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Istanbul to Chania
18 days
From $8,195
Tour code: PEGGC

Highlights

  • Delve into one the greatest cities on earth as you explore the back streets and alleys of Old Istanbul then spend the night in the classic Legacy Ottoman hotel;  designed in 1911 styled as first Turkish national architecture, also called Ottoman Revivalism (your feature stay hotel in Turkey)
  • Visit two of the Ancient Wonders of the World; the last column of the Temple of Artemis and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
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  • Explore Turkeys most elegant beachside resort town; Bodrum with its white plastered walls and stylish café culture it is the place to see and be seen.
  • Step back in time at Ephesus, where the Greco-Roman world still feels very much alive. This is one of the best preserved classical cities in all of Europe and yet to be completely excavated
  • Wander through the valleys of the surreal landscape of Cappadocia and visit an underground city 
  • Step back in time as you explore Vamos, a 12th-century hill village steeped in tradition and medieval history
  • Enjoy a sunset picnic overlooking the caldera away from the crowds. Indulge in local cheese, ham and bread, all complimented by a local grape variety and a world-class view.
  • Take part in an Athenian feast in the pulsing Psiri neighbourhood in Greece's capital.
  • Enjoy three nights of excellent Cretan hospitality at the Halepa Hotel in Chania. This gorgeous neoclassical building was used as the British Embassy in the 1800s
  • Take guided hikes through some of Greece most staggering landscapes, such as Santorini's famed caldera
  • Stopover at a local tavern in the village of Vamos and enjoy a typical Greek moment with meze, a meal shared around the table, done for centuries by the locals. Clink glasses with the locals and wash it all down with the traditional local white spirit raki.

Combine the cosmopolitan city of Istanbul, classic cities of antiquity and the surreal landscapes of Cappadocia with an island hopping adventure across the Greek Aegean Sea. This is a wonderful Mediterranean mix of antiquity, culture and some of the best cuisine you’ve ever tasted!

What's included?

Meals

16 breakfasts, lunch, 3 dinners

Transport

Aircon bus , Boat , Ferry , Plane , Private vehicle and Overnight Train

Accommodation

Comfortable Hotel (14 nights), Feature Stay (4 nights)

Included activities

  • Istanbul - Blue Mosque
  • Istanbul - Grand Bazaar
  • Bodrum - Bodrum Castle
  • Bodrum - Gulet/Boat Excursion
  • Ephesus - archaeological site
  • Overnight Train - Backgammon Lessons (Peregrine Moment)
  • Konya - Mevlana Museum
  • Cappadocia - Valley Walk
  • Cappadocia - Kaymakli Underground City
  • Goreme - Carpet Demonstration
  • Cappadocia -Kaymakli Underground City
  • Cappadocia - Goreme - Open Air Museum
  • Complimentary Arrival Transfer
  • Cape Sounion & Temple of Poseidon
  • Delos Archaeological Site
  • Boat Tour to Delos Island
  • Santorini Sunset Picnic
  • Santorini Caldera Hike
  • Thira Prehistoric Museum
  • Vamos Village Excursion
  • Greek Meze Tasting
  • Guided Tour of Knossos Archaeological Site

Itinerary

Day 1
Istanbul
Welcome to Istanbul, the continent-straddling metropolis that the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans have all called home. Your welcome meeting will take place at 1 pm today, after which the group'll head out to explore the Old City of Istanbul, visiting the Blue Mosque, Hippodrome and Grand Bazaar. The rest of the afternoon and evening is free for you to explore and there are plenty of sights left to see, including the Archaeology Museum and Hagia Sophia.

Included activities:

  • Istanbul - Blue Mosque
  • Istanbul - Grand Bazaar

Optional activities:

  • Istanbul - Basilica Cistern ($20)
  • Istanbul - Archaeology Museum ($30)
  • Istanbul - Dolmabahce Palace (Excluding Harem) ($60)
  • Istanbul - Whirling Dervish show ($120)
  • Istanbul - Hagia Sophia ($60)
  • Istanbul - Chora Church ($45)
Day 2
Bodrum
Transfer to the airport after breakfast for a one-hour flight to Bodrum, a modern resort town that was once the ancient city of Halicarnassus. Here, along the southern end of Turkey's Aegean coast, lies the original Mauosoluem, which the group will visit during an afternoon walking tour of Saint Peter's Castle, the Underwater Archaeological Museum, the Ancient Theatre and Mindos Gate. Potentially finish up at Cevat Sakir Caddesi, a main thoroughfare surrounded by alleys and streets hosting the local fish markets and a  number of mayhanes (taverns), where you can select your own catch of the day and have it prepared for dinner. 

Included activities: Bodrum - Bodrum Castle

Optional activities:

  • Bodrum- Daily Cooking Class & Market Visit ($85)
  • Bodrum - Mausoleum at Halicarnassus ($12)

Meals: breakfast

Day 3
Bodrum
There's a reason Bodrum is considered a boating paradise. Spend a day sailing off the beautiful peninsula on a gulet, a traditional wooden sailing vessel originating in this area. Sit back on the deck and soak up some sun as the boat sails down the coast with stops to swim, snorkel and explore the shore, as well as a break at the small island of Kara Ada. Enjoy lunch on board and a relaxing afternoon before returning to the hotel in the evening.

Included activities: Bodrum - Gulet/Boat Excursion

Meals: breakfastlunch

Day 4
Selcuk
Drive to Selcuk (3 hours) this morning after breakfast. Check into the hotel then take a walk through this sprawling town lying at the base of the ancient fortress on Ayasoluk Hill. Visit the last remaining column of the Temple of Artemis and the 14th-century Isabey Mosque, then journey to gorgeous little village of Sirince, nestled in the hills outside Selcuk. This was a predominantly Greek village before WWI and the narrow streets host beautifully decorated houses, silversmiths, leather shops, jewellers and market stands. Enjoy a special Peregrine Moment and meet Pervin, from whom you'll learn the art of Manti (Turkish ravioli) whilst relaxing over a glass of the local fruit wine.

Meals: breakfastdinner

Day 5
Selcuk / Overnight Train
Wake up early this morning to beat the crowds and head to Ephesus, one of the best-preserved classical cities in the Eastern Med and arguably the greatest Greco-Roman site in the world. Tour around the amphitheatre, stroll the marble streets once walked by Cleopatra and Mark Antony, and marvel at the gymnasium, baths and beautifully restored Library of Celsus. Return to the hotel to relax before checking out and heading to the Ephesus Museum, then transfer to Izmir for an overnight train to Konya, in Central Anatolia. The train will arrive in Konya at 7.30 am, so enjoy the first-class sleeping compartments and included dinner in the restaurant car (with backgammon lessons courtesy of your Peregrine leader).  

Included activities:

  • Ephesus - archaeological site
  • Overnight Train - Backgammon Lessons (Peregrine Moment)

Meals: breakfast

Day 6
Konya / Cappadocia
Arrive early in Konya, an important ancient-Roman city, and tuck into a full Turkish kahvalti (breakfast). Konya is the home of the mystic Sufi practice of whirling and after breakfast you'll visit the mausoleum of Mevlana, a famous mystic, as well as the museum housing manuscripts of his work and various mystic artefacts before driving three hours to the captivating region of Cappadocia. Check in to the hotel then head out with your leader to stretch your legs on a valley walk. It could be Red Valley, it could be Love Valley, but each leader has their own special place to introduce you to. Without a doubt, one of the most amazing memories of this journey is a hot-air balloon ride over this otherworldly landscape at sunrise. It's an optional experience, but is truly once-in-a-lifetime, pardon the cliche. Please speak to your leader on Day 1 to organise a flight.

Included activities:

  • Konya - Mevlana Museum
  • Cappadocia - Valley Walk
  • Cappadocia - Kaymakli Underground City

Meals: breakfast

Day 7
Cappadocia
As previously mentioned, there's an option of taking a hot-air balloon over the Cappadocian landscape this morning. Even if you don't choose to take a flight, it's worth getting up just to see the balloons rising with the sun. Have a relaxing breakfast from your terrace overlooking the valley then visit the Goreme Open Air Museum, featuring houses, churches and monasteries carved into the soft cliff faces. The Christian sanctuaries contain many examples of Byzantine art, cave chapels and colourful biblical frescoes from the 10-12th centuries. Later in the afternoon, go underground and make the short journey to Kaymakli to discover what life was like lived underground. Cappadocia is perhaps one of the most famous areas in Turkey for rug making, we spend some time this afternoon discovering the art of rug making from early nomadic styles to plush palace rugs clearly pieces of art. Head back to the hotel in Goreme, and maybe take a relaxing Turkish bath to unwind after a long day experiencing some truly incredible history.

Included activities:

  • Goreme - Carpet Demonstration
  • Cappadocia -Kaymakli Underground City
  • Cappadocia - Goreme - Open Air Museum

Optional activities:

  • Goreme - Hot Air Balloon, Cappadocia Deluxe Flight ($250)
  • Goreme - Hot Air Balloon, Cappadocia Regular Flight ($195)

Meals: breakfast

Day 8
Istanbul
Drive to the airport after breakfast for a 1.5 hour flight back to Istanbul, where you'll be transferred to your hotel on arrival. Enjoy a free afternoon then jump on a ferry early in the evening and head to Kadikoy, on Istanbul's Asian shore. Take a walk around this lively area, perhaps finding a harbourside spot for dinner with your travelling companions.

Meals: breakfast

Day 9
Athens
This morning after breakfast you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Athens. Please check with your tour leader for details of this time and other important information for continuing your tour. Your Leader will supply with a PNR number for flight check in and details on your arrival transfer in Athens. Arrive in Athens, Greece’s lively capital. In the evening you will meet your tour leader and fellow travelling companions at a welcome meeting (this is usually at 6pm, but please check for the exact time and place on a noticeboard located near the reception at our hotel), where your tour leader will give you a briefing on what lies ahead on the tour. This evening you will enjoy a group dinner together at a local restaurant in the Psiri neighbourhood of Athens.

Included activities: Complimentary Arrival Transfer

Meals: dinner

Day 10
Cape Sounion / Athens
This morning travel to the town of Cape Sounion and visit the ruins of the ancient Temple of Poseidon, the god of the sea in classical mythology. The remnants are perched on the headland and surrounded on three sides by the sea, creating spectacular views of the Greek coastline. Look closely and you'll also find the ruins have been engraved with the name of English Romantic poet Lord Byron. Return to Athens in the afternoon and enjoy the rest of the day to explore. Perhaps visit the Parthenon or the Acropolis Museum, where you can find relics from Ancient Greece. Another option is to watch the uniquely theatrical changing of the guard at Parliament or see where the Olympics once took place at the Panathenaic Stadium. At dusk, pull up a chair at one of the local restaurants and dine on traditional souvlaki and ouzo.

Included activities: Cape Sounion & Temple of Poseidon

Meals: breakfast

Day 11
Mykonos
This morning you will be transported to Athens' port at Piraeus and board a ferry bound for the island of Mykonos (often also spelled Mikonos). Ferries are a great way to travel between the islands and are the life blood of many remote islands in Greece's multitude of archipelagos. Mykonos, considered the most glamorous and cosmopolitan of the Cycladic islands, still holds on to its old-world charm and many locals maintain their peaceful island existence among the many foreigners who grace their shores. Upon arrival you will be transferred to the area of Tourlos, where the hotel is located. After settling in, you'll visit Mykonos’ charming Old Town, a captivating labyrinth of stone-paved laneways, traditional whitewashed houses and windmills. This evening you will make your way to the village of Ano Mera for a delicious dinner at a local taverna and taste the local Myconian delicacies mostra and louza.

Meals: breakfastdinner

Day 12
Delos / Mykonos
Today you will make an excursion to the island of Delos, a short boat trip from Mykonos. Delos has a vast and interesting history and is one of Greece's most important archaeological sites. It's considered a sacred place. You will explore the site in depth and gain an insight into the island’s intriguing history. New discoveries of the ancient world are still made here from time to time. Delos is acclaimed as the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis and has been inhabited since around 3000 BC. The earliest shrines and temples were built around the 8th century BC. When the Romans set their sights on the island in 167 BC it became a free trading port and home to a flourishing slave trade market, with thousands of slaves being traded daily. In the afternoon you will take a return ferry back to lively Mykonos.

Included activities:

  • Delos Archaeological Site
  • Boat Tour to Delos Island

Meals: breakfast

Day 13
Santorini
Bid farewell to Mykonos and travel by ferry to spectacular Santorini, the southernmost island in the Cyclades group. Upon arrival in Santorini's capital, Fira (often also spelled Thira), you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy a free afternoon to absorb this veritable paradise. Your leader will be able to offer suggestions on what to see and do. In the late afternoon you will view Santorini's world-famous sunset, which has been immortalised in many photos and works of art. Enjoy a sunset picnic overlooking the caldera away from the crowds. Indulge in local cheese, ham and bread, all complimented by a local grape variety and a world-class view.

Included activities: Santorini Sunset Picnic

Meals: breakfast

Day 14
Santorini
In the morning, embark on a hike along Santorini’s legendary caldera. The island you see today is what remains from a huge volcanic explosion that destroyed the early settlements and created a geographical caldera. The spectacular natural beauty of this caldera is what makes Santorini such a special place. Your walk begins at your hotel and you will continue along the north-western rim of the caldera, passing steep cliff faces and experiencing breath-taking views along the way. The walk ends in the town of Oia (pronounced ‘eeah’). Oia was built on a steep slope inside Santorini’s incredible volcanic caldera. Transfer back to Fira where you will visit the fascinating Prehistoric Museum of Thira and learn more about the incredible history of this unique island, as well as see masterpieces from the prehistoric Aegean age. The rest of the afternoon is free, so perhaps visit one of the island’s wineries. The vines here are cultivated in a very unusual way, with the plants being pruned to form a low basket shape that sits on top of the volcanic soil to protect the grapes from strong winds. The Santos Winery, a co-operative and the largest winery on the island, offers tours as well as wine tasting. It's also idyllically located, with marvellous views over the island and the sea – a lovely spot for a tipple.

Included activities:

  • Santorini Caldera Hike
  • Thira Prehistoric Museum

Meals: breakfast

Day 15
Santorini / Heraklion, Crete
The morning is free for you to explore Santorini as you please. You might like to simply relax on the beach, or perhaps take a boat tour to the hot water beaches and the summit of Nea Kameni (the still active but currently dormant volcano in the middle of the caldera). There is a lot to do on the island and your leader will be on hand to offer suggestions. Art Space, a local gallery, boasts wine caverns replete with an excellent collection of modern Greek painting and sculpture. In the afternoon transfer to Santorini’s port, where you will board another ferry and head across the Sea of Crete to Heraklion on the island of Crete (approximately 2 hours), where you will check into your accommodation for tonight. Heraklion (often also spelled Iraklio) is Crete’s largest city, and its capital. Not as pretty as Chania, the old city still has some noteworthy architectural delights, such as the Venetian loggia and the Morosini Lions Fountain. It is also well known for its culinary delights. Make sure you head out tonight to sample some of it.

Meals: breakfast

Day 16
Knossos / Chania, Crete
Leave Heraklion behind and head to the famous ruins and archaeological site of Knossos (approximately 15 minutes), the former capital of Minoan Crete that is considered to be Europe's oldest city. Once home to 100,000 inhabitants the city was first established during the Bronze Age, well before the time of Classical Greece. According to legend, King Minos built a labyrinth in which the mythical Minotaur (a creature part man part bull) was to be held. Explore the ruins with a local guide before continuing to the traditional village of Vamos (approximately 2 hours). This area is renowned for its rich cultural heritage. Here you will take a short walk around the historical centre of the old neighbourhood with traditional old houses, ruins, ancient stone roads and secret nooks. Stopover at a local tavern and enjoy a typical Greek moment with meze, a meal shared around the table, done for centuries by the locals. Clink glasses with the locals and wash it all down with the traditional local white spirit ‘raki’. Then head to Chania (often also spelled Hania), your base for the next two nights. Your historic hotel, the former British embassy (the feature stay of the trip), is located a short distance from Chania's town centre, in a quieter part of town. After settling in you will take a walk into the Old Town. First stop at the agora (municipal market), then pass a number of historical churches. Discover the remains of a Venetian monastery and wander through the charming Old Harbour area, with its two Venetian shipyards and Great Arsenal building. Heading deep into the narrow cobblestone alleys of the Venetian town, discover a beautiful array of Venetian and Turkish architecture in the former aristocratic area.

Included activities:

  • Vamos Village Excursion
  • Greek Meze Tasting
  • Guided Tour of Knossos Archaeological Site

Meals: breakfast

Day 17
Chania, Crete
Today is a free day for you to explore Western Crete. If you are looking to embark on a great walk on the island, there’s the chance to join an optional excursion to hike the famous Samaria Gorge (17 km; approximately 4–6 hours, depending on fitness level). Alternatively, you can relax on one of Chania’s city beaches. Nea Hora is a sandy beach west of the Venetian walls – it's decked out with sun beds and is close to restaurants. If you walk to the west of this beach you will come across quieter beaches. Another option is to take a local bus to Elafonissi Lagoon on the west coast. Elafonissi is considered Crete’s prettiest beach, and a daily bus goes there from Chania in the morning and returns in the late afternoon. It’s also possible to visit the lush surrounds of the Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete. This nearly 20 hectare garden was destroyed by wildfires in 2003, however it has since been carefully redeveloped. At the centre of the park lies a burnt centennial olive tree, a constant reminder of the devastating fire. Take the time to explore the park and discover some of the 150 species of fruit trees grown here, as well as a rich variety of herbs and plants. Your leader will be able to assist you with all the options available on your free day.

Optional activities:

  • Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete ($6)
  • Old Chania Market - Free
  • Archaeological Museum of Chania ($4)
  • Samaria Gorge Day Trip (from) ($70)
  • Elafonissi Beach Day Trip (from) ($60)

Meals: breakfast

Day 18
Chania, Crete
All good things must come to an end, and your Greek adventure wraps up this morning. You may wish to stay longer and explore other parts of Western Crete or head further afield. Your leader will be able to assist you with suggestions on how to get around. Alternatively, simply stay in town to stroll around and admire the old Venetian town, or head to one of the seaside eateries for a leisurely lunch. If you'd like to remain in Chania for a few extra nights, Peregrine Adventures is able to arrange additional accommodation on request.

Meals: breakfast

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