Your trip starts at 8 am on Day 1 at the Lazer Pension (Lazer Pansiyon) in Antalya, where you will meet your tour leader and the rest of your group. After this get ready to depart for the bus station and travelling to Goreme (Cappadocia) by local bus (approximately 9.5 hrs). Our accommodation is at Nazim's house in Ortahisar, check out the views over the secluded valley. This is an amazing spot. Tonight you'll be treated to some Turkish hospitality as Nazim and his lovely family take care of us. On arrival get to know Nazim and his family. Take an orientation walk with your trip leader and maybe an afternoon visit to Ortahisar Castle. Then settle in for an enjoyable night and some good home cooking Cappadoicia Style. Aghhh the serenity.
Phallic rocks, fairy chimneys and underground cities. Cappadocia’s got it all. This morning you have the option of taking a very early hot-air balloon over the crazy landscapes at sunrise (those who choose to take this optional extra will have a seriously excellent time, and your friends back home might think you've been to another planet when they see your photos). Later in the morning it's time to go underground and explore the cities down there. There are 36 underground cities in Cappadocia; the widest is Kaymakli, the deepest is Derinkuyu. These rabbit-warren metropolises were lovingly carved into the earth by the Hittites around 3,500 years ago. If that doesn’t get you excited, you’re a robot. Later on there will be free time to hit the nightlife of Goreme, or go to a Whirling Dervish 'Sema' performance (optional). Notes: The hot-air balloon activity can only be booked locally. Please speak to your trip leader on Day 1 to organise this.
Put your boots on and hike up hills and over mountains to Goreme. Check into our local hotel and spend the afternoon resting of course maybe lounging on the cushions in "Fat Boys" a game of backgammon anyone? If the muscles are a little sore from all the walking then you can always try a local Hamam. Don't worry about your Luggage they will be transferred to your hotel. Thanks Nazim! Thank you Driver! The total distance you walk will depend on the group and which route is taken.
Spend the day exploring the Cappadocia area some more. If you like, you can stop by the Göreme Open Air Museum, a medieval wonderland of old rock-cut churches and frescoes. For a very different taste of the dizzyingly diverse landscape around here, you could check out Avanos, which is a chilled-out little town about 10 minutes away, known for its pottery and a 'red' river. Tonight it's time to say goodbye to Cappadocia (take a couple of last photos as you fight back the tears) and catch your overnight bus to Istanbul (approximately 10–12 hours).
Your trip comes to an end this morning on arrival into Istanbul. But it's a great idea to stay a little longer. So many activities, so little time. You can get all cultural at the Blue Mosque, splash some cash at the Grand Bazaar (the rugs ain't cheap, but they are beautiful and handmade), take a ferry cruise along the blue waters of Bosphorus (this is awesome and only costs a few Turkish Lira, unlike the some of the houses you will see on the shore as you cruise past), or just eat your weight in last-minute pides. You can’t really go wrong. Please note: if you wish to book a flight out of Istanbul today, we recommend avoiding flights before 1pm to allow for any delays on your overnight bus.