Day 1 IstanbulMake your own way to Istanbul , where we'll meet you at the airport for your free scheduled group transfer. Alternatively, we can book you a private transfer or you can make your own arrangements. Your Tour Manager will meet you at your hotel for your welcome meeting that evening.
Meals included: D
Day 2 Istanbul
Get set for a full-day tour of Byzantine and Ottoman relics on your tour of Istanbul. Sultanahmet Square rests at the heart of the Old City and we start here with a visit to historic chariot racing arena, the Hippodrome. You'll also get to tick off your landmark bucket list when we visit the awe-inspiring Blue Mosque with its many domes and hand-painted blue tiles. Then we'll discover the iconic Hagia Sophia, once the largest Christian church in the world, it is now considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture.
A scrumptious lunch awaits at a Turkish restaurant, before free time for shopping at the Egyptian and Grand Bazaars. The Grand Bazaar is a heady mix of spices and is alive with the hustle and bustle of people bartering over everything from war medals and pots to carpets and clothing, as well as fruit and leather goods. We'll also stop for coffee at an authentic shop to learn about the process of making Turkish coffee and taste the sweet treat, Baklava, made with filo pastry, nuts and honey. Explore as you wish by night, or join us on an excursion to a Turkish night club for a belly-dancing show.
Day 3 Istanbul - Canakkale
This morning you will have some free time to explore at your leisure or choose an optional half-day cruise of the Bosporus. With over an hour on board, we'll cross from Europe to Asia amid spectacular city views. Once there, hop off the boat for a glimpse of local life on the Asian side. Our leisurely drive to Canakkale takes us via the lovely Marmara Sea for sweeping coastal views. On the way, we'll stop at the famous World War I battlefields of Gallipoli, the large and poignant resting site of Australian, New Zealand, British and Turkish soldiers killed in the war. A ferry trip across the Dardanelles channel brings us to Canakkale for dinner at the hotel.Meals included: B,D
Day 4 Canakkale - IzmirOur first stop today is the city of Troy, bathed in the legends of Homer's the Iliad, an epic poem about the Trojan War. In real life, it's a fascinating archaeological site showcasing more than 3,000 years of history. A treat awaits as we continue to the traditional village of Yesilyurt to see how Gözleme pastries are made and enjoy a tasting served with apple tea. To top the day off, we'll discover the magnificent Acropolis and Asclepion of the ancient city of Pergamon, before swapping stories over dinner at the hotel. Meals included: B,D
Day 5 Izmir
The UNESCO-listed ancient city of Ephesus is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis. This morning we'll tour the massive excavation site that St Paul once visited on his way back to Antioch, as well as stopping to admire the bathhouses and the majestic Library of Celsus.
While in Selcuk, we'll also visit the Basilica of St Jean before an afternoon journey into nature at the picturesque Greek village of Sirince. The region is a wine-lover's paradise and is known for producing some of Turkey's best olives and exquisite handmade olive oil products.
Day 6 Izmir - Bursa
Today we'll enjoy a delicious breakfast at the hotel before driving through Manisa and Balikesir to our next destination of Bursa. The former capital of the Ottoman Empire brims with historic gems, such as the Grand Mosque and the Tombs of Osman and Orhan, the first Ottoman Sultans.
We'll then take a tour to discover the delights of the Silk Market. The quaint and charming stores here offer scarves, fabrics, silver and artistic crafts, all with a stunning backdrop of decorative Ottoman architecture.
Day 7 Bursa - Istanbul
Our departure for Istanbul after breakfast sees us arrive in the city by around midday. Spend the afternoon at your leisure or join us for an optional excursion, starting with lunch at a traditional Turkish restaurant. After lunch, we'll visit the Topkapi Palace Museum to see priceless collections including Chinese porcelain and the Imperial Treasury. Recount your travel memories over a farewell dinner in the fisherman's village area of Kumpaki with a local drink, before enjoying free time in the bright lights of the city.Meals included: B,D