Meet at the crossroads of East and West - the effervescent capital of Istanbul launches your journey of discovery through centuries of turmoil and triumph. Spend the day exploring after being transferred to your hotel. Later, you'll meet your Travel Director and travel companions for a memorable Welcome Reception.
Delve into the treasures of the Ottoman Empire, strolling through the exquisite Topkapi Palace with its spellbinding views of the Bosphorus. We explore Hagia Sophia, once one of the greatest churches in all of Christendom, before following in the footsteps of the faithful for a visit to the Blue Mosque - its six minarets and beautiful blue Iznik tiles are a sight to behold. Dive Into Culture as you haggle for souvenirs at Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered markets in the world with 60 streets and over 5,000 shops. Later, we visit the Byzantine Hippodrome to see where thundering chariots once raced to victory. The rest of the day is yours to explore the city.
We remember the heroism of the many thousands of men who fought bravely at Gallipoli. We'll see Lone Pine Cemetery and the battlefields that today still hold special significance for the Turkish, Australian and New Zealand nations. Spend a quiet moment commemorating the lives lost at Anzac Cove and Chunuk Bair, where some of the fiercest fighting took place during World War I. This evening we stay in Çanakkale where tonight we'll dine in our hotel.
Visit a land of Trojan legends, an ancient city immortalised by Homer in the stories of King Priamus, Hector, Paris and the beautiful Helen. We admire the archaeological excavations at Troy revealing nine separate periods of settlement and the symbolic replica wooden Trojan horse commemorating the epic war machine constructed by the Greeks to end a lengthy siege. We continue to the ancient kingdom of Pergamon to visit the Asclepion Medical Centre whose staff of entwined snakes remains a symbol of modern medicine today. This afternoon, we Connect With Locals over lunch in the village of Demircidere at a Be My Guest experience. We travel to the broad boulevards of seaside Izmir later, and dine in our hotel this evening.
Journey into antiquity and explore the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Ephesus admiring the well-preserved façade of the Library of Celsus and its famous Temple of Artemis. We visit the House of the Virgin Mary, the Temple of Hadrian guarded by Medusa's head, and the Great Theatre, built by the Romans in the 2nd century and still in use today. Relax and enjoy the blissful thermal pools at your hotel in Pamukkale.
This morning we enjoy a leisurely visit to the ancient ruins of the Holy City of Hierapolis, imagining ancient patrons seeking revival and rest within their limestone-laden thermal springs. Our last stop today is Konya where tonight we dine in our hotel.
Visit the Mevlana Museum and Mausoleum in Konya, a former dervish lodge of the Mevlevi order, which reveals the origins of Sufism. Continuing your journey to Cappadocia, you'll see a 13th-century caravanserai then Dive Into Culture to learn about the art of pottery making in Avanos. Later, consider joining an Optional Experience to watch the Whirling Dervishes then enjoy a Regional Meal at a local restaurant. Tonight you'll enjoy an overnight stay at one of Trafalgar's Stays With Stories set alongside the ancient Ortahisar rock castle. Many of the rooms are hewn from the surrounding rock and boast views of Cappadocia's fairy-tale landscapes.
The whimsical landscapes of Cappadocia take centre stage today as you embark on a full-day excursion that will see you visit the Göreme Open-Air Museum, the Paşabağı and Kizil Vadi valleys and underground city of Saratli on the ancient Silk Road. You'll learn about the intricate heritage and art of carpet weaving during a visit to a Turkish carpet emporium before joining your fellow travellers for an included dinner this evening.
Take a short flight this morning to Istanbul, where the rest of the day is yours to explore the city your way. Enjoy a sensory explosion at the vibrant Spice Market, take a stroll through the historic Sultanahmet or find a quiet rooftop café and admire Istanbul's iconic skyline. You could choose instead to join an optional cruise and sail the waters of the Bosphorus which separate Asia and Europe. Tonight, join your Travel Director and fellow companions for a Farewell Dinner.
We say a fond farewell to Turkey and newfound friends as we prepare to depart to the airport for our flight home. Find out more about your free airport transfer at trafalgar.com/freetransfers.