Arrive Istanbul, Turkey
Arrive in Istanbul, where you are met and transferred to your hotel.
Istanbul | Hagia Sophia & Topkapi Palace
After a welcome briefing, stroll to the timeless Hagia Sophia for a private, before-hours opening, exploring in peace and quiet. Take in the structure’s imposing façade, matched only by the grandeur of its towering, vaulted ceilings within. Next, visit the Basilica Cistern, its marble columns still standing since the sixth century. Then, enjoy an exclusive private opening of Topkapi Palace. Ride Like a Local on a public ferry across the Bosphorus to explore the food markets of the Asian side. After lunch, embark on a private cruise of the Bosphorus.
Istanbul/Bodrum | Coffeehouse Culture
Delve into the distinctive Pera district and visit a coffeehouse, learning the story of this uniquely Turkish tradition. Tour Chora Church (subject to renovations). Fly to Bodrum and check in to your hotel, where you dine tonight.
Bodrum | Shipwrecks & Their Bounty
Stop by the ancient Theater of Halicarnassos before visiting the Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum in the Castle of St. Peter, which houses the oldest shipwreck ever discovered. Continue on for a cooking demonstration and exploration of the local farmers market. Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure.
Euromos/Izmir | Temples of Zeus, Apollo & Athena
Journey to Euromos to explore the ruined, yet magnificent Temple of Zeus. Continue to Didyma to discover the Temple of Apollo, dating to at least 300 BC. Stop for lunch at a local seaside restaurant. Then, proceed to Priene for a walking tour at the age-old Temple of Athena before continuing to Izmir, where you enjoy dinner overlooking the sea.
Ephesus | Historic Archaeological Dig
Embark on a day trip to Ephesus, where Saint Paul once lived. Explore the renowned archaeological park and museum here before enjoying a special lunch in a nearby village. Return to Izmir for an afternoon and evening at leisure.
Cappadocia | Fairy Chimneys & Frescoes
Fly via Istanbul to Kayseri, to explore the nearby volcanic stone “fairy chimneys.” View frescoes at the rock-carved churches of Goreme, and visit the stunningly restored Dark Church at this enchanting open-air museum.
Cappadocia | The Ancient Art of Weaving
This morning, enjoy an optional hot air balloon excursion over Cappadocia. Then, visit the Goreme Weavers Association on an engaging artisan visit. Next, sit down with a local family for lunch in their home. In the afternoon, explore the fascinating underground city at Kaymakli, which dates to as early as the eighth century BC and includes chapels, kitchens, air vents and living quarters carved out of volcanic rock.
Istanbul | Seat of a Mighty Empire
Today, fly back to Istanbul. This afternoon, visit Dolmabahce Palace, once a seat of Ottoman power, and see the collection of Ottoman royal barges, a hidden gem of the city.
Istanbul | Ottoman Architecture & the Grand Bazaar
Explore Suleymaniye Mosque and Istanbul’s fabled Grand Bazaar, meeting local craftspeople along the way. After lunch at a local restaurant, stroll the fragrant stalls of the spice market. Tonight, gather with your fellow guests for a farewell dinner.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to depart.