SHORE EXCURSIONS FOR CRUISE PASSENGERS

ISTANBUL PORT

Avoid the crowd: Have a private car, a driver and an experienced highly knowledgeable English-speaking guide at your personal disposal, for a full or half day, to enjoy one of the suggested tours below – you set the pace. Alternatively, you may design a tour of your own – tailored to your own interests and preferences.

Old City Tour

The tour begins with a visit to the Imperial Palace of Topkapi, from which Ottoman Sultans ruled their grand empire for over 400 years, with Treasury section included. Following a lunch break in the old town, visit the Hagia Sophia, a 5th century church, once the greatest in the entire world. The next stop is at the Blue Mosque, renowned for its striking blue Iznik tiled interior. The ancient Roman Hippodrome follows, featuring the Egyptian Obelisk and other monuments. The tour ends with a final stop-off at the world famous Grand Bazaar – a shopper’s paradise of over 4000 authentic shops.

Bosphorus Tour

Begin the day amid the wafting aromas of the Spice Market before visiting the Rustempasa Mosque – the piece de la resistance of mosques, praised for its graceful design. This is followed by a boat cruise through the Bosphorus, the strait dividing the European and Asian continents, by which lunch will be served in Ortakoy, a quaint fishermen’ village. In the afternoon, visit the 19th century Dolmabahce Palace, the last but most luxuriously opulent residence of the sultans.

KUSADASI PORT

Avoid the crowd: Have a private car, a driver and an experienced highly knowledgeable English-speaking guide at your personal disposal, for a full or half day, to enjoy one of the suggested tours below – you set the pace. Alternatively, you may design a tour of your own – tailored to your own interests and preferences.

Ephesus Tour

Visit the remains of the Artemis Temple, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, before arriving at the ancient city of Ephesus, the most well preserved Greco-Roman city in the world. Following a lunch break, visit the House of Virgin Mary and the old Seljuk Mosque of Isabey in Selcuk. Then drive to Kusadasi harbour.

DAILY SHORE  EXCURSIONS

FROM ISTANBUL

Old City Tour
The tour begins with a visit to the Imperial Palace of Topkapı, from which Ottoman Sultans ruled their grand empire for over 400 years, with Treasury section included. Following a lunch break in the old town, you will visit the Hagia Sophia, a 5th century church, once the greatest in the entire world. The next stop is at the Blue Mosque, renowned for its striking blue Iznik tiled interior. The ancient Roman Hippodrome follows, featuring the Egyptian Obelisk and other monuments. A final stop-off is at the world-famous Grand Bazaar – a shopper’s paradise of over 4000 authentic shops, ending the tour.

Bosphorus

Begin the day amid the wafting aromas of the Spice Market before visiting the Rustempasa Mosque – the piece de la resistance of mosques, praised for its graceful design. This is followed by a sightseeing boat cruise through the Bosphorus, the strait dividing the European and Asian continents, by which lunch will be served in Ortakoy, a quaint fishermen’ village. In the afternoon, visit the 19th century Dolmabahce Palace, the last but most luxuriously opulent residence of the sultans.

Golden Horn & Pera

The most dominating landmark of the Golden Horn skyline fitfully opens the tour- Suleymaniye Mosque, a reflection of the Ottoman Empire at its peak. Next, gaze upon the breath-taking series of Byzantine mosaics and frescoes within the Chora Church. Afterwards, enjoy a coffee a top Pierre Loti Hill in Eyup, alongside a spectacular view of the Golden Horn. Following a lunch break at the oldest restaurant in Istanbul – Daruzziyafe, you will walk the streets of Pera, the cultural center of the city. End the day with a breath-taking full-circle panoramic view the Golden Horn, Pera and the Bosphorus, from the Genoese Galata Tower.

Princes ‘Islands

Take a ferryboat to the tranquil Princess’ Island of Buyukada. Circle the island in a tour by horse-drawn carriage, taking in the splendid wooden summer mansions and their gardens en-route. Walk up to the Church of St. George on the crest of the hill, presenting stunning views across the Sea of Marmara and of Istanbul. Enjoy lunch by the shore of the island, before returning to Istanbul by ferryboat in the afternoon.

Bursa & Cumalikizik Village

Having crossed the Bay of Izmit by car ferry to Yalova, the tour begins at the picturesque village of Cumalikizik, a protected heritage site of charming old wooden Ottoman houses set against Uludag mountain. Following a lunch break, we arrive in Bursa and visit the Green Mosque & Tomb, the Grand Mosque and the Silk Market & Covered Bazaar. The tour ends with a scenic drive leading across the hills of Uludağ and Mount Olympus of Mysia, before returning back to Istanbul

Dinner & Dance Show
Enjoy a scenic evening drive through a majestic city of illuminated palaces, mosques and bridges before arriving at the restaurant. Savour a full-course meal accompanied by a live musical and dance performance from a variety of regional Folk Dancers, renowned Belly Dancers and Turkish Pop Musicians, in full costume before you.

Jewish Heritage

Begin the day with a walking tour that takes you from Istiklal Street in Beyoglu to the Galata quarter – the way lined with historic diplomatic posts, handsome old houses, fashionable boutiques and upscale restaurants. Stop-off at Galata Tower, one of the larger modern synagogues in the city. Next is the Ashkenazi Synagogue; an attractive blend of European and Arabesque styles. Following a lunch break in the old town, the tour arrives at the Jewish quarter of Balat, alongside the Golden Horn, where we visit the Ottoman Baroque style Ahrida Synagogue. En the day with a coffee  a top Pierre Loti Hill in Eyup, alongside a spectacular view of the Golden Horn.

FROM KUSADASI

Ephesus Tour
The tour begins by visiting the remains of the Artemis Temple, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Afterwards, it proceeds to the spectacular main site of Ephesus, undoubtedly the most superbly preserved Greco-Roman city. Unmistakable highlights surviving among the ruins are the Celsius Library, Agora, Theatre, Odeon, Trajan Fountain, Domitian’s Temple and Roman Latrines. Following a lunch break, visit the House of Virgin Mary; reputed to be where she spent her final days.

Priene, Miletus & Didyma Tour

Begin the day among the Hellenic art and architecture of the ruins in Priene, an ancient Ionian city dramatically overlooking the fertile plains of the Meander Valley. Afterwards, continue to the second archaeological site of the day; the ancient city of Miletus, formerly a prosperous commercial harbour city and the most prominent in Anatolia in its heyday. Most noteworthy among the scattered ruins are the Great Theatre and Roman Baths. Eventually, the tour reaches Didim town, where there is time for lunch. Following that, the tour proceeds to the ancient city of Didyma, the setting for one of the most colossal temples in the Hellenic World, venerating the God Apollo.

Pergamum Tour

Upon arrival in the ancient city of Pergamon, enters the Red Court, a precinct of successive religious worship – evident in the various transformations of a formerly pagan temple to a Byzantine basilica, eventually to a mosque. Following a lunch break, drive up to the Acropolis perched on a hilltop above the modern town of Bargama, the great acropolis of Pergamum is one of the most dramatic sights in Turkey. Originally settled by the Aeolian Greeks in the 8th century BC, it was ruled for a time by one of Alexander the Great’s general (Lysimachus). The city prospered under the Pergamum dynasty founded by Eumenes I, who ruled from 263  to 241 BC, when  this  was one of the ancient world’s main centre of learning art and science . The last ruler of this dynasty, Attalus III, bequeathed the kingdom to Rome in 133 BC, and Pergamum became capital of the roman province of Asia. The great physician Galen was born here in AD 129 and studied here, worked here and established a famous medical centre, the Asclepieum  , once a world-renowned medical centre of physicians and scholars. Visit the impressive remains of the Acropolis including the Alter of Zeus, the Heroon, the steepest Theatre,, the Library reputedly containing 200,000 parchment scrolls. The Temple of Athena, the Temple of Trajan(only one from Roman period), the  City Walls, the Arsenal, the Royal Palaces and the Underground  Cisterns and more . Next visit the local Museum which houses excellent collections of artefacts from Pergamum and its environs , as well as beautiful ethnographic section. Finally visit the Asklepion , the  famous ancient healing centre, attracting many Romans as well as Greeks from far-away places. Three Roman emperors, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius and Caracalla, received medical services here. The remedies included diet, exercise, herbs, water, mud packs, music, interpretation of dreams, and other common sense of treatments as well as supernatural means such as incubation.

Pamukkale & Aphrodisias Tour

The tour begins among the ancient ruins of Aphrodisias, where Aphrodite – the Goddess of love and fertility was worshipped. Following a lunch break, the tour picks up again at Pamukkale, or ‘Cotton Castle’, the name so derived as a result of the calcium deposited terraced travertine, which cascade in snowy white down the mountain side slopes. Visit these travertine as well as the nearby ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis. Finally, there is time set aside for a relaxing swim in one of the more unusual hot pools supplied by the natural springs – marked by a splendid scattering of ancient stone columns underwater and around.

FROM IZMIR( SMYRNA)-IZMIR PORT

Half Day Izmir City Tour
Begin this half-day city tour in Izmir with a visit to the 4th century BC Great Castle of Alexander and the Agora, a top Pagos hill, with a view that spans the length and breadth of the city. Next, checkout the artefacts recovered from Old Smyrna and Ephesus on displays at the Archaeological Museum. Other sights to behold on the way include the symbol of Izmir itself – the Clock tower; and Karsiyaka, the residential part of the city. Afterwards, cross the bay by boat to Kemeralti, where you will find the old shopping bazaars.

Ephesus Tour

The tour begins by visiting the remains of the Artemis Temple, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Next, you will proceed to the spectacular main site Ephesus, undoubtedly the most superbly preserved Greco-Roman city. Unmistakable highlights surviving among the ruins are the Celsius Library, Agora, Great Theatre, Odeon, Trajan Fountain, Domitian us and Hadrian Temples, Bouloterian and Roman Latrines. Following a lunch break, visit the House of Virgin Mary; reputed to be where her final days were spent. A final visit to the Archaeological Museum ends the tour.

Sardis Tour

Upon arrival in Sardis, once the capital of ancient Lydia, the tour begins at the ruins of the Temple of Cybele and Diana, where a 4th century basilica  stands alongside. Stroll the imperial road of marble, nearby the river Pactalos. Visit the re-constructed synagogue bearing fine mosaics paving and the gymnasium with serpentine fluted columns.

Pergamon Tour

Upon arrival in the ancient city of Pergamon, the tour begins at the rather impressive remains of the Acropolis. Just some of the highlights on view include the Library, the steepest theatre in Anatolia, Temples of Trajan and Dionysos, the Altar of Zeus, the Sanctuary of Demeter, the terraced Gymnasium and the Agora. Following a lunch break, visit the Archaeological Museum, before driving up to the Asclepion on the hilltop, once a world-renowned medical center of physicians and their scholars.

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