THE WONDERS OF TURKEY | 4-5 ★
Toronto to Istanbul, Turkey
Turkey is arguably one of the most culturally and historically diverse countries you could possibly visit. Over the centuries Turkey has been conquered and ruled by a number of empires, which is recognizable in the architecture, cuisine language and appearance of the local people. Turkey bridges the continents of Europe and Asia and shares borders with Eastern European and Arabic countries as well as the Black, Aegean and Mediterranean Sea.
Embark on a luxurious journey of a lifetime and prepare to be mesmerised by Turkey. Relive the glory of the Byzantines while gazing at the domes of St.Sophia,and admire Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar and spice market. Enjoy the comfort of a private yacht on the Bosphorus Strait and learn about the sultans who resided in the magnificent Topkapi Palace. Descend into the labyrinth of Cappadocia before visiting Bodrum Castle and the ruins of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Includes breakfast daily
* Round-trip airfare
• Plaza Premium airport lounge pass†
• Airport transfers in country
• Domestic flights
• 23 nights in 4-5 star accommodation: eight nights in Istanbul, three nights in Cappadocia, one night in Konya, three nights in Antalya, two nights in Pamukkale, three nights in Izmir, one night in Assos and two nights in Gallipoli
• 23 breakfasts, three lunches, six dinners
• Daily sightseeing with professional local tour director
• Private transportation
• An hour and a half Bosphorus Strait cruise on a private yacht in Istanbul
• Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia
• Wine tasting in Urla
• Visit to excavation site of Ancient Sagalassus
• Visit to Ancient Aspendos, Perge and the Archaeological Museum
• Visit to Heiropolis, cotton mountains and Laodicia
• Visit to Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
• All entrance fees to all museums, parks, and historic sites as per the itinerary
• Morning hike in the valley in Cappadocia
• Welcome package on arrival
• Professional local tour director
• Local tourist taxes and gratuities
• Merit Travel tour host**
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Day 1 | Mar. 1, 2020 | TORONTO – ISTANBUL, TURKEY
KLM flight 692 departs Toronto 6:05 p.m. arrives Amsterdam 7:25 a.m. (following day). Then connects with KLM flight 1613 departs Amsterdam at 11:30 a.m. arrives Istanbul 4:55 p.m.
Day 2 | Mar. 2, 2020 | ISTANBUL
Arrive in Istanbul, you will meet your local representative before transferring to your hotel.
Overnight at The House Hotel Karakoy (four nights).
Day 3 | Mar. 3, 2020 | ISTANBUL (B)
After breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. meet your guide at the hotel lobby for your private full-day walking tour. Your private tour of Istanbul will start with a visit to the Hippodrome, which was one of the largest chariot race grounds of the Byzantine Empire. Istanbul's Byzantine Hippodrome was the heart of Constantinople's political and sporting life, and the scene of games and riots through 500 years of Ottoman history as well. This was the largest hippodrome of the ancient world with a design that was conceptually based on the Circus Maximus in Rome.
You will take a short walk to the Blue Mosque, completed in 1616, and a triumph of harmony, proportion and elegance. Its colourful 260 windows enable 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 magnificent Topkapı Palace, the residence of the sultans for almost three 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.
After lunch, visit St. Sophia, the church of the Divine Wisdom. Built during Emperor Justinian's reign (AD 537) 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.
Last, you will visit and descend underground into the Basilica Cistern, constructed in AD 532 and built by Justinian to hold the water supply for the Great Palace. The Cistern is 70 metres wide and 140 meters long, with a capacity of 80,000m³ of water.
After a full day of sightseeing, around 5.00 p.m., we will return to the hotel.
Day 4 | Mar. 4, 2020 | ISTANBUL (B)
After your breakfast, at 9:00am meet your guide at the hotel lobby for your private full-day of sightseeing.
First, you will visit the magnificient Topkapı Palace, the residence of the sultans for almost three centuries. It is located on the promontory jutting out between the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. This setting provides a magnificent view.
Then, 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 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.
Next, you will visit the 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.
After lunch, you will visit the 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 day, you will return to your hotel.
Day 5 | Mar. 5, 2020 | ISTANBUL (B)
Breakfast at your hotel. Day at leisure. Explore the city on your own.
Day 6 | Mar. 6, 2020 | ISTANBUL - CAPPADOCIA (B)
Check-out of your hotel at 8:00 a.m. meet your local representative at the hotel lobby and transfer to Istanbul airport for your domestic flight to Kayseri. Turkish Airlines flight 2016 departs Istanbul at 10:30 a.m. Arrive in Kayseri at 11:55 a.m. and drive to Cappadocia for approximately 1 hour.
First, you will visit Devrent Valley, offering magical panoramic valleys of Cappadocia's rocky landscape.
Next, you will stop in the Pasabag Valley where the formation of “fairy chimneys” can be best observed. Pasabag, the Pasha's Vineyard, is surrounded by incredible natural rock formations; a spectacular scene.
Last, you will visit Zelve, where three canyons meet in the Valley of Monks. The rock face at Zelve is honeycombed with caves and churches, and much of the decoration inside the churches is symbolic. You will visit the two most interesting churches; The Church of Grapes and the Fish Church.
At the end of your day, you will transfer to your hotel.
Overnight at Yunak Houses in Cappadocia (three nights).
Day 7 | Mar. 7, 2020 | ISTANBUL - CAPPADOCIA (B)
Enjoy a spectacular balloon ride before breakfast.
After breakfast, meet your guide at the hotel lobby for your private full-day of sightseeing. You will start your day descending below the earth’s surface into the Kaymakli Underground City. Early Christians carved out these subterranean complexes to avoid invaders who swept across the plains of Anatolia from the 6th to the 9th Century.
Next, visit the Göreme Open-Air Museum where icons and other figurative representations were prohibited. The 11th century represents the “golden age” of religious art in Goreme. Then, you will visit the Goreme Valley, which has been occupied since the dawn of history. It is the valley of the churches. The wonderful and primitive 11th and 12th century frescoes cover the walls of these churches. The oldest churches in the area date back to the 6th century. Among the 356 churches, the most important ones are The Karanlık Kilise, Yılanlı Kilise, The Elmalı Kilise and The Tokalı Kilise.
After lunch, visit the pretty town of Avanos, which has long been a centre for pottery artisans as it lies on the banks of the Red River where clay supplies are abundant. Enjoy a visit to a pottery workshop to meet the artisans and see their collections displayed in a vast underground cave complex.
The last stop of the day will be to enjoy a panoramic view of the Uchisar Castle, with its towering rock houses typical of this area.Uchisar is a small town situated right in the middle of Cappadocia. It is named after the enormous piece of rock in the centre of the town, which was once used as a castle. Return back to your hotel after tour.
Day 8 | Mar. 8, 2020 | CAPPADOCIA (B)
After breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. meet your guide at the hotel lobby for your private full day of sightseeing. First, you will have a morning hike in Pigeon Valley to enjoy some fresh morning air and enjoy seeing the landscape more closely. The valley’s name comes from the pigeon-cotes carved on its walls. Next, you will visit the picturesque village of Mustafapasa which is a perfectly preserved Greek village in the heart of Anatolia. The former Greek inhabitants left the village in 1923 during the population exchange between Turkey and Greece. The houses exhibit a wealth of carved stonework, wall paintings and many reminders of their former inhabitants.
In the afternoon, you will visit the excavations at the Sobesos Ancient City. The earliest evidence of settlement dates from the neo Roman period and excavations have also revealed the city was occupied in the Byzantine period. Of particular interest are the rare mosaics in geometric designs and the fascinating bath complex.
Last, you will visit the Keslik Monastery, it is estimated that the refectory could seat over 200 students at one time. Visit the Archangelos Church, which shows scenes from Christ’s entombment and Stefanos Church displays the Saint Euphemia cross from the iconoclastic period. At the Keslik Monastery you can enjoy a glass of tea in the caretaker’s garden. At the end of your day, you will return to your hotel.
Day 9 | Mar. 9, 2020 | CAPPADOCIA - KONYA (B, D)
After breakfast, at 9:00 a.m., you will meet your guide at the hotel lobby and drive to Konya (approximately 3 hours) with a stop at Sultanhani Caravanserai. The caravanserai was a stop for Silk Road traders, which offered accommodation, stables, a small mosque, storage and Turkish baths.
In Konya you will visit the Mevlana Museum which records and celebrates the life of Celaleddin Rumi the founder of the Mevlana Sufi Sect and one of the world’s greatest mystics. In the museum you can see Rumi’s colourful tomb and gain an understanding of how the dervishes lived in the Mevlana lodge.
At the end of your day, you will transfer to your hotel. Dinner will be served at your hotel restaurant.
Overnight at Dedeman Konya (one night).
Day 10 | Mar. 10, 2020 | KONYA - ANTALYA (B, L, D)
After breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. meet your guide in the hotel lobby and drive to Antalya (approximately 4.5 hours).
After checking in to your hotel, spend the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the resort facilities. Dinner will be served at your hotel restaurant.
Overnight at Kempinski The Dome (three nights).
Day 11 | Mar. 11, 2020 | ANTALYA (B, L, D)
After breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. meet your guide in the hotel lobby and drive to the archaeological and UNESCO World Heritage site of Sagalassos (approximately 2 hours). The ancient ruins of Sagalassos are situated 7 km from the town of Aglasun in the province of Burdur. The city lies on Mount Akdag, a spur of the Western Toros range, at an altitude of between 1,450 and 1,700 metres. Human settlement in the area goes back to 12,000 BC, and Sagalassos itself has revealed traces of settlement going back to 3,000 BC.
Around 1,600 it became part of Pisidia, but otherwise its history remains wreathed in mist until the arrival of Alexander the Great in 334 BC. Sagalassos was renowned for its courageous and warlike inhabitants, who put up a vigorous defense against Alexander's army, who eventually conquered the city. At the end of your day, you will return to your hotel. Dinner will be served at your hotel restaurant.
Day 12 | Mar. 12, 2020 | ANTALYA (B, L, D)
After breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. meet your local guide in the hotel lobby for your private sightseeing.
First, visit the ancient city of Aspendos, known for the best preserved Roman Age theatre in the Mediterranean. The city was founded on the hill plane close to one of the biggest rivers of the region, the Köprüçay.
The city of Perge is 17 km east of Antalya, within the borders of Aksu. The important monumental structures of the city have been discovered through excavations made by the University of Istanbul since 1946. Antalya Museum has one of the richest collections of Roman sculptures resulting from these excavations.
After lunch, visit Antalya Archeological Museum which was 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 Alâeddin Mosque, 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 metres 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, for dinner.
Day 13 | Mar. 13, 2020 | ANTALYA - PAMUKKALE (B, D)
After breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. meet your local guide in the hotel lobby and drive to Pamukkale (approximately 3 hours). Check in to your hotel and spend the afternoon relaxing. Dinner will be served at your hotel restaurant.
Accommodation at Doga Thermal Hotel (two nights).
Day 14 | Mar. 14, 2020 | PAMUKKALE (B, D)
After breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. meet your local guide in the hotel lobby for your private sightseeing. Pamukkale is Turkey's foremost mineral spa destination, because of it's 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, in 2,000 BC. 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 theatre is a AD 2,000 building in Roman style with many reliefs depicting scenes representing the Emperor Septimus Severus and from the life of Dionysus.
Last, you will visit Laodicea, once an important city in Anatolia, built on a natural trade route. It was a centre for 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 3,000 BC. It was named after the wife of its founder.
At the end of your day, you will return to your hotel to relax and enjoy the hotel thermal bath. Dinner will be served at your hotel restaurant.
Day 15 | Mar. 15, 2020 | PAMUKKALE - IZMIR (B)
After breakfast, meet your local guide in the hotel lobby at 9.00 a.m. and drive to Izmir, (approximately 4 hours). On the way, stop at Philadelphia which was referred to as the ‘New Jerusalem’ in the Book of the Revelation and is home to substantial remains of its Cathedral.
After lunch, visit to Sardis where many structures are still visible today. Artemis was the main Goddess of the city and the temple dedicated to her in Sardis was one of the seven largest Greek temples. The ruins of Sardis are scattered throughout the valley, which lies beneath the striking ragged mountain range to the south. Here you will see the remains of a gymnasium, stadium and ancient churches. View the Byzantine era shops, which once belonged to Jewish merchants and artisans. They back onto the remains of the largest synagogue in Asia Minor.
We arrive into Izmir in the afternoon and check in to our hotel for three nights.
Accommodation at the Renaissance Hotel (three nights).
Day 16 | Mar. 16, 2020 | IZMIR (B)
After breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. meet your guide at the hotel lobby for your private full day of experience.
You will visit Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous throughout the ancient world for its Temple of Artemis. Visit the Odeon Theatre where the state affairs used to be held. Then, view the Hadrian Temple, it was dedicated in AD 118 to Hadrian, Artemis, and the people of Ephesus. 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 (Villas) located on top of the hill within the City of Ephesus. They were inhabited by wealthy Ephesians and are finely decorated with mosaics and frescos. The Terrace Houses were brought to light in excavations carried out since the 1980s. Along with those in Pompeii, they constitute some of the most vivid examples of Roman domestic architecture to survive to the present.
Proceed to Celsus Library, the library is the best-preserved structure of its kind. The inscription on the side of the building’s front staircase says that the library was build by Julius, in his father’s honour, after his death. His father, Celsus was the Roman governor of Asia Minor early in the 2nd century AD.
The Great Theatre, dates back to the Hellenistic period. In the 1st century AD it was successfully reconstructed, expanded by the Romans until it reached the seating capacity of 25,000. Marble Road, runs between the Library of Celsus and the theatre and is a part of the sacred walk way.
After your lunch, you will visit the House of Virgin Mary, where the Virgin is said to have lived the last years of her life. The building was rediscovered in the late 19th century by Lazartis from Smyrna based on the vision of a German nun. The site is officially declared a shrine of the Roman Catholic Church and visited by Pope Paul VI in 1967, Pope John Paul II in 1979 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2007.
Then, 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.
Day 17 | Mar. 17, 2020 | IZMIR (B)
After breakfast, at 10:00 a.m., meet your guide in the hotel lobby to drive to the quaint seaside town of Urla where an old fashioned slow and relaxed lifestyle still exists.
Urla is home to 300 acres of planted vineyards of differing varieties. Enjoy a wine tasting, and learn about the unique local wine making traditions.
Alacatı is a charming district in the region of Cesme, which has been a popular holiday resort area for more than a century. Cesme is now considered to be one of Turkey's most prominent centres of international tourism and was ranked 8th by the New York Times in ‘The 31 Places to Go in 2010’.
Day 18 | Mar. 18, 2020 | IZMIR - ASSOS (B)
After breakfast, check out of your hotel at 9:00 a.m. and meet your guide at the hotel lobby and drive to Pergamum (approximately 1.5 hours) for your private full day of sightseeing.
First, you will visit the ruins of Pergamum. The city became the centre of a large kingdom in the 3rd Century BC and retained its status as a political and cultural leader into the Byzantine period. Stop at the Acropolis, then you will see The Library of Pergamum, built by Eumenes II, it was one of the three famous ancient libraries along with Ephesus and Alexandria.
Visit the Asclepion, a healing centre built in the name of the God of Healing, Asclepius. Although built in the 4th Century BC, it had its peak in the Roman period when people came in search of a cure or just to take the waters.
In the afternoon, you will journey to your hotel in Assos (approximately 2.5 hours) and check in.
Accommodation at Assos Kervansaray Hotel (one night).
Day 19 | Mar. 19, 2020 | ASSOS - GALLIPOLI (B)
After breakfast, check out of your hotel at 9:00 a.m. and meet your local guide at the hotel lobby for your private full day of sightseeing. First, you will drive to Assos a small historically rich town in Canakkale. Aristotle lived here and opened an Academy. The city was also visited by St. Paul. Today Assos is an Aegean-coast seaside retreat amid ancient ruins. The arcaic Temple of Athena at Assos was built of local stone and is 328 metres above sea level on the city’s acropolis. Aristotle’s pioneering zoological studies were based on the marine fauna of the region.
Next, you will drive to Alexandria Troas. On St. Paul’s second journey, he had wanted to go north into Bithynia, but instead he and his companion Timothy deflected to the Aegean Coast. In the night a Macedonian appeared to Paul calling him to cross the Aegean to Neapolis and Philippi. This is noted as the inspiration and beginning of the spread of Christianity into Europe.
You will visit Troy. Homer immortalized Truva (Truja) in the stories of King Priam, Hector, Paris and the beautiful Helen. Archaeological excavations have revealed nine separate periods of settlement and the ruins of city walls, house foundations, a temple and a theatre. A symbolic wooden Trojan horse commemorates the legendary war. The first excavations were done by a German businessman Mr. Heinrich Schliemann in 1870, after he imagined the whereabouts of the city from his readings of Homer’s epic poem. He found the hidden treasures of the city and took them to Germany.
Finally, take a ferry across the Marmara Sea and then drive to Gallipoli, where you will check in to your hotel.
Accommodation at Caeli Hotel (two nights).
Day 20 | Mar. 20, 2020 | GALLIPOLI (B)
After breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. you will meet your guide at the hotel lobby for your private full day of sightseeing.
First, you will drive to Gelibolu and visit one of the most moving sites in Turkey, the World War I battlefields of Gallipoli. To honour the 500,000 soldiers who lost their lives at Gelibolu (Gallipoli), the peninsula was turned into the Gelibolu Historic National Park. It includes memorial monuments, the Ariburnu Cliffs and Tuz Lake. The beauty of the green hills, sandy beaches and blue waters provides an honoured resting place for the soldiers who bravely fought and died in this historical battle.
You will see the ANZAC Sector during the tour. You will visit Brighton Beach, the intended landing place, Seddül Bahir & English Memorial. You will also view Turkish Memorial, the Beach Cemetery on the southern tip of Anzac Cove, Ari Burnu Cemetery, Lone Pine Australian Memorial, Johnston’s Jolly, French Memorial and New Zealander Memorial en route.
The Lone Pine was the name given to a solitary tree on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, which marked the site of the Battle of Lone Pine in 1915. Pines which are planted as a memorial to the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought in Gallipoli.
Next, you will drive up to Chunuk Bair which was one of the main objectives for the Anzacs throughout the campaign.
Nearby, walk to the Johnston’s Jolly Cemetery standing on the northern part of Plateau 400. This marks the position that the Anzac troops captured on 25 April, but lost the next day. Almost all the casualties buried in this cemetery were killed in the capture of Lone Pine in August 1915.
Last, visit New Zealand Memorial where the last fighting took place during the August offensive. The memorial relates to the actions at Hill 60 and bears 183 names. The cemetery lies among the trenches and was made after the battle and enlarged after Armistice from battlefield graves. At the end of your day, you will return to your hotel.
Day 21 | Mar. 21, 2020 | GALLIPOLI - ISTANBUL (B)
After breakfast, check out of your hotel at 9:00 a.m. meet your guide in the hotel lobby and drive to Istanbul (approximately 5 hours). Arrive to your hotel and check in. Afternoon at leisure.
Overnight at The House Hotel Karakoy.
Day 22 | Mar. 22, 2020 | ISTANBUL (B)
After breakfast, at 10:00 a.m. meet your guide at the hotel lobby for your private full day of sightseeing.
First, explore Ortakoy which is a neighborhood, formerly a small village, within the Besiktas district of Istanbul, located in the middle of the European bank of the Bosphorus. Ortakoy is a cosmopolitan area, with communities of Turks, Greeks, Armenians and Jews. The neighbourhood hosts many different religious structures. It is also a popular spot for locals with its art galleries, nightclubs, cafés, bars, and restaurants. The Neo-Baroque style Ortaköy Mosque is a beautifully ornate structure, right on the jetty of Ortakoy, bordering the waters of the Bosphorus, and thus highly visible from the passing boats.
Next, you will explore Arnavutkoy, a beautiful seafront town retaining its old wooden houses. The interior of the village is a typical fisherman village with plenty of dining options in the ground floor taverns.
You will also visit Bebek, the pearl of Istanbul located between Arnavutkoy and Rumeli fortress. It is famous for its mansions and small forests. It is a beautiful coastal village on the Bosphorus, frequented by the locals.
Galata, was a small village that became a neighbourhood of Istanbul, as the local Jewish community grew. You will find several synagogues and an incredible atmosphere of mixed culture. Its winding streets and elegant buildings imbue it with a distinctly European flair. Grand old apartments offer stunning views of the Bosphorus. In this neighbourhood, you will see many local boutiques, designers, trendy cafes and restaurants.
Then, you will explore the winding streets of Karakoy, where a lot of design offices and shops are hidden and you will come upon one of the most important new neighbourhoods in Istanbul. Karakoy is a dynamic neighbourhood to say the least. What used to be the main port of the Ottoman Empire and a site for local hardware stores is transforming slowly but surely into a hub of food, culture, and shopping. With the opening of shops, cafes, restaurants, galleries, and boutique hotels, the feel of the area is rapidly changing from a historical one to a modern and young neighborhood. It is a great joy to get lost among the old historical buildings of Karakoy only to find chic shops and offices hiding between walls that have the stain of time on their surface.
At the end of your sightseeing, you will return to your hotel.
Day 23 | Mar. 23, 2020 | ISTANBUL (B)
After breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. meet your guide in the hotel lobby for your private full-day of sightseeing.
You will embark on your yacht from the local pier to enjoy a private 1.5 hour motor yacht cruise on the Bosphorus, the narrow strait of water separating the Asian and European continents and the lifeblood of Istanbul. Passing along the shores of the Bosphorus you will view magnificent palaces, restored Ottoman villas, impressive fortresses and the waterside residences of Istanbul’s elite. Enjoy soft drinks on the motor yacht and see a different perspective of Istanbul, described by a Byzantine visitor in the 12th century as “the city of the world’s desire”.
Disembark your yacht at Beylerbeyi and explore the area. Just beyond the Bosphorus Bridge is Beylerbeyi, an area famous in Istanbul for its fish restaurants, and for the Ottoman palace on the shore.
After your lunch, you will visit Kuzguncuk, a neighbourhood in the Uskudar district of Istanbul. The neighbourhood is centred on a valley opening to the Bosphorus and is somewhat isolated from the main part of the city, being surrounded by nature preserves. It is a quiet neighborhood with streets lined with antique wooden houses.
Finally visit Kadıköy, a large, populous and cosmopolitan district of İstanbul. Kadıköy is a busy shopping district, with a wide variety of atmospheres and architectural styles. There are also modern shopping centres, most notably the large Tepe Nautilus Shopping Mall, and pavements crowded with street vendors selling socks, pirated copies of popular novels, and other products.
At the end of your sightseeing, you will return to your hotel.
Day 24 | Mar. 24, 2020 | ISTANBUL (B)
Breakfast at hotel. Day at leisure in Istanbul to explore on your own.
Day 25 | Mar. 25, 2020 | ISTANBUL - TORONTO (B)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your departure flight home.
Air France flight 1391 departs Istanbul 5:05 a.m. arrives Paris, Charles du Gaulle at 6:50 a.m. Then connects with Air France flight 356 departs Paris, Charles du Gaulle at 2:25 p.m. arrives Toronto 5:45 p.m.
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