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COMBINE ISTANBUL

AND CAPPADOCIA

Istanbul and Cappadocia (arrival in Istanbul; departure from Kayseri).

 

One week to discover the treasures of Istanbul and the lunar landscapes of Cappadocia.

 

Day 1: Arrival in Istanbul and transfer to your hotel. Overnight stay with breakfast.

Day 2 : Dive straight in the history of this mythical city. Explore:

Aghia Sophia, the Basilica of the Devine Wisdom from the 6th century with fabulous frescos and mosaics have survived for almost 1500 years thanks to the tolerance of the Ottomans.

The Topkapi Palace, dwelling of the Ottoman sultans. Strolling throught the various courtyards, enter the intimity of the sultans pavillions, kiosks, gardens and terraces and finally the harem. You'll see the enormous kitchen, the Royal hall, the hall of Islamic relics.

 

The Sultanahmet mosque, known as the Blue mosque as well as the obelisks of the Roman Hippodrome and the German Fountain.

At the Topkapi Palace, experience the intimacy of the Ottoman sultans as you stroll through pavilions, kiosks, and the harem.

 

Day 3 :  Street food tour , the Bosphorus,

and the Beyoglu District

In Istanbul, one can eat anything at any time of the day or night. But as a tourist, it's not easy to know what and where to eat.

 

Throughout the day, you'll taste raw products (pastrami, cheeses) in the Egyptian Bazaar and continue your culinary stroll with specialties eaten "on the go." For example: "midye tava" (fried mussels), stuffed mussels, Tantuni (meat sandwich), "lahmacun" (small spicy minced meat pizza), as well as desserts, the famous "Turkish delights."

Head to the Egyptian Bazaar, also known as the Spice Market. Immerse yourself in the smells and colors of this market dating back to 1664.

 

Then board a traditional ferry for a cruise on the Bosphorus from which you’ll admire palaces and wooden mansions lining the shores.

Return to the pier to discover the Beyoglu district, the ancient Péra, called the "Paris of the 19th century”, this district is currently the center of the modern city.

 

Day 4 : Free Day

Visit the Grand Bazaar and its caravanserais, not just the commercial part but also its back alleys, workshops, and inner courtyards. A true city within a city, it has 4,000 shops and several thousand employees.

Explore lively streets or quieter ones, venture randomly to discover unexplored neighborhoods, encounter scenes of life that add charm to this city, like artisans roaming the streets to sell their services or the diversity of neighborhood markets. Take the time to sit in a "çay salonu" (tea salon), taste some Istanbul specialties in a "meyhane" (tavern), an excellent way to experience the "Turkish way." Stop by a pastry shop and taste delicious cakes and desserts. In many shops that offer them, don't hesitate to try "lokoums."

 

These are just a few non-exhaustive examples to feel the pulse of this world city...

 

Day 5 : Istanbul >>> Cappadocia

Transfer to the airport and flight to Cappadocia (flight not included). Welcome upon arrival and transfer. Check-in at your hotel. Overnight stay with breakfast.

Day 6 : Churches and Fairy Chimneys Valleys

Optional: Hot air balloon flight at dawn over the lunar landscapes of Cappadocia. An unforgettable experience! Back for breakfast.

 

With your guide, you’ll explore the Open-Air Museum of Göreme, a monastic complex with rock churches featuring well-preserved murals that will help you better understand the life of Byzantine monks at the time.

Next is the Pasabag Valley with its fairy chimneys with multiple hats, one of the places where you can best understand the extraordinary geological phenomenon of the region and also see hermit dwellings.

Explore the Zelve Open-Air Museum, a cave village abandoned only in the 1950s.

 

Day 7 : Canyon and Underground City

Our vehicle takes us to the underground city of Derinkuyu, eight stories deep. The number of stone rooms discovered could accommodate at least 40,000 people, but they were designed to house about 10,000 people for extended periods. The city had places of worship, storage rooms, stables or sheepfolds, wine and oil presses, kitchens, refectories, and a vast vaulted room on the second floor.

Then we continue to the beautiful Ihlara Canyon, where we hike to the village of Belisirma along the river and under the poplars, visiting some Byzantine rock churches. You can have lunch in the canyon by the river. We continue by vehicle to Selime with its fairy chimneys and its impressive rock monastery complex.

 

Day 8 : Departure

Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

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