Dragoman is pleased to announce that our new 14-day Turkey overland tour from Istanbul to Istanbul is now available to book.
Turkey is a country that's hard to pin down. Nestled on the intersection of Europe and Asia, it's a spellbinding blend of familiar and unfamiliar, a land in which the Romans, Ottomans and Byzantines have all made their mark. From ancient ruins to modern cities, from sun-drenched coasts and coves to olive groves and hillside villages and otherworldly rock formations, its landscape is wonderfully diverse; and that's before we get to the heart of Turkish culture by sampling its aromatic and flavourful cuisine, a fusion of both Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences.
There are plenty of sights to see on this tour, including the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the battlefields on the Gallipoli Peninsula and the ruins of the lost city of Troy. For many a highlight is the geological wonder of Cappdocia with its magical hoodoos and undulating valleys of pink and white rock, over which we can take a hot air balloon ride.
We have no shortage of optional activities to take up, including quad biking, horse-riding, and learning to make dolma and sarma at a Turkish cooking class.
Let’s take a closer look at where we’ll be stopping along the way.
Once the Byzantine capital of Constantinople, and then the centre of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul is a bewildering city packed full of archaeological sites and culture. It is home to the fabulous Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the TopkapÄ± Palace. There are restaurants, galleries, bars and clubs that scatter across the city, and of course it’s home to the bewildering Grand Bazaar and several traditional Turkish bath houses.
The Gallipoli Peninsula bears a dark military history, but today the idyllic beaches, tranquil hills and pine forests, now protected as a National Park, are nonetheless an increasingly popular tourist destination for Turks and foreign visitors alike, who come to pay tribute to those that died in the bloody battles that took place here in 1915. The battlefields and cemeteries are a truly moving sight.
Selçuk is our gateway to exploring the nearby Ephesus Ruins, which are among the most well-preserved Roman ruins in the world. Ephesus contains impressive public buildings like the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, and the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Yet Selçuk is also exceedingly likable and an attraction in its own right, with plenty of home-cooking and exceptional Turkish hospitality.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pamukkale, or ‘Cotton Castle’, which has been used as a spa since the 2nd century BC, is known for its calcium-coated cliffs and pools and for the therapeutic properties of its hot springs. We’ll have time to admire the brilliant white travertine terraces, and of course, to submerge ourselves in the pools themselves.
The town of Olympos was once an important Lycian city in the 2nd Century BC – but today it is better known as a popular beach destination, with a string of adventure activities available along the track in the valley. Yet for its popularity, it is still just as beautiful as it ever was. We’ll also have the chance to hike up the nearby Chimera Mountain and witness the natural phenomenon of never-ending fire emerging from the rocks.
Surrounded by Lake EÄirdir and a stunning mountain backdrop, the slow-paced town of EÄirdir is the perfect place to stop and unwind on our journey north, and to enjoy good-value home-cooked meals and various outdoor activities. Highlights include a Byzantine fortress, Seljuk buildings, and some beautiful sandy beaches.
Göreme is an enchanting little town in the heart of the Cappadocia Mountains, and one of the few such settlements in the area in which the rock-hewn houses are still inhabited. The region is perhaps most famous for its rocky landscape of “fairy chimneys”, magnificent pillars of volcanic ash eroded over millions of years into unique and surreal shapes, and its celebrated open-air museum, which contains the finest of the area’s rock-cut churches and some beautiful frescoes.
Given the uncertainties of travel caused by Covid-19, Dragoman has put together a comprehensive set of measures to give travellers confidence in booking and travelling on trips in late 2020 and beyond. The key to these measures is flexibility, safety and financial security.
We now have travel insurance available that covers not just medical and repatriation, but also trip cancellation and curtailment cover.
As always, the safety and wellbeing of our passengers, crew, suppliers and staff remains our top priority. We have reviewed all our health and safety procedures to ensure that we are able to operate as safely as possible, including adding extra tents and developing a Covid health and safety audit.