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Trip Location: Istanbul
Uncover the beauty of Turkey with two of the most important bucket-list places, Istanbul and Cappadocia. Learn about the vast and diverse history while you roam the old town decorated with beautiful monuments and mosques. Cruise along the Bosphorus before driving to the fairy-tale land of Cappadocia. Experience the breath-taking formations as you walk around and take off on a hot-air balloon for a better view! Then fly back to Istanbul in comfort.
Highlights of the trip:
Istanbul Ottoman Relics and Byzantium Tour
Princess Island Tour
Bosphorus Cruise Tour
Cappadocia South Tour
Hot Air Balloon Safari in Cappadocia
Arrival at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Overnight at Istanbul.
After breakfast, comprehensive sightseeing tour of Istanbul provides the perfect introduction to the fabled city that spans Asia and Europe. On this one day sightseeing tour you will see how old meets new when you visit Istanbul’s four “must-see” historic sites. Formally called Constantinople, Istanbul was the capital of the Roman Empire and Europe’s wealthiest metropolis, and is now the largest city in Turkey.
One of the most famous monuments in both the Turkish and Islamic worlds, the Sultan Ahmet Mosque (also known as the Blue Mosque) is a superb creation in the classical Ottoman style. The mosque has six towering minarets and 260 windows illuminating its vast main chamber, which is decorated with more than 20,000 Iznik tiles.
The Hippodrome, the stadium of ancient Byzantium, held 100,000 spectators and featured objects from all corners of the empire. Of these, an Egyptian obelisk and a bronze sculpture of three entwined serpents from Delphi survive.
Now a museum, Hagia Sophia was built in the 6th century by the Emperor Justinian, and was one of the largest basilicas in the Christian world. After the Ottoman conquest, it was converted to a mosque and is today one of the most magnificent museums in the world. Take a moment to linger here to admire the fine Byzantine mosaics. (closed on Monday)
In operation since the 14th century, the Grand Bazaar is one of the world’s largest covered markets, with 58 streets and over 4,000 shops. The bazaar is specially known for its jewelry, leather, pottery, spices and carpets. (closed on Sunday additional time will be spent at the other locations)
The largest and oldest palace in the world, Topkapi is the crown jewel of the Ottoman Empire. With its treasury and exotic buildings overlooking the Golden Horn, your visit to Topkapi promises to be a truly fascinating experience. (closed on Tuesday)
Overnight at Istanbul
After breakfast, Pick up from your hotel or the Istanbul cruise port, you will visit the following sights with an experienced and licensed professional guide. Take the ferry to one of the Princes' Islands, Buyukada (Big Island) which is a quiet sea front town and summer holiday escape from the city. Leaving the Golden Horn by ferry, you will round Sarayburnu, the headland on which the domes and minarets of Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque can be seen. We will pass four islands with their charming old Ottoman houses and finally reach Buyukada, the largest of the islands. Upon arrival to the island, you will see the lavish Ottoman mansions and other beautiful Victorian summer villas around the island .
We will take a tour of the island by Phaeton (horse-carriage ) and will pass elegant old wooden mansions and beautiful natural scenery. you can enjoy a delicious lunch in a cozy sea-side fish restaurant and relax looking back at the domes and minarets among skyscrapers of modern Istanbul's skyline. This a perfect day for relaxing and enjoying one of Istanbul's residents' favorite summer retreats. Return by ferry and drop off to hotel or port.
After breakfast, Begin your day with a private transfer from your hotel to the famed Dolmabahce Palace, where you will spend approximately 1 and a half hours visiting it's 285 rooms, 40+ halls, and hundreds of oil paintings.
After the palace tour, you will board a Bosphorus Cruise, which will take you up and down the Bosphorus Strait for 2.5 hours. The boat will make a stop for you to get off on the Asian side of the city and visit the Kucuksu Palace and the surrounding area. Then continue on for the second half of the cruise back to Eminonu, where you will end right across the street from the Spice Bazaar.Please note that the Dolmabahce Palace is closed on Mondays and Thursdays. On these days the tour will not be visiting the palace, and on these days of the week, the tour will start two hours later.
Later, transfer to the airport for flight to Cappadocia.
After breakfast, you will be picked for the South Cappadocia Tour.
The South Cappadocia Tour (Green Tour) is a highlight of peoples visit to the Cappadocia region. Highlighting not only some of the most impressive scenery of the region, but the tour also showcases one of the underground cities that are famous to the region of Cappadocia. Your professional tour guide will show you around the Southern parts of Cappadocia that will include your day being spent both under the ground, as well as wandering through some of the most beautiful valleys in the area. Be sure to tie this South (Green) Cappadocia Day Tour along with the North (Red) Cappadocia Day Tour to be sure to see the best of this world-famous landscape known as Cappadocia.
You will get to stretch your legs on a casual walk through the Meskendir Valley. The valley houses a small church that has a ceiling that has been carved out into a cross formation that is adorned in geometric red frescos. After visiting the church and having a taste of history enjoy the small stroll through the valley that is a cool escape from the dry landscape surrounding you.
Rose Valley is located behind the town of Urgup, but what makes it so interesting to most visitors and locals alike are all the walking tracks within the valley that link up all nearby villages and small settlements. There are scattered vineyards and gardens throughout the valley and it is always possible to see the locals still working who will give you a taste of their products, should you be lucky enough to spot them!
The valley gets its name - Red Valley - from the layers and layers of different coloured rock formations that give it a predominantly red colour. The valley is scattered with many walking tracks that link up to many villages and even along to the Rose Valley. The Red Valley is beautiful to wander through, where you may feel like you have the place to yourself, but also beautiful to capture from a viewpoint to appreciate the beautiful colour of these unusual rock layers.
Cavusin Village is a labyrinth of rock houses scattered into the rock formations that make up the town. It is one of the oldest dwellings within Cappadocia and today you will visit the village to admire the amazing feat of how the locals have dug into these rocks to create their own homes, some of which date back several centuries. The village is also famous for housing the Church of John the Baptist which dates back to the 5th Century.
The Christians who populated this area created these amazing underground cities when they were fleeing persecution back in the 14th Century. Some of the underground cities date back further than this and all hold an amazing moment of time from our ancient past. Be amazed at the architecture and the structure of these dwellings, which include many levels that separated the house dwellings from schools, cellars and even animal stables. Your tour guide will walk you through to show you how these people lived back in these ancient times of trying to flee and hide from persecution. You will be amazed at what you see.
Pigeon Valley is an area of Cappadocia that the local farmers have created over the years. Local farmers used to farm pigeon manure as they realized it was a rich resource of fertilizer for their crops and soil. So all these pigeon houses have been carved into the rock faces over the centuries. You make the stop to enjoy the view over the valley and the Cappadocia region.
Uchisar Castle Panorama
In the centre of Uchisar is one of the largest rock formations in Cappadocia, known as the Castle of Uchisar. It is the highest point over Cappadocia, which allows amazing views over the whole region and even as far as the Erciyes Mountains. It is the perfect spot to offer you all the best views over this amazing landscape of Cappadocia; it is a view that you will never forget.
When you arrive at Love Valley you will see clearly why it gets its name. The rock formations here are phallic like, giving the valley the name of love. These formations have been formed over the centuries by the natural erosion of volcanic rock. The valley is an especially unusual landscape of Cappadocia with the area being made up of cones, pillars, pinnacles, mushrooms, and the well-known fairy chimneys.
- You will be picked up from your cave hotel/hotel and take you our launch site in the early morning.
- While you have your open buffet breakfast which includes coffee/tea and snacks, we prepare the balloons on the ground. You will have an opportunity to watch and take photos. The preparations take just 15min.
- Our balloons begin to take off at around sunrise.
- They rise approximately 1000 feet to show you sunrise and extraordinary views of Cappadocia.
- Then they descend and float through the valleys, between fairy chimneys and caves which gives you excellent views to take pictures or videotape.
- The duration of this tour is approximately 1 hour.
- The Standard tour uses a 14-20 person capacity balloons.
- Upon landing, we have a champagne toast service for you.
- At about 7 am, our minibuses will take you back to your hotel / hostel.
- Your entire balloon adventure lasts about 2 hours.
* Times may vary.
- Flight approx. 1 hour. Entire adventure lasts about 2 hours.
- We use 18-24 person capacity balloons with The Standard tour.
- Transfers to / from your accommodation.
- Open buffet breakfast, coffee/tea and snacks before take off.
- All our passengers are insured up to 1.000.000 EUR.
- A commemorative flight certificate or a Medallion (either one that is available)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flight to Istanbul and then further flight to your home country.
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