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Akdamar Island in Van Lake, The Armenian Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross, Turkey

Eastern Turkey



11 Days

Prices Start from

£2,650pp (ex. flights)

Suitable for

Adventure Traveller Photographers

Home to some of the most important and iconic archaeological sites found anywhere in the world, Eastern Turkey is a fascinating melting pot waiting for the intrepid traveller. Be lured by the walled city of Diyarbakir, Mount Nemrut and Göbekli Tepe, the world’s first temple.

Discover spectacular scenery, ancient civilisations and many biblical sites.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

statues on Mount Nemrut in Turkey, UNESCO 1

Visit Mount Nemrut

Wander around the huge stone heads scattered across Mount Nemrut.

Sacred Fish Pool, Sanliurfa, Turkey 2

Explore Sanliurfa

Wander through the flower-filled gardens and see the sacred pool of Abraham.

Gobekli Tepe, Sanliurfa, Turkey 3

Visit Gobekli Tepe

Gobekli Tepe is an important archaeological dig, containing the world’s oldest temple.

Akdamar Island in Van Lake, The Armenian Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross, Turkey 4

Cruise on Lake Van

Take a boat ride across Lake Van to visit the 10th Century Armenian Cathedral.

Why we like it

This holiday suggestion to Eastern Turkey is for the most ardent culture vulture. Much less explored than the rest of Turkey this vast region offers so much to see and do, without the crowds. We have put together the best route to successfully and comfortably visit some of the most fascinating sites in the region, all the while sampling incredible cuisine and staying in some wonderfully atmospheric hotels. On the journey, you will be accompanied by our experienced and knowledgeable local guide who is not only informative but incredibly good company and will lift your experience of Eastern Turkey to another level.

Explore our suggested itinerary

Turkey on your wishlist? Talk to our experts about tailoring this trip for you.

  • Day 1

    Istanbul - Gaziantep

  • Day 2

    Gaziantep - Nemrut Dagi

  • Day 3

    Nemrut Dagi - Sanliurfa

  • Day 4


  • Day 5

    Sanliurfa - Diyarbakir

  • Day 6

    Diyarbakir - Midyat

  • Day 7


  • Day 8

    Midyat - Van

  • Days 9-10


  • Day 11

    Van - Istanbul

Day 1

Istanbul - Gaziantep

Day 2

Gaziantep - Nemrut Dagi

Mount Nemrut Turkey

Wander around the huge stone heads scattered across Mount Nemrut.

Day 3

Nemrut Dagi - Sanliurfa

Gobekli Tepe, Sanliurfa, Turkey

Wander through the flower-filled gardens and see the sacred pool of Abraham. Gobekli Tepe is an important archaeological dig, containing the world’s oldest temple

Day 4


Day 5

Sanliurfa - Diyarbakir

Day 6

Diyarbakir - Midyat

Day 7


Day 8

Midyat - Van

Days 9-10


Medieval Church, Lake Sevan, Armenia

A relaxed lakeside town, Van is nestled in a tranquil setting, looking out over a lake and with snow-capped peaks visible in the distance.

Day 11

Van - Istanbul

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

More details

Mount Nemrut Turkey
Mount Nemrut, Turkey

The Colossal Stone Heads of Nemrut Dagi

Standing at just over 2,000 metres, Mount Nemrut’s famous peak is decorated with an array of huge stone heads that sit on terraces cut into three sides of the mountain. Spend some time exploring this magnificent site, admiring the beautiful views and learning of King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene. Originally this tomb-sanctuary was flanked by huge statues – one of King Antiochus I, two lions, two eagles and various Greek, Armenian, and Iranian gods. Today, only the heads of the statues survive, but originally the figures were thought to stand up to 10 metres tall. Despite a number of excavations failing to find his tomb, it is still believed that the sanctuary contains the burial site of King Antiochus.

Gobekli Tepe, Sanliurfa, Turkey
Gobekli Tepe, Turkey

Inside Gobekli Tepe, the Oldest Temple in the World

The discovery of Gobekli changes everything. Its discovery in the 1960s wasn’t considered as significant by archaeologists and it wasn’t until 1994 that the real truth of Gobekli came out. Subsequent exploration has now changed how we understand the rise of human civilisations. Believed to be a massive ancient temple, Gobekli Tepe is built out of pillars decorated with intricate sculptures of lions, scorpions and vultures. These are just the foundations to a bigger structure. The artwork and engineering is an incredible feat at any time, but this was achieved more than 11,500 years ago. To put it in perspective, Gobekli Tepe is 6000 years older than Stone Henge. It is truly a sight to behold.

Mardin, small town near Diyarbakir in Turkey


Diyarbakir is a lively Kurdish-dominated walled city on the banks of the Tigris. The city is well worth exploring and we recommend visiting the Grand Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in Anatolia and Keldani Catholic Church, voted one of the most beautiful churches in Turkey. Also in the city is the Dört Ayaklý Minaret (Four-Legged Minaret) and Meryem Ana Kilisesi, the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is a part of a large monastic foundation.

Akdamar Island in Van Lake, The Armenian Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross, Turkey
Van, Turkey

The Beautiful Scenery of Lake Van

A relaxed lakeside town, Van is nestled in a tranquil setting, looking out over a lake and with snow-capped peaks visible in the distance. Van has suffered more than its fair share of earthquakes, but the most striking of Van’s treasures has survived. This is the town’s Urartian Fortress, set upon a steep-sided bluff. During your stay, you tour the citadel and also take a boat trip to Akdamar Island, home to the beautifully restored 10th-century Armenian Cathedral of the Holy Cross.




Below you can see some of the wonderful places we have recommended for this journey.

Raffles Istanbul £££££

  • Turkey
  • City

Raffles Istanbul is a cutting edge hotel has 181 rooms in total including 49 suites, all with views of the Bosphorus, private balconies and a contemporary style with Turkish influences. High tech additions include tablet check-in and an in-room tablet for lighting, air conditioning control, newspapers and in-room dining menu plus a 24 hour Butler Service. Located at the heart of the Zorlu Centre, an area of Istanbul with a thriving fashion, food and arts scene, the hotel houses an impressive collection of local artwork. There is also direct access to the Zorlu performing arts centre with world-class dramas and musicals available. Additional facilities include two restaurants and two bars, an indoor pool and outdoor pool with fantastic views over the cities skyline and the Bosphorus, a spa and children’s play area.

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Four Seasons Sultanahmet £££££

  • Turkey
  • City

The Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet is a luxury hotel in the old quarter of Istanbul, a short walk from the Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque. Once a Turkish prison, this striking mustard-coloured building is now a three-story neoclassical hotel with 65 rooms and suites set around a landscaped courtyard garden. Comfortable and well equipped, the rooms all overlook either the central courtyard or outwards to the Blue Mosque.

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Ciragan Palace Kempinski £££££

  • Turkey
  • City

The Çiragan Palace Kempinski is a 5* luxury hotel on the shores of the Bosphorus in Istanbul. Between the districts of Besiktas and Ortakoy, it offers a great base from which to explore Istanbul. Once the residence of the last Ottoman Sultans, the Ciragan Palace was bought and restored by the Kempinski group and opened its doors as a luxurious hotel in 1991. Today it has 351 rooms and 11 suites, all with balconies and most with partial or full views of the Bosphorus. Additional facilities include a heated outdoor infinity pool, spa, fitness centre and indoor pool, as well as four excellent restaurants, each one with a balcony or terrace overlooking the Bosphorus.

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Guides knowledge excellent and he left no stone unturned! The driver was excellent. Between them, they made our holiday.

Eastern Turkey

A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
From £2,650 Per person

When to travel

Turkey in January

Temperatures can be as low as -9.C in some regions of Turkey, with snowfall likely. During the months of January and February, the country can be less crowded, although visiting the cities is a more popular option than coastal regions.

Turkey in February

February will be marginally warmer than January, with the climate varying according to the region, due to the country’s sheer size. Some regions of Turkey will experience temperatures as low as 3.C, whereas other areas can see temperatures averaging 14.C.

Turkey in March

Certain regions of Turkey will experience many days of rainfall, particularly on the south west coast. During springtime in Turkey, temperatures will be ideal for sightseeing in the big cities and with less crowds than in the months to come.

Turkey in April

Springtime is an excellent month to travel to Turkey with temperatures in their low 20s on the south coast and longer days of sunshine, however it should be noted that in northern regions during April, they may experience more rainfall and cooler temperatures.

Turkey in May

As spring draws to a close and the signs of summer begin, temperatures will continue to rise and yet be quieter than July and August, when many choose to visit on their summer holidays both to coastal destinations and the country’s top cities, including Istanbul.

Turkey in June

On the Mediterranean coast, June will experience higher levels of humidity with warmer, temperatures and long days of sunshine. It will start to get busier at coastal resorts as the temperatures start to rise.

Turkey in July

During the summer months, temperatures are high and most of Turkey’s regions will experience long, dry days of very little rain. The cities, including Istanbul, will be quieter as the summer is a popular time to visit coastal resorts.

Turkey in August

Like any Mediterranean destination during the summer, Turkey will experience high temperatures, ideal for a summer holiday by the coast. If sightseeing in Turkey’s cities however, it may be less comfortable for some.

Turkey in September

The Autumn months in Turkey will experience marginally cooler temperatures than those of July and August, however, will still be in the mid to high 20s, with minimal rainfall.

Turkey in October

Whilst during the day, temperatures will be in the mid-20s, the evenings will be much cooler. Humidity levels will be much lower than the peak summer months but as Autumn continues, rainfall will be more frequent.

Turkey in November

With the cooler climate throughout Turkey, it means that there will be fewer tourists travelling to the country. Winter will have begun in Eastern regions, even experiencing the first signs of snow, yet some coastal destinations will still see highs of 25°C.

Turkey in December

In certain regions of Turkey during the winter months, particularly in mountainous areas and Eastern Turkey, temperatures can fall below zero and snowfall is likely.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise set us apart. So too our curiosity. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary once again?

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