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

Ancient civilisations of Eastern Turkey

  • EXPERT-LED GROUP TOUR
Start dateEnd dateDays
Prices from
Single SupplementTour ExpertGroup SizeStatus
06/26/21 07/08/2113 days $4,138 ex. flights $382Ian Colvin15 Max LIMITED Reserve place
08/21/21 09/02/2113 days $4,138 ex. flights $382Ian Colvin15 Max LIMITED Reserve place

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Gobekli Tepe, Sanliurfa, Turkey 1

Gobekli Tepe

Visit Göbekli Tepe, the world’s first temple, and uncover the origins of civilisation.

Medieval Church, Lake Sevan, Armenia 2

Lake Van

Watch the changing colours of Lake Van at sunset, the largest alkaline lake in the world.

statues on Mount Nemrut in Turkey, UNESCO 3

Mount Nemrut

Discover Mount Nemrut, one the highest peaks of the Mesopotamia.

Van Castle, Lake Van, Turkey 4

Incredible scenery

This underrated destination offers a wealth of history and tales waiting to be discovered.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1

    Trabzon

  • Day 2

    Trabzon - Artvin

  • Day 3

    Artvin - Erzurum

  • Day 4

    Erzurum - Kars

  • Day 5

    Kars

  • Day 6

    Kars - Van

  • Day 7

    Van

  • Day 8

    Van - Tatvan

  • Day 9

    Tatvan - Diyarbakir

  • Day 10

    Diyarbakir - Mount Nemrut  - Adiyaman

  • Day 11

    Adiyaman Kahta - Gobekli Tepe - Sanliurfa

  • Day 12

    Sanliurfa

  • Day 13

    Sanliurfa

Day 1

Trabzon

Black Sea Coast Road, Turkey

Arrive into Trabzon and transfer to the hotel.

Day 2

Trabzon - Artvin

Sumela Monastery, Trabzon, Turkey

Explore the highlights of Trabzon. The city played an important role in history due to its vital position on the legendary Silk Road. In the afternoon, a winding drive along the Black Sea coast and then up a mountainside takes you to Artvin.

Day 3

Artvin - Erzurum

Kackar Mountains, Turkey

Depart Artvin and drive along the Coruh Valley. One of the most magnificent valleys of Turkey, it is formed by the Coruh River and characterised by beautiful wild landscapes, raging rivers and stunning valleys.

Day 4

Erzurum - Kars

Church of St Gregory of Tigran Honents, Ani, Turkey

In Erzurum, explore the modern city’s wide tree-lined boulevards. Visit the Ulu Mosque, also known as the Grand Mosque, built-in 1179. After lunch, depart for Kars, travelling along the gorge of the River Aras.

Day 5

Kars

Typical turkish delights on sale at the market in Istanbul Turkey

Travel to the site of Ani, the former capital of the Armenian kingdom. In the mid 10th Century, nothing in Europe could rival this capital of the Armenian kingdom in terms of either size or magnificence. Today, all that is left of this once great city are several church ruins as well as the shell of the Cathedral of Ani, the citadel and a mosque.

Day 6

Kars - Van

Snow Capped Mount Ararat and Khor Virap, Armenia

Depart Kars for Dogubeyazit, via Igdir, the North-west skirt of Mount Ararat, one of the great natural spectacles of the world. On arrival into Dogubeyazit, visit the spectacular Ishak Pasha Palace, situated five kilometres outside the city.

Day 7

Van

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

From Van, travel south along a branch of the Silk Road (Ipek Yol) to visit Hosap Castle. From Hosap, return to Cavustepe to see another Urartian Castle. Continue onto Gevas where you will transfer by boat to Akdamar Island, the largest island in Lake Van.

Day 8

Van - Tatvan

Nemrut Crater Lake, Tatvan, Turkey

Leaving Van behind, drive along the southern shore of Lake Van to Tatvan. The mountain rises above Tatvan on the southwestern edge of Lake Van and is one of the largest complete calderas in the world, with the highest peak of the mountain standing at 3,050 metres.

Day 9

Tatvan - Diyarbakir

Mardin, small town near Diyarbakir in Turkey

Drive to Bitlis, known as one of the most important cities in the Kingdom of Armenia. In the afternoon, explore Diyarbakir, a city that was the cradle of 26 different civilizations throughout its 5000-year history.

Day 10

Diyarbakir - Mount Nemrut  - Adiyaman

Mount Nemrut Turkey

Morning drive towards Adiyaman and Mount Nemrut. Stop to visit Karakus Tumulus funerary monument constructed by Mithridates II of Commagene for Queen Isias and Princesses Antiochis and Aka I. From here, continue to visit the Cendere Bridge, before arriving at the top of Mount Nemrut.

Day 11

Adiyaman Kahta - Gobekli Tepe - Sanliurfa

Gobekli Tepe, Sanliurfa, Turkey

Drive to Urfa, a surprising mix of the old and new, with Turkish, Arab and Kurdish influences. From here, drive to Gobekli Tepe, one of the most important archaeological digs currently being undertaken anywhere. Its discovery in the 1990s took the archaeological world by astonishment as the site represents a major shift in our understanding of man’s early history.

Day 12

Sanliurfa

Sacred Fish Pool, Sanliurfa, Turkey

Walk in the beautiful flower-filled gardens along the Sacred Pools of Abraham, which God reputedly created to save Abraham from the Pagan King Nimrod. This afternoon visit the ancient city of Harran, with its beehive-like dwellings, the design of which goes back to the 3rd century BC and are unique to Turkey and Syria.

Day 13

Sanliurfa

Skyline of Sanliurfa as viewed from the castle, Turkey

Depart Sanliurfa and transfer to the airport.

Includes / Excludes

Important Information

Activity Level
Moderate Activity
Single Supplement

Travelling on your own? Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places provides security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour expert.

Flexibility

To allow flexibility, our group tours do not include international flights as standard. We can arrange international flights on your behalf, please get in touch with our travel experts for a quote. All international flights from the UK are ATOL protected.

What is included

  • Accommodation as detailed
  • Accompanied by a local guide throughout
  • Accompanied by Ian Colvin throughout
  • Entrance to all sites mentioned
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers and porters
  • Meals as indicated
  • Transportation throughout

What is excluded

  • Insurance
  • International Flights
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Visas
Snow Capped Mount Ararat and Khor Virap, Armenia
Mount Ararat

Mount Ararat

Known as one of the great natural spectacles of the world. It is believed that Noah’s Ark rested on its summit during the big flood, and the wide plain of Igdir at the foot of the mountain is the first place where Noah set foot after the disaster. Over the years, explorers, including Marco Polo, have searched Ararat in the hopes of finding remains of Noah’s Ark.

Van Castle, Lake Van, Turkey
Van Castle, Lake Van, Turkey

Lake Van

Lake Van is the largest lake in Turkey and the second largest in the Middle East. It’s also the biggest sodium water lake in the world. The lake lies on the high grounds of the Eastern Anatolian region near the border with Iran. There are four small islands in the southern part of the lake: Akdamar, Carpanak, Adir and Kus islands. All of these islands were declared as archaeological sites in 1990.

Mount Nemrut Turkey
Mount Nemrut, Turkey

Mount Nemrut

In 62 BC, King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene built on the mountain top a tomb-sanctuary flanked by huge statues (8-9 metres high) of himself, two lions, two eagles and various Greek, Armenian, and Iranian gods. These statues were once seated, with names of each god inscribed on them. The heads of the statues have at some stage been removed from their bodies, and they are now scattered throughout the site.

Gobekli Tepe, Sanliurfa, Turkey
Gobekli Tepe, Turkey

Gobekli Tepe

Known as one of the most important archaeological digs currently being undertaken anywhere. Gobekli Tepe was discovered in the 1990s and took the archaeological world by astonishment as the site represents a major shift in our understanding of man’s early history. Some researchers even believe it to be the biblical site of the Garden of Eden. Here lie the remains of the earliest religious structures built by man yet to be discovered. At about 11,000-13,000 years old the site predates Stonehenge and the Pyramids.

Group Tour FAQs

Why should I travel with Steppes Travel to Eastern Turkey?

For the expertise of Ian Colvin, whose vast knowledge and passion about this little-visited region, will bring history to life. In addition, this small-group tour offers the opportunity to travel with like-minded individuals to a region of Turkey that offers a fascinating history.

“Ian Colvin knowledgeable, kind, diligent and most helpful.” Armenia and Georgia Group tour with Ian.

Is it safe to travel to Eastern Turkey?

Eastern Turkey is bordered by Georgia and Armenia, to the north and Syria, Iraq and Iran to the south, which has caused its colourful past. However, in recent years these borders have stabilised and allowed tourism to slowly restore in this region. We will continue to monitor this situation.

What will the roads be like?

The roads over the last decade have improved immeasurably and the region is very well serviced by a good choice of regional airports.

What is the standard of accommodation on this tour?

Accommodation is varied in this region, where possible, we have carefully selected a range of small comfortable hotels and three to four-star guest houses for this group tour.

Is this tour suitable for solo travellers?

Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour expert.

If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay for a single room.

If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single room price supplement will apply.

What is the food like?

The food in this region is wonderful with Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic influences. Make sure you sample the wonderful Turkish breads in this area which are delicious.

Do I need to be physically fit to enjoy this tour?

You need to be relatively fit to enjoy this tour. Although there are no substantial hikes involved, there will be days where moderate walks are required to access castles or churches.

Please make sure you bring a good comfortable pair of walking shoes as some of the cities and areas we visit will have uneven surfaces.

Can I extend my time in Turkey?

Yes, this can easily be arranged at the beginning or end of the tour. Private travel arrangements with a car and driver will be provided and a private guide arranged for sightseeing. Please speak to one of our Turkey travel experts for ideas and information.

Haven’t found what you’re looking for?


VISIT OUR FAQ PAGE

Why a Steppes expert-led group tour

1.Experience Matters

We have been running insightful and groundbreaking group tours since our inception in 1989. We have worked with institutions such as the British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum and run wildlife tours in conjunction with conservation agencies such as Fauna & Flora International, Wildlife Conservation Society, the Orangutan Foundation, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and the Jane Goodall Institute.

2.Size Matters

Our average group size is typically eight to ten people, smaller than other group tours typically offered – a factor which many of our clients appreciate. Travelling as part of a smaller group provides a more intimate, personalised and relaxed atmosphere.

4.It’s about who you know

We have developed an enviable pool of expertise from which to choose our tour experts, who we carefully select based on their knowledge, companionship and personality. Often, these experts can use their influence to facilitate private access to sites not typically open to the public.

3.Like-Minded People

Steppes Travellers are like-minded people – interesting, interested and curious. Our group tours aim to create an easy and informal atmosphere – we have a lot of fun on our tours and many friendships have been formed.

5.Value for money

Our tours are well-priced to ensure you get real value for money. We include gratuities on the majority of our tours and do not pass on currency surcharges. We strive to look after single travellers as well as we can, keeping single supplements to a minimum.

6.Peace of Mind

When you travel on one of our group tours, you will be looked after by our local agents and your tour expert with the back-up of our 24-hour emergency number and duty manager. All our holidays are fully bonded and protected – our ATOL number is ATOL 6495.

Our future tour dates

For further information about any of these tours please call 1 855 2037885

Start dateEnd dateDays
Prices from
Single SupplementTour ExpertGroup SizeStatus
06/26/21 07/08/2113 days $4,138 ex. flights $382Ian Colvin15 Max LIMITED Reserve place
08/21/21 09/02/2113 days $4,138 ex. flights $382Ian Colvin15 Max LIMITED Reserve place

Reserve your place on this group tour

Our travel experts have a wealth of first-hand knowledge, so if you have any questions about this expert-led group tour, please get in touch. They would love to help. We hope you can join us on this tour.

01285 880 980

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