Eastern Turkey

Ruggedly beautiful, wonderfully remote, decidedly delectable

  • Sample culinary delights in Turkey’s gastronomic capital, Gaziantep
  • Boat across turquoise Lake Van to Akdamar Island, home to an ancient Armenian church
  • Visit the picturesque towns and bazaars of romantic Sanliurfa and honey-hued Mardin
Turkey with GeoEx
Trip Type: Sample Itinerary
Trip Length: 13 Days
Activity type(s): Cultural Tour
Trip Extensions: Call 888-570-7108 for custom extension options

Infinitely fascinating, eastern Turkey vaults you back in time a couple of thousand years. It was through these wild and desolate landscapes that Hittites, Urartus, Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans, Persians, Arabs, Byzantines, Ottomans, Kurds, and Armenians passed, leaving behind palaces, mosques, madresahs, caravanserais, churches, and monasteries. On this customizable journey, you'll take in deserted plains marked by jagged peaks, rolling plateaus, clear lakes, and extinct volcanoes, gaining insight into the area’s ancient and modern cultures.

Fly east from Istanbul to Gaziantep, Turkey’s gastronomic capital. Delectable explorations ensue, including an excursion to half-sunken villages on the Euphrates. Moving on to Mount Nemrut, stroll among its UNESCO World Heritage Site statues, then onto Şanlıurfa, a beguiling mix of old and new. You'll wind through the narrow streets and stepped passageways of honey-hued, hillside Mardin, and ply Lake Van’s waters to reach Akdamar Island and its magnificently frescoed Armenian church. Before returning to Istanbul you'll get a good look at Ishak Pasa, a palace in Dogubeyazit adored for its amalgam of Seljuk, Ottoman, Georgian, Persian, and Armenian architectural styles, and travel below Mount Ararat to the ruins of Ani, the former Armenian capital.

Turkey travel tour map

Itinerary at a Glance

  • Day 1: arrive in Istanbul, fly to Gaziantep
  • Day 2: Halfeti excursion, Gaziantep touring
  • Day 3: drive to Mount Nemrut, visit Arsemia
  • Day 4: drive to Şanliurfa, explore
  • Day 5: Şanlıurfa, Göbeklitepe archaeological site
  • Days 6 & 7: explore Mardin, Deryul Zafaran, Midyan, and Savur
  • Day 8: drive to Tatvan via Hasankeyf
  • Days 9 & 10: explore Van, boat excursion to Akdamar Island
  • Day 11: drive to Kars via Ishak Pasa palace
  • Day 12: tour ruins of Ani, fly to Istanbul
  • Day 13: depart Istanbul.