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A Turkey trip bursting with culture and curiosity, from ancient Istanbul to mythical Cappadocia - includes tours and all travel
With a ravishing history stretching back through empires and much-trampled trading ground connecting Europe with Asia, Turkey has quite the story to tell. This compact break has you whirling like a dervish through Istanbul's Old City, bejewelled with rich architecture, and traversing the unique and almost mythical Cappadocia landscape, punctuated with fairy chimneys and mysterious cave dwellings where hermits once hid.
You'll begin a kofta's throw from the airport where you'll land, at the huge and gleaming Pullman Istanbul Airport & Convention Center Hotel. After settling into your luxe base west of the city centre, the next morning you'll head out on a tour of Istanbul's Old City, from where the powerful Byzantine and Ottoman empires ruled. You'll visit the magnificent Hagia Sophia, the 6th-century Church of Divine Wisdom, with its moodily resplendent interior of gold and black, before drinking in the sky-tinged Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome, and Topkapi Palace, where Ottoman Sultans once slept. In the afternoon, get your bartering game on at Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, one of the largest markets on the planet and bursting at the seams with Turkish antiques, jewellery, gold, carpets and more.
The next morning, you'll wave goodbye to Istanbul's domes, spires and sea, and fly inland to the magical Cappadocia region. Your second hotel, Best Western Premier Cappadocia, is embedded into a magical landscape where wizards wouldn't look out of place among the curious fairy chimneys protruding up into the horizon. Carved into the rock itself, you can hide away in the hotel's indoor cave pool and spa to get grips with the bewitching scenes outside.
After a night's sleep in your cosy cave room, you'll launch off to conquer North Cappadocia on a guided tour. You'll walk through the astonishing Devrent Valley and visit Pasabagi, also named Monk's Valley, spotting fairy chimneys boasting a number of stems and caps. After driving to Avanos and perusing its famed pottery, you'll have some lunch before delving into the mysterious underground city of Özkonak.
You can then snap some classic shots at the landmark Uçhisar Castle - a volcanic rock mountain hollowed out with tunnels where villagers used to hide from marauding armies, before returning to your own cool cave dwelling and flying home the next day.
Mixing city culture and rural wonders on one compact Turkey trip
Gazing up at Istanbul's vivid dome-topped mosques and palaces, beautiful inside and out
Waking up in your own Cappadocia cave hideaway in a land where hermits once shied away from the world
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