DAY 1 ISTANBUL
You will be met at Istanbul Ataturk airport and transferred to your hotel. This evening join your fellow travelling companions and Turkish Guide for a traditional Turkish kebab dinner in a local restaurant. (D)
Your Istanbul Hotel – Hotel Dosso Dossi
The Korumar Hotel is located approximately 2.5 km from the town centre and commands the most beautiful sea view. This hotel combines style, a high standard of accommodation and a wide range of modern facilities including 2 private beaches, 2 pools and extensive spa facilities. See www.korumar.com.tr
DAY 2 INSTANBUL
Straddling 2 continents – Europe and Asia – Istanbul dates back thousands of years and its grand monuments bear testament to ancient empires and the Byzantine and Ottoman eras. First stop of the day will be at the Byzantine Hippodrome, now known as Sultanahmet Square, to visit one of the world’s great religious sites – the magnificent Blue Mosque. The highlight of your day will be a tour of Topkapi Palace (formerly the Sultan’s Palace), home to the treasures of the Ottoman Empire and visiting the fourth century, Yerabatan underground cisterns which riddle the foundations of the city.
Your tour of Istanbul would not be complete without the exotic experience of having Turkish tea at a historic Medrese (16th & 17th century Ottoman and Islamic Schools). Here you will be able to sample varieties of Turkish coffee, traditional apple tea and, if you wish, try a ‘Shisha’ (waterpipe). Your evening is at leisure. (B)
DAY 3 GALLIPOLI
Departing Istanbul we drive to the Gallipoli Peninsula, where our ‘Gallipoli Campaign’ begins. After time at leisure for lunch in Gelibolu (Gallipoli town) we journey to Cape Helles on the remote tip of the Gallipoli peninsula. Here, at the most south-westerly corner of Europe, is the British Commonwealth’s main monument to the whole Gallipoli campaign – the Helles Memorial. All Australian & New Zealand units which fought on the peninsula between April and December 1915 are commemorated here.
On the outside walls of the memorial, along with thousands of other Allied servicemen, are the names of hundreds of Australian and New Zealand infantrymenwhodiedinbattleonthis,theHellesFront,and‘havenoknown grave’. Theirs is a forgotten story of the ANZAC struggle at Gallipoli. From the heights of the spectacular Turkish Memorial – the Canakkale Martyrs Memorial – we view the mouth of the Straits of the Dardanelles, that great waterway which was the primary Allied objective of the Gallipoli campaign.
Later we cross the Dardanelles to Canakkale town where we stay for the next three nights, allowing us to properly immerse ourselves into the conflict and tragedy that evolved almost 100 years ago. This evening we have invited a local historian to join us and give an interesting overview of the Gallipoli Campaign from the Turkish perspective. (B, D)
Your Canakkale Hotel – Truva Hotel
DAY 4 GALLIPOLI
Our Gallipoli Campaign continues today. The peninsula is filled with cemeteries, a war museum and many memorials to the tragic events of 1915. As you enter this almost barren land, you can still sense the war and heartache that once dominated the landscape, breaking the silent air. Our expert guides have handled numerous special ANZAC Day commemorative tours and worked closely with our team of War Historians. Their intimate background knowledge separates fact from fiction and provides numerous fascinating insights into the lifestyle and living conditions of the legendary ‘ANZAC Diggers’. Our first visits will be to Anzac Cove and Beach Cemetery – now home to one of Australia’s most legendary soldiers, Private John Simpson. We will then trace the steps of the ANZACs up into the rugged hills to visit the ANZAC Memorials at Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair. Amongst the numerous sights also visited will be ShrapnelValley, Walker’s Ridge, the Nek and the surrounding trenches. Our last stop on the Gallipoli Peninsula will be the Kabatepe War Museum with its absorbing collection of war relics and memorabilia. We have included lunch at a nearby hotel. (B, L, D)
DAY 5 GALLIPOLI
A special day has been planned. Departing early we will cross the Dardanelles and gather under the early morning sun for a private wreath laying ceremony to commemorate the tragic events of 25th April 1915. Each member of our small group will be welcome to say a few words and express their thoughts. It will be your own personal tribute. Maybe a simple ‘thanks’, a personal poem or a minute of silence. The choice is entirely yours. Mid morning we will return to our hotel for a late breakfast and then visit the nearby ruins of the ancient city of Troy, the site of the mythological battle Homer immortalised in his Illiad. Archaeologists have proved that there had been nine separate periods of settlement here dating back to 3,000 BC. Your afternoon is at leisure in Canakkale. (B, D)
DAY 6 KUSADASI
Travelling south down the mountainous coastline of Turkey, our first stop will be at the ancient Acropolis of Pergamum which is famous for its wealth of archaeological ruins. From the Temple of Trajan you will admire the stunning views of the surrounding countryside. We then continue down the west coast to the popular port of Kusadasi – a resort town for the wealthy citizens of Ephesus in ancient times. We stay here three nights. (B, D)
Your Kusadasi Hotel – Hotel Korumar Deluxe.
DAY 7 KUSADASI
The highlight of today will be a visit to one of the ancient wonders of the world, the inspiring ruins of Ephesus. Rated one of the world’s best archaeological sites, you will walk along the 2,000 year oldmarble streets, visit the Temple of Hadrian and the famous Library of Celsus. We also visit the nearby House of the Virgin Mary, nestled high in the hills overlooking the city of Ephesus. (B, D)
DAY 8 KUSADASI
A wonderful day left at leisure! Your day is completely free to enjoy the sights and shopping in this attractive and bustling resort town. (B,D)
DAY 9 PAMUKKALE
Heading past Mugla we reach Aphrodisias, one of Turkey’s most important archaeological discoveries of recent decades. These marvellous ruins rival Ephesus and include the Temple of Aphrodite with its dazzling white marble and a vast, virtually intact amphitheatre. Later we drive to Pamukkale where we stay two nights. (B,D)
Your Pamukkale hotel – Hotel Pam Thermal
DAY 10 PAMUKKALE
Today we visit the petrified white lime cascades of Pamukkale. At the nearby Hierapolis we will see the stadium and take a fascinating stroll through the tombs of the Necropolis. Your afternoon is at leisure to relax in the thermal pools and spas at your hotel. (B,D)
DAY 11 CAPPADOCIA
Crossing the Anatolian Plain we visit the Caravanserai Sultanhan on the Silk Road. Entering Cappadocia our first stop will be a visit to the Bronze Age ‘pottery village’of Avanos. Cappadocia is located south of Mount Erciyes, and is a volcanic region known for its curious ‘fairy chimneys,’ cones and strange rock formations that have been sculpted by wind and rain. Over many centuries people seeking shelter from the conquerors and marauding armies of the Central Anatolian Plateau settled here, burrowing whole subterranean towns. We will stay three nights in this remarkable place. (B, D)
Your Cappadocia Hotel: Gamirasu Cave Hotel.
Gamirasu is the name of an exquisitely restored 30 rooms troglodyte cave house in Ayvali Village near Urgup in the heart of Cappadocia. The hotel is located in a restored thousand-year-old Byzantine monastic retreat which offers modern conveniences without distracting from the spiritual feeling of the area. Hotel rooms are built into volcanic rock with vaulted ceilings and decorated in traditional Turkish style. See www.gamirasu.com
DAY 12 CAPPADOCIA
Enjoy a full day touring the moon-like landscape of Cappadocia. The unique scenery of the Goreme Valley (one of the oldest settlements of the region) with rock chapels, carved by early Christians, is an unforgettable experience.We see Uchisar Castle and laterwe visit the‘underground city’ of Kaymakli. It is thought that the Hittites originally constructed this city over 3,000 years ago. These chambers were later expanded into an extensive troglodytic complex by Christians escaping the Arab invasions of the 7th and 8th centuries. (B,D)
DAY 13 CAPPADOCIA
This morning we have included amemorable activity that will surely be a highlight of your tour. Boarding a hot air balloon we gently ascend to enjoy a dramatic journey gliding silently over the fairy chimneys of Goreme and across the Cappadocia ‘moonscape’ countryside. Later we return to our wonderful ‘cave hotel’ to relax. The rest of the day and evening are free to explore this intriguing area at your own pace, and the perfect opportunity to discover a local restaurant and experience the regional cuisine. (B)
DAY 14 ISTANBUL
This morning we transfer to the Airport for our flight to Istanbul. On arrival back in Istanbul we will visit the famous Grand Bazaar, a maze of 65 winding, covered streets and arguably themost famous ‘coveredmarket’ in the world. In its 4,000 shops you will find Turkish carpets, glazed tiles and pottery, copper and brassware, leather clothes and many other treasures. Tonight we have included a farewell dinner in a local restaurant. (B,D)
Your Istanbul Hotel – Hotel Dosso Dossi
DAY 15 ISTANBUL
Sadly your tour finishes this morning after breakfast with a transfer to the airport. (B)