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The Road to Damascus - Overland Trip

3 weeks: Istanbul to Damascus (IMT-TARD)

Intro

Travel to two of the Middle East’s most interesting and varied countries. Our tour starts in the vibrant city of Istanbul, straddling Europe and Asia and offering a wealth of attractions, before continuing along the Turquoise Coast to Gallipoli, Ephesus and a night on a private gulet. Our route then turns inland to the dramatic landscapes of Cappadocia before moving south to Syria, to the remote desert ruins of Palmyra and the exotic cities of Aleppo and Damascus.

Group Size

Max 18

Activities

Optional sea kayaking from the gulet, extensive walking in Cappadocia & Palmyra

Accommodation

19 nights simple hotels, 1 night gulet, 1 overnight bus

Transport

Gulet, private and public bus, service taxi, overnight bus

Fully Escorted

By Imaginative Traveller tour leader (except at border crossing) and services of guide at Palmyra

Meals

As per itinerary. B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner

Winter itinerary

Day 6, Pamukkale - Fethiye - Dalyan

Leaving Pamukkale we head to the pretty seaside town of Fethiye where we stop for lunch. In the afternoon we continue on to Dalyan where we\'ll stay for 2 nights (B)

Day 7, Dalyan

Dalyan lies in a stunning location between the mountains and the sea, and is known for its hot springs and the nearby conservation area for loggerhead turtles. We have a day at leisure to explore the town. (B)

Day 8, Kas

Today we drive to Kas, a small town with a picturesque fishing harbour. (B) Approx. 5 hrs driving

Kas

The ancient Lycian city of Kas is now a quiet seaside village lying on a stunning section of the Turquoise Coast at the foot of the Taurus Mountains. It is a perfect place to stroll and you can explore the narrow alleyways or the small harbour. The town is also dotted with relics from the past and there are a number of impressive rock tombs in the hills above the town as well as a unique seaside amphitheatre. There are some excellent restaurants near the harbour where you can dine outside in the evening warmth, eating delicious locally caught fish.

Day 9, Olympos

Drive to Olympos where there is the chance to visit the ancient Olympos and Chimera. (BD)

The tour then follows the original itinerary above until day 13 which is detailed below.

Day 13, Cappadocia

We have another free day to explore this extraordinary landscape. (B)

Day 14, Iskenderun

Today we drive to Iskenderun, the city close by to Antakya known as Antioch in biblical times. We will have some free time to take in the town\'s many sights. The Hatay Museum possesses one of the best collections of Roman mosaics anywhere. (B)

Day 15, Antakya - Border - Aleppo

We have free morning to explore Antakya\'s rich history. In the noon time we drive to Syrian Boarder and cross over to Syria. Short drive will bring us to Allepo. (B)

The tour then follows the original itinerary above from day 16 onwards.

Itineraries

Day 1,ISTANBUL

Arrival day.

Day 2,GALLIPOLI

Drive to the small town of Canakkale. Free afternoon to visit Gallipoli or Troy. (B)

Day 3,SELCUK

We travel to the pretty town of Selcuk. (B)

Day 4,SELCUK – EPHESUS

A full free day to visit the amazing ruins at Ephesus. Half day guided tour of Ephesus (50 YTL). (B)

Day 5,PAMUKKALE

A morning drive takes us to Pamukkale where there is time to visit the famous calcified falls and the ancient city of Hierapolis. (B)

Day 6,PAMUKKALE - FETHIYE – GULET

Today we travel to Fethiye where we have lunch before boarding our private gulet. We spend the afternoon cruising along the scenic Turquoise Coast. (BD)

Day 7,DALYAN

After breakfast we disembark and drive to Dalyan, known for its hot springs and the nearby conservation area for loggerhead turtles. (B)

Day 8,DALYAN

A day at leisure. (B)

Day 9,OLYMPOS

Drive to Olympos. (BD)

Day 10,ANTALYA - CAPPADOCIA

After leaving Olympos we drive to Antalya where we have time to explore the old harbour before taking an overnight bus to Cappadocia. (B)

Day 11,CAPPADOCIA

Free time for you to explore this spectacular region.

Day 12,CAPPADOCIA

A full day for further exploration. Those after a bit of action can explore by mountain bike. (B)

Day 13,KAHTA

A day’s drive across the stunning Eastern Taurus Mountains to Kahta, near Mt Nemrut. (B)

Day 14,MT NEMRUT – URFA

Free morning to visit Mt Nemrut to see the massive Commagene stone heads. (B)

Day 15,URFA – ALEPPO

Morning visit to Urfa, the city of the prophets, before continuing to the Syrian border and transferring to Aleppo. Approx. 4-5 hrs driving. (B)

Day 16,ALEPPO

Free day in Aleppo. Explore the exotic atmosphere of the covered bazaars.  Optional guided tour (1,100 Sr). (B)

Day 17,HAMA

We have a short drive to Hama, famous for its old water wheels. Option to visit the imposing Crac des Chevaliers crusader fortress (1,100 Sr). (B)

Day 18,PALMYRA

A drive through the desert brings us to the breathtaking city of Palmyra. (B)

Day 19,PALMYRA

Guided tour of these marvellous Roman ruins. (B)

Day 20,DAMASCUS

Drive to Damascus in the morning. Free afternoon. (B)

Day 21,DAMASCUS

Free day to explore the old city with its many souks, palaces and mosques. Optional walking tour (1,100 Sr). (B)

Day 22,DAMASCUS

Tour ends after breakfast. (B)



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