Highlights of Jordan including Istanbul extension
- 07 Jun
- 06 Sep
- 20 Sep
- 15 Nov
Join us on this unforgettable holiday to Northern Cyprus and enjoy a city escape in Istanbul. Throughout its history Northern Cyprus has been ruled by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans and most recently the British, so it offers a rich and varied cultural experience. We’ll discover some of the country’s castles, churches, mosques and markets, explore the ancient city of Salamis, stroll through the bustling streets of the old towns of Kyrenia and Famagusta, and visit the world’s last divided capital, Nicosia. We’ll also have plenty of time to unwind and enjoy the beautiful climate from the comfort of our beachside hotel. We’ll also get a taste of Turkey with a 3 night stay in Istanbul. We’ll take a guided city tour and see the top sights of this diverse and bustling city; a perfect way to end this wonderful holiday.
We begin our holiday to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, as we fly to Ercan Airport, via Istanbul. On arrival, we meet with our guide and transfer to our hotel in Kyrenia (Girne).
This morning, accompanied by our guide, we discover some of the ancient sites around Kyrenia, including St. Hilarion Castle in the Kyrenia Mountains. Originally a monastery, built by the Crusaders following their retreat from the Holy Land, the castle is the largest fortress on the island and was captured by Richard the Lionheart on his way to the Third Crusade. Rumoured to be the inspiration for the castle in Disney’s Snow White, its elevated position offers stunning panoramic views. After, we discover the ruin of Bellapais Abbey in the small scenic village of the same name. Dating back to the 13th century, “The Abbey of Peace” is an impressive example of French Gothic architecture, consisting of a church, a cloister, and monastic buildings. Later we enjoy some lunch at a local restaurant (included) before exploring the Old Town of Kyrenia.
Discover the charming Old Town of Kyrenia, most notably its British-built harbour and quay. Enjoy some time to explore Kyrenia, wander by old stone buildings down its narrow alleyways, stop off in one of the harbour-side cafes, or pay a visit to the local Icon Museum or Kyrenia Castsle (not included).
This evening, let’s join our fellow travellers for dinner at our hotel. An evening meal is included for each of the following nights of our stay.
Today we are free to enjoy the delights of Kyrenia. We can take advantage of the warm, weather and exquisite Mediterranean waters at the beach beside our hotel, or just relax by the pool. Our guide will be happy to suggest further activities of interest.
Discover more as we explore Nicosia, Europe's last divided capital. We pass Mosques and discover the Arabahmet Mosque , and the St Sophia Cathedral (viewed from the outside due to renovations) as we delve into the highlights of Nicosia. Uncover one of the finest examples of Ottoman architecture on the island, the Great Inn, which is located in the traditional market centre. There is also a visit to the Boyak Han - Gamblers Inn, where we can browse its galleries, cafes, and souvenir shops.
Lunch is included today at a local restaurant, after which we can enjoy some free time to further explore before we return to our hotel.
**Please note: Our city tour takes place in the northern (Turkish) section of Nicosia. Subject to permission from the authorities on the day, it may be possible to visit the southern (Greek) section during free time. Only European Citizens are permitted to cross the border and passports must be shown.
St Sophia Cathedral is currently under renovation for 2023 and 2024.
Today is free to explore more and get to know the nearby town of Kyrenia. Savour the local cuisine, which blends Greek and Turkish influences, with specialties such as Halloumi cheese and Baklava.
Our guide will be pleased to offer tips for sightseeing, shopping and places to eat.
Today we experience more on a full-day excursion to Salamis, the old capital of the island, which is thought to date back as far as 1100BC. We begin with a guided tour to St. Barnabas Monastery and the Icon Museum housed in the church above the tomb of Apostle Barnabus, patron saint of Cyprus. Many Byzantine and Roman ruins can be seen at the site, including the gymnasium pool and baths surrounded by vast marble columns, a restored Roman amphitheatre, and intricate tile mosaics.
After lunch (included) we visit the old town of Famagusta and explore its warren of small shops, selling local produce from silver and copperware to ceramics, fruits and vegetables. Fondly known as the city of 365 Churches, the old town is home to many historic buildings and is surrounded by impressive medieval city walls. After our day of exploring, we return to our hotel to relax and unwind.
The day is ours to laze among the palm trees and savour the ocean breeze, or take a leisurely stroll through the streets of Kyrenia and enjoy the convivial atmosphere. Now is the perfect time to take in some final souvenir shopping.
Today we say farewell with fond memories of our visit to Cyprus, as we depart for Ercan Airport for Istanbul.
On arrival in Istanbul Airport, we meet our guide to transfer to our hotel (early check in will be arranged for morning flight arrivals). Once we have checked into our hotel, the rest of the day is at leisure, to relax and recharge the batteries. We can take a stroll to Taksim square or wander the network of side streets filled with bars and restaurants.
Breakfast only, is included each day of your stay in Istanbul.
Please note that the extension in Istanbul is based on an individual rather than a group experience.
Let’s discover this vibrant and ancient city!
After breakfast we uncover some of the highlights of this historical city on a guided tour including a visit to the Blue Mosque. We stroll past the Hagia Sophia Mosque (viewed from the outside), the Roman Hippodrome and admire the ancient Egyptian Obelisks. After we finish our tour at one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world: the Grand Bazaar, a sprawling, lively market where you can haggle with vendors while drinking apple tea and enjoying the unique atmosphere.
This lively city is a perfect combination of modern and ancient, displaying a range of architecture from majestic skyscrapers to historic mosques, temples and churches. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure, to relax or uncover more of Istanbul's fascinating treasures. Ask the guide for advice on further places of interest, before the half day tour is finished.
Please note: St Sophia is no longer a museum. It has now been converted to a Mosque. During times of prayer, it may not be possible to visit the interior.
*In order to preserve the beauty and integrity of the iconic Blue Mosque, restoration work is ongoing at this site. Some phases of the restoration involve scaffolding; thus a clear view of the entire Mosque may not be possible.
Today is free to take in some sightseeing and shopping. Istanbul has so much to offer; no matter how many times you visit, there is always something new to uncover or rediscover.
Perhaps a visit to the Underground Cistern, a fascinating network of water channels and ornamental pillars, dating back to Roman times. Dare to look upon the face of Medusa! Explore Topkapi Palace with its museum of national treasures, discover the ancient harem of the Ottoman Sultans. See more on a cruise down the Bosphorus, or shop till you drop in the trendy İstiklal Avenue.
This morning we bid farewell to Istanbul and transfer to the airport for our flight home.
You will be met on arrival at your destination airport and transferred to your accommodation. You will be accompanied on all included excursions by your Travel Department guide. Your expert local guide is also available to give you tips and advice on any aspect of your holiday.
Please visit our visa page for information on requirements for each country's entry requirements
We have local representatives in all of our destinations who are available 24/7 as well as an emergency contact number for our offices in Ireland should you ever need it.