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Istanbul has been and will continue to be the heart and soul of Turkey with over 2500 years of history. A fascinating city, showing how antiquity, with its’ historical mosques and palaces can mix with the modern buildings and culture. A unique buzz embraces you when you arrive, with a population of over 14.5 million official residents, and a wide mix of westernisation and conservative Muslim culture. Then on this trip we explore the spectacular Cappadocian landscape, created as a result of the volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago and sculptured by erosion. We visit one of the fascinating large underground cities, built by Christians to escape persecution. A great 4 day vacation.
Day 1 – Istanbul’s Sultanahmet area
Today we visit the old part of Istanbul, Sultanahmet. Our first stop is the Blue Mosque, an unrivalled masterpiece of ancient Islamic architecture. Only a short distance away is the Hagia Sophia, Once a cathedral, its enormous dome changed the face of architecture and stood for nearly a thousand years as the largest cathedral in the world.
We then explore the Hippodrome, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts and the Mosaics Museum. After lunch we visit the Topkapi Palace (closed Tuesdays), an impressive complex which was the royal residence of the Ottoman Sultans for hundreds of years. Work up an appetite with a stroll along the seafront at Eminönü and have a famed fish sandwich. Or in Sultanahmet, enjoy a relaxed evening in one of the many rooftop bars or restaurants before returning to your hotel.
Day 2 – Free morning, fly to Cappadocia
The morning is free for you to do some shopping or just relax in Istanbuls' famous outdoor cafes,shop or do an optional activity such as a cruise along the Bosphorus. In the afternoon we transfer you to the airport for our flight to Cappadocia. On arrival, we’ll transfer directly to your hotel.
Day 3 – Fairy Chimneys, Stunning Rock Formations & Hands-on Pottery
Today’s tour includes some wonderful photo view points stops to take all those stunning photos of the beautiful landscape. We then head to Avanos, famous for pottery and the Red river where you will learn about and watch a pottery demonstration. After lunch, you will visit Goreme open air museum, a vast complex containing some of the finest rock hewn churches and frescoes in the region. The last stop will be Uchisar castle, natural and one of the biggest mass fairy chimney’s in the region.
Day 4 – Underground City, River Walk & Cave Cathedral
Your second day begins with a journey into the Derinkuyu Underground City, This complex is possibly one of the largest of its kind, with many floors still to be uncovered. Your guide will lead you through the narrow and low height passages to the many rooms within. We continue our journey to Ihlara Valley, for a peaceful one hour walk along the Melendiz River. This gorge is one of the most popular places to go hiking, famous for its natural beauty, vineyards and wildlife.There are around 400 steps down to the riverbed.
After stopping for lunch, we continue on to the spectacular Selime Monastery, the largest rock-cut monastery in the region. Returning to Göreme we finally stop at a viewpoint of Pigeon Valley for more scenic photos.
We will then transfer you to Kayseri airport for your flight to Istanbul. You arrive in Istanbul around 10pm and the tour ends.
You will have some free time and these are some of our suggestions for optional activities