Wine Trail along the Aegean Coast

Wine Trail along the Aegean Coast

Thrace to Sirince

Entice your inner sommelier on this 10-day historic and scenic wine trail along the Aegean Coast. Starting in the Thrace Region, the Persian King, Darius the Great once commented on the excellence of the wine produced in this region. Enjoy touring the vineyard situated in the countryside of Kirklareli, extending below the Strandja mountain. In Bozcaada tour the majestic Castle and discover Bozcaada Island before stopping at the Corvus Wine Factory & Vineyard. Walk in the foot steps of the Trojan horse with a visit to Troy and afterward experience a special tasting at the Adatepe Olive Oil Museum. Enjoy the majestic views from the Altar of Zeus before arriving on Cunda Island, the largest of the Ayvalik Islands, well known for it’s beauty and Greek influence. Experience wine tastings in Luleburgaz, Cesme, Urla and Sirince. Feel welcomed into a local home in Sirince for lunch. Rest easy at night in 4 and 5-star accommodation.

Highlights:

• Taste your way around Turkey’s wine region, located by the Aegean Sea
• Enjoy tastings, learn about pairings with local culinary favourites, and the history while touring the cellars and vineyards dating back over two thousand years
• Drive through picturesque scenic hillside hamlets, seaside villages and stop in historical cities such as Troy.
• Visit Castles, churches, temples, ruins, libraries and museums featuring ancient architecture and archeological wonders including UNESCO World Heritage Site Ephesus
• Experience an Olive Oil tasting and learn about the history in the Adatepe Olive Oil Museum

Includes:

• 9 nights in 4 or 5 star accommodations
• 9 Breakfasts
• 9 days of private sightseeing in a deluxe air-conditioned vehicle with a professional driver.
• Licenced professional tour guide 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.
• Wine tasting in Luleburgaz, Bozcaada, Cesme, Urla and Sirince.
• Olive oil tasting in Ayvalık and Cesme.
• Lunch at a local home in Sirince village.
• Round-trip ferry tickets to Bozcaada island
• Domestic airfare
• Bottled water provided throughout the tour
• Welcome Package

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

Level of support:

Guided

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9 nights

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View Itinerary

Day 1 | ISTANBUL - THRACE
At 10:00 a.m. you will meet your professional local guide at the meeting point and drive to Luleburgaz for 2½ hours and check-into your authentic boutique hotel located in a vineyard of one of the best wineries, Arcadia. Situated in the countryside of Kırklareli, in the valley extending below the Strandja mountain, the property is located on a total of 200 hectares, it is an example of agricultural protection with sustainably cultivated vineyards, Chateau type winery, orchards, vegetable gardens, oak groves and farms of different sizes.

You will enjoy your lunch at the hotel restaurant.

After your lunch, you will meet your wine expert. You will tour the cellar and your wine expert will explain you about the wines and vineyards in Thrace.

Dinner will be served at the hotel restaurant overooking to the valley. You will enjoy a delicious bottle of local wine during dinner among the ones you have tasted during the day.
Overnight at Bakucha Vineyard Hotel


Day 2 | THRACE - BOZCAADA
Enjoy your leisurely breakfast at your hotel.

After your breakfast, you can enjoy one of the heavenly treatments at the SPA or you can spend a lovely morning in nature, take a walk in the vineyards and oak groves, join the season’s harvest, may it be grapes, cherries, wild oregano, rosehips, mushrooms or just relax enjoy the view and the delicious food.

Check-out of your hotel and drive to Geyikli for 4 hours. You can enjoy a local lunch along the way. You will take ferry to Bozcaada for 1 hour. Upon arrival in Bozcaada, you will transfer to your hotel.

Dinner recommended at Simyon Meyhanesi serving traditional mezes and delicious fish in the Old Greek neighbourhood. (Within walking distance from your hotel)
Overnight at Kaikias Hotel


Day 3 | BOZCAADA
After breakfast, you will discover Bozcaada Island. Bozcaada is believed to have been established by Pelags two thousand years ago. A few hundred years after its establishment, the island was captured and destroyed by the Persians, as was many other islands in the area. The Persian incursions were followed by the attacks of Alexander the Great, Romans, the Crusaders and soldiers from Venice, Genoa and Byzantines. The island became a part of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century after the Turkish people started to settle on the island in the 14th century. During the 18th century, it was briefly captured by the Russians and then taken back by the Ottoman navy.

Your tour will begin with a visit of majestic Bozcaada Castle. The form of the existing castle dates back to Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror’s time, when it was rebuilt on the ruins of that castle. Walk with your guide to the castle to have a good panaromic view of Bozcaada and to learn village’s history. After a short walk, Bozcaada Museum will meet you in those colorful streets in the city. You can see numerous titles, fossils peculiar to Bozcaada, archaeological pieces, coins, articles of French soldiers when they used Bozcaada as a military base in the 1915 Çanakkale War, old wine bottles produced in the island, the goods Greek and Turkish people used in their houses.

Your next stop will be Corvus Wine Factory & Vineyard. It has been founded by Resit Soley, a prominent and very successful Turkish architect, who decided to fulfill his dream of a second career as a winemaker. In 2002 he started the project on Bozcaada the Island - in the North Aegean Sea - that he has fallen in love with. Based on intense analysis of terroir and the meteorological data of the last 20 years, he bought 200 hectares of land and planted autochthon as well as international grape varieties. He invested heavily in irrigation and cellar technology and converted the old winery of the Turkish State Monopoly in a state-of-the-art winery. With passion and perfection, he has created exceptional wines combining the old and autochthon wine world of Bozcaada with the new world of varieties and winemaking. That is the reason Resit Soley instantly moved in the group of top winemakers not only in Bozcaada but also in Turkey.

Here you will enjoy wine tasting.

Lunch recommended at a local restaurant.

After having lunch, you will be on your way back to the hotel with a panoramic drive.
Afternoon at leisure. Maybe you want to enjoy one of the nice beaches.

Dinner recommended at Yakamoz Restaurant serving local cuisine with a nice sea view. (Within walking distance from your hotel)
Overnight at Kaikias Hotel


Day 4 | BOZCAADA - ADATEPE - EDREMIT
After your breakfast, you will transfer to the port to embark public ferry to Geyikli and drive to Adatepe for 1 hour with visit to Troy on the way.

First, 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 theater. 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.

A special visit will be made to the spectacular Adatepe Olive Oil Museum. This is the Turkey’s first olive oil museum opened in July 2001. Olive oil culture is so deeply rooted that it was mentioned in almost all sacred books. Although, olive production dates back to pre-historic times in Turkey, much of its history is being forgotten in modern times. The goal of the Adatepe Olive Oil Museum is to preserve the literary and visual history of olive oil production in Turkey, or as it was previously called, Anatolia.

Here you will discover all steps of producing olive oil and some olive oil tasting. You will also see some folkloric objects such as old olive collecting and pressing machines, carrying and conservation pots, etc.

You can enjoy a local lunch in the museum, with dishes made with the local olive oil.

After your lunch, visit the Altar of Zeus that was identified by German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann as Gargaros, the site from which the Greek god Zeus was believed to have watched the fighting at Troy taking place on the plains beneath him. Today, the rock itself is of little interest, although it does offer a great view of the built-up coastline of the Gulf of Edremit (Edremit Körfezi). Instead the walk to the rock is what justifies the detour. Through breaks in the soaring pine trees, you’ll glimpse superb views of Adatepe.

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

Dinner will be served at the hotel. Enjoy the local cuisine & wine pairing with the famous local wines!
Overnight at Zeytinbagi Hotel


Day 5 | EDREMIT - CUNDA ISLAND - AYVALIK
After your breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. you will drive to Cunda for 1½ hours. Upon arrival, explore the island. Cunda is the largest of the Ayvalık islands and was home to a Greek population in 1922 when it became the official seat of a Greek Orthodox metropolitan bishop. After the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, the population exchange between Greece and Turkey caused Cunda’s inhabitants to be replaced by Cretan Turks and Turks from Lesbos. Its Greek ancestry is remembered by the island’s main landmark, the Taksiarchis Church and the neoclassical seafront mansion of the last metropolitan bishop in the town center. Today, Cunda is a town of cobblestoned streets, beautiful stone houses with colorful shutters, olive tree groves, and fish restaurants by the sea all outfitted with an absolute air of tranquility. Apart from simply taking a walk to explore all the beauty the island has to offer, Cunda offers a whole array of activities, restaurants, beaches, and food shopping.

The Metropolitan Church was built by the Alibey (Cunda) Island Greek Orthodox congregation in 1873. It was dedicated to Taxiarches - a term referring to the archangels Gabriel and Michael - and today remains the island's most important monument. The monumental yet desolate building has been brought back to life and to its original magnificence by artists and restoration experts. It was reopened as Ayvalık Rahmi M. Koç Museum on May 31st, 2014. There is a marvelous collection of toys, steam engines, sea and land vessels, locomotive, submarine, vintage airplane, agricultural machinery and much more.

Lunch recommended at Tik Mustafanın Yeri serving delicious local mezes and fresh seafood on the island.

After your lunch, you will enjoy walking through the island. Explore the lovely tiny streets and boutique shops. Do not forget to buy traditonal olive oil and olive oil soaps before returning home. You can also get a souvenir from the street sellers.

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

Dinner recommended at Olea Restaurant & Terrace with amazing sea-view in the hotel.
Overnight at D Murat Reis


Day 6 | AYVALIK - ALACATI
After your breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. you will meet your professional guide in the hotel lobby and drive to Pergamum for 1 hour to visit the ancient city. Upon arrival in Pergamum, you will visit the Acropolis. The Acropolis of Pergamum is certainly dramatic, perched atop a high, steep-sided hill to the northeast of the modern city center. The great temples and dramatic theatre are visible from anywhere in the city, as they were meant to be.

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.

Then, you will visit the Medical Centre of the ancient world, Asclepion was a sanctuary and a healing centre built in the name of the God of healing, Asclepius Over the gate had been inscribed the words: "In the name of the Gods, Death is forbidden to enter". Snakes were sacred to Asclepius because of their power to renew themselves. That is why there was a relief of snakes at the entrance to the sacred area of the medical centre symbolizing health. Among the famous physicians of the Asclepieum was Galen.

Lunch recommended at Kardesler Restaurant serving local cuisine.

After your lunch, you will drive to Alacati for approximately 3 hours. Upon arrival, check-in your hotel and relax.

Dinner recommended at Kapha Restaurant in your hotel. Enjoy the delicious local cuisine and wine pairing with the famous wines of the region!
Overnight at Alavya Hotel


Day 7 | CESME
After your breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. you will meet your professional guide holding a name sign at the hotel lobby.

The name Cesme means fountain. Before the rise of Smyrna, today known as Izmir, Cesme was the region's major port and marked the end of the Silk Road. Thousands of caravans plodded from Central Asia and the Middle East across Anatolia to Cesme. Here, goods were unloaded from the camels for export to Europe through the Aegean and the Mediterranean. Walk with your guide through Cesme to learn what this historic city is all about.

You will see the Church of Agios Haralambos, a prominent landmark in Cesme’s town centre, which has been restored as an art gallery.

Then, visit the famous Cesme Castle—the focal point of the town. An imposing site with its six towers and moats on three sides, the castle is guarded by a statue of Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Pasha, one of the naval commanders of the Battle of Cesme. Pasha is depicted caressing his famous pet lion and facing the Town Square.

Lunch recommended at Dalyan Restaurant serving delicious seafood.

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

Dinner recommended at Asma Yapragi serving local cuisine. (Within walking distance from your hotel)
Overnight at Alavya Hotel


Day 8 | URLA
After your breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. you will meet your guide at the hotel lobby for your full-day private sightseeing tour. First, you will visit Germiyan Village which is a paradise of agricultural production without water reserves and a typical Aegean village with half-timbered type houses in the Ottoman Turkish style which are a mixture of stone and wooden architecture. You will visit the village, starting with its square immediately at the entry of the village where old women sit at small counters selling olive oil, almonds, raisins, figs, fresh village bread and the season’s fruits and vegetables.

Next, you will have a private tour in Urla. The town is dating back thousands of years and provides a rich culture. The excavations starting from the remains of the harbor indicate that the oldest harbor of the world is here. One of the 12 cities of Ionia is Klazemonai, in other words Urla. The soils of this important port and Commerce City of the ancient world still contain the traces of Ionians, Hellenes, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans. The excavations continuing in Urla unearthed an olive oil Workshop dating back to the 6th century BC.

“Urla Sarapcilik Architectural Project”, was based on transferring the heritage of a culture whose winemaking tradition goes back to the Archaic Period and the traces of different cultures to the production plant. Transfer of the build-up taken from the past to the future generations was reflected on the mass in a symbolic language. Urla Sarapcilik owns 30 hectares of planted vineyards where different varieties are available. It aims at processing the crops which shall be obtained from its own controlled vineyards and therefore new planting and arrangement take place in the vineyards every year.

Lunch recommended at Yengec Restaurant serving delicious seafood and mezes.

After your lunch, you will drive to your hotel in Sirince village for 1½ hours.

Upon arrival in Sirince village, check-in your hotel.

Dinner recommended at your hotel restaurant. The chef is great!
Overnight at Gullu Konaklari


Day 9 | EPHESUS
After your breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. you will meet your professional guide at the hotel lobby for private sightseeing tour to Ephesus. First, 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 was visited by Pope Paul VI in 1967, Pope John Paul II in 1979 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2007.

Then, 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.

Proceed to The Celsus Library, a Roman mausoleum and library built in the early 2nd century AD. The Library of Celsus was commissioned 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.

Lunch recommended at Selcuk Koftecisi serving traditional mezes and meatballs.

After your lunch, you will see the Basilica of St.John, where John and the Virgin Mary went between 42 and 48 AD and lived. Three hundred years after the death of Saint John, a small chapel on the Ayasuluk Hill was constructed over his grave. This church was replaced in the 6th century AD by a huge basilica built by the Emperor Justinian, the impressive ruins of which are still visible.

Last, you will visit the Ephesus Museum, an archaeological museum in Selcuk. It houses finds from the nearby Ephesus excavation site and other ancient sites in the region. Its best-known exhibit is the statue of Artemis retrieved from the temple of the goddess in Ephesus. Highlights include the fresco of Socrates, statues and heads of Eros, crosses, coins and the works of the 1st century AD.

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

Before your dinner, you will explore the Sirince Village which is a pretty old Greek village, about 15 minutes away from Ephesus. The village was called “Cirkince” (ugly). Indeed its habitants gave this name on purpose as they did not want to be bothered by foreigners, nor to share the beauty of their village. Still after years, visitors understood that the village was not ugly at all and called it Sirince (pretty). The village is a perfect synthesis of Turk-Greek culture as of the 1920's.

You will enjoy wine tasting with the famous fruit wines of this region.

Dinner recommended at Ocakbasi Restaurant serving local cuisine. (Within walking distance from your hotel)
Overnight at Gullu Konaklari


Day 10 | SIRINCE - IZMIR - ISTANBUL
After your breakfast, you will transfer to Izmir airport for your flight to Istanbul on TK#2309 departing at 8:40 a.m. Arrive in Istanbul at 9:50 a.m. and connect to your international flight to home (TBA).

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