Eastern Explorer Tour

This 14 day tour, starts and ends in Istanbul, Turkey.

Tour Highlights

  • Trabzon – Hagia Sophia Museum
  • Trabzon – Sumela Monastery
  • Ani – Citadel
  • Mt. Ararat
  • Dogubayazit – Ishak Pasa Palace
  • Hosap – Castle
  • Van – Akdamar Church
  • Tatvan – Crater Lake Nemrut
  • Ahlat
  • Bitlis
  • Midyat
  • Mardin – Kasimiye Medrese
  • Deir-Al-Zafaran (Saffron Monastery)
  • Diyarbakir – Ten Arches Bridge
  • Diyarbakir – Ulu Camii (Mar Thoma)
  • Mt. Nemrut – UNESCO Heritage site
  • Göbekli Tepe – UNESCO Heritage site
  • Sanliurfa (Urfa) – Ayni Zeliha Lake (Balıklıgöl)
  • Sanliurfa (Urfa) – Cave of the Prophet Abraham
  • Sanliurfa (Urfa) – Overnight
  • Sanliurfa (Urfa) – Ottoman Bazaar
  • Sanliurfa (Urfa) – Archaeology Museum
  • Gaziantep – Mosaic Museum
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Tour Information


  • - Professional English-speaking local tour guides at each site
  • - Transportation in a fully air-conditioned, non-smoking vehicle
  • - Domestic flight between Istanbul and Trabzon and transfers
  • - Domestic flight between Gaziantep and Istanbul and transfers
  • - Tips except Driver and Guide
  • - Entrance fees


2024-04-04, 2024-04-11, 2024-04-14, 2024-04-18, 2024-05-25


Day 1

Welcome to Istanbul!

You will be transferred to your hotel and the remainder of the day is yours, free to explore.

Day 2

This morning you’ll transferred to the airport for yor flight to Trabzon.

Once in Trabzon, we visit the 14th-century Byzantine church of Hagia Sophia, perched majestically overlooking the Black Sea.

Then, delve into the serene ambiance of Altindere National Park to explore the cliff-side monastery of the Virgin Mary at Sumela.

Following this spiritual journey, our path winds along the captivating Black Sea coast, offering breath-taking views, until we reach Hopa near the Georgian border.

Day 3

Our journey continues from Hopa as we set forth towards Erzurum, traversing through the picturesque landscapes of Artvin, Ishan, and the awe-inspiring Georgian Valleys.

Along this route, nature unveils its breath-taking beauty, treating us to spectacular vistas and scenic wonders that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on our adventure.

Day 4

Prepare for a day filled with discovery in Erzurum before we head towards Kars.

Our departure takes us through the captivating Aras River valley, passing by the poignant First World War battlefield site of Sarikamis.

Upon arrival in Kars, our itinerary unfolds with an exploration of the ancient Armenian city of Ani, situated along the Arpaçay River. This remarkable city is adorned with ancient ruins and steeped in historical significance.

Day 5

Continuing our expedition, we journey towards Dogubayazit, tracing past the iconic Biblical Mount Ararat.

Our visit includes the splendid Ishak Pasha Palace, an architectural gem steeped in history and cultural significance.

Our voyage then leads us to the enchanting city of Van, where we’ll settle for the night.

Day 6

Embark on a day of exploration in the Van region, commencing with a visit to the 17th-century fortress at Hosap, a strategic landmark along the ancient Silk Road that connected Persia and the Orient.

Later in the afternoon, our journey takes us to Akdamar Island on Lake Van, Turkey’s largest lake. Here, we’ll discover the historic 10th-century Church of the Holy Cross, an architectural treasure adorned with intricate reliefs, offering a glimpse into the region’s rich cultural and religious heritage.

Day 7

Our journey progresses from Van along Lake Van’s southern shore, leading us to Tatvan.

From there, we’ll venture to witness the impressive Volcano Crater of Nemrut, a natural marvel.

Continuing our exploration, we’ll visit the Seljuk monuments of Ahlat, significant remnants from the Seljuk era, offering insight into the region’s historical and architectural legacy.

Day 8

Our journey proceeds via Bitlis, traversing the picturesque Bitlis Gorge and passing through the city of Batman, leading us to Hasankeyf, poised for submersion under the lake formed by a new dam on the Tigris, offers a glimpse into its history through its caves and remnants of the medieval Byzantine city.

Continuing our westward route towards Mardin, we’ll pause in Midyat to explore its captivating Silver Bazaar.

Upon arriving in Mardin, our itinerary includes a visit to the Kasimiye Medrese, an architectural gem steeped in history that stands as a testament to the region’s cultural richness and scholarly heritage.

Day 9

Following breakfast, our itinerary leads us to the iconic Deir-Al-Zafaran (Saffron Monastery) which historically served as the core of the Syriac Christian Patriarchy.

This ancient site holds centuries of religious significance, originally constructed over a 1000BC temple dedicated to sun worship. Remarkably, the monastery’s main buildings are situated upon the foundations of this ancient sun temple, showcasing a captivating architectural fusion highlighted by a distinctive flat arch roof.

Subsequently, we’ll journey northwest from Mardin to Diyarbakir, where our sightseeing includes a visit to the 10 Arches Bridge spanning the majestic Tigris River.

This historical bridge stands as a testament to ancient engineering and serves as a cultural landmark.

Day 10

Commence the day with sightseeing in Diyarbakir, beginning with a visit to the Ulu Cami (Mar Thoma), a significant religious site encompassing both a mosque and a church.

Subsequently, our journey proceeds as we depart for Nemrut via a ferry crossing over the Euphrates River, reaching Narlice Village in Nemrut National Park.

Upon arrival, we’ll ascend Mount Nemrut to explore the awe-inspiring Tombs of the Commagene Kingdom and the monumental Colossal Statues of Gods.

Climbing further to the Tumulus of Antiochos, the capital of Kommagene, we’ll witness the mesmerizing sunset from the summit of Nemrut.

This ancient funerary monument atop Mount Nemrut, lost and forgotten for nearly two millennia, stands as a testament to history and offers a breath-taking vista that captures the essence of time and memory.

Day 11

Following breakfast, we continue towards Sanliurfa, with an extraordinary stop at Göbekli Tepe, a pivotal archaeological site of global significance. This ground-breaking excavation represents a paramount shift in comprehending early human history.

Here, the remains of the earliest known religious structures crafted by humankind are unveiled, dating back approximately 11,000 to 13,000 years, preceding the advent of pottery, writing, Stonehenge, and even the Pyramids!

In the afternoon, our journey returns to Sanliurfa, where we’ll visit the revered Holy Pools of Abraham (Balıklıgöl) and the sacred cave believed to be the birthplace of Prophet Abraham.

Day 12

Following breakfast, our day unfolds with a visit to Sanliurfa’s vibrant Ottoman Bazaar, a bustling marketplace offering a glimpse into the region’s cultural tapestry.

Our exploration continues at the Archaeology Museum, delving into the rich history and artefacts that chronicle Sanliurfa’s captivating past.

Subsequently, our journey proceeds to Gaziantep, where we’ll be captivated by the incredible Zeugma Mosaic Museum. This remarkable museum houses an exquisite collection of ancient mosaics, showcasing the artistry and cultural heritage of the Zeugma region. Prepare to be amazed by the intricate designs and historical significance preserved within these mosaic treasures.

Day 13

Today you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Istanbul where the remainder of the day is free to explore.

Day 14

After breakfast our tour concludes and we say goodbye to our new friends before being transferred to the airport for your onward flight.