop of Mount Uludağ, the city offers more than just iconic landmarks like the Grand Mosque and the Green Mosque but also opportunities for outdoor activities such as skiing and trekking. Delve into Bursa’s economic legacy through its centuries-old silk production, still thriving today, and witness the city’s dynamic modern industries.

Covered Market

Visit the covered market, bustling with local cotton goods that showcase the city’s textile heritage. Explore the maze of stalls, where artisans display their craftsmanship in intricate designs and vibrant colours.

Koza Han

Next, step into the enchanting world of Koza Han, the silk cocoon caravanserai. It served as a vital hub for silk trade, featuring a central courtyard surrounded by rooms and shops.  Explore silk products and soak in the atmosphere of this cultural hub.

Grand Mosque

Continuing on, head to one of the oldest and largest mosques in Turkey. Admire the intricate early Ottoman architecture, with ornate calligraphy and mesmerizing geometric patterns. Learn about its construction under Sultan Bayezid I and Mehmed I between 1396 and 1399, and its significance in Islamic culture.

Green Mosque and Green Mausoleum

From here, visit the Green Mosque dating back to the early 15th century, which features elegant domes, minarets, and beautiful tilework in shades of green and blue. Adjacent to the mosque is the Green Mausoleum, the resting place of Sultan Mehmed I, boasting similar architectural beauty and intricate decoration.

The rest of the day is yours at leisure to explore the vibrant bazaars of Bursa. Shop for souvenirs, textiles, spices, and more, and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of these bustling markets.

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

Kitapevi Hotel-Bursa or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English-speaking guide

Day 18 – Bursa – Istanbul

After breakfast, drive to Iznik, historically known as Nicaea. Explore the historical significance of Iznik, known for hosting the seventh council of Christianity in 786 AD. Visit the St. Sophia Museum, dating back to the 4th century BC where you’ll encounter relics from the past and marvel at the architectural wonders of ancient times.  Gain insights about Iznik’s illustrious heritage as the ceramic centre of the Ottoman Empire during the 16th and 17th centuries. Learn about the craftsmanship behind the exquisite tiles that adorned imperial mosques in Istanbul, such as the Blue Mosque and Suleymaniye Mosque.

Afterwards, return to Istanbul and the rest of the day is yours at leisure.

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

10 Karakoy Hotel or similar

Services

Private vehicle with English-speaking guide

Day 19 – Istanbul

After breakfast, head to the pier to board a shared boat. You will explore the enchanting beauty of Istanbul with a boat ride, a captivating journey weaving through the city’s historic waterway. Sail through the picturesque waterway that divides the continents of Asia and Europe, capturing stunning views of marble palaces, ancient wooden villas showcasing Ottoman architecture, and modern residential areas. Marvel at the iconic landmarks visible from the sea, including the historic Maiden’s Tower, magnificent Dolmabahce Palace, opulent Ciragan Palace, and charming Beylerbeyi Palace. Admire the architectural wonders of the Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridges as they span the waterway.

After your scenic boat trip, enjoy leisure time in the afternoon to explore Istanbul at your own pace.

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

10 Karakoy Hotel or similar

Services

English-speaking guide

Day 20 - Departure

This morning is yours at leisure until it is time to transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Meals

Breakfast

Services

Airport transfer with driver

Don’t have time now?

Download this tour’s PDF brochure and start your planning offline!

What’s included

  • Return airport transfers
  • 19 nights’ accommodation including breakfast daily
  • Services of local English-speaking guides
  • Transportation in an air-conditioned private vehicle
  • Entrance fees and sightseeing as per the itinerary
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary
Exclusions
  • 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.

**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.

* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.

* A minimum of 6 adults is required to guarantee this departure.

A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.

Gallery

Availability

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Availability
Price
Start Date
21st Apr 2025
End Date
10th May 2025
Duration
20 Days
Availability
Available
Price
$13,771 AUD
Start Date
25th Oct 2025
End Date
13th Nov 2025
Duration
20 Days
Availability
Available
Price
$13,771 AUD

What our adventurers are saying

I had an incredible independent journey in Istanbul arranged for me with Crooked Compass. Absolutely amazing guide who took me off the beaten tourist path and shared personal favourite places with me that made me feel like I was having a truly unique experience. Thank you Crooked Compass.

Ingrid Berthelsen – Turkey

We are having the time of our lives & haven’t a spare moment 

Bares our guide is simply outstanding. I told him we were going to report him…we are giving him a 12/10. He really is going way beyond what we would expect & he is terrific company  

Up up & away in the am, hopefully will send you a snap afterwards. Have taken so many photos  

Gallipoli was stupendous, sobering, somber & tragic.

Peter Clark – Turkey