New Tour for 2024!
May 7 - 21, 2024 (15 days)
TOUR PRICE INCLUDES:
Roundtrip Air Transportation from ABQ to Istanbul, both ways
Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
14 nights lodging at excellent hotels
Baggage handling at hotels (for one piece)
38 meals - 13 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 13 dinners
Admissions to list attractions
Guided tours at selected attractions
Professional Tour Director
Your professional Sun Tours escort
All taxes and tips for included items (except hotel housekeeping)
$4,995 Double occupancy, per person
$5,545 Single occupancy
DEPOSIT: $250 per person NOW holds your place
FINAL PAYMENT DUE: January 2, 2024
None through January 2, 2024
$250 - January 3 - 30, 2024
$2,900 January 31 - March 5, 2024
100% - March 5, 2024
TRAVEL PROTECTION STARTS AT $447
We will indulge in the powerful history and vibrant beauty that is Turkey. Turkey has a rich cultural legacy shaped by centuries of history and the influence of the various peoples that have inhabited its territory over several millennia; it is home to 19 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is among the most visited countries in the world. On this tour, we take a deep dive into Istanbul and the many sites of interest, such as the Topkapi Palace, once the primary residence of the sultans and the center of Ottoman life, and the Archeological Museum of Istanbul, home to the Sarcophagus of Alexander the Great, one of the most triumphant rulers in history. You'll be in awe at the unique and dramatic architecture of the area. Join us and experience this glorious land!
Included meals are denoted: Breakfast: B, Lunch: L, Dinner: D
We depart Albuquerque and make our flight to noble Istanbul, Turkey, the cultural and financial center of Turkey.
Day 2 D
We arrive in Istanbul and are transferred to our lodging in the historic Sultanahmet district, where we lodge for three nights.
DAY 3 B, L, D
After breakfast, we begin our exploration of this cosmopolitan city. We tour the Topkapi Palace, once the primary residence of the sultans and the center of Ottoman life. We will have the opportunity to stroll through the Roman Hippodrome with its ancient Egyptian Obelisk and Serpentine columns. Next, we proceed to the celebrated Hagia Sophia, a magnificent site representative of the city's rich religious and cultural history. This major basilica of the Byzantine Empire is world-renowned and beautifully preserved after centuries of worship. We conclude our day with a view of the imperial Blue Mosque, which dominates Istanbul's skyline with six slender soaring minarets.
DAY 4 B, L, D
We begin our day touring the impressive Mosque of Soliman the Magnificent, constructed at the zenith of the Ottoman Empire by the royal architect Sinan. We delight our senses at the Spice Bizarre, a bustling Oriental Bazaar that provides fresh spices, dried fruits, Turkish delight, and caviar. After lunch, we will visit the Bulgarian Church, the "Iron Church," named for its cast-iron elements in the Neo-Byzantine style that serves Turkey's Bulgarian minority. The day is complete with some time on Istiklal Street, one of the premier shopping streets in the city that hosts the city's best cafés, restaurants, shopping, and iconic red trolleys.
DAY 5 B, L, D
This morning we journey back in time to the Archeological Museum of Istanbul, home to the Sarcophagus of Alexander the Great, one of the most triumphant rulers in history. The artistic rendering on the Sarcophagus of Mourning Women is a masterpiece of Hellenistic sculpture. After some time in the museum, we visit the Basilica Cistern, a unique and dramatic architectural site built to provide and protect water. This subterranean cathedral-sized space is supported by a forest of Ionic and Corinthian columns. Finally, we cruise the Bosphorus on a privately chartered boat observing the scenery of the strait.
DAY 6 B, L, D
We depart Istanbul for Ankara, the capital of Turkey. One highlight of our tour is the Anatolian Civilization Museum, elected as the first “European Museum of the Year” in 1997. Here you can see an extensive collection of artifacts from excavations and exhibits of gold, silver, glass, marble, and bronze works that date as far back as the first millennium BC. After a meal, we pay our respects at the Mausoleum of Ataturk, the final resting place of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder and first president of the Turkish Republic.
DAY 7 B, L, D
We journey to the rugged natural beauty of Cappadocia along Salt Lake, the second-largest lake in Turkey. In the Ihlara Valley, we have the option to take a short hike along the river before enjoying lunch. We get to explore an underground city, subterranean dwellings, and secret tunnel passages that sheltered people across the centuries.
DAY 8 B, L, D
Today we will explore Cappadocia’s best collection of cave churches at the Goreme Open Air Museum. This UNESCO site is adorned with fine frescos depicting biblical and apocryphal episodes in brilliant colors, created by Christians escaping persecution in Jerusalem and settling in the natural grottoes of the region. Today we also visit a traditional rug weaving center to learn about this three-thousand-year tribal art of the Turks. Beautiful landscape pictures can be taken at Pigeon Valley and Hunter’s Valley, where we visit a local pottery workshop in Red River,
DAY 9 B, L, D
We bid farewell to the lunar landscape of Cappadocia for Konya, one of the most ancient settlements of Anatolia. We visit the Sultanhani Caravanserai, the largest and best-preserved Caravanserai or stopover for caravans in Turkey and a key point on the Silk Road. We also see the beautifully tiled Mevlana Museum, the original lodge of the Mevlevi order, better known as the whirling dervishes. Rooted in the teachings of Rumi, one of the most celebrated Islamic poets, this Sufi order originated in Konya.
DAY 10 B, L, D
We depart Konya for Pammukale, where we can take in the splendid sight of the “Cotton Castle” – one-of-a-kind thermal pools nestled within thick layers of white limestone. This unique geologic feature is surrounded by a vista of gorgeous mountains. Later in the day, we tour the beautiful ruins of Hierapolis, a neighboring Greek city founded by the second King of Pergamon in 190 BC..
DAY 11 B, L, D
We continue to explore an area rich in history. Aphrodisias , a remarkably well-preserved Roman period city, hosts the sanctuary of Aphrodite. The site is renowned for its exquisite marble sculptures . A spectacular monument at the site is the stadium, which is believed to have seating capacity for up to 30,000 people, enormous for ancient times. We lodge in Kusadasi for one night.
DAY 12 B, L, D
We wake up on the coast of the Aegean Sea to tour the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Built entirely of marble, it is one of the largest Greek temples ever built, a tribute to the ‘Great Mother Goddess’. After lunch, we visit the House of the Virgin Mary, a Christian religious site that has received a steady flow of pilgrims since it’s discovery. We spend the afternoon in charming Sirince meaning ‘cute and adorable’. The town is full of character with lovely old wooden houses and red tiled roofs. We will enjoy dinner in a traditional restaurant before retiring for the evening.
DAY 13 B, L, D
Pergamon is our final exploration of the eastern coast. Once a rich and powerful ancient Greek city, it was the capital of the Attalid kings. The Acropolis of Pergamon, with its dramatically steep Hellenistic Theater, is a sight to behold. We enjoy lunch together before departing Izmir on a flight back to iconic Istanbul.
DAY 14 B, D
The choice is yours on our final day in this wonderful country. Our centrally located hotel serves as a good base for shopping, further sightseeing or just relaxing. We enjoy a farewell dinner together.
DAY 15 B
After breakfast, we make our departure. We fly home reflecting back on our exceptional journey.
Itinerary is subject to change