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Turkey Highlights

Turkey Highlights

7 days & 6 nights, Private Journey

Istanbul & Izmir

A country of almost unparalleled diversity, Turkey is the epitome of that overused phrase ‘east-meets-west’. Literally straddling the two continents of Europe and Asia, its turbulent and fascinating history unfolded as a succession of powerful empires sought control. Today, its rich past provides the bedrock of the country’s new dynamic contemporary focus. This exclusive private Cox & Kings journey begins in Istanbul, capital to four great civilizations offering everything from exquisite Ottoman palaces to spectacular churches and mosques. With Cox & Kings, venture deep beneath the city to the astonishing Basilica Cistern – a vast water system dating back to 452AD, and sample delicious street food in the local Pera district as a local would. Then fly to Izmir, the ancient Smyrna, in the western extremity of Anatolia, your gateway to Ephesus. Once a flourishing Greco-Roman metropolis, Ephesus was where the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was completed around 550BC. Back in Istanbul, celebrate the conclusion of your Turkish sojourn with a private cooking class and dinner hosted by a renowned local gourmet chef.

  • Day 1
    Arrive Istanbul, Turkey

    Welcome to Turkey and Istanbul! Meet your local Cox & Kings Representative at the airport for your transfer to the hotel. Your drive will take you along the shores of the Bosporus affording splendid vistas of the city’s Asian part on one side, and the ancient walls of the city on the other side. The hotel is located in the dynamic heart of Istanbul, in the lively Beyoglu, also known as Pera, district, with a variety of cafés and restaurants in the immediate vicinity. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

    Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah - 2 Nights
  • Day 2
    Istanbul

    This morning, after breakfast, join our local Cox & Kings expert historian for a comprehensive exploration of the Old Town. Your visit begins at the site of the Augusteion, the most important square in the city in ancient times. Tour the Basilica Cistern, largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city. The emblematic Hagia Sophia, the Hippodrome and the Palace of Ibrahim Pasa provide for amazing impressions and photo opportunities. Continue your sightseeing program at the city walls and Chora Church, the most beautiful surviving examples of a Byzantine church. The Golden Horn area with its magnificent 17th century Aynalikavak Palace. Transfer back to your hotel and enjoy some down time before this evening’s guided stroll in the vibrant Pera district around Istiklal Avenue. Turning any corner may reveal a surprise view of the Golden Horn, and the scent of freshly prepared food lingers in the air; here is your opportunity to sample delicious Mediterranean and Turkish dishes at local stalls and restaurants.

    Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah (B)
  • Day 3
    To Izmir

    Wake up to a sumptuous breakfast in Istanbul, with renewed energy to visit Topkapi Palace, started by Mehmet the Conquerer, and primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for over 400 years. This opulent palace complex is the subject of more colorful stories than most of the world’s royal residences put together. Your local Cox & Kings guide will regale you with tales of mad prisoners, malevolent concubines and magnificent Sultans. Your guide will offer great restaurant recommendations for lunch. After lunch, transfer to Istanbul airport for a short flight to Izmir, in the western part of Anatolia. Check-in to the Renaissance Izmir Hotel, located in the heart of the city’s commercial district, steps from the water front, the Kordon Promenade. Onto your next adventure: an orientation tour where you will admire the ancient Agora and the colorful markets, before stopping for tea or coffee at a Caravanseray, where a tasseographer reads your future from the patterns of coffee grounds and tea leaves. The evening is yours to stroll along the sweeping seaside promenade known as Kordon, and indulge in local fish and seafood – the kind that put Izmir on the culinary map of Turkey.

    Renaissance Izmir Hotel - 2 Nights (B)
  • Day 4
    Izmir

    Make the Greco-Roman world come alive today with a full day excursion to the archeological area of Ephesus. At its peak during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, the capital of Asia Minor once boasted a population of more than 250,000, second in importance and size only to Rome. Walk along the Royal Road, a 4th-century white marble chariot thoroughfare, whose most striking sight is the two-story Library of Celsus. Uniquely beautiful, with its restored facade, now the famed symbol of Ephesus, the library once housed 12,000 scrolls of papyrus manuscripts, making it the second largest in the ancient world after the library in Alexandria. As you continue, your private Cox & Kings historian illuminates the history behind some of the ancient city’s major buildings, including the Ephesus Theater and the Terrace Houses, which are currently still undergoing excavation. Return to the hotel at the end of the day and enjoy the evening at leisure.

    Renaissance Izmir Hotel (B)
  • Day 5
    To Istanbul

    Depart Izmir via a domestic flight returning you to Istanbul this morning. Meet your local Cox & Kings Representative and transfer you to your hotel: the Park Hyatt Istanbul, luxurious boutique hotel offering genuine service and authentic hospitality in historic Istanbul. After check-in, more fascinating sights await you including Dolmabahce Palace, a blend of various European architectural styles built between 1843 and 1856 by Karabet Balyan, the court architect of Sultan Abdulmecid, on the shores of the Bosporus. Then cruise the aforementioned body of water separating Europe and Asia by private boat – the best way to enjoy the breathtaking skyline of Istanbul in the light of the setting sun.

    Park Hyatt Istanbul - 2 Nights (B)
  • Day 6
    Istanbul

    Step aboard your private Cox & Kings town car, and let your driver and local guide whisk you away to an exciting and exotic world of Mosques and Bazaars. Begin the day with an in-depth visit to the Ottoman imperial Süleymaniye Mosque complex, the city’s largest and one of its best-known sights. Stop for Boza, a popular malt drink made from fermented wheat, then continue to Sokollu Mehmet Pasa Mosque built 450 years ago on the side of a steep hill. Later, begin explorations of the markets at the Spice Bazaar, and learn about the secrets of good coffee from a local roaster. This afternoon the Grand Bazaar, with its 61 streets and over 3,000 shops one of the most immense covered markets in the world, beckons you to put your bargaining skills to the test. Celebrate the conclusion of your Turkish sojourn with a private cooking class and dinner hosted by a renowned local gourmet chef including shopping for ingredients at the local market – a T + L Special!

    Park Hyatt Istanbul (B)
  • Day 7
    Depart Istanbul

    After breakfast, our private driver will transfer you to the airport for your onward flight with memories to last.

    (B)
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Turkey Highlights