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Turkey: From The Black Sea to The Golden Horn

Group Tour

11 Days From £1,995

Overview

The mountains, high plateaus and steppe lands of Central Turkey have witnessed countless invaders and conquerors from the Hittites and the Byzantines to the Seljuks and Ottomans; all of them leaving their distinctive marks on the land and amongst the people.

On this journey we’ll discover much of this impressive and diverse legacy as we travel from the Black Sea coastal city of Trabzon over the mountains towards the rarely visited but stunning UNESCO  Great Mosque in Divriği taking in ...
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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

10 x Breakfasts
8 x Lunches
6 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use minibuses and trains.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this particular trip we will be in comfortable hotels throughout. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low / Moderate

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE/HIGH: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-4hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-5 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

VERY HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 5-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Turkey: From The Black Sea to The Golden Horn
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN TRABZON

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN TRABZON

The tour starts this evening in the Black Sea coastal hub of Trabzon.

Usta Park Hotel or similar

DAY 2: TRABZON - SUMELA - KEMALIYE

DAY 2: TRABZON - SUMELA - KEMALIYE

This morning we'll pay a visit to Trabzon's renowned Haghia Sophia, considered by many to be one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture anywhere. Heading inland we'll then discover the iconic Sumela Monastery. Perched like an eyrie, high up on the sheer cliffs, this Greek Orthodox retreat can trace its antecedents back to the 4th century and the surrounding views and exquisite frescoes make this one of the finest settings in Turkey. Heading up and over the mountains we'll travel as far as the town of Kemaliye, which is known for its historic architecture, including many Ottoman-era houses.

Bozkurt Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: KEMALIYE - DIVRIGI - SIVAS

DAY 3: KEMALIYE - DIVRIGI - SIVAS

Leaving Kemaliye this morning we first head south to the town of Arapgir, where we’ll visit a 700-year-old 'Cemevi' - a place of worship for Turkey's Alevi community. Our visit will give us an insight into the religious diversity in Turkey and the influence of the large, but almost invisible, Alevi faithful whose beliefs, way of life and forms of worship are very different to the orthodox Sunni majority. We'll continue to Divrigi to visit the UNESCO site of the Great Mosque and hospital before finally we head north-west to the old Seljuk capital of Sivas to spend the night.

Buruciye Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: SIVAS - CAPPADOCIA (AVANOS)

DAY 4: SIVAS - CAPPADOCIA (AVANOS)

Sivas once lay along the road to Baghdad, ensuring its development as an important centre for trade and culture. Under the rule of the Seljuks it grew into a mecca for learning and scholarship, and periodically served as the capital of the Seljuk Empire, along with Konya. Many of the city’s more interesting architecture stems from this period and its historic heart is liberally sprinkled with 13th century madrassahs and minarets that are covered in beautiful turquoise and blue tiles. We’ll have the whole morning to enjoy this historical city before driving on to Avanos this afternoon - our base for the next three nights, in the heart of Cappadocia.

Sofa Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: CAPPADOCIA

DAY 5: CAPPADOCIA

We will spend the whole day exploring some of the highlights of the region, beginning at the Göreme Open Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we will walk through the valley and explore the painted churches of this former Byzantine monastery. This afternoon we’ll visit Kaymakli underground city, originally carved out by the Hittites around 3000BC, and then Uchisar Fortress, built by the Romans, from where we’ll be able to enjoy spectacular views of the area. We’ll also take a walk to visit the fairy chimneys known as 'Love Valley' before returning to Avanos for the evening.

Sofa Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 6: CAPPADOCIA

DAY 6: CAPPADOCIA

A second day to enjoy this stunning area, we’ll head to the lesser known Soganli Valley today to enjoy a two-hour walk and see several of the painted churches. We’ll also visit the unspoiled villages of Cemil, Taskinpasa and Sahin Efendi before returning to Avanos town, set on the banks of the Kizilirmak - the Red River. The red clay of the river provides the raw material for pottery, which has been produced in this area for centuries. There’ll be time to visit some of the family-run potteries for which the town is famous this afternoon.

Sofa Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 7: AVANOS - KONYA - ANKARA

DAY 7: AVANOS - KONYA - ANKARA

Leaving Avanos this morning, we’ll drive across the plain of Konya stopping to visit Sultanhani, one of the largest caravanserais on the Silk Road, dating back to the 13th century. Continuing on to Konya, we will visit the Mevlana Museum, containing the tomb of the great dervish and poet Mevlana Jelaleddin Rumi. We’ll also visit the Seljuk period Karatay Madrassa before taking a late afternoon bullet train to Ankara, Turkey’s modern-day capital.

Divan Çukurhan Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: ANKARA

DAY 8: ANKARA

Today we’ll visit two of the country’s most essential sights. The first is the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations, one of the world’s most critically acclaimed museums (and deservedly so) displaying artefacts found within the borders of Turkey between 100,000 BC and 200 AD. The second is the Mausoleum of Ataturk, Turkey’s revered 'father' who almost single-handedly is responsible for Turkey’s continued existence today following its defeat in World War I. This enormous monument is dedicated to Ataturk and the architecture of the mausoleum is based upon the caravanserai staging posts of the Silk Road. We will also have a chance to see Ankara Castle, with its great views over the city.

Divan Çukurhan Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9: ANKARA - ISTANBUL

DAY 9: ANKARA - ISTANBUL

The last stage of our epic journey takes us by high-speed train towards Turkey’s cultural capital, Istanbul, formerly Constantinople. The train terminates on the Asian side of the city, enabling us to cross the Bosphorus slowly by ferry to Europe, taking in the minarets and domes of one of the world’s greatest cities and a fitting finale to our Silk Road adventure. After a brief orientation, the rest of the afternoon will be free to take in the manifold sights of Istanbul at your leisure.

Sultanhan Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: ISTANBUL

DAY 10: ISTANBUL

We’ll spend the morning exploring Sultanhamet, Istanbul’s historic centre. Here we’ll see the iconic Aya Sophia, which was built at the command of Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. We’ll also visit the Blue Mosque, with its magnificent series of domes and semi-domes, and with its six slender minarets sprouting from the corners of the mosque. From here we discover the ancient Hippodrome, the scene of chariot races and the centre of Byzantine civil life. In the afternoon you’ll be free to experience the extensive Grand Bazaar, one of the largest in the Middle East and a shopper's mecca since just after the mid-15th century, and the underground Roman Cisterns. Tonight we’ll meet up for our final dinner in this truly fascinating city.

Sultanhan Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 11: TOUR ENDS IN ISTANBUL

DAY 11: TOUR ENDS IN ISTANBUL

The tour ends after breakfast at our hotel today.

Breakfast

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
TK 1980 London Heathrow (LHR) 11:00 Istanbul (IST) 16:45
TK 2830 Istanbul (IST) 20:10 Trabzon Airport (TZX) 21:50
TK 1971 Istanbul (IST) 14:50 London Heathrow (LHR) 16:15

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders currently do not require a visa for Turkey.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Istanbul

You could literally spend weeks exploring this fascinating city further. If time allows, we recommend at least an extra few days.

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

Central Turkey is such a vast land mass that it is hard to sum up its climate. As a general rule, the coastal areas (around Trabzon and Istanbul) will have their temperatures moderated by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara but summers and winters can still be harsh, although not so much as in the interior. Spring and Autumn remain the best overall times to visit although travel is definitely possible year round.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, however please note that in order to fully benefit from all aspects of the trip you should be sufficiently active to be able to walk around the vast open areas of Cappadocia and feel comfortable getting on/off trains with your luggage.

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. If you choose to purchase the Wild Frontiers bespoke policy through Travel & General (currently available to UK residents only) then please note for this trip the minimum required level of cover will be the Standard policy. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £500 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 4024 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION

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