14 Days Multi City Turkey Tour Including 4 Days Blue Cruise from Istanbul to Gallipoli, Troy, Pergamon, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Fethiye, Blue cruise to Olympos, Antalya, Cappadocia, Mt Nemrut, Adiyaman, Sanliurfa, HArran, Kahraman Maraş, GaziAntep Adana. By bus and plane with hotel reservation in best locations.
The Legendary city of Troy
Theatre of Hierapolis
The Asclepion and Health Centre
The Red Basilica
New Zealand memorial and cemetery
Australian memorial and cemetery
Goreme open air museum
Kaymakli underground city
The Celsius Library
House of the Virgin Mary
The calcified pools
Temple of Artemis
An Ancient Paraphilia
The Nemrut Mountain
The Pools of Holy Carp
The ruins of Harran
A Breeding farm
All About 14 Days Turkey Tour – Multi City Including 4 Days Blue Cruise Tour
Adana, Turkey’s 4th largest city, is a fast-growing agricultural and industrial boom town, the commercial capital of the eastern Mediterranean coast. Turkey Tour
Adana (AH-dah-nah, pop. 2 million) is hardly a tourist mecca: high heat and humidity in summer, swirling traffic, and limited sights keep it that way even though it has a good selection of hotels (mostly for business travelers).
It is an important transport point, however, and if you find yourself spending the night, visit the 16th-century Ulu Cami (Great Mosque), the Ethnography Museum set up in a sweet little Crusader church, the Regional Museum with lots of good Roman artifacts, and the Taş Köprü (Stone Bridge) built by Roman emperor Hadrian (117-38 AD) over the Seyhan River.
İncirlik (EEN-jeer-leek) Air Base is the big joint Turkish-US air force facility a few kilometers east of the center of Adana.
Because of its importance to business and commercial travelers, Adana has a fine selection of hotels in all price ranges.
Antalya (population 2 million), “capital” of the Turkish Mediterranean Coast, is a sprawling modern city with a small, charming historic center, a good archeology museum, long sunny beaches to east and west, the Turquoise Coast’s busiest airport, good hotels, lots to see and do, and dramatic sea and mountain views.
The historic center, called Kaleiçi (Kah-leh-ee-chee, Old Antalya) surrounds the Roman harbor. Many buildings here date from Ottoman times, a few from Roman times, and some have been restored as houses, boutique hotels, pensions and restaurants.
Antalya’s prime beach is Konyaaltı Plajı, a l-o-n-g swath of rough sand and pebbles running west for several kilometers.
The sand is somewhat softer along Lara Plajı to the east. Other beaches are farther afield at Side and Alanya to the east, or Kemer, Phaselis and Olimpos to the south.
Visit Antalya for Kaleiçi, the museum and beaches, and because it’s the transport hub of the region with a big, modern airport 10 km (6 miles) east of the city center, and a big, modern bus terminal (Otogar) 4 km (2.5 miles) north. Here’s more on how to get to Antalya, and how to get around.
Bergama (ancient Pergamum), 100 km (62 miles) north of İzmir and 250 km (155 miles) south of Çanakkale, was renowned in Hellenic and Roman times for its great library and as the medical center where Galen laid the foundation for medical practice.
Modern Bergama (BEHR-gah-mah, pop. 100,000) is a center for farming, light industry, schools, gold mining, and of course tourism. It’s a l-o-n-g spread-out city. It’s 7 km (4.35 miles) from the north-south highway and the bus terminal to the center of Bergama around the Bergama Müzesi (archeological museum), so you may have to take a taxi from the bus terminal to your hotel. From the museum, it’s another 5.35 km (3.3 miles) to the summit of the lofty Acropolis. More…
Guided tours are available from İzmir, or you can visit Bergama on a 6-day Self-Guided Driving Tour from Istanbul. More…
Most travelers visit Bergama on day-trips from İzmir or Ayvalık, or stop to see the sights on their itinerary between Çanakkale or Assos and Ephesus, but Bergama does have a few suitable hotels if you decide to spend the night here.
Bus is the best way of getting to Bergama. The town is long and spread out, so if you don’t have your own vehicle, expect to take some taxi rides. More…
Pergamum (or Pergamon) was an important kingdom during the second century BC, having grown from a city-state captured by Alexander the Great.
Upon Alexander’s death in 323 BC, his generals fought for control of the parts of his empire. Lysimachus took command of the Aegean coast, but was killed in 281 BC, leaving Pergamum in the control of Philetarus the Eunuch, who used Lysimachus’s treasure to increase his power.
Cappadocia , Turkey is the historic area of central Anatolia bounded by the towns of Hacıbektas, Aksaray, Nigde and Kayseri. It was known as Cappadocia in ancient times, and is still called Kapadokya informally today.Cappadocia is Turkey’s most visually striking region, especially the “moonscape” area around the towns of Ürgüp, Göreme, Uçhisar, Avanos and Mustafapaşa (Sinasos), where erosion has formed caves, clefts, pinnacles, “fairy chimneys” and sensuous folds in the soft volcanic rock.
Although the volcanic landscape can appear inhospitable, the mineral-rich soil is excellent for growing vegetables and fruits, making Cappadocia a rich agricultural region. It has always been one of Anatolia’s prime grape-growing areas, and still boasts many productive vineyards and wineries.
The Bible’s New Testament tells of Cappadocia, but in fact this part of central Anatolia has been important since Hittite times, long before the time of Jesus.
Prime activities here are visiting the historic painted cave churches of the many monastic valleys (especially the Göreme Valley and Zelve Valley), flying in a hot-air balloon at dawn above the incredible landscape, hiking the volcanic valleys (especially the Rose Valley [Güllüdere]), and spending the night in a comfortable cave hotel room with all the modern comforts.
For an excellent full-day excursion, drive to the surprising underground cities at Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı and the formerly Ottoman-Greek mountain town of Güzelyurt before taking a hike of several hours in the Ihlara Valley.
You may also want to spend a half-day hiking the less-visited Soğanlı Valleys of southern Cappadocia, south of Mustafapaşa.
Demre (Myra, Kale)
Demre (Myra), 50 km (31 miles east of Kaş and 80 km (50 miles) southwest of Çıralı, is the town where Santa Claus (Noel Baba in Turkish) first brought joy.
Actually, it was St Nicholas, a 4th-century Bishop of Myra, who lived and worked here, and who was later transmuted into the jolly Christmas elf called Sinterklaas in Holland (and similar names in other European countries), and later Santa Claus in North America.
An 11th-century church in Demre, now the Santa Claus Museum (Noel Baba Müzesi), once held his earthly remains, but in 1087 most of his bones were taken by force to Bari in Italy, and the remainder taken to Venice in 1100. (Churches were built in both cities to preserve the purloined relics. In 2009 the Turkish government demanded the return of the relics to Demre.)
Nicholas was born in nearby Patara, became a priest, rose to the rank of bishop, and did much of his good work here in the Roman town then called Myra, a name derived from myrrh.
Legend has it that he’d drop small bags of gold coins down the chimneys of houses with poor girls who were old enough to marry, but had no dowry. Another story says he’d leave gold coins in the shoes of the poor who put them out for him. Sanctified for his good works, he became the patron saint of virgins, sailors, children, pawnbrokers and Holy Russia.
Today the Santa Claus Museum (Noel Baba Müzesi) is Demre’s most visited site, but there are other things to see in this small coastal Mediterranean town. About 2 km (1.2 miles) inland are the ruins of Roman Myra, with a well-preserved theater and impressive rock-hewn tombs.
Ephesus is the best-preserved Roman city in the Mediterranean region, and one of Turkey’s top sights along with Istanbul and Cappadocia, but the Ephesus archeological site is not the only reason to visit this region.
Selçuk, the town 3 km (2 miles) east of the Ephesus archeological site, lies at the foot of Ayasoluk Hill, topped by a Byzantine-Ottoman fortress. On the slope are the St John Basilica and İsa Bey Mosque, both worth a visit, and below them the scant remains of the renowned Artemision. The Ephesus Museum holds the excavation treasures. More…
Selçuk has a big weekly market on Saturday, rivaling the famous weekly market at Tire (TEE-reh), a town 42 km (26 miles) northeast of Selçuk.
Good beaches are at Pamucak, Kuşadası and Altınkum, or you can take a day-trip for beach and windsurfing to charming Alaçatı.
You can see the Ephesus archeological site on a flying day-trip from Istanbul, but you could easily fill two, three or four days in this area, visiting the ancient cities of Priene, Miletus and Didyma on a day excursion, and Aphrodisias, the Belevi Monumental Tomb, the hot mineral water spa of Pamukkale, and taking a day-trip or overnight excursion via Euromos to Bodrum.
If you want to visit a place where you can really get a feel for what life was like 2000 years ago during the glory-days of Greece and Rome, Ephesus is the place. In terms of ruins, it’s better than Rome itself.
St Paul’s New Testament Letter to the Ephesians was written to the citizens of Ephesus. St John is believed to have written his Gospel here, and to have been buried in the St John Basilica. More…
The World War I battle for control of the Dardanelles (Hellespont) strait was fought mainly on Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula, with appalling casualties. Around 100,000 were killed and 400,000 wounded during the nine-month campaign (1915-1916) between the Ottoman Empire and the Allied powers (British Empire and France).
Today, the Gallipoli battlefields are silent, preserved as a national historic park strewn with marble and bronze monuments, among the most emotionally touching places in Turkey.
The best base for visits to Gallipoli, the Dardanelles and Troy is the town of Çanakkale, on the Dardanelles’ Anatolian shore. Eceabat, on the Gallipoli peninsula shore, is closer but has fewer accommodations. Kilitbahir, across the Dardanelles from Çanakkale, has a useful ferryboat dock, but no other travel services.
The nearest major airport is Istanbul, although Çanakkale has a small airport which receives scheduled flights in the busy summer months. More…
The battlefields on the peninsula cover an extensive area from Abide – Cape Helles at the southern tip of the peninsula north for over 35 km (22 miles) to the Anafarta hills in the north.
The central point is the Çanakkale Epic Presentation Center (Çanakkale Destanı Tanıtım Merkezi) at Kabatepe, a dramatic building offering an elaborate hour-long multimedia presentation on the Gallipoli campaign, and a number of museum exhibits.
Invading armies and navies have coveted the strategic Dardanelles strait since the days of the Trojans because it controls sea traffic between the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmara, and the Aegean/Mediterranean.
The oldest known temple on earth is located beneath Göbekli Tepe (“Potbelly Hill”), 17 km (10.6 miles) northeast of the center of Şanlıurfa.
First noticed in 1963, excavation was initated in 1996 by archeologist Klaus Schmidt, Ph.D. (1953-2014), who led the German archeological team until his death.
Schmidt had earlier worked at the nearby early Neolithic site of Nevalı Çori where he saw what were then thought to be humans’ oldest carved-stone shapes and structures. He recognized similar structures at Göbekli Tepe, and discovered that they were even older, dating from about 11,000 years ago.
Göbekli Tepe amazes: before agriculture, metal tools, the wheel or written language, before even pottery-making, the hunter-gatherers around Göbekli Tepe used flint tools to hack huge 10- to 20-ton limestone blocks from the rock, carve animal figures in relief on them, and erect them on a hilltop in ceremonial formations thought to have religious significance.
Limestone pillars up to 5 meters (16 feet) tall, fitted into sockets carved in the bedrock, are arranged in rings up to 20 meters (65 feet) in diameter. The archeologists have identified more than 16 such rings.
Neolithic peoples gathered around Göbekli Tepe, then the center of a land rich in game for hunting and plants from which to gather food. It is thought that within about 500 years of the first temple’s construction, the people here had begun domesticating sheep, cattle and pigs, and begun breeding einkorn grass to develop wheat—the beginnings of agriculture.
Kalkan is a Turkish Mediterranean fishing village gone upscale to resort status. Located 27 km (17 miles) west of Kaş, it’s like Kaş with less land but more money.
Kalkan has retained more of its Ottoman-era character, and has beauty and charm despite the inevitable modern development, most noticeable in the form of the 60-room Patara Prince Hotel & Resort and the 18-villa Club Patara Villas on the southeast side of Kalkan’s pristine little azure cove.
The good news is that Kalkan has a good selection of hotels and villas to rent/let for your visit.
Once an Ottoman Greek fishing village named Kalamaki, Kalkan (kahl-KAHN, shield) has a tiny beach, but is too hemmed in by mountains falling right into the sea to have much coastal sand. Most people swim from tiny concrete decks set near the sea, reached by stairs or ladders.
Kalkan’s small yacht harbor stays busy ferrying day-trippers to the Blue Cave and to tiny, hidden Kaputaş (KAH-poo-tahsh) beach, 7 km (4.3 miles) to the east.
Kaş, once an unspoiled fishing village, is now a relatively unspoiled tourist town on the southern bulge of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast two hours’ drive southeast of Fethiye and three hours’ drive southwest of Antalya.
Despite dozens of new hotels and pensions, Kaş (KAHSH) still has charm, part of which comes from its setting at the foot of a wall of mountains facing the sparkling Mediterranean.
Another part of its charm comes from Kaş’s unhurried ambience. Because it is hours away from the Mediterranean’s two major airports (Antalya and Dalaman), it gets fewer visitors than towns that are more quickly accessible.
Ruins of the ancient town of Antiphellos mix with modern buildings in Kaş. Across the water to the south lies the Greek island of Megisti (Kastellorizo; Meis Adası in Turkish). You can go there easily for a day trip.
Kaş’s beaches are small, pebbly and apt to be crowded, so visitors in search of a broad, long sand beach drive west to Patara.
Kuşadası (pop. 500,000) is a major Aegean resort city and cruise ship port 108 km (67 miles, 1-1/2-hour drive) due south of İzmir (map).
Being so close to the renowned ruins of Ephesus, it gets more than its share of Turkish and foreign visitors.
With more than 140 hotels, Kuşadası has plenty of beds for visitors, though some of them are noisy. More…
Everybody visits Ephesus. Some travelers also come for the city’s vibrant nightlife and shopping, others come for Kuşadası’s beaches.
Although there are some stretches of beach right in the city, the prime beach—rather narrow, and also backed by city—is Ladies Beach (Kadınlar Plajı) south of the center.
Serious beach fans make the 15-minute, 8-km drive north to Pamucak Beach, which is wide, long and uncrowded, and nearer to Ephesus, but with fewer services, some surf, and no lifeguards.
Nemrut Dağı (Mount Nimrod) is one of Turkey’s most astounding sights: an artifical mountaintop framed by two great temples littered with colossal statues.
Lost to memory for 2000 years, the mountaintop south of Malatya and north of Adıyaman and Kahta, was rediscovered by a geologist in 1881.
On it are two hierothesiums, open-air shrines to the gods, with huge limestone statues of Apollo, Fortuna, Zeus, Heracles, and Antiochus I Epiphanes, King of Commagene.
His kingdom was no more than a minor buffer state between the Roman and Persian empires, but Antiochus believed he was definitely big-league stuff, so he had his own huge statue seated with “his equals,” the gods.
Between the hierothesiums is the artificial mountain peak of crushed stone, beneath which may be the actual tomb of Antiochus. We don’t know, and we may never know.
You can ascend Nemrut Dağı (NEHM-root dah-uh, 2150 meters, 7054 feet) from the south using either Kahta or Adıyaman as your base; or from the north using Malatya. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
Pamukkale, 18 km (11 miles) north of Denizli, is Turkey’s foremost mineral-bath spa because of its natural beauty: hot calcium-laden waters spring from the earth and cascade over a cliff. As they cool they form dramatic travertines of hard, brilliantly white calcium that form pools.
Named the Cotton Fortress (pah-MOOK-kah-leh) in Turkish, it has been a spa since the Romans built the spa city of Hierapolis around a sacred warm-water spring. The Antique Pool is still there, littered with marble columns from the Roman Temple of Apollo. You can swim in it for a fee.
You can spend a pleasant day at Pamukkale, exploring the extensive Roman ruins of Hierapolis, climbing the ranks of seats in the great Roman theater, touring the exhibits in the Archeological Museum, splashing along the travertines (where permitted) and even soaking in the Antique Pool littered with fluted marble columns.
Şanlıurfa, 150 km (93 miles) east of Gaziantep and 1,300 km (808 miles) southeast of Istanbul, is perhaps the most interesting and historic city in Turkey’s southeastern region.
Turks know Urfa (as it’s commonly called) as the Prophets’ City because of legends telling that the Patriarch Abraham was born in a cave here. (The Bible does say he stayed at Harran, 50 km [31 miles] to the south.) The cave, and other legendary locations, are visited annually by hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims.
It’s certain that Urfa (OOR-fah, pop. 500,000, alt. 518 m/1700 feet), as it’s commonly called, is very old, dating back at least 3500 years to Hittite times; and the world’s first temple at nearby Göbekli Tepe dates from 11,000+ years ago.
Because Urfa is set right at the crossroads of routes to Europe, Asia and Africa, just about everyone important has marched through and left their mark, including the Babylonians, Egyptians, Alexander the Great, Greeks, Romans and Seljuk Turks under Saladin.
It’s a thrill to visit ancient Troy, easily done in a day from Çanakkale, Bozcaadaor Assos, or overnight from Istanbul, by car or tour.
Troy is impressive for its great age (the oldest ruins date from 3000 BC) and beautiful situation. The hokey wooden horse is just for fun (especially for kids).
For most of the last 3000 years, people assumed that Homer’s Iliad was fiction, and that Troy (Truva in Turkish) never existed.
Then in 1863 a British expatriate named Frank Calvert discovered ancient ruins at a place in western Turkey called Hisarlık, and was convinced they were Troy.
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