- See the ancient mosaics of Gaziantep
- Take a boat tour through the sunken city of Halfeti
- Discover archaeological wonders in Sanlıurfa
- Take to the skies over Cappadocia in a hot air balloon
- Wander the tunnels & caves of the Kaymaklı Underground City
|Day 1||Arrive in Gaziantep||Gaziantep|
|Day 2||Halfeti Boat Tour, Transfer to Sanlıurfa||Sanlıurfa|
|Day 3||Tour Harran & Göbeklitepe||Sanlıurfa|
|Day 4||Transfer to Adıyaman & Mount Nemrut||Adıyaman|
|Day 5||Transfer to Cappadocia via Kahramanmaraş||Urgup|
|Day 6||Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Ride, Visit Uçhisar & Avanos||Urgup|
|Day 7||Göreme Open Air Museum & Kaymaklı Underground City||Urgup|
|Day 8||Transfer to Konya & Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Gaziantep
Welcome to Turkey! After catching an early flight from Istanbul, arrive in Gaziantep, where you'll be welcomed by your tour guide.
Your first excursion starts with the Zeugma Museum, home to the largest collection of mosaics in the world. Its focus is the intricate mosaics discovered at the ancient city of Zeugma, founded by one of the generals of Alexander the Great known as Seleucus I Nicator.
After visiting the museum, spend some time exploring the city center of Gaziantep, where you'll encounter beautiful shops, a small ancient castle, and historic houses.
Day 2: Halfeti Boat Tour, Transfer to Sanlıurfa
This morning starts with a drive to the picturesque town of Halfeti, where you'll set sail on a scenic boat tour down the Euphrates River. Known as the "Sunken City," a great part of Halfeti's structures are underwater due to the construction of a dam in 1999. The highlight of today's tour is the imposing Rumkale Castle, an ancient fortress built on a steep cliff at the river's edge. At the end of the excursion, you'll transfer back to dry land and drive east to Sanlıurfa, your base for the next two nights.
Day 3: Tour Harran & Göbeklitepe
Sanlıurfa is one of the oldest cities in the region, often called the "Prophets' City" for its importance as a spiritual and pilgrimage site. You'll start today's excursion at Harran, also known as Carrhae. One of the most prominent ancient cities of Upper Mesopotamia, archeological remains indicate that it was a center for politics, religion, and science.
Continue to the important neolithic site of Göbeklitepe to witness ruins that have changed the shape of history. Discovered in 1994 by a group of German and Turkish archeologists, Göbeklitepe dates back to 12,000 BC, and evidence found here has contradicted common conceptions of early nomadic hunter-gatherers—suggesting that early settlers of the area were drawn to the city's religious temples rather than the area's agriculture.
In the afternoon, you'll spend some time exploring the center of modern Sanlıurfa. Stroll around the old bazaar, visit the lake at Balıklı Göl (the Pool of Abraham), and marvel at the grand Halil-ul Rahman Mosque complex.
Day 4: Transfer to Adıyaman & Mount Nemrut
After breakfast and check-out this morning, you'll set out with your driver towards Adıyaman and Mount Nemrut.
Reaching 7,000 feet ( 2,134 m) at its peak, Mount Nemrut is famous for the large statues erected around its summit. It served as a tumulus or a royal tomb when it was built around the 1st century BC, and today it's cherished as one of Turkey's UNESCO World Heritage Sites. After a visit to the breathtaking mountain, your destination for the night is the ancient city of Adıyaman, where you'll get settled into your accommodation and spend the evening at your leisure.
Day 5: Transfer to Cappadocia via Kahramanmaraş
Today you'll set out on a long day of driving, journeying seven hours west across scenic and varied terrain to the lunar landscapes of Cappadocia.
Along the way, you'll make a memorable stop for lunch in Kahramanmaraş, a city famous for its mouthwatering ice cream.
Day 6: Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Ride, Visit Uçhisar & Avanos
As you awake to gorgeous views of the surrounding valleys, you can opt for an unforgettable sunrise hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia's "fairy chimneys" or hoodoos, the fantastical geological formations that pepper the area's natural landscapes.
Afterward, start today's explorations with a stop at the beautiful town of Uçhisar, known for its ancient defensive fortress carved into the natural rock. You'll then move on to Avanos, famous for its local pottery made with clay from the Kızılırmak River.
In the afternoon, visit a 13th-century caravanserai, a historic roadside inn that served an important role for travelers traveling along the Old Silk Road. Here you can enjoy a performance of the "whirling dervishes"—a mystic ritual performed by the followers of the Mevlevi religious order.
In the early evening, return to your accommodation for a little relaxation before dinner.
Day 7: Göreme Open Air Museum & Kaymaklı Underground City
Today you'll tour more of the wonders of Cappadocia, starting with a visit to the Göreme Open Air Museum. Here you can marvel at some of the most beautiful rock-cut churches and frescoes in the world, see unique examples of rock-hewn architecture, and learn about historic fresco techniques dating back to the 10th-12th centuries.
After lunch, discover spectacular panoramic views from the Avcilar and Pasabag Valleys, then proceed to the Kaymaklı Underground City. Built by early Christians to protect themselves from the religious persecution of Roman soldiers, this ancient wonder is a maze of elaborate underground tunnels and chambers.
Day 8: Transfer to Konya & Depart
Say your goodbyes to Cappadocia this morning as you get back on the road with your driver, heading west towards the city of Konya. Famous as a pilgrimage center, Konya was home to Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, a 13th-century Persian poet, scholar, and Sufi mystic.
Visit the Mevlana Museum, where you can see the Tomb of Rumi and learn about the history of one of the world's greatest poets, then sit down to a leisurely lunch. In the afternoon, your trip draws to a close with a transfer to the Konya Airport, where you'll catch your flight back to Istanbul and continue your onward journey. Safe travels!
More Turkey Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Turkey? Check out these other Turkey itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.
Or, describe your ideal trip and we will connect you with a local specialist to make it happen.