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Turkey

Istanbul, the Seven Churches of Revelation & Cappadocia

We start with three nights in Istanbul, one of the world’s greatest cities, juncture of east and west, Istanbul should be on every traveller’s must-visit list. Highlight sights like the grand Byzantine basilica Aya Sofya, often called Hagia Sophia in English, and the Ottoman sultans’ lavish Topkapı Palace attest to the city’s centuries-long history as the capital of powerful empires. We take a guided stroll in the Grand Bazaar and have a traditional coffee tasting and ponder the spiritual adventure ahead whilst enjoying the views from our Bosphorus cruise.

We then travel through the countryside visiting the sites of the Seven Churches of Revelation. These churches were real, physical congregations when the Apostle John wrote this bewildering last book of the Bible around 95 AD, but many scholars believe the passages have a second, hidden meaning and your guide will bring this into his fascinating commentary. While in Patmos, John was seized by the Holy Spirit and received prophetic visions from Christ instructing him to: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea”

You will also visit the bright-white terraces of Pamukkale that gleam above the rural town like freshly fallen snow. The warm mineral water that flows through them was the basis for the ancient spa city of Hierapolis, whose extensive remains sprawl out along the hilltop next to the famous travertines. Then, finish with two nights in Cappadocia, a geological wonderland in the center of Turkey. The history of early Christians in Anatolia comes alive at the Göreme Open-Air Museum and the other cave churches and underground cities scattered around the valley.

Itinerary

  1. Travel to Istanbul (D, DR)

    Morning: meet your Tour Leader and fellow travellers at Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester or Edinburgh airports and fly direct to Istanbul.

    Late afternoon: on arrival in Istanbul, you will be met by your Local Guide, who will be with you throughout the tour, and escorted to your hotel in the city centre where you will check-in for a three-night stay.

    Evening: welcome drinks and introduction from your knowledgeable Local Guide, followed by dinner in the hotel.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  2. Istanbul - Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace & Grand Bazaar (B, L, D, DR)

    Morning: a day touring the sights of Istanbul. See the outside of the famous Blue Mosque with its six minarets and visit the Hippodrome, once the centre of chariot races and sports events in the old city. After, visit the Basilica of Saint Sophia, one of the largest Christian shrines ever built in history. Adorned with rich mosaic murals, colossal columns and exposition of divine serenity, Saint Sophia is a true world heritage that has accommodated various faiths throughout different periods of history and is currently operated as a mosque displaying Byzantine art and architecture embellished by Ottoman taste.

    Afternoon: included get-together lunch followed by a visit of the Topkapi Palace Garden and Hagia Irini Church, built as a dedication on the former site of a Temple of Aphrodite. Tour the museum with its imperial treasury, Chinese porcelain and holy relics including the Sword of King David, the Staff of Moses, The Turban of Joseph and relics of St. John the Baptist. You will end the day at the Grand Bazaar, the biggest oriental bazaar in the world and we visit a local Turkish coffee house to taste a variety of coffees.

    Evening: welcome dinner with drinks in a traditional local restaurant overlooking the Bosphorus and Golden Horn.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  3. Basilica Cistern, Rushtem Pasha Mosque & Bosphorus Cruise (B, D, DR)

    Morning: visit the Basilica Cistern, the largest of the many underground cisterns built during the Byzantine Empire to supply the city with water. After, walk to the Rustem Pasha Mosque. Designed for the Grand Vizier “Damat” Rustem Pasha (husband of Princess Mihrimah, the beloved daughter of the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent). The Rustem Pasha Mosque is famous for its’ exquisite Iznik tiles, displaying a wide variety of beautiful floral and geometric designs, which cover the Rustem Pasha Mosque inside out.

    Afternoon: continue to Eminonu Pier and take a boat for Bosphorus Cruise. A traditional boat tour through the waterway separating Asia and Europe. Seeing along the way the old Ottoman wooden mansions, marble palaces, foreign embassies estates and small fishery villages, located at the Asian and European sides.

    Evening: dinner with drinks in a local restaurant.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  4. Istanbul to Troy (B, L, D)

    Morning: depart Istanbul and drive along the Sea of Marmara to the Gallipoli Peninsula. During the journey your guide will discuss the history of the campaign and the vital importance of the waters of the Dardanelles to the aims and outcomes of the battle.

    Afternoon: after a stop for lunch, continue to the city of Canakkale and visit the legendary ruins of Troy which holds an enduring place in both literature and archaeology. It occupied a key position on trade routes between Europe and Asia. The legend of the Trojan War, fought between the Greeks and the people of Troy, is the most notable theme from ancient Greek literature and forms the basis of Homer’s Iliad. After continue to Canakkale and check-in to your hotel for an overnight stay.

    Evening: dinner in the hotel.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  5. Canakkale to Ayvalik – Alexander Troas (B, D)

    Morning: drive just over an hour to Alexandria Troas which was visited at least twice by St. Paul. A small Christian community already existed in Alexandria in the middle of the first century AD, as we know from the New Testament, namely the Letters of St. Paul, and the Acts of the Apostles. Because Alexandria Troas was an important port, it was the starting point for St. Paul when he set sail to Europe during his second missionary journey (50 - 52 AD). The Apostle visited the city again, during his third missionary journey (53 - 58 AD). According to the New Testament, during his stay, he restored life a young man named Eutychus.

    Mid-afternoon: continue to Ayvalik and check in to your hotel for an overnight stay.

    Evening: dinner in the hotel

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  6. Pergamon Acropolis and Thyatira (B, L, D)

    Morning: depart Ayvalik and drive to Pergamon, set on a mountain rising above the azure waters of the Aegean Sea, this surprisingly intact city once rivaled the greatness of Alexandria, Antioch, and Ephesus in culture and commerce. Today, Pergamon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the steepest sloped theatre of the ancient world, temple of Athena and Altar of Zeus which St. John denounced as a 'Throne of Satan' in his letters to the Seven Churches of Revelation.

    Afternoon: continue to Thyatira. During his second missionary journey (Acts 16:13 - 15) the apostle Paul traveled to Philippi. On the sabbath he meets a woman named Lydia, from Thyatira, who is praying near a river. Lydia is a seller of purple (either of the dye or cloth dyed in this colour). She listens to Paul's preaching and becomes so convicted in God's way of life that she, along with her entire household, are baptised. It is likely Lydia, when she traveled back home, helped spread the gospel throughout the city. Thyatira was the fourth of the seven churches that received a spiritual evaluation directly from God through Jesus Christ. Later continue to Kusadasi to check-in for a two-night stay.

    Evening: dinner in the hotel.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  7. Ephesus, House of the Virgin Mary, Basilica of St. John and Miletus (B, L, D)

    Morning: drive through the farmlands of western Turkey to Selcuk to explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ephesus. This ancient city is believed to have been settled in the 10th century BC by Ionians, Ephesus changed hands many times before becoming a Roman dependency in 133 BC during the reign of Emperor Augustus. It was also a very important city during early Christian times as evidenced by St. Paul's visit and St. John being buried nearby. Ephesus was attacked. Heading up the hills behind Ephesus, you will see where the Virgin Mary is believed to have spent the last days of her life. Presently, there is a charming chapel, consecrated by the Pope, at the very spot where the House of Virgin Mary stood. The local tradition suggests that Virgin Mary lived and died here.

    Afternoon: visit St. John's Basilica. It’s believed that St. John spent his last years in the region around Ephesus and is buried on the southern slope of Ayosolug Hill. Three hundred years after the death of St. John, a small chapel was constructed over the grave. The church of St. John was changed into a marvelous basilica during the region of Emperor Justinian (527 -565 AD). After, drive to Miletus, once considered one of the wealthiest of Ancient Greece's cities.

    Evening: dinner in the hotel.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  8. Sardis, Philadelphia, Pamukkale (B, L, D)

    Morning: drive to Sardis known as the home of the church that received the fifth letter to the Seven Churches of Revelation, Sardis was the capital of the Lydian empire and one of the greatest cities of the ancient world. Located on the banks of the Pactolus River, Sardis was 60 miles (97 km) inland from Ephesus and Smyrna. The city was home to the famous bishop Melito in the 2nd century. In the area also visit the Temple of Diana, the synagogue and the gymnasium.

    Afternoon: continue to Philadelphia established in 189 BC by King Eumenes II of Pergamon (197–160 BC). Eumenes II named the city for the love of his brother, who would be his successor, Attalus II (159–138 BC), whose loyalty earned him the nickname, "Philadelphos", literally meaning "one who loves his brother". The city is perhaps best known as the site of one of the seven churches of Asia in the Book of Revelation. After continue to Pamukkale to check-in to your hotel for a two-night stay.

    Evening: dinner in the hotel.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  9. Laodicea & Hierapolis (B, D)

    Morning: drive to Laodicea which was one of the Seven Churches of the Revelation and the only one where the exact location has been discovered. After, drive to Hierapolis, founded during the Hellenistic period as a control point of trading routes connecting East to West. In the Roman Period, Hierapolis became a centre of worship to Hades and Apollo as well as a thermal centre where massive Roman Baths were built. Visit the necropolis, baths, theatre and the site of the Martyrdom of St. Philip.

    Afternoon: return to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure and to enjoy the hotels facilities.

    Evening: dinner in the hotel.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  10. Drive to Konya - Cappadocia (B, D)

    Morning: early start with a packed breakfast for the drive to the Antioch of Pisidia, the city where St. Paul preached his first recorded sermon and was later expelled. Among the ruins we visit the remains of two basilicas. A military road, built by Augustus, and called the Royal Road, and led from Antioch to the sister colony of Lystra. According to the story preserved in the legend of "Paul and Thekla," it was along this road that Paul and Barnabas passed on their way from Antioch to Iconium (now called Konya).

    Afternoon: drive to Konya (Iconium), where St. Paul and St. Barnabus spent time until the community stirred up opposition to St. Paul, the Apostle, on his first visit, in 47 or 48 CE; he returned in 50 and 53. After continue to Cappadocia for a evening arrival and check-in to your hotel for a final two-night stay.

    Evening: late dinner in the hotel.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  11. Cappadocia - Zelve Valley (B, L, D, DR)

    Morning: exploration of the fascinating Zelve Open Air Musuem. Zelve Valley is one of the most popular open air museum areas of Cappadocia. During the Byzantine period, Zelve Valley was an important center for Christian monks who lived in the area and carved out rock churches and dwellings. The valley was also home to a thriving community of farmers and tradespeople, who took advantage of the fertile soil and abundant resources.

    Afternoon: after lunch (at own cost) visit and tour the Monastic Centre of Goreme. Founded by St. Basil as the first Monastic Centre of Christianity during the 4th century. The centre serves as an open-air museum, having well-preserved rock-hewn churches decorated with Byzantine frescoes. Also, visit Kaymaklia, a subterranean settlement composed of troglodytic cave dwellings providing shelter for early Christians protecting themselves from invaders. Kaymakli had the capacity to house a total of 5000 people at once with its eight different levels.

    Evening: farewell dinner in a local restaurant with drinks included.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  12. Depart for the UK (B)

    Morning: bid farewell to your local guide and drive to the airport for your return flight home with a connecting flight change in Istanbul. Luggage will be checked through and transferred to the connecting flight without having to collect.

    Evening: arrival at your UK airport and bid farewell to your Group Leader and fellow travelling companions.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  13. OTHER TOUR OPTIONS

    The above itinerary is planned to depart on a Monday and return on Friday thus only being two Sundays away from home. However we can adjust this tour with the following options.

    • We thoroughly recommend an additional night exploring Cappadocia further
    • We can create an eight or nine day tour without Istanbul or Cappadocia flying direct into Izmir
    • At certain times of the year the eight or nine day tour of the Seven Churches of Revelation could be combined with a stay on Patmos

Essential Information

Included excursions

  • Istanbul: Hagia Sophia Complex, Topkapi Palace & Museum
  • Istanbul: The Grand Bazaar with Turkish coffee tasting in a local coffee house
  • Istanbul: Basilica Cistern & Rustem Pasha Mosque
  • Istanbul: Bosphorus cruise
  • The Seven churches of the Revelation
  • Ruins of Troy and Alexandria Troas
  • Pergamon: the Asklepion and the Acropolis & Thyatira
  • Kusadasi: Ephesus, House of the Virgin Mary and Basilica of St. John of Patmos
  • Kusadasi: Ancient City of Miletus
  • Sardis: Temple of Diana, synagogue and gymnasium
  • Philadelphia: one of the oldest dioceses of Asia Minor
  • Laodicea and Hierapolis; site of the martyrdom of St. Philip
  • Antioch of Pisidia where St. Paul preached his first sermon
  • Cappadocia: Zelve Valley, Goreme Open Air Museum, and Underground City of Kaymakli

Optional excursions

None! All excursions and extras as listed above and below are included!

Included extras

  • Hotel baggage porterage
  • Local guide and drivers’ gratuities
  • All restaurant, hotel and many small local gratuities
  • Personal audio guiding system
  • Services of a knowledgeable Local Guide

Included meals & drinks

Meals: all breakfasts, which will be buffets in the hotels, and all evening meals. Some evening meals are in the hotels and some will be in atmospheric local restaurants. Also, five lunches are included, one is a packed lunch and all others are in local restaurants.

Drinks: welcome and farewell drinks are included and dinners taken outside of the hotels beer, wine, water and tea or coffee is included. Drinks with meals in the hotels, with lunches and at all other times are at your own expense.

Our team in Turkey

This holiday includes a qualified local guide to bring the history of Turkey, St. Paul's, St. John's and St. Barnabus' time in the region, as well as the wonders of ancient empires, to life. They will be staying with you and escorting you throughout

Your journey

Flights are available direct from London Heathrow, (as per times below) Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines returning from Cappadocia (Navsehir) with a change in Istanbul. Regional flights to Heathrow from some UK airports as well as flight upgrades, for extra comfort and ease through the airport, can be arranged at a supplement. An overnight stop at Heathrow may be required which we can assist you with. Please enquire at time of booking.

Outbound

Flight TK 1980 departs Heathrow: 11:25                                 Arrives Istanbul: 17:05

Inbound

Flight TK 2003 departs Nevsehir: 10:40                                    Arrives Istanbul: 12:05

Connecting flight TK 1931 departs: 13:55                                Arrives Heathrow: 16:00

Length of flight to Istanbul: approximately four and a half hours

Flight times are subject to change and confirmed with your final paperwork.

 

Your hotels

11 nights nights in three- and four-star hotels based on occupancy of a double or twin room. Double rooms for sole occupancy are available for a supplement.

ISTANBUL—Kent Hotel (4*) Three nights

Situated in Old Istanbul and located 15 minutes away from world famous Blue Mosque, Saint Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Underground Cistern, Mosaic Museums, Islamic & Turkish Art Museum, Istanbul Archeological Museums, Hippodrome, Spice Bazaar and many more attractions.

Hotel facilities: decorated with soothing colours, each of the comfortable rooms is fitted with parquet flooring, a Turkish rug and a cosy sitting area. All rooms are furnished with a work desk and minibar.

Start the day with a rich breakfast buffet or have some delicious pastries and cocktails at the Golden Horn Bar.

Your room: air-conditioning/heating , tea & coffee making facilities, mini-bar, safe and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Your bathroom: bath or shower, hairdryer,  shaving mirror, slippers and complimentary toiletries.

KUSADASI – Ilayda Avantgarde Hotel (4*) Two nights

Ilayda Avantgarde Hotel offers great-value accommodation, only 50 yards from the beach in the heart of the Kusadasi. It offers views overlooking the beach, the Aegean Sea and Kuşadası Marina. Kusadasi Castle can be reached by a five minute drive.

Hotel facilities: outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre, restaurant, bar and lounge. Complimentary WiFi throughout the hotel.

Your room: air-conditioning/heating , tea & coffee making facilities, mini-bar, safe and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Your bathroom: bath or shower, hairdryer,  shaving mirror, slippers and complimentary toiletries.

PAMUKKALE—Adempira Hotel (5*) Two nights

Adempira Thermal & Spa Hotel is located in Pamukkale, a neighborhood in Denizli, and is in a shopping district. Traverter Street and Sumer Park AVM are worth checking out if shopping is on the agenda

Hotel facilities: outdoor and indoor pools, spa centre, hammam, hot spring bath, bar, lounge and restaurant. Complimentary WiFi throughout the hotel.

Your room: air-conditioning/heating , tea & coffee making facilities, mini-bar, safe and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Your bathroom: bath or shower, hairdryer,  shaving mirror, slippers and complimentary toiletries.

CAPPADOCIA – MUSTAFA RESORT HOTEL (5*) – Two nights

Run by the friendly Halici family the hotel has recently been completely renovated. During your stay, take advantage of some of the amenities offered, including  a 24 hour front desk, a concierge, and a gift shop.

Urgup is also home to Kapadokya Ebru Sanat Evi, a popular art gallery that is not too far from the Mustafa Resort Hotel.

Hotel facilities: outdoor pool, spa, hammam and sauna, terrace, garden, bar, lounge and restaurant

Your room: air-conditioning/heating , tea & coffee making facilities, mini-bar, safe, iron and ironing board and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Your bathroom: bath or shower, hairdryer,  shaving mirror, slippers and complimentary toiletries.

 

Practical information

Entry requirements

British Citizen and EU Citizen Passport holders can currently enter Turkey freely with no restrictions or other documentation required. Stays can be up to 90 days (can be spread over multiple visits) within any 180-day period.

Please note your passport must be valid for 150 days after your return from Turkey.

Full details of entry requirements and any required vaccinations will be detailed in your final paperwork 14 days before departure.

For the latest and most up to date travel advice including entry requirements please consult the Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office travel advice website.

www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Health & wellbeing

If you haven't had a booster in the last ten years it is recommended that you be vaccinated for Tetanus and Polio. Food and waterborne diseases are more common, so we recommend vaccinations for typhoid (valid 3 years) and Hepatitis A (validity varies). Vaccination, Covid-19 and health information can change so please contact your local health care provider for the most up to date information. We will send up to date information on entry requirements with your final paperwork approximately 14 days before departure.

Adequate insurance cover will be required for all hospital emergencies and doctors’ visits.

Climate

In Istanbul and Cappadocia the average daily lowest and highest temperature range during your tour will be; April: 08-19; June 18-24; September 18-25; October 15-22 degrees centigrade. When travelling in the mountains temperatures will be a few degrees cooler particularly in the mornings and evenings. Rainfall averages are; April: 6 days; June: 4 days; September: 3 days; October; 4 days and are usually just the odd short thunderstorm.

Clothing

Dress is cool and casual throughout your time in Turkey. You may wish to take one or two smarter items for the evenings. Casual clothing is recommended in the day-time with evenings being smart/casual. As this tour requires a certain amount of gentle to intermediate walking, we suggest you take a pair of lined shoes or boots with decent grip. Sports shoes or trainers are fine as well as walking boots. It is advisable to bring just a couple of warmer items for the evenings as well as coastal walks where the wind may reduce the temperatures.

Mobility

There is a certain amount of walking, light undulations with just one or two steep sections but a number of stairs involved on a daily basis during your time in Turkey so please make sure you pack comfy footwear for this so that you are prepared. Your Local Guide will keep you updated on a daily basis with what to expect the following day. If you are finding it difficult to keep up then please make sure you tell your Local Guide who can help you to find places to rest and relax and then you can re-join the group at a later stage.

Some streets in towns and villages that you will visit will be cobbled and ancient sites can have some uneven ground. We suggest you take a pair of comfortable shoes with good grips or trainers.  You must be prepared to be on your feet for up to 90 minutes without the necessity to sit down and walk up to a mile and be able to climb two to three flights of stairs unaided. Hiking sticks are fine.

The McCabe Educational Trust

The McCabe Educational Trust is an independent registered charity with the aim of helping inspiring people we meet on some of our pilgrimages. As ‘the haves’ encounter the ‘have nots’ the Trust has become a practical tool for one to help the other.

McCabe Pilgrimages invite all travellers to become partners in this work. A £20 voluntary donation to the Trust’s work is added to every pilgrim’s invoice and all money raised in this way is given in full to the projects the Trust supports. This scheme is voluntary and confidential with nobody put under any pressure to participate.

Travel insurance

Ensuring that your holidays are appropriately protected is one of our main priorities. That’s why we have specifically chosen Holiday Extras as our *preferred travel insurance provider to ensure that you are protected before and whilst you are travelling. Holiday Extras offer McCabe Travel guests favourable rates for single trip, multi-trip and annual policies.

For more information or to obtain a quote click below for their website

https://www.holidayextras.com/travel-insurance

Or call them on 0800 083 3551 to speak to a friendly advisor.

Please quote AG628 upon calling to receive the best rates

Full financial security

All money paid to McCabe is fully secure. Holidays including flights are covered by our ATOL license from the Civil Aviation Authority, and holidays without flights are protected by our membership of the ABTOT bonding scheme. If a pilgrimage is cancelled, for instance through lack of numbers or for political considerations, McCabe will promptly refund all monies paid.

AITO Quality Statement

McCabe Pilgrimages is a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators. The Association represents Britain’s leading independent tour operators and encourages high standards of quality and service. McCabe abides by the Association’s Code of Conduct and adheres to the AITO Quality Charter.

You can read McCabe reviews on the AITO website here

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Dates

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