This 11-day adventure takes you from Istanbul all the way down to the Aegean Sea. Explore iconic sites like the Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar, then, set out on a guided road trip through Turkey's Greco-Roman marvels, from the ancient ruins of Troy to the Celsus Library in Ephesus and the Roman theater in Aspendos. Sip wines at a local vineyard, warm up with Turkish coffee, and relax in Pamukkale's hot springs before ending your trip in the coastal city of Antalya.


  • Explore the sites in Istanbul, including the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque
  • Cruise between Europe and Asia with a boat ride on the Bosphorus Strait
  • Explore the ancient ruins in Troy, Pergamon, Ephesus, and Aspendos
  • Enjoy local wine at the Yedi Bilgeler Vineyard in Sincere
  • Soak in hot springs and experience a spa day in Pamukkale
  • Visit the Roman theater and Hadrian's Gate in Antalya

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in İstanbul, Boat Ride on the Bosphorus İstanbul
Day 2 İstanbul Sightseeing, Visit the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia & Topkapı Palace İstanbul
Day 3 Get Lost in the Grand Bazaar & Eminonu Spice Bazaar İstanbul
Day 4 İstanbul Archaeological Museum Tour, Transfer to Çanakkale Çanakkale
Day 5 Transfer to Adatepe via the Ancient Cities of Troy & Assos Adatepe
Day 6 Transfer to Bergama, Discover Pergamon & Asclepion Bergama
Day 7 Transfer to Şirince, Wine Tasting at Yedi Bilgeler Vineyard, Village Stroll Şirince
Day 8 Discover the Ancient City of Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site Şirince
Day 9 Transfer to Pamukkale: Hot Springs, Roman Ruins & Spa Day Pamukkale
Day 10 Transfer to Antalya, Tour of the Old Town of Kaleiçi  Antalya
Day 11 Tour the Ancient Cities of Aspendos & Perge, Depart Antalya  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in İstanbul, Boat Ride on the Bosphorus

A boat ride on the Bosphorus will take you past the incredible skyline of İstanbul

Welcome to İstanbul, the vibrant, cosmopolitan city that bridges old and new, east and west. Tracing its roots back to ancient Byzantium, this sprawling metropolis at the mouth of the Black Sea straddles two continents and contains countless cultures and histories. Upon arrival, you'll get pic up at the airport and taken to your hotel, where you can settle in for the next few days. 

Get your bearings and experience some of the best views of the city this afternoon with a private boat trip along the Bosphorus Strait. Cruise between the European and Asian sides of the city as your guide points out iconic landmarks along the skyline, then head back to your hotel to rest up for a busy day of sightseeing tomorrow.

Day 2: İstanbul Sightseeing: Visit the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia & Topkapı Palace

Check off iconic İstanbul landmarks like the beautiful Hagia Sophia

Get right into the action today with a six-hour guided exploration of İstanbul. You'll start at Sultanahmet Square, a jumping-off point to many historical and cultural sites in the center. These include the Hippodrome and the Basilica Cistern, incredible ruins that date back to the Byzantine era, more than a millennium ago. You'll also stop at the Blue Mosque, built in the 17th century, which earns its name from the stunning blue tiles that furnish its interior. 

Continue to Hagia Sophia, a towering icon of İstanbul's skyline that dates back to 537 CE and was the largest building in the world at that time. Initially, it was built as a basilica for the Greek Orthodox Christian Church until 1453, when the Ottomans captured Constantinople and turned it into a mosque. You'll take a tour of the site, and while you listen to its history, be sure to appreciate the mosaics lining the walls and the grandeur of the building.

Last, your guide will lead you to Topkapı Palace, the royal palace of the Ottomans. The exhibition halls offer a proper glimpse into the Sultans' lives while showcasing the Empire's remarkable architectural heritage.

Day 3: Get Lost in the Grand Bazaar & Eminönü Spice Bazaar

Invigorate the senses as you explore all the shops at the Grand Bazaar

Today's five-hour tour will start at the colorful Grand Bazaar, one of the world's largest—and oldest—markets. Stroll through the mazes of shops selling Turkish rugs, lanterns, jewelry, and more. Haggle with merchants or sit for a Turkish tea at one of the many cafés inside.

Next, your guide will take you to Eminönü, another bustling market on the harbor where it's believed Byzantium was born. Nowadays, it's known for its Spice Bazaar. Taste some spices for yourself, or admire the aromas and colors that are such a treat for the senses. You can also take some spices or dried fruit and nuts home as a souvenir. Afterward, you'll take a short walk to the Rüstem Paşa Mosque. Albeit a smaller mosque compared to what you saw yesterday, the tiling here isn't to be missed. 

Day 4: İstanbul Archaeological Museum Tour, Transfer to Çanakkale

The İstanbul Archeological Museum hosts the incredible history of Turkey

This morning, you'll tour the oldest museum in Turkey, the İstanbul Archaeological Museum. This awesome complex consists of several different buildings/museums, each reflecting the country's diverse history and cultural heritage: the Archeological Museum (the main building), the Museum of the Ancient Orient, and the Tiled Kiosk. With 2.5 hours to explore the museum, take your time as you browse its many wonders.

When you're finished, your Greco-Roman road trip will begin! Your guide will drive you about 4.5 hours south to Çanakkale, which begins your scenic route along the Aegean Sea. This city is home to many fascinating archaeological sites, including Troy. But tonight, you'll be taken to your hotel to rest before seeing it all tomorrow. 

Day 5: Transfer to Adatepe via the Ancient Cities of Troy & Assos

Ruins of the ancient city of Troy, the setting of Homer's epics and countless Greek myths
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If you appreciate Greek history and mythology, then today may be the highlight of your trip. Your driver will take you thirty minutes to Troy, where you'll explore the setting of the fabled Trojan War and visit the Troy Museum, which exhibits more than 2,000 artifacts from the site. Next, you'll transfer to Assos (modern-day Behramkale), founded in the sixth century BCE. At the Assos Archeological Site, you'll see where Aristotle lived for some of his life and where he opened his philosophy academy. While here, you'll also be able to climb to the Temple of Athena, the first and only Doric temple built in Anatolia.

You can also visit the ancient theater of the Roman period, the Agora, the necropolis (cemetery), and the city walls. After your guided visit, you'll have time to discover the town, maybe drinking some Turkish coffee by the Aegean and enjoying the beautiful scenery. If it's a clear day, see if you can spot the Greek island of Lesbos in the distance. When you're finished, you'll be taken to Adatepe, one of Turkey's most well-preserved villages. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant after settling into your accommodation for the evening.

Day 6: Transfer to Bergama, Discover Pergamon & Asclepion

Discover Pergamon and the Ancient Healing Center Asclepion
Explore the ruins of Pergamon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where ancient healing customs took place

This morning, you'll check out of your hotel, and your driver will take you about two hours south to Bergama, home to the ancient site of Pergamon. When you arrive, this 3.5-hour tour will lead you among the ruins of this Greco-Roman city, where you can marvel at monuments like the Altar of Zeus or the ruined library that's said to have rivaled the Library of Alexandria.

The main attraction here, though, is the Acropolis, the most intact structure remaining. Seeing it will allow you to truly appreciate this once-great metropolis's architectural achievements. Last but not least, this city was also famous for its extensive hospital and sanctuary dedicated to Asclepius, the god of medicine, and you'll learn about all the fascinating ancient healing traditions from your guide. After the tour, you'll be taken to your hotel in Bergama to spend the night.

Day 7: Transfer to Şirince, Wine Tasting at Yedi Bilgeler Vineyard, Village Stroll

Visit the Yedi Bilgeler vineyard for a wine tasting before exploring Şirince

Today, your driver will take you about two hours south to Şirince, where you'll stay for the night. When you arrive, you'll visit a beautiful vineyard called Yedi Bilgeler and enjoy tasting wines from ancient Anatolia's local grapes. While here, you'll get a chance to have lunch or dine, sample multiple wines, and take a self-guided tour of the vineyard.

Then, you'll continue to the colorful village of Şirince, with its numerous artisan shops, local vendors, and rare Ottoman-Christian architecture. Enjoy the feel of a traditional Aegean village, which dates back to the Hellenistic period (323–31 BCE). You can embark on several self-guided walks here, one of which will take you to the remains of Roman aqueducts, as the village was an important water source for the nearby ancient center of Ephesus.

Stop at the Şirince Bazaar, whose busy stalls overflow with local produce, and make sure to sample some fruit from one of the sellers, who'll typically let you try anything before you buy. While here, enjoy some more Turkish coffee if you haven't already. Traditionally brewed in a small pot called a cezve or ibrik, this method involves placing finely ground coffee and water in the pot, then nestling it in sand and heating it over an open flame. 

Day 8: Discover the Ancient City of Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Celsus Library in Ephesus is still preserved, but more excavations are to come

Step back in time today with a deep dive into the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ephesus—located just 20 minutes outside Şirince. The ruins of this city are beautifully preserved and are a testament to the Hellenistic, Roman, and early Christian periods. Watch where you step, though; this ancient site still undergoes annual excavations, uncovering new sections and amazing artifacts yearly.

Once a beacon of philosophy, architecture, and art, Ephesus hosts the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, as well as the Celsus Library, which was the epicenter of philosophical and intellectual life at one time. On today's six-hour guided tour, you'll explore other highlights like the House of the Virgin Mary and the Ephesus Archaeological Museum, learning about significant figures of the Christian faith and delving into the museum collection that spans more than 8,000 years. 

Day 9: Transfer to Pamukkale: Hot Springs, Roman Ruins & Spa Day

Transfer east to reach the incredible terraced hot springs at Pamukkale

Today, your driver will take you 3.5 hours inland to Pamukkale, famous for its baby-blue, mineral-rich thermal waters flowing down white travertine terraces. Pamukkale means "Cotton Castle" in Turkish and is a remarkable landscape comprising mineral forests, petrified waterfalls, and a series of terraced basins. You'll get to soak in the hot springs while you're here and take in the incredible views.

Nearby is ancient Hierapolis, a Phrygian city thought to have been established as early as 190 BCE. Later rebuilt by the Romans as a thriving spa city, today you'll find a well-preserved theater, a necropolis, and the remarkable Antique Pool—whose clear waters are scattered with submerged Roman columns due to a seventh-century earthquake. After exploring, check into your spa hotel, where you can enjoy all the facilities, from the pools and sauna to the Turkish baths, massages, and hot spring baths. 

Day 10: Transfer to Antalya, Tour the Old Town of Kaleiçi

Twilight over Antalya's historic Yivli Minaret

This morning, your driver will take you 3.5 hours to Antalya, a resort city with plenty of history on the beautiful waters of the Mediterranean coast. When you arrive, your guide will lead you on a tour of Kaleiçi, the old town of Antalya, to learn about the city's archaeological heritage. Experience the Roman, Seljukid, and Ottoman roots of the city by visiting Hadrian's Gate, the heart of Antalya, dating back to 130 CE, and one of the best-preserved structures of its kind.

You'll also stop at Yivli Minaret, also known as the Alaaddin Mosque, and Kesik Minaret, originally built as a Roman temple. These ancient buildings are a beautiful contrast to the trendy, charming streets they sit on. After a stroll around Kaleiçi, you'll have the opportunity to visit the Antalya Archaeological Museum, before heading to your hotel for check-in. The remainder of the evening is free for you to enjoy at your leisure.

Day 11: Tour the Ancient Cities of Aspendos & Perge, Depart Antalya

The Roman theater in Aspendos, one of the best-preserved theaters in the world

It's your last day in Turkey, and you'll have one more amazing 4.5-hour tour of the Greco-Roman city of Aspendos, well-known for its beautiful Roman theater. Dating back to around 170 CE, this is considered one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world, with many of its original features remaining intact. It can hold up to 10,000 people, the audience size at the International Opera and Ballet Festival that the theater has hosted since 1994. 

After strolling around Aspendos, you'll be driven around 30 minutes to the ancient city of Perge, one of the most important highlights of Antalya's Greco-Roman history. Admire some of the remarkable mosaics unearthed in the ongoing archaeological excavations, visit the city's ancient marketplace, the Nymphaeum, and explore the Roman baths, which played an important role in the city's daily rituals. After a well-spent time in the ancient site, your driver will take you back to Antalya to pack up your things, then transfer you to the airport for your departing flight. Safe travels! 

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Map of Turkey's Greco-Roman Wonders: Istanbul to Antalya - 11 Days
Map of Turkey's Greco-Roman Wonders: Istanbul to Antalya - 11 Days