TURKEY BULGARIA & GREECE
9 NIGHTS / 10 DAYS
JC – IA – TOUR NO. 359
Istanbul (3N) Plovdiv (1N) Sofia (2N) Sandanski (1N) Thessaloniki (1N) Athens (1N)
Day 1 (Istanbul)
Welcome to Turkey Istanbul Airport. Meet with our local staff and transfer to your hotel. Transfer from airport & check in to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 2 (Istanbul)
Pick up at 08:30am from your hotel for the a day tour of old Istanbul city. Visit to ST. SOPHIA This ancient basilica, built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century and reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century, is one of the architectural marvels of all time. TOPKAPI PALACE The great palace of the Ottoman sultans from the 15th to the 19th centuries housing an exquisite collection of cyrstal, silver, and Chinese porcelain, robes worn by the sultans and their families, the famous jewels of the Imperial Treasury, miniatures, the Holy Mantle; enshrining relics of the Prophet Mohammed.
SULTANAHMET IMPERIAL MOSQUE Across from St. Sophia built in the 16th century by the architect Mehmet, is known as the BLUE MOSQUE because of its magnificent interior decoration of blue Iznik tiles. HIPPODROME Ancient Hippodrome, the scene of chariot races, with the three monuments; the Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column and the Column of Constantine. We will then take you to the GRAND COVERED BAZAAR In this labyrinth of streets and passages are more then 4,000 shops with each trade having its own area: the goldsmiths’ street, the carpet sellers, Turkish arts and crafts, such as handpainted ceramic plates, hand-honed copperware, brassware and trays, water ewers, onyx-ware and meerschaum pipes. After the tour, transfer back to your hotel. Free Evening and optional Istanbul Evening Shows or Bosphorus Dinner Cruise incluing traditional Turkish entertainment and dinner. Overnight in Istanbul.
Meals : Breakfast
Day 3 (Istanbul)
Pick up at 08:30am from the hotel and depart for the Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise and Shopping Tour. Visit the SPICE BAZAAR (Egyptian Bazaar) The air here is filled with the enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme and every other conceivable herb and spice. BOSPHORUS BY BOAT a traditional excursion by boat along the waterway separating Europe and Asia. The shore is lined with old wooden villas, palaces of marble, fortresses, and small fishing villages. During the excursion you will see the magnificent sights of the following attractions from your boat. See Dolmabahce Palace, and further along, the parks and imperial pavilions of Yildiz Palace. On the coastal edge of this park, is Ciragan Palace, 300 meters of its marble facade faces the shore. At Ortakoy a great variety of artists gather every Sunday to display their work along the street. Ortakoy is a symbol of tolerance with a church, a mosque and a synagogue existing side by side for centuries. RUMELI FORTRESS Built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 prior to the conquest of Istanbul was completed in only four months to control and protect the infamous Bosphorus passage. It is one of the most beautiful works of military architecture anywhere in the world. BEYLERBEYI PALAS (PALACE) The summer residence of Ottoman sultans exists in its original renovated glory featuring original antique furniture and magnificent gardens with the Harem on the Asian side of Istanbul. BOSPHORUS BRIDGE enjoy a unique chance to step from one continent (Asia) to another (Europe). CAMLICA HILL the highest point in Istanbul. At the top of it you can rest and admire the magnificent panorama of Istanbul and the Bosporus from the beautiful gardens, landscaped in traditional Turkish Ottoman style. SHOPPING TOUR (after cruise) Experience the traditional silk weaving skills of Turkish women at the carpet weaving courses provided by The Ministry of National Education. You will get the opportunity to see jewellery, handcrafts centre and a modern leatherwear show. Enjoy the experience of shopping whilst gaining the knowledge of the ancient craftsmen, with our local escort full of knowledge about how to haggle the streets of Istanbul. The rest of the evening is yours to explore Istanbul. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 4 (Plovdiv)
After breakfast check out from the hotel and Depart for Bulgaria. Arrival in Plovdiv around noon in Bulgaria. Check in to hotel and rest of day is yours. Explore Plovdiv city, shop in the local markets, or enjoy many big party or games in Casino. Overnight in Plovdiv.
Day 5 (Plovdiv)
Departure for Sofia. Guided sightseeing tour of the city centre, including visit to Alexander Nevski Cathedral – one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in Europe, as well as one of Sofia’s
symbols and a primary tourist attraction; St. George Rotunda, St. Sophia Church, built by the Roman Emperor Justinian in the 6th century, National Theatre, former Royal Palace, today housing the National Revival Art Gallery and the Ethnographic Museum, Presidency, etc. Upon request – dinner at a traditional restaurant with folklore music and dances. Overnight in Sofia
Day 6 (Sofia)
Departure for Rila Monastery – the most exquisite example of the monastery art and architecture in Bulgaria. Guided tour of the monastery complex. Visit to Nativity of the Virgin Church with its miracle icon of the Virgin and splendid gilded iconostasis, the old kitchen, the monastery museum where you can learn about the long and heroic history of the monastery, the woodcarved cross made for a period of twelve years by a monk called Rafael, Hrelyo’s Tower and many spectacular views from the mountain and the surrounding nature. Drive to Sandanski in the afternoon. Accommodation at hotel and overnight in Sandanski.
Day 7 (Sandanski)
Drive to Melnik – the smallest town in Bulgaria famous for its excellent wines and sandstone rocky pyramids. Visit to Kordopulova museum-house. Around noon departure for Greece. Arrive Thessaloniki early afternoon. The rest of the day will be free to explore and enjoy Thessaloniki on your own, walking around, doing the shopping or relaxing in one of many cafeterias or Taverns in Thessaloniki down town. Dinner in Thessaloniki.
Day 8 (Thessaloniki)
Breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, drive to Vergina, the most important remains of the monumental palace of the Kingdom of Macedonia, lavishly decorated with mosaics and painted stuccoes, and the burial ground with more than 300 tumuli, some of which date from the 11th century B.C. One of the royal tombs is identified as that of Philip II, who conquered all the Greek cities, paving the way for his son Alexander and the expansion of the Hellenistic world. Lunch will be offered at a local restaurant in Vergina. After lunch drive to Athens. On the way, make a short stop at Thermopylae where a fierce battle took place between the Persians and Greeks during the Persian invasion of 480-479 BC. The Greek force (300 strong) was very small but was determined to make a stand against the huge Persian army. Overnight in Athens.
Day 9 (Athens)
After breakfast, we will start the tour of the city of Athens, visiting Syntagma Square – the centre of modern Athens and view the changing of the guard in front of the Parliament building. On the way to Acropolis, we will have a stop to the Panathenaic Stadium-made of white marble- where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896. The impressive, work of Art, Stadium was the finish line of the Marathon Race of Athens 2004 Olympics. We will also see the Temple of Olympian Zeus – the largest Temple ever built in Greece. We will view the National Gardens, the Academy, the National Library, the University, and finally we will visit the most magnificent monument in the world – the Parthenon on the Acropolis. Then drive to Piraeus, Greece’s main port and continue by the costal road to Kastella, a picturesque hill area overlooking the Mikrolimano yacht harbour, having the opportunity to see numerous restaurants and cafes by the sea. On the way to Mesoghia and the Winery, enjoy the journey through the southern suburbs of the city, along the coastal avenue of Athens riviera with its magnificent view to the sea. Arrive at the Winery* and enjoy the visit. Drive to Porto Rafti Area by the sea for a lunch. After the lunch, drive to McArthur Designer Outlet shopping village. In continue, we drive at a Pottery workshop to see the craft of making vases and the exhibition of different products. Afterwards, drive back to hotel, passing by the facilities of the Olympic Athletic Centre of Athens, where the majority of the athletic events were held during the 2004 Olympic Games. Overnight in Athens.
Day 10 (Athens)
Breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, transfer to Athens International Airport for a flight back home.
Inclusion & Exclusion
Arrival airport transfer from Istanbul Ataturk Airport
3 nights stay in Istanbul
3 open buffet breakfasts
Guided Istanbul City Tour
Guided Istanbul Bosphorus cruise and shopping tour
1 night stay in Plovdiv
1 night stay in Sofia
1 night stay in Sandanski
Guided Melnik Tour Guided Sofia Tour
1 night stay in Thessaloniki
2 nights stay in Athens
Guided Vergina tour
Guided Athens Sightseeing Tour
Escorted Half All in One Panoramic Tour of Attica
All entrance fees mentioned in the itinerary
Transportation in a fully air-conditioned, non-smoking coach
Professional English-speaking tour guides
Departure transfer to Athens International Airport
Anything which is not specified under Inclusions
Cost of Internal Air Tickets
Expenses of personal nature such as tips, telephone calls, laundry, liquor etc.
Guide & Entrance fees during sightseeing or any other item not specified in ‘cost inclusions.
Any increase in taxes or fuel, ROE, leading to increase in surface transportation and land arrangements, which may come into effect prior to departure.
Expenses of personal nature such as tips, telephone calls, laundry, liquor etc.
Any Surcharges if applicable due to peak season or any other event
City / Tourist Tax to be paid extra directly to Hotel at Check-In
Rates are subject to availablity & are subject to change depending on season, surcharge, exibhitions, fairs etc