Greece and Turkey Private Tour
Athens, Santorini, Mykonos
Istanbul, Ephesus, Cappadocia & Pammukale
A grand 19 days under the Mediterranean Sun
The mystery of Istanbul… the treasures of Athens… the romance of the Greek isles. What’s better than a journey with a cherished companion to one of these prized destinations? Why, an interlude that includes all three, of course…
This is a trip tailored to make the most of that special company and unique occasion, be it an anniversary, a honeymoon, or a singular chance to be with your family or group of friends and away. We have selected superior and deluxe hotels notable for their charm, atmosphere, and, of course, fine service. You’ll be free to linger late in bed with breakfast brought to your room, stroll the romantic old Plaka district of Athens or frequent a seaside café in Santorini, entirely at your leisure. Come with us to tour the heartland of Anatolia, meet Turkey’s real people, see how they live, share meals with them, and go beyond what the average tour promises. We’ll meet artisans and learn their crafts, hike through striking landscapes, and explore the deep history, art, culture and society of biblical Cappadocia, the treasures of Istanbul, Ephesus, Pammukale and more.
DAY 1 – ARRIVAL IN ATHENS
Weekly Arrivals: April-Oct on Saturday
Our Athens-based personnel meets you at the international airport, assists you with the formalities, and sees you to your charming and comfortable four-star hotel, your base for the next two nights. Check in, relax, and then take a stroll through the lively streets. Browse for treasures and curios, savor a coffee or aperitif at a terrace café, or enjoy a fine meal in the old Plaka district.
DAY 2 – ATHENS (BL) Sunday
Private Tour – Private Guide – Private Air conditioned vehicle. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and flavors of the Greek capital, including Syntagma Square, and the towering Acropolis with its museum. Lunch is included at a local restaurant. Remainder of the day is at leisure.
DAY 3 – ATHENS – MYKONOS (B) Monday
Relax, and revisit a favorite café or shop today. Then we’ll call for you and see you to the airport for your flight over the blue Aegean to Mykonos, Isle of Windmills.
DAYS 4 – MYKONOS (B) Tuesday
You’ll spend days on Mykonos – enough to whet your appetite for your return! Day is at leisure.
DAYS 5 – MYKONOS (B) Wednesday
Whether to stay in your lovely deluxe hotel and enjoy the beach, the service, and the amenities, or to venture out to explore some of the 350 whitewashed churches and chapels, dramatic cliffs, coves, and villages… that is the question! No doubt, you’ll mix a bit of both; and with windmills to photograph and fishermen to watch along the sea, your days will be filled.
DAY 6 – MYKONOS – SANTORINI (B) Thursday
Spend another relaxing morning. Reserve some time to stroll the cobbled lanes of Mykonos, to sip an ouzo or rets in a at a waterside café, to discover a beach or two, or to pick up a loaf of fresh bread and cheese and olives for a picnic on a hillside as you look out to sailboats at sea. We’ll rendezvous in time to take you to your fast ferry/hydrofoil for Santorini, where you’ll find a room waiting in your beach hotel.
DAY 7 – SANTORINI- Own Activities (B) Friday
Whether to stay in your lovely hotel and enjoy the beach, the service, and the amenities, or to venture out to explore some of the dramatic cliffs, coves, and villages… that is the question! No doubt, you’ll mix a bit of both; relax, and revisit a favorite café or shop, sip an ouzo or rest in a at a waterside café, discover a beach or two, or pick up a loaf of fresh bread and cheese and olives, and picnic on a hillside as you look out to the sailboats at sea. Your days will be filled.
DAY 8 – SANTORINI- Own Activities (B) Saturday
Enjoy breakfast at your lovely hotel, another day for you to explore Santorini on your own. Some suggestions that you may wish to consider (on your own): Akrotiri, reputedly the site of fabled Atlantis. Then on to Athinios port to take a boat across to the dormant volcano and ascend through a crater-pocked moonscape to the crater. Visit Thirassia Island and watch sunset in Oia. Return to your hotel/villa early evening – the decision is totally yours.
DAY 9 – SANTORINI, ISTANBUL (B) – Sunday
After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll pick you up and escort you to board a flight for Athens, and onward travel to Istanbul (airfare is included in our rate in economy class with tax).
Upon arrival in Istanbul: our local representative will be on hand to greet you upon arrival and see you to your hotel in the Turkish capital.
DAY 10 – ISTANBUL’S TOP SIGHTS (B) – Monday
Today we explore Istanbul’s top sights; drive to the old town and visit the Byzantine Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque. A short walk will take you to the famed St. Sophia, then walk underground to see the 6th Century old Sunken Palace, Yerebatan Cistern. Break for lunch on your own, the guide will be happy to suggest local restaurants.
In the afternoon, cruise on Bosphorus by a private boat, see the mansions, villas, fortresses, palace on both European and Asian shores, the bridges connection both continents. Return to your hotel at the end of the day.
DAY 11 – Belle Époque – ISTANBUL! (B) – Tuesday
Start the day by visiting the Imperial Topkapi Palace which was the seat of the Ottoman Emperors for 400 years. Through the courtyards, see the founder of the belle époque and the Harem quarters of the Palace. Afterwards dive into the Grand Bazaar, world’s oldest “shopping mall” to look for treasures in its 4000 shops. Enjoy your lunch leisurely on your own in this charming ancient world.
In the afternoon we enjoy the “Mehter” Ottoman Sultans Imperial Musical Band concert, think about this as a movie set from the 18th century with the band dressed up in 18th and 19th-century Ottoman costume. Afterwards drive to Galatasaray Square and walk thru Beyoglu (Grand Rue of Pera) that was once the Latin Quarter of old Istanbul. Visit the Roman Catholic Church of San Antonio and pray for your health and happiness. Walk along and see the shops, passages, and fish market, see the various old palatial and historical embassy buildings, Çiçek Pasaji (Flower Passage) until you reach Tünel. Walk down the hill to Galata Tower which is a 6th Century Genoese Tower, view this magic city from top, then continue to Karaköy which was the quarter of foreign bankers and shipping companies. Then return your hotel.
DAY 12 – ISTANBUL to CAPPADOCIA (BD) – Wednesday
Fly to Kayseri for an adventure into fabled Cappadocia. This is a journey back into time. Here, you’ll settle in at one of the cave style hotels (Or more contemporary ones based on your preference). In the afternoon, we explore the foremost sights in this historic, visually striking region. Our first stop is the Göreme Open Air Museum, with its dozens of ancient cave-churches carved from the soft volcanic stone. Many still contain their beautiful colored fresco decoration. Next we explore the monastic valley of Zelve, where whole monasteries were carved into the rock. In the Pasabag and Dervent valleys we view the “fairy chimneys,” pinnacles of volcanic rock formed by wind and water erosion over millennia. We enjoy a panorama of the Red and Rose Valleys before we head back for our hotel. Transfers are always with a Private air-conditioned vehicle and a private chauffeur. Dinner is included this evening at the hotel with bottled water included.
DAY 13 – EXPLORING CAPPADOCIA – WHITE VALLEY (BD) – Thursday
(Early in the morning, enjoy an OPTIONAL Balloon ride for an hour before starting your day.) Today we explore the foremost sights in this historic, visually striking region and continue our explorations of Cappadocia with a visit to the natural rock hewn citadel of Uçhisar, one of the highest points in Cappadocia, and the nearby Pigeon Valley. Then we explore the lunar landscape of the White Valley to see its spectacular rock pillars, fairy chimneys, tunnels, caves and passages, after the tour we drive through the typical Cappadocian towns of Ürgüp and Ortahisar to experience daily life in this rich farming region, and perhaps to do some shopping, then we make the short drive to Avanos, a traditional pottery-making town, to visit its innovative “cave cultural center”. The staff and students welcome us to enjoy Turkish tea and sweet cakes. We return to your hotel for a good night’s rest.
DAY 14 – CANYONS – LABYRINTHS (BD) – Friday
We drive across the rolling steppe of Central Anatolia to the dramatic canyon of Ihlara, filled with historic churches. A leisurely walk takes us through this dramatic scenery and past a dozen churches to the villages of Belisirma and Selime. Following our canyon walk, we drive to the town of Derinkuyu and descend into an underground labyrinth carved thousands of years ago. Hundreds of cave-rooms and passageways descend eight levels into the earth, storerooms, kitchens, larders, and churches show that this “underground city” was capable of housing thousands of people when danger threatened. On our way back we stop at the striking Agzikarahan Caravansaray, built by the Seljuk Turks in the 11th century as a way station for the rich camel caravans plying the Silk Route between Europe and Asia.
In the evening we visit an underground restaurant for a traditional Turkish folklore show, with dances and costumes from several regions rich in folklore, including Gaziantep, the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea. The mysterious and alluring art of belly dancing, round out this enjoyable evening of traditional Turkish dance.
DAY 15 – Kayseri/ IZMIR / Kusadasi (BD) – Saturday
After breakfast we fly to Izmir via Istanbul. From Izmir Airport we drive to Kusadasi. Afternoon at leisure, dinner is included tonight at your hotel (bottled water included).
DAY 16 – EPHESUS – KUSADASI (BD) – Sunday
In the morning, start with an excursion to Bulbul Hill and pay a visit to Mary’s House and pray for your health and welfare. Then visit the famous ancient Ephesus, which was one the leading port town in Mediterranean. Walk in the marble paved streets and view the Agora, Odeon, town hall, temples, Roman baths, Celsus Library, Grand Theater, Stadium, etc.
Afterwards, drive to Sirince Village and enjoy a leisurely lunch at this picturesque village. Walk thru the roads, view the beautifully preserved old houses, and enjoy souvenirs, handicrafts. Afterwards, return to Ephesus (Selçuk) and visit the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist who came to Ephesus with Mother Mary and he was buried in this site. Enjoy the local arts, manufactures of Ephesus before you return to Kusadasi. Dinner is included at your hotel.
DAY 17 – Kusadasi – Pamukkale (BD) – Monday
On this day, start early, drive along the Meander Valley, passing the towns of Aydin, Nazilli and Denizli and the fertile fields to Pamukkale, ancient Hierapolis. This was the healing SPA center of the antiquity and today, famous for its natural thermal pools and baths. The hot water coming up to surface leave is calcium and forms the residues Cotton Fortress formations. Overnight in Pamukkale, dinner is included at the hotel.
DAY 18 – Pamukkale – Kusadasi (BD) –Tuesday
Visit the ancient Hierapolis, walk along the pools and take a bath if you wish. Here martyr St. Steven is buried. St. Paul had called to the people in this area – lukewarm, you are neither cold nor hot – He had promoted earliest two of the Seven Churches in Asia Minor and had written epistles. The churches were in Colossae and Laodicea nearly to Pamukkale.
Return to Kusadasi and your hotel where dinner is included.
DAY 19 – RETURN HOME – Izmir (B) – Wednesday
After breakfast proceed to Izmir airport, end of our services. Bon Voyage.
- Air transportation from Athens to Mykonos, from Santorini to Athens, and between Greece and Turkey as well as within Turkey.
- Transportation between airport and hotels in Greece and Turkey, always on a private basis.
- Ferry/hydrofoil between Mykonos and Santorini.
- Accommodations with breakfast (B): In 4 or 5 stars based on your choice, as indicated, or at comparable properties, according to availability.
- Guided sightseeing where/as listed in the itinerary with all entrance fees.
- Table d’hote (set-menu) meals as indicated in the tour itinerary: cB = continental breakfast; L = set-menu lunch; D = set-menu dinner. One large bottled water for each guest with each lunch and dinner meal.
Rate doesn’t include:
- Visa Fee: (procure yours online in advance of travel at www.evisa.gov.tr/en/)
- International air fare from/to your home country.
- Optional excursions, such as city tours, sailing, cruising
- Any meal not specifically mentioned, beverages, and personal expenses
- Gratuities for local personnel
- Travel insurance
- Airport taxes (when/if not already included in your air ticket).
- Any lunch meals in Turkey.
- Hot Air Balloon Flight over Cappadocia
|First Class – 4 Stars:|
|Athens||Stanley Hotel, Titania Hotel|
|Mykonos:||Pelican Hotel, Semeli Hotel|
|Santorini:||Volcano View. “Sun Rocks in Firostefani”, “Astra Apartments”, “On The Rocks” or Chromata Apartments with a view of the caldera & the sea (Imerovigli). “Grotto Villas” in Firostefani. Rose Bay on Kamari Beach Hotel. El Greco Hotel|
|Istanbul:||Advantage Hotel Istanbul, Richmond Hotel Istanbul|
|Kusadasi:||Avantgarde Hotel Kusadasi|
|Deluxe – 5 Stars:|
|Athens:||Divani Palace Hotel|
|Mykonos:||Royal Mykonian Hotel|
|Santorini:||Nikos Villas in Oia, Dana Villas with a view of the Caldera & the sea (Firostefani)|
|Istanbul:||Conrad Hotel Istanbul, Rixos Hotel Istanbul|
Rates are per person in USD$.
Based on a minimum of 10 Paying Guests.
|Based on First Class-4 Stars Properties: Per Person|
|Based on 5-star properties: Per Person|