The Grand Tour of Eastern Turkey is a luxury tour that will allow you to experience the best that this extraordinary region has to offer in cultural, geographic and historical terms all in the context of luxury, fully provisioned and equipped coaches and staying in the best hotels that the region can boast.
Using our intimate local knowledge we have designed a tour that will allow you fully appreciate the splendours of our region in a measured and relaxed manner- each day is structured so you will get the most out of what we see and do. We visit most sites in the morning and late afternoon when they are cooler, quiet and when the light is best for photography. We have timed our travelling times to allow stops along the way if you see something of interest that you wish to investigate further or simply to stretch your legs. There will be no pressure on you at any point to buy anything and we will not take you to places where you will feel pressured to buy anything. We will ensure that our coaches are never full so that there is room for you to move around and spread out if you wish.
The Grand Tour starts at Trabzon on the Black Sea coast and concludes in Gaziantep, or vice versa, and includes domestic air travel from and to Istanbul.
1Day 1 -
Trabzon, visiting Aya Sofia and then the Sumela Monastery before continuing into the Pontic Mountains, across the Zigana Pass and onto Erzerum . (L, D)
2Day 2 -
Morning in Erzerum to see the Great Mosque, the Medrese and other central sites including the bazaar if desired. After lunch we leave Erzerum and travel to Kars via the Arras river valley, into the Arras Gorge through Sarıkamış.
Overnight in Kars. (B, L, D)
3Day 3 -
A reasonably early start to visit the ancient Armenian city of Ani on the Armenian border; allowing two to three hours for you explore the site we will be on our way by lunch time and will have a light lunch en route. We cross the Igdir plain, skirt the majestic mountain of Ararat and into Doğubayazıt to visit Ishak Pasha Saray. Early supper in Doğubayazıt and then on to Van with a brief stop on the way at the Muradiye Falls. Arrival in Van will about at 8 or 9 in the evening and light refreshments will be available in the hotel. This is probably the longest day of the tour. (B, L, D)
4Day 4 -
This day will be spent in and around Van at your leisure. You have the choice of joining small local tours to places like Hoşap Castle or Akdamar Island with its beautiful 10th century church or simply strolling around Van visiting the shops and the small but excellent local museum. We will also organise an evening trip to see Van citadel at sunset. (B) (L, D optional depending on activity chosen).
Overnight in Van.
5Day 5 -
After a leisurely breakfast we go on to Tatvan on the south western edge of Lake Van either by the scenic shore line road or, timings permitting, by the equally scenic Van to Tatvan ferry. Check into our hotel in Tatvan where we will stay tonight then onto Ahlat to visit the Seljuk cemeteries and mausoleums in the late afternoon. (B, L, D)
6Day 6 -
After a moderately early breakfast we go on to visit Nemrut crater Lakes. After a picnic lunch around the lakes we proceed to Bitlis and then down the awesome Bitlis river gorge and on to Batman where we will have a sumptuous dinner and our overnight stop a Thermal Spa Hotel. (B, L, D)
7Day 7 -
Early start to visit the soon to be sunken cave dwellings at Hasankeyf on the River Tigris while the temperatures are nice and cool. After a light lunch we travel on through the Gurduc valley on to Midyat with its silver bazaars and on to Mardin in the late afternoon where we will stay in a superbly renovated caravanserai. There will be time to wander through old Mardin before dinner. (B, L, D)
8Day 8 -
After a short visit to Mardin’s great Mosque we will carry on to the Saffron Monastery, once seat of the Syriac Christian Patriarch and a site of religious worship as far back as 1000 BC which is the age of the oldest religious structure on the site!
After the Saffron monastery we carry on to Sanliurfa (or Urfa) to check into hour hotel and then visit the pools of Abraham in the late afternoon and early evening. Dinner will be in a wonderfully renovated Turkish Han. (B, L, D)
9Day 9 -
After a moderately early breakfast we travel just outside Şanlıurfa to visit the ongoing archaeological dig at Göbekli Tepe which at about 11,000 BC is the site of the earliest religious structure yet discovered. From Göbekli Tepe we carry on to Kahta in Adiyaman via a ferry ride on the River Euphrates to check into our hotel, relax for while and proceed to the magnificent funerary monument on the peak of Mt. Nemrut. (NB. There are 2 Mt Nemruts- one at Adiyaman and one on the edge of Lake Van). After sunset, back to the hotel for drinks and dinner. (B, L, D)
10Day 10 -
After a leisurely breakfast we depart for Gaziantep where we will visit the museum that houses the exciting and beautiful Zeugma mosaics. After lunch and a tasting of baklava, for which the city is renown, we proceed to the airport for your return flight to Istanbul in the late afternoon. Overnight in Istanbul. (B, L, D)
11Day 11 -
These two days in Istanbul will be at your own leisure. Our staff will be available at all times to assist and guide you in any way you wish- we don’t want to drag you around the city following someone with an umbrella hoisted in the air.
12Day 12 -
We want you to enjoy this fabulous and incomparable city so we will ensure that while you can’t see and do everything here, as well as in eastern Turkey, our boast as company remains true; we don’t want you to arrive home only to find out that you missed something wonderful. (B)
13Day 13 -
Leisure time and depart for Istanbul. Breakfast included.
Black Sea Region, Central Anatolia, Eastern Anatolia, Marmara Region, South Eastern Anatolia
|Fitness Level||Low - Able to walk up to 500 metres over level ground.|
|What is included?||
All road transport (tolls etc) English speaking guide All state and local taxes All museum and site entries
|What is not included||
Lunch Personal expenses Beverages Insurance (unless otherwise stated)
|Terms & Conditions||
Please note that there is a 15% surcharge for single room occupancy.
Please note that it is essential that you have purchased travel insurance for all parts of Turkey. It is your responsibility to organise the correct cover but we are happy to advise.