Istanbul and Izmir tour
Day 1: ARRIVE Istanbul
Arrive in Istanbul. Meet your escort and transfer to your hotel. Dinner at guests' expense.
Day 2: Istanbul
After breakfast, start visiting the city Highlights: The Hagia Sophia Church, built in the 6th century AD by Justinian and became the largest church in the world for many centuries until its conversion into a mosque by the Ottoman Sultan, where you can see beautiful mosaics of Byzantine art. The Byzantine Hippodrome where horses and chariots raced once upon a time. The Blue Mosque, famous for its tiles and interior decorations, the most important mosque of the city. The Topkapi Palace, residence of the Ottoman Sultans for about 400 years. The Grand Bazaar for a leisure afternoon with more than 4,000 shops. Return back to your hotel. (B-L)
Day 3: Istanbul - Izmir - Ephesus - Izmir
Following breakfast, transfer to the airport for a short flight to Izmir (1 hr). Upon arrival, drive to Selcuk town to visit Ephesus, ancient capital of Asia Minor with its magnificent theater, library, agoras, temples and baths. The city was the largest port-city in Asia Minor and today is one of the most attractive archaeological sites in Turkey. The Temple of Artemis nearby was one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, dedicated to goddess Artemis, known as Diana in Rome. After lunch, visit the House of Virgin Mary which is a place of pilgrimage for Christians where there is a small church as well. It's believed that Mary spent last years of her life there, and it's recognized as a shrine by Vatican. Short drive back to Izmir and check-in to your hotel. Dinner at guests' expense. (B-L)
Day 4: Izmir - Pergamon - Izmir - Istanbul
Breakfast in the hotel and drive to Pergamon to visit this great civilization dating back to the 4th century B.C. The Acropolis has a fantastic view over the valley and the temple of Trajan is the most impressive building on top of a very steep theater. The Aesclepion was an important healing center dedicated to Aesclepius, god of medicine. Especially mentally ill patients tried to get a cure here while it became the second most famous Aesclepion after the one on the island of Cos. After lunch, drive to Izmir airport for a short flight back to Istanbul. Arrive at Istanbul and transfer to your hotel. Dinner at guests' expense. (B-L)
Day 5: Istanbul
Pick-up from your hotel for the final day of Istanbul visits. You'll have time to explore Spice Market, known as Egyptian Bazaar, famous for its colorful spices. Than take a leisure ferry boat for a Bosphorus cruise (about 1,5 hrs) enjoying the views of old wooden villas, fortresses and Ottoman palaces on both shores of the city. After lunch in a fish restaurant along the Bosphorus, take the suspension bridge and set your foot on the Asian continent. Here, you'll visit Beylerbeyi palace which was the summer residence of the last Ottoman sultans. Return back to the European continent to visit the mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent built in the 16th century, largest mosque of the city. Finally, head back to your hotel. Dinner at guests' expense. (B-L)
Day 6: DEPART Istanbul
In the morning, transfer to the airport and depart. End of services. (B)
It is possible to combine this tour with Cappadocia Mini Package, or extend your stay in Istanbul.
(B) Breakfast - (L) Lunch - (D) Dinner
Notes: This tour is a guaranteed departure tour and run on any day all year around. Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays; Topkapi Palace on Tuesdays; Beylerbeyi & Dolmabahce palaces on Mondays & Thursdays; Grand Bazaar on Sundays & public holidays. On these specific days they'll be substituted with other museums or sites depending on the convenience of the program and schedule. Order of the visits may be changed for the convenience of the tour. Depending on seasonal occupancies, Izmir stay may be swapped to Kusadasi or vice versa.
ALL TRAVEL SERVICES FOR THIS TOUR ARE BEEN ARRANGED BY A GOVERNMENT LICENSED & RELIABLE TRAVEL AGENCY
Hope to see you soon in Istanbul.