05:00. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Kayseri airport then transfer to Cappadocia (about 1 hour drive). Cappadocia is an extraordinary national treasure and and it maybe even the jewel in Turkey’s illustrious crown. Turkey’s most visually striking region, where erosion has formed caves, clefts, pinnacles, fairy chimneys and sensuous folds in the soft volcanic rock.
09:30. The tour begins by visiting Esentepe, a hillside with spectacular views over the Göreme Valley, taking photos of the magnificent lava-formed landscapes, as a taster of what’s to come. Then, exploring properly with the guide starting by, visiting Pasabag (Monk’s Valley), whose chimneys are widely regarded as the best in Cappadocia, then a chapel dedicated to the well-known reclusive monk, St. Simeon as well as some small cave habitations that were carved and used by monks one thousand years ago, then admiring the Devrent Valley, where more mushroom-shaped pinnacles cover the hillsides.
We drive to the pottery town of Avanos, where the longest river in Turkey Kizil Irmak (Red River) passes through. You will attend the pottery-making demonstration and even try your hand at making your own unique pot. A meal break will be taken for a buffet lunch at a local restaurant, before visiting the UNESCO-listed Goreme Open-Air Museum, famous for its rock-cut chapels coated in Byzantine frescoes. Then, You will admire the beautifully painted chapels. Marvel at the numerous cave churches and monasteries with their richly frescoed walls painted by Orthodox Monks around 1000-1200 AD.
Then visit of the Uchisar Castle. Situated at the highest point and providing superb panoramic vistas, it is a large rock formation full of interconnected rooms, tunnels, and passages that have been carved from the tufa. Scattered throughout the immediate surroundings are several Roman tombs also cut from the tufa. Board back to your coach and end your experience with a hotel drop-off. Spend the evening at leisure amid Cappadocia’s magical landscape. Overnight Cappadocia. (B, L)
OR don’t miss the “Optional Whirling Dervish Ceremony & Traditional Turkish Folklore Evening”
19:30. A great night out taking place in a cave restaurant, carved into the region’s soft volcanic rock. The show features belly dancers, traditional folk dancers, and traditional Turkish musicians. Dinner, unlimited drinks, and entertainment are included in the price.
Before drinks are served, Mevlevi Dervishes perform the whirling sema ceremony with a Sufi music concert. In 2005, UNESCO proclaimed the ‘The Mevlevi Sema Ceremony’ of Turkey as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The dervish music and whirling event last about 15 minutes. These shows not only introduce you to Turkish culture and various Anatolian dances but provide you with a genuinely entertaining show.
***Optional Hot Air Ballooning.
You have the option to take a hot-air balloon ride (in the morning), in a region famed for being one of the best places in the world for ballooning.
05:30. The day will start with a balloon ride over the moonscapes of Cappadocia. Discover the stunning landscape of the region from a hot-air balloon! Admire Cappadocia’s beautiful scenery of tall, volcanic rock spires and high plateaus from the air on a 1-hour flight.
Toast your unforgettable experience with a glass of Champagne during the post-flight celebration and receive a souvenir medal. Your Cappadocia hot-air balloon flight includes a complimentary pre-flight buffet breakfast and convenient round-trip hotel transportation.
OR without Balloon,
09:30. Tour begins with a visit to the remarkable underground city of Kaymakli, which was occupied during the period of early Christianity so the local population hid underground for protection. When the Arabs invaded Asia Minor in the 7th and 8th centuries, Cappadocia remained relatively undisturbed by the conflicts; maybe because the monks and local Christians went underground, literally, excavating the subterranean cities and richly frescoed cave churches which you can explore today. Kaymakli is one of many such complexes that have been discovered in the region. Wind through the tunnels and chambers as you descend several levels underground.
Then we will visit Cavusin, an old Christian village, to see a triple apse church and the Monastery of St. John the Baptist. The day touring includes lunch and an easy grade, three-kilometer hike through the Red Gulludere Valley, inaccessible by automobile and providing breathtaking scenery. Walk among the fantastic rock formations and along the way discover hidden frescoed cave churches and, before the tour ends, we will visit the natural landmark of Ortahisar Castle.
18:00. In the evening, transfer to the airport for a flight to the exotic city of Istanbul. Transfer to your hotel and overnight Istanbul. (B, L)
If you wish to extend your stay, we will be happy to organize extra post-trip, accommodation, and day tours/activities. Happy travels!
(B =Breakfast, L =Lunch, D =Dinner)