BLACK SEA TOUR : PRIVATE, 14-DAY TOUR
Tour Name: BLACK SEA TOUR
Duration: 14 Days, 13 Nights (Departs everyday)
Transportation: Transportation with air-conditioned VIP Vehicle & Domestic Flight
Visited Places: Istanbul, Ankara, Amasra, Kastamonu, Sinop, Amasya, Yozgat, Cappadocia
Day 1: Arrival at the Istanbul IST airport, private transfer to your hotel in Sultanahmet (the Old City of Istanbul). Afternoon or evening at your leisure.
Day 2: After breakfast at your hotel, your guide will meet you in the hotel reception to begin your day exploring Old Istanbul. Our first stop of the day is at the spectacular Topkapi Palace - the home of the Sultans during the height of the Ottoman Empire - and features the living quarters, famous Harem, museum rooms with exquisite artifacts from the Ottoman era as well as sacred Islamic relics. The grounds of the palace are equally grand and offer splendid views over the Bosphorus. We continue on to the Underground Cistern - with 336 marble columns, the cistern was built in the 6th century. Our next stop is the Hippodrome - the sporting and social center of Constantinople during Byzantine times. The 3500 year-old Egyptian Obelisk of Theodosius is one of the highlights of the Hippodrome. After lunch in a local restaurant featuring traditional Turkish meals, we will visit the impressive Hagia Sofia. Built in 360 AD, this architectural wonder served as the Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later an imperial mosque, and is now a museum. Hagia Sophia is a great architectural beauty and an important monument both for Byzantine and for Ottoman Empires. We continue with the architectural wonders and visit the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque). With the famous Iznik tiles adorning the inside, the Blue Mosque is one of the top must-see sights in Istanbul. We make our way to the Grand Covered Bazaar, along the route we will visit the ancient Ottoman cemetery and the Cemberlitas - the stone pillar that was placed to commemorates the declaration of Byzantium as the new capital city of the Roman Empire in 330 AD. After visiting the Grand Covered Bazaar - the ancient shopping center with more than 4000 shops, we will return you to your hotel.
Day 3: Following breakfast at your hotel, your guide will meet you to begin the 2nd day of your Istanbul adventure. Our first visit is to the Suleymaniye Mosque - the largest mosque in Istanbul and built by the revered architect Sinan. His style was to blend Islamic and Byzantine architectural elements. The Suleymaniye Mosque - named after Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent - combines tall, slender minarets with large domed buildings supported by half domes and features a splendid view over the Golden Horn. We continue along the Golden Horn to the famous Pierre Loti Hill - the location is named after a romantic story from the French novelist and offers a lovely view over the city - the perfect location to enjoy a glass of Turkish Tea. The beautiful Church of the Holy Savior in Chora is our next stop - considered to be one of the most beautiful surviving examples of a Byzantine church. Among the many paintings and mosaics inside are the Mosaic of The Journey to Bethlehem and The Christ Pantocrator. We continue back to the Old City for a hearty lunch and then embark on our Bosphorus Cruise. We will take a public cruise that lasts about 1.5 hours and includes the impressive sights from the shoreline such as the Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, the Maiden's Tower, Rumeli walls and Anadolu fortresses as well as many Ottoman residences. After the cruise we will return you to your hotel.
Day 4: After breakfast you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Ankara, the capital of Turkey. Upon arrival we will continue directly to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations - this world-class, award-winning museum offers some of the most interesting ancient artifacts from the many cultures and peoples who have made Turkey their home for thousands of years. One of the exhibits is from the recently excavated Catal Huyuk archaeological site - known as the earliest human settlement in the world. Next we will take a break for lunch at a local restaurant featuring cuisine from the area. We continue on with our Ankara adventure at the Citadel - the oldest part of the city and originally built either by the Hittites or Phyrgians more than 4000 years ago. Our last stop in Ankara will be at the Ataturk Mausoleum - built in honor of the "Father of Turkey", Ataturk's eternal resting place is a sacred site for all Turks to visit at least once. The area also features statues, reliefs and art made by some of Turkey's best artists.
Day 5: After breakfast at your hotel, we will continue to Amasra - a nearly 2000 year-old quaint port village that offers the perfect place to relax and unwind. Amasra is built up on two small islands connected by bridges and offers local beaches, historical sites to explore and an amazing history. Afternoon at your leisure.
Day 6: After breakfast we continue to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Safranbolu - with well-preserved Ottoman houses and architecture, the town offers more than 1008 registered historical artifacts. The name of the town comes from the top quality Saffron grown in the region. We will explore this village and have lunch. After lunch we continue onto Kastamonu - believed to have been founded in the 18th century BCE. This picturesque city offers the traditional Black Sea architecture mixed with the green forests. Kastamonu also has a 12th century Byzantine castle.
Day 7: After breakfast we make our journey to the Black Sea coastal port of Sinop. Offering one of the most beautiful natural harbors, Sinop was thought to have been founded in the 7th century BCE. The town is located on the Black Sea and is the northern-most point in Turkey. After arriving we will explore the historic castle and visit one of the oldest prisons in Turkey located inside a fortress. The centuries-old prison was decommissioned in 1997 and currently open to the public for sightseeing purposes.
Day 8: We continue on with our Black Sea explorations to the tranquil mountain village of Amasya (not to be confused with Amasra). Located in a scenic narrow valley, Amasya is famous for apples, poets, great thinkers and classic Ottoman-styled houses. We will visit several of the key sights in this quaint town including the Tombs of Pontus Kings, a 14th century hospital and the Ferhat aqueduct, 18-kilometer-long Hellenistic aqueduct.
Day 9: After breakfast we depart for the ancient Hittite city of Hattusa (Bagazkale in Turkish). This UNESCO World Heritage Site - a sprawling city set on the acropolis, now all in ruins - was the capital of the Hittite empire. As we make our way around and through the grounds we will see excellent carvings and pillars adorning the entrances - including the magnificent Lion's Gate as well as Sphinx-like carvings. Afterwards we will visit the Hittite ceremonial site - Yazilkaya (Rock Inscriptions - in Turkish). This open-air natural shrine, with wonderful reliefs of the gods and goddesses cut into the rock walls, was home to fresh water springs and is thought to have been a place of worship. Afterwards we will continue to Yazgat for our overnight stay.
Day 10: After breakfast we drive towards Cappadocia - stopping at Kayseri on the way.Once known as Caesarea in Roman times, this modern city at the foot of Mount Erciyes (3916m / 12,848 feet) offers many Seljuk types of architecture and many of the ancient sites are built from the dark volcanic stone. After lunch we continue on to the heart Cappadocia - with some of the most unique landscape features in the world. In an extraordinary meeting of nature's artistic splendor and humankind's resourcefulness, Cappadocia offers soaring rock formations, uniquely-rippled landscapes, splendid walking trails, mysterious underground cities and vividly-painted rock-cut churches.
Day 11: (Optional hot air balloon flight at sunrise - please contact us for more information) After breakfast we will begin our Cappadocia adventure by starting at the Esentepe panoramic point - for a full overview of the amazing landscape - where your guide will explain the unique geology that created these incredible landscapes and speak a little about the local traditional culture. We will take a 1-hour walk through the famous Rose Valley with soaring rock formations and pigeon houses carved into the volcanic rocks - all nestled in among the orchards and vineyards still being used by local farmers. After our walk we will visit the Goreme Open Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring the best frescoes in Cappadocia, unique examples of rock-cut architecture, as well as vivid frescoes depicting intricate scenes from the New Testament. Nestled alongside a sloped valley just outside of Goreme, we will explore each cave church and discuss the scenes depicted - as well as visit the nunnery with rock-cut dining tables and benches. Delight in the vibrant blues depicted in the scenes inside the Buckle Church to the rich colors hand-painted in the Dark Church. For lunch we will have a heart meal of local specialties. After lunch we will make our way to the impressive Pasabag valley - on the way stopping for photos at the famous Family Fairy Chimneys as well as the popular Camel rock in Devrent valley. In Pasabag valley, we can witness the erosion of the fairy chimneys and see how they were formed (and are still being formed). This location also offers interesting mushroom-shaped hoodoos as well as the Saint Simeon's monk cell carved into the pressed volcanic ash (tufa). We continue on to Avanos - a city known for the ancient pottery techniques still being used today. Developed by the Hittites some 4000 years ago, the very same techniques and styles are used today. We can watch an artisan potter at work both creating the clay vessel as well as the master painters at work. Afterwards we will deliver you back to your hotel.
Day 12: After breakfast we continue our explorations to the south of the Cappadocia region - our first stop is at the phenomenal Kaymakli Underground City. Carved by the Hittites about 3500 years ago, this multi-level underground city was used by early Christians as a main shelter from marauding enemies during the 6th and 7th centuries. Kaymakli is one of the biggest underground cities in Cappadocia with 8 levels including stables, temples and wineries. After, we continue to the impressive Ihlara Valley - for a 1-hour walk along the river gorge with searing rock walls on both sides - some with hidden cave dwellings and churches. We will reach the foot of the quaint Belisirma village where we can enjoy lunch riverside. After lunch we drive to the breathtaking Selime Monastery perched at the top of the valley. With rock-cut dwellings and chapels, the Selime Monastery offers incredible views over the area. On our return to the heart of Cappadocia, we will stop at one of the vista points overlooking Pigeon Valley with the ancient city of Uchisar in the background.
Day 13: In the morning you will transfer to the local airport for your flight back to Istanbul and transfer to your hotel. The rest of your day is at your leisure - with a multitude of shopping and sightseeing opportunities available. Many of our guests love exploring the area around the Galata Tower all the way up to Taksim square - with pedestrian walkways, any shop you can dream for and quaint side alleyways full of cafes and ateliers. Or cross the Bosphorus by ferry and visit the Asian-side village of Kadikoy. This trendy neighborhood offers a mix of traditional markets with the latest trends in cafes and shops.
Day 14: on your final day in Istanbul we will transfer you to the Istanbul Ataturk (IST) airport for you flight home. The pick up times are generally 3-4 hours before your flight departure time depending on traffic. We will advise the pick-up time at the time of booking.
The rate of Black Sea Tour is 4975 Euro per person based on 2 people including;
- 13 Nights’ accommodation (in boutique style hotels) including breakfast,
- 4 airport transfers in Cappadocia and Istanbul as specified in the itinerary
- Transportation with air-conditioned VIP Vehicle
- Private Licensed, professional English-speaking guide (Your private guide and driver will be with you from Istanbul to Cappadocia as specified in the itinerary)
- Meals as specified in the itinerary without drinks
- All entrance fee for museums and other historical sites we will visit
- All the transportation fees such as highway fees and parking
- All the expenses of guide & driver such as meals and accommodations,
- All the taxes
- 1 domestic flight (from Cappadocia to Istanbul)
What is excluded in rate above
- International flight tickets
- Hot Air Balloon Flight in Cappadocia
- Meals not specified in the itinerary and drinks,
- Tips (not compulsory but customary for guide and driver)
- Personal expenses and other services that are not mentioned above.