Garden & Culture Tour; autumn Season

Tour Code : NAW 05

Highlights
–    Hagia Sophia, Blue mosque & Topkapi palace
–    Bosphorus tour by boat & botanical garden visit
–    Lake Avlan & Alacadag; mosaic of vegetation
–    Kemer (Valley) & Beycik Koyu
–    Ancient Phaselis; Myra & Aspendos
–    Termessos & Guver canyon / Akseki road & Ibradi village
NAW 05 - PRIN

Best Season   
Jan / Feb / Mar / Apr / May / Jun / Jul / Aug / Sep / Oct / Nov / Dec

 

Duration of the Trip
10 Days / 9 Nights

 

Difficulty Level
= A (Easy)

 

Accommodation
Hotel    :    9 Nights

Day 1 : Istanbul

Meet at the Istanbul Ataturk Int. Airport with Demavend Travels representative and drive to the Hotel, located in the historical centre of Istanbul, known as Sultanahmet.
Transfer time: 30 min.; transfer distance: 18 km; (Istanbul Ataturk Int. Airport – Hotel)
ON: in Istanbul at the Hotel
Meals: – / – / – 

Day 2 : Istanbul sightseeing; Hagia Sophia, Blue mosque & Topkapi palace

Istanbul, formerly known as Constantinople, was the hub of the Ottoman Empire, and many of the grand buildings of this period are present today. You could easily spend a week in this city and still not have seen all the sites. Today we will explore the old Sultanahmet Area. We visit the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) was built between 1609 and 1616. The design of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is the culmination of two centuries of both Ottoman mosque and Byzantine church development. It incorporates some Byzantine elements of the neighbouring Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic architecture and is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period. The Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum. From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as the cathedral of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral. The building was a mosque from 1453 until 1931, when it was secularized. It was opened as a museum on February 1935. The Topkapi Palace was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years of their 624 year reign. As well as a royal residence, the palace was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments. It is now a major tourist attraction and contains important holy relics of the Muslim world, including Muhammad’s cloak and sword. The Topkapi Palace is among the monuments contained within the “Historic Areas of Istanbul”, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
ON: in Istanbul at the Hotel
Meals: B / – / –

Day 3 : Istanbul Bosphorus tour by boat & Sightseeing Hippodrome square; Basilica cistern & Grand Bazaar

After breakfast we continue our fascinating Tour through Istanbul, we take time to explore the city with a Boat Tour on the Bosphorus, explore Hippodrome square; visit the Basilica Cistern and the Grand (Covered) Bazaar.
Bosphorus tour by Boat (Public Tour / approximately 3 h): Exploring Istanbul by boat, known as Bosphorus tour and right through the heart of Istanbul. The Bosphorus is a 32 km (20-mile) long strait which joins the Sea of Marmara with the Black Sea in Istanbul and separates the continents of Europe and Asia. The Bosphorus, also known as the Istanbul Strait, as part of the only passage between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, has always been of great commercial and strategic importance. The most impressive sights along the shores of the Bosphorus are the Topkapi Palace, the Bosphorus Maiden’s Tower (Kız Kulesi) and Dolmabahce Palace, several Ottoman palaces, fortresses, forested hills and shore villages with Ottoman architecture.
The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a circus that was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. Today it is a square named Sultanahmet Meydani (Sultan Ahmet Square) and largely follows the ground plan and dimensions of the now vanished Hippodrome. The surviving monuments of the Spina (the middle barrier of the racecourse), the two obelisks (Obelisk of Thutmose III & Walled Obelisk) and the Serpentine Column, now sit in holes in a landscaped garden. The Basilica Cistern is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. Ancient texts indicated that the basilica contained gardens, surrounded by a colonnade and facing the Hagia Sophia, Historical texts claim that 7,000 slaves were involved in the construction of the cistern. The Grand Bazaar (Covered Bazaar/Kapali Carsi) in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.
ON: in Istanbul at the Hotel
Meals: B / – / –

Day 4 : Visit Istanbul botanical Garden & famous fish market

After breakfast we take time to visit Istanbul Botanical Garden, one of the oldest and biggest of its kind in Turkey. At the Botanic Garden there are growing around 400 trees and bushes and around 3,500 different kinds of plants and herbs, with approximately 2,500 plants growing in greenhouses. In the morning or in the afternoon (depending on the Schedule & visit of one of the Botanic Gardens) we take time to visit Istanbul Fish Market; a gleaming and wondrous arras of fish can be found at the Balik Pazari (Fish Bazaar), most fish restaurants in Istanbul purchase their fish here. Nowhere in Turkey can compete with the rich variety of edible water-bound that abound here. You will find octopus from Bodrum, calamari from Antalya, shrimp from Canakkale, grouper from Saroz Bay and delectable fresh “fruits of the sea.” The Fish Bazaar also houses the most important fruit and vegetable market in Istanbul, with the freshest and widest variety of produce available. But the Bazaar offers more than fresh fish and produce, with its brilliant sense of display and lively atmosphere; it is a fascinating place to explore.
ON: in Istanbul at the Hotel
Meals: B / – / –

Day 5 : Fly to Dalaman & continue to Kas; Ucagiz/Kekova tour by boat Simena castle & Sunken city

After breakfast we drive to Istanbul Ataturk Int. airport and fly to Dalaman and continue from there to Kas; a small fishing, yachting and tourist town. Kas was founded by the Lycians and its name was Habesos or Habesa. It was a member of the Lycian League and its importance during this time is confirmed by the presence of one of the richest Lycian necropolis. Kas itself is a quiet pleasant town with its blue sea and narrow streets scented with jasmine flowers. There are plenty of little quiet cafes to relax. In the early afternoon we arrive in Ucagiz/Kekova area, a great place for the coastal scenery as well as for the archaeological sites well preserved because they are not easily accessible. A pleasant excursion by boat is the best way to see the ruins on the northern coast of Kekova island, some of the old houses were completely submerged due to earthquakes during the Byzantine period. By boat, we go round the island, where you can see remains down to 2 meters deep, in the bluish light on the seabed. We walk up to the Simena castle rewarding us with a view all around, and on numerous rock tombs. You will fully appreciate this day with a stroll on the Tersane Island.
Transfer time: 3 h; transfer distance: 160 km (Dalaman airport – Kas) 
Transfer time: 30/45 min; transfer distance: 35 km (Kas – Ucagiz/Kekova one way)
ON: in Kas at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 6 : Kas to Lake Avlan; Alacadag & ancient Myra

Today we drive to the north to Lake Avlan area, with a lovely mosaic of vegetation; a back road takes us up to the Sinekcibeli Pass where the cedar and juniper clad mountains below the region’s highest peak, the Kizlar Sivrisi, hold Colchicums and Crocuses. The gorgeous purple-centred ivory goblets of rare Crocus mathewi take centre stage here along with the fabulous golden goblets of Sternbergia clusiana. Across the valley Baba Mountain rises, though not the highest mountain in the region, it is particularly impressive as on its western side it drops almost vertically into the sea. It has a most marvellous flora too with abundant Colchicum boissieri and Crocus pallasii. Another tract of cedars has good numbers of Colchicum boissieri and Crocus cancellatus subsp. lycius and these fine forests stay with us for much of the day as we drive a circuit around the Bey Daglari, passing Avlan Lake and then through stands of ancient junipers where Crocus pallasii subsp. pallasii are scattered and onto walnut grove with many big glowing yellow goblets of Sternbergia clusiana. High on the slopes of Alacadag grow two little real gems.  Nestled in the strawberry trees below is the unusual Biarum marmarisensis whilst at the top among magnificent cedars is the gorgeous purple-centred Crocus mathewi.  All around are the glowing colors of autumn and expansive views of the Mediterranean below. In the late afternoon we return to Kas, on our way take time to visit ancient city of Myra; according to Strabo one of the largest towns of the Lycian alliance; the ancient city consist an impressive necropolis including tombs of rulers and family members and a large Roman amphitheatre. We spend the Night in Kas at the Hotel.
Transfer time: 3 h; transfer distance: 230 km (Kas – Lake Avlan, Alacadag & Myra)
ON: in Kas at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 7 : Kas to Antalya via Kemer Valley & Beycik Koyu (Kumluca) and Phaselis

After breakfast we leave Kas and drive to Antalya, on our way we will take time to visit Kemer Valley, Beycik Koyu and ancient ruins of Phaselis, Kemer (Valley) and Beycik Koyu have the typical Mediterranean hot, dry weather and warm sea. One of the major attractions is its natural beauty of the area; sea, mountains and pine forest combine in harmony. In the area of Kemer Valley and Beycik Koyu it is possible to see widespread Crocus cancellatus amidst a variety of ferns and late blooming Silenes and Dianthus, bright pink star-like flowers of Colchicum stevenii and in old olive groves the spiralled white flowers of Autumn Ladies Tresses. Some lovely bulbs with an area of giant plane trees harbouring Galanthus peshmenii and the limestone rocks lower down the narrow endemic Crocus wattiroum. Old graveyards are full of Colchicum decaisnei and in the cedar forest you can find Colchicum sanguicolle and on roadside slopes strong-smelling Biarum pyrami. Phaselis is an ancient Greek and Roman city with three harbours. Through the middle of the city runs a 24m wide ancient street. The ‘Hadrian Waterway Gate’ is on the southern part of the street with ruins of shops and stores on the sides and near these are ruins of public places such as Roman baths, agora and theatres. The ancient site of Phaselis is also an excellent place for Cyclamen graecum subsp. anatolicum with some substantial populations under the pines. In the late afternoon we arrive in Antalya where we spend the Night in the old city centre, known as Kaleici.
Transfer time: 3 h; transfer distance: 210 km (Kas – Antalya via Kemer Valley, Beycik Koyu & Phaselis)
ON: in Antalya at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 8 : explore Antalya’s old city centre, Kaleici & visit Antalya Museum; ancient Termessos & the Guver Canyon

In the morning we will have time to explore the old city centre, known as Kaleici with its narrow cobbled streets of historic Ottoman era houses; with streets and buildings still bear the marks of Antalya’s history. The old city centre has been restored to retain much of its historical character; in and around the Kaleici area you can find traces of Lycian, Pamphylian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Seljuk architecture and cultures, most famous the Hadrian’s Gate, the Clock Tower, Yivli Minare and Hidirlik Tower. We also take time to visit Antalya Museum; established in I922; covers an area of 30 000 square meters with 13 exhibition galleries: Galleries of the Prehistory, Potterys, finds from the region excavations done by the museum and Universities, Gods statues, Mosaics, Icons, statues of Perge Theatre, Sarcophagi, Coins and Jewellery , Ethnographical Collections. In the afternoon we drive to the ancient site of Termessos and take time to explore the region around Guver Canyon. Termessos was an ancient fortified Pisidian city rising 1.050m above the sea level. The most significant remains of the site are the city walls, Towers, the King’s Road, Hadrian’s Gate, Gymnasium and Agora, the Theatre with spectacular views and richly decorated Tombs and cisterns. As a national park Termessos has the added bonus of full protection from the ravages of goats and the limestone hillsides have some of the least spoilt and most diverse flora in south-western Turkey; nestled among the spectacularly positioned theatre are many pretty Colchicum baytopiorum and a scattering of Crocus cancellatus subsp. lycius. Via Termessos we drive to Guver Canyon area; where the flora includes a composition of shrubs, oaks and juniper, as well the fabulous Colchicum variegatum and delicate Cyclamen mirabile, which has a small population here. In the late afternoon we return to Antalya where we spend the Night.
Transfer time: 30/45 min.; transfer distance: 35 km (Antalya Hotel – Termessos & Guver Canyon / one way) 
ON: in Antalya at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 9 : Antalya to ancient Aspendos & Akseki Road / Ibradi village

Today we drive to the area around Akseki; on the way we take time to visit ancient Aspendos. Aspendos was an ancient city in Pamphylia; according to later tradition the city was founded around 1000 B.C. by Greeks who may have come from Argos. Aspendos is known for having the best-preserved theatre of antiquity; with a diameter of 96 metres, the theatre provided seating for 7,000. Nearby stand the remains of a basilica, agora, nymphaeum (a monument) and 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) of a Roman aqueduct. Akseki, with its well-preserved natural and traditional setting, was known as Marla in the past and lies to the east of the Manavgat River. The Akseki Road and Ibradi village areas are a rich hunting ground for naturalists; in early summer the orchids and the birdlife are exceptional whilst in autumn this is great crocus country. It will be possible to see Crocus cancellatus, in its light blue pamphyllicus form and the lovely purple-red dispathaceus form of Crocus pallasii, Tall Crocus speciosus and ghostly Crocus assumaniae, as well extremely strange purplish-red Biarum pyrami and Cyclamen cilicicum amongst the orange and red autumn shrubs that sprout from the raw limestone landscape. We will visit one of the most bulb-rich areas with populations of the endemic Crocus asumaniae, Cyclamen cilicicum, Crocus cancellatus subsp. pamphylicus and further north grassy uplands with Crocus pallasii subsp. dispathaceus and the gorgeous bluish Crocus speciosus. In the late afternoon we return to Antalya where we spend the Night at the Hotel.
Transfer time: 2 h; transfer distance: 145 km (Antalya Hotel – Akseki Road / one way) 
ON: in Antalya at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 10 : Antalya – Home

Transfer to Antalya airport where the Trip concludes.
Transfer time: 20 min.; transfer distance: 15 km (Antalya Kaleici – Antalya airport)
Meals: B / – / –

ON = Overnight accommodation / B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner

Price Includes
–    All transfers and transportations with private vehicles to the places mentioned in the Itinerary
      Day 1: One (one way) arrival transfer from/to Istanbul Ataturk Int. airport/Hotel in Sultanahmet
      Transfers in Istanbul valid for Istanbul Ataturk Int. airport only/Extra transfer cost will be charged for each transfer
      Day 10: One (one way) departure transfer from/to Hotel/Antalya airport
–    Demavend Travel English speaking Tour Leader
–    Hotel accommodations, rooms on double/twin share base;
      Bed & Breakfast (BB) and Half Board (HB) service: Important; HB Dinner Service available until 20:30/21:00 h
–    9 x Breakfast, 5 x Lunch (Lunch packages & Restaurants where available), 5 x Dinner
–    Day 3: Bosphorus tour by Boat (Public Tour/approximately 3 h)
–    Day 4: visit of Istanbul botanical Garden
–    Day 5: Ucagiz/Kekova Tour by Boat Simena Castle & Sunken (approximately 3 h / with Lunch on Board)

 

Price Excludes
–    All International and Domestic Flights
–    Travel insurance
–    Extra Transports and transfers other than stated in the Itinerary
–    All kind of Soft and Alcoholic drinks, Bottled Water, Tea & Coffee
–    Meals other than stated in the Itinerary
–    All kind of personal expenses
–    All kind of Entrance fees for historical and natural sites
–    All kind of optional activities
–    Extra Nights
–    Single supplements
–    Personal Equipment
–    Tips