To enjoy the most of this itinerary, we recommend a rental car or a chauffeur driven car. Please note that due to flight schedules the visit of Istanbul may be at the beginning of the tour or at the end, that the tour may be organized anti-clockwise.
Day 1 : Istanbul
Arrival in Istanbul, transfer to your hotel and free time to recover from travel.
Overnight in Istanbul
Day 2 : Trabzon
In the morning, transfer to the airport from where will depart for Trabzon at the Black Sea.
We will visit the Byzantine Monastery of Sumela : built more than 1000 years ago, the Monastery of the Virgin Mary at Sumela is one of the most impressive man-made curiosities of the Black Sea region. In the middle of green pines on top of a cliff, the monastery makes part of the preserved Altindere National Park.
On the way to your hotel, you will enjoy a short tour of Trabzon old town. Overnight in Trabzon
Day 3 : Erzurum
We will follow the Black Sea coast in direction of Erzurum : the wild landscapes of Artvin and the Coruh valley, picturesque villages and the scenic heights of Erzurum will animate our journey.
Overnight in Erzurum
Day 4 : Dogubeyazit
In Erzurum we will sightsee the Selcuk monuments before heading for Kars where we will enjoy lunch. In the afternoon, our path brings us to Ani, a site very close to the Armenia-Turkey borders. Afterwards we will continue to Dogubeyazit, a town located at the foot of Mount Ararat (Agri Dagi), the highest mountain of Turkey where Noah’s Ark is thought to have landed.
Overnight in Dogubeyazit.
Day 5 : Van
5 km east from Dogubeyazit we will visit the XVIIIth century Ishak Pasa Palace before we will follow the border road with Iran. Barren landscapes of volcanic stones will be the leading actor along the road till we will reach the Maradiye Waterfalls where we will have lunch. Then following the shores of Lake Van, Turkey’s biggest lake, we will arrive in Van for overnight.
Day 6 : Van
On the way to Hosap, we will visit the ancient Urartian citadel in Cavustepe. After lunch, we take the boat in Gevas for an excursion to Akdamar island on Lake Van. We will visit the Xth century Holy Cross church before returning on firm land and to our hotel in Van.
Day 7 : Diyarbakir
Following the northern shore of Lake Van, we will visit Ahlat, Tatvan and the picturesque town of Bitlis.
In the late afternoon, we will reach Dıyarbakir, the “Black Town” (name due to the dark color of the rocks used to build the town), at the bank of the Tigris river.
Overnight in Diyarbakir.
Day 8 : Mardin
To start our day, we will visit Hasankeyf, a ciff top Roman ruin and the old town of Midyat, an architectural marvel. After lunch, we will Anitli before continuing to Mardin (as opposite to Diyarbakir, called the “White Town”) which overlooks the vast plains of Mesopotamia, the land “between the streams” ie the Tigris and the Euphrates.
Overnight in Mardin.
Day 9 : Mardin
From Mardin we will spend the day in the area visitng the Syriac monasteries of Mar Gabriel, Darulzaferan.
In the afternoon, if time permits, at leisure to stroll the streets of old Mardin.
Overnight in Mardin
Day 10 : Sanliurfa
We will drive through the plains of Mesopotamia with a stop at Gobeklitepe, a 10.000BC temple construction and then continue towards Harran to visit the famous “Beehive” houses and then continue to Urfa, known as birthplace of Abraham which explains the city is also called the “City of Prophets”. We will visit the Abraham’s caves, the Sacred Carps pool and the animated and colorful bazaar.
Overnight in Sanliurfa.
Day 11 : Kahta
In direction of Adiyaman we will cross the Ataturk Dam built on the Euphrates (brief stop). From Kahta, we will visit the Mount Nemrut and the sanctuary of Antiochus I (at sunrise or sunset, depending the season and weather conditions).
Overnight in Kahta.
Day 12 : Gaziantep
As we explore the Ephrates (Rumkale Fortress, the valley submerged by the Birecik dam), we will reach reach the Roman city of Zeugma and tour Gaziantep : the archaeological museum is a treasure chest of superb Roman mosaics from Zeugma saved in extremis from the Birecik dam waters.
Overnight in Gaziantep
Day 13 : Istanbul
For those interested, the day can be spent to visit the Hittite site of Yesemek.
At choice, morning or afternoon flight to Istanbul where you will spend overnight
Day 14 : Istanbul
Full day Istanbul Highlights including :
- The Ayasofya museum (note : closed on mondays)
- The Sultanahmet (Blue) mosque
- The Topkapi Palace - without the Harem (closed on Tuesdays)
- The Hippodrome
- If time avaible, the Yerebatan Cistern and/or the covered bazaar
Day 15 : Time to go... but Anker Travel will be glad to welcome you again
Time at leisure till transfer to the airport or time to say farewell to Turkey.
1. Depending the seasonality or some international events (congress, fairs...) prices of the proposed hotels may vary.
2. Due to closure days of some sites and museums, tours may be swapped to ensure the best running of your program. We have endeavored to show these in the program.
Possible program alternatives :
1. Private excursions at any or all destinations (supplement to be added)
2. Higher or lower hotel category (price difference to be reflected)
3. Guide services in other language than English (supplement possible)
4. Possible connection with other tours you have booked with third parties
5. Chauffeur driven rental car (supplement to be added)
6. This is a program proposal. We are open to any additions or reductions you may require. These will be reflected in the new quotation.
The price quoted is based on a party of 2 adults in a double room