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Egypt & Turkey, Middle East

Egypt & Turkey, Middle East

Best of Egypt & Turkey

23 days

Immerse yourself in the incredible history of Turkey and Egypt. Discover the ancient civilizations and priceless treasures of bygone eras, indulge your senses in colorful market bazaars and explore the beautiful contrasting landscapes of these two unique countries.

From $10,525 per person

General Information

Highlights

SPECIAL EXPERIENCES!

  • Taste some Turkish delicacies. Think baklava and Turkish coffee, and of course, Turkish delight!
  • Watch a traditional Turkish pide-making demonstration and taste this local delicacy fresh from the oven.
  • Learn about Turkish cuisine at a hands-on cooking class with a local family.
  • Descend into the ancient tombs at the Valley of Kings to view elaborate and well-preserved examples of hieroglyphic paintings.
  • Explore the twin temples of Abu Simbel, originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II as a monument to himself and his queen, Nefertari.
Itinerary

Abbreviation: [B,L,D] Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 1. DEPART AUSTRALIA

DAY 2. ARRIVE ISTANBUL

Welcome to magical Istanbul, the city where East meets West, at the border of Asia and Europe. Meet your fellow travelers and tour director tonight for a welcome drink.

DAY 3. ISTANBUL

After breakfast, we explore the opulent Topkapi Palace, once home to the great sultans. We’ll also visit the iconic Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern and Hippodrome, test our bargaining skills at the aromatic Spice Bazaar and browse the ornate stalls of the famous Grand Bazaar. Tonight we’ll enjoy a group welcome dinner at a local restaurant. [B, D]

Special Experience: Taste some Turkish delicacies. Think baklava and Turkish coffee, and of course, Turkish delight!

Please note: The Basilica Cistern is currently under renovations and may partly be without water.

Please note: The Blue Mosque is currently undergoing renovations and therefore will be partly covered in scaffolding

DAY 4. ISTANBUL – GALLIPOLI – ÇANAKKALE

A day close to the hearts of many Australians. We make our way to Gallipoli to pay homage to the spirit of the Anzacs at Anzac Cove, the Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair Memorials, and Johnston’s Jolly. [B, D]

DAY 5. ÇANAKKALE – TROY – KUSADASI

This morning we visit Troy, where the legend of the wooden horse was born, before continuing to the ancient temple of Asclepion. [B, L]

Special Experience: For lunch, we’ll watch a traditional Turkish pide-making demonstration and taste this local delicacy fresh from the oven.

DAY 6. EPHESUS EXCURSION

Step back in time as we visit Ephesus, the largest Roman city ever uncovered. We’ll walk through the streets, passing by the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Artemis and the Sacred House of the Virgin Mary, where she is reputed to have spent her last days. [B]

DAY 7. KUSADASI – PAMUKKALE

We travel to Pamukkale via Aphrodisias and its famed Sculpture School. It’s also home to the largest stadium in the Classical world. [B, D]

DAY 8. PAMUKKALE – KONYA

Today we explore the amazing landscape of Hierapolis, an ancient Greek city sitting on top of the site of Pamukkale. Over a period of 14,000 years, nature has created a unique grouping of hot springs that cascade over a cliff, forming calcium-rich pools. [B]

DAY 9. KONYA – CAPPADOCIA

Today we’ll see Catalhöyük, the largest and best-preserved Neolithic site, with its spectacular wall paintings. We also visit the Mevlana Museum and learn about the mystical religious sect known as the Whirling Dervishes. [B, D]

DAY 10. CAPPADOCIA

Greet the day in enchanting Cappadocia. Today we visit the hidden monastic valley of Paşabaği and a traditional carpet factory to learn about the region’s beautiful Turkish carpets. This afternoon we explore the Göreme Valley, situated amongst the ‘fairy chimney’ rock formations. [B, D]

DAY 11. CAPPADOCIA – ISTANBUL

This morning we visit the village of Avanos, known for its ceramic art dating back to the 12th century BC.

Special Experience: For lunch, we will take a cooking class with a local family.

We then explore one of the underground cities for which Cappadocia is famous, before our flight back to Istanbul. [B, L]

DAY 12. ISTANBUL – CAIRO – GIZA

After breakfast, we visit the magnificent Basilica of Hagia Sophia, built in 532 AD by Constantine the Great. This afternoon we fly to Egypt and its sprawling capital, Cairo. [B,D]

DAY 13. GIZA

Our touring in Egypt begins at the oldest structures in existence, the amazing Great Pyramids of Giza. We’ll visit the nearby Great Sphinx, with the body of a lion and the head of a king, often referred to as the national symbol of Egypt. We’ll also discover the ancient capital of Memphis and the incredible Step Pyramid of Sakkara. [B]

DAY 14. CAIRO EXCURSION

Today we visit the 12th century Saladin Citadel of Cairo and the Mohammed Ali Mosque. We’ll then discover the 14th-century souk, Khan el-Khalili Bazaar. This afternoon we’ll visit the world-famous Egyptian Museum, home to Tutankhamun’s priceless treasures. [B]

DAY 15. CAIRO – LUXOR – NILE CRUISE

This morning we fly to Luxor in Upper Egypt. Here we’ll explore the fascinating Karnak Temple, once linked to Luxor Temple by a 3km-long Avenue of Sphinxes. [B,L,D]

Embark Cruise: This afternoon we board our Nile River cruise ship.

DAY 16. NILE CRUISE

Special Experience: Our first stop is the Valley of the Kings. Carved deep into the limestone rock, each tomb has a similar pattern of three corridors, an antechamber, and a sarcophagus chamber. We’ll be able to descend into the tombs to see examples of the elaborate and well-preserved hieroglyphic paintings. [B,L,D]

DAY 17. NILE CRUISE

This morning we visit the magnificent Temple of Horus, dedicated to the Falcon God. This beautiful ancient temple is one of the best-preserved in Egypt. We’ll then cruise to the riverside Temple of Kom Ombo. Tonight we’ll experience a traditional galabeya party on board. [B,L,D]

Please note: Due to local laws and regulations, the only mode of transport available to visit the Temple of Horus in Edfu is by horse and carriage. Unfortunately, some neglectful owners cruelly mistreat their animals. While our guides always endeavor to arrange healthy, well-treated horses with responsible owners for our transport in Edfu, ultimately it is your decision if you wish to partake in the included sightseeing. If you do not wish to participate, you are welcome to explore Edfu independently or stay on board the cruise to enjoy the ship’s facilities.

DAY 18. ABU SIMBEL EXCURSION

Special Experience: An early start this morning to cross the desert. Our destination is the incredible twin temples of Abu Simbel. The temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II as a monument to himself and his queen, Nefertari. [B,L,D]

DAY 19. NILE CRUISE – ASWAN

Disembark Cruise: We disembark and explore Aswan.

Highlights of our sightseeing include the High Dam, the picturesque Temple of Isis on Philae Island, and the Unfinished Obelisk. This afternoon we’ll relax on a cruise along the Nile on board a traditional felucca. [B]

DAY 20. ASWAN – CAIRO

Today we fly back to Cairo and visit the Pyramids of Dahshur. Here we’ll see the ‘Bent’ and ‘Red’ pyramids built by King Senefru. [B]

DAY 21. CAIRO

Enjoy a full day at leisure in Cairo before our group farewell dinner this evening. [B,D]

DAY 22. DEPART CAIRO

Today we begin our journey home. [B]

DAY 23. ARRIVE AUSTRALIA

Inclusions

TRAVEL

  • Return economy-class flights from Australia to Europe & the Middle East. Taxes included
  • 4 economy-class flights within Europe & the Middle East
  • Airport transfers on the first and last day of the tour
  • All touring in air-conditioned vehicles
  • Nile River cruise
  • Tipping Made Easy, $345pp pre-paid

ACCOMMODATION & MEALS

  • 16 nights in good quality hotels (4-5 star)
  • 4 nights in an outside cabin on board a luxury Nile River cruise (5-star Egyptian standard)
  • 20 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 11 dinners, including group welcome and farewell dinners

TOUR GUIDES

  • English-speaking locally based Tour Director in Turkey
  • English-speaking Egyptologist guides in Egypt

PORTERAGE

  • Porterage included where available

SIGHTSEEING

Turkish Delights

  • Tour Istanbul’s magnificent Topkapi Palace, once home to the great Sultans and their families.
  • Admire the interior walls of the unique Blue Mosque in Istanbul which is covered with twenty thousand blue Iznik tiles.
  • Walk across the Hippodrome, once the heart of Istanbul’s political and sporting life.
  • Visit the Underground Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, the largest surviving Byzantium Cistern.
  • Enjoy some tastings of Turkey’s unique flavors including coffee, Turkish delights, and baklava.
  • Browse at will through the stalls, with the scents of hundreds of spices permeating the air of the Istanbul Spice Bazaar.
  • Explore Istanbul’s famous Grand Bazaar. Built in 1457, it is one of the largest covered markets in the world.
  • Visit the World War I battlefields famous for the ANZAC involvement in the Gallipoli Campaign.
  • Stop in the town of Troy, one of the oldest discovered sites in Asia Minor.
  • Tour the ancient city of Pergamum, a small settlement during the Archaic Period which developed into the capital of the Hellenistic Attalid Dynasty.
  • Watch a traditional Turkish pide-making demonstration and taste this local treat!
  • Explore Ephesus, the largest Roman city ever uncovered.
  • Visit the House of Virgin Mary, where it is believed the Virgin Mary visited in her last days.
  • See the beautiful city of Aphrodisias, one of the finest archaeological sites in Turkey.
  • Visit the site of Hierapolis, meaning ‘Sacred City’, in Pamukkale.
  • See the unique natural site of Pamukkale – white calcareous castles are formed by limestone-laden thermal springs, creating the unbelievable formation of stalactites, potholes, and cataracts.
  • See Catalhöyük, the largest and best-preserved Neolithic site with spectacular artworks and wall paintings, dating back to approximately 5,700 BC.
  • Visit the Mevlana Museum and learn about the mystical religious order known as the Whirling Dervishes.
  • Visit the hidden monastic valley of Paşabaği, with a large number of carved rock houses and churches.
  • Travel to the fascinating Göreme Valley, with its amazing moon-like setting. Over thousands of years, the rain has eroded this landscape to give rise to strange rock formations known as ‘Fairy Chimneys’.
  • Visit one of Cappadocia’s underground cities where, during the sixth century, the Christian inhabitants of this region began to tunnel into the large soft volcanic rock hills.
  • Explore the village of Avanos, famous for hand-made pottery.
  • Tour Istanbul’s domed Basilica of St. Sophia (Hagia Sophia), which has inspired architects and religious leaders for almost 1,500 years.

Unlock the mysteries of Egypt’s ancient civilization

  • Spend two full days exploring Cairo, including the Great Pyramids of Giza, Sphinx, Mohammed Ali Mosque, Saladin Citadel of Cairo, the centuries-old Khan El Khalili Bazaar and the Egyptian Museum, home to Tutankhamun’s priceless treasures.
  • Visit Memphis and the unique Step Pyramid of Sakkara.
  • Discover the amazing temples of Karnak and Luxor which were once linked by a 3 kilometer long Avenue of Sphinxes.
  • Spend 4 nights on board a luxury cruise ship and travel down the majestic Nile River.
  • Tour the wonderfully preserved Temple of Horus at Edfu, Kom Ombo’s beautiful riverside temples, the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the Colossi of Memnon and the Valley of the Kings.
  • Visit the stunning temples of Ramses ll and Queen Nefertari at Abu Simbel.
  • Experience a traditional galabeya party on board the Nile cruise.
  • Explore Aswan on a half-day tour, including the High Dam, the Unfinished Obelisk and the Temple of Isis on Philae Island.
  • Spend a relaxing afternoon on a traditional felucca sailboat.
  • Visit Dahshur to see the ‘Bent’ and ‘Red’ pyramids.
Accommodation

ACCOMMODATION

Accommodation is subject to change and every effort is made to avoid this. However if a change does become necessary, accommodation of a similar standard will be used.

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AMETHYST HOTEL, ISTANBUL

Located at the heart of the historical peninsula and the shopping center of Istanbul, the Amethyst Hotel provides top quality 4-star hospitality. It is within the Old Town of Istanbul and walking distance to the Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern which are among the world’s most important historical and cultural places. Features include an incredible indoor swimming pool, Turkish Bath, sauna, massage rooms, and vitamin bar!

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge/minibar; tea & coffee making facilities; safe deposit box

 

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KOLIN HOTEL, CANAKKALE

The Kolin Hotel is set by the Sea of Marmara, located on 86,000 square meters of land and with 650 meters of coastline. Gardens overlook the Strait and there are views of the sea, Gallipoli National Park and a stunning garden. Guests are able to use the hotel’s bicycle and trekking courses, soccer, volleyball, basketball and tennis courts, outdoor and indoor (heated) pools, sauna, Turkish bath, Finnish bath, Jacuzzi, fitness center and spa.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; safe deposit box; fridge/minibar; indoor and outdoor pools

 

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CHARISMA DE LUXE HOTEL, KUSADASI

Located waterside in the heart of Kusadasi’s city center, this luxury hotel boasts a full-service spa, a traditional Turkish bath, restaurant, multiple pools, and poolside bars. The property is just a 15-minute walk from the Kusadasi Marina and the city’s main beach.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; indoor & outdoor swimming pools

 

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HOTEL DOGA THERMAL HEALTH & SPA, PAMUKKALE

Located in Karahayit, Doğa Thermal Health & Spa lies within 5 kilometers of the Hierapolis Necropolis, Pamukkale thermal pools, and Roman baths. The hotel offers a spacious garden, an indoor pool and an outdoor pool with free parasols and sun loungers. It also has a physiotherapy clinic on site. You can enjoy a mountain view and a pool view from all the rooms.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; tea & coffee making facilities; indoor and outdoor pools

 

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DEDEMAN KONYA HOTEL

The Dedeman Konya Hotel is located in the business district in the center of Konya. The hotel features an indoor swimming pool, hot tub, and hammam. Guests are also able to dine at the hotel’s 2 restaurants, 3 bars/lounges, and its cafe.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge/minibar; free bottled water; tea & coffee making facilities; safe deposit box; indoor & outdoor swimming pools

 

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KAPADOKYA LODGE HOTEL, CAPPADOCIA

Kapadokya Lodge Hotel is a contemporary boutique-sized hotel featuring 146 rooms carefully designed to blend in with its surroundings. Kapadokya Lodge Hotel is just 5 km from Nevşehir and Göreme and its main restaurant serves an extensive buffet with chef stations at breakfast and dinner using produce grown on the hotel’s premises, you won’t be disappointed! Other hotel facilities include a fitness room, tennis court, outdoor swimming pool, and a veggie garden.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box

 

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LE MERIDIEN PYRAMIDS HOTEL, CAIRO

Le Meridien Pyramids comprises elegantly decorated guestrooms. Enjoy incredible views of the majestic Pyramids of Giza from your sun lounge beside the pool. There are a variety of restaurants to choose from offering Mediterranean, International, Egyptian and Mexican food as well as 2 cafes, including a traditional Shisha cafe. Hotel amenities include dry cleaning, currency exchange, laundry, gift shops, and spa services.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi (public areas); fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; outdoor swimming pool

 

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SONESTA MOON GODDESS, NILE CRUISE

An all-suite cruise ship, the Sonesta Moon Goddess features 49 standard cabins with sliding glass doors opening to private balconies and 4 Presidential Suites with private lounges. The main dining room is on board for main meals, there is a lounge serving light meals, drinks and cocktails and a sunset bar, where you can enjoy refreshing cocktails all day until sunset while overlooking the Nile.

Facilities: air-conditioning, TV, full sized ensuite bathrooms, lounge, sundeck, swimming pool, spa, and gym

 

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MOVENPICK HOTEL, ASWAN

Mövenpick Resort Aswan is located on Elephantine Island in the middle of the River Nile, within walking distance of the historical Island, touristic sites, central station, and cultural hotspots. Mövenpick Resort Aswan offers luxurious accommodation with countless services including a swimming pool, tennis court, and gymnasium. The well-appointed rooms are spacious and stylish. All of them offer private balconies or terraces, and many enjoy panoramic views across the river.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; outdoor swimming pool

 

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CAIRO MARRIOTT HOTEL, CAIRO

The Cairo Marriott Hotel is located in Cairo’s Zamalek district and is a 20 minute walk to the Egyptian Museum. It features an outdoor swimming pool, beautifully manicured gardens, a casino and 14 food and beverage outlets offering a range of cuisine including Japanese, Italian, French and Middle Eastern. Guests can relax at the sauna or enjoy a range of massages at the spa.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; outdoor swimming pool; tea & coffee making facilities

Visa Information

VISA REQUIREMENTS

Passport-AU2

Please note, Australian passport holders need to obtain visas for this tour. Please check with your travel agent for further details.

  • Australian passport holders
    • A Turkish E-visa needs to be applied for prior to travel. This can be applied for here: https://www.evisa.gov.tr
    • A visa for Egypt needs to be purchased upon arrival for $25pp US.
  • Non-Australian passport holders
    • Please check with your travel agent on visa requirements.
The following government websites are also a handy source of general information.