Our flight arrives in Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport ( May 22) where we will be welcomed by our guide and driver and transferred to our Hotel in the heart of Istanbul’s historic centre. Time to unwind and relax, followed by happy hour in the hotel lobby and a short evening walk for a group dinner in our historic neighborhood.
Day 2, May 23:
A lazy morning on our first full day in Turkey we can enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel. Our guide will meet us at the Hotel for a Walking tour of the the imperial centre of the old Turkish Ottoman Empire. We will Visit the Blue Mosque, Topkapı Palace, The Grand Bazaar and the relics of the Roman (Byzantine) Empire: Hagia Sophia, Basilica Underground Cistern and the Hippodrome, which are just some of the highlights of our first day. Late afternoon, join Mark in the streets of Istanbul for a watercolour demonstration, followed of course by happy hour and dinner at one of the many nearby restaurants.
Day 3, May 24: Following an early breakfast at our Hotel our guide has promised us a spectacular day starting with a tour of the Bosphorus — one of the defining features which makes Istanbul one of the most unique cities in the world is that it straddles two continents, on one side is Asia, the other side Europe. The water channel connecting East and West is know as the Bosphorus.
Starting a the world famous Spice Market, we take a public boat to the end of the Bosphorus, seeing the shore of Istanbul by boat, then we take the car or public bus which goes along the shore and see Ortakoy, which is a great place to get lunch, have a game of backgammon, and buy some handicrafts under the Bosphorus bridge with spectacular view. A group night out on the town is planned for those who have the energy to shake a leg.
Day 4, May 25: Following breakfast we are once again meet by our guide for a tour of the Golden Horn of Constantinople. This is also the most historical part of the city, where ancient Constantinople was founded, surrounded with the ancient city walls. We visit Chora Museum, considered to be one of the most beautiful surviving examples of a Byzantine church. Chora is famous for its amazingly vivid and well-preserved mosaics and frescoes, depicting images from the life of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. It is truly like a picture book and an experience not to be missed. This tour also includes picturesque views of Constantinople’s old city walls and a well-deserved Turkish coffee rest stop on Pierre Loti hill, which offers the best view of the historical peninsula in the city. An evening off to pack and relax after a few exciting days in Istanbul
Day 5, May 26: An early morning art class in the streets of Istanbul’s historic city is followed by a leisurely breakfast, pack, and check out of our rooms. We will have the afternoon to shop and explore on our own before our Airport transfer late afternoon and flight to Cappadocia, a highlight of Central Turkey, where we will be met by our guide and driver and transferred to our Stone Cave House in the town of Goreme.
***15:00 pick up from Hotel Perula in Sultanahmet and transfer to the airport. 17:10 flight to Kayseri – 18:30 arrival, pick up and transfer to Stone Cave House.
Day 6, May 27: Following breakfast our guide will meet us at our Hotel for a spectacular day 09:30 am pick up and departing for fully guided tour. Visit Devrent Valley, Monk’s valley (Pasabagi) where you will find the world known fairy chimneys. Last stop is Goreme Open-Air Museum. Return back to the hotel by midday. Overnight stay in Cappadocia. Afternoon will be free to enjoy the town of Goreme, it’s many restaurants, and and option to take in a show of the world famous Whirling Dervishes Ceremony ( not included) This Semâ ceremony represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through life looking for love, truth, and happiness.
*** An optional tour Balloon Tour can be arranged in the afternoon ( not included in our tour )
Day 7, May 28: Following breakfast at our hotel our full day tour starts at 09:30 am – beggining in Red valley, explore the famous rock-cut churches and hike through the colorful and breathtaking fairy chimneys. After 4 kms hiking, you will visit Cavusin ( Greek village ), famous for rock cut churches. After lunch, you will visit the one of the magical place of region, Kaymaklı underground city, largest underground city of Cappadocia. After Kaymaklı underground city, you will visit pigeon valley famous for dove cotes. The last stop is Ortahisar castle, biggest mass fairy chimney of Cappadocia.
Day 8, May 29 : Following breakfast we have a half day tour planned Visiting Avanos, Mustafa Pasha Village and Ihlara Valley. Return back to the hotel by midday with the rest of the day to do some art and drawing in and around our Cave Hotel and a relaxing eventing to explore Goreme
Day 9, May 30: Following breakfast we pack and prepare for the flight back to Istanbul and transfer at 09:20 am pick up and transfer to Kayseri airport. 11:55 am flight to Istanbul. Back in Istanbul at 13:25 arrival,pick up and transfer to the port where we will board our ship the Louis Crystal and prepare for our Cruise of the Mediterranean Sea. The ship departs Istanbul at 7:00pm arriving in Kusadasi the following day around 4:00pm
Day 10, May 31 Arriving in the port of Kudadasi; a stone’s throw from Ancient Ephesus and the Terrace Houses, the House of the Virgin Mary, beautiful Sirince Village and the thrilling metropolis of Izmir. The outstanding shopping at Kusadasi’s lively harbor side bazaar will entice you, as will Ancient Ephesus, one of the best-preserved, most extensive archaeological sites in the Mediterranean.
Day 11, June 1: Our Cruise repositions over night with our next port of call, Santorini. Its cliffs rise from the blue waters of the Aegean like a dream. Stroll through the beautiful hilltop village of Fira, the island’s iconic capital, or just sit in a cafe in spectacular Oia Village and watch the sunset from 300 meters above the azure sea. This unique Cycladic island will leave you breathless.
Day 12, June 2: From Santorini we sail overnight to lovely Agios Nikolaos for a fantastic day in Crete. Greece’s largest island will greet you like a long-lost relative. It’s a wonderland of secluded beaches, hiking trails, rivers and archeological marvels, including the Minoan Palace of Knossos and the scenic villages of the prefecture of Lasithi, the monasteries and the famous islet of Spinalonga.You’ll fall in love. And don’t leave the island without a bottle of Cretan olive oil, the world’s finest.
Day 13, June 3: From stunning Crete we sail for the incomparable island of Rhodes. The Palace of the Grand Masters, in the old walled city of Rhodes, a Unesco World Heritage Site, will make you think you’ve stepped back in time, as will the astonishing Acropolis of Lindos and the Citadel of the Knights. Try some delicious local wines and relax at charming Tsampika Beach, or just stroll around the old city and enjoy an al fresco traditional Greek coffee, strong enough to fortify you for a morning packed with the best of this magnificent island and its2,400 years of history. Enjoy a delicious lunch on the pool deck, the Aegean spread before you, as we sail for an afternoon in charming Symi and its picture-perfect capital. The mansions of sponge fishing millionaires and shipping magnates climb the hillsides above the harbor at Symi, a protected architectural site since the 1970s. Two steep stairways lead to Horio, home of the Knights’ Castle and 13 churches. Don’t miss exquisite Panormitis Monastery, built in the 15th century on the seafront along Panormitis Bay
Day 14, June 4:. How about breakfast in fragrant Chios, allegedly the birthplace of Christopher Columbus and a stone’s throw from the Turkish coast. Chios is mountainous, but it offers visitors a tremendous array of lovely, secluded beaches. The sturdy Castle of Chios lies just north of the center of Chios Town, beside the harbor: originally a Byzantine fortress, it was rebuilt by the Genoese between the 12th and 14th centuries.At the center of the island is Nea Moni Monastery, from the 11th century, and the citrus groves of the Kambos. Southern Chios is home to the mastic villages, which date to the Genoese occupation. Before you bid goodbye to the friends you’ve made during your cruise, we’ll stop at Mykonos. Mykonos is renowned for its lovely countryside and its beaches, its iconic windmills and sea breezes, the Little Venice neighborhood of Mykonos Town…you will feel as if you’ve fallen into a dream. Stroll through the picturesque alleys of MykonosTown and, after the sun slips into the sea, enjoy its exhilarating nightlife. It only takes a few hours on this paradisiacal island to understand how it’s earned its incredible reputation, why people return again and again to this beloved island.
Day 15, June 5: We overnight to Athens for those who would like to disembark here and continue their adventure in the Greek Capital or stay on board for the repositioning back to Istanbul.
Day 16, June 6 Arrive in Istanbul at 9:00 am with transfer to Airport or Hotel depending on individual Itineraries.