Istanbul – Cappadocia – Yalvac – Pamukkale – Sardis – Kusadasi – Ephesus – Patmos – Crete (Heraklion) – Santorini – Athens – Corinth – Athens
Please note that the biblical tours are available only on group basis.
Valid from March to October
DAY 1 SATURDAY – ISTANBUL ARRIVAL: (Dinner) Upon arrival at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, meet and transfer to the hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Day 2 SUNDAY – ISTANBUL: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) After breakfast, proceed to “Old City”. Visit Hippodrome, center of sporty (chariot races, athletics) events and political activities of the old city. Obelisk of Theodosius, Serpentine Column and German Fountain of Wilhelm II are the monuments decorating Hippodrome. Then visit the Hagia Sophia, now called the Ayasofya Museum. Built by Constantine the Great, it was reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century and is unquestionably one of the finest buildings of all time. Then we take the Bosphorus cruise to enjoy the unique experience of cruising between 2 continents, Asia and Europe. Lastly, we will visit the aromatic Spice Bazaar, where the smells of cinnamon, cloves and thyme, rise from hundreds of colorful muslin bags at every store-front. Dinner and overnight.
Day 3 MONDAY – ISTANBUL – CAPPADOCIA: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) In the morning domestic flight to Nevsehir by TK2006 (0955/1115). Further on, we come to Cappadocia, which reminds the visitor of a village out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. After lunch, we visit the Valleys of Goreme to explore the unusual troglodyte dwellings, remains of the early churches comprising complicated rooms hollowed out of the cones of volcanic ash and decorated with scratched frescoes. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 4 TUESDAY – CAPPADOCIA: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) Early in the morning OPTIONAL HOT AIR BALLOON TOUR Today, we will visit Kaymakli, an underground city carved into soft rocks resembling a huge labyrinth of tunnels, rooms, kitchens, wine cellars and passageways. A huge chimney ventilates this 8-level dwelling, which was used by Christians hiding from their Roman and Byzantine persecutors. Their colorful frescoes remain as vibrant as when they were first made. Then picture steps will be given at the Valley of the Birds and at the foot of the Uchisar Castle. Proceed to the pottery town of Avanos where Kizilirmak (Hallys), the longest river of Turkey, meanders leaving the red clay on its banks that has been the raw material of pottery for centuries. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 5 WEDNESDAY – CAPPADOCIA – YALVAC – PAMUKKALE: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) Following an early breakfast, we drive to Pisidian Antioch (Yalvac). During Paul’s time, the population was made up of Jews, Romans and Greeks. Very little is left of Pisidian Antioch today. Thereafter, we proceed to Pamukkale and stay the night there. Overnight in Pamukkale.
Day 6 THURSDAY – PAMUKKALE – SARDIS – KUSADASI: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) In the morning, we will visit Hierapolis, which was founded by Pergamon King Telephons and named after his wife, Hiera. During the Byzantine period, the city became the seat of diocese with a large Christian Church dedicated to St Philip, who was martyred there in 80 AD. Highlights include the Roman Baths, the Temple of Apollo, the Theatre and the famous white calcium cascades of Pamukkale (the white “Cotton Castles”). Then proceed to Alasehir (Philadelphia) with its remains of early Christian churches, then continue to Colossae. Then stop at Sart (Sardis), the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Lydia. We view the Temple of Artemis with the largest Ionic columns in the Greek world, then visit a reconstructed synagogue and magnificent gymnasium followed by the Byzantine Church. Drive to Kusadasi for dinner and overnight.
Day 7 FRIDAY – KUSADASI – EPHESUS – KUSADASI: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) Following breakfast, we drive to Selcuk Town. After Leather Fashion Show, we will the famous city of Ephesus, one of the world’s finest archaeological sites. The Temple of Artemis, considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of Antiquity, was located here. Highlights include the Library of Celcius, the Temple of Hadrian, the Fountain of Trajan and the Theatre. Then visit the Basilica of St John “the Evangelist” who came here with the Virgin Mary and wrote his Gospel in Ephesus. We will also stop by the House of Virgin Mary (on top of Mt Coressos). She was believed to have spent her last years in this area. On 18 August 1961, Pope John XXII proclaimed this place to be sacred. Dinner and overnight in Kusadasi.
Day 8 SATURDAY – KUSADASI (Turkey) EMBARKATION 3 DAYS ICONIC AEGEAN SEA CRUISE – PATMOS: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) Following breakfast, transfer to Kusadasi Port for embark on your 3 days Iconic Aegean Sea Cruise.
|Saturday||KUSADASI (EPHESUS), Turkey||07:00||13:00|
|Sunday||CRETE (HERAKLION), Greece||07:00||11:30|
|Monday||ATHENS (PIRAEUS), Greece||06:00||–|
|NOTE: THE SEQUENCE OF THE CRUISE ITINERARY CAN NOT BE CHANGED
Cruise Schedule www.celestyalcruises.com
Patmos: The Holy island where St. John wrote The Revelation, known as Jerusalem of the Aegean Sea. At leisure or take an optional tour to visit the Monastery and Grotto of St. John. In the evening, enjoy the live on board entertainment. Overnight on board.
Day 9 SUNDAY – CRETE (HERAKLION) – SANTORINI: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) Heraklion, the capital of Crete. At leisure or take an optional tour to visit the fantastic ruins of the Palace of Knossos. The elaborate palace is believed to be the mythical Labyrinth of King Minos (Minotaur legend) and the seat of the Minoan civilization. At leisure on the amazing island of Santorini (formed by the eruption of the volcano 1600 BC). The sight is the most breathtaking of all Greek islands and perhaps of the world. In the evening, enjoy the live on board entertainment or try your luck in the casino. Overnight on board.
Day 10 MONDAY – CRUISE ARRIVAL ATHENS – ANCIENT CORINTH – ATHENS SIGHTSEEING TOUR: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) Breakfast on board, disembark. Meet at the Athens port of Piraeus and with an official English Speaking Guide proceed on your Half Day Corinth Tour. Depart for Corinth, drive along the coastal highway, the Apollo coast and stop to see the Corinth Canal, which connects the Aegean and the Ionian Seas. Continue to and visit Ancient Corinth. See the Bema, the Temple of Apollo, the remains of the Agora, and Pyrene Fountain. Pass by Cenchreae and see from where St. Paul departed on his journey. Lunch at a local restaurant (starters, salad, main course, dessert). Return to Athens and proceed on your Half Day Athens City Tour. See Syntagma Square, the House of Parliament and the Tomb to the Unknown Soldier, guarded by the Evzones in their traditional costume. See the Athens Academy, the University and the National Library. Stop at the Pan Athenaic Olympic stadium, (where the first Olympic Games of the modern era were held in 1896). See the archaeological site of the Temple of the Olympian Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch. On the Acropolis visit the architectural masterpieces of the Golden Age of Athens: the Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and finally “the harmony between material and spirit”, the Parthenon. Completing the tour, transfer for dinner to a local restaurant (starters, salad, main course, dessert). After dinner transfer to the hotel and check in. Overnight in Athens Hotel.
Day 11 TUESDAY – DEPARTURE: (Breakfast) Breakfast in the hotel. Transfer to the Athens airport for your Flight back home.
Biblical References of Places
Cappadocia Province Acts 2:9, I Pet. 1:1
Pisidian Antioch (Yalvac) Acts 13:14;14:19-21, I Tim. 3:11
Hierapolis Col. 4:13
Philadelphia Rev. 1:11;3:7
Colossae (Honaz) Col. 1:2
Sardis (Sardes – Sard) Rev. 1:11;3:1-4
Ephesus (Selcuk) Acts 18:19-24;19:1-35;20:16-17;21:29, I Cor. 15:32; 16:8, I Tim. 1:3 II Tim. 1:18; 4:12, Rev. 1:11,2:1
Patmos Rev 1:9
Corinth Acts 18:1; 19:1; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1, 23; 2 Timothy 4:20
Athens Acts 17:15-16, 22; 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:1