Day 1 - Antalya - Cappadocia
Arrive in Antalya to meet your tour leader and the rest of your group. This takes place at 8 am the Lazer Pension ('pension', or 'pansiyon', is the Turks' cool, homely, old-fashioned version of 'guesthouse'). From here, you'll head to the station and take a bus to Goreme, a town in Cappadocia (approximately 9.5 hours). Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride, young adventurer. When you get there, you can stretch your legs and take an orientation walk with your trip leader. Then grab a beer, or a tea, or perhaps a strong Turkish coffee if you need a pick-me-up (Turkey is the land of beverages, especially the hot variety).
Our accommodation is at Nazim's house in Ortahisar, check out the views over the secluded valley. This is an amazing spot.. Tonight you'll be treated to some Turkish hospitality as Nazim and his lovely family take care of us.
Day 2 - Cappadocia
Phallic rocks, fairy chimneys and underground cities. Cappadocia’s got it all. This morning you have the option of taking a very early hot-air balloon over the crazy landscapes at sunrise (those who choose to take this optional extra will have a seriously excellent time, and your friends back home might think you've been to another planet when they see your photos). Later in the morning it's time to go underground and explore the cities down there. There are 36 underground cities in Cappadocia; the widest is Kaymakli, the deepest is Derinkuyu. These rabbit-warren metropolises were lovingly carved into the earth by the Hittites around 3,500 years ago. If that doesn’t get you excited, you’re a robot. Later on there will be free time to hit the nightlife of Goreme, or go to a Whirling Dervish 'Sema' performance (optional).
Notes: The hot-air balloon activity can only be booked locally. Please speak to your trip leader on Day 1 to organise this.
Day 3 - Cappadocia
Strap on those boots for a hike up into the hills. Walk through the mountains to Ortahisar, where you'll be spending the night in a traditional guesthouse. Don't worry, you don't have to be a super-fit athlete for this walk, it's a nice and easy and relaxed. You won't even have to carry your bags – they'll be on a bus bound for Nazim's House. Thanks Nazim! Thank you driver! The total distance you walk will depend on the group and which route is taken.
Take a walk to Ortahisar Castle if you like
Day 4 - Cappadocia - Overnight bus
Spend the day exploring the Cappadocia area some more. If you like, you can stop by the Göreme Open Air Museum, a medieval wonderland of old rock-cut churches and frescoes. For a very different taste of the dizzyingly diverse landscape around here, you could check out Avanos, which is a chilled-out little town about 10 minutes away, known for its pottery and a 'red' river. Tonight it's time to say goodbye to Cappadocia (take a couple of last photos as you fight back the tears) and catch your overnight bus to Istanbul (approximately 10–12 hours).
Day 5 - Istanbul
Your trip comes to an end this morning on arrival into Istanbul. But it's a great idea to stay a little longer. So many activities, so little time. You can get all cultural at the Blue Mosque, splash some cash at the Grand Bazaar (the rugs ain't cheap, but they are beautiful and handmade), take a ferry cruise along the blue waters of Bosphorus (this is awesome and only costs a few Turkish Lira, unlike the some of the houses you will see on the shore as you cruise past), or just eat your weight in last-minute pides. You can’t really go wrong.
Please note: if you wish to book a flight out of Istanbul today, we recommend avoiding flights before 1pm to allow for any delays on your overnight bus.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
Meals Included: Breakfast: 3 Lunches: 0 Dinners: 1
The weird and wonderful world of Cappadocia might be the most amazing place in Turkey. Its fairy chimneys and sprawling rockscapes look like they were cut out of a science-fiction cartoon
You'll have the chance to take a hot air-balloon ride over the top of it all, giving you the ultimate view of this awesome landscape
Exploring the underground city of Derinkuyu is mind-blowing – it goes 60 metres underground and used to house thousands of people
Work off some of that delicious gözleme with a hike through the beautiful Ilhara Valley
Get a dose of good old-fashioned Turkish hospitality, staying with a local family in a traditional guesthouse in Ortahisar
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