Tailor-Made Holiday

Eastern Turkey

12 days

from £2,895pp

Why you should visit Eastern Turkey

  • Watch sunset amid the colossal stone heads on Nemrut Dag
  • Lose yourself among the ruins of Ani, once the stately Armenian capital
  • Visit Gobekli Tepe, the 12,000 year old early Neolithic site
  • Indulge in delicious Baklava in Gaziantep
  • Soak up the history of Mardin blending a fascinating mixture of different religions and influences
  • Wonderful food and a guaranteed warm welcome

Our specialists 'Must Do'

Take time to enjoy the stunning setting of Lake Van. Ringed by snow-capped mountains, the vast waters of the lake seem to continuously change colour depending on the time of day, the light and the cloud cover - the scenery is simply spellbinding.

Eat well!! Make sure you sample the wonderful Turkish breads in this area which are delicious. The food in this region is wonderful with Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic influences.

A little more about Eastern Turkey

Much less explored than the rest of Turkey this vast region offers the intrepid traveller a perfect playground, without the crowds. There is so much to do and see the only real challenge is in trying to decide what to leave out. While distances in Eastern Turkey can be large, the roads over the last decade have improved immeasurably and the region is very well serviced by a good choice of regional airports.

The northeast of Turkey with its beautiful scenery – the Georgia Valleys and Pontic Alps - and impressive sites including Sumela Monastery, the ancient Armenian city of Ani and Ishak Pasha’s palace at Dogabayazit is certainly not an area to be rushed and ideally combines with Georgia.

In contrast travel to southeast Turkey has a very different feel from the rest of the country with much being predominantly Kurdish. As you travel south from Mount Ararat and Lake Van the rolling Anatolian plateau gives way to the hot lowlands of ancient Mesopotamia. A crossroads for millennia, the whole region is a fascinating melting pot no better demonstrated than in the town of Mardin where Kurdish, Muslim, Christian, Yezidi and Syrian cultures co-exist and where a strong Arabic influence can be seen in both the local dress and cuisine.

The extraordinary funerary complex at Nemrut Dagi is arguably Eastern Turkey’s best known site, however this is just the tip of the iceberg. Gobekli Tepe, the 12,000 year old site which is re-writing the history books, Gaziantep’s magnificent Zeugma mosaics, Urartian castles, Armenian churches and the Syriac Orthodox Christian communities of the Tur Abdin together offer more than enough to keep even the most ardent culture vulture happy.

A fascinating region just waking up to its potential, get there before the crowds.

When to go to Eastern Turkey

Overall the best time to visit this area of Turkey is from early May through to October. It is possible to travel outside of this time, however before May and after mid-October you could encounter snow in parts and much cooler temperatures.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas

PLEASE NOTE THE ABOVE FLIGHT COST IS A SUGGESTED FROM PRICE. FLIGHT COSTS WILL BE CONFIRMED AT TIME OF BOOKING. ALL FLIGHTS ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Istanbul overnight

Day 2

Fly Istanbul to Gaziantep


Half a Day Visiting Gaziantep Market and Castle
Visit Gaziantep Market; one of the most vibrant in Anatolia with every tone of red, yellow and green in evidence. Fiery spices, gleaming copper, blue, red and purple 'kutnu' fabrics and blood red 'yemeni' slippers. On market days the streets suddenly burst into a rainbow of colour.

End the day at the Gaziantep Castle.


You will be staying at Anadolu Evleri

Day 3

Drive from Gaziantep to Nemrut Dagi


Day Visiting Mount Nemrut
Mt Nemrut lies 40km north of Kahta. In 62 BC, King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene built on the mountain top a tomb-sanctuary flanked by huge statues (8-9 metres high) of himself, two lions, two eagles and various Greek, Armenian, and Iranian gods. These statues were once seated, with names of each god inscribed on them. The heads of the statues have at some stage been removed from their bodies, and they are now scattered throughout the site.

Standing at just over 2,000 metres, Mount Nemrut's famous peak is decorated with an array of huge stone heads that sit on terraces cut into three sides of the mountain.

Built by King Antiochus in the first century BC, these colossal statues glorify his rule and contain replicas of both him and the gods he worshipped. Today, only the heads of the statues survive, but originally the figures were thought to stand up to 10 metres tall.

Despite a number of excavations failing to find his tomb, it is still believed that the sanctuary contains the burial site of King Antiochus.


You will be staying at The Nemrut Euphrat Hotel

Day 4

Drive from Nemrut Dagi to Sanliurfa


From Nemrut continue to the massive Ataturk Dam straddling the mighty river Euphrates, and on to Urfa, the ancient city of prophets.


The reputed birthplace of Abraham, Sanliurfa is said to contain the site where he was saved by God from the fearsome Assyrian King, Nimrod.

Now a place of pilgrimage for Muslims, the sacred Pool of Prophet Abraham is the town's highlight. Other popular sites include the neighbouring 13th century mosque and the town's thriving bazaar.

Located in south-eastern Anatolia, the town has a history dating back over five millennia. Previously known as 'Urfa', the town gained the honorific addition of 'Sanli' after its courageous resistance against an attempted French occupation during Ottoman times.


Visit to Urfa Museum
Visit Urfa Museum home to the worlds oldest discovered statue, named the Balikligol Statue which represents 'the God of Eroticism' or 'the God of Reproduction'.


Half Day Visit to Göbekli Tepe
Head to Göbekli Tepe, one of the most important archaeological digs currently being undertaken. Famous for containing the world's oldest known temples - dating back to before 9,000 BC - this site has led to a change in the understanding of man's early history.

Before these discoveries, there was a long-standing assumption that the introduction of agriculture preceded the construction of large buildings. Having been built by hunter gatherers, the buildings at Göbekli Tepe clearly contradict this.

Marvel at the elaborately carved stones that have survived over 11 millennia.


You will be staying at The Manici Hotel

Day 5

Day Trip to Harran
Visit the village of Harran, with its beehive-like dwellings, the design of which goes back to the 3rd century BC and are unique to Turkey and Syria.

Harran is also a pivotal point in the history of the Hebrew people, where Biblical and archaeological materials converge.


You will be staying at The Manici Hotel

Day 6

Drive from Sanliurfa to Diyarbakir


Depart Sanliufa and drive to the walled Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, stopping en route to see the Ataturk Dam, the Karakus Tumulus, the Cendere Roman Bridge and finally Nemrut Dagi.

Travel to the top of Mount Nemrut to see the Tumulus of Antiochos with the colossal statues. You can almost drive to the very top, with the last section being a steep uphill walk on a well-marked path of no more than 20-30 minutes, but it is well worth the effort for the stunning views of the surrounding landscape in late afternoon.


Half Day City Tour including the Grand Mosque
Head to Diyarbakir's Grand Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in Anatolia. Modelled on the famous Great Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, this 11th century building is one of Islam's holiest sites. Built from a combination of limestone and black basalt, the mosque's simple design belies its religious importance.

Afterwards, continue to the Keldani Catholic Church. This 17th century building is used as a place of worship by Diyarbakir's Chaldenean minority, which comprises only a handful of families. Voted one of the ten most beautiful churches in Turkey, it is one Diyarbakir's least-known treasures.


Half a Day Visting the Dört Ayakli Minaret and Meryem Ana Kilisesi
Stop at the Dört Ayaklý Minaret (Four-Legged Minaret) and Meryem Ana Kilisesi, the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is a part of a large monastic foundation. It has been dated variously to the 3rd, 6th and 7th century AD and the Syrian Orthodox services here are conducted in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus Christ.

Found on the banks of the Tigris, Diyarbakir is a lively Kurdish-dominated city. The unofficial capital of Turkish Kurdistan, political feeling can run high here and locals are extremely proud of their city's culture. Despite this, a strong tradition of hospitality and openness to visitors makes for a friendly atmosphere.

Ringed by huge black basalt walls, the city's historic centre was once a major stopover for Silk Road traders. Mosques, caravanserais and markets pack its narrow streets.


You will be staying at Dedeman Hotel Diyarbakir

Day 7

Drive from Diyarbakir to Midyat via Mardin


You will be staying at Kasr-i Nehroz Hotel

Day 8

Day Trip to Hah and Ivardo
Today journey to Hah and Ivardo / Ayn Vert, the "village of cathedrals" where you will visit the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. End the day at the Mor Gabriel Monastery with a meeting with the monks and priests.

Day 9

Drive from Midyat to Van via Hasankeyf and Malabadi Koprusu


A relaxed lakeside town, Van is nestled in a tranquil setting. Looking out over the eponymous lake, snow-capped peaks are visible in the distance.

Having survived more than its fair share of earthquakes, Van's calm ambience belies its residents' steely resilience. One of these quakes was particularly devastating, but the most striking of Van's treasures has survived. This is the town's Urartian Fortress, set upon a steep-sided bluff.


You will be staying at Merit Şahmaran Hotel

Day 10

Half Day Boat Trip to Akdamar Island
Take a short ferry to Akdamar Island, near the south shore of Lake Van. Here, visit the beautifully restored 10th century Armenian Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Seat of the head of the Armenian Church for almost 800 years, the building is decorated with biblical carvings and looks out over the vast Lake Van.


Half Day Tour of Ancient Van
Explore the ruins of Ancient Van. This 3,000 year old citadel, built during Urartian times, overlooks the ruins of the ancient Urartian capital of Tushpa. The largest example of its kind, these hillside forts dotted the Kingdom of Urartu.

One of the highlights is a trilingual inscription of Xerxes the Great, which is carved in to the rock face, 20 metres above the ground. Written in Old Persian, Babylonian and Elamite; this is the only known inscription of its kind located outside of modern day Iran.


You will be staying at Merit Şahmaran Hotel

Day 11

Day at leisure

Day 12

Fly Van to Istanbul

Fly Istanbul to London

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Turkey

Kate Hitchen, Travel Expert

"Kate was calm and bent over backwards to accommodate my jitters about going to Kashmir in the light of tighter FCO guidelines just a few days before our departure. She was absolutely correct in advising against what I thought we should do. Several times during the holiday we said that, 'Kate was dead right about that!'."

"We asked for a rather particular kind of Indian holiday. You delivered it in full. Highlights? Honestly, each day was a highlight in itself. "

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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