Archaeology of Western Turkey

Turkey

Culture | Archaeology

Uncover historical secrets in the west

11 days £2,795 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.
Dates & Prices

Intro

Journey back in time as you make a fascinating tour of some of the world’s most important archaeological sites. Visit the legendary city of ancient Troy, fascinating Pergamon, Satan’s biblical abode, and the beautiful, slender, coastal-set remains of Ephesus. Explore the mountain city of Sagalassos and the ancient ruins of once-glorious Olympos. Trace the complex lines of history and entangled civilisations through this bountiful land – from Romans, Byzantines, Persians, Ionians, Seljuks and of course, Ottomans. Finally enjoy excellent cuisine and legendary Turkish hospitality on this trip of a lifetime.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Legendary Ancient Troy
  • The Acropolis at Pergamon
  • The spectacular Roman ruins of Ephesus
  • The Temple of Artemis
  • Beaches and mountains of Cirali
  • The mountain city of Sagalassos

Places Visited

Ancient Troy - Canakkale - Pergamon - Izmir - Sardis - Pamukkale - Alasehir - Ephesus - Kusadasi - Laodikeia - ​Priene - Miletus - Xanthos Letoon - Patara Beach - Demre - Burdur - Sagalassos - Burdur City Museum - Antalya - ​Termessos - Perge - Aspendos - Termessos Natural Park

What's Included

Internal flights
Airport pick-up & drop-off
Ground transport
Accommodation
Entrance fees to sites
Breakfasts
Drivers and guides
Itinerary & Map
Image 3

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 to relax or explore. Overnight in Istanbul.

Meal plan: n/a

Image 3

Day 2 : Canakkale - Ancient Troy

Early morning departure from Istanbul by road and arrive to Canakkale via Lapseki ferry. After lunch break directly proceed to Ancient City Of Troy. Return to Iris Hotel by 16:30 in time for a quick swim at Dardanelles Sea. Overnight in Iris Hotel, Guzelyali Canakkale.

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Ancient Troy is one of the most legendary cities in all of history. Dating back to the fourth millennium BC, Troy is best known from the ancient folk-tales recorded in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey as the site of the Trojan War. Ancient historians have dated the Trojan War between the 12th and 14th centuries BC, linking it to Troy VII – the 7th archaeological project of Troy. The ancient city also features in Aeschylus’ Oresteia, in which war-hero Agamemnon returns from Troy to be murdered by his wife, Clytemnestra. By the time of Augustus a new settlement known as Ilium was established nearby, which declined until the Byzantine era.

Read more
Image 3

Day 3 : Pergamon - Izmir

After breakfast drive from Canakkale to Pergamon, to see the acropolis. After Pergamon visit continue to Izmir and overnight in Izmir.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Branded the dwelling place of Satan by the ‘Book of Revelation’ in the Bible, the ancient city of Pergamon has long occupied an important place in ancient history. What remains of the site is found on the acropolis: the main original structure, which gained a reputation as ‘the throne of Satan’, has now been moved to the Berlin Museum, but the base structure still remains, giving an idea of the altar’s size. The Hellenistic Theatre meanwhile boasts a seating capacity of over 10,000 people and has the steepest seating of any theatre in the ancient world. Other significant buildings include the Temple of Dionysus and the vast Roman Baths Complex.

Buzzing metropolis Izmir is now the third most populated city in Turkey, with a history of over 3,500 years. Situated overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Izmir had an important trade and military significance thanks to its port. The main historical sites in Izmir include the unusual 20th century Clock Tower, the ancient Agora of Smynra, which also has a museum. The Ottoman Kemeralti Bazaar zone is also interesting.

Read more
Image 3

Day 4 : Sardis - Alasehir

After breakfast proceed to Sardis, the capital of the ancient Lydia. Then continue towards Alasehir, known in the middle ages as Philadelphia. After visiting Alasehir continue to Hierapolis in Pamukkale. Overnight in a thermal spa hotel in Pamukkale.

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Sardis played a significant role in both the Persian and Roman Empires and was once the capital of Ancient Lycia. Again one of the Seven Churches of Asia according to the Book of Revelation in the Bible, Sardis also formed the setting for Aeschylus’ ‘The Persians’ and gained standing for its military strength. The first excavations in the early 20th century unearthed the impressive Temple of Artemis. Other important sites are the old gymnasium and synagogue.

Deriving from springs in a cliff almost 200 m high overlooking the plain, calcite-laden waters have created at Pamukkale (Cotton Palace) an unreal landscape, made up of mineral forests, petrified waterfalls and a series of terraced basins. At the end of the 2nd century B.C. the dynasty of the Attalids, the kings of Pergamon, established the thermal spa of Hierapolis. The ruins of the baths, temples and other Greek monuments can be seen at the site.

Alasehir was one of the first ancient cities to be known as Philadelphia. King Eumenes II of Pergamon named it after he announced his brother would be his heir - ‘Philadelphos’ literally translates as ‘one who loves his brother’. Also home to one of the Seven Churches of Asia.

Read more
Image 3

Day 5 : Ephesus - Laodikeia

After breakfast leave Pamukkale towards Ephesus, on the way stop at the Archaeological site of Laodikeia. Visit the Temple of Artemis and continue to Ephesus for a full day sightseeing in the best known and most visited Ancient Cities of Turkey. Overnight in Kusadasi.

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Ephesus is one of the most magical sites in Turkey, perfectly isolated in a mountain valley, with views out to the sea from the top of the site, you enter a lost world. Extremely well-preserved, the ancient structures of Ephesus date back to the 12th century BC. Originally it was famed for the Temple of Artemis, located just outside the main tourist site, of which one of the original soaring pillars remains. Inside the site itself is the enormous theatre, the Temple of Hadrian, and the spectacular terraced houses once inhabited by wealthy Romans and adorned with exquisite mosaics. Fundamentally a Greek city, Ephesus was one of the Seven Churches of Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelation, and remained an important religious centre for much of Turkey’s ancient history. Its coastal location also facilitated its role as an ancient trade centre.

Laodikeia is one of the most important archeological ruins of this area of Turkey. Excavations have shown that the city was settled continuously from 5500BC to the 7th Century, as well as containing the remains of a complex aqueduct system, supplying the city with water. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was one of the original 7 wonders of the ancient world and its location was rediscovered in 1869, after 60 years of searching. The original temple dates back to the Bronze Age and after being rebuilt 3 times since then, only the ruined foundations remain.

Read more
Image 3

Day 6 : Priene - Miletus - Didymium

After breakfast drive to Priene, Miletus and Didymium. Overnight in Kusadasi.

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Priene was originally one of the cities of the Ionian League, gaining a reputation for its spectacular ancient art and architecture. However, the city’s original location on top of Mount Mycale has never been discovered so most of the remains date to the later Hellenistic period. The most striking sites include the Temple of Athena which was founded by Alexander the Great, the ancient Greek theatre, and the remains of the sanctuaries to Zeus and Demeter, the goddess of harvest.

Miletus was an important city in the Selcuk era thanks to its location on the western coast of Anatolia. In the 14th century Selcuk Turks captured the city, and used it as a centre for trade with Venice. Archaeological findings however, suggest Miletus dates back as far as Neolithic times, and during the Classical period its grid-layout became the model for Roman city structures. The incredible Market Gate of Miletus was transported back to Germany piece by piece in the late 1970s and now stands fully restored there.

Most of the artefacts and archaeological finds from Miletus are now located in the Museum of Miletus at Didim, the town which contains Didyma. Meaning ‘twins’ in Greek, Didyma once housed the second most important oracle in the Ancient World after Delphi, the Oracle of Apollo. The name ‘twins’ likely refers to the cult of sibling gods, Apollo and Artemis, which was established there. The ancient sanctuary was destroyed by the Persians in the 5th century BC, but the striking Temple of Apollo is still fairly well-preserved, and some interesting ancient friezes and temple columns can still be found around the site.

Read more
Image 3

Day 7 : Xanthos Letoon - Patara Beach

Drive to Xantos Letoon which is one of the Unesco World Heritage sites of Turkey. Then continue to Patara where the world’s first Parliament Assembly which was located right on the Patara Beach. Overnight in Kalkan / Kaş.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Xanthos Letoon was best known in ancient times for its innovative funerary art. At one time the capital of Lycia, the city blended Lycian and Hellenistic art and architectural styles. Excavations have unearthed a wealth of bilingual ancient texts in both Greek and Lycian, which have helped scholars gain a better understanding of Lycian. Indeed one of the Xanthian Obelisks contains a tri-lingual inscription of Greek, Lycian and a 3rd Anatolian language, ‘Milyn’.

Beautiful Patara Beach is a stretch of sand along the Turquoise Coast, one of the longest beaches in the Mediterranean. The sea turtles who annually lay their eggs here mean that it is protected, as well as being closely located to several archaeological points of interest including the Patara Roman Amphitheatre.

Read more
Image 3

Day 8 : Kalkan - Demre - Burdur

After breakfast drive to Ucagizi in Demre to take a boat out to explore the Lycian sunken city and Lycian Tombs. After the boat ride visit Demre and the Church of St Nicholas of Myra. Continue to Burdur for overnight.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Demre is the hometown of St Nicholas of Myra, the inspiration for Santa Claus. This charming little village includes the Church of St Nicholas of Myra that was partially restored in 1862 by Tsar Nicholas I due to St Nicholas’ standing as an important Russian Orthadox Saint. Demre is also home to the Lycian necropolis of Aperlae, part of which has sunk underwater. The boat ride around the ruins reveals the amazing relics beneath the waves. 

The city of Burdur is named after Lake Burdur, the largest lake in Turkey's Lakes Region. It was first inhabited during the Early Bronze Age in the 11th century and many artifacts remain from that time.

Read more
Image 3

Day 9 : Sagalassos - Antalya

After breakfast, visit Sagalassos and the Burdur Museum. Continue on to Antalya for overnight.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Human settlement in the Sagalassos area dates back to 12.000 BC, and Sagalassos itself reveal traces of settlemen from around 3000 BC. Historians know that in 1600 it became part of Pisidia, but otherwise its past remains shrouded in mystery until the city’s capture by Alexander the Great in 334 BC. Sagalassos was renowned for its courageous and warlike inhabitants, who put up a vigorous defence against Alexander's army. In recent years archaeological digs have paid off and the ancient site of Sagalossos has been restored to its former glory.

The Burdur City Museum displays most of the archaeological finds from the ancient city of Sagalappos. The Museum has been recognised as one of Europe’s best archaeological museums, and the building was enlarged in recent years to accommodate a number of statues found at Sagalassos.



Read more
Image 3

Day 10 : Perge - Aspendos - Termessos

After breakfast, take a tour of Perge and Aspendos. In the afternoon, explore the ancient city of Termessos and climb up to Termessos Natural Park. Overnight in Antalya.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Termessos is an ancient city with a magnificent national park area, situated at 1000 metres altitude on top of Mount Solymos. Thanks to its impenetrable location the ancient ruins are fairly well-preserved, and Termessos even survived a siege by Alexander the Great, who, after failing to surround the city, moved onto capture neighbouring Sagalassos instead.

In the Hellenistic period, Perge (Perga in Greek) was one of the most spectacular cities of the Ancient World. It was the capital of Pamphylia, and boasts an acropolis dating back to the Bronze Age. Founded in 1000 BC, it takes its name from the Greek mathematician, Apollonius of Perga, for whom the city was a home. 

Close to Perge, Aspendos boasts an excellent Roman theatre with the nearby Kursunlu Falls set in a beautiful area of pine forest.

Termessos Natural Park is a mecca for birds, butterflies and a vast array of interesting mammals, thanks to its situation in the mountains, so remote that Alexander the Great failed to capture the ancient city of Termessos. The caracal (a rare Turkish wildcat) roams the Termessos National Park as well as more well known species such as porcupine, otter and golden jackal.

Read more
Image 3

Day 11 : Antalya - Istanbul

Fly from Antalya to Istanbul and connect for onward flight home.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Accommodation

Accommodation Title

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

Image 3

Turkoman Hotel

Overlooking the ancient Roman Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque and the Sea of Marmara, Turkoman Hotel is situated in an ideal central location with an outdoor terrace to enjoy the views of Istanbul's famous sites. All rooms feature air conditioning, TV, minibar, and a safety boxe (available at reception). Wi-Fi access is available in public areas of the hotel. 

Visit hotel's site
Image 3

Troy Hotel

A clean and well maintained hotel with a private pool and beach. 

Visit hotel's site
Image 3

Moevenpick Hotel

Mövenpick offers contemporary accommodation looking out onto the Aegean Sea, next to Izmir’s focal Cumhuriyet Square. It features a panoramic gym and an eye-catching spa with indoor pool and holistic treatments. Decorated in creamy tones and fitted with stylish furnishings, rooms at the Mövenpick Hotel Izmir include a flat-screen TV and hypo-allergenic pillows. Some rooms offer striking views of Izmir Bay. Mövenpick's all-day Margaux Restaurant serves international and Turkish cuisine, prepared with fresh, local ingredients.

Visit hotel's site
Image 3

Doga Thermal & Spa Hotel

Located in Karahayit, Doğa Thermal Health & Spa offers a spacious garden, an indoor pool and an outdoor pool with free parasols and sun loungers. Rooms will provide you with flat-screen satellite TV, air conditioning and a balcony. You can enjoy a mountain view and a pool view from all the rooms. Free WiFi access is available throughout.

Visit hotel's site
Image 3

Ilayda Hotel

The air-conditioned units at Hotel Ilayda Avantgarde feature a flat-screen TV, a minibar and a safety deposit box. The private bathrooms include a shower, hairdryer and free toiletries. Free Wi-fi is available. The hotel also features a pool, bar, lobby bar, snack bar and restaurant as well as and outdoor swimming pool. 24 hour reception and room service available. The hotel is 50 meters away from the beach and is within easy access to the shopping area. Nearby attractions includes Pigeon Island.

Visit hotel's site
Image 3

Medusa Hotel

Medusa Hotel is situated at Kas, one of the most beautiful villages on the Mediterranean coast, overlooking Small Pebble Beach, 100 metres away from the town centre. All rooms include balconies overlooking the sea. Relax in the room, with the view, or sit out on the lovely garden terrace.

Visit hotel's site
Image 3

Sagalassos Lodge & Spa

All rooms have a balcony with mountain views and there are extensive spa facilities, including an outdoor and indoor pool, sauna and hammam.

Visit hotel's site
Image 3

Dogan Hotel

Dogan Hotel is located in the historic Kaleiçi District of Antalya only 100 metres from the beach. It has an outdoor pool with sun-lounger terrace and offers rooms with balconies and panoramic views. Guestrooms have hardwood floors and traditional décor. They include modern wood furnishings and come equipped with air conditioning, satellite TV and a private bathroom. 

Visit hotel's site
Extensions

Istanbul Extensions (5 days)

Extend your trip from Istanbul

Archaeology of Eastern Turkey (11 days)

Discover the incredible history of Eastern Turkey

Archaeology of Western Turkey (11 days)

Uncover historical secrets in the west

Turkish Volcano Trek (10 days)

Stunning eastern peaks including Mount Ararat

Silk Road through Turkey (17 days)

Ancient trading routes, historic battles and striking scenery

The Magic of Cappadocia (4 days)

Unique history and fairytale landscapes

Eastern Turkey Snapshot (10 days)

A glimpse of Turkey's hidden charms

Eastern Turkey Explorer (14 days)

Discover Turkey's most hidden secrets

Classical Constantinople (4 days)

Discover the exotic charms of this eternal city

Classical Turkey (10 days)

Journey through Turkey's iconic sites

Reviews

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

Andrea Selfridge , Tailormade 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
More reviews