Archaeological Adventure

Archaeological Adventure

Istanbul to Antalya

Journey 10 days through time and history, discovering Turkey’s archaeological and wonderous architecture. From Istanbul, Izmir, to Bodrum, you’ll experience ancient cities influenced by the Ottoman, Greek and Roman Empires. Some highlights include visiting the 17th century Blue Mosque in Istanbul, and the Topkapi Palace, the former home of Sultans. Venture through the Ottoman Grand Bazaar the oldest covered Bazaar in Turkey with over 4,000 shops and stroll through the UNESCO World Heritage Site Ephesus, originally built in 10th century B.C. Finally relax and rejuvenate in the hot springs of Pamukkale. Rest easy at night in 4 and 5-star accommodation.

Highlights:

• Istanbul discover Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace, Istanbul’s Archaeology Museum, Byzantine Spice & Ottoman Grand Bazaar’s
• Ephesus UNESCO World Heritage Site including Hadiran Temple and Terrace Houses including frescoes and mosaics of mythological scenes. Enjoy Roman built Celsus Library and mausoleum as well as the Great Theatre
• Upon arriving Izmir and Pergamum you’ll visit the Acropolis. In Bodrum you’ll see ancient cities some home to 6th century BC philosophers, including Miletus, Didyma and Euromos. Relax in the mineral-bath spa in Pamukkale, Turkey’s world known natural beauty
• In Antalya see Archeological sites and the Antalya Archeological Museum

Includes:

• 10 nights in 4 or 5 star accommodations
• Breakfast daily
• 9 full-days of private sightseeing in a deluxe air-conditioned vehicle with a professional driver
• Licensed professional local tour guides in English language
• Entrance fees to all museums, parks, and historic sites as marked on the itinerary
• All private arrival and departure transfers with baggage handling
• Domestic flights tickets
• Bottled water provided throughout the tour
• Welcome Package

Not Included
• International airfare
• Gratuities to driver and guide
• Recommended lunches and dinners will be at guests’ own expenses
• Personal expenses of the guests

Level of support:

Guided

Related Services Available to Add:

9 nights

Please contact us for the latest pricing using one of the buttons below. We’ll match you with your best option.


Need more Options?

Find a travel expert

We can customize the perfect trip for your budget and interests.

View Itinerary

Day 1 | arrive ISTANBUL
Arrive in Istanbul (flight TBA) meet your Sea Song representative holding a name sign outside of the luggage claim area at the airport and transfer to your hotel.

(Transfer vehicles are based on 2 medium suitcases per person. Only 1 transfer is included for arrival and departure. Please let us know if you need any individual transfers at extra costs and if you have additional luggage.)

Dinner recommended at Kasa Lokanta Restaurant located inside your hotel restaurant.
Overnight at Vault Karakoy, The House Hotel
Provided Amenity: $40 USD Food & Beverage Credit at Kasa Lokanta Restaurant (on-site) per room once during your stay.


Day 2 | ISTANBUL
After your breakfast, at 9:00 a.m., meet your professional local guide holding a name sign at the hotel lobby for your private full-day sightseeing tour.

First, you will visit the Blue Mosque, completed in 1616, it is a triumph of harmony, proportion and elegance. The mosque was a part of a complex also including tombs, fountains, kitchens, and a bath. Its colourful 260 windows enables the sunlight to reach inside. This makes the interior unusually light. The blue Iznik Tiles covering the walls have given the mosque its popular name, Blue Mosque.

Next, you will visit the magnificient Topkapı Palace, the residence of the sultans for almost 3 centuries. It is located on the promontory jutting out between the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. This setting provides a magnificent view. The construction of the Topkapı Palace was completed between 1465 and 1478. Being the imperial residence of the sultan, his court and harem, the palace was also the seat of government for the Ottoman Empire. 4,000 people lived in the Palace. (Additional visit to Harem section is $8.00 per person.)

Adjacent to the Topkapi Palace is the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. The Museum has one of the world’s richest collections of classical artifacts. Don’t miss seeing; the Treaty of Kadesh, the world’s earliest surviving peace treaty, and the monumental glazed brick friezes from Babylon’s Ishtar Gate.

Lunch is suggested at Matbah Restaurant serving traditional Turkish cuisine.

After your lunch, you will visit St. Sophia, the church of the Divine Wisdom. The architectural marvel of all time. It was built during Emperor Justinian reign ( AD 537 ) and it remained the greatest church in Christendom until the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by Sultan Mehmet II who ordered to convert Hagia Sophia into a Mosque. In 1934, Atatürk proclaimed it a museum. The walls of this beautiful piece of architecture are decorated with gorgeous mosaics.

Last, you will descend underground into the Basilica Cistern, constructed in 532 AD, built by Justinian to hold the water supply for the Great Palace. The Cistern is 70 meters wide and 140 meters long, with a capacity of 80,000m³ of water. Here you will find an atmospheric forest of 336 beautiful columns, don’t miss the two columns featuring the head of Medusa on their bases.

At the end of your tour, you will return to your hotel.

Dinner recommended at Mikla Restaurant, serving delicious Mediterranean cuisine with the beautiful view of the entire city. (Transportation to and from the restaurant can be arranged by request)
Overnight at Vault Karakoy, The House Hotel


Day 3 | ISTANBUL
After your breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. meet your professional local guide holding a name sign at the hotel lobby for your private full-day sightseeing tour.

First, you will visit the Church of St. Saviour in Chora. Built in the 11th century, the walls are decorated with beautiful mosaics and frescoes. The mosaics depict the life of Virgin Mary and the infancy, genealogy and ministry of Christ.

Then, you will visit the Constantinian and Theodosian Walls. Constaninian walls are total of 2,8 km and have been erected between 324–336 to protect the city during the rule of Constantine. However the city expanded behind the Constantinian Walls and about 2 km to the west, the Theodosian Walls were erected during the reign of Emperor Theodosius II (r. 408–450), after whom they were named. The work was carried out in two phases, with the first phase erected during Theodosius' minority under the direction of Anthemius, the praetorian prefect of the East, and was finished in 413 according to a law in the Codex Theodosianus.

Next, you will visit the Suleymaniye Mosque. Built by the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan on the order of Sultan Suleiman I (Suleiman the Magnificent), the Suleymaniye Mosque dominates the third hill of old Istanbul, and is strikingly graceful and less ornate than many other imperial mosques, thus lending itself to meditation and quiet reflection.

Lunch is suggested at Hamdi Restaurant, located on the Golden Horn. You can taste traditional Turkish kebabs.

After your lunch, you will visit the Byzantine Spice Bazaar, the second largest covered market in Istanbul. It was constructed in the 1660s as part of the Yeni Camii (New Mosque) complex. The name derives from the herbs, and spices imported from or through Egypt. It is still the best place to buy Turkish delight, dried fruit, exotic spices and herbs.

Last, you will visit the Ottoman Grand Bazaar, the largest and oldest covered Bazaar in Turkey with more than 4,000 shops. A variety of handicrafts, carpets, rare jewels and souvenirs all sold in small shops next to each other. The merchants are selling everything from antiques, home wares, books, copper ware, ceramics, gold and inexpensive souvenirs. Venture into the hidden courtyards or hans, lookout for marble fountains and ornate kiosks. Streets are named according to the trades and the most oriental atmosphere in Istanbul is found in the bazaar.

At the end of your tour, you will return to your hotel.

Dinner recommended at Karakoy Lokanta which is a nice traditional restaurant in Beyoglu. (within walking distance to your hotel)
Overnight at Vault Karakoy, The House Hotel


Day 4 | ISTANBUL - EPHESUS
Check-out of your hotel, at 7:00 a.m. meet your Sea Song representative in the hotel lobby and transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to Izmir on TK#2316 departing at 9:00 a.m. Arrive in Izmir at 10:15 a.m. and meet your professional local guide outside of the luggage claim area at the airport for your private full-day experience.

First, you will visit Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous throughout the ancient world for its Temple of Artemis. You will first visit Odeon Theatre where the state affairs used to be held. Then, view the Hadrian Temple, It was dedicated in 118 AD to Hadrian, Artemis, and the people of Ephesus but greatly reconstructed in the 4th century. This impressive Corinthian style temple has beautiful reliefs on the porch. According to the belief of Ephesians, the Medusa head on the porch, would protect the city from its enemies.

Then, you will visit the newly excavated, spectacular Terrace Houses on the Curetes street belonging to the rich people of Ephesus. Many of them were three-storied and had peristyles surrounded by rooms without windows but included frescoes and mosaics of mythological scenes. Some of the frescoes were scenes from the comedies of Menander and the tragedies of Euripides. They were luxuriously furnished private houses with fountains and central heating. Between the street and houses was a portico with a mosaic floor, behind which were shops.

Proceed to The Celsus Library, a Roman mausoleum and library built in the early 2nd century AD. The Library of Celsus was comissioned by the Julius as a mausoleum for his father, Roman governor of the Asian Provinces. It is one of the most beautifully reconstructed buildings in Ephesus, it has become an icon of the ancient city.

The Great Theatre, dates back to the Hellenistic period. It is one of the most impressive buildings in Ephesus which has the capacity of 25,000 seats. The theatre was used for concerts, plays and religious, political and philosophical discussions and for gladiator and animal fights. Marble Road, runs between the Library of Celsus and the theater and is a part of the sacred walk way.

Last, you will visit the Church of Mary which is a church of great historical significance located in Ephesus. It is also known as the Double Church, because it is thought one aisle was dedicated to the Virgin and the other to St. John, and the Council Church because the Council of Ephesus is believed to have been held here. A great ecumenical council was held in Ephesus in 431, concerning whether the Virgin Mary might properly be called Theotokos, or bearer of God.

Lunch is suggested at Selcuk Koftecisi serving local meatballs.

Last, you will visit the Ephesus Museum. Many of the artifacts displayed here were found in Ephesus and other ancient sites in the region. Highlights include the fresco of Socrates, statues and heads of Eros, crosses, coins and the works of the 1st century AD, such as glass trays and theatrical masks, and much more.

At the end of your day, you will transfer to your hotel.

Dinner recommneded at Deniz Restaurant serving delicious seafood (walking distance to your hotel).
Overnight at Reinassance Hotel


Day 5 | IZMIR - PERGAMUM - IZMIR
After your breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. meet your professional local guide holding a name sign at the hotel lobby for your private full-day sightseeing tour. Drive approximately 2 hours to Pergamum. Upon arrival in Pergamum, you will visit the Acropolis. All major buildings in Pergamum were reserved for public use in daily life. Even in the temples, religion was of secondary importance.

Next, you will see The Library of Pergamum, built by Eumenes II, it was the second of the three famous ancient libraries. The Temple of Trajan was a 2nd Century AD temple in Corinthian order, dedicated to Trajan, built by his successor Hadrian. Both emperors were worshipped there. The temple was built of marble, probably on the site of a previous Hellenistic building. Zeus Altar, the finest altar ever built of about 180 BC, stands in its own precinct but, most unusually, without a temple. Much of the structure and almost all of the friezes are now in Berlin.

Lunch is suggested at a local restaurant.

After your lunch, you will proceed to the Medical Center of the ancient world, Asklepion where the first psychological treatment had been used and which was dedicated to the God of Health, Asklepios. At the end of your tour, you will return to your hotel.

Dinner is recommneded at Yengec Restaurant serving delicious seafood (Transportation to and from the restaurant can be arranged by request)
Overnight at Reinassance Hotel in Izmir


Day 6 | IZMIR - BODRUM - THREE ANCIENT CITIES - BODRUM
Check-out of your hotel, at 9:00 a.m. meet your professional local guide holding a name sign at the hotel lobby for your private full-day sightseeing tour. You will drive approximately 3 hours to Bodrum, visiting the Three Ancient Cities on route.

Your first stop will be Priene. The ancient harbor city of Priene probably changed its location when the silt of the Meander River threatened to bury it. Now it is nearly 16 km away from the sea. The original place of the city has never been found but it was probably a peninsula with two harbors. Priene was laid out on a Hippodamian system of grid plan at the foot of a spectacular cliff on mount Mycale and contained many famous examples of Hellenistic art and architecture. All the streets intersect at right angles.

Next, visit Miletus an ancient city located near the present Akkoy at the mouth of the Buyuk Menderes (Meander) River, owed its importance to its position on trade routes. It was one of the largest cities in Anatolia with a population of between 80,000 and 100,000. Highly prosperous, it founded many colonies and was the home of the 6C BC philosophers Anaximander, Anaximenes, and Thales, the town planner Hippodamus and architect Isidorus. Miletus seems to have produced geniuses the way Aphrodisias produced sculptors.

Lunch suggested at a local restaurant.

After your lunch, you will visit Didyma. The word Didyma meant "twins" and was associated by some as being the meeting place of Zeus and Leto to have their twins Apollo and Artemis. Didyma was famed as a prophecy center dedicated to Apollo which served a similar purpose as the Delphi of Anatolia. It was not a city but a sanctuary linked to Miletus by Milesians with a 19 km/12 m sacred road. However, this road may not have been constructed until the end of the 1C AD. In addition to pilgrimages made by sea, some festivals of drama, music and sports were held there every four years.

At the end of your day, you will transfer to your hotel.

Dinner recommended at Tuti Restaurant located inside your hotel.
Overnight at The Marmara Bodrum


Day 7 | BODRUM - EUROMOS, LABRANDA, IASOS - BODRUM
After your breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. meet your professional local guide in the hotel lobby for your private full-day experience. You will drive approxmately 1 hour to Euromos Ancient City for your tour. First, you will visit Euromos, an ancient city in Caria, Anatolia; the ruins are approximately 4km southeast of Selimiye and 12km northwest of Milas (the ancient Mylasa), Mugla Province, Turkey. Probably dating from the 6th century BC, Euromos was a member of the Chrysaorian League during Seleucid times. Euromos also minted its own coins from the 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD.

Then, visit Labranda which is an ancient archaeological site 5km west of Ortakoy, Mugla Province, Turkey, in the mountains near the coast of Caria. In ancient times, it was held sacred by Carians and Mysians alike. The site amid its sacred plane trees was enriched in the Hellenistic style by the Hecatomnid dynasty od Mausolus, satrap (and virtual king) of Persian Caria (c. 377 – 352 BCE), and also later by his successor and brother Idrieus; Labranda was the dynasty's ancestral sacred shrine.

Lunch is suggested at a local restaurant.

Iasos or Iassos, also in Latinized form Iasus, was an ancient Greek city in Caria located on the Gulf of Iasos (now called the Gulf of Güllük), opposite the modern town of Güllük, Turkey. It was originally on an island, but is now connected to the mainland. It is located in the Milas district of Muğla Province, Turkey, near the Alevi village of Kıyıkışlacık, about 31km from the center of Milas.

At the end of your day, you will drive back to Bodrum and transfer to your hotel.

Dinner recommended at Memedof Restaurant serving delicious seefood.
Overnight at The Marmara Bodrum


Day 8 | BODRUM - PAMUKKALE
Check-out of your hotel, at 9:00 a.m. meet your professional local guide in the hotel lobby for your private day of experience. You will drive approximately 3½ hours to Pamukkale and will visit Aphrodisias Ancient City on the way.

First, visit Aphrodisias, which was a small Greek city in the historic Caria cultural region of western Anatolia, Turkey. It was located near the modern village of Geyre, about 100km east/inland from the coast of the Aegean Sea, and 230km southeast of Izmir.

Aphrodisias was named after Aphrodite the Greek goddess of love, who had here her unique cult image, the Aphrodite of Aphrodisias. According to the Suda, a Byzantine encyclopedic compilation, before the city became known as Aphrodisias (c.3rd century BCE) it had three previous names: Lelégōn Pólis "City of the Leleges", Megálē Póli "Great City", and Ninóē. Sometime before 640, in the Late Antiquity period when it was within the Byzantine Empire, the city was renamed Stauroúpolis "City of the Cross".

You can meet the Archaelogical team during your time here.

Then, you will visit Aphrodisias Museum which is one of the most etraordinary, striking beauty in western Anatolia. The museum opened in 1979. In the museum, only the works excavated from Aphrodisias are exhibited. The majority of the works are sculptures. The monuments are exhibited here as revealed during the excavations. It is sufficient to understand the magnificence of these ancient monuments by examining and considering the findings in their original state. Especially the works of the ancient sculptor school of Aphrodiais show the development levels of this art.

Lunch is suggested at a local restaurant.

After your lunch, you will visit Pamukkale, Turkey's foremost mineral-bath spa because of its natural beauty: hot calcium-laden waters spring from the earth and cascade over a cliff. As they cool they form dramatic travertines of hard, brilliantly white calcium that form pools. Pamukkale, has been a spa since the Romans built the spa city of Hierapolis around a sacred warm-water spring. The Sacred Pool is still there, littered with marble columns from the Roman Temple of Apollo.

The ancient city of Hierapolis was founded by Pergamum, probably Eumenes II, in the 2nd century BC. Hierapolis is believed to derive its name from Hiera, the wife of Telephus, both being legendary ancestors of kings of Pergamum. All the surviving ruins of the city except the foundations of the Apollo Temple date back to the Imperial Roman period. The Necropolis is the largest ancient cemetery in Anatolia with approximately 1,200 graves. The Theater is a 2nd century AD building in Roman style with many reliefs depicting scenes representing the Emperor Septimus Severus and from the life of Dionysus.

Then, you will visit Laodicea, once an important city in Anatolia, built on a natural trade route. It was a centre of banking and exchange and a cloth weaving centre, where the weavers used goats wool. The wool was a distinctive jet black, the colour being the result of the minerals in the water the sheep and goats drank. The city was founded by the Seleucid Dynasty in the 3rd century BC. It was named after the wife of its founder. During the early Christian period it prospered and an important council was held there in the 4th century AD in the name of Christianity.

At the end of your day, you will transfer to your hotel and check-in.

Dinner will be served at your hotel restaurant.
Overnight at Doga Thermal Health & Spa


Day 9 | PAMUKKALE - ANTALYA
Check-out of your hotel, at 9:00 a.m. meet your professional local guide in the hotel lobby and drive to Antalya for approximately 3½ hours with a visit to Sagalassos Ancient City on the route.

Lunch is suggested at a local restaurant on the way.

Sagalassos is an archaelogical site in southwestern Turkey, about 100km north of Antalya, and 30km from Burdur and Isparta. The ancient ruins of Sagalassos are 7km from Ağlasun (as well as being its namesake) in the province of Burdur, on Mount Akdağ in the Western Taurus mountains range, at an altitude of 1,450–1,700 metres. In Roman Imperial times, the town was known as the "first city of Pisidia", a region in the western Taurus mountains, currently known as the Turkish lakes region. During the Hellenistic period it was already one of the major Pisidian towns.

From 1990 Sagalassos, it has become a major excavation project led by Marc Vaelkens of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. The monumental city centre is now exposed; four major restoration projects are (nearly) completed.

The project also undertakes an intensive urban and geophysical survey, excavations in the domestic and industrial areas, and an intensive survey of the territory. The first survey documents a thousand years of occupation – from Alexander the Great the seventh century - while the letter has established the changing settlement patterns, the vegetation history and farming practices, the landscape formation and climatic changes during the last 10,000 years.

At the end of your day, you will transfer to your hotel.

Dinner recommended at your hotel restaurant.
Overnight at Tuvana Hotel in Antalya


Day 10 | ANTALYA
After your breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. meet your professional local guide in the hotel lobby for your private full-day sightseeing tour.

First, you will visit the ancient city of Aspendos, known for the best preserved Roman Age theater of Mediterranean World. You will see the theater upper part from the Acropolis. The city was founded on the hill plane close to one of the biggest rivers of the region Köprüçay (Antique Eurymedon). The coins minted in 5th century B.C. named Estvediys. The name, Anatolian-origin, is the evidence that the city was a settlement all along.

Then, you will proceed with the Aqueduct of Aspendos which transported water from the hills to the north to the town over a distance of 19km. Among the many fine antiquities of the Roman period that are preserved in Pamphylia, none is more immediately impressive than the aqueduck of Aspendos. The city of Perge is 17km east of Antalya city centre, within the borders of Aksu. It is not only the most organized part of the region but also for the whole of Anatolia. Its sculpture is as popular as its architecture. The important monumental structures of the city have been discovered through excavations made by the University of Istanbul since 1946 and due to the finds of sculptures Antalya Museum has one of the richest collections of Roman sculpture. Historians considered Perge was founded at the end of the Trojan wars (1275 BC) but a Hittite tablet mentioning Perge was found in 1986 showing the city was established before the Trojan wars.

Lunch recommended at a local restaurant.

Last, visit the Antalya Archeological Museum, established in 1919 by Suleyman Fikri Erten, a teacher who rescued many artifacts that had been looted by occupying forces following World War I. It was first housed in the Alaaddin Mosque in old town (Kaleici), then the Fluted Minaret Mosque and, in 1972 it was moved to its present location. The Museum today covers an area of 30,000 square meters and consists of 14 main exhibition halls, open display galleries and a large garden containing some fine statues and other artifacts from the Perge excavations.

At the end of your day, you will return to your hotel.

Dinner recommended at 7 Mehmet serving delicious seafood. (Transportation to and from the restaurant can be arranged by request)
Overnight at Tuvana Hotel


Day 11 | ANTALYA - depart ISTANBUL
Check-out of yout hotel, at 6:00 a.m. meet your local guide in the hotel lobby and transfer to Antalya Airport for your domestic flight to Istanbul on TK#2409 departing at 7:50 a.m. Arrive in Istanbul at 9:15 a.m. and then connect your international flgiht (TBA) home.

Location Map:


Operated by Sea Song.

® Merit Travel trademark owned by, and use is granted by, Merit Travel Group Inc. Offers are based on availability and may be subject to change. Certain exclusions, limitations and restrictions may apply. For full terms and conditions visit, https://dev.merittravel.com/terms-and-conditions/.

Fill out my online form.

Why Us

Travel Experts bring you top value, first-hand knowledge and unique travel experiences.



PERSONAL SERVICE
and value-add inclusions and travel savings exclusively for students, teachers or if you're under 30.
BEST VALUE
guarantee on thousands of cruise vacations with the worlds best cruise lines.
HOTEL DEALS
and special amenities at the world's highest-rated hotels.
EXCLUSIVE PRIVILEGES
like private shore excursions with your own private car and driver.
Travel insurance Compare Plans
Free local events Nearest Location
Brochures Browse Offers
Hotel privileges Browse
Travel blog Must Read
Travel news Sign Up