Itinerary Highlights
  • Enjoy the freedom of a hire car to visit the finest locations in Western Turkey, from Topkapi to the Aegean
  • Experience ancient sites and pamper yourself under mulberry trees, with 'hammams' (steam rooms) and natural pools
  • Private tour of the neighbourhood of Sultanahmet and its historic sites including Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque as well as a trip to Ephesus... it's all in the itinerary
  • Hire care, our smartphone app and our local Concierge service: all reasons to travel with us

Contact one of our Turkey specialists + 44 (0) 20 3958 6120

From the Golden Horn to the Aegean

Soak up the eloquent clarity of the symbol of Hagia Sophia.. But elsewhere too, it's possible to see how much Greco-Roman civilisations have left their mark: Galien, the father of medicine, was born in Pergamon; philosopher Heraclitus in Ephesus and historian Herodotus in Halicarnassus… Medicine, philosophy and the history. A true triptych of knowledge. Today, this translates into some of the best archaeological sites on Earth. The country has also played a crucial role in Christianity: the House of the Virgin Mary in Ephesus, the tomb of the Apostle St. Philip in Hierapolis, the Councils of Nicea/Iznik and Constantinople… In short, in one form or another, our present day owes much to what took shape here.
Along the way, find out how Ottoman Turkey also contributed to modern civilisation. Marvel at Bursa, one of the western termini on the Silk Road. The surrounding area is filled with wheat fields, citrus orchards, olive groves, rose gardens; on the coast, find quaint fishing harbours serving delicious grilled fish. Turkey's culinary passion means that from the wood-charcoal kebab stand by the roadside to the great Istanbul restaurants, meals are always finely balanced. All this culture... But what about nature? Marvel at the natural thermal pools of Pamukkale and the majesty of the Mediterranean around the Bodrum peninsula. In ten days, experience thousands of years of history and just as much joy, from the enchantments of Istanbul to the palm trees of the Gulf of Kos.

Your trip

The open road awaits. Turkish roads are not difficult for a capable driver. If you need help along the way or have a last-minute request (the regions visited can inspire this kind of reaction), you can contact our local Concierge: they are on hand to find the perfect solution. In Istanbul, your hotel has a stylish western Belle Epoque vibe, which is nevertheless still Turkish, beautifully combined with Ottoman and Greek traditions. Modern comfort and authentic old-time Turkey blend harmoniously in Bursa, Pergamon and Sirince. In Pamukkale and Bodrum, two contemporary and functional establishments offer a spa and coastal feel, but this doesn't mean that they are cold and impersonal. In any case, if you bring the whole family or come as a couple, you'll receive a friendly welcome and be well-looked after by professional and attentive staff. A tour of Istanbul's historical districts of Sultanahmet and a day at Ephesus, one of the largest Roman archaeological sites in the eastern Mediterranean, both with a private guide, are already included in your itinerary. This allows you to get the most out of your visits. If you would like a fascinating introduction to the art of paper marbling or a sailing adventure in Bodrum Bay, just let us know.

Route

Everything is 100% tailored to you
DAY 1

Flight to Istanbul

Transfer and three-night stay on the European side. Originally, this was the imperial bank and it still has that proud aristocratic feel. The interior design is based on a careful blend of contemporary classicism and Belle Epoque motifs. The spacious and comfortable rooms boast green marble bathrooms. And, the ultimate sign of impeccable service and a good night's sleep: goose feather pillows. The spa has inherited a rich tradition of looking after the body and soul; relax in the 'hammam' (steam room) or opt for the dry heat of the sauna. Alternatively, if you're feeling energetic, get your heart pumping in the gym. In the kitchen, the team can switch effortlessly between elegant Turkish cuisine to delicious international dishes. Contemporary canvas works of art from the hotel's private collection adorn the dining room and communal areas.

DAY 2

Istanbul

Karakoy (the modern name for ancient Galata) has taken on a new lease of life, and hotels like yours are significantly contributing to this transformation, supporting the many galleries that have been here for a number of years, north of the Golden Horn. The modern side of Istanbul, which does not initially spring to mind, shows you just how dynamic and relevant the city still is. The SantralIstanbul cultural complex in the Eyup district is a brilliant example of this diversity. Then, there's still the pleasure of crossing the Bosphorus by boat to reach the Asian side of the city. Many locals make the crossing daily. Sail along the fascinating shores, admiring the magnificent 'yalis', waterfront holiday homes, alongside many traditional wooden houses. Explore the bazaars where the range of weird and wonderful goods is wider than you could ever imagine; the same goes for the city's countless restaurants.

DAY 3

Istanbul

Already included in the itinerary - Sultanahmet, open-air museum. Sultanahmet is an important neighbourhood and home to key historical sites, including Hagia Sophia, Sultan Ahmed Mosque (popularly known as the Blue Mosque) and Topkapi Palace Museum. Alongside these iconic monuments, the Hippodrome of Constantinople, built in the early third century, and the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world and founded in the 15th century, are also worth visiting. Discover the magical Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman heritages with a private guide. It also makes you aware of the context, alongside these famous buildings, and how they are still linked to the everyday life of the people of Istanbul. While the eye is amazed by the aesthetic, sacred and historic dimension of these exceptional monuments, the streets, shops, inns and gardens offer a never-ending stream of awesome smells, sounds and sensations. Over the course of the day, Istanbul will steal your heart.

DAY 4

Istanbul - Bursa

Pick up your hire car and drive to Bursa. Overnight stay in the ramparts of the Old Town in a splendid Ottoman house. The interior design is exquisite, while the impeccable service is provided with great care and attention. The shaded garden overflowing with magnolia trees, Turkish bath and restaurant are all highlights of the stay. Soak up a simplicity that makes everything easy and natural.
Between Istanbul and Bursa, stop off at Iznik, famous for its pottery and tiles. This is also the ancient Greek city of Nicaea, an important place of Christianity and home to two important ecumenical councils: in 325 AD, against Arian teachings and in 787 AD to debate the reverence and veneration of icons. Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman State, played an important role in the silk trade (check out the historical 15th century Koza Han silk bazaar). The Muradiye-Hudavendigar mosque complex (1366) houses noble tombs, while the Green Mosque (1424) is an example of a local style. Bursa is also the birthplace of the iconic doner kebab (meat cooked on a vertical pin).

DAY 5

Bursa - Pergamon

Drive to Pergamon. Overnight stay in a historic, noble mansion, tastefully restored to its Greek origins. The rooms are comfortable and cosy. The terrace of the hotel overlooks the Temple of Demeter (Goddess of the harvest) on one side and the Red Basilica, former temple of Serapis (Egyptian God from the Hellenistic period) on the other side. In the stone cellar, indulge in some Turkish wines.
Pergamon was the head of a powerful kingdom and a great centre of Hellenistic culture (it had a famous library); it reached its peak in the second century BC but held its rank under Roman administration; in the Book of Revelations, Saint John praised the perseverance of the church, but questioned its doctrine. Visit the Acropolis of Pergamon and the Sanctuary of Asclepius, healing temples dedicated to the god of medicine. The famous doctor Galien was born in Pergamon in 216 and received his first philosophical and medical training here.

DAY 6

Pergamon - Sirince/Ephesus

Drive to Sirince. Two-night stay in the historic district. This quaint, traditional hotel is full of character, with white stone walls and carved woodwork. The interior layout, with its benches along the walls, carpets and antique furniture, evokes romantic Turkey exotically combined with Chinese lanterns galore. The bathroom also reflects the taste and refinement of the bedroom. The overall feel is very cosy. On sunny days, delicious breakfasts are served in the little garden; fresh and tasty produce is a brilliant way to start the day. The village of Sirince is home to beautiful 19th-century architecture. The stone and wood houses have large windows to enjoy the surrounding views. Pine trees and pretty gardens provide intimacy. Leave your map behind and just follow your senses to wander around the streets.

DAY 7

Sirince

Already included in the itinerary - Spend a day exploring Ephesus with a private guide. The archaeological site of Ephesus is located about six miles from Sirince. It was founded in the tenth century BC and was undoubtedly one of the jewels of Greek civilisation in Asia Minor. It's a definite must-see. It belonged to Croesus, the wealthy king of Lydia, who erected the temple of Artemis there in 560 BC. The Temple of Artemis was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, before becoming a UNESCO Word Heritage Site. Later, Saint John is said to have brought Mary of Nazareth to Ephesus. The House of the Virgin Mary is a respected place of pilgrimage. It's a city splendid enough to make you yearn to be Greek, just as much as if you were in Athens.

DAY 8

Sirince - Pamukkale

Drive to Pamukkale. Overnight stay in a modern hotel, just two miles from the natural and ancient wonder of Hierapolis. The services here are up to the highest international standards. The luxurious spa is the hub of the establishment, as Turkish tradition dictates. The naturally mineralised waters used here have a somewhat universal beneficial influence and have a rejuvenating effect on body and mind.
The Pamukkale tuff (rock formed from volcanic ash) is one of the most beautiful in the world. Pristine limestone deposits amid a wonderland of mineral water pools and petrified limestone waterfalls make up a singular landscape that the light bathes in ever-changing shades. The ancient thermal spa of Hierapolis, founded in the second century BC, covers the hill. The thermal baths are now home to an archaeological museum; a Roman swimming pool, called Cleopatra, is still open to bathers. The second century theatre is beautifully preserved. The extraordinary octagonal Martyrium (fifth century) is built on the site where it's believed that St Philip the Apostle was martyred and buried. Engineering enthusiasts will notice the oldest known representation of a connecting rod/crank system on the sarcophagus of Marcus Aurelius Ammianos (third century) - used in saw mills.

DAY 9

Pamukkale - Bodrum

Drive to Bodrum. Two-night stay in a location overlooking the town. The rooftop restaurant's terrace overlooks the sea and promises diners a colourful experience. Relax by the swimming pool and in the jacuzzi or enjoy some quiet time in your room, soaking up its blend of tradition and modernity. Enchanting, exotic flowers are everywhere – in the garden, on the terrace and on the balconies – making the hotel a genuine delight for all the senses.

DAY 10

Bodrum

In Bodrum/Halicarnassus, visit St Peter's Castle (15th century), built by the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (tomb for Mausolus, a satrap - governor - of the Achaemenid Empire in the fourth century BC); stone from the latter was used to build the former. The castle's fascinating Museum of Underwater Archaeology is definitely worth a visit, while Bodrum Amphitheatre, built sometime during the Hellenistic age, offers wonderful views of the city. Also explore the hinterland, olive groves, mandarin orchards, picturesque villages dotted with windmills and the coastal towns of Turgutreis and Turkbuku in the stunning Turkish Riviera.

DAY 11

Bodrum - Return flight

Return your hire car to Bodrum airport. Return flight, via Istanbul.

A la carte

Paper marbling workshop - Istanbul

Ebru is the technique of transferring coloured patterns deposited to the surface of a dense liquid onto paper. The result, which is both flexible and precise, is used in binding in particular. UNESCO added the art of paper marbling to their list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Although it takes two years for craftsmen to acquire the basics, visitors can try it out, with expert instruction from a professional. At the very least, this lets artists and their works benefit from warranted admiration.
Option - Half day

Sail on a traditional caique fishing boat on Bodrum Bay

A day-trip on a wooden schooner, traditionally used for fishing and sailing along the coastline. The boat's shallow draught allows it to reach the smallest harbours on the coast, enter discreet coves and sail close to beautiful scenery. When passengers get the urge, they can take a refreshing dip in the crystal clear waters. Lunch is enjoyed on board, refreshments are served...
Optionl - Full day

A Rough Idea of Price

Dependent on season, accommodation and activities
September to April. The estimated cost for this trip is £2,300 to £2,900 per person. and the final cost of the trip depends on the way we tailor it especially for you. The final cost will vary according to several factors, including the level of service, length of trip and advance booking time. The exact price will be shown on your personalised quote. The average price for this trip is £2400 per person.
  • Outbound flight to Istanbul and return flight from Bodrum with a scheduled airline
  • Airline taxes and fuel surcharge
  • Airport/hotel private transfer on arrival
  • Car hire for eight days
  • Our app, l
  • A few of the benefits of travelling with us
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    Contact one of our Turkey specialists