Istanbul, Ephesus and Troy (2025)

Istanbul, Ephesus and Troy (2025)

8 Days
From

$1952

Istanbul, Ephesus and Troy (2025)

8 Days

Visiting: Turkey

Tour operator:

Riviera Travel

Tour code:

TYC6

From:
$1952 (USD) including Flights from the UK

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Tour Overview

Turkey - an intriguing country on the border of both Europe and Asia. Discover famous sites from the ancient world and explore the magical blend of Christian and Ottoman influences. 

From the legacies of Ancient Greece to the wealth of the Roman Empire and the grandeur of the Ottoman rule, our tour of Turkey unveils a wide array of awe-inspiring sights - the remains of some of the mightiest empires in history. In Istanbul, we'll see the 6th-century Hagia Sophia - the largest ever church, the amazing Topkapi Palace - the seat of government for arguably the greatest empire of the medieval age, great underground cisterns - stunning feats of engineering built in the 6th century, the beautiful Blue Mosque and so much more.

Travelling even further back in time, we'll visit three of the most famous ancient sites in the country - Troy, Pergamon and Ephesus - each teaching us something new about these ancient yet advanced civilisations.

This holiday is ideal for travellers with an interest in ancient history, architecture, culture and religion. 

Highlights

  • Follow in the footsteps of St Paul and St John in Ephesus, the Eastern Mediterranean’s greatest Roman city and see the remains of Homer’s Troy. 

  • Visit the mountainside site reputed to be the house of the Virgin Mary. 

  • Guided tour of the remarkable and little-visited Acropolis of Pergamon and the extraordinary Topkapi Palace. 

  • Cross the Straits of the Dardanelles and visit the poignant sites of the Commonwealth cemeteries in Gallipoli and Anzac Cove. 

  • Explore Istanbul on a tour and visit Hagia Sophia - the greatest church in Christendom for a thousand years, the Basilica Cistern and the Blue Mosque. 

  •  

  • The Signature Tour 

  • option includes all of the above as well as: Delve a little deeper into the cultural and culinary heritage of Turkey with a Turkish lunch featuring locally grown produce in a village near Kusadasi. 

  • Drift past the magnificent palaces and mosques that line the shore of the mighty Bosphorus on a privately charted boat. 

  • Celebrate your time in Turkey with a traditional evening meal in Istanbul.

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Itinerary

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Day 1

Arrive in Ankara 

On arrival to Izmir, you’ll transfer by coach to the nearby resort of Kuşadası, for two nights. 

Day 2

Ephesus 

Today we’ll have a guided tour of Ephesus, an ancient city with breathtaking buildings. So great was Ephesus, with its amazing two-storey Library of Celsus and the enormous amphitheatre, that the Romans made it their capital of Asia.

We’ll see the Temple of Artemis, which was one of the original ‘Seven Wonders of the Ancient World’. Intriguingly, only a fraction of the city has been excavated to date, but the discoveries indicate a highly sophisticated society living in luxurious houses with marble-lined halls, mosaics and beautiful frescoes.

Strolling through the centre of Ephesus, you’ll be walking the same streets as St Paul and St John, who both lived here for several years. We also discover the remains of St John’s Basilica, built by the Emperor Justinian over St John’s tomb. In complete contrast, hillside site of the House of the Virgin Mary. St John was entrusted to care for her, and it’s believed she travelled with him to Ephesus.

We return to our hotel in Kuşadası in the late afternoon, and the rest of the day at leisure.

 

Included experiences -

Guided tour of Ephesus and visit House of the Virgin Mary. 

Signature expereince -

Delve a little deeper into the cultural and culinary heritage of Turkey. At lunchtime we’ll enjoy a Turkish lunch with locally grown produce in a village near Kusadası. Established to maintain and teach local crafts, such as handmade carpets and agricultural, the village is making sure that these vital skills are kept alive - ranging from dying, weaving and designing the cloth and carpets, to farming and producing local wine. 

The skills here gave rise to Turkey’s first ever locomotive train line, established by British engineer Mr Joseph Walker. During our visit you can see the original locomotives, which have been restored and are on now proudly displayed in the village. 

Day 3

Pergamon

Departing Kuşadası, we follow the coast towards the ancient Hellenistic city of Pergamon, where we have a guided tour. Perched on a high rocky outcrop, with stunning views for miles around, the city was famed for its library, so concerned were the Egyptians about this competition that they cut off supplies of papyrus to Pergamon, thus prompting the invention of parchment. We’ll see the remains of the Temple of Trajan, the altar of Zeus and the world’s steepest ancient amphitheatre.

We’ll continue our journey along the scenic coastline to Canakkale before dinner at the hotel this evening.

 

Included experience -

Guided tour of Pergamon.

Day 4

Troy

A fascinating day of contrasts awaits today. Firstly, there’s free time in Troy, famous for the ‘wooden horse’ story, when Queen Helen of Sparta eloped with Prince Paris to Troy and her enraged husband followed seeking her return.

Today, Troy is a complex archaeological site that spans nine separate cities. It nevertheless remains a romantic and alluring place to anyone who has read about the heroic struggles recounted in Homer’s Iliad.

Gallipoli

We’ll take the short cruise from Asia to Europe over the extremely scenic, steep-sided Dardanelles, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes to the Gallipoli peninsula. This was made famous during the First World War as the scene of one of the greatest and most tragic campaigns of the conflict.

We’ll visit the Lone Pine memorial and Anzac Cove, where the Australians mistakenly landed and were forced to scale steep cliffs and ravines under constant bombardment.

We’ll continue our journey through this refreshingly picturesque landscape and arrive in Istanbul, where we stay three nights.

 

Included experience - Visit Troy, Gallipoli and Anzac Cove 

Day 5

Istanbul

For thousands of years, Istanbul sat at the centre of the overland trade routes, and its Grand Bazaar became home to merchants from all over the known world.

Today, more than 4,000 shops sell all types of goods, mainly gold, silver, leatherwear, ceramics and carpets, including fine collectors’ items. Istanbul is a revelation: there are few places where you’ll find such a diverse array of monuments and fascinating places to visit. 

On a guided walking tour, we’ll see the immense and beautifully preserved city walls, still dominant after a thousand years, and the remains of the Hippodrome, where the emperors entertained a staggering 50,000 people.

Hagia Sophia 

This morning, we enjoy a visit to the breathtaking Hagia Sophia, one of the city’s best landmarks and quite simply one of the world’s greatest architectural achievements. Built in the 6th century, it was the largest enclosed space in the world for 1,400 years.

During our visit you can explore the second floor, including the galleries. During its time as a mosque, this is where the women would sit during the service. It offers views of the nave below and the dome above, as well as the spot where the empress’s throne once stood.

In the South Gallery, ornate Christian and imperial portrait mosaics adorn the wall. These amazing Byzantine mosaics seem to cover every wall with their vibrant golds, reds and yellows. This morning’s visit allows us to experience the sights and sounds of this thought-provoking relic of the past.

 

Included experiences – Guided walking tour of Istanbul and visit to Hagia Sophia.

Day 6

Basilica Cistern

Istanbul has about 500 underground cisterns, many dating back to antiquity. Today, we'll go underground in Istanbul to see one of the most famous of them.

Lost until it was rediscovered in the 16th century, the cistern has been welcoming visitors since 1837. Described as an underground cathedral, this feat of engineering dates back to the reign of Emperor Justinian in 532. The cistern could hold up to 80,000 cubic metres of water – and, standing inside it, you won't doubt it. With over 300 marble columns made from stone said to have been salvaged from ruined temples, look out for some of the ornate carvings including the famous carved heads of Medusa - eerie! 

The Blue Mosque

Back above ground, we'll continue our day with a visit to the iconic Sultanahmet Mosque, or as it's more commonly known "the Blue Mosque". So named because of the beautiful blue tiles used to decorate the interior, the exterior is equally impressive with 6 minarets that, legend has it, were built to rival the iconic Hagia Sophia. - but we'll let you decide for yourself which is the grandest.

Free time in Istanbul 

After our visit, the rest of the day is at leisure to continue to explore Istanbul or relax in our hotel as you wish.

 

Included experiencea -

Visits to the Basilica Cistern and the Blue Mosque.

Signature experience -  

See another side of Istanbul as we cruise along the mighty Bosphorus, legendary throughout history, the river separates Europe from Asia. We’ll drift past the magnificent palaces and mosques that line the shore of the mighty waterway, on a privately charted boat while enjoying drinks and a light snack.

Day 7

Topkapi Palace

We’ll start the day with a guided tour of the Topkapi Palace, the glittering and labyrinthine imperial residence of the sultans for over 400 years. Today, it is a spectacular museum, but in its heyday, it functioned as a city within a city, a home to over 4,000 guards, eunuchs, courtiers and the ladies of the harem.

There is a superb display of weapons from throughout history: crossbows, firearms inlaid with ivory and beautifully crafted armour from as far afield as Japan. The treasury is breathtaking too, with an amazing display of jewellery including the world’s fifth-largest diamond, emeralds, jewel-encrusted thrones and the famous Topkapi.

Next, we’ll have a short walk around the Spice Bazaar, where your senses are bombarded by the vibrant colours and fragrant smells of herbs and spices from around the world: high-quality saffron from Iran; vanilla from Madagascar; turmeric from India; fresh peppercorns from Indonesia and much more.

This entire area encapsulates the spirit of old Istanbul: a maze of tiny busy streets, where the locals chat over apple tea from numerous street vendors, as the commanding horns of the passenger ferries resound under the famous Galata Bridge.

Free time

The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. 

 

Included experience -

Guided tour of Topkapi Palace.

Signature experience -

Commemorate our last evening in Istanbul with dinner at a rooftop restaurant with magnificent views of the beautifully illuminated city at night. Join your fellow travellers for a dinner that includes traditional dishes carefully crafted to celebrate the flavours of Turkey – it'll be a night to remember! 

Day 8

Return home 

Today we’ll wave goodbye to new-found friends as we transfer back to the airport for our return flight home.

What's Included

The price of this Turkish tour is per person based on two people sharing a twin room. The price includes:;


Direct return flights;
7 nights' accommodation in four-star hotels;
Daily breakfast 1 lunch and 2 dinners;
All tours as mentioned;
Hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person;
All local taxes;
The services of a Riviera Travel Tour Manager;


Not included: US$20 Turkish visa payable on arrival and optional entrance to Topkapi Harem quarters is 25 Turkish lira.;

Check out our Q&As

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    For almost 40 years

  • I have reduced mobility; can I still travel?

    We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to contact us to discuss these concerns

  • Do I require travel insurance?

    It is a condition of booking that you carry suitable travel insurance.

  • What is my luggage allowance?

    You will receive details of your luggage allowance with your final travel documents, which are sent approximately 10 days prior to your date of departure.

Reviews of this Operator

David Clarke (Google Reviewer)  

This review is for the...

08-Aug-2023

This review is for the italian Lake Como trip Aug 1-8 Wow what a trip. Riviera from start to finish were excellent the booking and help line answering questions were very good and clear. The travel booklet you get is laid out that it is simple to read and follow with step by step info from booking in to flights to meeting the guides. Our guide Matt Purse was just the best guide and real credit to Riviera with his knowledge and straight forward approach to running the trips. Matt kept us informed and told us all the sort of info you want to know without going over the top....This chap should teach other reps ..thank you so much. The coaches they use are all clean and well equipped with usb chargers and have aircon. The places chosen to visit were well researched even down to where coaches park or drop you off. The Bernina Express was the highlight for our family and matts photo tip was welcomed. The only down point was the hotel,a little dated and evening meal in main restuarant was a bit of a let down. I think we were lucky with our room on level 7 and with balcony as the walls are very thin and noise travels. We would book again with riviera

Barbara Shillaker (Google Reviewer)  

I have been on three...

11-Jan-2024

I have been on three trips with Riviera Travel so far, with two more booked during 2024. Highly recommended. Excellent tour guides. Great program of visits. Great hotels used.

Valerie Pascoe  

We would go again in a heartbeat

22-Jan-2022

Oh my goodness, what a relief it was to actually get away! Full marks to all at Riviera for keeping us up to date before our trip and for the help so cheerfully and patiently given with the extra admin that Covid brought our way. We felt totally safe with the measures taken on board, thank you very much for this. Without exception, Staff were fantastic and our every need was attended to. The additional Covid testing ran smoothly, organised by our Riviera Reps. The guided tours were most interesting: the guides very knowledgeable and more importantly, interesting to listen to. We loved this trip and would do it again in a heartbeat. Thank you again Riviera, you were FAB!

Chris Wilson (Google Reviewer)  

Second escorted tour with this...

25-Jul-2022

Second escorted tour with this company. Did 5 days in Iceland tour. Everything went smoothly, excellent tour guide, Per. Extremely knowledgeable and interesting guy. Very friendly too. Highly recommend. Just let down by the room given at the hotel, but I guess the travel company doesn't have control over this.

Kathryn Jurin, GB  

Riviera South Africa tour - awesome

21-May-2021

Riviera have amazing holidays and tours to choose from. The one we chose was South Africa and wow! It turned out to be our best trip ever - incredible memories we will never forget. We’ve been all over the world which was because of all our experiences, this one was awesome. The organisation of the holiday, the guide and the travel was e cells that. The choice of hotels, meals, restaurants, trips was absolutely fantastic - very good quality and character - nothing bland or boring! The Riviera guide was permanently with us along with a South Africa guide and they were both extremely friendly, professional, informative and you could ask any questions you want! I would massively recommend this holiday/trip and when you’ve experienced it, you realise how reasonable the price is. We reflect on this trip a lot and thank you Riviera for giving us such a wonderful experience.

Trustpilot
Barry, GB  

Rhine Christmas markets cruise

09-Dec-2019

Just completed a 5 day trip on the Rhine. Our first river cruise and a tester for future cruises. The boat was well appointed and the cabin and public areas were spotlessly clean. The staff were attentive and contributed to the very relaxed atmosphere on the boat. The quality of the food surpassed that which we have experiened on sea cruises in recent years. I have written little because it was a faultless experience. We have booked a further cruise (in France) on the basis of our experience.

Trustpilot
Joan Yarker (Google Reviewer)  

My first cruise and I...

23-Sep-2023

My first cruise and I couldn’t have done better than my recent Seine River cruise. Carmen the tour organiser was excellent and always willing to go the extra mile to sort out any problems. The crew were amazing , friendly and helpful, the captain was great when explaining the controls on the bridge. Everything was very clean, food truly delicious and the pianist a delight and I was able to indulge my passion for dancing. My fellow guests were a delight and I made many new friends. Thank you Riviera

Christine Hardy (Google Reviewer)  

Although most people seem to...

10-Mar-2024

Although most people seem to book and pay for their holidays online, because we live close by we prefer to make a personal visit. In my opinion if they are offering this as an option they should be better equipped to accommodate visits in person. We have not been on our river cruise yet, so can't comment on that yet.

Rob Steele (Google Reviewer)  

My 3rd Riviera trip within...

16-Feb-2024

My 3rd Riviera trip within a year and I wasn't disappointed 😁 This time it was https://www.rivieratravel.co.uk/escorted-tours/southern-india-coastal-route-solo-travellers This trip, although not cheap, it really offers exceptional value for money as you see a lot of Tamil Nadu and Kerela, stay in fantastic hotels, excellent breakfasts every day as well as some lunches and dinners also included. George Bareham, our "Tour Manager" was brilliant, very professional, but also friendly and diligent. Satheeshan, our local guide was helpful and picked me up antibiotics when I got ill, he was a nice chap, if (for my taste) went on a bit and used 20 words when 1 would suffice. Mr Sweeny, our coach driver was fantastic,really professional and an exceptionally good driver. His assistant, Murgon wad a delight, always smiling and attentive. This is a full on trip, early morning starts and quite a packed itinerary, but still leaving time to laze around some brilliant hotel swimming pools. Only a couple of suggestions to improve the holiday. More shopping time in Cochin and change carriers from Etihad who, unfortunately aren't the excellent airline they used to be. But, will I use Riviera Travel again - Yes 😁

Barbara Parkes (Google Reviewer)  

Presently in Croatia staying at...

22-Sep-2023

Presently in Croatia staying at Arauana Hotel, supposedly a 4 star property, but wouldn't give it any star rating. Rooms are small and dirty. Wallpaper blistering. Meals served in a shed like lean-to. Food like warm, greasy and always self service. Second holiday with Riviera this year and neither at standard advertised. Have travelled with them previously and everything was fine, but standards have really dropped. Have booked a holiday with them next year and now dreading it. Certainly don't provide the standard advertised. We have never stayed in such a hovel and have visited youngsters in back packers accommodation which was far better than this supposedly 4 star accommodation. There are no indoor bars or lounges only a shed as a so called restaurant. Absolutely disgusting. Won't be boking with them again

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Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    Riviera Travel requires a minimum deposit of 250 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 75 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of riviera travel charges.

    Up to 75 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 74 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 70% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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