This 31 day overland tour journeys from Ashgabat to Istanbul through Iran, Turkey, Turkmenistan
Border Information: If joining in Istanbul, you will most likely enter Turkey at Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IATA code: IST).
There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10.00am - on arrival please look out for a note from your leader with more information about this important meeting. If you are travelling beyond Tbilisi, your tour leader will need to carefully check your visa situation for your entire trip.
The afternoon will be free to explore the many sights of the incredible exotic city of Istanbul, including the Grand Bazaar, the Bosphorus River, Hagia Sophia and the phenomenal Blue Mosque!
In Istanbul we will stay in dorm accommodation in a fantastic hostel with good facilities, which is a 5 minute walk from the Blue Mosque.
Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Istanbul before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Dragoman Sales Team or your Sales agent if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Istanbul.
* Important note - do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details. *
This morning following breakfast we will depart Istanbul and begin our journey to the shores of Gallipoli.
After lunch we will get an insight into what happened between the ANZAC, Allied and Turkish foreces during the first World War and have a guided tour of the Battlefields and Anzac Cove.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours
Tonight we will stay in a local hostel in Ecebat
Today we will cross the Dardenelles by ferry and head to Helsik where we will do a short tour of the Troy Ruins.
We will then continue onto Selcuk where we will be staying for two nights. In the evening we will have free time to explore the area or simply relax in one of the many cafes or tea bars which are great for people watching.
The second day we will spend the day exploring the Ephesus Ruins and Terraced Houses.
Estimated Drive Time 7 - 8 hours
For the next two nights we will stay in a local hostel
Following breakfast we will drive inland towards the small village of Pamukkale.
After lunch we will have free time to visit the thermal hot springs and traverse through the travertine pools and terraces.
Estimate driving time 3 - 4 hours
Tonight we will either camp near the village or stay in a local hotel
Today we continue our drive south and aim to reach the popular beach town of Olympos by lunchtime.
We will have free time in the afternoon to relax or explore the local area.
Estimate Drive Time 5 - 6 hours
On the second day there will be plenty of time to explore and participate in optional activities, in the evening we will walk up to the Chimera Fire Mountain and toast some marshmallows
Tonight we will stay in a basic guesthouse
After breakfast we will leave the beachside town of Olympos and make our way north.
We will have an included visit of Termessos on the way before continuing our journey towards Egirdir where we will find a good spot to bush camp for the night.
Estimated Drive time 6 - 7 hours
Tonight we will wild camp near Egirdir
We have an early start this morning to reach the small enchanting town of Goreme in the heart of the Cappadocia mountians.
In Goreme we will stay in a well-equipped hostel - please note that dorm beds are generally used here.
Estimated Drive Time 6-7 hours
We now have a full day to explore Goreme, including a guided tour of the enchanted valley of Cappadocia. There will also be an opportunity for a magical optional balloon ride over the valley during your time here.
Over the next two days we will travel through the stunning landscapes in eastern Turkey towards the Kurdish town of Do ubayaz t.
We will aim to wild camp or stay at a basic local campsite near Mount Nemrut on the first night, and near Lake Nemrut on the second.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours each day.
Today we will complete our drive to the Kurdish town of Do ubayaz t. On arrival we will have an included visit to the Ishak Pasha Palace and enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding landscapes and the nearby Mount Ararat.
In Do ubayaz t we will stay in a basic local hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
Border Information: Exit Turkey at Gurbulak, enter Iran at Bazargan.
Today we will drive across the Iranian border to the city of Tabriz, where we will have free time to explore some of the sights of the old town.
In Tabriz we will stay in a local hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.
Today we will continue our journey east to the small town of Zanjan, where we have free time to explore and possibly visit the fascinating historical laundry hall of Rakhatshor-Khaneh.
In Zanjan we will stay in a local hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.
Border Information: If joining in Tehran, you will most likely enter Iran at Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport (IATA code: IKA).
There will be a pre-departure meeting at 6:00pm - please do not be alarmed if there is no welcome note at the hotel on your arrival, as today is usually a travel day for the leaders and they are due to arrive in Tehran by mid-afternoon.
Please note that due to restrictions on citizens of the UK, USA and Canada being permitted to remain unaccompanied in Iran, you will need to fly into Tehran on the same day as the trip starts. These transfers from the airport to your joining hotel are automatically included in your trip. If arriving outside of these times please contact your sales agent. Please ensure the correct dates for your plans are clearly stated on all your visa applications.
Today we will have an included tour of the stunning Golestan Palace and the fascinating National Museum of Iran.
Today we wil have a full day's drive to the stunning old Safavid-era capital of Esfahan.
Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
On the following day we will have an included walking tour of the central highlights of Esfahan, including the showpiece central square of Naqsh-e Jahan and its surrounding mosques and royal palaces, the old bazaar, and the beautiful Jameh Mosque, one of the oldest in Iran.
On our second full day here, we will have free time to explore more of Esfahan's incredible sites, such as its ancient bridges, the curious 'Shaking Minarets', the Armenian Vank Cathedral, or the evocative Martyrs' Cemetery.
In Esfahan we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.
Today we will have a full day drive to the southern city of Shiraz.
In Shiraz we will stay in a local hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.
Today we will have an included walking tour of some of the highlights of the old city of Shiraz, including the beautifully-coloured Nasir ol Molk Mosque, the incredible mirrored interior of the Shah Cheragh Mosque, and the historical house of Narenjestan.
Today we will drive to the phenomenal ancient ruins of Persepolis, once the capital of the mighty Achaemenid Persian Empire until it was conquered by Alexander the Great in 330BCE.
After this we will continue north to the famous Caravanserai of Zein-o-Din, an atmospheric 16th-century guesthouse originally built to accommodate merchants travelling on the Silk Road.
In Zein-o-Din we will stay overnight at the old caravanserai.
Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.
Today we will take a short drive to the ancient desert town of Yazd, one of the oldest extant towns in Iran. On arrival we will have an included visit to two important Zoroastrian sites in Iran - the Fire Temple and the Towers of Silence.
Estimated Drive Time - 1-2 hours.
On the following day we will have an included walking tour of some of the main highlights of Yazd, including the incredible Jameh Mosque, the Old Town and the Amir Chakhmaq complex.
In Yazd we will stay in a local hotel.
Today we will continue our journey to the desert city of Khoor, where we have the option to take an evening jeep trip into the nearby salt flats to have dinner.
In Khoor we will stay in a beautiful hotel in the style of a desert caravanserai.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.
*Please note that with small groups and at certain times of the year we may be able to stay in a local homestay in the nearby village of Mesr*.
Today we will have a morning drive to the ancient town of Damghan. On arrival we will take a walking tour, including the Tarikhuneh Mosque which features columns dating from the year 760CE.
In Damghan we will stay in a local hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.
Today we will drive to the historical town of Bastam and visit the Sufi complex in the centre. After this we will continue to the town of Shirvan.
In Shirvan we will stay in a basic local hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.
Border Information: Exit Iran at Bajgiran, enter Turkmenistan at Gaudan.
Today we will head over the border to Turkmenistan and to the bizarre capital of Ashgabat
In Ashgabat we will stay in a decent quality local hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.
*Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*
Today we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses.
Border Information: if leaving in Ashgabat, you will most likely exit Turkmenistan at Ashgabat International Airport (IATA code: ASB).
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Ashgabat. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.
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Trip Name: Ottoman & Persian Wonders
Duration: 31 Days
From Price: $5,520
Supplier Tour ID: IIAN1/258389
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