Travel by air-conditioned coach from Bodrum to Ephesus, one of the Mediterranean’s best-preserved ancient cities. After a walking tour of this archaeological marvel, you’ll stay overnight at a 3-star hotel in Pamukkale, where you’re treated to dinner and a Turkish folklore show. The next day, view the World Heritage–listed calcified formations and roam the remains of Hierapolis, the ancient spa city built above them. Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, plus an included lunch.
Day 1: Bodrum – Ephesus – Pamukkale (D)Start your tour with a pickup from your centrally located hotel in Bodrum in the early morning. Settle in your air-conditioned coach and drive toward Ephesus, the best-preserved ancient city in the eastern Mediterranean.
After roughly 2 hours, stop for breakfast (own expense) before continuing your journey. Hear fascinating stories about Ephesus as you travel and, following a second stop at a jewelry center to watch Turkish jewelry being made, arrive at Ephesus.
Enter this spectacular archaeological site and set off on your 2.5-hour walking tour with your guide. Dedicated to the goddess of Artemis, Ephesus enjoyed its golden age around the 2nd century BC, when it was became one of Rome’s most influential trading cities.
Tread in the path of toga-clad Romans along the marble-paved streets as your guide brings the shops, temples and buildings alive with absorbing facts and tales. Wonder at the Roman baths, Agora, Fountain of Trajan, Odeon and Temple of Hadrian, and ogle the city’s two crowning glories: the 25,000-seater Great Theatre and the remarkable Library of Celsus, once home to 12,000 precious scrolls.
After your tour and a break for lunch (own expense), drive to Pamukkale and check in to your hotel.
Enjoy an included dinner and Turkish folklore show at your hotel this evening.
Overnight: 3-star hotel in Pamukkale
Day 2: Pamukkale – Bodrum (B, L)Check out of your hotel after breakfast, and relax on the coach ride to Pamukkale. With a name that means ‘Cotton Castle’ in Turkish, this UNESCO-listed hillside is draped in frosted white terraces, pools and basins that bring to mind fairytale-like castles and turrets. Behold the snow-white formations and learn how they were created by calcium-rich hot springs flowing from the plateau above.
Once you’ve viewed this natural phenomenon, head for a restaurant for an included buffet lunch of salads, main courses and dessert, accompanied by drinks (own expense).
After the meal, visit a carpet-weaving center to see how Turkey’s traditional carpets are made from wool and silk. Then, continue your sightseeing at ancient Hierapolis, the Greco-Roman city built as a spa center above Pamukkale’s terraces around the 2nd century BC.
See the colonnaded main street, theater and necropolis — a Roman graveyard — and the enormous theater. Then, perhaps put on your swimwear to dip in the modern thermal pools or Cleopatra’s Pool (own expense): a beautiful Roman pool strewn with broken columns.
Afterward, travel back to Bodrum, with a break for refreshments (own expense) on route. Your tour concludes with a hotel drop-off in Bodrum in the early evening.