Day 01 – Istanbul (D)
Arrival to Istanbul and meet Orion Tour representative. Day at leisure. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 02 – Istanbul / Van (B,L,D)
Take the early domestic flight to Van. Visit to Akdamar island with lunch by the lake. Akdamar is a magnificent masonry of Armenian architecture with stone reliefs about Old and New Testament images and more. Return to the city and tour of the town. Overnight in Van.
Day 03 – Van (B,L,D)
Cavustepe on a low hill is an vital settlement of Urartians. Ottoman period Hosap fortress is perched on a very steep rock controlling the road for trade routes. Multi-colored eyes of Van cats will be our joy of the day. Climb Van castle for sunset. Overnight in Van.
Day 04 – Van / Dogubayazit (B,L,D)
Visit to the weaving center after breakfast where we can see Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian and Persian carpets. Continue to Dogubayazıt. Visits to Noah’s Ark and Ishak Pasha Palace overlooking the Silk Road are on our program. We will enjoy view of legendary Mt. Ararat. Overnight in Dogubayazit..
Day 05 – Dogubayazit / Kars (B,L,D)
Drive to Kars viewing Armenian border along the way. We visit the capital city of Ani of Armenian Kingdom in 10th and 11th centuries. A visit to the Church/Mosque of 12 Apostles and a walking tour of Kars upon returning to the city center will also be on our list before check in. Overnight in Kars.
Day 06 – Kars / Erzurum (B,L,D)
Drive to Erzurum on a scenic road, an important city of Selcuk and Ottoman periods. We will visit Cifte Minareli Medrese, Ulu Mosque, Archaeological museum in a traditional medrese, Rustem Pasha Medrese and market for the local Oltu stone. Overnight in Erzurum.
Day 07 – Erzurum / Hopa (B,L,D)
Drive to Hopa on the Black Sea visiting Osvank, Haho and Ishan Armenian/Georgian churches. Penetrating through the Black Sea Kackar mountains will register in our hearts offering excellent views and scenery. Overnight in Hopa.
Day 08 – Hopa / Tranzon (B,L,D)
Now we are by the Coast of Black Sea we drive to Rize and visit a tea factory (in season). Continue to Trabzon en route visiting Uzungol surrounded by vast greenery. Overnight in Trabzon.
Day 09 – Trabzon (B,L,D)
Visit to Sumela Monastery, a fantastic Greek Orthodox monastery tucked high up in the mountains whether we can climb on foot or take a minibus shuttle. Returning to the city center we visit the second H. Sophia after Constantinople (Istanbul) and continue with a walking tour of the city. Drive to Boztepe for an unforgettable view of the Black Sea. Overnight in Trabzon.
Day 10 – Trabzon / Samsun (B,L,D)
Continue west along the Black Sea coast enjoying scenery with stops in Giresun and Ordu. Overnight in Samsun.
Day 11 – Samsun / Bogazkoy (B,L,D)
Leaving the Black Sea behind us we drive south inland and visit the Hittite sights of Hattusas, Alacahoyuk and the two museums. Hittites were the first people of Anatolia who founded an Empire, influenced the history of this land (Turkey today) and had very close relations with Mesopatamian and Egyptian civilizations. Overnight in Bogazkoy/Sungurlu.
Day 12 – Bogazkoy / Cappadocia (B,L,D)
Drive to Cappadocia, the area of fairy chimneys and unique formations caused by volcanic tuff. Our visits will be to Ozkonak underground city, Zelve/Pasabag and Derbent. Stop by the pottery in Avanos, an art using red clay since Hittite times thanks to Kizilirmak running through the region and bringing a lot of alluvia. Overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 13 – Cappadocia (B,L,D)
Visits to Goreme, Guvercinlik, Uchisar. Goreme is the valley where we see fantastic, man made caves carved out of volcanic tuff and used as churches with frescoes still on their walls. Enjoy a visit to the carpet weaving center. Overnight in Cappadocia.
- We will have options for hot air balloon ride and Sema of Whirling Dervishes. Overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 14 – Cappadocia / Istanbul (B)
Flight to Istanbul. Depending on your onward flight connect to international airport or stay one more night in Istanbul