Discover Turkey by train – a patchwork of cultures combined with a tradition of hospitality. With this 8 Day tour, explore the diversity of Istanbul, visit the Nation’s capital of Ankara and religious capital of Konya, home the whirling dervishes. Turkey is a box of goodies for any travel enthusiast.
Day 1 Welcome to Turkey
Welcome to Istanbul! You will be transferred to your hotel and the remainder of the day is yours free to explore at your own pace. Overnight Istanbul.
Day 2 Best of Istanbul
This morning, embark upon a fully guided tour of the only city that spans two continents, Europe and Asia. Before lunch, we start with Eyup cable car, and then ride up it to the Pierre Loti Café, where the French poet Pierre Loti wrote while admiring views of the Golden Horn. Sit down and relax here, while soaking up commanding views of the horn-shaped fjord below that splits the city’s European shoreline into two. Step inside Rustem Pasha Mosque for a short tour. Small yet spectacular, this city secret boasts an eye-catching interior with a liberal smattering of geometric and floral tiles that adorn the walls and ceiling before a visit to the Egyptian Spice market (stock up on bargain saffron, spices and Turkish delight here!).
Why hit just one continent when you can get double value from the city that straddles two?
No stay in Istanbul would complete without a traditional and unforgettable cruise along the Bosphorus, the winding straits seperating Europe and Asia. The humble fishing villages and suspension bridges set against the dramatic outline of the Strait exemplify the newest link between the East and West. While onboard, seeing Bosphorus Bridge and Rumeli Fortress, built in just 4 months in 1452 by Mehmet the Conqueror in preparation of his planned siege of Byzantine Constantinople.
The Marmaray provides you a unique chance to make a link between the European and Asian continents by train in a sub-sea tunnel (resting upon the sea floor beneath the waters of the Bosphorus Strait). This engineering feat was first conceived by a legendary Ottoman sultan in 1860. Designed to withstand earthquakes, this is the world’s first underwater tunnel that connects two continents. In theory, it brings closer the day when it will be possible to travel from London to Beijing via Istanbul by train! The giant rail system of Istanbul’s Marmaray Project was inaugurated and opened on October 29, 2013 following four years of construction delays that were largely due to the discovery of ruins dating from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
After lunch, a visit to the Hippodrome area – famed as the centre of Byzantine life for 1000 years and of Ottoman life for another 400! Continuing, visit the stunning Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia, built by Emperor Justinian. Once a church, then a mosque, today it is a museum. Before tour’s end, visiting the Basilica Cistern an ancient underground water tank replete with carved and fluted Corinthian columns and a puzzling head of Medusa. Visitors walk on walkways suspended above the clear, now shallow water. It’s very cool and peaceful. Overnight Istanbul. (B, L)
Day 3 Istanbul to Ankara
This morning you will be transferred to the railway station located on the Asian shore of the Sea of Marmara at Pendik, 12 km (7.5 miles) southwest of Sabiha Gokcen Airport. Turkey has inaugurated a high-speed rail link between Istanbul and Ankara, slashing by half the seven-hour journey time between the two cities by land. Flying in between the cities can take a total of 4 or 5 hours or more when transport to and from the airports, security checks, waiting, boarding, de-planing and baggage claim times are taken into account.
09:30 We board the train for our journey to the nation’s capital, Ankara. When Ataturk (Turkish army officer, revolutionary, and the first Presient of Turkey) declared it capital of his nascent republic in 1923, it was little more than a small provincial town. Fast-forward to the present day, and it’s a bustling, modern city of well over four million souls.
On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel located in the heart of Ankara city within a walking distance from the major touristic attractions. Overnight Ankara. (B)
Day 6 Ankara
Meet your guide at your centrally located hotel in Ankara for your sightseeing tour. Hop aboard your vehicle and drive to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. With your local guide, explore the museum’s exhibits which pay close attention to Anatolia’s past rulers. Start the day at the world-famous Anatolian Civilizations Museum. Housed in a wonderfully restored 15th-century covered market, the museum is a treasure trove of ancient artefacts and relics from early Anatolian civilizations. Starting with the Palaeolithic era the exhibits continue in chronological order to the Ottoman Empire, and include sculptures, reliefs, furniture, metalwork, and much more. There is also an ancient Greek and Roman exhibit and an informative display of the city’s history.
Next head to the most recognizable landmark in the city, the impressive Citadel of Ankara, set on a hilltop overlooking the city below. Within the thick walls of the hisar find winding streets, beautifully restored buildings, ancient mosques, and castle towers. Explore the citadel on foot and admire panoramic views of Ankara from one of the many vantage points.
Continue to the Mausoleum of Ataturk and see the grave of modern Turkey’s first president and national hero. Learn about this great leader and courageous soldier who revolutionized Turkey. Stroll through the Mausoleum, constructed in 1953, and observe statues, reliefs and embellishments conceived by Turkey’s art community. Finally, enjoy the option to visit the Old Copper Market (closed on Sunday). Overnight Ankara. (B, L)
Day 6 Ankara to Konya
Relaxing morning before you are transferred to the railway station and enjoy a two-hour high speed train journey to the birthplace of the spiritual Whirling Dervishes and home of one of the world’s most read poets – Jelaluddin Rumi.
Upon arrival into Konya transfer to the hotel and check in. Today is free for you to enjoy the hotel facilities or explore Konya independently. Overnight Konya. (B, D)
Day 6 Konya
In Konya, taking a tour of some of the wonderful Seljuk Turkish monuments that Rumi would have known and visited. Rumi is now one of the most widely read poets in America. Everything about Rumi is absolute magic, from the story of his life to his superhuman ability of remaining in constant touch with the flow of intense creative energy for more than two decades. Stroll the streets of Konya, visiting first the Tomb of Rumi in the glittering Mevlana Museum, an important place of pilgrimage for Muslims and indeed all lovers of Rumi. Lunch at a local restaurant introduces us to more Konya culinary specialties, included many cooked slowly in a tandir (“tandoori,” clay pot buried in hot coals).
After lunch, we drive along Mevlana Caddesi, Konya’s main avenue, to reach the age-old Alaettin Hill (a prehistoric tumulus) to visit the 1000-year-old Alaaddin Mosque, where Rumi often prayed. In its courtyard are the tombs of many of the Seljuk Turkish sultans who ruled during Rumi’s lifetime, and who consulted him for spiritual guidance. Overnight Konya. (B, L, D)
Day 7 Konya to Istanbul
Early in the morning you will be transferred to Konya’s central railway station and board another high speed train for the exotic city of Istanbul. Overnight Istanbul. (B)
Day 8 Istanbul
You are free to depart at any time today. After breakfast your tour draws to a close and we say goodbye to our new friends before being transferred to the airport. Please note that check-out time from the hotel is normally noon, but luggage storage facilities are available.
We are able to organise extra post-trip accommodation and day tours/activities if you wish to extend your stay. Happy travels! (B)
(B – Breakfast, L –Lunch, D –Dinner)
>>Tour Package Includes:
0 Inbound and outbound airport transfers
0 Transfers between train stations and hotels
0 Transportation in a fully air-conditioned, non-smoking minivan
0 High-speed train tickets between Istanbul-Ankara, Ankara-Konya and Konya-Istanbul
0 Professional English-speaking local tour guides
0 Guided sightseeing at Istanbul, Ankara and Konya
0 Entrance fees for all included sightseeing
0 VIP entry to many sights
0 Tips except driver and guide
0 Local taxes and service charges
0 24-hour emergency hotline
0 12 meals: 7 breakfast, 3 lunch, 2 dinner
(This tour provides a variety of dining experiences, including buffets, à-la-carte dining and set menus. Whenever possible, we will try to honor special dietary requests)
0 7 nights – 4 star, boutique and cave accommodation in total.
– 2 nights in Ankara http://www.gurkenthotel.com
– 3 nights in Istanbul http://www.sokullupasahotel.com
– 2 nights in Konya http://www.hichhotel.com
>>Tour Package Excludes:
0 Entry visas where applicable
0 Meals unless otherwise stated
0 Personal expenses
0 Transport to and from Turkey
Low Season (01.11.2017-15.03.2018 ⊥ 01.11. 2018-15.03.2019)
870 Euro twin share
850 Euro triple share
215 Euro single supplement
High Season (16.03.2018-30.10.2019)
895 Euro twin share
875 Euro triple share
245 Euro single supplement
If you are travelling with children you may be eligible for a discount, please advise childrens ages.
>>Please make note of the following:
0 We’ll be happy to work with you in creating and fine tuning an itinerary for your holiday. Our itineraries are flexible and you can certainly make changes to hotels and other aspects of the tour program. You can travel by air, land or sea with public transport or private arrangements. Whatever you want to include in your personal itinerary we can arrange it and maybe suggest a few things you hadn’t thought of. True Blue Tour means trouble free, pleasant and positive experience throughout Turkey…
0 We can arrange any type of accommodation you prefer, whether it be budget or five star luxury or anything in between. Our suggested hotels are based on True Blue Tour’s experience in accommodating our guests and also based on feedback from our guests. Each suggested hotel is located superbly and provides excellent service and accommodation quality. Those hotels can be upgraded or downgraded as per your preference.
0 If you prefer private transfers and/or privately serviced excursions, please inform us and we will make the appropriate revisions.
0 We’ll be happy to make alternate suggestions if you’ll let us know your general preferences.