Biblical Turkey, Greece and Italy (17 Days / 16 Nights)

Istanbul – Hatay – Antioch – Cappadocia – Pamukkale – Laodicea – Sardis – Kusadasi – Ephesus – Pergamon – Canakkale – Kavala – Thessaloniki – Kalambaka (Meteora) – Athens – Corinth – Patra – Bari – Pompeii – Rome

Please note that the biblical tours are available only on group basis.

Valid all year round

Day 1 ISTANBUL ARRIVAL: (Dinner) Arrival at Istanbul Ataturk Airport. Meet at the airport and we drive to the ‘Old City’ where we will visit the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, famous for its delicate blue ceramic tiles. Saint Sophia, this church – turned mosque – turned museum takes the breath away with the sheer architectural size of its interior and magnificent dome and visit the spectacular Topkapi Palace. Built on one of the seven hills of Istanbul, this huge complex commands views of the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. It was the seat of government for the Ottoman Empire for many centuries (1453-1852) and we will see the extravagant Treasury, the priceless Chinese porcelain. Then check-in to the hotel for dinner and overnight in Istanbul.

Day 2 ISTANBUL – HATAY – ANTIOCH: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) After an early breakfast transfer to the airport for domestic flight to Hatay by TK2252 09:40/11:25, ancient Antioch. Antioch is thought to have been founded in 300 BC. St Peter was the first to preach here, followed by St Paul and Barnabas whose extensive efforts proved to be very fruitful for Christianity. Highlights include the museum which houses a superb collection of mosaics from Antioch, Daphne and Seleucia Pieria. St Peter’s Grotto, the cave church, came to be known as the meeting place of the early Christians. The most interesting monument here is the Tunnel of Titus, which is a tremendous canal dug for the purpose of diverting waters from the Orontes River. Another highlight is the rock tombs with their impressive facades pertaining to the Hellenistic period. Overnight in Antioch.

Day 3 ANTIOCH – CAPPADOCIA: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) After an early breakfast, we drive north to Cappadocia. Our first stop is Tarsus, the birthplace of St Paul. Highlights include St Paul’s well and Cleopatra’s Gate. Than second stop is Derinkuyu, 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 colourful frescoes remain as vibrant as when they were first made. Further on, we come to Cappadocia, which reminds the visitor of a village out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Overnight in Cappadocia.

Day 4 CAPPADOCIA: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) In the morning, 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. We will visit the Apple Church, the Church of Sandals, and the Church with a Buckle in Goreme. Next stops are Ortahisar and Avanos. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.

Day 5 CAPPADOCIA – PAMUKKALE: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) After breakfast we will drive to Psidian Antioch (Yalvac) where St. Paul opened Christianity to the world. Yalvac’s history goes back to 280 B.C. During St. Paul’s time the population was a mixture of Jews, Romans and Greeks. Very little is left of Psidian Antioch today. There is the propylaea of the acropolis with a number of carved stones and the remains of a Byzantine church. Than drive to Pamukkale. Upon arrival we visit Hierapolis which was founded by Pergamon king Telephos 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, martyred here in 80 A.D. Highlights include the Roman Baths, the Temple of Apollo and the Theater. Dinner and overnight in Pamukkale.

Day 6 PAMUKKALE – LAODICEA – SARDIS – KUSADASI: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) After breakfast visit to Laodicea where we find here two Theaters, a large Stadium, a Water Tower and an Odeon. The city is named by Antiochus II in honour of his wife, Laodicea. St. Paul wrote a letter to the church here (Acts:4:16). Next on our itinerary is Philadelphia which was an important Christian centre during Byzantine times. Than we drive to Sardis whose history dates back to 12th century B.C. Sardis felt the influence of Christianity very early and was included in the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse. During the Byzantine times it was the seat of a bishopric. Highlights will be a Synagogue, Gymnasium, Byzantine Church and the Temple of Artemis. Last will stop by Thyteria to see the remains of the church. This was one of the principle towns where Christianity spread quickly. Dinner and overnight in Kusadasi.

Day 7 KUSADASI – EPHESUS – KUSADASI: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) In the morning, we drive to the famous city of Ephesus, one of the world’s finest archaeological sites. Our tour will begin with the Basilica of St John “the Evangelist” who came here with the Virgin Mary and wrote his Gospel in Ephesus. 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. 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 KUSADASI – PERGAMON – CANAKKALE: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) Morning visit Smyrna, then drive north to the hauntingly beautiful Pergamon. Pergamon, among the impressive structures of this city, dating from 399 B.C., we will see the Altar of Zeus, Temple of Dionysus and the 200,000 volume library which was surpassed only by that found in Alexandria at the time. Dinner and overnight in Canakkale.

Day 9 CANAKKALE – GREECE BORDER – PHILIPPI – KAVALA: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and drive to Greece Border. Meet on the Greek side of the borders (around 13.00pm) and with an official English Speaking Guide depart on your Four Days Tour. Drive to Kavala (Biblical Neapolis) and visit Philippi. See the remains of the Agora, the Octagon, the remains of the Basilicas, St. Paul’s prison, Lydias’ Baptismal site, Church of St Nicholas, Old Port, Aqua docks. Dinner and overnight in Kavala hotel.

Day 10 KAVALA – THESSALONIKI – VERIA – VERGINA – KALAMBAKA: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) Breakfast in the hotel. Drive along the coast to Greece’s second city, Thessaloniki. See the White Tower, (the symbol of the city), the Church of St. Dimitrios, Arch of Galerius, Rotunda, Upper City, Citadel, Byzantine Walls, Roman Agora. Drive to Vergina. Visit the Archaeological site and Tomb of Philip the 2nd father of Alexander the Great. Drive south, into central Greece, to Kalambaka, the town nestling at the foot of Meteora. Visit the mountain town of Veria. See the spot, Bema, Mosaic Wall, from where St. Paul preached the gospel. Lunch at a local restaurant (starters, salad, main course, dessert). Dinner and overnight in Kalambaka hotel.

Day 11 KALAMBAKA (METEORA) – DELPHI: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) Breakfast in the hotel. Visit Meteora with its impressive scenery, visit 2 monasteries, suspended between earth and sky. Inside, see priceless historical and religious treasures. Lunch at a local restaurant (starters, salad, main course, dessert). Depart for Delphi, the navel of the earth. Dinner and overnight in Delphi hotel.

Day 12 DELPHI – ATHENS – ATHENS SIGHTSEEING TOUR: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) Breakfast in the hotel. Visit the archaeological site of Delphi. On the slopes of Mt. Parnassus, lie the ruins of the Sanctuary of Apollo Pythios. See and visit the Doric Temple, the Treasury of the Athenians and see Castalia Spring. Visit also the museum holding masterpieces of ancient Greek sculpture such as the bronze charioteer. Lunch at a local restaurant (starters, salad, main course, dessert). After lunch, depart to Athens via Thebes and Levadia. Arrive in Athens and 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 Panathenaic 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. Visit Mars Hill. Completing the tour, transfer to a local restaurant for dinner (starters, salad, main course, dessert). After dinner transfer to the hotel and check in. Overnight in Athens Hotel.

Day 13 ATHENS – CORINTH TOUR – PATRA: (Breakfast, Lunch) Breakfast in the hotel. 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. Completing the tour, transfer for lunch to a local restaurant (starters, salad, main course, dessert). After lunch, transfer to Patra port and take the Ferry (Tickets Not Included) to Italy. Overnight on Ferry Boat.

Day 14 BARI – POMPEII – ROME: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) Breakfast on board. Arrive Bari in the morning (at 09:30). Full day tour to Pompeii, where you will visit the spectacular ruins that were covered by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The city remained buried and undiscovered for almost 1500 years until excavation began in 1748. These excavations continue today, providing insight into life during the Roman Empire. Drive to Rome. Dinner and overnight at hotel in Rome.

Day 15 ROME: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) You’ll discover the Vatican Museum, home to many of the world’s masterpieces. Enter the Sistine Chapel and view Michelangelo’s frescoes, which have been restored to their full, colourful glory. Tour St. Peter’s Basilica where Michelangelo’s “Pieta” – the only work signed by the master – will be just one of many highlights. Travel along the famous Apian Way. Walk through the Catacombs of San Sebastiano. Visit Tre Fontane, where Apostle Paul was beheaded. Walk through Via Del Corso, Piazza de Spagnia, and enjoy the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Piazza Navona. Dinner and overnight at hotel in Rome.

Day 16 ROME: (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) This morning you will discover Imperial Rome. Paul wrote to the Christians of Rome and he eventually went there where his ministry continued, although he was technically a prisoner. You will experience the glory of Imperial Rome when you visit the Coliseum, famous as a place of spectacle and death. Gladiators died here as thousands looked on. See the Circus Maximus, built during the reign of Nero. This huge stadium was able to seat 250,000 spectators for chariot races and other spectacles. See the Roman Forum, an ancient meeting place, market place, religious and political centre. View the Arch of Titus that commemorates Titus’ conquest of Judea. You’ll visit the Mamertina Prison, where it is believed that both Peter and Paul were imprisoned. Dinner and overnight at hotel in Rome.

Day 17 ROME DEPARTURE: (Breakfast) Transfer to the airport.

Biblical References of Places

Cappadocia Province Acts 2:9, I Pet. 1:1
Tarsus Acts 9:11;9:30;11:25;21:39;22:3
Pisidian Antioch (Yalvac) Acts 13:14;14:19-21, I Tim. 3:11
Hierapolis Col. 4:13
Philadelphia Rev. 1:11;3:7
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
Smyrna (Izmir) Rev. 1:11;2:8
Pergamum (Pergamon-Bergama) Rev. 1:11;2:12
Neapolis (Kavala) Acts 16:11
Philippi Matthew 16:13; Mark 8:27; Acts 16:12, 22; 20:6; Philippians 1-4; 1 Thessalonians 2:2
Thessalonica Acts 17:1. 11. 13; 27:2; Philippians 4:16: 1 and 2 Thessalonians; 2 Timothy 4:10
Veria Acts 17:10, 13: 20:4
Athens Acts 17:15-16, 22; 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:1
Corinth Acts 18:1; 19:1; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1, 23; 2 Timothy 4:20
Cenchreae Acts 18:18, Romans 16:1
Rome Acts 19:21,28:16,23:11,25:10-12,28:14-16, Romans 1:13-15

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