Ancient Anatolia & Eastern Turkey

Turkey

Culture | Archaeology | Silk Road

Tread on antique footsteps through Central and Eastern Anatolia

14 days £3,695 pp This is the per person group tour price, based on 2 sharing. The price is subject to change with exchange rate and flight cost fluctuations.
Intro, Dates & Prices

Intro

Turkey's Eastern backwaters are a veritable treasure trove of beautifully-preserved antiquity and creation-myths that backdate the story of Humanity in ways almost unimaginable. Perhaps nowhere else on Earth can the story of Man be so accurately re-enacted as in Anatolia's hinterlands, on frontiers that follow the curve of the ancient Fertile Crescent.

On this journey through heartlands of Anatolia, everywhere is a land that makes truth of myths. This is the land of Gordian knots that had Alexander himself in a fix. This is the land of troglodyte caves after the hermits have gone, of fiery pools where Abraham was cast; of ten millennia-old temples, like Göbekli Tepe and Karahan Tepe, to deities long-deceased. If you want the sublime without the ridiculous, this might be the tour.

Here on the central plateau, Man crafted history from an imagination only Gods could possess. Vainglorious ancient kings built monuments to themselves on lonely mountains like Nemrut. Near-eastern empires, like the Hittites, disappeared from the historical record, but they left their capital, Hattusa, to leave us wondering why.

Perhaps nowhere else but throughout Central and Eastern Turkey can the journey of humanity be followed by a journey off the tourist highway and into the unknown.

For some tour extension ideas from Konya, check our to our Konya Extensions page.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Iconic head statues on Mount Nemrut
  • Discover the beginnings of civilisation at Göbekli Tepe
  • Marvel at the stunning exhibits of Urfa museum
  • Ancient mud beehive homes of Harran
  • Explore the ancient Zeugma Region
  • Taste Gaziantep’s culinary delights
  • Explore the vast depths of Cappadocia's underground cities
  • Marvel at the world famous “fairy chimneys”
  • The world's first town, Çatalhöyük

Places Visited

Istanbul - Istanbul - Haghia Sophia - Mount Nemrut - Urfa - Göbekli Tepe - Harran - Karahan Tepe - Gaziantep - Ankara - Hattusa - Cappadocia - Konya - Çatalhöyük

What's Included

Internal flights (Istanbul - Adiyaman, Konya - Istanbul)
Airport pick-up & drop-off
Ground transport
Accommodation
Entrance fees to sites
Breakfasts and some other meals (see meal plan)
Drivers and guides

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Itinerary & Map
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Day 1 : Istanbul

Fly into Istanbul airport where a Travel The Unknown representative will meet you and take you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free. Overnight in Istanbul. 

Overnight in Hotel Levni, Istanbul

Meal plan: n/a

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Day 2 : Istanbul

In keeping with our overarching theme of archaeology, we start our first full day of activities at Istanbul's world-class Archaeology Museum. One of the premier houses of antiquities for all things Ottoman. Later, we branch out into some of this city's more distinguished sites, including Bucaleon Palace and the famous forums of Theodosius and Constantine, to gain some insight into its long and storied past. Finally, Istanbul would be not be complete without at least one visit to the amazing Basilica Cistern.

Overnight in Hotel Levni, Istanbul

Meal plan: Breakfast

Sitting on the Bosphorus, Istanbul is one of the world’s truly great cities - overflowing with culture and historical sites. World class attractions such as the exquisite Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque, excellent bars and restaurants, jaw-dropping architecture, vibrant markets and a history of epic proportions makes Istanbul a city par excellence.

Set along the shores of the Sea of Marmara, Bucoleon Palace (Boukolean in Turkish) was a summer palace for Byzantine emperors.

Yerebatan Basilica (Basilica Cistern) is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul . They're left from the days when Istanbul was Constantinople. Most large and important Byzantine buildings provided storage for water beneath them. Built by Justinian after 532, the Basilica Cistern stored water for the Great Palace and nearby buildings. Lost to memory, it was rediscovered by Petrus Gyllius, who came to Constantinople in search of Byzantine monuments. It was also the film set for a scene from the James Bond film "From Russia With Love". 

Built before the ciy's inauguration in 330AD, Constantine's forum served as one of Constaninople's chief ideological spaces. 

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Day 3 : Istanbul - Adiyaman - Mt Nemrut

Morning flight from Istanbul to Adiyaman. Proceed to the Roman-era Cendere Bridge and Karakus Tumulus. Then climb Mount Nemrut, exploring the East and West terraces and enjoy stupendous views from the mountain's peak overlooking the Euphrates valley. Enjoy the evening at leisure in your mountain hotel.

Overnight in Hotel Euphrat, Mount Nemrut

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Cendere Bridge is one of the world’s oldest bridges still in use, constructed during the empire of Septimus Severus (193-211). Composed of 92 stones, each weighing around 10 tons, it is thought to be the second largest Roman bridge still in existence, spanning an impressive 122 metres. The bridge today appears as a simple, unadorned arch, but was originally decorated by four Corinthian columns dedicated to Septimus Severus and his wife.

A mountain of around two thousand metres, Mount Nemrut is home to the tomb of the pre-Roman king, Antiochus I Theos of Commagene. Built by the king himself in about 62 BC as a shrine to his own remains, the site consists of two large statues of Antiochus which dwarf two statue pairs of eagles and lions, and various Iranian, Greek and Armenian Gods. The statues are now damaged and mostly appear beheaded. Scholars have largely attributed this to later attacks on iconoclasm, but the statues have since been returned to their original places. Behind the display of statues are some well-preserved slabs of stone which feature figures in relief carving and are originally thought to have formed a large frieze. Archaeologists interpret the figures as Antiochus’ ancestors, which allegedly included Greeks and Persians. It is the perfect place to experience a sunset or sunrise as the views from the summit are sublime.

NOTE: it is a 30-40 minute walk up uneven steps to reach the summit.


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Day 4 : Nemrut - Göbekli Tepe - Urfa

After breakfast, drive towards Urfa, stopping off at one of the most significant archaeological sites in the world - Göbekli Tepe - the world's first temple. After lunch proceed to the Archaeological Museum in Urfa. The impressive museum houses a replica of one of the stone circles in Gobekli Tepe, as well as other important archaeological exhibits from the region. Overnight in Urfa. 

Overnight in Hilton Garden Inn, Urfa

Meal plan: Breakfast

The Urfa Museum contains many of the archaeological finds from Göbekli Tepe including steles and sculptures. It also contains Hittite sculptures from Golpinar and pieces from Harran, Nevali Cori and Kabahaydar.

Göbekli Tepe, the oldest place of worship in the world, is an archaeological site without equal. Prior to its discovery in 1994 and its subsequent excavation it was widely believed by anthropologists that religion evolved as a result of living in larger communities which was itself the result of the change from foraging to agriculture. However, Göbekli Tepe has turned our theories of our own evolution on their head. The vast religious site dates from the hunter gatherer period and there is no evidence of any agriculture or even human habitation, suggesting that it may have been the emergence of religion that lead us to civilisation and thus to agriculture. The site contains a vast array of circular structures and huge pillars, some with beautiful limestone carvings of lions, foxes, snakes and birds, believed to be gatekeepers of the entrance to the next world. To date, less than ten percent of the site has been excavated. 

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Day 5 : Urfa - Karahan Tepe - Harran - Urfa

In the morning set off for the ancient site of Karahan Tepe, built in a similar period to Gobekli Tepe. Return to Urfa for lunch and then leave for the old city of Harran, known for its 'beehive' houses and the site of the world's first Islamic university. Optional evening visit to a traditional music show with dinner. Overnight in Urfa.

Overnight in Hilton Garden Inn, Urfa

Meal plan: Breakfast

Visit the ancient city of Harran, once the centre of Egypt's Hermetic tradition. See its ominous "Astrological Tower", citadel and local village and take in one of the most atmospheric sites anywhere in the world. Mentioned in the Book of Genesis, Harran is believed to have once been home to the Prophet Abraham. The site of the first Islamic university in Anatolia, Harran also boasts the remains of an 8th century mosque, a citadel and some 300 year old beehive mud homes which enjoy a constant temperature throughout the year, winter or summer. 

Urfa (a.k.a. Sanliurfa, “the prophet’s city”, or Edessa in ancient times) is the most spiritual city in Eastern Turkey. It is a major centre for pilgrimage and its traditions are very much alive and well. The “Sanli-“ part of its name (meaning “great” or “dignified”) was awarded by the Turkish legislature in 1984 in recognition of the city’s pivotal role in the Turkish war of Independence. Of particular note for visitors are Urfa Castle (the current walls were constructed by the Abbasids in 814AD), the Pool of Sacred Fish where Abraham was thrown in to the fire by Nimrod, the park of mosques, the market area and the Urfa museum.

Not far from Göbekli Tepe is another Pre-Pottery Neolithic site called Karahan Tepe, which dates to a similar age as Göbekli Tepe. Stone rows, T-shaped stone pillars, and other standing stones cover a hill but they have not been excavated so are still largely covered with soil though they stick. Some people believe it may prove to be even more important than Göbekli Tepe. 

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Day 6 : Urfa - Halfeti - Rumkale - Zeugma - Gaziantep

Drive to Gaziantep, stopping by the banks of the mighty Euphrates to see the Roman fortresses of Halfeti and Rumkale. Time-permitting, Zeugma, too. Continue to Gaziantep for overnight.

Overnight in Divan Hotel, Gaziantep

Meal plan: Breakfast

A small farming district situated on the East bank of the river Euphrates, Halfeti has been a home to the Assyrians (first established by Assyrian King, ShalmaneserII I in 885 BC), the Greeks, Romans, the Mameluks and the Ottomans. Despite being sieged by the Mameluks, parts of the old city walls still remain.

Rumkale translates to ‘Roman Castle’ and was once a powerful fortress, overlooking the river Euphrates. In ancient times a site of great strategic importance to Romans and Assyrians alike, the fortress is accessible by boat from the neighbouring Zeugma Region. Today, much of the lower-lying town area has been flooded, but the dramatically situated Rumkale helps you imagine the magnificence of the area in ancient times.

Zeugma, once at the forefront of ancient art and culture, boasts some of the most magnificent artworks and sculptures from ancient Turkey. Founded by one of the generals of Alexander the Great, the name ‘Zeugma’ means ‘bridge passage’ and refers to the city’s location on the river Euphrates and its former strategic importance in the silk trade route. When the site was excavated it turned up a number of beautiful mosaics, including the famous Gypsy girl mosaic now on display in the mosaics museum in Gaziantep alongside many others from Zeugma.

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Day 7 : Gaziantep - Ankara

Visit the Zeugma mosaic museum and explore the city of Gaziantep, enjoying the famous local cuisine. Then take a direct flight from Gaziantep to Ankara, where you will stay overnight.

Overnight in Radisson Blu Ankara, Ankara

Meal plan: Breakfast

The culinary capital of Eastern Turkey, Gaziantep’s famous baklava (pistachio pastries) are shipped all over the country and beyond, and its renowned restaurants serve up mouth-watering dishes. Besides cuisine, Gaziantep boasts a fine Seljuk-era citadel, numerous impressive mosques and restored old buildings. Gaziantep’s chief draw however, is its mosaic museum, believed to be the best in the world. The mosaics were recovered from the ancient Roman town of Zeugma, now underwater. The town’s bustling city markets are also well worth a visit.

The Zeugma Museum houses many impressive artworks and sculptures which testify to the area’s magnificence in Greek and Roman times. Its highlight however is a series of mosaics, the most famous of which is a mosaic known as the “Gypsy Girl”.

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Day 8 : Ankara - Gordion - Ankara

Today you will visit the impressive Ankara Anatolian Civilisation Museum and the famous archaeological and mythical site of Gordion, where Alexander was reputed to have simply taken his sword to the knot that had proven so problematic for Gordion's inhabitants to untangle. Time-permitting we will stop at Ankara Fort. Overnight in Ankara.

Overnight in Radisson Blu Ankara, Ankara

Meal plan: Breakfast

The Ankara Anatolian Civilisation Museum boasts many archaeological finds related to the excavations in Hattusa and Çatalhöyük, and will help you to gain a good understanding of these areas. The historical centre of Ankara sits overlooking the town on a hill and is littered with the remains of Hittite, Phrygian, Byzantine, Roman and Christian monuments and settlements. Of particular interest as a surviving example of ancient architecture is the Temple of Augustus. Often also referred to as ‘Angora’, Ankara is home to the Angora goat with its luxury wool and the unusual animal breeds of angora cats and rabbits.

Occupied since the Bronze Age, 4000 years ago, Gordion is one of the most important archaeological sites in the near east. The city enjoyed its golden age in the first millennium when it was the royal capital of the Iron Age Kingdom known as ‘Phrygia’ to the Greeks and ‘Mushki’ to the neighbouring Assyrian Empire. It is most famous for the story of the "Gordion Knot", where Alexander The Great solved the insoluble by slicing this particular knotty problem with his sword rather than unravel it - thus allowing him to conquer Asia.

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Day 9 : Ankara - Hattusa

After breakfast, we drive to the World Heritage Site of Hattusa to walk through the legendary Lion's Gate and into the erstwhile capital of the Hittite Kingdom. This site of outstanding historical and cultural value dates from the mid-second millennia B.C, and sits in typical landscape of the Northern Central Anatolian Mountain Region as a permanent reminder of the glories of the ancient Near East. If anything can be said to represent a cradle of empire, it is Hattusa. Enjoy a full afternoon lost in the distant past, including a side-trip to Yaslikaya, the Hittite sanctuary containing remarkably well-preserved stelae ((inscribed, pictorial rock slabs) of Hittite scenes.

Overnight in Başkent Demiralan Hotel, Hattusa

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Hattusa was once the centre of the Hittite Empire, dating back to the late Bronze Age. Set in what were once rich agricultural fields and among scenic, rolling hills within a typical landscape of the Northern Central Anatolian mountain region, the city has some fine examples of early ancient architecture. Originally the inner city was a vast array of temples and monuments, overlooked by the royal residence on the acropolis. An architectural masterpiece in its time, the city gateway was once adorned with reliefs of warriors, lions and sphinxes, framing four temples, each of which had their own courtyard. The city was inexplicably destroyed, along with the Hittites themselves, in the 12th century BC. By the 20th century, the principal remains of Hittite inscriptions were found on over 10,000 tablets.

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Day 10 : Hattusa - Cappadocia

After leaving our base near Hattusa, we go on an exciting voyage to one of Turkey's most enduring gifts to the world: wonderful Cappadocia. A cornucopia of sights and activities await you here. In the afternoon, we will enjoy a panoramic tour of the surreal landscape to ease your way into the region. Cappadocia will be our base for the next couple of days.

Overnight in The MDC Cave Hotel, Cappadocia

Meal plan: Breakfast



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Day 11 : Cappadocia

We have a full-day ahead exploring the beautiful area of Cappadocia, and all that that entails. ​Scheduled and optional highlights include: hot-air balloon ride (for an additional cost); a visit to Ozkonak Underground City; the pottery centre of Avanos; Uchisar castle, and the fairy chimneys of Avcilar Valley.

Overnight in The MDC Cave Hotel, Cappadocia

Meal plan: Breakfast

Discovered only as recently as 1972, Ozkonak Underground City is a warren of small chambers, tunnels and storage rooms that are arranged over a series of ten levels. This underground complex would have been used as a stronghold for the Hitties when under attack from neighbouring enemies and could house its inhabitants for up to 3 months. The city boasts a number of impressive features such as its sophisticated ventilation system and unique series of pipes that was used to pour hot oil on attackers attempting to breach the chamber doors.

The town of Avanos is set on the banks of the Kizilirmak, (Red River). This river is the longest in Turkey and supplies the clay for pottery for which Avanos is so well known. Pottery has been produced in the Avanos area for centuries and some of the techniques still used date back to Hittite times (around 2000 BC).

Uchisar is situated at the highest point in Cappadocia, and is home to the most spectacular natural castles. The top of the Uchisar Castle provides a magnificent panorama of the surrounding area with Mount Erciyes in the distance. Many hollowed out rooms in the castle rock are connected to each other with stairs, tunnels and passages. Most of the rooms, located on the north side of the castle are in use as dovecots today.

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Day 12 : Cappadocia

Our second full day here entails a trip to the Goreme open-air museum and the Devrent Valley. Under Cappadocia's blue skies, we'll go for a 4km walk in the Red Valley to visit some rock-hewn churches and fairy chimneys. Visit the Greek village of Cavusin and a short visit of the Valley of the Pigeons. Overnight in Cappadocia.

Overnight in The MDC Cave Hotel, Cappadocia

Meal plan: Breakfast

Devrent Valley is home to the famous Fairy Chimneys near Goreme and is known as the imaginary valley or animal valley due to the animal shapes in rocks. While Fairy chimneys can be found in much of Cappadocia, these are the best formed and most densely clustered. The volcanic rock of this area has allowed erosion to form these chimneys as well as other landforms such as caves, clefts and folds in the rock, making this breathtaking landscape unique. A thick layer of tuff (consolidated volcanic ash) is covered by a thinner layer of basalt which is more resistant to erosion than the underlying rock. Cracks in the basalt enable erosion of the underlying rock. These fairy chimneys were formed where the resistant rock remains protecting the underlying rock directly beneath it from erosion. The mineral-rich volcanic soil is excellent for growing fruit and vegetables, making Cappadocia a rich agricultural region. It has always been one of Anatolia's prime grape-growing areas and still boasts many productive vineyards and wineries. The Bible's New Testament tells of Cappadocia, but in fact this part of central Anatolia has been important since Hittite times, long before the time of Jesus.

The Goreme Open-Air Museum has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1984 and is a vast complex of monasteries, each of which has its own church. These churches are the finest of the rock-cut churches, boasting beautiful frescoes (wall paintings).


Amongst beautiful scenery, the Valley of Pigeons showcases some of the most interesting rock formations that Cappadocia has to offer. The soft rock of the valley allowed for farmers to carve numerous dovecotes into the rock cliffs, encouraging pigeons to nest and giving the area its name.


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Day 13 : Cappadocia - Çatalhöyük - Konya

After breakfast, a drive to Konya (305 km), stopping to visit the 13th century Seljuk caravanserai of Sultanhan en route. Later we come to arguably the tour's pièce de résistance: the world's oldest-unearthed settlement of Çatalhöyük, where excavations are ongoing. Overnight in Konya.

Overnight in ​Hilton Garden Inn, Konya

Meal plan: Breakfast

Konya is an affluent, mid-sized city in Central Turkey. It is the centre of all things Sufi and also strongly linked to Seljuk culture.

Çatalhöyük, widely believed to be the world’s first town, is one of the best preserved examples of a Neolithic and Chalcolithic settlement. Built around two hills of the Anatolian plateau, the settlement was inhabited for two thousand years between 7500 BC and 5700 BC. Çatalhöyük began life as a village and, unusually, in a time when village settlements were abandoned and new land used to build cities, the buildings were adapted and urbanised to accommodate a growing population. With a particularly advanced culture for its time, Çatalhöyük boasts impressive early artworks: unusual artistic wall paintings, flint daggers with decorated bone handles and most notably, the clay and marble figurines found scattered around the site which archaeologists take as evidence of a female deity. 
The housing designs are perhaps the most striking – all the houses were clustered together in a maze-like manner, but instead of streets or footpaths the roofs functioned as paths between the houses which were accessed through steps and ladders leading to the ceiling. With no windows either, these ‘doorways’ in the ceiling were also the only means of ventilation. Çatalhöyük also had unusual burial customs, burying their dead under the floorboards, painting skulls with ochre.


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Day 14 : Konya - Departure

Time-permitting, after breakfast you can visit to the holy Sufi shrine of its founder, Rumi. Later take a flight back to Istanbul and connect to your departure flight.

Extensions elsewhere in Turkey or beyond can also be arranged. Please get in touch for suggestions.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The Tomb of Rumi, the great Sufi mystic and poet is the centrepiece of the Mevlana museum and draws adherents of the Sufi way from all over Turkey and beyond. Rumi believed in tolerance and being open to all. A famous verse of his goes:

“Come, whoever you may be, an infidel, a pagan or a fire-worshipper, come.
Ours is not a brotherhood of despair. 
Even if you have broken your vows of repentance a hundred times, come.”


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Accommodation

Accommodation

All accommodation subject to availability. Final accommodation choices will be confirmed after booking.

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Hotel Levni

Istanbul (2 nights)

This Boutique Hotel with a Spa right in the heart of Sultan Ahmed has a total of 75 beautifully furnished rooms and suites. Standard room facilities include: air conditioning, a minibar and a hairdryer. There are also a TV, telephone and a kettle among the facilities in each room.  All kinds of delicacies are available at the hotel's restaurant, including specialities for vegetarians and diabetics, too. The hotel has its own bistro (providing light snacks) and a a cosy wine/beer pub. Enjoy your leisure time in the indoor swimming pool or fitness room. 

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Hotel Euphrat

Mount Nemrut (1 night)

A basic hotel located close to Mount Nemrut. All rooms are en-suite and come fitted with an LCD TV, minibar, air conditioning and free wireless Internet. The on-site restaurant serves a range of local delicacies. 

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Hilton Garden Inn

Urfa (2 nights)

Located in an area known as the ''Fertile Crescent'' where a great deal of traditional architecture has been preserved, the Hilton Garden Inn is within walking distance of the city center and Urfa's main historical sites. Comfortable en suite rooms feature AC, satellite TV, tea/coffee making facilities and a minibar.

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Divan Hotel

Gaziantep (1 night)

The Divan Hotel is located along the Silk Road and continues this historical tradition by offering guests an authentic, elegant experience. Its central location makes it ideal for exploring the ancient city. The hotel provides spacious, comfortable rooms, and a spa fitted with a sauna, Jacuzzi, and swimming pool. Unwind in the Lobby Bar at the end of the day and dine from a range of traditional and local dishes in the Divan Pub.

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Radisson Blu Ankara

Ankara (2 nights)

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The MDC Cave Hotel

Cappadocia (3 nights)

MDC HOTEL is located in Ürgüp, Cappadocia, a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE. The name Cappadocia comes from Katpatuka, an ancient Persian word meaning “land of horses.” The region is now largely agricultural and the spectacular landscape is dotted with distinct rock structures. The MDC HOTEL grounds cover 15,000 m2, ideally located between an old river valley and ancient Ürgüp.  Room Facilities: Jacuzzi/Whirlpool, telephone, radio, LCD TV, tea/coffee maker, minibar and a safety deposit box. 

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​Hilton Garden Inn

Konya (1 night)

Hilton Garden Inn in Konya is located close to Mevlana Tomb and Museum, Alaeddin Mosque, and Ince Minaret Medrese. All rooms offer complimentary WiFi, an adjustable Garden Sleep System bed™, minibar and a spacious work desk with ergonomic chair. Dining options include a restaurant, a coffee shop/café, and a bar/lounge. Additional amenities include a fitness facility, room service (during limited hours) and complimentary wireless internet. 

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Extensions

Luxury Turkey

Discover the best Turkey has to offer

Thrace Extension (3 days)

Explore European Turkey in the Thrace region, a fascinating and little seen region

The Magic of Cappadocia (4 days)

Unique history and fairytale landscapes

Konya Extensions (3 days)

Day trip options from Konya

Istanbul Extensions (5 days)

Extend your trip from Istanbul

Trekking in Turkey (3-14 days)

Discover Turkey's splendid and varied terrain on foot

Troy and Nicaea Extension (2 days)

Explore two sites of enormous historical significance in this short extension

Culinary Turkey (3-14 days)

Tickle your taste-buds with a tour of Turkey's cuisine

Turkey's Beaches

Relax and unwind on Turkey's Mediterranean beaches

Turkey's Cities (1-14 days)

From Bodrum to Istanbul, explore Turkey's historic cities

Turkey Gullet Experience

Set sail aboard a Turkish Gulet and explore Turkey's coast

Archaeology of Western Turkey (15 days)

Uncover historical secrets in the west

Black Sea & Eastern Turkey (14 days)

Natural wonders, ancient sites & Kurdish culture

Ancient Anatolia & Eastern Turkey (14 days)

Tread on antique footsteps through Central and Eastern Anatolia

Silk Road through Turkey (14 days)

Ancient trading routes, historic battles and striking scenery

Classical Turkey (10 days)

Journey through Turkey's iconic sites

Turkish Volcano Trek (10 days)

Stunning eastern peaks including Mount Ararat

Aegean Sea Gulet Cruise (8 days)

Explore the Gulf of Gokova on a classic Turkish sailboat

Southern Turkey Snapshot (7 days)

Turkey's southern frontiers: the cradle of civilisation

Classical Constantinople (4 days)

Discover the exotic charms of this eternal city

Reviews

I had a lovely time in Turkey. Both of the tours that were part of the package were fabulous, both tour guides were very knowledgeable and made the trips very interesting providing plenty of information, and the places where we went for lunches as part of the trip were superb. David McGuinness is a credit to Travel the Unknown, he goes that `extra mile` to keep customer happy. I`d like to say a huge `thank you` for all the help you gave me organising and planning my trip. I certainly will recommend anyone to use you for planning their `unknown` destination holiday. The emails, telephone calls were all spot on, well done :-) :-)

Jane Kimberley , The Magic of Cappadocia, Turkey

I would not hesitate in using Travel the Unknown for any future journeys to off the beaten track destinations.

Andrea Selfridge , Tailormade Turkey

Arda, our local guide was absolutely the best. Always a smile, always running (literally) to fulfill every request, treating every member as his personal responsibility, and going way way above and beyond to assist and accommodate. He is a so remarkably knowledgeable, and seemingly found no question beyond his ability to answer & explain. And his English is impeccable. KEEP HIM!!! Very special individual. Andrew is an incredible guide, with such a wealth of information and passion for his subjects. He never tired and made the trip fascinating and exciting due to the perspectives and explanations he shared continuously based upon years of research. Felt very fortunate to be in his presence for 2 weeks in such places that we were able to visit. Same for Hugh. And Hugh`s constant humour was delightful. These two balance each other well, and make a great team

Peggy Roberts , Tailormade Turkey

As a worldwide traveller, explorer & author travelling through COVID times, my trip with Travel The Unknown was a perfect choice for my adventure in Turkey. As a solo booking , I didn’t need the usual tourist bling. I knew what I wanted to see and the company chose the best guide I could have wished for. No fuss. Dealing with my preferences. This company know exactly what they are doing with complete knowledge of their guests, countries and Travel passage. I highly recommend Travel the Unknown.

Tessa Skola , Tailormade Eastern Turkey

I went on this trip rather than all the other interesting possibilities in the world because I wanted to go to Gobekli Tepe. Being there was all I could have hoped for. It was a stunning experience and I was moved to tears. Thank you so much for the opportunity. Regarding the food, the olives were the best I`ve ever tasted. And the yoghurt is fabulous. Also the cheese and pistachios and apricots. Oh yes, and the watermelon : ) Thanks to David too for being so patient with my endless questions

Cynthia Bishop , Eastern Turkey Explorer, Turkey

We covered many miles and saw some fantastic sites and sights. The special access that our tour leader provided really enhanced the experience for me - I`ll certainly never forget tracking down an inscription in Van with his help - and to see Gobekli Tepe and Nemrut Dag on the same day was marvelous. At the end of the trip, the Zeugma Mosaic Museum was a wonderful surprise - the best mosaics I`ve ever seen, in a truly world-class setting.

Jim Cleary , Eastern Turkey Explorer, Turkey

Travel the Unknown provide good friendly advice and information before travel. They are very approachable and helpful. The accommodation is of a high standard as are the meals. Local guides are knowledgeable and anxious to ensure that travellers have a good and rounded experience.

Anthony Twohig , Eastern Turkey Explorer, Turkey

We greatly enjoyed visiting the ancient sites of Western Turkey with an experienced guide and seeing the remains of so many different periods and cultures. The scenery was spectacular and we felt that the tour gave us a wonderful introduction to the country.

Michael Wilson , Archaeology of Western Turkey, Turkey

This was a very exciting itinerary including fantastic historic and prehistoric site visits, as well as visits to wonderful towns, restaurants and markets. The attentiveness of the guide ensured that everything went smoothly, even in very out-of-the way places. It was possible to fall in love with the drama of the landscape, the character of the architecture, the colour, sights and sounds of the towns, the friendliness and honesty of the people - and I did!

Jane Neild , Eastern Turkey Explorer, Turkey

Charming people organising the trip and acting as guides. An inspirational visit taking us to out of the way places we would never have had the chance to visit. The personal touch Travel the Unknown brings sets them apart.

Caroline & Peter , Eastern Turkey Snapshot, Turkey

A great way to travel to some of the more remote and interesting places in the world. It was a very interesting area and we saw a lot that we would never have managed on our own. I would recommend the holiday to others.

Marion McCallum , Eastern Turkey Snapshot, Turkey

This trip was an amazing and very exhilarating experience. We had high hopes of Gobekli Tepe, which were totally fulfilled- it is utterly amazing, but we had not anticipated some of the other gems to be so exceptional as well. We were a small group, which made the trip very personal. Altogether it was a marvellous week, helped by having a caring guide and an excellent driver.

Joy Lawley , Eastern Turkey Snapshot, Turkey
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