Classics of Turkey and Greece Multi Country Vacation

Begin your journey in Istanbul on the Bosphorus and see amazing sites such as the Topkapi Palace, the Hippodrome, the famed Blue Mosque and the endless Grand Bazaar. Next, travel to Ankara and visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, the Mausoleum of Ataturk, father of modern Turkey, then continue on to Cappadocia. En route, you will have a chance to see a 13th century caravanserai and the underground city of Saratli. Arrive in Cappadocia and take an optional hot air balloon tour over the most unique landscape in Turkey. From here you will visit the towns of Goreme, Avanose, Pasabagi and the Red Valley. Next you will see Pamukkale with a stop at the mausoleum of Mevlana, the Sufi philosopher. Arrive in Pamukkale and take in the white lime cascades and the Roman Hierapolis Health Spa ruins. Travel further through Turkey to the city of Kusadasi where you will tour through Ephesus, home of the Library of Celsius, the famed Gymnasium, Hadrian's Temple and the Virgin Mary's cottage. From here you will board your cruise to the Greek island of Heraklion to the Palace of Knossos for sites such as the throne room, the fresco of  "The Prince of Lilies," the grand staircase, and the Queen's megaron. Sail to Santorini for some free time and shopping in the quaint village of Oia. Your ship docks in Athens and your trip finishes with a panoramic tour of the city including the Acropolis and the Parthenon.

 MULTI COUNTRY ESCAPE - Scheduled departures - 13-day/12-nights packages visiting Istanbul, Ankara, Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Ephesus & Kusadasi in Turkey and Patmos, Crete, Santorini & Athens in Greece. Includes an 8-night escorted tour of Turkey (guaranteed departures English only coach tour) including accommodation at superior first class & deluxe hotels with breakfast daily, 6 dinners, arrival & departure transfers, touring by modern air-conditioned motor coach, and guided sightseeing as indicated in the itinerary; a 2-night Greek Island cruise with all meals on board including drinks and 2 shore excursions; 2 nights accommodation at a first class hotel in Athens, an arrival transfer in Athens, and a half-day city tour in Athens.

Includes

  • Transfers as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Taxes and service charges
  • Hotels mentioned in the itinerary or similar
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary by the code letters (B) Breakfast, (L) Lunch, (D) Dinner
  • Sightseeing as described in the itinerary
  • Cruising
  • ASTA TOP Tour operator travel funds protection program

Excludes

  • Personal expenses
  • Port taxes
  • Optional tours
  • Customary tips to your drivers, guides and escorts
  • Local city taxes
  • Flights

Daily Itinerary

Day

1

Istanbul – Arrival

You will be transferred to your hotel in Istanbul upon arrival. (Your arrival transfer is included only if you arrive on the actual day the tour commences. For customers arriving earlier an individual transfer can be organized at an additional cost.) The rest of the day is at leisure until you meet your tour director for a welcome briefing.

Day

2

Explore Istanbul

Today, enjoy a full-day tour of Istanbul including a visit to Topkapi Palace, residence of the Ottoman Sultans between 1453 and 1852 (excluding harem). Visit the Hippodrome which was once the center of life where chariot racing and other public events took place. Tour the Blue Mosque built between 1609 and 1616, and famous for its blue ceramic tiles. Your last stop will be the famous Grand Bazaar, the world’s largest and oldest covered market with over 60 streets. In the evening, consider joining an optional dinner with belly dancing entertainment. (B)

Day

3

Istanbul – Ankara

In the morning, consider joining an optional tour of St. Sophia, a church built in the 6th century Byzantine capital, converted to a mosque by the Ottomans, and now a museum and one of the world's greatest architectural wonders. Continue to along the Bosphorus, enjoying the strait that separates Asia and Europe. Its shores are lined with fine neighborhoods, Ottoman palaces, fortresses, old wooden villas, hotels, parks and gardens, and restaurants and cafes. In the afternoon, depart for the capital city of Ankara. (B,D)

Superior First: Crowne Plaza Ankara

Day

4

Ankara – Cappadocia

In the morning, visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations with its Hittite treasures and artifacts from the world's oldest city. Continue with a visit of the Mausoleum of Ataturk, father of modern Turkey. Depart for Cappadocia, famous for it's "moon-like" landscapes. En route, visit a 13th century caravanserai. Pay a visit to the underground city of Saratli. Enjoy dinner at an authentic local restaurant. Later in the evening, consider seeing an optional Whirling Dervishes performance. (B,D)

Superior First: Kapadokya Lodge

Day

5

Explore Cappadocia

Consider an early morning optional hot air balloon tour. Experience floating through the volcanic valleys, fairy chimneys and caves at sunrise. After breakfast, visit Goreme, a historical region of Turkey, located among rock formations. It was first settled back in the Roman period. Many rock churches can still be seen today, as Christianity was then the prevailing religion in that region. Continue to the town of Avanos, renowned for its high quality earthenware. Also visit Pasabagi and the Red Valley, and attend a brief regional pottery workshop in a cave. (B,D)

Superior First: Kapadokya Lodge

Day

6

Cappadocia – Pamukkale

After breakfast, depart for Pamukkale. En route, visit the famous mausoleum of the Sufi philosopher Mevlana. (B,D)

Day

7

Pamukkale – Kusadasi

Today, tour Pamukkale which means "Cotton Castle", describing the white lime cascades formed by hot mineral springs. Visit the ruins of the Roman health spa of Hierapolis. Continue to Kusadasi. (B,D)

Superior First: Charisma Hotel

Day

8

Ephesus & Virgin Mary's House – Kusadasi

Today, tour the ruins of Ephesus, an important cultural center of the ancient world, and explore the 2,000-year old marble streets, a theater, the Library of Celsius, a gymnasium, and Hadrian's Temple. Take a short drive to see the Virgin Mary's stone cottage. Continue to a regional rug production center to have firsthand experience of this unique art form. (B,D)

Superior First: Charisma Hotel

Day

9

Kusadasi – Embark Cruise – Patmos

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the pier to embark on a 2-night Greek Island cruise. The ship departs from Kusadasi at 1:00 pm for a cruise to Patmos. Arrive in Patmos at 4:00 pm. You will have time for an optional tour or explore this island on your own. The ship departs from Patmos at 9:00 pm for an overnight cruise to Crete. (B,L,D)

Day

10

Heraklion (Crete) – Santorini

Arrive in Heraklion, on the fabled island of Crete, at 7:00 am. Heraklion is the birthplace of the Minoan civilization, founded in 824. It was one of the major harbors during the Venetian occupation and the city offers a myriad of monuments of Venetian art and architecture. Join an excursion to the Palace of Knossos. The ancient city of Knossos which has been continuously inhabited from the Neolithic era until the 5th century A.D., is beyond doubt the land that “gave birth” to the first civilization of Europe, the Minoans. The palace, which was according to legends the residence of the wise King Minos, spreads around a large central court. You will see the awe inspiring Throne Room, the fresco of the “Prince of the Lilies”, the imposing Grand Staircase, and the Queen’s Megaron in the east. At 11:30 am, proceed to the island of Santorini. Arrive in Santorini at 4:30 pm and join an excursion to Oia Village perched on the rim of the Caldera. Stroll through its marble-paved alleys, gaze at the adorably cute shops, and become acquainted with the characteristic buildings, carved into the rocks. The ship departs from Santorini at 9:00 pm for an an overnight cruise to Piraeus, Athens. (B,L,D)

Day

11

Athens – Disembark Cruise

Early in the morning (6:00 am), arrive in Piraeus and disembark the ship. You will be transferred from the port to your hotel. Enjoy a free day in Athens. You may use the time for some last minute shopping or sightseeing. (B)

Superior First: Athenaeum Grand

Day

12

Explore Athens

This morning, enjoy a panoramic city tour of Athens including the Acropolis with its breathtaking views and the renowned Parthenon. The remainder of the day is at leisure or consider joining an optional afternoon tour to Cape Sounion. (B)

Superior First: Athenaeum Grand

Day

13

Athens – Return

After breakfast, you make your own way to the Athens airport for your return flight home. (B)