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15-day 5-star tour of Istanbul & the Aegean

Istanbul (World Heritage) – Troy (World Heritage) – Bursa (World Heritage) – Pergamon (World Heritage) – Pamukkale (World Heritage) – Aphrodisias (World Heritage)

Your itinerary

Based on our own experience and the many tips we have received from enthusiastic holidaymakers, it is our pleasure to present to you one of the UK‘s most popular cultural tours!²

Day 1: Arrival in Izmir and transfer to our star hotel

Istanbul

At the airport, our friendly and competent, English-speaking cultural tour guide welcomes us. We travel together to our star hotel on the Aegean, where we spend the first night.

Day 2: Pergamon (UNESCO World Heritage)

Pergamon (World Heritage)

Today we are travelling to Pergamon (a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014). Our journey takes us past picturesque coastal villages and green mountain landscapes. We will visit the impressive, plateau-like Acropolis (admission included), where the ancient city of Pergamon was located. Particularly spectacular is the theatre built on the slope, whose spectator stands were the steepest of antiquity and could accommodate up to 10,000 people. The library was the second largest of antiquity. The parchment scrolls stored there gave the city its name.

Day 3: Troy (UNESCO World Heritage) & museum

Troy (World Heritage)

We are heading to the legendary Troy in the morning. The city, discovered and excavated by Heinrich Schliemann, was the backdrop to Homer’s ‘Iliad’ and the setting for the ten-year Trojan War. We will visit the excavation site (admission included), which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. Another highlight is the tour of the award-winning archaeological museum (admission included).

Day 4: Historic Istanbul (UNESCO World Heritage) with Hagia Sophia, Hippodrome Square & Blue Mosque

Istanbul (World Heritage)

Off we go to Istanbul, the absolute highlight! We cross the Dardanelles on the newly built Çanakkale Bridge, thus moving from Asia to Europe. We continue through the fertile hinterland and reach the world metropolis Istanbul on the Bosphorus – that famous strait connecting the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. First, we admire from the outside the famous Hagia Sophia, a jewel of Byzantine times. Afterwards, we stroll across Hippodrome Square, before moving on to visit the Blue Mosque (admission included). The historical Istanbul has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. We will stay overnight in a star hotel in Istanbul.

Day 5: Istanbul with Topkapı Palace & Bursa (UNESCO World Heritage)

Topkapı Palace, Istanbul

In the morning, we continue to explore the unique old town of Istanbul and visit the Topkapı Palace (admission included), which was the administrative centre as well as the residential and government seat of the sultans during the Ottoman Empire. After a leisurely stroll through the Egyptian Bazaar, we continue to Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman Empire. Thanks to the numerous, well-preserved buildings from the 14ᵗʰ /15ᵗʰ century (admission included), the city has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014. We stay in modern accommodation in Bursa.

Day 6: Sardis with Temple of Artemis

Temple of Artemis, Sardis

On our way heading south, we make a pit stop in Susurluk. There, our tour guide invites us to a ‘Susurluk Tostu’ – a renowned cheese toast. As we continue our journey, we stop in Sardes and visit the ancient Artemis Temple (admission included), which was once the third largest in Asia Minor after Ephesus and Magnesia. In the evening, we arrive in Pamukkale and stay overnight in our comfortable thermal hotel.

Day 7: Pamukkale & Aphrodisias (2× UNESCO World Heritage)

Aphrodisias (World Heritage)

In the morning, we make a photo stop at the impressive calcium terraces of Pamukkale (UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site). Following this, we stop at a traditional carpet weaving workshop and admire this centuries-old craft. We then reach the ancient city of Aphrodisias (admission included), the capital of Caria and home to artists and sculptors, which is among the best-preserved ancient cities in the world. It is rightly a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mighty stadium, the imposing Tetrapylon, the Agora and the theatre with inscriptions are just some of the treasures of this impressive cultural site that will amaze us. We stay overnight in the Kuşadası region.

Day 8: Şirince (UNESCO Village 2023)

Şirince

The day begins with a visit to the unique wine village of Şirince, which was recognised by UNESCO as one of the best tourist villages in 2023. Afterwards, the tradition of craftsmanship takes us to a leather and a jewellery workshop. We learn interesting facts about the production process and have the chance to purchase a personal holiday souvenir, before we reach our 5-star hotel on the Aegean in the afternoon.

Day 9 – 15: FREE extended holiday in an exclusive 5-star luxury hotel on the Aegean

5-star luxury hotel

We are relaxing in our 5-star beach hotel in Kuşadasi. We are enjoying the amenities of our luxury hotel. Taking a break by the outdoor pool or in the indoor pool, or leisurely strolling along the beach. On the 15ᵗʰ day you will be transferred directly to the airport for your return flight.

Homeward journeyPergamon (World Heritage)Troy (World Heritage)

Package includes:

  • Scheduled flights with a reputable airline³ to and from Izmir, incl. hotel and airport transfers
  • 8-day 5-star cultural tour of Istanbul & the Aegean with the 6 most famous World Heritage Sites!
    – 7 nights in a double room in selected 4- and 5-star hotels (national category)
    – 7× tasty breakfast
    – Round trip in our modern and air-conditioned travel coach
    – Spectacular range of excursions incl. admissions (as per itinerary), a.o. with the highlights:
    • Historical Istanbul (World Heritage)
    • Troy (World Heritage) & museum
    • Pergamon (World Heritage)
    • Bursa (World Heritage)
    • Pamukkale (World Heritage)
    • Aphrodisias (World Heritage)
    • Şirince (UNESCO Village)
    • Sardis (Temple of Artemis)
    • Topkapi Palace
    • Hagia Sophia
    • Hippodrome Square
    • Blue Mosque
  • OUR GIFT: FREE 7 days of relaxation in a 5-star luxury hotel on the Aegean
    – 7 nights in a double room in an exclusive 5-star luxury hotel (national category)
    – Free use of hotel facilities: attractive outdoor pool, private beach, fantastic wellness area with sauna
  • Qualified, English-speaking cultural tour guide


³ e.g. scheduled flight with SunExpress Airlines

On request, you can book our additional services at special prices:

Gourmet package:

The package includes a delicious buffet every evening with international specialities during the 8-day cultural tour: only £149 per person

Hotel

Single room surcharge: £ 300 per person (subject to availability)

Including a spectacular range of excursions

Our 4- and 5-star hotels for the cultural tour!

Our gift as an extended holiday:
FREE 7 days of relaxation in an exclusive 5-star luxury hotel!

Comparison of temperatures

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Antalya151618212430323330262217
London2371217202221191474

General note:

Below is an information overview. The conditions of entry, as well as the political and health situation, can change anywhere in the world at any time. We therefore recommend checking before your trip. Please check the website of the Foreign Office (www.gov.uk/) before your departure.

Capital:

Ankara

System of government:

Republic/Parliamentary Republic, head of state since 27.08.2014 President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Following an official letter submitted to the United Nations by the Republic of Türkiye, the country’s name has been officially changed to Türkiye by the UN since June 2022.

Religion:

Islam with a small Christian and Jewish community.

Language:

The official language is Turkish. English is often spoken in cities and tourist resorts, as well as German and French.

Climate:

Subtropical climate along the Aegean Coast and the Mediterranean Sea throughout the year with temperatures ranging from 30°C in the summer to 12–15°C in the winter.

Electricity:

The supply voltage is 220 V, 50 HZ. An adapter is necessary.

Local time:

The time zone in Türkiye is GMT +3 hours with no daylight saving time. The time difference with Türkiye is plus 3 hours in winter and plus 2 hours in summer.

Making telephone calls:

The country code for Türkiye is 0090 with the zero cancelled before the area code. If you are calling the UK from Türkiye, please dial 0044 and the area code without the zero.

Country and people:

Barely any country has a history as rich as Türkiye. Today, Türkiye is a modern democracy where tourism is playing an increasingly important role. A visit to Türkiye has to include a visit to the Turkish bazaars, where you can enjoy their oriental flair. The traditional carpet, jewellery and leather goods stores are long-standing, and in some cases centuries-old elements of the culture of this region. So our trip will also include a jewellery manufacturer, a leather goods store and a modern rug gallery. Here you will learn some fascinating facts about the art of carpet weaving and experience how a hand-woven rug has been made for generations. As part of an interesting demonstration, you‘ll find out more about the preparation of silk threads, the natural dyes used for the wool and the delicate and extremely time-consuming knotting process. You will then have 1 – 2 hours in the various stores and factories to look at the works of art and products for yourself.
Bartering is a typical Turkish custom. If you are not interested in buying anything, the traders will also accept a clear no. No bartering takes place in department stores and supermarkets, or at markets where local farmers sell their vegetables.
In Türkiye it is customary to give tips. Similarly, to the USA, this forms part of the income for the people working in the service sector. Moreover, it symbolizes recognition for the service provided. One can tip chambermaids £1 to £2 per night. In a restaurant or taxi, tipping around 10% of the billed sum is customary. Tips are not given in shops. On group trips, the suggested sum for a tour guide, could be £2 per person per day. While for bus drivers the appropriate sum is around £1 to £2 per day per person. Of course, everyone may decide for themselves whether and how much tip they wish to give.

Entry requirements for British citizens:

British citizens do not need a visa to enter Türkiye for stays of up to 90 days in any 180 day period. The Turkish government advises that your passport should be valid for at least 6 months from the date you enter Türkiye and that there is a full blank page for the entry and exit stamps. Nationals of other countries are advised to inquire at the Turkish Embassy about the entry requirements applicable to them.
Customers are reminded that it is their sole responsibility to make sure that passport and visa entry requirements for the country or countries that they are visiting are satisfied and we cannot be responsible for any problems encountered (whether at any point of entry or elsewhere) in the event that passport and visa requirements are not satisfied. Regulations in respect of passport and visa requirements for Türkiye are the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Türkiye (‘MFA’) whose website is at www.mfa.gov.tr.

Tour guides:

Your expert tour guides will be able to provide you with detailed information about the country, people, history, culture, etc., and offer advice and assistance for organising your trip. They can also help with room allocation and look forward to welcoming you with initial information. Here you will find out all you need to know and useful information about the trip. We have put together a varied programme including numerous highlights, enabling you to experience the culture and diversity of landscape that the country has to offer, and learn all about Türkiye and its people.

Additional packages:

Although your trip already includes a comprehensive package, you also have the option of choosing added extras. We recommend booking the following packages:
Gourmet package: The package includes a delicious buffet every evening with international specialities during the 8-day cultural tour: only £ 149 per person.
Explorer package: The package includes the Bosphorus boat trip and the fascinating performance ‘Dancing Dervishes’: £ 75 per person (bookable on arrival).

Currency/Banks/Credit cards:

Since 1 January 2009, the currency is once again called the Turkish lira (TRY). Exchange rate (as of June 2024): 1 GBP = 41,07 TRY; 1 TRY = 0.02 GBP.
Money can be exchanged at banks during opening hours. Another option to change currency is offered at larger hotels. Bank opening hours: Mon – Fri from 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m., 1.30 to 5.30 p.m. Cash can be withdrawn from cash machines using established international credit cards like Visa, Mastercard, American Express; the usage of debit cards is only possible with some machines. Credit cards are usually also accepted in the larger hotels, various shops and international car rental offices. ATTENTION: Caution is advised when paying with a bank or credit card, as criminals may be trying to copy the traveller’s bank card and obtain the relevant PIN code without being noticed to then be able to withdraw cash from cash machines with fake cards. Travellers are therefore advised to keep an eye on their bank card when paying with it and to enter their PIN number with discretion. Care should be taken when using the bank and credit cards with the PIN code in exchange offices too.

Customs regulations:

The following regulations apply for tourists: import of foreign currency is unlimited. As for exporting currency, a total amount of 5,000 US dollars or the equivalent in TRY is permitted. Travellers may import and export personal jewellery to a total value of 15,000 US dollars. Any value higher than this must be declared when entering the country. Documentation is required for purchases made in Türkiye. Otherwise, the following goods per person may by carried upon entry into Türkiye (does not apply to transit travellers): personal belongings as items for personal use, incl. medical articles (devices) and medicine as well as giftware to a value of 230 GBP (children under 15 years of age up to 110 GBP).
Important: If you are travelling to Great Britain from outside the UK, your personal allowances mean you can bring in a certain amount of goods without paying tax or duty. If you go over your allowances you must declare all your goods and pay tax and duty on all the goods in that category. Please inform yourself about the current customs regulations: www.gov.uk/bringing-goods-into-uk-personal-use/arriving-in-Great-Britain

Safety information specific to Türkiye:

British citizens wishing to stay in or travel to Türkiye are generally recommended to keep an eye on the security situation, these travel and safety instructions and on reports in the media. Groups of people gathering, including on public squares and in front of tourist attractions, as well as hanging around near government and military buildings should be avoided. Following the failed violent attempted coup, there have been isolated incidents of aggressive attacks by followers of certain political parties on people with supposedly different views. We strongly recommend remaining vigilant for such escalations, distancing yourself from the situation as quickly as possible and finding a secure location.

Special criminal provisions:

The purchase, possession and export of ‘cultural and natural properties’ is severely punished (prison sentence of up to 10 years), as these properties are regarded as state-owned assets. In case of violation, several months of custody and high bail fees (currently approx. 7,000 GBP) are common procedure for tourists, too, even if they hold antiques or old objects of supposed small value. In individual cases, prison sentences are imposed. You are therefore urgently warned not to acquire or take along antiques, old coins, fossils, etc. from retailers. It is strongly advised against making political statements in public against the Turkish state or expressing sympathy with terrorist organisations.

Medical information:

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website (https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries). Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Caution is advised when eating uncooked food, unpasteurised milk (e.g. fresh milk, ice cream) and fruit that can not be peeled. Please avoid drinking tap water and ice cubes in drinks! Rule of thumb: do not eat anything that cannot be cooked or peeled! In Türkiye, pharmacies are found at every turn. They are recognised by their green cross and the ‘Eczane’ inscription. The standard is high, the personnel fully trained. Especially in those regions in which tourism flourishes, English-speaking staff are the norm. Most of the medicines that require prescription in the United Kingdom, are also available in Türkiye by prescription only. The handling is somewhat more ‘relaxed’, though. Hospitals and a number of medical practices are found in every larger city and in the touristic regions; usually only community hospitals are based in smaller towns and villages. Make sure you have private travel health insurance. Such policies usually also offer benefits not covered by state health insurance companies, e.g. the costs of repatriation. Please note that the excursions are accessible by foot only and that the buses used for the roundtrip are not customised to transport wheelchairs or similar devices. Customers must ensure that they are in good physical and mental health in line with the trip in question. Customers must enquire about the physical mobility and psychological autonomy required for this trip.

All information is subject to change/Last updated: June 2024