Kicking off in the powerhouse of the Ottoman empire - Istanbul, pay your respects at Gallipoli, get lost in the impressive Roman ruins of Ephesus and Pergamum, witness the beautiful Aegean Coast and dip your toes in Pamukkale's beautiful cascading mineral pools.
Saturday. Welcome to Turkey! Arrive Istanbul and included transfer to our hotel. Spend the afternoon at leisure or head out to explore the city. This evening our tip filled welcome meeting takes place.
Istanbul. We'll start the day with an exciting tour of Istanbul's old city. We'll make a number of stops on our trip, starting with a visit to the stunning Blue Mosque famed for it’s blue Iznik tiles and unique 6 minarets, we'll continue to the ruinous Hippodrome – now a small park of sorts and once scene of chariot races and political activities in Byzantine times, we'll also discover Hagia Sofia Museum - constructed as a Basilica in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian, Topkapi Palace and the Underground Cistern – an ancient underground water tank - replete with carved and fluted Corinthian columns and a puzzling head of Medusa. Visitors walk on walkways suspended above the shallow water. It’s very cool and peaceful.
Istanbul – Gallipoli. Early this morning, we travel to the WW1 battlefields of Gallipoli. Here, we’ll embark upon a guided tour of the region, once the site of fierce fighting and today almost hauntingly beautiful, with its wooded landscape dotted with understated memorials to the war dead. Our guided tour of the region will take in sights such as ANZAC Cove, Lone Pine Australian War Memorial and cemetery, Chunuk Blair New Zealand War Memorial and cemetery, the Nek, Johnston’s Jolly and the many fortified trenches still clearly visible amongst the scrub after all these years.<br/><br/> Crossing the Dardenelles by ferry (offering panoramic views of the entire Gallipoli Peninsular) we proceed to our hotel for a little rest and relaxation.
Gallipoli – Kusadasi. Heading south, we enjoy a guided tour of Homer’s Troy, famed for the Trojan wooden horse and fabled Helen. Continuing to ancient Pergamum - the cultural and political capital of its time, before continuing onto coastal Kusadasi. Make the most of the hotel facilities this evening.
Today, we enjoy a guided tour at the legendary Roman ruins of Ephesus. Positively the best-preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean, and among the best places in the world to get a feel for what Roman life must have been like. Ephesus, under the Romans was a vast city with a population nearing 250,000. It became the Roman capital of Asia Minor. We’ll have plenty of time to tour the marble ruins of Ephesus. Be sure to see the famous Library of Celcus, the gymnasium of Vedius and Stadium, the great theatre and stroll the streets in the ruins of this large Roman ruined city. It’s completely fascinating. We’ll see public toilets, a brothel, fountains and various temples. Carpet weaving has long traditions in Turkey and afterward we stop to watch a demonstration of how they are made.
Kusadasi - Pamukkale. Today, after breakfast, we drive to Pamukkale visiting the region’s famed calcium rich terraced pools. Known locally as the Cotton Castles, they are a natural phenomena and gift of Mother Nature. <br/><br/> Pamukkale was formed when warm, calcium rich mineral water cascaded over the cliff edge, cooling and depositing in the process. The calcium built natural shelves and pools on the cliffs, known as travertines. Today, some of the pools are closed. However, areas of the travertines can be walked upon, albeit in bare feet. We can however opt to enjoy a unique and very pleasant dip in the warm waters at the Pamukkale Thermal, with its submerged fragments of fluted marble columns in the centre of the ruined spa town of Hierapolis, which was a was a cure centre founded around 190 BC by the Romans. This evening we have some free time to relax and unwind.
Friday. This morning we make our way to Denizli airport for our flight to Istanbul. On arrival to Istanbul Airport we bid farewell to our group and representative and catch our onward flights. <br/><br/> Note: Please note your internal flight is currently arriving into the new Istanbul Airport airport at approx. 08:50am. Please ensure you book an international flight departing Istanbul after 1pm, allowing for flight delays. If you are departing via Sabiha airport you will need to make arrangements between airports and we recommend booking flights after 2:30pm Alternatively, you could choose to extend your stay by purchasing an additional night's hotel accommodation.
From a first foray into Egypt in 1998, On The Go Tours have expanded their operations to more than 60 countries, offering award-winning small group tours to destinations around the world. Their Middle East and North Africa portfolio now includes Jordan, Israel and Morocco, whilst other regions include Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Indian Subcontinent. From Machu Picchu in Peru to the extravagant Taj Mahal in India, On The Go Tours get you to the main sights of whichever destination you choose to visit. There’s also a range of special festival tours, Christmas and New Year adventures and much more, from overland adventures to luxury cruises. They always uncover some hidden gems too, be it canoeing to a local home for lunch in Sri Lanka or riding a rickshaw around the maze of Hutongs in Beijing, China.
With three different ranges of trips to choose from, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Signature tours are everything that makes On The Go Tours special, with local tour guides, small groups and a great quality of accommodation. Essentials tours keep the costs down whilst still delivering true adventure, with a mixture of public transport in Japan and overland trucks in Central Asia, Africa and Latin America. Whilst on their Handpicked tours, On The Go Tours work with local partners to deliver authentic experiences in amazing destinations, from Iceland to the Galapagos archipelago.
Sustainability and environmental awareness are also at the heart of On The Go Tours’ operations. Whether it’s planting trees in Cambodia, donating stationary to a school in India or funding the conservation of endangered Bengal tigers, protecting the regions they visit is at the forefront of the way they do business. Signature tours with On The Go Tours also make use of locally-run hotels and eateries wherever possible, and tour guides are mostly English-speaking locals. Overall, around 70% of travellers holiday funds remain in the destination visited.