30 September 2016
On this intriguing eight day tour of Turkey and Greece you will see some of the stunning highlights of both countries. Beginning and ending in the wonderful city of Istanbul, where you will visit all the famous sights, you will fly to Izmir to join your ship for a cruise around the Greek islands stopping at Crete, picturesque Santorini, lovely Mykonos and Athens, before sailing back to Turkey to visit the world renowned ancient city of Ephesus. Then, after a stay at Cappadocia with its mystical landscape, it's back to Istanbul for another tour visiting the remarkable Grand Bazaar and Egyptian spice market.
On arrival at Istanbul you will be met at the airport and taken to your hotel in the city. After settling in you can go out and explore on your own or take an optional half day sightseeing tour in the afternoon. This evening enjoy a superb welcome dinner in the comfort of your hotel which is included in the tour price
After breakfast this morning you'll be driven to Ataturk Airport to catch your flight to Izmir, from where you'll transfer to Kusadasi for your three-night cruise around the Aegean Islands. Your first stop will be Patmos, site of the apocalyptic revelations of St John the Divine, written here during his exile from the Roman Empire. You'll visit the cave where he lived, now part of the Monastery of the Apocalypse, and the fortified Monastery of St John, filled with priceless icons and manuscripts. Afterwards, you'll head back on board for dinner.
In the morning you arrive at Heraklion on the Greek Island of Crete, which is just three miles away from the fantastic ruins of the Palace of Knossos. You will visit this elaborate palace, thought to be the mythical labyrinth of King Minos and the seat of the ancient Minoan culture. After leaving Heraklion next stop is the beautiful island of Santorini with its breathtaking views, white washed houses, narrow streets, open air cafes and glittering boutiques. Dinner and overnight on board.
Today you arrive at Piraeus, the port city of Athens. The Greek capital was the cradle of democracy, birthplace of Western civilization and today is a vibrant city where the old and new co-exist perfectly. Visit the majestic Parthenon which rises above the city, its ancient glory still visible in the time worn stone. Then it's on to the last island of the cruise, Mykonos, where you will see hundreds of tiny chapels and beautiful windmills. Find a table on the waterfront and bask in the serenity of sunset over the pretty harbour. Dinner and overnight on board.
You arrive back at the port town of Kusadasi early in the morning giving you plenty of time to visit the vast nearby ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus. Explore this old Roman city and see the Library of Celcius, the Temple of Hadrian, the Theatre and the Odeon. After lunch travel on to Pamukkale, known as the 'Cotton Castle' with its snow white terraces formed by thermal waters cascading down the hillside. Visit the ruins of Hierapolis with its famous Necropolis, the Basilica Theatre and Plutonium. Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Pamukkale.
After an early breakfast you set off for Cappadocia visiting the Sultanhan Caravansarai on the way. After lunch in Konya you visit the Mausoleum, Museum and Monastery Complex dedicated to Mevlana Celalettin Rumi, the founder of the mystical order of Whirling Dervishes. Great panoramic views later on the journey through the mystifying landscape to Cappadocia where you check into your hotel and have dinner.
A full day excursion today that includes lunch. Begin by exploring the intriguing valley of Cappadocia where nature has created an incredibly strange and colourful world of cones, columns and needles that have been shaped by wind and water. The soft features of the stone have been used to carve out a fantasy like environment of homes, churches with beautiful frescoes, shops and hospitals. Visit the Goreme Open Air Museum, the Castle of Uchisar, the Underground City of Kaymaki and Pasabag. Later you are taken to Kayseri airport for the flight back to Istanbul, where you will check in to your hotel and have dinner.
After breakfast at your hotel enjoy another half day tour of the city visiting the colourful Grand Bazaar, the vast and legendary covered market which is the biggest souk in the world with its 4,000 shops selling antiques, jewellery and carpets. From here continue to the Egyptian Spice Market, an arched complex of shops specialising in spices, herbs vegetables and fruits. After lunch the tour comes to an end when you are driven to the airport to catch an onward flight or begin your journey home.
Standard - Inside Cabin fr £922pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated