Silk Road through Black Sea
This trip starts in the most eastern part of Turkey in City of Van and continues to Black Sea region of Turkey. This is a kind of trip you will experience the beauty of the Black Sea region with its National Parks, Lakes, Plateaus and Canyons and will have active tracking routes. Apart from the natural beauty of the Black Sea region we include nearby important historical sites to accompany the itinerary.
This itinerary is ideal for nature lovers who like to hike & walk but at the same time like to see some historical places.
Day 1 - Arrival to Istanbul Airport and transfer to Istanbul Hotel
Day 2 - Site Seeing in Istanbul. Overnight in Istanbul
Day 3 - Hotel pick up at 06:30 to take TK 2746 direct flight at 09:15 to Van arriving at 11:10. The day will start with the famous Van breakfast. Today you will visit ancient fortified site of Çavuştepe followed by the medieval castle of Hosap. Sun set at Van Castle. Overnight in Van.
Day 4 - Drive to Lake Van and sail to Akdamar Island to see Akdamar Church which was built by an Armenian king. Later continue towards Bitlis to see the famous Seljuck tombstones. Overnight in Van.
Day 5 - After breakfast check out of the hotel and continue towards Kars. But before this you will visit Van museum, Van’s cat breeding house. On the way to D. Beyazit we will stop by at Muradiye falls for a short break. In Dogu Beyazit we will be visiting one of the most impressive Palaces of the East Ishak Pasha Palace. You will also see Mt. Ararat from afar. Arrive to Kars and overnight in Kars ( Total drive time today is 5 hours )
Day 6 - After breakfast we will directly proceed to Ani ancient City also known as the "City of 1001 Churches” and "City of 40 Gates", which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, attracts attention of the visitors in every season. It is one of the world's most sacred spots and Turkey's most impressive medieval ancient cities overlooking to Armenian Border. After Ani you will return to the city center and visit the noteworthy buildings and churches of the city mostly left from the Russian era. You will also be visiting the Caucasus War Museum and learn about the very sad story of the Sarikamis and lost soldiers. Overnight in Kars.
Day 7 - Check out of the hotel and drive to Savsat on the way stopping in Lake Cildir and Ardahan for a 1,5-tracking route to Devil’s Forth with amazing view and surroundings. Then continue towards Black sea region and overnight in wooden bungalows in Savsat.
Day 8 - After breakfast check out and drive to the National Park of Karagol in Artvin. In here you will also have a walking route in the park. After the walk have a lunch break in Artvin , then visit Deriner Dam. Overnight in Borcka Maçahel which is a town and district of Artvin province in on the border with Georgia.
Day 9 - After breakfast you will visit the second National Park of Karagol ( black lake ) , tracking route followed by Macahel Plateau which is one of the unique beauties of the Black Sea region. It is a natural wonder surrounded by mountains and Turkey’s first biosphere area, approved by UNESCO in 2006. The most important livelihood of peasants is beekeeping and honey production from the pure Caucasian bee. Due to the difference in altitude a rich flora exists in the region. Overnight in Maçahel.
Day 10 - Check out of the hotel and drive towards Trabzon. On the way we will be visiting Ayder Plateau, Storm Creek, Uzungöl Lake all 3 are the top attractions of Black Sea area. Arrive to Trabzon and have a panoramic tour of the city , visit Hagia Sohia Church ( now mosque ) and Ataturk’s Pavilion . Overnight in Novotel Hotel by the sea side.
Day 11- Check out of the hotel. The first stop is amazing Sumela Monastery which is a Greek Orthodox Monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Nestled in a steep cliff at an altitude of about 1,200 meters (3,900 ft) facing the Altındere valley, it is a site of great historical and cultural significance, as well as a major tourist attraction. Continue to Gumushane to visit the amazing Karaca Cave. Continue to Bayburt and visit the award-winning modern Museum of Baksi and we will overnight in the museum.
Day 12 - After breakfast leave Baksi museum and continue to Erzincan to visit Kemaliye Dark Canyon. On here you will be doing boat rides as well as walks through this huge canyon. The canyon is 25 km (16 mi) long, 1,000 m (3,300 ft) deep and 10–15 m (33–49 ft) wide at the base featuring almost 90% rocky slope gradient. Overnight in Kemaliye Vadi Hotel.
Day 13 - In the morning visit the picturesque Akcaaga Village with typical wooden houses and narrow streets and continue to Sivas Divrigi to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Divrigi Mosque and complex. The Divriği Mosque is an outstanding example of a Seljuk mosque in Anatolia, as it neither has a courtyard, colonnades nor an uncovered ablutions basin, but rather organizes all religious functions in an enclosed area, owing perhaps to the harshness of the climate. A unique artistic achievement, this cultural property in itself represents one of Islamic architecture's most beautiful built spaces. Overnight in Sivas
Day 14 - After breakfast leave Sivas and drive towards Amasya. On the way stop over in Tokat Ballıca Cave and drive to Amasya referred to as the “city of princes “ for once being the training ground for future sultans. The charm of Amasya is immediately evident from photos of riverside Ottoman-era buildings and other historical structures. Even the most seductive of such images, however, cannot prepare visitors for the sheer natural beauty of this Turkish city nestled in the valley of steep, Rocky Mountains towering above it. You will have a full day to enjoy this picturesque town and overnight in one of the old houses by the riverside turned into a charming boutique hotel in Amasya.
Day 15 - After breakfast check out and continue to Kastamonu. This is another very historical charming town which has always been an important production center for farming. The town is very historical and charming. Overnight in historical Kursunlu Han Hotel .
Day 16 - Continue to Safranbolu on the way visiting Tokatli Canyon. Safranbolu is an old Ottoman town famous for its Ottoman-era buildings that include frame houses, mosques, inns, Turkish bathhouses, fountains and shrines. It has been intently preserved since it was declared a historical site by the Ministry of Culture’s Higher Committee for Immovable Historical Artifacts and Monuments on Oct. 8, 1976. Thereafter, the spellbinding town was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List on Dec. 17, 1994. Overnight in a typical Ottoman mansion hotel in Safranbolu.
Day 17 - After breakfast check out of the hotel packing back to Istanbul. On the way to Istanbul, we will be visiting the Golcuk National Park in Bolu province. Lunch is Bolu since famous for its cooks. Arrive back to Istanbul in the evening. Overnight in Istanbul