7 days exploring the marvels of magnificent Turkey
Day 1: A Luxury Arrival
After a flight time of just under four hours we arrived at Istanbul International Airport. The transfer time to the city took around half an hour, which gave us plenty of time to meet our very accommodating tour manager Meryem in the luxurious five-star hotel. After a delicious dinner of local dishes there was just enough time to relax at the hotel bar with a well-deserved drink before turning in for an early night in advance of our magnificent week in Turkey!
Day 2: Marvellous Architecture
Our first day of sightseeing began in the grand city of Istanbul with a journey into the ancient quarter. Here Meryem brought us to the cool marble interior of the TopKapi Palace and the magnificent gilded hall of the Hagia Sophia. Just as we thought the architecture couldn’t get much better our tour group arrived at the famous Blue Mosque with its six spires and domed roofs. After countless photo opportunities we made our way back to another stunning hotel in Tekirdag on the Sea of Marmara, where we took the time to walk along the beach after some wonderful local food and wine.
Day 3: Epic Troy
On the journey to Canakkale we got a good sense of how beautifully scenic the landscape of Turkey can be. We stopped in Gallipoli to try some refreshing Turkey apple tea before taking a short ferry ride to the Asian side of Turkey. Travelling over water was a welcome break and our trip to the ancient city of Troy was more than epic. After exploring the ruins and brushing up on our ancient history, we checked into our hotel at Ayvalik for a nightcap of Rakı and a well-earned rest.
Day 4: Breath Taking Ephesus
Visiting the ruins of Ephesus on our fourth day in Turkey really took our breath away, as did the site of the Basilica of St John, built on the believed burial ground of St John the Apostle. After the heat of day we were taken to the village of Sirince where we tasted the local wines before heading to the city of Kusadasi, for our evening meal in yet another five star hotel!
Day 5: Relaxation among natural wonders
We were looking forward to our Friday trip all week! On our visit to Hieropolis, Meryem brought us to the natural hot springs of Pamukkale. Chalky and aquamarine views across one of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders were just what the doctor ordered after four days of cultural stimulation. With not much on the schedule for the day, some of the group retired to the spa hotel to indulge while a few of us strolled around Pamukkale at our leisure. A perfect Friday evening!
Day 6: A 9000-Year-Old Tradition
After bidding farewell Pamukkale we made our way to a handcraft exhibition, which Meryem arranged for the group. Here we saw ancient Anatolian traditional rug and kilim making and had the opportunity to buy small (or large) examples of the 9000 year old tradition to take back home. Travelling back by coach we made our way along the beautiful landscape of the Taurus Mountains toward Antalya for a tasty evening meal and few drinks with our travel companions.
Day 7: The Turkish Riviera
Our final day in Turkey was along the “Turkish Riviera”, as it is known. We began in the city centre of Antalya, taking in the sights of the famous Three Gates, the Old Town Castle and strolling along the historic harbour, where had a delicious seafood lunch. In the afternoon Meryem brought us out to take in one last epic view: the Karpuz Kaldiran waterfall, before showing us some local exhibitions of handcraft and cultural artefacts from the region. In the evening we enjoyed our last night in luxury accommodation with a wonderful three course meal.
On day eight we made our journey back to the UK with plenty of photographs to show our friends and family, and some very fond and awesome memories of our superbly organised and hosted week in magnificent Turkey. Highly recommended!
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