History buffs can experience well-preserved ancient Greek, Roman, and early Christian sites on this 6-day tour through western Turkey. You'll begin your trip with a dip in the hot springs of in the ancient Roman spa town of Pammukale, see Roman baths and sites of some of the early churches outside of Bergama, and continue on to the site of ancient Pergamon. Wrap it all up with a tour of the extensive and well-preserved ruins of Ephesus and a relaxing night in the village of Şirince.

Highlights

  • Relax in the terraced hot springs of Pammukale
  • Walk through the famous ruins of Pergamon
  • See the Greek gymnasium of Sardis
  • Tour the UNESCO World Heritage ruins in Ephesus
  • Enjoy a free night in the Mediterranean village of Şirince

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Denizli - Explore Laodicea & Hierapolis Pamukkale
Day 2 Pamukkale Hot Springs - Transfer to Bergama Bergama
Day 3 Ruins of Pergamon - Transfer to Izmir Izmir
Day 4 Tour of Ephesus - Transfer to Şirince Sirince
Day 5 Departure via Izmir  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Denizli - Explore Laodicea & Hierapolis

Ruins in the ancient city of Hierapolis
Ruins in the ancient city of Hierapolis

Welcome to Turkey! When you arrive at Denizli Çardak Airport (DNZ), a driver will be waiting to transfer you to Pamukkale.

Along the way, you will make a stop in Laodicea for lunch and some sightseeing. Originally called the “City of Zeus,” Laodicea is an ancient city on the Lycus River. You can tour the Hellenistic ruins of a temple, public baths, and a colonnaded street. You’ll also visit the first church from the seven churches of the revelation featured in the biblical book of John. 

After you finish exploring, you'll continue your drive to Pamukkale, where you’ll check in and drop your luggage. You'll have the rest of the day free, and you can opt to visit the nearby Hierapolis, an ancient Roman spa city founded around 190 BCE where you can see a well-preserved theater, a necropolis with over a mile of sarcophagi, and the Martyrum of St. Philip the Apostle, an octagonal building believed to stand on the spot where St. Philip was martyred.

After exploring the city, you'll head back to Pamukkale for the night.

Day 2: Pamukkale Hot Springs - Transfer to Bergama

The hot springs at Pamukkale
The hot springs at Pamukkale

Pamukkale means “cotton castle” in Turkish, and this morning you will explore the breathtaking hot springs that the city was named after. These 17 natural springs cascade down a 656-foot (200 m) tall terraced cliff, and you'll be able to take a dip in these mineral-rich waters.

After a pleasant soak and a break for lunch, you will make a short stop in the town of Philadelphia that was home to the sixth church of Revelations. After a short visit, you will drive on to the modern city of Sart, which was the ancient city of Sardis. You can see the Temple of Artemis, roman baths, and the large Jewish synagogue from the ancient Roman period.

In the afternoon, you will pass through the site of the Revelations church known as Thyatira on your way to the town of Bergama. When you arrive, you can check in at your hotel and relax for the evening.

Day 3: Ruins of Pergamon - Transfer to Izmir

Theatre of Pergamon
Theatre of Pergamon

After breakfast this morning, you will be visiting the nearby ruins of the ancient Hellenistic city of Pergamon, which is featured in the book of Revelation.

You will be able to visit the site of the upper and lower acropolis which contains ruins of the famous Altar of Pergamon, a large theater, many temples, and the Asclepion, which was one of the most important healing centers in the ancient world.

In the early afternoon, you will drive to the modern city of Izmir, which was the site of the ancient city of Smyrna. You'll take a guided city tour where you can see more ancient ruins and the 17th-century Saint Polycarp Church, which was built in honor of the bishop of Smyrna. 
 
After the tour, you can check in at the hotel, and you will have the rest of the evening free to explore the city.

Day 4: Tour of Ephesus - Transfer to Şirince

The Celsus Library in Ephesus
The Celsus Library in Ephesus

A driver will pick you up at your hotel this morning and drive you about 50 miles (80 km) to Selçuk, which was the  site of the ancient town of Ephesus and the subject of the biblical Letter to the Ephesians.

The ruins in Ephesus are an exceptional example of the cultural traditions of the Hellenistic, Roman, and early Christian periods. As you explore this ancient city on a guided tour, you'll see sites like the great theater (the site of the riot from which Paul escaped), the impressive Celsus Library, the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, and the House of Virgin Mary where Mary may have spent her last days.

After your tour, you'll get back in the car for a short drive to your hotel in Şirince. Until the 1920s, the village of Şirince was populated by a Greek-orthodox community, but it is now a popular tourist destination famous for its well-preserved old houses, wine, and olive oil.

Day 5: Departure via Izmir

The Izmir clock tower
The Izmir clock tower

It's time to say goodbye to Turkey! After a leisurely morning, a driver will pick you up at your hotel and you will be transferred to Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB) for your flight home.

Map

Map of Ancient Greek & Christian Sites in Turkey - 5 Days
Map of Ancient Greek & Christian Sites in Turkey - 5 Days