We start at Istanbul which straddles Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait. Its Old City reflects cultural influences of the many empires that once ruled here. After a visit to Gallipoli, the tour will explore the Aegean and take in highlights such as the remarkably preserved Roman city of Ephesus. Greece has plenty of amazing historic ruins as well and also some modern agricultural developments. Then to Italy and all its wonders.
Depart Australia for Turkey. Airline to be determined.
Arrival in Istanbul. Depending on time of arrival some sightseeing can be arranged. Check in to our hotel in prime location in the historical city centre of the city. The hotel is just a few minutes walk away from the major sights such as the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Bazaars etc. Nearby are many cafés, restaurants and shops.
A welcome dinner is included at a typical restaurant close to the hotel and maybe a “Bosphorus by Night” cruise including folklore and belly dance.
After breakfast, enjoy a city tour featuring some of the major attractions of the city including one of the amazing cisterns and the Egyptian Bazaar (Spice Market).
This morning, we will drive along the shores of the Sea of Marmara to the Gallipoli peninsula. We will visit some the most important sites such as Anzac Cove, Lone Pine, the Nek, etc. with an experienced battlefield guide. In the afternoon, cross the Dardanelles to Çanakkale. Dinner and overnight
This morning we will visit the unique ancient city of Troy and follow the footsteps of unmortal heroes like Achilles and Hector. We can visit an olive oil producer (one of the main agricultural products for thousands of years) and a dairy farm before continuing to Kusadasi for overnight.
We will see Ephesus this morning, one of the most impressive ancient cities in the world. Continue through the fertile valley of the Maeandros river, where cotton, figs, vegetable and other fruits have been grown since ancient times. In the afternoon, we will reach Pamukkale, a unique natural wonder of the world.
Hot thermal springs have created the amazing travertine terraces in Pamukkale, resembling a frozen waterfall. The healing powers of the thermal water was well-known during ancient times and thus the spa city of Hierapolis was founded. After our visits we will continue to Konya via the Lake district.
Our route leads us through the Central Anatolian plain, the homeland of wheat and a granary since the dawn of civilisation. This route has been also a part of the ancient Silk and Spice routes. You will notice the numerous caravanserais, former road inns, where tradesmen from all the world used to stay, exchange goods, news and culture. We will reach Cappadocia for overnight.
Welcome to a unique, almost surreal landscape created by volcanoes, wind and water. Thousands of years ago, men discovered how easy it was to carve dwellings, churches, even vast underground cities as retreat during times of attacks in this area. On our tour, we will see some of the most famous places as Göreme Valley, Pashabag, the Three Graces, Camel Valley, the Valley of Lovers and Uçhisar.
You will have a unique opportunity before breakfast – a hot air balloon ride over this majestic landscape. We will visit one of the amazing underground cities, a natural castle and a former Greek village famous for its pottery since the Hittite era.
In the afternoon, transfer to Kayseri or Nevsehir airport for our flight to Athens.
Evening arrival in Athens where we will be met by a guide and transferred to the hotel.
Buffet breakfast in hotel and departure for sightseeing tour of the city starting in Syntagma square then to the Acropolis to visit the Parthenon, the propylaea and the temple of Nike before we come down to the slopes to Plaka. After lunch we can visit the new Acropolis museum which is a must to visit.
Then return to the hotel with some free time before dinner and overnight
Visit the central market of Athens with the fruits meat and fish market then a free afternoon to explore the city.
Departure to Levadia meeting with the agricultural association of Levadia where the general secretary will take us to see the production and marketing of cotton of wheat. Then we will depart to mount Parnassos and stop in a traditional restaurant for lunch and continue to Larissa for dinner and overnight.
Larissa is the centre of one of the prime agricultural regions of Greece, producing much of the cereals, cotton, legumes, beets, watermelons, and melons. Breakfast in hotel then visits to various producers around Larissa including a cattle operation and cotton farm. After lunch we will return to Larissa for dinner and overnight.
Depart to Meteora and visit one monastery and a cattle farm which has saved ancient Greek animal breeds of cattle, horses and Thessaly black pigs. We will stop for lunch at Metsovo, a traditional mountain village, then continue to igoumenitsa and the ferry to Corfu for dinner and overnight.
Olive oil is the main product of Corfu and we will visit olive groves and processing facilities.
Hillside vineyards put down roots amidst the olive groves, producing unique and famous wines, an excellent accompaniment to other local products such as graviera cheese and salad ham.
Free morning before we board the ferry for a 6 hour cruise through the Adriatic to Brindisi on the 'bootheel' of Italy. The Puglia region is known for its whitewashed hill towns, centuries-old farmland and hundreds of kilometers of Mediterranean coastline. Transfer to hotel for overnight.
Meet our local tour leader and departure by private coach to Alberobello. One of the highlights of a visit to Puglia are the ‘Trulli’, strange conical buildings made of stone but with the tops picked out in white. These strange buildings were built of dry stone, possibly so they could be dismantled very quickly if the tax collectors came around. We have a guided visit then lunch in a typical masseria (Italian farm).
In the afternoon we continue to Polignano a Mare which hosted the Red Bull Cliff Diving Championship. It is known as the Amalfi of Puglia (Apulia) due to its stunning panoramic views.
Arrival in Your Hotel in Bari and check-in .
Maybe take an evening stroll in the Bari historical centre with its labyrinth of medieval streets and narrow lanes overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
Dinner in a typical Trattoria, overnight Bari
We will first visit Trani, which was one of the most important medieval trading ports and consequently had a large Jewish and mercantile population.
Then we continue with a visit a farm which applies the most innovative technologies to the traditional Apulian knowledge of olive growing. It was among the first in Italy to experiment with the cultivation of super-intensive olive trees, with more than 1000 plants per hectare arranged in rows. The fruit is harvested mechanically and sent to the crusher a few kilometres away, where the olives are ground to prevent oxidation and stored in a nitrogen atmosphere. The company also produces almonds, table grapes, flour and wine.
Lunch at the farm or in a nearby Farmhouse
On the way back to Bari, we will make a short stop at the imposing Castel del Monte, built by Frederick II in 1240, a World Heritage site.
Evening at leisure.
In the morning, we depart towards the Amalfi-Coast – around 300 km or 4 hrs.
On the way, stop in Basilicata, in the Potenza region to visit a small biodynamic farm specialising in the production of ancient grains, legumes, vegetables, herbs and saffron.
Agricultural production is combined with stone milling of the grain and the husking of spelt.
To complete the short supply chain there is attached an old family bakery "Il Forno delle Sorelle Palese" that transforms the stone-milled flours into bread, pizza and cookies baked in a wood-fired oven, respecting the local traditions of production.
Lunch at the farm
We continue to Sorrento.
Dinner and overnight in your Hotel in Sorrento area.
Today enjoy the Amalfi coast by bus and by boat
Drive along the scenic Amalfi coastal route as far as Positano. Stop for 1-hour free time in Positano that with its unique architecture is considered one of the most beautiful cities of the Amalfi coast. Continuing through the wonderful villages of Praiano, Furore and Conca dei Marini, we will arrive in the enchanting Amalfi with 2 hours free time to discover the history of this ancient Maritime Republic. Stroll through the narrow streets of the town and browse the many shops or enjoy a coffee in one of the cafes around Amalfi.
Lunch on your own.
From Amalfi we embark a public ferry to Salerno and then we will go back to Sorrento by bus.
Dinner and overnight in Sorrento area.
After breakfast we depart to Pompeii – one of the most important archaeological sites in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – with 'Skip the Line' entrance and a guided tour. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD destroyed the city, killing its inhabitants and burying it under tonnes of ash. Walk along the ancient streets for a glimpse into the lives of the Romans, discovering ancient houses, bakeries and shops and imagine the everyday life in the Roman times
Lunch in Pompeii then continue to Rome with a short panoramic bus tour of the city highlights before arriving in your hotel. Overnight in Rome
Meet our private expert guide on Piazza Navona for a walking tour of Rome’s magnificent historic centre. There is nowhere quite like it on earth! Includes beautiful spots such as the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. The guide will then walk you to ancient Rome to see Piazza Venezia, Trajan’s Column, and the Roman Forum – the control room of the Roman Empire at its peak, where Caesars ruled and some, at least, were murdered! Due south of the forum stands the mighty Colosseum, the icon of Rome, still remarkably intact, towering over every structure nearby.
Lunch and then an afternoon at leisure
Farewell dinner in a typical Trattoria in Trastevere, the most vibrant neighbourhood in Rome.
Breakfast in Hotel. Then transfer to the airport for flights home or head to more adventures in Europe.