Arrive Istanbul, Turkey
Arrive in Istanbul, where you are met and transferred to your hotel.
Istanbul | Architectural Wonders
This morning, explore the timeless Hagia Sophia, marveling at the structure’s imposing façade, matched only by the grandeur of the towering, vaulted ceilings within. Next, visit the Basilica Cistern, its marble columns still standing since the sixth century. Explore the Hippodrome, the ancient walls, and the Chora Church, to admire Byzantine architecture as well as the colorful mosaics and frescoes that adorn its interior. Ride Like a Local on a public ferry across the Bosphorus — a natural straight that connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara and forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia — to explore the food markets of the Asian side.
Istanbul | Inside Historic Palaces
Set out on a day-long excursion through Istanbul, starting at Topkapi Palace. Built in the 15th century by the sultan whose forces conquered Constantinople, its architectural splendors include garden courtyards and the elaborate harem. Proceed to visit stately Dolmabahce Palace as well as the Istanbul Naval Museum with its extensive collection of historic vessels, both set along the Bosphorus.
Istanbul | Legacy of Sinan
Today, explore Suleymaniye Mosque, a magnificent example of imperial Ottoman design built by the famed 16th-century architect Mimar Sinan. Continue to the attached bathhouse complex, a key social center in the Ottoman period. This afternoon, stroll the bustling market area, enjoying time to peruse the produce and crafts on display at the Spice Market and Grand Covered Bazaar. The Grand Bazaar was built in 1461 and contains over 3,500 shops.
Izmir | Remnants of an Empire
An early flight this morning brings you to Izmir on the sparkling coast. Transfer to ancient Sardis, the ruined one-time capital of ancient Lydia, to explore this archaeological park with an expert guide. Later, explore the magnificent ancient Agora and stroll the markets of Izmir, before settling into your peaceful hotel and enjoying an evening at leisure.
Izmir | Secrets of Ancient Ephesus
Embark on a day trip to Ephesus, where Saint Paul once lived and preached. Explore its historic, well-preserved ruins that include temples, roads, baths and fountains, before viewing the fine collections at the Ephesus Museum. Also discover the beautiful nearby village of Sirince, before returning to Izmir for an afternoon and evening at leisure.
After breakfast, you are transferred to the airport to depart.
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