Turkey - Beyond the Black Sea

Turkey - Beyond the Black Sea

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 15 days
Type: PrivateExclusive departures for you, your friends and family


Day 1 - Ankara
Arrive in Ankara. The rest of the time is free for you to relax or explore Turkey’s capital. Overnight Elit Palas Hotel or similar.

Day 2 – Hattusas - Amasya
This morning we visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations before driving to Hattusas, the ancient capital of the Hittites dating back more than three thousand years. We explore the extensive ruins as well as the nearby temple of Yazilikaya with its superb reliefs, before driving on to Amasya to spend the night. Overnight Sehzade Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 3 - Trabzon
A free morning in the charming town of Amasya gives us time to wander through its streets and perhaps visits its rock cut tombs or delightful old Ottoman houses. We then drive to Trabzon on the Black Sea coast. Overnight Sehzade Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 4 – Sumela Monastery
Visit the stunningly picturesque Sumela Monastery, situated 300 metres up a rock face and with a variety of frescoes. This afternoon we travel back to Trabzon and visit the Byzantine church of Aya Sofya. Overnight Horon Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 5 - Karakoy
Travel along the Black Sea coast to the village of Karakoy, where we will stay for two nights as guests of a local family. This offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience rural Turkish life, and gives us superb insights into the daily lives of the people who live here. The people here are very welcoming and we can expect to be invited into people’s homes to share tea, and maybe something stronger, with them! We also get to taste the authentic home cooked food of this region. Our stay in this community is one of the highlights of this tour. (BLD)

Day 6 – Karakoy
We explore the village and surrounding area on walks, meeting local people as we go who are generally as curious about as us we are about them. Karakoy is situated amidst stunning scenery on the slopes of Mt Sahra and is surrounded by forests rich in wildlife including mountain goats and bears. The energetic can walk to the top of the mountain, but there are also a number of far easier and very pleasant walks to be made, and nearby are some pretty Georgian churches. (BLD)

Day 7 – Kars – Ani
We leave our hosts behind and head to Kars, our base for exploring the ancient Armenian capital of Ani. Right on the border with Armenia, Ani holds some excellent examples of 10th century architecture and a superb collection of churches, cathedrals and palaces. Overnight Simer Hotel or similar (BL)

Day 8 – Mt Ararat – Ishak Pasa - Van
Visit Mt Ararat, supposedly the resting place for Noah’s Ark after the Biblical flood. We then head to the stunning Ishak Pasa Palace, sitting atop a plateau and with a wide variety of architectural styles that combine to produce one of Turkey’s most splendid monuments. Later we head to Van to spend the night. Overnight Buyuk Asur Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 9 – Akdamar Island – Tatvan
An excursion by boat to Akdamar Island on Lake Van to visit the Church of the Holy Cross. Continue to Tatvan, a small town on the shores of Lake Van. Overnight Kardelen Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 10 – Hasankeyf - Mardin
Drive to Mardin via the medieval ruins at Hasankeyf. The ruins are evidence of a number of past civilisations basing themselves here, including Selcuks, Arabs and Turkmens. On arrival in Mardin we take a tour around the old part of the city to admire its citadel, Arab architecture and mosques. Overnight Artuklu Kervansaray or similar. (BLD)

Day 11 – Mt Nemrut
We drive to Kahta, and from there up Mt Nemrut to see the astonishing collection of stone heads dotted about its slopes, dating back to the 1st century BC. Overnight Zeus Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 12 – Harran - Urfa
After a free morning in Mardin we drive to Urfa, the city of the prophets. En route we stop at the unusual beehive style houses of Harran, home to ethnic Arabs and Kurds and one of eastern Turkey’s more remarkable sights. We also visit the Neolithic site of Gobekli Tepe, an impressive set of ruins dating back more than 10,000 years containing carved reliefs of animals. Overnight Manici Konagi or similar. (BL)

Day 13 – Gaziantep - Antakya
We visit the Roman mosaics of Zeugma in Gaziantep before heading to Antakya, one of the first Christian communities of the world. Here we visit the cave church of St Peter, dating back to the 1st century, and explore old Antakya. Overnight Orontes Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 14 – Ankara
Fly to Ankara where the rest of the day is free to explore the Turkish capital, or simply relax and reflect on our adventure. Overnight Elit Palas Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 15 – Ankara
Tour ends. (B)