« Back to Vacations

Turkey Through the Ages
from $8,399 pp

  • Duration: 11 Days
  • Destinations: Turkey
Let our expert native-born guide show you the myriad wonders of this exotic land… Extensive sightseeing, one-of-kind cultural experiences and carefully selected restaurants will immerse you in the rich history, captivating spirit and rare beauty of Turkey and its people.
Call to Book 800-829-5448
Additional Information

Day 1 - Welcome to Istanbul

Upon arrival, you’ll be warmly greeted and chauffeured to our 5-star hotel, The Swissotel, where your room overlooks the Bosphorus. The balance of this day is yours to relax and enjoy as you wish.

Day 2 - Exploring a Fascinating City

Heralded throughout the ages as Byzantium, Constantinople and now Istanbul, this bustling city on the Bosphorus straddles the European and Asian Continents and presents an intoxicating blend of cultures and traditions. Setting out after breakfast with your expert native Trip Leader, today’s sightseeing begins at the Hippodrome, a handsome public square that stands on the site of the ancient Byzantine stadium. Nearby at the 17th Century Blue Mosque #WHS#, you’ll marvel at its lavish interior decorated with more than 20,000 blue Iznik tiles. Next up is St. Sophia #WHS#, the Church of Divine Wisdom that was dedicated in 537 by Emperor Justinian, now once again a mosque. Take a break from sightseeing at Giritli. Set in a restored residence in the heart of the Old City, this inviting restaurant is known for its blend of Turkish cuisine and the chef’s favorite dishes from her home island of Crete. After lunch, you’ll descend into one of the city’s subterranean cisterns. The one you’ll visit, the Basilica Cistern, is the largest - famed for its 336 marble columns! Our day ends with a private cruise along the Bosphorus. With Europe on one shore and Asia on the other, the scenery is captivating – punctuated by the towering minarets of the city, charming century-old wooden homes built at water’s edge, erstwhile summer palaces, and the impressive sight of Rumeli Hisari, the 15th-century fortress of the great Sultan, Mehmet the Conqueror. This evening, we’ll dine at Ali Ocakbasi Oligark with its creative cuisine and a spectacular view overlooking the Bosphorus. Meals B+L+D

Day 3 - Topkapi Palace + Grand Bazaar + Egyptian Market

After breakfast, another enriching day begins with a privately guided tour of the Topkapi Palace #WHS# – fabled residence of sultans, courtiers, concubines and eunuchs for more than 400 years since its founding in the 15th century. In addition to its pavilions, kitchens, barracks, audience chambers and sleeping quarters, you’ll see the Harem that was the exclusive domain of the Sultan and his family. In the Treasury, you’ll discover a glittering collection including crown jewels, gem-studded daggers and even a hair of The Prophet. Then in the heart of the bustling Old City, you’ll explore the labyrinthine passageways of the one-and-only Grand Bazaar, where colorful shops and vendor stalls overflow with a bewildering variety of items including jewelry, spices, leather goods, textiles, carpets and ceramics. Then continue to the Egyptian Market. Dating to the 1600’s, this was once the last stop for merchants and laden camels traveling the fabled Silk Road from China, India and ancient Persia.Originally built with money from taxes that were levied on goods coming from Egypt, this landmark building is still a busy commercial center overflowing with fragrant spices, tantalizing displays of Turkish Delight and myriad other delicacies from farm-fresh cheeses and Turkish Coffee to dried fruits and caviar. Explore its bustling corridors and experience its timeless rhythms as you mingle with other visitors as well as the many city residents who still come here to do their shopping. With our in-the-know resident guide, you’ll also engage with friendly vendors, pausing to sample some of their tempting treats. Meals B

Day 4 - Cappadocia’s ‘Fairy Chimneys’ + The Whirling Dervishes

We’ll be chauffeured to the airport this morning for our included flight into central Turkey. On arrival in Kayseri, we head to the Goreme Open-Air Museum #WHS#. Here in a picturesque valley, you’ll discover a complex of painted cave churches that were carved and decorated by monks nearly 1,000 years ago. Walking along a well-maintained path, you’ll visit a number of these ancient churches as your expert guide offers illuminating insight into their ancient history. The Cappadocia region is also famed for its remarkable scenery of unusual rock formations and tuff cones – fondly referred to locally as “Fairy Chimneys” for their whimsical silhouettes; exploring the Pasabag and Devrent Valleys with your engaging guide offers a chance to experience some of these dramatic landscapes. You’ll also meet skilled carpet weavers and pottery artisans in the village of Avanos. This evening will begin with the 700-year-old music and dance ceremony of the Mevlevis, followers of the Sufi poet Rumi, who demonstrate through spinning how one can approach the union of all mankind to the love of God. We’ll follow this experience with dinner in the home of a Cappadocian family before our first of two nights at the Argos, an enchanting boutique hotel in the hilltop village of Uchisar. Meals B+L+D

Day 5 - Above and Below Cappadocia

Arise early this morning for our hot air balloon adventure over the remarkable rock formations and remote valleys of Cappadocia. Floating silently above these amazing landscapes is singular experience you will long remember. Back on the ground, we’ll return to the Argos for breakfast before a visit for morning tea with a local family whose cave home is in one of the ‘Fairy Chimneys.’ Then, we’ll spend time in the tranquil village of Ayvali and explore the amazing scenery of the Rose and Pigeon Valleys. Of course, no visit to the region would be complete without descending into the tunnels, passages and rooms that comprise Kaymakli Underground City #WHS#. As we explore living quarters, community kitchens, storage areas and even subterranean stables that descend far below ground, we’ll learn about the early Christians who built this city to protect themselves from Roman soldiers and the later Ottoman conquest. This evening, you’ll dine at Elai. Set in a historic building partially carved into the sandstone, this inviting and stylish restaurant is known for its distinctive fusion of Turkish, Mediterranean and European cuisines. Meals B+L+D

Day 6 - Izmir

After breakfast, we’ll return to Kayseri for our included flight to Izmir on Turkey’s Aegean coast. On arrival, you’ll be met and chauffeured to the 5-star Swissôtel Büyük Efes. The balance of this day is at leisure to relax, enjoy and explore as you wish. Meals B

Day 7 - Excursion to Ephesus

Following breakfast, we’ll visit one of the most renowned cities of the ancient world - revered in antiquity for its Temple of Artemis, one of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. With jour expert Trip Leader, our exploration of Ephesus #WHS# begins as we enter through the grand Magnesia Gate and walk along an ancient marble-paved roadway that still shows evidence of ancient chariot wheels. Among the excavated ruins that will astound you are the expansive Forum, the steam-heated Baths of Scholastica, and the magnificent façade of the Library of Celsus. The highlight of our visit may well be the great amphitheater where Paul preached to the Ephesians. From Ephesus, we’ll travel into the forested hills to visit the house where some believe the Virgin Mary had spent the last years of her life. After lunch, your afternoon continues at Urla Vineyards where we’ll enjoy a tour of the vineyard and a tasting of their fine wines. This evening, we’ve made arrangements for us to dine at Adabeyi. Set in a waterfront building designed by Alexander Gustave Eiffel, architect of his Paris tower, this inviting restaurant is famed for its traditional meze small-plates and fresh seafood. Meals B+L+D

Day 8 - Onward to Bodrum

After breakfast, enjoy the coastal scenery as we travel south to Bodrum. On arrival in this inviting coastal town, set on a peninsula that extends into the Aegean, our guided sightseeing will include the ancient amphitheater, originally built in the 4th century BCE during the reign of King Mausolus of Halicarnassus and later expanded during the Roman era nearly 600 years later! We’ll also visit the evocative windmills of Bodrum, built in the 1700’s of stone and wooden planks. They were used for centuries to grind flour but now stand as scenic reminders of the region’s rich heritage. Enjoy two nights here in Bodrum at the 5-star Swissotel Bodrum Beach in select Sea View accommodations. Meals B

Day 9 - A Day on the Aegean

We’ve privately chartered a gulet today for a relaxing exploration of Turkey’s spectacular Turquoise Coast. With a full crew and a delightful lunch served onboard this traditional Turkish wooden sailing yacht, we’ll visit remote bays and quiet coves where you can go for a swim, if you like. It’s the best way to experience the magnificent beauty of Turkey’s Aegean shores. Meals B+L

Day 10 - Back to Istanbul

After breakfast, we’ll fly back to Istanbul and will return to our luxury hotel on the shores of the Bosphorus. The balance of this day is yours to do as you wish – a bit of independent sightseeing or some shopping might be a great way to spend your final day in the city. Our Farewell Dinner this evening is at one of our favorite restaurants in town. Set on a hill overlooking the Bosphorus, Firuze Meyhane is a stylish restaurant loved by locals for its distinctive blend of modern Mediterranean style and traditional Ottoman cuisine. Meals B+D

Day 11 - Depart Istanbul

We’ll be chauffeured to the airport today for onward flights. Meals B

Departure Dates
Start: May 16, 2023
End: May 26, 2023
Price: $8,399 pp
| Land Only

Get an Estimate
Start: June 13, 2023
End: June 23, 2023
Price: $8,399 pp
| Land Only

Get an Estimate
Start: July 18, 2023
End: July 28, 2023
Price: $8,399 pp
| Land Only

Get an Estimate
Start: September 12, 2023
End: September 22, 2023
Price: $8,399 pp
| Land Only

Get an Estimate
Start: October 3, 2023
End: October 13, 2023
Price: $8,399 pp
| Land Only

Get an Estimate
Start: April 23, 2024
End: May 3, 2024
Price: $8,499 pp
| Land Only

Get an Estimate
Get an Estimate
Product Code: Alexander+Roberts-1249

AAA Travel Alert: During these uncertain times, many travel destinations have implemented COVID-19-related health and safety restrictions and entry requirements. Please check to see if local authorities, hotels, cruise lines, tour operators, attractions, and restaurants at your intended travel destination have issued health and safety-related alerts, entry requirements or other restrictions. These new travel restrictions may be imposed or amended with little warning. Failure to comply with applicable rules may result in denied entry or quarantine upon arrival. (Note: As things change, so do policies. We’ll do our best to stay on top of things, but always be sure to check with a provider directly.)