Since the Bronze Age, Anatolia has hosted a stream of civilizations. Explore amazing archaeology, natural wonders such as 'fairy chimneys' and calcium terraces, and a spiritual history that includes Muslim mystic saint Mevlana and Mary, mother of Jesus.
What to Expect
This tour shows you natural and manmade wonders in Anatolia, the Asian part of Turkey, which has hosted a continual stream of civilizations since the Bronze Age. It begins with an overnight bus ride from Istanbul to Ankara, where you are introduced to the ancient Hittites and the foundations of the modern nation.
In Cappadocia you will encounter the fascinating Citadel of Uçhisar and the equally impressive underground city of Kaymaklı, which goes down 7 levels and includes grain storage and stable areas, as well as worship places. This and several similar sites provided protection from the endless stream of invaders that crossed between Europe and Asia.
The Göreme Valley, with its unique “fairy chimneys” created through volcanic eruptions and erosion, provides an interesting architectural counterpoint. In Paşabağ, or Monks’ Valley, you can see where hermits once hollowed out and lived in large fairy chimneys.
Next you visit Pamukkale, meaning "cotton palace," which was named for terraces of solidified calcium carbonate. The Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis was built here. Visit the ruins of the necropolis, Roman baths, and basilica as well as the unique white calcium cliffs and stalactites. Nearby is Aphrodisias, a well-preserved Greco-Roman settlement dedicated to Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love.
The last stop before returning to istanbul is the ancient Ionian city of Ephesus, the Roman capital of Asia Minor. Among the notable sights are St. John's Basilica and the house where accounts say Mary, mother of Jesus, spent her final years.
Day 1: Ankara - Cappadocia
Visit the Anatolian Civilizations (Hittite) Museum and the Mausoleum of Ataturk in Ankara. Then travel via the Salt Lake to Cappadocia, where you have dinner and stay overnight.
Day 2: Cappadocia
Spend a full day touring this fascinating area. The Citadel of Uçhisar, Göreme Valley, and Paşabağ, or Monks’ Valley, are here. Also visit the underground city of Kaymaklı and Avanos, a pottery center going back millennia.
Day 3: Cappodocia - Konya - Pamukkale Depart early for Konya and stop at the Seldjoukian Sultanhan Caravanserai on the way. After visiting the Mausoleum of Mevlanain Konya, travel on to Pamukkale for dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 4: Pamukkale - Aphrodisias - Kuşadası
Discover the unique calcified terraces of Pamukkale and the Greco-Roman settlement of Aphrodisias. Stay overnight and have dinner at a hotel in Kuşadası.
Day 5: Ephesus
Tour Ephesus, the center of Roman influence in Asia Minor. Later in the day, board the night bus here to return to İstanbul.
Know Before You Go
Tours depart on Sundays only. Reservations must be made at least 1 week in advance.
Please note: When verifying your booking, your local supplier will advise you on alternative meeting points for hotels which are not accessible