TURKEY AND GREECE
Arrival, welcome and transfer to the hotel. Welcome by our local staff. Accommodation at the hotel and dinner.
Visit to the Bosporus Strait, which separates the Asian and European parts of Istanbul. Here you can enjoy cafes and restaurants, old Turkish wooden houses, mosques, palaces and the fortress of Hissar. Then, visit Topkapi Palace, Turkey’s most visited museum.
ISTANBUL / CAPPADOCIA
Visit to the Roman Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, the most grandiose of Istanbul’s mosques, and Hagia Sophia, a masterpiece built in 573 CE by Emperor Justinian, with the ambition of being the largest church in the world. In 1453, it became a mosque and in 1934 a museum. Free time in the famous bazaar, a great maze of shops, where you can find everything. At night, flight to Cappadocia, arrival, accommodation and dinner.
CAPPADOCIA / VALLEY OF GOREME
Visiting Cappadocia is like being on another planet: the carved houses on the rocks create a landscape like in the movies. The mountains, caves, desert, are all very different from what you already know. The landscape is dominated by large conical and red rocks, known as “fairy chimneys.” There, for thousands of years, various civilizations have dug into the walls of the mountains to build their houses. The result is fantastic. The impression you have is that of a prehistoric condominium with all those holes. Visit to the Goreme Valley, with its monolithic churches, an incredible Byzantine monastery complex made up of rock-hewn churches (Zelve Valley). The city is one of the most important in the region and holds precious treasures. The highlights are the churches carved into the rocks. As many Christians took refuge there at the time of the Roman Empire, the caves hid several temples. Visit to troglodyte village of Uchisar, Derbent Valley, Pasabag Park and Guvercinlik Valley. * Today, optional balloon flight over the stunning scenery of Cappadocia, a must-see!
CAPPADOCIA / KONYA / PAMUKKALE SPA
Departure to Konya, the second most important city in this area, after Ankara. Konya was the capital of the Seleucid Empire in the 12th and 13th centuries, when it was the cultural center of Turkey. This city also has its own legend, which relates that Konya was the first city that resurfaced from the waters after the universal deluge. Visit the Museum of Mevlana, containing Mevlana Mausoleum, rugs, tapestries, manuscripts, ancient musical instruments, Darwish clothing and various religious objects. You can also admire the sarcophagus of Rumi. Continue to Pamukkale, famous for its hot springs.
PAMUKKALE / EPHESUS / HOUSE OF THE VIRGIN MARY / KUSADASI
Visit to Hierapolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, classified both for its hot springs and for the ruins of Phrygia, the ancient capital, where the Apostle Philip is buried. Continue to Ephesus, where we will visit the largest archaeological site in the world; the major city in the Bible at the time of the Apostle Paul. Visit to the ruins of the Basilica of St. John, where the tomb of St. John is located.
KUSADASI / PERGAMON / TROY / ÇANAKKALE
Depart to Pergamon. Visit to the Acropolis and the Asclepeion (ancient healing temple), the world’s first psychiatric hospital. Continue to the famous city of Troy and visit its ruins. Continue to Çanakkale. Accommodation and dinner.
ÇANAKKALE / KAVALA
Depart to the border between Turkey and Greece. After the border procedures, continue to Kavala. Accommodation and dinner.
KAVALA / THESSALONIKI
Visit the port town of Kavala, the ancient Neapolis, where Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke began to evangelize Europe. Visit to Philippi, where Paul delivered his first speech in Europe. Here Paul baptized Lydia. Visit to the Roman Forum, where Paul and Silas were arrested.
Visit Thessaloniki, an ancient Greek colony known as Thermi. It lost that name in 316 BC when Cassander named the city in honor of his wife, Thessalonica. Paul and Silas preached in Thessalonica (letters I and II Thessalonians). Visit to the walls, the Arc of Galerius and Via Egnatia.
THESSALONIKI / PELLA / VERGINA / VERIA / KALAMBAKA
Depart to Pella, birthplace of Alexander the Great. Visit to Berea, an ancient city mentioned in the book of Acts of the Apostles. Its current name is Veria. It is a small city, where Paul preached and where people examined the scriptures to see if his preaching was true (Acts 17: 10-13). Paul, Silas, and Timothy go to Berea (Acts 17: 10-15). Continue to Kalambaka.
KALAMBAKA / ARACOVA / ATHENS
Departure to Meteora, the famous monasteries built high on mountainsides. The most important are them are Agios Stefanos, Agia Triada and the most spectacular, the Monastery of the Great Meteoron or the Transfiguration. We can only visit two of them, since they are open every other day.
Depart to the Corinth Canal and visit ancient Corinth, where Paul delivered one of his most exciting speeches. Return to Athens and visit the Acropolis and Areopagus. Sightseeing of Athens.
Day cruise to the Greek Islands of Hydra, Poros and Aegina.
Transfer to airport for departure