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Highlights of Turkey & the Greek Islands

Highlights of Turkey & the Greek Islands

From $ 7,300 AUD

Description

If you’re looking for world-famous ruins, postcard-perfect beaches, epic history and a healthy dose of mouth-watering cuisine, a Greek holiday is probably high on your list, but did you know all of these treasures can be found in Turkey too? You’d be missing out if you visited one and not the other, so we created the perfect two-week adventure for you. Glimpse Turkey and Greece’s glorious past on visits to Ephesus and the island of Delos. Compare Turkey’s version of beach life with that found on the Greek Islands. And debate which country serves up the tastiest cuisine. Balancing traditional towns with tourist hotspots, unique cultural experiences with bucket-list items, and free time with planned excursion, this trip to Turkey and Greece has all the makings of an unforgettable adventure.

Trip Name
Highlights of Turkey & the Greek Islands
Last Updated
2024-04-19
Days
15
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • Discover the incredible ancient and modern history of Turkey as you explore thousands of years of history hidden within the remarkable ruins of Ephesus and discover Gallipoli on a guided tour that will teach you about the significant events that took place in this area.
  • Taste local fruit wines in one of the best-preserved Greek Ottoman villages in the country. Get to know the friendly locals with a home-made lunch at a local family in Cappadocia.
  • Travel and stay a little differently – and come home with memories to last a lifetime – from taking local buses and trains, to staying in one of the cave hotels that Cappadocia is famed for.
  • Get a birds-eye view of Cappadocia’s caves, fairy chimneys and honeycomb terrain with an optional balloon ride over this other-worldly landscape.
  • Uncover thousands of years of civilisation in Athens with a visit to the world-famous Acropolis and the ancient Agora.
  • Wander through the charming villages of Syros. When night falls, indulge in delicious seafood dinners in traditional tavernas as Rembetika music floats around you.
  • With its boutique culture, gorgeous beaches and thumping nightlife, the chic isle of Mykonos invites you to embrace your hedonistic side.
  • The sight of a Santorini sunset can turn even the most hardened of souls into a romantic. Walk along the volcanic rim of the island from Thira to Oia, passing through picturesque white villages that cling to plunging cliffs.

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It's important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, political unrest or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. Your group leader or local representative will keep you up to date with any such changes once your trip is underway. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance fees only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your group leader or local representative know you are interested at the Welcome Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and group leader or local representative are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Day 1 - Istanbul
Welcome to Istanbul, the continent-straddling metropolis that the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans have all once called home. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 1 pm, followed by a guided tour of the Old City with your expert leader. Visit the scene of many a chariot race in the ancient hippodrome, check out the Blue Mosque, take a walk past the wares of the Grand Bazaar and marvel at the architectural masterpiece that is Suleymaniye Cami. If you're not too exhausted after all the exploring, join your new friends for dinner and bask in the beauty of a real Turkish kebab. While you might be familiar with the shaved meats and pita bread sensation that you may have come across at 2 am, nothing beats the kind they wrap up in Istanbul.
Day 2 - Canakkale
After breakfast this morning, hit the road enroute to Canakkale – a port city on the southern shore of the Dardanelles. You’ll stop along the way to explore Gallipoli on a guided tour that will teach you about the significant events and history embedded in this area. Your guide will take you to ANZAC Cove and major memorial sites like Brighton Beach and ANZAC commemorative Site. You’ll also take in the views across the Dardanelles Strait and the Gallipoli Peninsula. This evening, we’ll spend the night in Canakkale with free time to grab dinner and get ready for tomorrow’s adventures.
Day 3 - Selcuk
This morning, we’ll drive to Selcuk with a stop in Troy – where history and mythology sit side-by-side – along the way. You’ll wander the ancient city walls with your group leader and even get a chance to enjoy a photo op with a replica Trojan Horse. You’ll learn more about how this place has confounded historians and archaeologists alike before continuing on to Selcuk. After arrival in the town, on the slopes of Ayasoluk Hill lie several historical buildings – you’ll follow your leader on an orientation walk, passing Isa Bey Mosque and the imposing Byzantine citadel of the Grand Fortress.Then drive out to the nearby picturesque village of Sirince and taste some locally produced fruit wines. This authentic Greek Ottoman village seems to have been overlooked by modern development and the unique local architecture nestled in the hills make for a photographer's dream. Return to Selcuk and the evening is yours.
Day 4 - Ephesus/Overnight Train
This morning, take a private minivan to visit the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus – one of the best-preserved Greco-Roman classical cities in the world. Once the capital city of Roman Asia Minor, the city has a fascinating history, which really comes alive with a local guide to enhance your experience. Considering their age, the ruins are in incredible shape, and it’s not difficult to imagine them in their full glory over 2000 years ago, equipped with running water, public toilets, a medical institute, and Roman baths. The theatre is well preserved and regularly hosts concerts, but it's perhaps the magnificent library that is the most striking. Then enjoy a lunch after the tour and don't miss out the chance of peeking into their kitchen where the local ladies make the delicious gozleme. You'll some free time later before being transferred to Izmir in the early evening - an overnight train, will be waiting to transport you through the night to the central Anatolian city of Konya.
Day 5 - Konya / Cappadocia
Wake up in Konya, a traditional Turkish city that's closely linked with the whirling dervish sect of Islam developed in the 13th century by Celaleddin Rumi, considered one of Islam's greatest Sufi mystics. Visit the Mevlana Museum and stretch your legs in town before hitting the road to Cappadocia. Keep an eye out for the fairy chimneys, the hallmarks of Cappadocia's otherworldly landscape, as you drive across the Anatolian plains. Stop enroute at one of the underground cities that once provided a safe haven in times of war or persecution. Arrive in the Cappadocian town of Ugrup in the late afternoon and take a sunset valley walk before settling in for the evening. This evening, you'll be treated to a stay in a local cave hotel that Cappadocia is famous for here.
Day 6 - Cappadocia
This morning you have the option to take a hot air balloon flight, a once-in-a-lifetime experience during which the sun illuminates a skyline dotted with balloons. Later this morning, enjoy a guided walk through one of the nearby valleys, possibly the Valley of Love, which features fairy chimneys, deserted rock-cut homes and churches. Your leader will know a number of fantastic scenic routes, and a good walk is by far the best way to experience this unique environment. In your free time today, maybe visit the UNESCO-listed Goreme Open Air Museum, a monastic complex composed of churches, rectories and dwellings cut into the soft cliff face, or check out the Dark Church. This evening you’ll be warmly welcomed into a local cave home where the family will prepare a special home-cooked dinner for you and your group. Sit down to a feast made with passion, enjoy a friendly chat with your affable host and perhaps top off the night with some Turkish delight.
Day 7 - Cappadocia to Istanbul
Wave goodbye to Cappadocia and transfer to the airport for a flight back to Istanbul (expect to arrive between 1 pm and 4 pm), and get transferred to your hotel. Meet up with your travel buds in the evening and take a stroll to one of the city's trendiest neighbourhoods, a place of contradictions where tool-selling tradesman share space with chic cafes and galleries – this is the place to be seen. Perhaps, try a local favourite, balik ekmek (fish sandwich), for dinner, then cleanse the palate with a baklava. Maybe check out a few of the bars, or simply enjoy a farewell cay (Turkish tea) overlooking the Bosphorus.
Day 8 - Athens
Hos Cakal! Goodbye to Turkey and Kalimera! Welcome to Greece. This morning, transfer to Istanbul airport, bid farewell to Turkey, and board a flight bound for Athens. The flight will be unaccompanied, but your leader will provide flight details and contact information before you board, and you will be met at the airport on arrival. After transferring to the hotel, the day is free until a group meeting at 6 pm. Settle in, freshen up and maybe take a walk around Athens’s ancient streets to get a feel for the city. After your evening meeting, head out for dinner with the group at a restaurant in the vibrant Psiri neighbourhood.
Day 9 - Syros
Today travel by metro to the port of Piraeus, then catch a relaxing scenic ferry to Syros (approximately 4 hours). In the heart of the Cyclades, Syros offers a rare opportunity to see the islands as the Greeks do. One of the Aegean's most underrated islands, the island features typical whitewashed houses, farms, terraced fields and gorgeous sandy beaches. Your leader will take you on a wander through the main town of Ermoupolis, home to well preserved neoclassical mansions and 19th-century tenement blocks. Syros is also home to delicious sweets. Stop at a family run traditional loukoumi workshop where you will be shown the procedure of how these multi-coloured fruit-flavoured jellies (also called Greek Delight) and chalvadopita (hazelnut, almond or honey-filled wafers) are made - make sure you try some of them. You'll have plenty of time to explore tomorrow, so perhaps kick up your feet at a waterfront cafe and watch the setting sun turn the houses pink.
Day 10 - Syros
Take a walk through the fortress-like town of Ano Syros, which offers great views of the Aegean Sea. Wander the narrow alleyways, pass handmade-souvenir shops and keep an ear open for traditional Rembetiko music floating out of the family-run tavernas. Enjoy free time to further explore Syros at your own pace. Discover abandoned windmills, ancient ruins and charming villages on a network of stone-paved tracks that crisscross the island. Perhaps head to the various archaeological sites on the island, or you might prefer to simply hole up on a beach for the afternoon. Outside of Ermoupolis are many small tranquil coves, while the most popular beaches are on the southern side of the island. While some are sandy and others pebbly, all boast crystal clear waters for swimming in. In the evening, take taxis to a taverna to a remotely located village in the rugged northern part of the island to sample delicious local specialities during an included meal, all while watching the sun set over the Aegean Sea.
Day 11 - Mykonos
Today board a two-hour ferry to Mykonos, a beautiful island named in honour of Apollo's grandson. Known in ancient Greek mythology as the battlefield where Zeus fought the Gigantes, today the island is best known for its decadence, style, and nightlife. Join your leader for a walk through the maze-like old town and be captivated by the quintessential Greek Isles vista of squat white houses brightly juxtaposed against the cerulean sea. Browse the chic galleries and boutiques, follow flower-lined paths past age-old churches and tiny restaurants to secluded, sandy beaches, and spend the afternoon soaking up the rays and splashing in the water. Settle into your lovely room at the hotel. As the sun sets, maybe join Europe's party crowd at one of the many bars and clubs on Mykonos, or take a more traditional approach with a meal at a delightful backstreet restaurant.
Day 12 - Delos / Mykonos
This morning you will take a half-day trip out to the nearby island of Delos. One of the most important archaeological and mythological sites in the Greek Islands, a sacred area that was once the political and religious centre of the Aegean, Delos is considered to be the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. A living museum, the wealthy built mansions in the town that developed around Apollo’s sanctuary, decorating them with luxurious frescoes, mosaics and statues. The island is overflowing with archaeological finds like the Terrace of the Lions and the Sacred Precinct, with many more still being uncovered. Later on today you might like to head to one of Mykonos' many beaches, which are some of the nicest in Europe. Take a short bus ride to the pumping Paradise or Super Paradise beach bars, or perhaps find a quieter spot to relax along the beautiful coastline. You could also check out the 19th-century House of Lena or the Aegean Maritime Museum in town. This evening you could make your way to the village of Ano Mera and seek out a tavern for a seafood dinner or perhaps wander down to Little Venice, where colourful balconies hang precariously over the sea.
Day 13 - Santorini
Take another ferry and arrive on the spectacular southern island of Santorini (approximately 3 hours). Renowned for its amazing natural beauty, Santorini is one of Europe's tourist hotspots, the home of the iconic image of the Greek islands – whitewashed, blue-domed buildings clinging to the cliff face with sparkling water in the background. Discover the hilltop ruins of Ancient Thira and its fascinating Prehistoric Museum, as well as the archaeological site of Akrotiri, a Minoan Bronze Age settlement that gives an insight into how the people here lived before the eruption. Check out the range of restaurants and shops in the island's capital, interchangeably called Thira or Fira. If you have time while you're here, perhaps head to one of Santorini's volcanic beaches, such as Red Beach or the black beaches of Perissa, Vlhada, Perivolos or Agios Georgios. Be sure to try some of the island’s delicious food – the nutrient-filled volcanic soil makes the ingredients grown here full of flavour.
Day 14 - Santorini
In 1500 BC a volcanic eruption sank the centre of Santorini, forming one of the most significant geological formations on the planet – the awe-inspiring caldera. The spectacular natural beauty of this caldera is what makes Santorini such a special place. Today make an excursion along the crater rim, starting in Thira town and walking through little villages all the way to Oia, passing steep cliff faces and experiencing breathtaking views along the way. If you have time, you might also like to take a half-day trip to the island's volcano and hot springs in the centre of the lagoon. Or 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. On the last evening of your adventure, rub shoulders with friendly locals in packed pubs and cafes, sipping a cocktail as you witness a magnificent Santorini sunset.
Day 15 - Santorini
Today your Greek Islands adventure comes to an end. There are no activities planned and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. You might want to extend your stay to see all Santorini has to offer. We are happy to book additional accommodation, subject to availability. Please enquire at the time of booking.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
04-05-202418-05-2024AUD $ 8,230-
11-05-202425-05-2024AUD $ 8,230-
18-05-202401-06-2024AUD $ 8,230-
25-05-202408-06-2024AUD $ 8,230-
01-06-202415-06-2024AUD $ 7,925-
08-06-202422-06-2024AUD $ 7,925-
15-06-202429-06-2024AUD $ 7,300-
22-06-202406-07-2024AUD $ 8,065-
29-06-202413-07-2024AUD $ 7,445-
06-07-202420-07-2024AUD $ 7,520-
13-07-202427-07-2024AUD $ 7,520-
20-07-202403-08-2024AUD $ 7,520-
27-07-202410-08-2024AUD $ 7,445-
03-08-202417-08-2024AUD $ 8,575-
17-08-202431-08-2024AUD $ 8,575-
24-08-202407-09-2024AUD $ 7,590-
31-08-202414-09-2024AUD $ 8,275-
07-09-202421-09-2024AUD $ 7,760-
14-09-202428-09-2024AUD $ 8,345-
21-09-202405-10-2024AUD $ 7,540-
28-09-202412-10-2024AUD $ 7,980-
05-04-202519-04-2025AUD $ 7,750-
26-04-202510-05-2025AUD $ 7,750-
03-05-202517-05-2025AUD $ 7,750-
10-05-202524-05-2025AUD $ 7,750-
17-05-202531-05-2025AUD $ 7,750-
24-05-202507-06-2025AUD $ 7,750-
31-05-202514-06-2025AUD $ 7,750-
07-06-202521-06-2025AUD $ 7,750-
14-06-202528-06-2025AUD $ 7,750-
21-06-202505-07-2025AUD $ 7,750-
28-06-202512-07-2025AUD $ 7,750-
05-07-202519-07-2025AUD $ 8,535-
12-07-202526-07-2025AUD $ 8,535-
19-07-202502-08-2025AUD $ 8,535-
26-07-202509-08-2025AUD $ 8,535-
02-08-202516-08-2025AUD $ 8,535-
09-08-202523-08-2025AUD $ 8,535-
16-08-202530-08-2025AUD $ 8,535-
23-08-202506-09-2025AUD $ 8,535-
30-08-202513-09-2025AUD $ 8,535-
06-09-202520-09-2025AUD $ 7,935-
13-09-202527-09-2025AUD $ 7,935-
20-09-202504-10-2025AUD $ 7,935-
27-09-202511-10-2025AUD $ 7,935-

Accommodation

Hotel (13 nights),Overnight Train (1 night)

Transport

Private Bus,Public Bus,Overnight Train,Plane,Ferry

Map