18761
Turkey
The Best of Turkey: A Journey by Land and Gulet
Go off the beaten path as you explore the Turkey seldom seen by tourists. From a private Sufi and Zikr ritual to expert-led walks and sailing excursions, this adventure has it all.
Rating (5)
Program No. 18761RJ
Length
17 days
Starts at
5,599
Flights start at
700
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
17 days
16 nights
41 meals
15 B 12 L 14 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight

Evening: Overnight flight.

DAY
2
Arrival, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Ankara
D
Divan Cukurhan Hotel

Activity note: Upon arrival in Ankara Airport, clear passport control, claim your bags, go through customs and the sliding doors and look for the Road Scholar sign.

Dinner: Welcome dinner in the hotel.

Evening: We will gather in our private meeting room at the hotel at 6:00PM where your group leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedules, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

DAY
3
Anatolian Civilizations Museum, Mausoleum of Ataturk
Cappadocia
B,L,D
Yunak Evleri

Activity note: Walking up to ½ mile during excursions and at the Mausoleum of Ataturk

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Start your day with a lecture on the ancient civilizations of Anatolia with emphasis on Hittite & Phrygian cultures. Lecture will be delivered by Prof Thomas Zimmerman, head of the Department of Archeology at Bilkent University of Ankara. Continue to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, an award-winning Museum to have a general overview about the civilizations of Turkey. The Museum exhibits boast artifacts from the Paleolithic era and continue chronologically through the Neolithic, Early Bronze, Assyrian trading colonies, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian, Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman periods. The Museum is renowned especially for its artifacts from the Neolithic site of Catalhoyuk. The collection includes Mother Goddess sculptures, wall paintings, clay figurines, stamps, earthenware containers, and agricultural tools made from bones. The most impressive parts of this exhibit are a hunting scene on plaster from the 7th millennium BC, a reproduction of a Çatalhoyuk room with wall-mounted bull heads, a Mother Goddess Kybele (later Cybele) sculpture, obsidian tools, wall paintings of the (now extinct) volcano Mount Hasan erupting, and wall paintings of a leopard.

Lunch: In a restaurant in the old city.

Afternoon: A visit to the Mausoleum of Ataturk will provide a good background to modern Turkey and enable you to get a deeper understanding of this revolutionary character that shaped modern Turkey. The mausoleum's museum provides insight to the history of modern Turkey and the personality of Atatürk. Later on, depart for Urgup, Cappadocia, a landscape of spectacular volcanic pillar formations.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Magical formations of Cappadocia
Cappadocia
B,L
Yunak Evleri

Activity note: Walking in uneven terrain, for up to 1 mile. Sturdy walking shoes highly recommended. Some caves/churches require crouching to enter.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: There will be an optional hot air balloon flight this morning for those interested in discovering this unique geography from the air. Ballooning is a sunrise activity but you will return to the hotel for breakfast and join the excursions during the rest of the day. This morning we shall visit the Goreme Open Air Museum, a monastic center comprised of caves carved out of the soft volcanic rock of Cappadocia and decorated with frescoes and paintings. You will learn about the history of Christianity and monasticism in the area and discover the artistic and religious significance of frescos in these churches.

Lunch: At a local restaurant carved out of rock that was once home to the hosting family.

Afternoon: We will visit the workshop of a local artisan that specializes in pottery making, using the clay from the nearby Halys River. You will learn about this 5,000 year old craft and have your chance to work on the potter's wheel. Before going back to the hotel, we will attend a Whirling Dervish ceremony, performed by local Sufis at a restored caravansaray (ancient camel motel on the Silk Road) from 13th century.

Dinner: Your choice to explore local fare.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Cappadocia, Miracle of Nature
Cappadocia
B,D
Yunak Evleri

Activity note: An optional hike through the formations of Cappadocia will be offered to those interested. Good walking shoes are a must.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: We will visit and explore the village of Sinasos. This village had a largely Greek population in Ottoman times. Today it is a thriving town with a small university lots to see and do nearby.

Lunch: Lunch on your own

Afternoon: This afternoon will be dedicated to more exploration in the gorges and valleys of Cappadocia. We will visit an impressive underground city, carved out of the ground to provide shelter from the attacking armies. There will be a short optional hike and various photo stops at some important vantage points to get an overview of this magical landscape?

Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant in Avanos, located on the southern bank of the river Halys.

Evening: On your own

DAY
6
The Silk Road and Sufism
Konya
B,L,D
Hilton Garden Inn Konya

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Drive west to Konya, on the central plateau of Turkey, following the . ancient Silk Road. We wll visit Sultanhani, a 13th century Seljuk caravanserai built on the Silk Road to accommodate the caravans of trade. Sultanhani is the largest and best preserved of the existing caravanserais.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Konya, specializing in local dishes from the area.

Afternoon: Once in Konya, we will visit the Museum/Mausoleum of Mevlana Rumi, founder of the Whirling Dervish sect of Islam. You will learn about the mystic aspect of Sufism and hear some beautiful poetry by Rumi. Your group leader will discuss the principles of Sufism with the group and enlighten you about their beliefs and rituals.

Dinner: At the hotel

Evening: At leisure

DAY
7
The Magnificent Roman Theater of Aspendos, City of Perge
Antalya
B,L,D
Akra Barut Hotel

Activity note: Walking at ancient Greek/Roman sites up to ½ mile. Occasional uneven pavement at ancient sites.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: We will depart Konya after breakfast and head south towards the Mediterranean Coast of Turkey by crossing the impressive Taurus Mountains.

Lunch: In a restaurant en route.

Afternoon: This afternoon, you will visit the stunning theater of Aspendos and your group leader will give you a detailed on-site lecture about Roman theaters. You will also visit Perge, an important city of the Roman province of Pamphylia and wonder at its impressive Hellenistic city gates.

Dinner: At the hotel

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Award Winning Museum of Antalya and Embarkation on Gulet
Turquoise Coast Cruise
B,L,D
Exclusively Chartered Gulet (yacht)

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Start your day with a visit to the award winning Museum of Antalya. This museum is one of Turkey's largest museums and includes 13 exhibition halls and an open air gallery, displaying over 5,000 works of art which illuminate the history of the Mediterranean and Pamphylia regions in Turkey. Later on depart Antalya heading inland then south through the lush valleys of the Taurus Mountains. Arrive in Gocek in mid afternoon to embark on our privately chartered exclusive gulet.

Lunch: In a restaurant en route to Gocek

Afternoon: Embark on our gulet in Gocek for the four-night cruise along the coast. Lift anchor and cruise a short distance to spend the night in a quiet and pristine cove.

Dinner: Aboard the gulet.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Gemiler, Island of St. Nicholas
Turquoise Coast Cruise
B,D
Exclusively Chartered Gulet (yacht)

Activity note: Optional hike up to the summit of the island on uneven terrain

Breakfast: Aboard the gulet.

Morning: Cruise to Gemiler Island. On the island are the remains of several churches built between the fourth and sixth centuries AD, along with a variety of associated buildings. Archaeologists believe it was the location of the original tomb of Saint Nicholas. Gemiler (means ships in Turkish) is noteworthy because its north shore is lined with galliot and other ancient ship parking slips. Once home to Lycian and Byzantine pirates, there are remains of an entire village and it is possible to walk from the pirate-ship slips through a covered walkway to a basilica. Gemiler Island is a great setting to swim and snorkel, and an equally splendid spot to take in a hilltop sunset.

Lunch: On board the gulet

Afternoon: Relax aboard the gulet or choose either a hike to the top of the island to explore its ruins, or to Kayakoy, a now-abandoned village used during the "Exchange of Citizens" between Greece and Turkey in the 1920s. There, learn more about the history of the village and talk to some locals from a nearby village that was inhabited by Turks sent from Greece.

Dinner: Aboard the gulet.

Evening: At leisure. Opportunity to discuss various subjects/topics about Turkey with your group leader.

DAY
10
Lonely Ruins of Lydae
Turquoise Coast Cruise
B,L,D
Exclusively Chartered Gulet (yacht)

Activity note: Walking on uneven terrain during hike

Breakfast: Aboard the gulet.

Morning: Cruise for a few hours to the cove called the Hamam, also called by the locals Cleopatra's Bath where Cleopatra supposedly had a bath built due to the hot thermal waters in the cove. Cleopatra who gave her name to the Bay was here twice, once in 46 BC and again in 32 BC on her honeymoon with Marc Antony who was en route to Actium.

Lunch: On board the gulet

Afternoon: Enjoy a 1 hr optional hike to walk up to the ruins of Lydae, not accessible by car as there is no road to this ancient site. Off the beaten path and rarely visited, Lydae features many vivid bits of ancient buildings including mausolea, agora foundations, statue remnants, Corinthian column sections and inscribed pedestals from the Roman and Byzantine periods.

Dinner: Aboard the gulet.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Rock Tombs, Kaunos and Loggerhead Turtles
Turquoise Coast Cruise
B,L,D
Exclusively Chartered Gulet (yacht)

Activity note: Additional boat ride on a locally chartered vessel to cruise the Dalyan Delta and to visit Kaunos.

Breakfast: Aboard the gulet.

Morning: Cruise a short distance to Ekincik, another lovely cove on the Mediterranean. We transfer to a local small boat to put-put through the reeds and the maze of the Dalyan River delta. We will see the impressive Lycian rock tombs carved out of the hillside, built for the local kings and dignitaries. You will also visit the well preserved Carian city of Kaunos.

Lunch: Aboard the gulet.

Afternoon: For the interested people, there will be an optional hike back from Kaunos back to Ekincik. Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing and swimming. The nearby Iztuzu Beach is a 3 mile long beach near Dalyan. The beach is a narrow spit of land, which forms a natural barrier between the fresh water delta of the Dalyan river and the Mediterranean. It is one of the main breeding grounds for loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) in the Mediterranean and is therefore often referred to as "Turtle Beach". (The loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) is on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red list of endangered animals. For this reason the beach has had a protected status since 1988. The greatest threat to the survival of the loggerhead sea turtle is on these sandy beaches where its life begins. This has triggered an international conservation effort that began in the 1990s. The effort to protect loggerhead sea turtle eggs and to assure a safe breeding ground for this endangered species has made international headlines. This issue is one of the most critical items on Turkey's environmental agenda.

Dinner: Aboard the gulet.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Hands-On Experience, Lecture on Turkish Carpets
Kusadasi/Ephesus
B,L,D
La Vista Boutique Hotel

Breakfast: Aboard the gulet.

Morning: Disembark the gulet in Ekincik following breakfast. Drive north to Selcuk, near Ephesus.

Lunch: At a local carpet weaving center

Afternoon: Hear a lecture on the centuries old craft of hand-made Turkish carpets and silk production at a local carpet center. Opportunity for a hands-on trial of carpet weaving. During this in-depth visit with the women weavers, share tea and coffee and learn about their lives, families and work.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Evening: At leisure

DAY
13
Ephesus, the Jewel of Asia Minor
Kusadasi/Ephesus
B,L,D
La Vista Boutique Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile on uneven terrain in the ancient city of Ephesus. Climbing a few stairs will be necessary to visit the unique Terrace Houses.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Begin with a lecture on the Graffiti of Ephesus delivered by a British professor of antiquities. Discover the ruins of Ephesus, the jewel of Greek-Roman cities and capital of Asia Minor. Explore the Terrace Houses, once inhabited by the wealthy Ephesians.

Lunch: In a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Visit the Museum of Ephesus to see the wonderful artifacts uncovered at the excavations from Ephesus. Also stop at the Temple of Artemis, one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Introduction to Istanbul, the Imperial City
Istanbul
B,L,D
Armada Hotel Istanbul

Activity note: Some walking in the old city of Istanbul during the orientation

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to Izmir Airport to take a morning flight to Istanbul.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Istanbul upon arrival.

Afternoon: Enjoy an orientation tour of the old city, including a visit to the famous Blue Mosque, one of the most important landmarks of the city, dating back to 1616. The Blue Mosque soars above the old city with its 6 minarets and is a testimony to the golden age of Ottoman architecture. Walk through the ancient Hippodrome of Constantinople and learn about the monuments that once adorned this huge structure.

Dinner: At the hotel's restaurant

Evening: On your own

DAY
15
Jewels of Istanbul
Istanbul
B,L,D
Armada Hotel Istanbul

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Start your day with a visit to the Topkapi Palace, once the seat of the Ottoman Sultans for 400 years and a great testimony to the power and wealth of the Ottoman Empire. You will also be able to visit the amazing Treasury and the intriguing Harem and catch a glimpse of daily life behind closed doors.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Sultanahmet

Afternoon: Continue to Taksim Square for a stroll on vibrant and colorful Istiklal Avenue, which demonstrates Turkey's position between the East and the West and the forces that affect it. This pedestrian street is always young and dynamic.

Dinner: On your own to explore the local fare

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
16
From the Palace to the Bazaar
Istanbul
B,L,D
Armada Hotel Istanbul

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: This morning you will start your day with a field trip to the breathtaking Church of Hagia Sophia. You will learn about the architecture of this unique 1,500 year old building and awe at its size and glamour. Continue to visit the Underground Cisterns, built in 532 AD by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in order to store water for his city. You will then drive along the ancient City Walls of Istanbul and learn about their strength and history.

Lunch: At a local restaurant serving Ottoman food straight from the court of the Sultans.

Afternoon: A visit to Kariye (Chora) Museum will reveal the most exquisite examples Byzantine mosaics and frescoes, dating to pre-Renaissance. Later on in the afternoon, the small but gem-like mosque of Rustem Pasha will demonstrate the stunning masterpieces of Iznik tiles from 16th century. Spend the rest of the afternoon at the Spice Bazaar that immediately captures visitors with its exotic aromas and the Grand Bazaar, a maze of 3,000 shops from the 15th century, literally the first shopping mall in history. End the day and the program with a cruise on the Bosphorus, on a privately chartered boat and enjoy the palaces, mansions, yalis, fortresses built along the shores of the Bosphorus.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant within walking distance to the hotel

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
17
Program Concludes
Istanbul
B

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: There will be group transfers from the hotel to Istanbul Airport, depending on the departure times of flights. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.






Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback