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Meander around the Mediterranean on an essential 24-day adventure of Greece and Turkey's hotspots. Historic sites and the ruins of empires are the focus of this trip, with locally guided tours of Anzac Cove in Gallipoli, Troy, Ephesus, Antalya and more. Fly across the border to experience the thriving centre in Athens, soak up the million-dollar views of the Cyclades while relaxing on Santorini, stroll through the lush gardens of Crete, and discover the old-world charm of Mykonos' acclaimed white streets. Whether you're searching for tumbledown ruins and ancient myths, street side snacks and thermal springs, or simply a stretch of sand by the Mediterranean to read a book on, Turkey and Greece have it all in spades.
Day 1: Istanbul
Welcome to Istanbul, the continent-straddling metropolis that the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans have all called home at various points throughout history. Enjoy a complimentary transfer to the accommodation from the airport. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 1 pm. After the meeting, head out with your Peregrine local leader to explore the Old City of Istanbul. Your leader will introduce you to some of the historical treasures of the city, including the Blue Mosque (so named for its classic tiles), the ancient Hippodrome (once the setting of chariot races) and the Million (a stone road marker in use since the fourth century). This evening choose whether to join your fellow travellers during an optional dinner.
Day 2: Canakkale
Rise and shine for an early breakfast, then begin the drive to Çanakkale. located on the shores of the Dardanelles (the strait that connects Europe and Asia via the Gelibolu Peninsula and the Biga Peninsula). Arrive in time for an included lunch, then head to the Gallipoli Peninsula. Visit the cemeteries of Anzac Cove, then head up the hill toward the poignant memorials of Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair. Look down upon the rough hills and gullies that became the graveyard for so many thousands of young men on both sides. Tour the former battlefields and find remnants of trenches used by the Turkish soldiers. After a day that will no doubt be full of sombre reflection, the evening is free for you to do as you wish in Canakkale.
Day 3: Selcuk
Drive to Selcuk with a stop en route in Troy. Here legend and history fuse together, and you can see both ancient city walls as well as a replica Trojan Horse. Learn how the site has confounded historians and archaeologists, then continue to Selcuk. On arrival, pay a visit to the famously adorable village of Sirince and enjoy a tasting of local fruit wine.
Day 4: Selcuk
This morning enjoy an orientation walk around Selcuk, a sprawling town lying at the base of the ancient Aysoluk Hill fortress. Visit the last remaining column of the Temple of Artemis, the ancient aqueducts and the 14th-century Isabey Mosque during this fascinating tour. In the afternoon, visit one of the best-preserved classical cities in the eastern Mediterranean and arguably the greatest Greco-Roman site in the world – Ephesus. Tour the amphitheatre, stroll the marble streets once walked by Cleopatra and Mark Antony and marvel at the gymnasium, baths and restored Library of Celsus. Make a stop at Sultankoy. This small village is dedicated to carpet weaving, and here you can discover all about this traditional art form, from dying the wool to traditional weaving on wooden looms.
Day 5: Pamukkale
After breakfast this morning, travel to Pamukkale, also known as 'Cotton Castle' and a truly unique sight. This magical and spectacular natural phenomenon was created by deposits from thermal waters that cascaded down the mountainside over hundreds of years, forming myriad pools and terraces. As the water overflows, dazzling cream-coloured stalactites are formed that – from afar – resemble cotton or snow. The pools are filled with waters that many believe have healing properties for circulation and the digestive system. Close to Pamukkale are the ruins of Hierapolis, an important Roman bath centre founded by the King of Pergamon in 190 BC. Explore the extensive ruins of Hierapolis, which include a theatre, temple, holy area, monumental fountain, bath, basilica and necropolis.
Day 6: Kas
Make the journey to the coast, with a stop en route at the ghost village of Kayakoy. Abandoned after WWI and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, this once-thriving village now lies as a poignant reminder of the human cost of war and politics. Spend some time on the eerie streets, then continue to Kas (which means eyebrow in Turkish) and begin exploring on a walking tour. Now primarily a holiday town, Kas is strewn with the remains of Lycian tombs, iconic white-washed walls covered with climbing bougainvillea and an ancient theatre where you can watch a spectacular sunset.
Day 7: Kas
Embark on a boat cruise around the local islands with two local guides, Mehmet and Sebahat. Hailing from the small village of Ucagiz, bought a boat and went fishing after they married and never stopped. While the fishing industry has shifted due to modern catchment methods, Mehmet and Sebahat decided to use their knowledge and love of the local waters to share a distinctly traditional way of cruising and eating with travellers. Cruise to their home village of Ucagiz and also to the village of Simena, sailing from large bays to protected inlets where you can cool off with a swim in turquoise waters. Enjoy lunch cooked on board in Tersane Bay, where the water is so clear you can see the bottom and the shore is lined with the ruins of an ancient city. Look out for ruins submerged under the clear water. After a day on the water, return to Kas for an evening at your leisure.
Day 8: Antalya
Take a scenic drive to the jewel in the Mediterranean crown – Antalya. Your accommodation is located in the Kaleici (Old City), so settle in on arrival and then head out on an afternoon walk to see Hadrians Gate, the Old Roman Harbour and more stunning views of the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. Spend the night in the ancient Kaleci. While dinner this evening is not included, it would be a crime not to try some of the fresh, local seafood served in one of the many restaurants.
Day 9: Antalya
This morning take a guided visit though the Antalya Museum. The province of Antalya includes dozens of important ancient Hellenistic and Roman cities, and some of the best artefacts are on display in the museum’s 13 exhibition halls and open-air gallery. Your afternoon is free to spend as you wish. Maybe relax in the Kaleici, beat the heat with a swim or take an optional visit to the ancient cities of Side, Perge or Apsendos. Be sure to speak to your leader for details on these optional activities.
Day 10: Konya
Make a 2-hour morning drive in Burdur province to the city of Sagalassos. The ruins of the city are dramatically sited in the Taurus Mountains, offering magnificent views as well as impressive ancient monuments. Continue on to Konya, an ancient city important in the Roman era where the Sufi practice of 'whirling' was born.
Day 11: Cappadocia
This morning discover the mystic resting place of Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi, the 13th-century mystic, poet and theologian whose teachings continue to inspire and influence Muslims around the world. Visit the small museum dedicated to his life and work before continuing Cappadocia. Arrive by late afternoon, with time to see the main village and perhaps take a short valley walk with your leader. Your evening is free. One optional activity that may be of interest after what you learned this morning is a performance of whirling by local Dervishes in a restored han (caravansary).
Day 12: Cappadocia
Early birds have the option of taking a hot air balloon over the otherworldly Cappadocian landscape. The scene at sunrise is sure to take your breath away. After a relaxing breakfast on a terrace overlooking the valley, visit the Goreme Open Air Museum. See the many incredible houses, churches and monasteries carved out of the soft cliff face. The Christian sanctuaries contain many examples of Byzantine art, cave chapels and colourful biblical frescoes from the 10th–12th centuries. Later in the afternoon, go on a short walk through 'Love Valley' which is famous for its phallic rock formations. Then head back to your hotel in Goreme. Perhaps take an optional Turkish bath to unwind at the end of the day.
Day 13: Cappadocia
Head on a morning walk to what is arguably the most beautiful valley in Cappadocia, Kizilcukur. You'll see fascinating rock formations such as cones, peaks and fairy chimneys, as well as man-made cave chapels. After lunch, head toward the red river of Avanos and descend to Ozkonak, an underground city hollowed out of tufa rock that dates back to 400 BC. Explore this unique city, including the crude communication system that allowed signals to be sent between all ten levels. Return to the surface and visit a local potter. Discover the rich clay from the red river and watch how it is moulded into exquisite pieces, then return to your hotel via Devrent Valley.
Day 14: Istanbul
This morning say goodbye to Cappadocia and return to Istanbul. On arrival in Istanbul, transfer to your hotel. The afternoon is yours to explore some of the charms of Istanbul. This evening consider joining your group and leader for an optional dinner.
Day 15: Athens
This morning, after breakfast, transfer to the airport for a flight bound for Athens. Please check with your group leader for details of this time and other important information for continuing your tour. Arrive in Athens – Greece’s lively capital. In the evening you will meet your tour leader and fellow travelling companions at another meeting, usually at 6pm, where your group leader will give you a briefing on what lies ahead on this stage of your adventure. This evening you will enjoy a group dinner together at a local restaurant in the Psiri neighbourhood of Athens.
Day 16: Cape Sounion / Athens
This morning travel to the town of Cape Sounion and visit the ruins of the ancient Temple of Poseidon, the god of the sea in classical mythology. The remnants are perched on the headland and surrounded on three sides by the sea, creating spectacular views of the Greek coastline. Look closely and you'll also find the ruins have been engraved with the name of English Romantic poet Lord Byron. Return to Athens in the afternoon and enjoy the rest of the day to explore. Perhaps visit the Parthenon or the Acropolis Museum, where you can find relics from Ancient Greece. Another option is to watch the uniquely theatrical changing of the guard at Parliament or see where the Olympics once took place at the Panathenaic Stadium. At dusk, pull up a chair at one of the local restaurants and dine on traditional souvlaki and ouzo.
Day 17: Mykonos
This morning you will be transported to Athens' port at Piraeus and board a ferry bound for the island of Mykonos (often also spelled Mikonos). Ferries are a great way to travel between the islands and are the life blood of many remote islands in Greece's multitude of archipelagos. Mykonos, considered the most glamorous and cosmopolitan of the Cycladic islands, still holds on to its old-world charm and many locals maintain their peaceful island existence among the many foreigners who grace their shores. Upon arrival you will be transferred to the area of Tourlos, where the hotel is located. After settling in, you'll visit Mykonos’ charming Old Town, a captivating labyrinth of stone-paved laneways, traditional whitewashed houses and windmills. This evening you will make your way to the village of Ano Mera for a delicious dinner at a local taverna and taste the local Myconian delicacies mostra and louza.
Day 18: Delos / Mykonos
Today you will make an excursion to the island of Delos, a short boat trip from Mykonos. Delos has a vast and interesting history and is one of Greece's most important archaeological sites. It's considered a sacred place. You will explore the site in depth and gain an insight into the island’s intriguing history. New discoveries of the ancient world are still made here from time to time. Delos is acclaimed as the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis and has been inhabited since around 3000 BC. The earliest shrines and temples were built around the 8th century BC. When the Romans set their sights on the island in 167 BC it became a free trading port and home to a flourishing slave trade market, with thousands of slaves being traded daily. In the afternoon you will take a return ferry back to lively Mykonos.
Day 19: Santorini
Bid farewell to Mykonos and travel by ferry to spectacular Santorini, the southernmost island in the Cyclades group. Upon arrival in Santorini's capital, Fira (often also spelled Thira), you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy a free afternoon to absorb this veritable paradise. Your leader will be able to offer suggestions on what to see and do. In the late afternoon you will view Santorini's world-famous sunset, which has been immortalised in many photos and works of art. Enjoy a sunset picnic overlooking the caldera away from the crowds. Indulge in local cheese, ham and bread, all complimented by a local grape variety and a world-class view.
Day 20: Santorini
In the morning, embark on a hike along Santorini’s legendary caldera. The island you see today is what remains from a huge volcanic explosion that destroyed the early settlements and created a geographical caldera. The spectacular natural beauty of this caldera is what makes Santorini such a special place. Your walk begins at your hotel and you will continue along the north-western rim of the caldera, passing steep cliff faces and experiencing breath-taking views along the way. The walk ends in the town of Oia (pronounced ‘eeah’). Oia was built on a steep slope inside Santorini’s incredible volcanic caldera. Transfer back to Fira where you will visit the fascinating Prehistoric Museum of Thira and learn more about the incredible history of this unique island, as well as see masterpieces from the prehistoric Aegean age. The rest of the afternoon is free, so perhaps visit one of the island’s wineries. The vines here are cultivated in a very unusual way, with the plants being pruned to form a low basket shape that sits on top of the volcanic soil to protect the grapes from strong winds. The Santos Winery, a co-operative and the largest winery on the island, offers tours as well as wine tasting. It's also idyllically located, with marvellous views over the island and the sea – a lovely spot for a tipple.
Day 21: Santorini / Heraklion, Crete
The morning is free for you to explore Santorini as you please. You might like to simply relax on the beach, or perhaps take a boat tour to the hot water beaches and the summit of Nea Kameni (the still active but currently dormant volcano in the middle of the caldera). There is a lot to do on the island and your leader will be on hand to offer suggestions. Art Space, a local gallery, boasts wine caverns replete with an excellent collection of modern Greek painting and sculpture. In the afternoon transfer to Santorini’s port, where you will board another ferry and head across the Sea of Crete to Heraklion on the island of Crete (approximately 2 hours), where you will check into your accommodation for tonight. Heraklion (often also spelled Iraklio) is Crete’s largest city, and its capital. Not as pretty as Chania, the old city still has some noteworthy architectural delights, such as the Venetian loggia and the Morosini Lions Fountain. It is also well known for its culinary delights. Make sure you head out tonight to sample some of it.
Day 22: Knossos / Chania, Crete
Leave Heraklion behind and head to the famous ruins and archaeological site of Knossos (approximately 15 minutes), the former capital of Minoan Crete that is considered to be Europe's oldest city. Once home to 100,000 inhabitants the city was first established during the Bronze Age, well before the time of Classical Greece. According to legend, King Minos built a labyrinth in which the mythical Minotaur (a creature part man part bull) was to be held. Explore the ruins with a local guide before continuing to the traditional village of Vamos (approximately 2 hours). This area is renowned for its rich cultural heritage. Here you will take a short walk around the historical centre of the old neighbourhood with traditional old houses, ruins, ancient stone roads and secret nooks. Stopover at a local tavern and enjoy a typical Greek moment with meze, a meal shared around the table, done for centuries by the locals. Clink glasses with the locals and wash it all down with the traditional local white spirit ‘raki’. Then head to Chania (often also spelled Hania), your base for the next two nights. Your historic hotel, the former British embassy (the feature stay of the trip), is located a short distance from Chania's town centre, in a quieter part of town. After settling in you will take a walk into the Old Town. First stop at the agora (municipal market), then pass a number of historical churches. Discover the remains of a Venetian monastery and wander through the charming Old Harbour area, with its two Venetian shipyards and Great Arsenal building. Heading deep into the narrow cobblestone alleys of the Venetian town, discover a beautiful array of Venetian and Turkish architecture in the former aristocratic area.
Day 23: Chania, Crete
Today is a free day for you to explore Western Crete. If you are looking to embark on a great walk on the island, there’s the chance to join an optional excursion to hike the famous Samaria Gorge (17 km; approximately 4–6 hours, depending on fitness level). Alternatively, you can relax on one of Chania’s city beaches. Nea Hora is a sandy beach west of the Venetian walls – it's decked out with sun beds and is close to restaurants. If you walk to the west of this beach you will come across quieter beaches. Another option is to take a local bus to Elafonissi Lagoon on the west coast. Elafonissi is considered Crete’s prettiest beach, and a daily bus goes there from Chania in the morning and returns in the late afternoon. It’s also possible to visit the lush surrounds of the Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete. This nearly 20 hectare garden was destroyed by wildfires in 2003, however it has since been carefully redeveloped. At the centre of the park lies a burnt centennial olive tree, a constant reminder of the devastating fire. Take the time to explore the park and discover some of the 150 species of fruit trees grown here, as well as a rich variety of herbs and plants. Your leader will be able to assist you with all the options available on your free day.
Day 24: Chania, Crete
All good things must come to an end, and your Greek adventure wraps up this morning. You may wish to stay longer and explore other parts of Western Crete or head further afield. Your leader will be able to assist you with suggestions on how to get around. Alternatively, simply stay in town to stroll around and admire the old Venetian town, or head to one of the seaside eateries for a leisurely lunch. If you'd like to remain in Chania for a few extra nights, Peregrine Adventures is able to arrange additional accommodation on request.
- Istanbul - City Tour
- Istanbul - Blue Mosque
- Gallipoli - guided visit
- Troy - Archeological Guided Site Visit
- Sirince - Wine Tasting
- Seluck - Orientation Walk
- Ephesus - archaeological site
- Selcuk - Isa Bey Camii
- Pamukkale - Hierapolis & Travertines National Park
- Kayakoy- Ghost Village
- Kas - Boat Cruise and lunch
- Antalya - Kaleici visit
- Antalya - Antalya Museum
- Antalya - Sagalassos
- Konya - Mevlana Museum
- Cappadocia - Valley Walk
- Goreme - Open Air Museum
- Cappadocia - Pottery Demonstration
- Cappadocia - Ozkonak Underground City
- Complimentary Arrival Transfer
- Cape Sounion & Temple of Poseidon
- Delos Archaeological Site
- Boat Tour to Delos Island
- Santorini Sunset Picnic
- Santorini Caldera Hike
- Thira Prehistoric Museum
- Vamos Village Excursion
- Greek Meze Tasting
- Guided Tour of Knossos Archaeological Site
22 Breakfast(s) Included
1 Lunch(es) Included
2 Dinner(s) Included
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