twelve day eastern anatolia tour
eastern anatolia tour
Discover the sights of Eastern Anatolia. This exciting tour boasts sixteen hundred-year-old castles and fortresses, natural mineral springs, intriguing rock fairy chimneys, waterfalls, trekking on Mount Ararat to what is believed to be the sight of Noah's Ark, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ani (City of 1001 Churches), and more!
Day 1 Arrival in Sivas
Arrive in Sivas where your driver will meet you at the airport and take you to the hotel. After you settle in, you'll meet your tour guide and hear the details of the trip.
Day 2 Sivas
See the sights around the city of Sivas including the Congress, Madrassah, and Ulu Mosque. Stop for tea in a famous old Caravan Saray used along the Silk Road! From here, you'll head a couple of hours east to the city of Erzincan for the night.
Day 3 Erzincan
After breakfast at your hotel, head to relax by the Girlevik Waterfall before stopping by to sample the local mineral water, "Eksisu". On your way to Erzurum, you'll stop by Mama Hatun's Tomb. After lunch in Erzurum, you'll see the old Roman Castle from the 5th century as well as the Twin Minaret Madrassah and a Caravan Saray!
Day 4 Erzurum
Today you'll explore the Fairy Chimneys of Narman, a red rock formation you have to see to believe! Next, head to the ruins of 1000-year-old Osvank Church! Finish off the afternoon by climbing around the incredible Tortum Waterfall and having a delicious dinner by the lake.
Day 5 Ardahan
Today you will see the ruins of the Georgian Ishan Church and then head over to the stunning Ardahan Castle where you'll have some time to look around and hear about the history of the area. Stay in a historic Russian hotel in the eastern city of Kars and immerse yourself in what evidence remains of a time when the Russians occupied this city.
Day 6 Kars
Explore the Old City Center today with your guide including a fortress, churches, and mosques. See, hear and taste the unique culture of this area! You will even get to watch a cultural dance show and watch as local musicians battle it out on the saz.
Day 7 Kars
Today you'll head toward the Armenian border where you'll have the day to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site Ani, also known as the City of 1001 Churches. This ruined city was once the capital of the Armenian Bagratuni Dynasty. Have lunch nearby before visiting a local salt mine. On your way to Dogubeyazit for the evening, you'll get to walk along the "Chocolate Hills".
Day 8 Dogubeyazit
After a big breakfast at your hotel, head out on a trek on the famous Mount Ararat. See where historians believe Noah's Ark came to rest! See Ishak Pasa Palace, built by the Ottomans in the 17th Century. This is one of the very few surviving examples of historical Turkish Palaces. From there, head to Van (yes, the city is called Van!), and grab some Turkish Tea at Muradiye Waterfall on the way.
Day 9 Van
See the Van Castle and museum in the city center and then catch your boat which will take you to an island on the massive Van Lake. This lake is the largest in Turkey. It's so big, the locals call it a sea. The boat will take you to an island, on which lies Akdamar Church. This beautiful church was built in the 900s. One incredible thing about this place is that the church's original reliefs have survived! After the boat brings you back to the mainland, head to Tatvan for the night.
Day 10 Tatvan
Tatvan is another city along the shores of Van Lake. See the giant cemetery of Ahlat, where you'll find graves dating back over 2000 years. Important people throughout history have been buried here and you'll find plenty of interesting Ottoman gravestones as well. After lunch, head up a caldera, Crater Lake.
Day 11 Tatvan
Say goodbye to beautiful Lake Van and head to the Bitlis Caravan Saray. See the Swimming Islands in Bingol before heading toward Elazig for the evening. In Elazig, you'll explore Harput Castle and the old bazaar!
Day 12 Elazig
Arsan Tepe and Old Malatya await you this morning as you get ready to say goodbye to Eastern Anatolia! Grab some famous local dried apricots to take home before your driver takes you to the Malatya airport.
"I saw my children see things that most people only dream of seeing. I'm so happy we had this opportunity to explore and experience these amazing places. Thank you SRM for this tour!