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Grand Tour of Eastern Anatolia – 12 Days / 11 Nights

Summary

TR-GRD11
12 Days / 11 Nights
FIT & Groups
Daily, Year-Round

Basic Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrival at Istanbul | Transfer to your hotel; Some good local restaurants can be pointed out for dinner this evening.
  • Day 2: Istanbul – Adana – Antakya | Flight to Adana and full day tour afterwards. Sites observed: Hatay Archaeology Museum, Church of St. Peter.
  • Day 3: Antakya – Adiyaman | Coach ride to Kahta and tour of Nemrut. Sites observed: Mount Nemrut.
  • Day 4: Adiyaman – Sanliurfa | Coach ride to Urfa and tour. Sites observed: Ataturk Dam, Harran, Sanliurfa Balikli Gol.
  • Day 5: Sanliurfa – Diyarbakir | Coach ride to Diyarbakir and tour. Sites observed: Diyarbakir City Walls.
  • Day 6: Diyarbakir – Mardin | Coach ride to Mardin and full day tour. Sites observed: Deyr-ul Zaferan Monastery, Kadim Kirklar Monastery, Mardin Museum.
  • Day 7: Mardin | Full day tour. Sites observed: Hasankeyf.
  • Day 8: Mardin – Van | Coach ride to Van. Sites observed: Akdamar Church, Urartian Fortress, Van Lake.
  • Day 9: Van – Kars | Coach ride to Kars. Sites observed: Mt. Ararat, Ishak Pasa Palace.
  • Day 10: Kars – Erzurum | Coach ride to Erzurum and tours. Sites observed: Ancient City of Ani.
  • Day 11: Erzurum – Istanbul | Flight to Istanbul. Free leisure day upon arrival and check-in.
  • Day 12: Istanbul – Departure | Flight back home.

Itinerary Map

Group Options

10+0 Pax From 679 EUR

5 (Gold), 4 (Silver), 3 (Bronze)

  • Mercedes Sprinter
  • Private Guide
  • Max 14 People
  • No free passenger
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15+1 Pax From 659 EUR

5 (Gold), 4 (Silver), 3 (Bronze)

  • Turkuaz Sultan VIP
  • Private Guide
  • Max 24 People
  • +1 free passenger
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25+1 Pax From 589 EUR

5 (Gold), 4 (Silver), 3 (Bronze)

  • Turkuaz Sultan VIP
  • Private Guide
  • Max 14 People
  • +1 free passenger
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35+1 Pax From 579 EUR

5 (Gold), 4 (Silver), 3 (Bronze)

  • Tourismo Travego
  • Private Guide
  • Max 45 People
  • +1 free passenger
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Istanbul | Welcome

You will be met by your guide at the Istanbul International Airport (IST) and transferred to your hotel. After checking into your hotel, you will have some time to relax.

Free leisure day afterwards.

Day 2: Antakya Hatay Archaeology Museum, Church of St. Peter

After breakfast, we will depart on early morning for our flight to Adana and make your way to the lovely town of Antakya/Hatay. By its ancient name Antioch, the city won great importance as a harbor city and center of trade. Its harbor city, Alexandretta (Iskenderun) was founded by Alexander the Great, and was named in his honor, similar to Alexandria of Egypt.

After lunch, we will first visit the second largest museum of mosaics in the world and second largest in terms of holding Roman mosaics, the Hatay Archaeology Museum and appreciate the sophisticated art and craftsmanship of older civilizations.

Afterwards, we will visit the Church of St. Peter where the name Christian was first used for the followers of Jesus Christ. Dinner and overnight in Antakya. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 3: Adiyaman | Mount Nemrut

After breakfast and checking out of our hotel, we will enjoy a scenic drive to Kahta/Adiyaman and check into our hotel. In the afternoon, we will climb up Mount Nemrut, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to see the colossal statues of the Pagan gods and goddesses of the Commonage Empire, some standing 9m tall, and enjoy the breathtaking sunset.

The mountain is notable for the large statues that stand erected around a royal tomb from the 1st century BC as a token of worship towards gods in a somewhat peculiar “mixture religion”, integrating Greek, Armenian and Persian gods into one pantheon, as well as the family members of the kings within the rank of the gods.

We will then return to the hotel. Overnight in Adiyaman. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 4: Sanliurfa | Ataturk Dam, Harran, Sanliurfa Balikli Gol

Today after breakfast, we depart for the Ataturk Dam. In the afternoon, we will continue to Harran, a province of the city of Sanliurfa, which was the place where God told Abraham to seed his generations. Urfa (Edessa, or Urhay in Aramaic) is an ancient Mesopotamian city, with which Abraham is greatly associated.

In the late afternoon, we will visit the Sanliurfa Balikli Gol, which it is believed to be the site where Abraham landed when thrown into fire. The fish swimming in the twin lakes are considered sacred.

Afterwards, we will return to the hotel for dinner. Overnight in Sanliurfa. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 5: Diyarbakir | Diyarbakir City Walls

Today, following breakfast at the hotel, we will continue our trip into Diyarbakir, formerly called Amid, which is a South-East Anatolian city with a history dating back to the Assyrians, notable for its historic city walls, which are second only to the Great Wall of China in length and also the best fortified city walls in the world.

The city is also famous for its traditional cuisine, which we will be able to enjoy at lunch. Afterwards, we will move onto our hotel, check in and overnight in Diyarbakir. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner).

Day 6: Mardin | Deyr-ul Zaferan Monastery, Kadim Kirklar Monastery, Mardin Museum

Early in the morning, we will drive to Mardin, a city of various cultures and religions, serving as the crossroads among Anatolian and Mesopotamian civilizations for centuries. Every culture and every religion has left its mark in the city. The Islamic calls to prayer are often followed by the bells of the Syrian (Suryani) Christian churches ringing.

We will first visit the Deyr-ul Zaferan Monastery in the morning. Afterwards, we will return to the city for a walking tour including the Kadim Kırklar Monastery. The amazing structure of the city is often likened to that from a fairy tale with its ancient Mesopotamian feel. Finally, we will visit the famous Mardin Museum, the open-air anthropological and ethnographical museum of the city.

We will then move onto our hotel and check-in. Overnight in Mardin. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 7: Mardin | Hasankeyf

Today, we will move out to the sunken city of Hasankeyf, which is mostly under the waters of the Tigris River due to dam constructions. It is the most popular area in the region due to its historic wealth. The city stands as living evidence of the multifaceted cultural foundations of the Arabs, Seljuks, Mongolians and Ottomans and houses a plethora of valuable remnants from the past.

We will then return to our hotel and overnight in Mardin. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8: Van | Akdamar Church, Urartian Fortress

Today, we will proceed northeast to the city of Van, formerly called Tusba, and visit the Akdamar Church en route by taking a small boat ride to the Akdamar Island on Van Lake.

The Lake Van (Van Gölü) is the largest lake in Turkey, in the far Eastern Anatolia, surrounded by mountains as tall as 4 km, with a magnificent view of Mount Ararat in the distance. The church located on the island has one of the most complete scene collections of the Old Testament carved on the façade. Also called The Church of the Holy Cross, it was built by King Gagik I in the years 915-921, in the shape of a four-leaf clover.

In the late afternoon, we will proceed to the city of Van, visiting the Urartian Fortress atop a nearby mountain. Overnight in Van. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 9: Kars | Mount Ararat, Ishak Pasa Palace

Today, we will head out to Dogubeyazit for sightseeing. We will first observe the beauty of Mt. Ararat from a distance. Mount Ararat (Hebrew: Ararat; Turkish: Buyuk Agri Dagi; Armenian: Masis) is an extinct volcano in the highlands of Armenia in eastern Turkey, specifically, in the Turkish-Armenian-Iranian border. It is the highest mountain in Turkey. The Turkish name means “The Mountain of Great Pain”. According to Judeo-Christian tradition, it was the “Mountains of Ararat” where Noah’s Ark came to rest after the flood was over.

Afterwards, we will continue to Ishak Pasa Palace, which is one of the oldest and most complete palace complexes in the world dating back to 1100 AD.

Then, we will move onto the city of Kars and check-in at our hotel. Overnight in Kars. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 10: Erzurum | Ani

Today, after breakfast, we will continue further East to the Armenian border to see the famous ancient Armenian city of Ani, overlooking the Arpa River.

The now abandoned medieval city of Ani, which was an independent Armenian city-state at the time and also once the capital of the medieval Armenian Kingdom that covered much of present day Armenia and eastern Turkey, is several km’s north of Mount Ararat. The city had once rivalled Constantinople, Cairo and Baghdad in terms of population, splendor and magnificence.

In the afternoon, we will move onto Erzurum to check-in at our hotel. Overnight in Erzurum. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 11: Istanbul | Istanbul – Erzurum Flight, Free Leisure Day

Today after breakfast, we will transfer to the Erzurum Airport for your flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival, we will transfer to our hotel and check-in. Free leisure day afterwards.

Optionally, depending on the arrival time, you may want to explore Istanbul via a Bosphorus Cruise.

Overnight in Istanbul. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 12: Istanbul | Departure

We will pick you up from your hotel in the morning after your breakfast at the hotel. You will then be transferred to the Istanbul Ataturk Airport, from where you will board your homebound flight. (Breakfast)

Inclusions & Exclusions

  • Accommodations in Istanbul (2 nights), Antakya (1 night), Adiyaman (1 night), Sanliurfa (1 night), Diyarbakir (1 night), Mardin (2 nights), Van (1 night), Kars (1 night), Erzurum (1 night).
  • All tours mentioned in the itinerary, including entrance fees and guide.
  • Meal plan as indicated in the itinerary: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D).
  • Airport – Hotel – Airport transfers in the package.
  • All tours and transfers in an airconditioned, clean and comfortable coach.
  • International and domestic flights
  • Any tours labelled as “optional” or otherwise not mentioned in the program
  • Drinks during the meals, use of minibars and other hotel extras
  • Any meals that have not already been mentioned in the program

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