Istanbul to Tbilisi

Istanbul to Tbilisi

From AUD 2,150.00 + LTP: GBP 399.00
Trip Length 29 Trip Code CA - OO - IT29
Tour Group 10 - 24 Age Range

Istanbul to Tbilisi: Tour Information

Immerse yourself in culture and soak up the sun on the Mediterranean coast, view Ephesus from the top of a Roman amphitheatre and walk amongst the WW1 battlefields of Gallipoli. Take a hot air balloon ride at Goreme and venture off the tourist trail along the Old Silk Road and explore ancient Nemrut Dagi and relax on the shores of Lake Van. Go beyond the boundaries of most travellers and cross the border in to Georgia, where we visit beaches on the Black Sea, mighty Cathedrals and even Stalin's birthplace, before arriving in to Tbilisi, a capital city steeped in history.

ANZAC DAY 2015 – 100th Anniversary Tickets to attend the Centenary of ANZAC Day are strictly limited and only available by ballot system and are allocated on an INDIVIDUAL basis (hence as a company we cannot obtain tickets for any of our Oasis travellers). For this reason the itinerary of our 2015 departure will be slightly adjusted and we will aim to arrive into Eceabat (the closest town to the battlefields and Gallipoli landings) from the day before the anniversary.
On the 25th April the Turkish authorities are planning to screen the Dawn Service live on giant screens in Eceabat, however, this is yet to be confirmed. We will still undertake a guided Battle Field tour of the Gallipoli peninsular which will include ANZAC Cove and the various memorials the day after the event or as soon as the authorities re-open the battlefields.
Our itinerary will still include everything listed, but just in a slightly different order. Anyone lucky enough to have been allocated tickets for ANZAC Day, via the ballot system, will have the opportunity to leave the trip in Eceabat for the morning of the 25th to Attend the Dawn Service at ANZAC Cove and rejoin our group later in the afternoon.

Please note that our itineraries are not set in stone and can be subject to change.

Days 1 to 7 Turkey Istanbul -
Free day to enjoy the many sights and attractions. Our overland truck journey begins
Gallipoli - visit the battlegrounds and war graves of the forces that fought here in WWI.
Troy - thought to be the location of the legendary city.
Ephesus - built by the Greeks 1000 years BC, then rebuilt by the Romans.

Days 8 to 17 Turquoise Coast -
relax along the beautiful beaches of this stunning coastline.
Olympos - relax on the beach & hike up to view the eternal flames.
Cappadoccia - explore dwellings carved from the eerily eroded landscape.

Days 18 to 25 Nemrut Dagi -
see the huge statues scattered at the summit of this mountain Lake Van - relax on the lake shore, visit Akdamar Island, or take in the history of Van Castle. Eastern
Turkey - explore the little visited Kars area close to the Armenian border.
Dogubeyazit - overlooked by Mt. Ararat, the legendary resting place of Noah's Ark. Days 26 to 29 Georgia
Batumi - stroll along the promenade and maybe try the local delicacy - dried mackerel Caucasus mountains
Kutaisi - hike up to the 1000 year old Bagrati Cathedral
Gori - visit Stalin's old house - now a museum Uplistsikhe & Mtskheta - cave city (dating to 1000 BC) and a World Heritage Site

Istanbul to Tbilisi

Please note that our itineraries are not set in stone and can be subject to change.

Days 1 to 6

We have a free day to enjoy the many sights of Istanbul.

Our overland truck journey begins as we embark on a half day drive through olive groves and rural settlements to Gallipoli and the Straits of the Dardanelles. In World War I, on this blustery and exposed peninsula, ANZAC and British Forces struggled unsuccessfully for nine horrendous months to dislodge Turkish troops from the hills above the beaches. It is a moving experience to visit the war graves and battlegrounds where so much suffering and unnecessary loss of life took place. In April we attend the dawn service on ANZAC Day as well as the memorial service at Chanuk Bair and Lone Pine where thousands of Australians and New Zealanders pay their respects to fellow countrymen who died here.
From Gallipoli we cross the Straits of the Dardenelles, leave Europe and enter the continent of Asia. We visit Troy on our way to Ephesus and spend the next 2 nights camping on the coast. Built by the Greeks a thousand years before Christ and then rebuilt by the Romans, this immense ancient city boasts an amphitheatre that can seat 24000 and a harbour with no water - still in good condition after all these years.

Days 7 to 13

We then travel via either Pamukkale where you can swim in warm, mineral-rich water, or take the more visually scenic route towards Marmaris and camp in the mountains before arriving on the shores of the Mediterranean, where you can take boat trips, and go paragliding. We spend a few days relaxing along the stunning Turquoise Coast.
Further down the Mediterranean coast we stop off at Saklikent Gorge where there is the opportunity to go river tubing on our way to Olympos where you can relax on the beach and hike up to the eternal flames.

Days 14 to 17

Stopping off at a well preserved Caravanserai, we head inland and travel further north to the visually powerful, windswept landforms of Cappadoccia. Here, over the centuries, houses, churches, fortresses and even underground cities have been carved into this eerily eroded volcanic rock. The Goreme Valley provides us with an astonishing setting in which to spend a few days investigating the region. Why not take in the scenery from the skies in a Hot Air Balloon flight (optional). We will take you to one of the underground cities where you can explore alone or with a guide this ancient and mysterious area!

Days 18 to 25

Travelling east, and after a long days drive, we arrive in the town of Kahta. Nearby we climb the 2150m Nemrut Dagi - where the statues of the gods of antiquity lie scattered at the summit. These huge statues were carved from solid rock by King Antiochus during the reign of Emperor Nero. Continuing east we pass through small towns well off the normal traveller's route, before finally reaching Lake Van.
We camp and spend a day on the shores of the Lake, the largest in Turkey. Time can be spent relaxing, or for those interested in the history of the area, why not take the ferry to Akdamar Island to see the Armenian Church of the Holy Cross (10th Century). On leaving the Lake's edge we travel through Van and there is the opportunity to visit Van Castle.
We spend a couple of days in the Kars area, close to the Armenian border, exploring this little travelled and interesting area of Eastern Turkey.
Our final journey in Turkey takes us to the border town of Dogubeyazit (known by travellers as Doggy Biscuit!) which is overlooked by Mount Ararat - in legend the final resting place of Noah's Ark.

Days 26 to 27

For those travelling on to Georgia, we may not visit the border town of Dogubeyazit, but use this time to explore more of Eastern Turkey and the Kars region.
We travel north to the border of Georgia, possibly spending a night under the stars before crossing.
Although small, Georgia is a country that is rich in culture, and has the most glorious landscapes anywhere in Eurasia. The high snow-capped Caucasus Mountains with their fertile valleys and gushing rivers dominate the country. Numerous fortresses, towers and churches will catch your eye as we travel through the countryside.
Housing a natural port on the Black Sea, the intriguing town of Batumi is our first stop. Here we have time to visit the chaotic market, or stroll on the attractive promenade sharing the holiday atmosphere with the local Georgians. Maybe try the dried mackerel, best tasted with the horseradish mustard, served in small cardboard pots!

Days 28 to 29

A morning drive brings us to Kutaisi, where there is opportunity to visit the 1000 year old ruined Bagrati Cathedral that overlooks the town from a high hill. There is a cable car option to the top of the hill! After collecting provisions, we continue east, looking for a good camping spot.
Continuing east we arrive in to Gori, the birthplace of Josef Stalin, where we spend the night. The museum is worth a visit and just outside is the tiny house Stalin lived in until he was 15, along with his bullet proof train carriage. Gori Fortress dominates the town and those in need of a hike can take the well trodden path to the top of the hill to take a closer look.
We start the day with a visit to Uplistsikhe, a cave city dating back to around 1000 BC. In the times of the ancient Silk Road and Asian / European trading routes, the main caravan road ran just a few kilometres to the north of the city and Uplistsikhe became an important trade centre.
A short drive brings us to Mtskheta, the former capital of Georgia and today a World Heritage site. The historic churches are outstanding examples of medieval religious architecture. They show the high artistic and cultural level attained by this ancient kingdom that have lived here for 3,000 years.
We reach Georgia’s capital city of Tbilisi.

Local Tour Payments (LTP) or a Kitty payment, if stated is paid direct to your tour leader / crew on day 1.

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