Road Scholar : Home
Athens, Crete, Rhodes and Turkey: Myth and Modernity

Program Number: 15544RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/2/2013 - 10/17/2013;
Duration: 15 nights
Location: Greece/Turkey
Price starting at: $4,793.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 41; 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 14 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Low Salt    

Land of the Gods. Stronghold of Christianity. Dominion of Turks. Investigate the classical world in the crux of its inception. Assimilate centuries of Athens’ history at the National Archaeological Museum, and explore the Argolis Peninsula and Mycenae. In Greece and Turkey, presentations introduce regional music, cuisine and handicrafts. Visit the capital of Crete and continue on to Rhodes, then marvel at the ruins of Ephesus and conclude in Istanbul, the only modern metropolis straddling two continents.


• Expert insight focuses on the history of the Knights in Medieval Rhodes.
• On-site presentations illuminate Ephesus’ role in the Mycenaean World.
• A private study cruise on the Bosphorus strait reveals the east and west of Istanbul.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles over uneven surfaces, especially at ancient sites. Duration of activity per day 4-10 hours. Highest elevation 1,000 feet.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Athens (Greece), 3 nights; fly to Crete, 3 nights; fly to Rhodes (via Athens), 2 nights; ferry to Marmaris (Turkey), 1 night; coach to Ephesus, 2 nights; fly to Istanbul, 3 nights; departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Athens (Greece)
3 nights

Along with local experts, explore the 3,000-year-old city of Athens beginning with a guided excursion to the National Archaeological Museum. Spend a full day exploring the Argolis Peninsula, the center of Greek culture from 1600 to 1100 B.C. under the Myceneans. Enter Mycenae through the famous Lion Gate and explore the palace of Agamemnon within the protective Cyclopean walls.

Flight to Heraklion
3 nights

Enjoy Crete’s lush and fragrant countryside and coastal drives, as well as the small towns of Krista and Agios Nikolaos, a gateway to the small villages and farms that dot the area. Visit the palaces of Knossos and Phaistos, whose white ruins stand in contrast to Crete’s mountain and sea backdrop. Cook Cretan specialties under the guidance of instructors, and experience more regional flair with live Cretan music and samples of ouzo.

Fly to Rhodes via Athens
2 nights

Discuss the history of this large Aegean Sea island, including the Colossus of Rhodes legacy, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, which once straddled the harbor. Sample meze, Greece’s answer to tapas, while exploring a local wine factory.

Ferry to Marmaris (Turkey) 1 night
Drive to Kusadasi/Ephesus 2 nights

Learn more about this ancient city of commerce and culture through a guided visit with on-site lectures. Explore the Terrace Houses in Ephesus to witness the lifestyle of the rich and ruling class of Ephesus. Visit the Temple of Artemis, one of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World.

Fly to Istanbul
3 nights

Istanbul is located on both sides of the Bosphorus strait, and a private cruise introduces its European and Asian elements. Lectures highlight Byzantine history and art, as well as Ottoman architecture, to prepare for excursions to Hagia Sophia and the Underground Cisterns, once used to store water for city residents and irrigate the gardens of Topkapi Palace. Marvel at the mosaics of the Chora Church and learn how this Byzantine Art inspired Renaisance.

Athens: Hotel in the heart of the city. Crete: Four-star hotel near the seashore. Rhodes: Four-star hotel near beach and historical sites. Marmaris: Four-star hotel near the beach. Kusadasi/Ephesus: Five-star hotel with swimming pool and private beach along the Aegean Sea. Istanbul: Four-star hotel along the Old City walls and Sea of Marmara.
Meals and Lodgings
   Divani Caravel Hotel
  Athens, Greece 3 nights
   Atrion Hotel
  Crete, Greece 3 nights
   Semiramis Hotel Rhodes
  Rhodes, Greece 3 nights
   Korumar Hotel
  Ephesus, Turkey 2 nights
   Armada Hotel
  Istanbul, Turkey 3 nights
 Divani Caravel Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Divani Caravel is a luxury Athens hotel ideally situated in the heart of Athens, just minutes away from the business centre, the fashionable Kolonaki with its exclusive shopping, trendy cafes and restaurants as well as important museums such as the Museum of Cycladic Arts and the National Gallery.
  Contact info: 2, Vas. Alexandrou Avenue
Athens,  16121 Greece
phone: +30 210 7207000
  Room amenities: Standard Rooms feature, direct dial telephone with voice mail, internet access, cable and satellite TV, individual climate control, mini bar, 4 radio channels, hair dryer, safe.
  Facility amenities: Every room of our luxury Athens accommodation is recently renovated, well appointed with all the modern amenities, and stylish furnishings. The hotel features a swimming pool and fitness center.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior:  Please contact travel provider for additional nights.

 Atrion Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: ATRION hotel welcomes you to a quiet corner in the heart of Heraklion, a short walk from the Historical museum, seafront promenade and Venetian port. Fully renovated in 2004, this modern, minimal-style hotel is right next to Heraklion's vibrant center, with its cafés, shopping center, tavernas and museums but also a short stride from the seashore. The island's main highways can be easily accessed from the hotel, making it an ideal base for discovering the island by car. With its new conference center, business facilities and friendly service, the hotel offers you an environment to suit any mood: business or pleasure.
  Contact info: 9, Chronaki Str
Heraklion, Crete,   71202 Greece
phone: +(30) 28 10 246 000
  Room amenities: air-conditioning private balcony or veranda mini-bar (refrigerator) electronic laptop safe non-smoking rooms electronic security door lock system direct telephone line, voicemail free High-Speed Internet Access smoke detector satellite TV deluxe bathroom with hair-dryer and emergency telephone
  Facility amenities: Atrion's 60 quiet, light and airy rooms and suites are elegantly furnished and fully equipped with modern facilities. Facilities air-conditioning private balcony or veranda mini-bar (refrigerator) electronic laptop safe non-smoking rooms electronic security door lock system direct telephone line, voicemail free High-Speed Internet Access smoke detector satellite TV deluxe bathroom with hair-dryer and emergency telephone bathtub or shower
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Semiramis Hotel Rhodes
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: A few metres from the sandy beach, close to the city's business and financial districts and a short distance from many of the ancient sites, the Semiranis Hotel is suitable for business and leisure travellers alike. Reflecting all that, is best in the city from the magical views of the Old Town and New Town, the Semiramis Hotel is a haven of friendliness in hospitality. Its warm atmosphere in the lobby, the Cocktail Bar and restaurant are a small welcome to the most cosmopolitan island in Greece. Very comfortable rooms including the new superior floors with higher standards for the more demanding traveller. Most of the rooms have views of Rhodes Town and the Aegean Sea.
  Contact info: 18 John Metaxa str.
Rhodes,  85100 Greece
phone: +30 22410 20741
  Room amenities: A/C, minibar, direct dial phone, satellite TV, internet, hairdryer, non-smoking rooms, balcony.
  Facility amenities: 120 rooms, cable/satellite TV, cocktail bar, lounge bar, elevator, safe deposit boxes, outdoor parking, business center, 24 hr room service, laundry service
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Korumar Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Nice resort hotel located right on the Aegean.
  Contact info: Gazibegendi Mah
Aydin,  09400 Turkey
phone: +90 256 618 1530
  Room amenities: A/C, balcony with view, satellite tv, safe deposit box, hair dryer, mini bar.
  Facility amenities: Turkish bath, sauna, swimming pool, private beach, water sports, restaurants, snack bar.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Armada Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Hotel Armada's exterior and interior architecture reflect local turkish motifs. Located in the Old City, Armada Hotel is right by the Old City walls and along the Sea of Marmara. It's convenient location is within walking distance of many sites of attraction.
  Contact info: Ahirkapi Sok 24 Sultanahmet
Istanbul,  34400 Turkey
phone: +90 212 455 44 55
  Room amenities: Rooms come with a mini bar, hair dryer, direct dial telephone, cable TV, and safe deposit box.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, bar, lounge, meeting rooms, business center, internet access, as well as laundry and room service.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
6 PM, at the hotel lobby for Welcome Meeting You will be staying at Divani Caravel Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast at 10 AM You will be staying at Armada Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. A valid passport is required to enter Greece. A passport and visa are required to enter Turkey. Currently, holders of all types of passports can purchase a 90-day sticker visa at the port of entry for $20 cash if they are traveling to Turkey as tourists. It costs US $60 for Canada citizens in cash only.
  Parking availability:
No parking.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Athens
  Nearest airport:  ATH - Athens
  Transportation to site: A group arrival transfer is organized for all participants who purchased an air inclusive program and arrive on the group date. Participants should look for the Road Scholar sign or their names on a sign board after clearing passport control and customs. Independent travelers may take a taxi directly to the hotel. The taxi terminal is located just outside the airport arrivals terminal at Exit 3. It is important to have your hotel name written in Greek and once you board a taxi remember to ask the driver to reset the meter. There is a flat rate of 35 Euro day time and 50 Euro night time for going to the center of Athens. The metro is another transportation option available at the Athens International Airport. It is quite easy to use and the charges are very consistent. The train station is connected to the airport although one will require to go a level up from arrivals using an elevator and cross over a pedestrian bridge. You are required to purchase a ticket from the station desk for about 8 Euros per person. One of the main advantages of using the metro is the fact that there are discounts for every additional person. For example, you will only pay 14 Euros for two people, or 20 Euros for three people. Trains run every 30 minutes (on the hour and half hour) from 05:30AM to 12:15AM (02:00AM on Fri & Sat nights) and take 40 minutes to the city centre (Syntagma Square). Here is the timetable:
  From End of Program
  Location:  Istanbul
  Nearest airport:  IST - Istanbul
  Transportation from site: Group transfers from the hotel to airport in Istanbul, Turkey will be arranged for all participants who purchased an air inclusive program and leave on the day the program ends. Independent travelers may take a taxi directly to the airport. Taxis can be arranged through the hotel desk and will cost around $30 USD to the airport. Taxis can comfortably take 3 people and luggage.
Elevation Note: There are portions of the programs where you will be above 3,000 feet.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: In transit
(Wednesday, October 2)
 Depart From: Depart the US on an overnight flight to Greece.

Day 2: Athens
(Thursday, October 3)
 Arrive To: After your arrival in Athens, transfer to the hotel.
 Dinner: Welcome Dinner
Accommodations: Divani Caravel Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3:
(Friday, October 4)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Lecture at hotel before departing on a city excursion of Athens. On a tour to Athens you will view many significant historical and archaeological monuments that date back to the Golden Age of Pericles, in the 5th century BC. During that time, the wealthy, newly democratic and invigorated city-state decided to rebuild the Temples on top of the Acropolis in great splendor. Visit the Parthenon, dedicated to the Goddess Athena, a unique masterpiece of Greek Architecture. This monument is recognized as the culmination of Greek architecture and sculpture. Examine the Propylea, which blends Doric and Ionic building principles. Continue to the Temple of the Athena Nike (Wingless Victory) and the Erechtheum Temple, which was formerly used for cult worship and consists of three basic parts: the main Temple, the north extension and the famous Porch of Maidens. Explore the Museum of the Acropolis housing many masterpieces. View Mars Hill, where St. Paul preached Christianity. You will also be seeing the Ancient Agora, Tower of the Winds, Herodes Atticus Theater, Theater of Dionyssos,Temple of Zeus, see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the former Royal Palace which is now the House of Parliament. Continue to the University of Athens, the Academy of Athens, the National Library and then to the “Panathenian” Olympic Stadium where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896. After a short photo stop at the Olympic Stadium you return to the port of Piraeus.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local hotel.
 Afternoon: Visit the National Archaeological Museum. Spend the afternoon visiting the most important museum with artifacts of Greek civilization dating back 5,000 years. You will visit the Golden collection of Mycenae and witness exquisite works in gold dating back to the 2nd millennium BC along with golden death masks that have been excavated by Schliemann. You will follow the evolution of Greek sculpture in marble and bronze from the Archaic to the Roman period. See the marvelous frescoes that adorned the walls of the palace and houses of the Akrotiri in Santorini dating back from the 2nd millennium BC.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Divani Caravel Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Argolis
(Saturday, October 5)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Take a break from modern day Athens and journey into the past as you enter the island of Pelop, the Peloponese after crossing the awe-inspiring Corinth Canal. The canal offers a unique experience to the visitor and you will realize the enormity of the achievement as you will have the opportunity to photograph it en route. After the Corinth Canal, you enter the region of Argolis,land of Homer’s Golden Mycenae. Mycenae gave its name to the civilization on mainland Greece and the Greek islands. The German archaeologist Schliemann was the one who excavated Mycenae and uncovered the Royal Tombs recognizable from the wealth of objects found there. Among the finds were golden death masks, jewelry, bronze weapons inlaid with gold and a lot more ornaments all of which are displayed in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. You will see the Cyclopean Walls, the Lion’s Gate, the Royal Tombs and the Treasury of Atreus, a magnificent 14th century BC structure. Break for lunch in a charming local restaurant. After lunch, you will continue on to Nauplion, one of the most charming towns in Greece and the country’s first capital after the war of Independence. A 30-minute drive takes you to Epidaurus. In antiquity, Epidaurus was the center of the Greek medical world and birthplace of Asklepios, patron god of medicine. Psychotherapy, hydrotherapy and brain surgery were some of the treatments performed here. The highlight is of course, its famous theater boasting the best acoustics in the world, even today.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Continue excursion of Argolis.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Divani Caravel Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Crete
(Sunday, October 6)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to Piraeus for ferry to Crete.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ferry.
 Afternoon: Arrive in Heraklion, Crete. Transfer to hotel. Introductory lecture on Crete.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Atrion Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6:
(Monday, October 7)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Depart for a full day excursion to Gortys, Phaestos and Matala. After breakfast, drive through the most picturesque landscape of central Crete to visit the ancient town of Gortys. Ancient Gortys used to be one of the most powerful cities of historic and prehistoric times. It is well known for its Law Code carved on stone blocks discovered in the Odeum. Other important monumenst on site are the Acropolis and the church of St. Titus. Next stop is the renowned palace of Phaistos which was an important centre for the Minoan civilization. From Phaistos the view of the Messara plain and the Ida range is superb. The tour continues southbound to the coastal village of Matala the ancient port of Gortys and Phaistos where lunch will take place. Matala features one of the best beaches in Crete with artificial caves carved into the north face of the coast. In prehistoric times the caves were used as tombs while during the 60’s the caves hosted a hippie commune! Return to the hotel. Dinner will take place in a local establishment called “Ouzeri” where the locals enjoy Ouzo and Cretan mezedes (tidbits). Return to the hotel and Overnight.
 Lunch: Lunch en route.
 Afternoon: Continue excursion.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Atrion Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7:
(Tuesday, October 8)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to Knossos and museum. Depart from the hotel to visit Knossos the renowned Minoan Palace! Two brilliant palaces built in Neolithic times… Visit the room of the thrown and the frescoes depicting the Prince of Crete. Every single stone suggests that a great civilization was born in this very place. Proceed to the National Museum of Heraklion that hosts the world's richest collection of Minoan items such as jewelry, statues masterpieces of miniature sculpture and signed engraving. It will certainly create a feeling of admiration and awe for an era long gone…. After the visit to the Museum drive to a small village to meet Mrs. Katerina and experience the art of Cretan cooking! Guests will learn how to prepare Cretan delicacies and then lunch will follow. After lunch drive back to the hotel. Free time and dinner in the hotel.
 Lunch: Cooking class where you will help prepare your own lunch.
 Afternoon: You have free time for independent exploration.
 Dinner: Special Cretan folklore evening in Arolithos.
Accommodations: Atrion Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Rhodes
(Wednesday, October 9)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Transfer from hotel to airport for flight to Rhodes via Athens.
 Lunch: Lunch en route.
 Afternoon: After arriving in Rhodes, enjoy an introductory city excursion.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Semiramis Hotel Rhodes
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9:
(Thursday, October 10)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Full day excursion to the Old City and Lindos. Your tour today starts with a scenic drive to the Acropolis of Lindos.As soon as you arrive in Lindos you will climb the steps to the Acropolis where you will have an extensive guided tour of the premises . After the tour of the Acropolis and the church in Lindos and a short time for a photo opportunity, you will proceed to the meeting place from which you will be taken for a typical Greek lunch in Haraki village. After enjoying your lunch, your tour will take you in Rhodes Town after a slow ride around the seaside roads of the city, accompanied by a narration from your guide. The bus continues to drive to the ancient stadium of the Temple of Apolonos, where you will have a guided tour and an opportunity to take photographs. You are then driven to the walls of the Old Town where your tour continues on foot and you will walk through the Gate d’Amboise in the Old Town. You will be guided through the Palace of the Knights, see the Inn of England and the Archaeological Museum. When the guided tour is completed, you will have some free time for an independent exploration of the Old City and you will enjoy your lunch at a local restaurant.
 Lunch: Lunch en route.
 Afternoon: Continue excursion.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Semiramis Hotel Rhodes
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10:
(Friday, October 11)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Visit a local wine factory with meze. Your tour commences from the port and takes you along the sea front roads around the new city, as well as on a panoramic tour of the ancient stadium of Apolonos where you will stop for a short guided tour and to take photographs. You will then be driven to the CAIR wine factory ,one of the two local distilleries in Rhodes, you will have a guided tour of the factory. Your guide will take you through the actual wine making progress and when the tour is completed, you will have an opportunity to savour the wines, if you so wish. When the tour of the winery is finished you will be taken to the old town where you will have the chance to taste the other famous Greek drink, Ouzo, along with a traditional Meze.
 Lunch: Meze during wine factory visit.
 Afternoon: Your afternoon is free for independent exploration.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Semiramis Hotel Rhodes
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Ephesus
(Saturday, October 12)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to port for ferry to Marmaris, Turkey. Upon arrival, drive to Ephesus, stopping at Euromos to see one of the best preserved ancient temples in antiquity. Site lecture on the cult of Zeus and Mycanean times.
 Lunch: Lunch en route.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a visit to Didyma home to the largest temples of antiquity dedicated to Apollo. Didyma contained a temple and oracle of Apollo, the Didymaion. In Greek Didyma means "twin". Next to Delphi, Didyma was the most renowned oracle of the Hellenic world but an establishment preceding literacy and even the Hellenic colonization of Ionia. Didyma was the largest and most significant sanctuary on the territory of the great classical city Miletus.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Korumar Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12:
(Sunday, October 13)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Enjoy a morning lecture on Ephesus and its ancient graffiti and its meanings. Following the lecture, we will begin our exploration of Ephesus.Ephesus by far is the most important, largest and the best preserved ancient archeological site in Turkey. Once the capital of the Asia Minor province of the Roman Empire and the most important port on the Aegean, Ephesus enjoyed immense wealth and prosperity in ancient Greek and Roman periods. It is a fascinating feeling to walk on the same marble streets that were once trodden by Alexander the Great, Hadrian, St.Paul, and Virgin Mary. The grand theater with its 24,000 people capacity and the marvelous Library of Celsus still awe their visitors.
 Lunch: Lunch en route.
 Afternoon: Field trip to the Museum of Ephesus to see the magnificent artifacts uncovered at the site and the Temple of Artemis, once one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Korumar Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Tire/Istanbul
(Monday, October 14)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to Izmir Airport and take the morning flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival, enjoy an orientation tour of the old city.
 Lunch: Lunch in Istanbul at a typical restaurant
 Afternoon: Visit the Hippodrome and the Blue Mosque. An awe inspiring architectural site dominating the old city of Istanbul, the Blue Mosque captures visitors with its impressive volume and its majestic dome as soon they enter the mosque. This mosque is famous for its exquisite tile-work decoration from the 16th and 17th centuries, hence one of the reasons for its name.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Armada Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14:
(Tuesday, October 15)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Lecture on the Urban Development of Istanbul from an architectural perspective.
 Lunch: Lunch in Istanbul at a typical restaurant
 Afternoon: Excursions to Hagia Sophia, Church of the Savior in Chora and the Underground Cisterns.Undoubtedly, the most important landmark of the city, Hagia Sophia has withstood the rigors of time since 537 AD. Often dubbed as the masterpiece of Byzantine architecture, the Church of Holy Wisdom is a mind-baffling structure with its huge mystical dome suspended above a basilical plan and the magnificent mosaics that still glisten­ across galleries. A little gem of a church, tucked away by the ancient walls of the city, a visit to the Chora Museum is a must to witness the splendid masterpieces of late Byzantine art in the form of exquisite mosaics and frescoes. The artistic styles demonstrated in this church foreshadows the dawn of European Renaissance.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Armada Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15:
(Wednesday, October 16)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Visit the Topkapi Palace and Rustem Pasha Mosque to witness Ottoman architecture in its golden years.This immense palace that was started to be built in 15th century, was the seat of the Ottoman Sultans who ruled the once most powerful Empire of Europe for 400 years. This Palace demonstrates the wealth and power that was controlled by the Ottomans between 15th and 18th centuries. Its massive courtyards, maze of corridors and alleys in the exotic and inspiring Harem, lush gardens, domes and chimneys certainly make up one of the most impressive skylines of the city.
 Lunch: Lunch in Istanbul.
 Afternoon: This afternoon will be spent exploring some of Istanbul's bazaars, including the Spice Bazaar and Grand Bazaar. You will have ome free time to exlore these bazaars.The Spice Bazaar is located in the busy commercial district of the old city right by the Golden Horn. The Bazaar and the surroundings are perfect places to witness the vibrant commercial activity that this city has been attracting for thousands of years. Spices have been traded in this Bazaar since mid 17th century and this Bazaar continues to capture its visitors with its exotic aromas of the Orient. Wits maze-like alleys and narrow streets, the Grand Bazaar attracts everyone like a magnet, shopper or sightseer alike. It is an absolute delight to stroll the streets of this 500 year-old colorful bazaar. Your intentions could be to look for bargains in various Turkish handicrafts, to shop for precious old kilims, to find the workshops of the skillful goldsmiths, to sip a cup of Turkish coffee at the old coffeehouse, or to take pictures of the artisans and shopkeepers, you are guaranteed to have a great time in the Bazaar.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner.
Accommodations: Armada Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Depart Turkey
(Thursday, October 17)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to airport for international departures.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Short History Of Byzantium

Author: John Julius Norwich

Description: No time to wade, albeit enjoyably, through his three volume Byzantium series? This recent edition is based on his Byzantium trilogy and is equally as intelligent and inspired. Norwich is, as always, ever entertaining and engaging about this subject. An efficient read without loss of style or spirit. If you can’t manage three volumes right now, this one is for you.

Ataturk: A biography of Mustafa Kemal - Father of Modern Turkey

Author: Lord Kinross

Description: Kinross tells the story of Ataturk in such an engaging way that you stay glued to the page. Beginning with his birth in 1881 in Salonika, Greece, during the usual Balkan struggles, the book traces his youth through his early education and military service. Along the way Kinross reveals the experiences that formed Ataturk’s rebel spirit, leads you through the evolution of his hatred for the rich, the corrupt, and the abusive religious and political classes. He takes you onto the battlefield where Ataturk’s leadership and inspiration routs the Greeks who invaded Turkey in the aftermath of W.W.I. Kinross takes you step by step through the formation of a new, secular Republic, free of domination by Sultans, Moslem Caliphs or foreign countries, and describes how Turkey secured a place among nations. You’ll learn of Ataturk’s commitment to equality for all people, men and women alike, and how he lead the new Turkish nation westward by adopting the western alphabet overnight, creating a new Turkish language, and provided free education for all. A “must read” in order to understand present-day Turkey’s struggle to maintain the secular principles Ataturk established.

Athens, the Parthenon

Author: Mary Beard

Description: Oscar Wilde compared it to a white goddess, Evelyn Waugh to Stilton cheese. In observers from Lord Byron to Sigmund Freud to Virginia Woolf it met with astonishment, rapture, poetry, even tears--and, always, recognition. Twenty-five hundred years after it first rose above Athens, the Parthenon remains one of the wonders of the world, its beginnings and strange turns of fortune over millennia a perpetual source of curiosity, controversy, and intrigue. At once an entrancing cultural history and a congenial guide for tourists, armchair travelers, and amateur archaeologists alike, this book conducts readers through the storied past and towering presence of the most famous building in the world. Who built the Parthenon, and for what purpose? How are we to understand its sculpture? Why is it such a compelling monument? The classicist and historian Mary Beard takes us back to the fifth century B.C. to consider the Parthenon in its original guise--as the flagship temple of imperial Athens, housing an enormous gold and ivory statue of the city's patron goddess attended by an enigmatic assembly of sculptures. Just as fascinating is the monument's far longer life as cathedral church of Our Lady of Athens, as "the finest mosque in the world," and, finally, as an inspirational ruin and icon. Beard also takes a cool look at the bitter arguments that continue to surround the "Elgin Marbles," the sculptures from the Parthenon now in the British Museum. Her book constitutes the ultimate tour of the marvelous history and present state of this glory of the Acropolis, and of the world.

Birds Without Wings

Author: Louis de Bernières

Description: In his first novel since Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernières creates a world, populates it with characters as real as our best friends, and launches it into the maelstrom of twentieth-century history. The setting is a small village in southwestern Anatolia in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire. Everyone there speaks Turkish, though they write it in Greek letters. It’s a place that has room for a professional blasphemer; where a brokenhearted aga finds solace in the arms of a Circassian courtesan who isn’t Circassian at all; where a beautiful Christian girl named Philothei is engaged to a Muslim boy named Ibrahim. But all of this will change when Turkey enters the modern world. Epic in sweep, intoxicating in its sensual detail, Birds Without Wings is an enchantment.

Blue Guide to Turkey

Author: Bernard McDonagh

Description: Blue Guides are complete and jam-packed with historical and practical information. This one lives up to the reputation. You want to go to Nemrut Dag and learn what you’re looking at once you’re there? The Blue Guide is for you. Painstakingly researched it is a course book text on the history of civilization and includes detailed town plans, up-to-date classical site information, route maps, hotel recommendations and lots of information about Turkish customs, food and history. From one end of the country to the other! It’s all there. The book to have, whether you’re exploring Turkey with us in a group or out there on your own.

Classical Turkey

Author: John Freely

Description: A well written, well illustrated, architectural guide for travelers new to the Graeco-Roman sites of Western Turkey. Detailed with good drawings of most ruins accompanied by historical information about these great sites. Freely is the master.

Constantinople; City of the World’s Desire, 1453-1924

Author: Philip Mansel

Description: Mansel is a noted historian and author of several works about the Sultans and the Ottoman World. This book focuses on the political and architectural history of the capital Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) and covers the span of the Ottoman empire. The book ends on November 17, 1922 when the last Sultan and a small party slipped out of Palace at 8 AM and scrambled aboard a British naval ship that hauled anchor for Malta at 8:43 AM. A fine work, lots of detail, very readable and helpful in sorting out the complexities of 600 years of Ottoman power.

Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds

Author: Stephen Kinzer

Description: A passionate love for the Turkish people and an optimism that its ruling class can complete Turkey's transformation into a Western-style democracy mark Kinzer's reflections on a country that sits geographically and culturally at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. Kinzer, the former New York Times Istanbul bureau chief, gives a concise introduction to Turkey: Kemal Ataterk's post-WWI establishment of the modern secular Turkish state; the odd makeup of contemporary society, in which the military enforces Ataterk's reforms. In stylized but substantive prose, he devotes chapters to the problems he sees plaguing Turkish society: Islamic fundamentalism, frictions regarding the large Kurdish minority and the lack of democratic freedoms. Kinzer's commonsense, if naeve, solution: the ruling military elite, which takes power when it feels Turkey is threatened, must follow the modernizing path of Ataterk whom Kinzer obviously admires a step further and increase human rights and press freedoms. Kinzer's journalistic eye serves him well as he goes beyond the political, vividly describing, for instance, the importance and allure of the narghile salon, where Turks smoke water pipes. Here, as elsewhere, Kinzer drops his journalist veneer and gets personal, explaining that he enjoys the salons in part "because the sensation of smoking a water pipe is so seductive and satisfying." Readers who want a one-volume guide to this fascinating country need look no further.

Crete Discovering the “Great Island”

Author: John Freely

Description: Crete, the 'Great Island' of Greece, has been home to such figures as the legendary King Minos, El Greco and Nikos Kazantzakis. In myth, it is associated with Daedalus and Icarus and the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. Today it is one of the most popular destinations in Greece, its visitors lured by the promise of spectacular beaches and the remains of some of the most influential and ancient civilisations in Europe. Part history, part guide, "Crete" includes comprehensive and detailed itineraries, covering the cities of Iraklion, Rethymnon and Chania; the great Minoan palaces at Knossos, Phaestos and Ayia Triadha plus Graeco-Roman ruins, Byzantine churches and Venetian churches. Scattered throughout are the myths, legends and folklore of the island, as well as notes on its hidden gems: scenic stopping-off points, untouched beaches, mountain villages and tavernas, where the ancient ritual songs and dances of Crete are still performed.'In the middle of the sable sea, there lies an isle called Crete, a ravisher of eyes...' - Homer, "The Odyssey".

Essential Rumi

Author: Coleman Barks

Description: A collection of poetry by the 13th-century Sufi mystic. Coleman renders a well-chosen selection of Persian estatic poetry into contemporary English

Eyewitness Guide Turkey

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: Gorgeously illustrated and filled with excellent maps, this compact book is a thorough overview of Turkey, its history, traditions, cultures and sights. With hundreds of color photographs and illustrations.

Harem - The World Behind the Veil

Author: Alev Lytle Croutier

Description: The author left Turkey at age 18 for the US, returning 15 years later to visit her birthplace and family. Intrigued upon learning that her grandmother had lived in a harem, she interviewed aunts and other family members about their recollections. About that same time (mid 1970’s) the Harem of Topkapi Palace was opened to visitors. With thoughtful research and richly illustrated, Croutier pieces together a realistic description of daily life in the Sultan’s Harem. Her fascinating insights into customs, food and ceremony of the Palace through 450 hundred years, make this an enjoyable read. The addition of family photographs and an amusing chapter about Western misconceptions of the term “harem” sets this work apart from all other books of its kind.

Istanbul: The Imperial City

Author: John Freely

Description: Whether you call it Byzantium, Constantinople, or Istanbul, the “old Turkish hand” John Freely tells the story of each creation and decline up to today’s Istanbul under the Turkish Republic. Spirited and colorful, Freely gives his readers a lively account of the turmoil each incarnation brought. In addition to “page turning history”, Freely gives a complete listing of monuments & museums in the city - he has lived there for decades. This is the one to read on Istanbul if you have a short list of books and limited time to get into its history.

Istanbul: Memories and the City

Author: Orhan Pamuk

Description: Turkish novelist Pamuk (Snow) presents a breathtaking portrait of a city, an elegy for a dead civilization and a meditation on life's complicated intimacies. The author, born in 1952 into a rapidly fading bourgeois family in Istanbul, spins a masterful tale, moving from his fractured extended family, all living in a communal apartment building, out into the city and encompassing the entire Ottoman Empire. Pamuk sees the slow collapse of the once powerful empire hanging like a pall over the city and its citizens. Central to many Istanbul residents' character is the concept of hüzün (melancholy). Istanbul's hüzün, Pamuk writes, "is a way of looking at life that... is ultimately as life affirming as it is negating." His world apparently in permanent decline, Pamuk revels in the darkness and decay manifest around him. He minutely describes horrific accidents on the Bosphorus Strait and his own recurring fantasies of murder and mayhem. Throughout, Pamuk details the breakdown of his family: elders die, his parents fight and grow apart, and he must find his way in the world. This is a powerful, sometimes disturbing literary journey through the soul of a great city told by one of its great writers.

My Name Is Red

Author: Orhan Pamuk

Description: A dead man, a dog, a murderer, a coin, two lovers, and a tree take turns narrating this tale, which is Pamuk's follow-up to the well-reviewed but little read The New Life (1997). Set in sixteenth-century Istanbul, the novel is equal parts mystery, love story, and a philosophical discussion on the nature of art and artistic vision. Two men have been killed: Elegant, a miniaturist engaged (with others) on a book project glorifying the life of the sultan, and Enishte, the man who hired the artists to do the book. During a trip to Venice, Enishte became particularly entranced with the new Italian painting, particularly its use of perspective and figurative art. He urged his employees to adapt the new art form in their illustrations of the grand book they are producing. Black, Enishte's nephew, wants to win the hand of Enishte's daughter, Shekure, which he can only do by solving the murders. This intellectual mystery will appeal to fans of Eco, Pears, and Perez-Reverte.

Rhodes: Reflections on a Marine Venus: A companion to the Landscape of Rhodes

Author: Lawrence Durrell

Description: Reflections on a Marine Venus explores life on a magical and enchanting island (Rhodes) right after World War II. It is about Greece when it was a demi-paradise. But it is also about the distillation of life and experience, the savoring of all the exquisite pleasures, physical, sensual and intellectual, available on one lovely island at one time.

Style City Athens

Author: Ioanna Kosiafti & Julia Klimi

Description: This exciting series focuses on the vitality and uniqueness of the world's greatest cities. Each volume is superbly designed and produced, yet ingeniously practical, with lavish photography, easy-to-read maps, and informed and enjoyable texts. From offbeat cafés and cutting-edge restaurants to the most stylish stores, hotels, and neighborhoods, StyleCity uncovers all the special places where both locals and discerning travelers can find a vibrant and idiosyncratic urban experience. The guides are divided into two sections: "Style Traveler" identifies the most memorable places to sleep, eat, drink, shop, and relax; "Street Wise" divides the city into neighborhoods and provides convenient area maps. Mother of antiquity, modern metropolis, Mediterranean mecca—Athens has many faces and many layers. Since the 2004 Olympics, the city has enjoyed a reinvigorated cultural confidence that has given rise to new talents, chic restaurants, contemporary hot spots, and vibrant self-expression. StyleCity Athens leads visitors to all the highlights of this edgy and energetic place. 400 color illustrations and 6 maps.

Tales from the Expat Harem: Foreign Women in Modern Turkey

Author: Anastasia M. Ashman, Jennifer Eaton Gokmen

Description: As the Western world struggles to comprehend the paradoxes of modern Turkey, Tales from the Expat Harem reveals its most personal nuances. This illuminating anthology provides a window into the country from the perspective of thirty-two expatriates from seven different nations—artists, entrepreneurs, Peace Corps volunteers, archaeologists, missionaries, and others—who established lives in Turkey for work, love, or adventure. Through narrative essays covering the last four decades, these diverse women unveil the mystique of the “Orient,” describe religious conflict, embrace cultural discovery, and maneuver familial traditions, customs, and responsibilities. Poignant, humorous, and transcendent, the essays take readers to weddings and workplaces, down cobbled Byzantine streets, into boisterous bazaars along the Silk Road, and deep into the feminine stronghold of steamy Ottoman bathhouses. The outcome is a stunning collection of voices from women suspended between two homes as they redefine their identities and reshape their world views.

The Bastard of Istanbul

Author: Elif Shafak

Description: In her second novel written in English (The Saint of Incipient Insanities was the first), Turkish novelist Shafak tackles Turkish national identity and the Armenian "question" in her signature style. In a novel that overflows with a kitchen sink's worth of zany characters, women are front and center: Asya Kazanci, an angst-ridden 19-year-old Istanbulite is the bastard of the title; her beautiful, rebellious mother, Zeliha (who intended to have an abortion), has raised Asya among three generations of complicated and colorful female relations (including religious clairvoyant Auntie Banu and bar-brawl widow, Auntie Cevriye). The Kazanci men either die young or take a permanent hike like Mustafa, Zeliha's beloved brother who immigrated to America years ago. Mustafa's Armenian-American stepdaughter, Armanoush, who grew up on her family's stories of the 1915 genocide, shows up in Istanbul looking for her roots and for vindication from her new Turkish family. The Kazanci women lament Armanoush's family's suffering, but have no sense of Turkish responsibility for it; Asya's boho cohorts insist there was no genocide at all. As the debate escalates, Mustafa arrives in Istanbul, and a long-hidden secret connecting the histories of the two families is revealed. Shafak was charged with "public denigration of Turkishness" when the novel was published in Turkey earlier this year (the charges were later dropped). She incorporates a political taboo into an entertaining and insightful ensemble novel, one that posits the universality of family, culture and coincidence.

The Greek Islands, A Notebook: Occasional Journeys through Crete,Corfu, Rhodes and other islands

Author: Richard Clark

Description: In 1982, on a whim, the English journalist Richard Clark upped sticks and left the country of his birth to go and work as a teacher in Crete. So began a love affair with the Greek Islands, to which he now returns on a regular basis. The Greek Islands - A Notebook is a series of snapshots of Journeys and Places, Culture and History, and People and Island Life on Greece's enchanted triangle of islands - Corfu, Crete and Rhodes and the islands in between. Whether a regular visitor or a first time traveler there, this book provides an invaluable insight into life past and present on these beautiful islands. The author is a writer, editor and journalist who has worked on an array of national newspapers and magazines in the UK. He is married with two grown up children and lives in Kent.

The Turks Today

Author: Andrew Mango

Description: Istanbul-born, British-based Mango (Atatürk) offers an insightful, sympathetic portrait of recent Turkish history. The first third of the book discusses the growth of the Turkish state after Atatürk's death in 1938, with a fitful spread of democracy, clashes with Greece and the departure of Istanbul's Greek community. Economic and social conflict from 1960 to 1980 was subsequently "contained" by a military-driven constitution and rapprochement with Europe. A battle over the logo of the mayoralty of Ankara, the capital, illustrates the recent negotiations between Islamists and secularists. Istanbul, whose "infrastructure does not match its size," is growing as a regional base. In impoverished, traditionalist eastern Turkey, "the Third World has not been banished," though Mango argues that integration with the state—if not assimilation—is the best hope for the Kurdish minority. Turkey today, Mango suggests, resembles the late modernizing countries of southern Europe in many ways. He sees potential for a fully democratic and secular state, but warns that it takes time to "implant Western institutions in non-Western soil." Though this volume lacks some of the bite and immediacy of a journalist's book like Stephen Kinzer's Crescent and Star, it emerges as a more thorough introduction to a less-known but increasingly vital country.

You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.

As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:

© Road Scholar 2016 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768