Day 1: Kusadasi – Pergamum – Troy – Çanakkale (L, D)
Start your tour with pickup from your Kusadasi hotel, and then relax on the journey north to Pergamum, one of Turkey’s most prominent ancient Greek cities. After roughly 2.5 hours on the road, chatting with your guide about Turkey’s history, hop out of your coach to visit Pergamum’s magnificent Asclepion. An ancient medical center, the site grew from offering holistic therapies (sunbathing or herb eating were common prescriptions) into a groundbreaking medical school — the work of which contributed to the basic principles of Western medicine.
After exploring the Asclepion, enjoy lunch in town, and then travel to nearby Troy. One of the world’s most famous archeological sites, Troy was developed as a series of settlements, and enjoyed stints as a Bronze Age dwelling and a Byzantine town before falling into a state of ruin. Learn of its links to the Trojan War — the Greek mythological story of the Trojan prince (Paris) who ran away with Zeus’ daughter (Helen) and sparked a 10-year battle — while visiting the Trojan Horse. The impressive wooden sculpture serves as a symbol for the town, and your guide will make sure you have some free time to take close-up photos.
In the late afternoon, travel onward to Çanakkale where your overnight accommodation and dinner awaits.
Overnight: 4-star Kolin Hotel or Helen Hotel in Çanakkale
Day 2: Çanakkale – Gallipoli – Istanbul (B)
Savor breakfast before leaving Çanakkale for the battlefields of Gallipoli, a short distance away. As you travel, listen to your guide give background on the historical site where one of the most bloody and lengthy campaigns of WWI was waged. On April 25, 1915, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) followed Allied orders to mount an attack on Constantinople. The attack was met with fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turks and the campaign dragged out for more than half a year, with thousands of fatalities.
On a walking tour, learn about the key battles that took place and see several poignant memorials that are visited by countless nations. Wander to Australia’s main memorial site at Lone Pine and explore the trenches of the Nek while hearing about the troops that stormed the surrounding woodland. See Chunuk Bair New Zealand Memorial, pay your respects to fallen soldiers at ANZAC Cove, and see exhibits relating to the battles at Kabatepe Museum.
Following free time for lunch, leave Gallipoli in the late afternoon and start your journey to Istanbul, crossing the Dardanelles Strait. After roughly four hours on the road — including a dinner stop (own expense) — finish your 2-day tour in the late evening with drop-off at your central Istanbul hotel.