Legendary Railway Journeys in Turkey
For individuals or for groups, our train tours in Turkey take you across this great land, and into others. Trains are quiet, comfortable, the lines are scenic.
Travel while you sleep in comfort.
Make the journey the highlight of the trip.
We operate 3 train tours in Turkey and Iran. Click for details.
All itineraries are flexible to suit your needs.
Aegean to Gulf. Legendary Train Journey - Overview. Journey of a Lifetime. 4000km by Train, Countless Civilisations.
Private Journey – Semi Guided in Turkey, Fully Guided in Iran.
This amazing journey takes you from Izmir, Ancient Smyrna, via the Roman Metropolis of Ephesus.
Into the Anatolian heartland by sleeper train, we visit the mystic city of Konya, home of the whirling dervishes, before a visit to Catal Hoyuk, the world’s oldest town.
We continue to the Silk Road staging post of Sultanhani before entering the unique landscape of Cappadocia, first taking a trek through the lush, church-lined Ihlara Valley.
After a full day walking the rock churches and valleys of Cappadocia we take to the sleeper train again on the Eastern Express. Following the banks of the Western Euphrates, this long and scenic journey is one to be savoured.
Arriving in Erzurum, Turkey’s highest city, you will have the opportunity to look at some of the historic Mosques, Madrassas and Ancient Selcuk Turkish Mausoleums, before next day taking an optional trek into the spectacular Palandoken Mountains. We continue on the train to Kars, to view the unusual Russian architecture, and then to the evocative abandoned Armenian city of Ani, right on Turkey’s Eastern border.
We then strike south through the volcanic lands around Mt Ararat, visiting the unforgettable Ishakpasa Palace.
From here we skirt the Iranian border, descending to the shores of Lake Van.
From here we say goodbye to Turkey, and our adventure continues on the sleeper train to Tabriz. ( If this train is not running we will take you by private car)
In Tabriz you will visit El Goli park, the National Museum, the UNESCO certified Grand Bazaar, Blue Dome and Jame mosque. After a day of relaxing and sightseeing, we take the sleeper train to Tehran.
In Tehran, you will take a Tehran city tour, visit National Museum, Carpet Museum, Glassware Museum and Grand Bazaar.
Heading down by train to Isfahan you will visit the Naghshe Jahan Square, Imam & Sheikh Lotfollah Mosques, Alighapou Palace, and the old bridges.
Finally you will visit the Ancient Persian capital of Persepolis, and also visit Naqsh-e Rustam.
Tour ends with a full tour of Shiraz, before a transfer back to the airport for onward flights.
Day 1. Arrive in Izmir, ancient Smyrna. The historical metropolis of Asia Minor, bithplace of Homer, and one of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse.
Transfer on Metro from Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport to Aksan hotel (or similar) We recommend that you use the IZBAN suburban service, or the state railway service from Adnan Menderes Airport to Basmane station, close to your hotel. When we know your arrival time we can advise you. Hotel is within easy walking distance of the station. Once settled in you can visit the Agora of Smyrna, The Kemeralti Bazaar and the waterside, before finding dinner in one of the many restaurants serving tasty Aegean cuisine, including Boyoz - a light pastry of Jewish origin.
Day 2. Selcuk, Ephesus, Sleeper train to Konya. Walking tour of Selçuk and Ephesus 9 Km trek. Night in first class sleeper train.
After breakfast, you walk the short distance to Basmane station. We take the train to Selçuk 08:52 – 10:21 Meet your guide, Yalçın İkizoğlu at Selçuk Station. We take a walking tour, first to the newly renovated Museum of Ephesus, from there we pass the site of the famous Temple of Artemis, one of the Wonders of the World. From there, our walk takes us past a café where we can buy coffee and a light lunch before we continue our walk to the south gate of Ephesus. We tour Ephesus, visiting the Arcadian way, as visited by Anthony and Cleopatra, the Virgin Mary and St John, touring the massive theatre, the Library of Celsus, Temple of Hadrian etc. If you have time you can visit the famous Terrace Houses, but do not miss the brothel and latrines! Continuing our walk from the North gate back to the station to get the 16:07 train back to Izmir. You can have dinner and a few drinks in Izmir, before picking up your bags and back to the nearby Basmane station in time for the Konya Sleeper train 21:05. First class 2 berth sleeper compartments. Single available.
Day 3. Day tour of Konya. The Mystic Anatolian city, Capital of the Selcuk empire, home of Mevlana and the Whirling Dervishes. Arrive in Konya at 09:28. Night in Mesnevi Hotel (or similar)
You can have breakfast on the train before a very short transfer to Mesnevi Hotel.
Tour the Mausoleum of Mevlana Rumi, Karatay Madrassa, China Tile museum, and Alaeddin Keykubad Mosque. If you are here on Saturday do not miss the free Whirling Dervish Ceremony!
Enjoy a meal on the atmospheric square, why listening to the call to prayer, of Tandir Kebab and the characteristic 'Etli Ekmek', an elongated crispy pizza with herby mince on top, sometimes several meters long! At night the illumination of the green tile clad Mevlana Dome leaves a lasting impression.
Day 4. Travel the Steppe to Capaddocia. Visit perhaps the world's oldest town. Trek a lush valley with Rock Churches. Guided tour in private car with Mr Necip Ataseven. Night in Çiner hotel or similar.
After breakfast you will be met by your guide for the next 2 days, Mr Necip Ataseven, and are driven by private car to the Neolithic settlement of Çatal Hoyuk, know as the oldest town on earth. From there you follow the Silk Road, and stop at the Grand Caravansary at Sultanhani before continuing on to Ihlara Valley, where we have a light trek in the lush Church Lined Valley, before continuing on to your hotel in the centre of Cappadocia. Try 'Testi Kebab' for dinner, a stew roasted in a clay amphora. Served by breaking the amphora with a hammer! A full and memorable day.
Day 5. Guided walking tour of Cappadocia. A full days tour of this fascinating area, guided, on foot. In evening board the Eastern Express Sleeper Train
After breakfast, a walking tour 14 Km approx of Üçhisar fortress, Pidgeon Valley, Göreme Valley and Göreme Open Air Museum, Cavusin and Zelve. The eroded Tufa landscape will astound you as will the remains of churches, dovecots, fortresses which can be found around every corner. Evening transfer to Kayseri by private minibus. Night in first class sleeper train, the famous Eastern Express. Board ‘Eastern Express’ at 00:48 First class 2 berth sleeper compartments. Single available
Day 6. Travel East to Erzurum on an enjoyable train voyage, along the upper Euphates. Day on the Eastern Express, afternoon sightseeing in Erzurum. Night in Rafo Hotel or similar
Wake up to spectacular views of Anatolian steppe and with long stretches following the Euphrates river. You can have breakfast on train as the spectacular journey continues. This part of the journey is actually one of the highlights of the holiday!
Arrive in Erzurum at 14:46. Transfer to hotel, then visit the Yakutiye Medrese and Turkish Islamic Arts and Ethnography museum.
Day 7. More sightseeing in Erzurum, Train to borderland Kars. Time in Erzurum to Trek or Sightsee. Take afternoon train to Kars. Night in Karabag Hotel or similar.
More sightseeing in Erzurum, to soak up the atmosphere of Turkey's highest city. Visit the Cift Minare Mosque and the Seljuk ‘Kumbet’ Mausoleum or Trek in the Palandoken Mountains ( Transport charge extra) to be followed by afternoon train to Kars. Visit Kars Castle and Church of the 12 Apostles. In the evening you might want to try the roasted goose, a local speciality of this far away border town where winter temperatures can reach -40 degrees! Don't miss the Russian architectural influences from the days of Russian occupation.
Day 8. Tour with private driver/guide. Ani, Ishakpasa palace, Van. Sleeper to Iran. The breathtaking ruins of Armenian Ani, the unforgettable rococco palace of Ishakpasa Palace. The Biblical Mt Ararat!
After breakfast in Hotel., meet Mr Mahmut Gezer and drive to the still closed Armenian border, visit the ancient capital city Ani. Perhaps one of the highlights of Turkey, this site was until recently off-limits to visitors. Continue to the enigmatic İshakpaşa palace at Doğubeyazit, Optional walk to the palace with fine views of Mt. Ararat. Continue via Mt Tendurek with its lava flows to Lake Van. Have dinner with Mahmut’s family before boarding the train to Tabriz in Iran. Train leaves at 19:48. If tour is to be done exactly as above then it must be a Tuesday start, as the Van – Tabriz train only runs on Tuesday. If another start day is needed then could drive from Doğubeyazıt to Tabriz, without stopping in Van.
Day 9 .Tebriz. The capital if Azeri Iran. Dazzles with it's mosaics, teases with it's bazaars silk-road heritage. Arrive to Nothern Iran. Start your fully guided tour of Iran provided by our partner company.
Your guide will meet you straight off the train and your 2 day tour of this magical city begins.
Visit El Goli Park, National museum, UNESCO certified Grand Bazaar, Blue Dome, Jame mosque. Night in Tabriz Gostaresh Hotel or similar
Day 10. Day in Tebriz. More sightseeing shopping or resting. Evening Sleeper Train to Tehran. A day of relaxing in Tabriz. Evening train 433- Sleeper to Tehran.
A day to finish off anything missed the day before. Another visit in more depth to the Bazaar area, probably the most interesting in the world, may be in order! The train departs 20:45 Private cabin.
Day 11. Tehran. City tour of the revolutionary capital. Arrive at 09:20 to Tehran central. Night in Tehran Enghelab / Kosar Hotel or similar.
Nestled on the lower slopes of the spectacular, ice encrusted Alborz mountain range, you may be surprised to find the liberal and secular heart of the country is here in Tehran. This seemingly chaotic city is the centre of the nation, and it is here that you will understand how this country works. You will visit the Golestan Palace in its glittering majesty, the Grand Bazaar, and you can also visit the infamous US Embassy. Then there are the famous National museum, and the Glass and Carpet musuems should not be missed.
Day 12. Tehran to Isfahan. Morning train to to Isfahan. Full day tour of city. 06:00 train to Isfahan. Overnight in Alighapou hotel.
Stroll around the leafy boulevards of Isfahan, the jewel of ancient Persia. Visit Sheikh Lotfallah Mosque, Imam Square and Mosque, and the AliKapu Palace. marvel at and learn the history of Isfahan's bridges. Shop for miniatures, an art form that this city is famous for.
Day 13. Nagshe Rostam and Persepolis! Drive via the fabled Persepolis and the Tombs of Rustem to Shiraz. Overnight in Arg Hotel or similar
A wonder of its age, Persepolis was an ideal as well as a model city design. Thought up by Darius the Great, who inherited the world's first empire from his predecessor Cyrus the Great in 520BC. Ahead of his time, Darius pursued cultural tolerance and fair treatment for all. With this in mind, Darius brought architects from the furthest corners of his empire to design the magnificent palace complex. The result was an eclectic mix of structures, magnificent gateways, intricate reliefs and decorative stairways, which pay homage to Darius' expansive empire and his administrative vision.
Day 14 - 15 . Shiraz. City of Nightingales, Poetry and (formerly) Wine. Transfer to Airport on day 15. Overnight Shiraz Arg Hotel or similar.
Day 14. City tour of Shiraz visits Narenjestan, Karimkhan citadel, Bazaar, Nasir mosque and Hafez tomb.
Day 15. Departure – Transfer to airport take departure flight
Price is 940€ per person based on 2 sharing for Turkish section and 1700USD per person for Iranian section.
Price includes -
Visa invitation letter 5 night’s accommodation at hotel base on DBL / Twin room.
Daily buffet breakfast.
All transfers & transportation with A/C Comfortable vehicle with professional driver per itinerary.
Professional English speaking tour guide in Iran
Entrance fees to all monuments as mentioned in the program.
Tips and gratuities at hotels in Iran
Portage / Refreshment during Trip.
Depending on the Departure flight it is possible to take flight from Shiraz to Tehran and depart from Tehran which per person: 135 USD ( include domestic flights Shiraz to Tehran / one-night accommodation Tehran ) will be added to the package.
Price does not include:
Fee for issuing Iranian visa at embassy.
International air tickets.
Tip of guide & drivers.
Hotel tips in Turkey.
Extra Meals and Extra services not included in above.
Western and Central Turkey by Train. 11 days. 1500km. Istanbul, Pamukkale and Heirapolis, Ephesus, Konya, Catalhoyuk and Cappadocia.
This Journey takes you to the sumptuous Constantinople with its Byzantine splendour. Transfer across the Bosphorus and take the high-speed train to Eskisehir, then take the 'Pamukkale Express' to this geological wonder, paired with an archaeological wonder on site. Take the train down the Meander valley to Ephesus, the ancient port of the Aegean sea. Continuing to Izmir, the modern port of the Aegean, take the Sleeper into the Anatolian steppe lands that make up the interior of this vast country, and visit Konya, the spiritual heart of the nation. Continue by road to Catalhoyuk, thought to be the oldest town in the world, along the Silk road to Cappadocia, Turkey's other geological wonder! Youwill get a in depth visit to Turkey's ancient and modern cultures, using brand new high speed lines as well as meandering single track lines for the 19th century. Turkey was always a land of contrasts!
Price is €600 per person based on twin share.
Guiding package for 6 days in Istanbul, Pamukkale, Ephesus, the Road from Konya, and 1 day in Cappadocia is 650€
Entrance fee package for all places mentioned above 75€ per person. (When used with guiding package)
Day 1. Arrive in Istanbul, Ancient Byzantiuım and Constantinople. If the earth was a single state, Constantinople would be the capital'. Napoleon Bonaparte.
Private transfer to your boutique hotel right on the Hippodrome, you will have the chance to tour the Byzantine masterpiece of Hagia Sophia, the unforgettable Basilica Cistern, the sites of the Hippodrome and the Magnificent Blue Mosque.
You are free to take dinner in one of the many excellent restaurants of the Sultanahmet area, where you will begin to understand why Turkish cuisine is recognised as one of the finest in the world.
Day 2 and 3 Istanbul. City of Two Continents. Further touring of this fascinating city . Nights in Boutique hotel.
Suggest a tour of Topkapi Palace, the home of the Ottoman sultans who ruled the last great empire. Palace buildings are tastefully restrained in the Muslim fashion, however, the jewellery collections are over the top! You man take the option to visit the labyrinthine Harem where the Sultans spent their private lives.
You can take a cruise on the mansion-lined Bosphorus, the historically famous waterway connection the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, before visiting the Spice Market and sumptuous Grand Bazaar, once the commercial centres of the Empire. You may like to visit the Istanbul Archeology musuem with its vast collection including the chain that closed of the golden horn in Byzantine times, the porphiry sarcophagi of the Byzantine Emperors and the magnificent 'Alexander' tomb from Sidon. If you are a lover of mosiac and fresco, then the Church of Chora is a must.
Day 4. Cross the Bosphorus into Asia, travel to Heirapolis. High Speed Train to Eskisehir, Pamukkale Express to Denizli, Home of Heirapolis and the Travertines.
We take you across the Bosphorus, to the Asian side of Istanbul. Boarding the brand new High-Speed Train, you travel to Eskisehir, before changing onto the more sedate 'Pamukkale Express', taking you across Turkey's steppe land before dropping down to the Meander valley, with the unique Pamukkale at its head. Settle into your comfortable hotel with views of the travertines, the frozen waterfalls of this UNESCO site.
Day 5. Tour the frozen waterfall landscape of Pamukkale and marvel at the ancient Spa-City of Hierapolis Relaxation and fascination at this unique place. Relax in the natural infinity pools, swim above Roman Streets.
Today you will walk up through the travertines, bathe in their calcium-rich water, before swimming in Cleopatra's baths, among the fallen columns of Hierapolis. Visit the Magnificent theatre of Hierapolis before touring this extensive Frigian/ Roman Spa-City, with huge necropolis, and Martyrium of St. Phillip the Apostle where he was crucified upside down.
This evening we take the train down the Meander Valley, to Selçuk, the site of Ephesus. Night in Bella boutique hotel.
Day 6. Visit Ephesus, the ancient port of the Aegean. Take evening Sleeper Train to Konya. A full day touring this rightly famous site. You will have a full day to visit the site, the Terrace Houses and Museum.
Great Ephesus! One of the best preserved ancient cities of the world, Ephesus was the foremost harbour of Asia Minor, home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the 7 wonders of the world. You will also have time to visit the 'Terrace Houses', a recently discovered collection of Roman townhouses, complete with impressive mosaics and frescoes, the Library of Celsus, the massive theatre, and the Arcadian Way, known as the first road to have street lighting! You will also visit the newly renovated Ephesus museum. This evening, you will take the train to Izmir, from where you will get onto the Sleeper train to Konya. Private berth on the train with fridge and sink.
Day 7. Arrive in by Train in Konya, spend a full day visiting this spiritual city of the Whirling Dervishes. Arrive grandly into Central Anatolia. Alight the train and short trasfer to central Konya hotel, Mesnevi or similar
Arrive in Konya, we transfer you to the hotel. Visit the Tomb of Mevlana, founder of the Sufi faith, visit Aladdin Keykubat Mosque, one of the oldest in Turkey, and the Karatay Medrese, with its collection of early ceramic tiles from a nearby Selcuk palace. Try to plan this day for a Saturday, and you can observe the 'Sema', a genuine and deeply spiritual display of Whirling Dervishes, the followers of Mevlana.
Day 8. The very ancient settlement of Catalhoyuk, Trading post of Sultanhani, Ihlara Valley. To Capadocia! Back to the most ancient town anywhere, a look at the Silk Road, and life in the Cappadocian Valleys, the oases of the steppe.
Today we take off in a private car across the Anatolian steppe, visiting first Catal Hoyuk, the Neolithic settlement which flourished in 7000BC and is known as the world's first town. The mud huts have cave paintings of the nearby volcano Mt. Hasan, and fertility symbols of a mother goddess are on display.
You then continue East along the Silk Road to the grand staging post of Sultanhani Caravansary, one of the finest examples of Selcuk masonry. You then continue to Ihlara Valley, an oasis of life in this harsh landscape which has harboured inhabitants for centuries and is lined with rock churches, and dovecots. You can walk along the riverside here before you continue to your cave hotel in Cappadocia.
Day 9 and 10. Time to explore Capadocia. Underground cities, churches, valleys, pottery and wine! The 'land of Beauiful Horses', Capadocia is unique in the world, an unforgettable travel experience.
You will have 2 days in Cappadocia to absorb the ambience of this strange but unique landscape, with fairy chimneys and ice-cream like valleys, painted cave churches and underground cities. You will visit the Göreme Open Air Museum, a collection of churches and monastery buildings, walk the aptly named Love and Rose valleys, visit the site of Zelve. You may want to try an optional Balloon flight to see the amazing Tufa landscape from a different angle, Visit Avanos on the Kizilirmak 'Red River' famous for its pottery, and visit Ürgüp to taste the fine Cappadocian Wine, the inheritance from the Cappadocian Greeks who fertilised their vines with the droppings from the doves living in the rock-cut dovecots.
Day 11 Transfer to Kayseri or Nevsehir for your onward journey. We will arrange a shared transfer for you to take you to the airport or train station.
There are good transport connections from Kayseri and Nevsehir airports, or if you prefer to journey on by train back to Ankara, or on to the east or south of the country, by the Eastern Express to Sivas, Erzurum or Kars, the Southern Express to Malatya or Diyarbakır, The Lake Van Express to the Iranian Border or the Argeus Express down to Adana or Tarsus.
Price is €600 per person based on twin share.
Guiding package for 6 days in Istanbul, Pamukkale, Ephesus, the Road from Konya, and 1 day in Cappadocia is 650€
Entrance fee package for all places mentioned above 75€ per person. (When used with guiding package)
Western Turkey Classical Sites 1200km. Fully guided. Boutique hotels. A fully guided private trip for those with a deep interest in history, in this most historic of lands!
This journey takes you to the unforgettable Istanbul, with all its layers of colourful history, the home of so many cultures. After an in-depth tour of this city's many sites, we cross the Sea of Marmara on high-speed ferry. From Bandırma we take the train to Pergamon. A full day tour of Pergamon is followed by another train journey through Manisa (Ancient Magnesia) to Sardis, the capital of the Lydian Empire, After a tour of this fabled city, we take the train to Izmir ( Ancient Smyrna) for the evening. Visiting the massive Agora of Smyrna, we take the train to Ephesus, a city that needs no introduction. The unmissable sites of Priene, Miletus and Didyma are visited by car, before we take to the train again, following Turkey's oldest railway line up the Meander Valley to Hierapolis and Pamukkale. Last day ends simply taking the train back to Izmir airport for easy onward travel.
Day 1. Arrive in Istanbul, The New Rome, The City of Constantine. The Barrier, The Bridge. The Vision. Arrive to Istanbul and be transferred to your boutique hotel on the ancient hippodrome.
You will be met at the airport and brought in a private vehicle to your hotel. Depending on your flight time you will be able to stroll around the ancient hippodrome, before dinner in one of the many excellent restaurants in the area.
Day 2. Walking tour with private guide, of sites of Istanbul. All mentioned entrance fees are included. Turkoman Hotel BB (or similar)
Starting straight from the hotel, you walk to the Hippodrome, centre of the sometimes gruesome history of Constantinople, where the chariot races which enthralled the population were held, and where Emperor Justinan’s great general Bellisarius massacred the people during the Nika riots. The Hippodrome is decorated with obelisks from ancient Egypt brought by Constantine to decorate his New Rome.
Right on the hippodrome, you will visit the Blue Mosque, one of the finest examples of Ottoman building skills, the last great mosque of the classical period decorated with the blue tiles that give it it’s colloquial name.
Continuing your tour of the great places of worship, cross the square to visit Hagia Sophia, the Byzantine Church built in 576 AD, which dwarfed all other buildings in the world for hundreds of years.
You will complete your day with a visit to the atmospheric Basilica Cisterns, built to ensure the huge city of Constantinople had enough water stored to withstand a long siege. This ancient cistern was only discovered recently and still supports the modern buildings built above it on its hundreds of classical columns.
Day 3. Private guided tour of Topkapı Palace and Bosphorus cruise. All mentioned entrance fees and cruise charges are included. Turkoman Hotel BB (or similar)
Visit Topkapi Palace, the sumptuous, but tastefully un-extravagant home of the Ottoman Sultans, and their private quarters know as the Harem, subject of much erotic fascination in the west.
After lunch, take the tram down to Eminönü and look at Sirkeci station, the terminus of the Orient Express, and board one of the cruise boats which ply the historical Bosphorus, where Europe meets Asia, and where the Mediterranean meets the Black sea, viewing wooden mansions, astles and Ottoman Palaces, as well as the military hospital where Florence Nightingale famously worked.
Day 4. Transfer to Yenikapı Fast Ferry docks. Cross Sea of Marmara and get on train to Bergama. Night in Anıl hotel BB or similar. Entrance fees to Asklepion included.
Crossing the marble sea on the comfortable catamaran we arrive in the port town of Bandırma. We then board the train and head via Balıkesir to the mining town of Soma. In soma we will go by road, the short distance to Bergama. You should have time this evening to wail the short distance to the site of the Asklepion, a mysterious ancient healing centre, based upon a sacred spring which still runs down the steps into a tunnel, which the patients would walk down on the way to the round, underground treatment rooms.
Day 5. Full tour of Pergamum, the first of the Roman Provinces. Tour includes entrance fees to Cablecar, Acropolis, the Red Basilica, and the Pergamon Museum.
On foot, we walk through the charming town of Bergama to the foot of the Acropolis, here we board the cable car which takes ups to the top in grand style. At the Bergama Acropolis, there are spectacular views of the town below, in addition to the sights of the Acropolis, modelled to rival the Acropolis in Athens. We will visit in detail, the main theatre - the steepest in the ancient world ( There are a total of 3 theatres, 1 amphitheatre and 1 stadium in Pergamon!). The magnificent Temple of Trajan, built painstakingly on a vaulted terrace; The Library of Pergamon, where the books were made from Parchment, a trade dominated by the Pergamese. (The word Parchment is a corruption of the Latin ‘pergamenum’ and the French ‘parchemin’) During the building of the library here and the competing library of Alexandria, the demand for Papyrus became so high that papyrus became scarce, helping parchment production grow.
We descend and visit the massive brick edifice known as the Red Basilica, an Egyptian temple to Isis and Serapis. This structure was actually built above the river and is placed on a double tunnel-like bridge, 196 meters wide. There is a connection from the temple to the tunnel below.
After lunch, we will visit the compact but interesting Bergama Archeology Museum. Boasting a small but impressive collection of artefacts, Bergama's museum is well worth a visit. On exhibit are reliefs from the Acropolis, including a wonderful Roman-era relief from the Demeter Terrace, and a Hellenistic frieze and architrave from the Athena Terrace. Also impressive are the many statues from the Asklepion and a mosaic floor featuring Medusa's head that was originally in the Lower Agora.
Early evening we depart by car, back to Soma Station. From there the train to Manisa, then change to the train for Salihli near Sardis. Spend the night in Spa Hotel, the Lydia Thermal Hotel.
Day 6. Sardis! One of the 7 churches, birthplace of currency, home of King Croesus, the remains of the Midas Touch Relaxing morning in Spa hotel, then short drive to Sardis. Visit The Lydian capital then take evening train to Izmir.
Have a slow morning to enjoy the best of this spa hotel, after lunch, we will drive the short distance to Sardis. Sardis is set below unusual red sandstone cliffs, on the banks of the Pactolus, where Mythical King Midas washed away the Midas touch. The stream was definitely generous in terms of gold, as evidenced by the gold working workshops beside the stream and the reputed wealth of Sardis in ancient times. The term ‘Rich as Croesus’ was coined after the King of the Lydians who reigned here. It is known that the first coins were struck here, therefore Sardis can claim to be the birthplace of commerce. We will visit the impressive Temple of Artemis, before walking down to via the Gold workshops to the site of the synagogue, before we view the beautifully reconstructed Gymnasium.
After we have enjoyed the site we will head back to Salihli and then take the evening train to Izmir. Night in Aksan hotel or similar BB.
Day 7. Morning visit to Smyrna Agora, take train to Selcuk visit Ephesus. Sadly undervisited, the vaulted Smyrna Agora is vast and beautiful. Ephesus is still breathtaking in every way.
After breakfast, you will visit the site of the Marketplace (Agora) of Smyrna. Smyrna was an important port city then, as it is now, and was one of the Seven Churches of Asia.(Others you will visit this week are Pergamon, Sardis, and Ephesus- If you like, an optional visit to Laodicea is possible, and Philadelphia and Thyatira can also be added to this tour).
Mid-morning we will get on the train to Selcuk, and from there visit the sites of Ephesus. Here in one of the world's most visited ancient cities, you will visit the newly excavated Terrace Houses, a complex of luxury Roman dwellings with mosaics and frescoes in situ. From here you will visit the Library of Celcus, then the impressively sized theatre. A look at the well-preserved latrines gives you an insight into daily life. Walking down the Arcadian Way towards the silted harbour, we can also look at the well-preserved basilica with baptistery attached.
We will walk back to Selcuk via the site of Ephesus’s Temple of Artemis. This temple which is largely lost was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. From here the last stop of the day will be the recently renovated Ephesus Museum, home of the famous statue of Artemis.
Night in Bella Hotel or similar BB.
Day 8. By road, visit the Ionan cities of Priene, Miletus and Didyma. Priene, 'the Pompei of Asia Minor', Miletus, home to a thousand ships. Didyma Temple, 600 years and not finished yet!
Going by road today we will visit first Priene, known as the Pompeii of Asia Minor, this city is the prime example of town planning in the ancient world, with its perfect grid system behind well-defended city walls. The city was abandoned suddenly without being used by subsequent civilisations, and for this reason, there is little building after the original town was built, giving us a privileged view of the order of ancient towns in their prime.
Miletus was one of the richest Greek cities of the area and was thought to have as many as 30 trading colonies spread across the Mediterranean basin. A fine theatre and well-preserved bathhouse welcome you to this site, which also housed a famous monument to Pompey the Great who cleansed the area of pirates, making life much easier for the trading peoples who lived here.
Heading along the coast we arrive at Didim, site of the Temple of Apollo, Didyma. This enormous temple was the sanctuary of Miletus, site of a sacred spring where the priestess of Apollo would give prophecy, and next to Delphi, was the most important oracular site in the ancient world. The Persians burned the Temple and it lay in ruins until Alexander the Great reinstituted the Oracle and building started in 300BC. The massive temple was still being completed in 300AD, 600 years later, when Christianity stopped the final completion.
If you wish, you could visit the Çamlık Railway Museum with its fine collection of steam locomotives.
Night in Bella Hotel or similar BB.
Day 9. Train to Denizli, Pamukkale and Hierapolis. Travelling up the Meander Valley we arrive at Denizli, site of Laodicea. Visit Hierapolis and Pamukkale, a natural wonder.
Taking the morning train up the Meander valley, you will visit the unique UNESCO site of Pamukkale/ Hieropolis. Taking your shoes off, you will walk from your hotel up through the white pools and frozen waterfalls of this ‘one in the world’ natural phenomenon. The evaporation of thousands of years of mineral-rich waters has left this gleaming white monument to nature’s variety. You can bathe in the ‘travertine’ pools or in the deep sparkling waters of Cleopatras Bath. After this, you will walk around the extensive site of Hierapolis, the Phrygian/ Roman city which was built above, and because of the spring waters here. The Ancient Theatre is one of the finest in anywhere, the Necropolis is one of the largest and most varied ( try to find the tomb of the engineer-inventor of the crank and rod mechanism). Visit the place where Phillip the Apostle was martyred.
Enjoy your last evening in a restaurant overlooking the floodlit travertines. Night in HalTur Hotel BB.
Day 10: Transfer to Denizli, Train to Izmir ( Adnan Menderes) airport. Fly on from Izmir airport with easy transport connections.
This tour includes:
Full guiding for 8 days. All guides accommodation and other costs.
All entrance fees to sites mentioned.
9 Breakfasts, Train tickets, transfers.
All transfers & transportation with A/C Comfortable Vehicle with professional driver per itinerary
Services of Professional English speaking tour guide.
Price does not include:
International air ticket
Tip of guides & drivers
Extra services that not included in above.
Per person price for this fully guided tour including all transport and entrance fees is:
1 person 2500€
2 person 1500€
3 person 1200€
4 person 1000€
5 person 950€
6 person 880€
Single room suppliment: 180€