Highlights of this itinerary
OverviewDay 01: Arrive Istanbul
Day 02: Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sofia Museum, Hippodrome, Suleymaniye Mosque and the University Botanical Garden.
Day 03: Ataturk Arboretum, Belgrad forest, Emirgan Park & Sakip Sabanci
Day 04: Bursa: the Green Mosque and Iznik Museum , Bursa , the Ottoman Village
Day 05: Bursa: The ancient Mysian Olympus and Mount Uludag , Inkaya Cinari , Kozahan and the Covered Bazaar.
Day 06: Kutahya
Day 07 : Usak
Day 08 : Kula, Birgi
Day 09 : one of the biggest nurseries of Turkey , Odemis Handcrafts Market, Ephesus , Fountains of Trojan, Polio, the Temples of Hadrian and Domition, the Library of Celsius, Scholastic Baths, Bouloterion, the Great Theatre and a private home
Day 10 : Sirince, Pamukkale
Day 11 : Isparta, Bucak & Elmali
Day 12 : adventure is in the midst of the gracious and tranquil Taurus Mountain
Day 13 : Antalya
Day 14 : Aspendos , the Ormana Village of Ibradi .
Day 15 : Konya : The Mevlana Museum , the Selimiye Mosque , Alaaddin Mosque and Castle .
Day 16 : day at leasure in Istanbul
Day 17 : Fly Back Home
- Companion of garden specialist Gursan Ergil throughout trip as a tour leader.
- Services of a licenced, professional, English speaking tour guide throughout trip
- Arrival & departure airport transfers
- All transport with a 27-seater midibus
- 12 nights accommodation in small boutique hotels and farms.
- All sightseeing tours and garden, farm, vinyard visits as stated in the itinerary
- Entrance fees to all sites mentioned in the itinerary (except Harem in Topkapi Palace)
- Meals as stated in the itinerary (B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner) - 12 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 9 dinners
- Service charges, parking fees, 18% VAT
- International flights
- Entry Visa
- Tips for guide & driver
- Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Drinks with meals
- Personal expenses
Day 1 (25 April 2014, Friday - Istanbul Arrival)
Welcome to Istanbul! You will be transferred to your hotel and the remainder of the day is yours, free to explore. Enjoy a welcome dinner this evening. Overnight in Istanbul. ( D)
Day 2 (26 April 2014, Saturday - Istanbul (B,L))
After breakfast we start an historical introduction to the city of Istanbul. We visit the interiors and gardens of Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sofia Museum, Hippodrome, Suleymaniye Mosque and the University Botanical Garden. Overnight at the hotel. (B,L)
Istanbul University Science Faculty Alfred Heilbronn Botanical Garden http://www.istanbul.edu.tr/fen/en/botanik-bahcesi.php)
Day 3 (27 April 2014, Sunday - Istanbul)
Today Gursan Ergil will lead the group to assorted important botanical sites of Istanbul. Ataturk Arboretum was founded by Istanbul University and Ministry of Forest with the reason of scientific research and observation of cultivated trees and other woody plants which are carefully selected and put together.
Belgrad forest consisting mainly of oak, with oriental birch, common hornbeam and Anatolian chestnut also growing here.. The forest is home to about 71 species of bird and 18 mammals. We also get to visit the waterworks located inside the forest.
Emirgan Park is one of the largest municipal parks in Istanbul with Europe’s biggest grotto. These dates will correspond with the tulip festival, and the park will be very colorful.
Sakip Sabanci is perhaps one of the most private museums of Istanbul also has a magnificently designed garden that we will visit. We will also visit a private garden of a house, which will be opened only for our group. Overnight in Istanbul. (B,L)
Day 4 (28 April 2014, Monday - Iznik, Bursa)
After an early morning start, our first visit is to a private garden of an artist located outside of Istanbul on the Asian continent. On our way to Anatolia, we pass an important historical town, Iznik, where the Councils of Nicaea (1st and 7th Ecumenical Councils) took place. Iznik is a beautiful town located by Iznik Lake and famous with its monumental trees, ceramics and tiles. After visiting Hagia Sophia, the Green Mosque and Iznik Museum we will drive all along the Iznik Lake and Iznik Plain which is covered with fruit orchards, olive trees and walnuts. We then make our way to the first capital city of Ottoman Empire, Bursa. Upon arrival at the Ottoman Village, Cumalikizik, we walk between the old houses and fruit gardens of the village. These villages are famous for their berries, especially raspberries. Overnight in Cumalikizik. (B,L,D)
Day 5 (29 April 2014, Tuesday - Bursa)
After breakfast we climb the ancient Mysian Olympus and Mount Uludag. This is the highest mountain of Marmara region and a national park with a rich fauna and flora. On our way to the top, we will visit Inkaya Cinari, with its monumental plane tree. We spend the evening walking around in Bursa town visiting Kozahan and the Covered Bazaar. Overnight in Bursa. (B,L)
Day 6 (30 April 2014, Wednesday - Kutahya)
Today, we make our way to Kutahya, a small town where the world famous Kutahya Tiles are produced. The history of Kutahya dates back to 3rd Millenium BC. Kutahya has been occupied by Romans, Selcuk Turks, Germiyan Turks and lastly, Ottomans. We visit the atelier of an implausible artist, Sitki Usta, and take part in a pottery workshop here. The area is also important for its Domanic Forest and Kasalic Nature Reserve, which bears the distinctiveness of a Black Sea forest ecosystem, even though it lies in Anatolia. One can occasionally spot vultures here. Overnight in Kutahya. (B,L,D)
Day 7 (1 May 2014, Thursday - Gediz, Uşak)
Today we travel to Usak where we take numerous stops along the Gediz Delta. Gediz delta is the largest of Turkey covering 40,000 hectare area. The delta is important with many bird species to be found here.
Usak is a major center of production and export of carpets, so take some free time to explore the shops. Overnight in Usak. (B,L)
Day 8 (2 May 2014, Friday - Kula, Birgi)
In the morning we drive through Anatolia towards the Aegean Sea. On our way is Kulawith its volcanic rock formations. The houses of Kula are under strict protection now. We walk along the tapered and labyrinthine streets and observe the examples of both Turkish and Greek architecture.
In the afternoon, we arrive in Birgi, a well preserved Selcuk and Ottoman village, with a exquisite river cutting through its streets of the town. We take an afternoon walk to a Monumental Cypress Tree and a local silk producer and weaver. Overnight in Birgi. (B,L)
Day 9 (3 May 2014, Saturday - Odemis, Ephesus, Selcuk)
After enjoying a free morning in town, we make our way to Odemis to visit one of the biggest nurseries of Turkey. We attend a detailed lecture about numerous species that are cultivated here. We will also stop by the Odemis Handcrafts Market, where the women of the region exhibit their textile art on a street market every Saturday. In the afternoon we visit a breathtakingly beautiful and very well preserved ancient city, Ephesus. Sites include the Fountains of Trojan, Polio, the Temples of Hadrian and Domition, the Library of Celsius, Scholastic Baths, Bouloterion, the Great Theatre and a private home. Overnight in Sirince. (B,L)
Day 10 (4 May 2014, Sunday - Sirince, Pamukkale)
We begin the morning with a walk around the town of Sirince with its cherry and peach fields. We will continue with a very traditional experience visiting Can Carpet which is an atelier located in Camlik village. Here we will learn about the art of extracting colors from plants and roots to dye wool.
We will then head to Pamukkale, one of the most fascinating places in the world. Pamukkale has always been a very popular destination where the hot springs were believed to have healing powers, so the city became the center of a pagan cult in antiquity and a spa resort that it is today. We then visit the ancient city of Hierapolis that was constructed atop the springs and several ruins remain. Overnight in Pamukkale. (B,L,D)
Day 11 (5 May 2014, Monday - Isparta, Bucak, Elmali)
A very, very early morning rise to go rose picking! As we leave Pamukkale behind, we head to the land of roses, Isparta. During this time of the year, we are just entering the rose season in Turkey, hoping to pick from the very first harvest. We form part of an educational journey with the roses from the moment they are picked until they are distilled and processed as rose water, rose oil, jams and perfumes.
We will then drive through beautiful landscape and villages towards Elmali where we will spend the afternoon visiting farms and wooden houses of the village. Overnight in Elmali. (B,L)
Day 12 (6 May 2014, Tuesday - Elmali)
This morning’s adventure is in the midst of the gracious and tranquil Taurus Mountains. We visit the oldest tree in Turkey, a Cedrus Libani dated over 2000 years. We also visit Tahtacilar, where the traditional wood cutters live, known to talk to the trees. Overnight in Antalya. (B,L,D)
Day 13 (7 May 2014, Wednesday - Antalya)
Once we arrive in Antalya we visit the Antalya Museum. This is one of the largest and most important museums in Turkey, exhibiting pieces of Mediterranean and Pamphylia history of the regions in Anatolia. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Antalya. (B,L,D)
Day 14 (8 May 2014, Thursday - Aspendos, Ibradi)
In the morning we leave the shores of Mediterranean and head towards the heart of Anatolia. On our way, we visit Aspendos, a famous ancient city for its best-preserved theater which until this day, is used for performances and festivals. In the afternoon we arrive in the Ormana Village of Ibradi. Along the way once we arrive in Akseki, we pursue orchids, which tend to be hidden away. Tonight’s accommodation is in the Ormana’s traditional old button houses. Overnight in Ormana. (B,L)
Day 15 (9 May 2014, Friday - Konya)
Today we make our way to religious capital of Turkey, also the home of Sufi Whirling Dervishes. Once we arrive in Konya, we firstly visit the Mevlana Museum. We learn some tales about Mevlana and his universal renowned Sufi philosophy before visiting the Selimiye Mosque. Time permitting, our next visit is the Alaaddin Mosque and Castle - one of the most important structures of Konya.
It is here that we get to meet a Sufi Dervish as well as a healer living in the town. During our discussion, he will give us first hand information about the philosophy and life of the Sufi people. Overnight in Konya. (B,L,D)
Day 16 (10 May 2014, Saturday - Istanbul (B,D))
After breakfast, we take a morning flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival and check in to the hotel, spend the day at leisure in Istanbul. In the afternoon we board our boat taking us from Eminonu for a 4 hour cruise along the Bosphorus, the strait dividing Asia and Europe. The perfect end to three weeks of a great Turkish experience.
Day 17 (11 May 2014, Sunday - Istanbul (B))
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back home. (B)