A TOUCH OF TURKEY - CAPPADOCIA
Land Only price (includes double occupancy (single supplement is an additional $60 per night) and two Turkey domestic flights (Istanbul to Kayseri & Kayseri to Istanbul)):
2 PERSON MINIMUM - $1,290 per person (for three nights)
4 PERSON MINIMUM - $1,190 per person (high season)
DAY 1, 2, 3 – CAPPADOCIA
Upon arriving at the Kayseri Airport, you will be picked up and driven one hour to Cappadocia. Your stay will be at the spectacular Cappadocia Cave Suites, the newest and most luxurious “cave living” in Cappadocia. Located in Göreme, a World Heritage site, our hotel’s thirty six spacious units almost all have windows with views to the outside and most feature a Jacuzzi. Some units have beautiful 200-year-old wooden ceilings and one unit is decorated in original 8th century painted frescoes showing the Maltese cross. The views are spectacular with the Fairy Chimneys in sight (www.cappadociacavesuites.com). Breakfast and dinner will be at the Cave Suites restaurant.
While in Cappadocia we will enjoy the unique landscapes of wind and rain-eroded volcanic rock formations and have opportunities for incredible hikes. Our hotel is just a few minutes walk from the starting point of five different hiking routes. During the hikes, you will see amazing formations, valleys, grapevines and orchards full of fruit trees as hot air balloons fill the sky early in the morning. Wild flowers also decorate the landscape from April through September and will be blooming most brilliantly from early April to late June. Cappadocia is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a World Heritage site. You will see why. It is the highlight of all of our Turkey tours regardless of the fact that we also go to places like Istanbul, Ephesus, Troy, Pamukkale and many other impressive locations, all of which are World Heritage sites.
Also amazing is the incredible underground cities of Cappadocia, some of which were home to as many as 15,000 inhabitants. We will go to Derinkuyu where ancient civilizations from 3,000 to 4,000 years ago started carving layers of living quarters into the bedrock connected by catacombs. These floors are separated by huge wheels of stone that could be moved by a lever to close the passage, providing security.
In the region of Cappadocia, a 10,000 square mile area, there are 1,000 churches carved into bedrock by early and later Christians. About 100 of the churches still have frescoes from the Old and the New Testament. We will visit these churches and living quarters at the Open Air Museum, which is less than a mile from our hotel. This is a very impressive site.
We will also visit ancient handicraft shops and a caravanserai, an ancient caravan motel.
While in the Cappadocia region, we will spend one day in a tour that takes us to the fringes of the region. We will visit Kanesh, a nearly 5,000 year old Assyrian trade colony site where excavations have been going on for 40 years and, yet, nobody but our tours go to this site. It is “archaeology at work” and many of the objects displayed in the Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara were originally found here. We will then continue on to a city called Güzelyurt. Walking down the ancient living quarters (now abandoned) all carved into the rocks is an amazing feeling and offers many incredible photo opportunities. After this site, we will drive through the Ihlara Valley, which looks like a miniature Grand Canyon. We then continue to Selime with many teepee like formations and more rocks all carved by people as homes, workshops and churches. We finish the day with a stop at the Agzikarahan Caravanserai and drive back home. This is a full day through areas that nobody but you will see in Cappadocia. For those wine connoisseurs, we will visit a wine tasting place where you will sample the famous and wonderful local wines. This day is offered on itineraries that allow for three full days in Cappadocia, not counting the travel day.
Discovering the unknown Cappadocia, we will go off the "tourist track". One of these outings will be to the Ballidere Valley where many formations of rocks, carved by nature (similar to phallic symbols) 100 feet tall (or higher) and 10 to 15 feet wide, create otherworldly vistas. Because it isn’t easy to access this site, most people aren’t aware of it. Missed by 99% of visitors to this area, you will be able to taking unbelievable pictures at this site.
Cappadocia is also famous for its rugs and kilims. We will have an excellent lecture-demonstration on Turkish kilims and carpets.
- Hot air balloon rides over Cappadocia at reduced rates. A balloon ride in Cappadocia (for people of all ages) is safe and nothing less than spectacular. It costs $200 in cash or $210 if paid by credit card. These rates are 30% less than standard rates.
- Attend a Whirling Dervish ceremony at a 12th century caravanserai. There will also be an opportunity to take cooking lessons from the Cave Suites chef. A Cappadocia Cave Suites Turkish cookbook will also be available for sale. All proceeds from the Whirling Dervish ceremony, the cooking lessons and the cookbook’s sales will go toward scholarships for underprivileged girls from Yassical and Cappadocia to attend high school.
DAY 4 – ISTANBUL
After breakfast, you will be taken to the airport for your flight to Istanbul. Your tour will conclude upon arriving in Istanbul.
Please Note: The order of events may vary.
WHAT IS INCLUDED:
- Private tour with guide/driver
- Private car or van
- Two domestic flights – (Istanbul to Kayseri and Kayseri to Istanbul)
- All hotel accommodations throughout the tour
- Breakfast and dinner
- All scheduled lectures, shows & performances
- All entrance fees to museums, ancient cities and sightseeing excursions as set forth in the itinerary
- All local and hotel taxes
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED:
- Tips for guides, hotel service and driver
- Wine and beverages on most meal menus
- Visa ($20 (required for all U.S. citizens) to be paid in advance online at www.evisa.gov.tr)
- Tour cancellation insurance
- Room service, laundry, telephone call and personal items
- Roundtrip airfare from the U.S.