Istanbul, Athens & Rome

3 Classical Treasures

This itinerary is for a past tour program.
Check out our current tour & cruise packages in Europe.

Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque, Istanbul
Three of the world's most fascinating cities, Istanbul, Athens and Rome, whose history, culture, religion and art have helped shape the world as we know it today, are yours to explore in one, wonderful package. Everything you need to explore these classical treasures, from convenient flights, transfers, great hotels in fabulous locations in the heart of each city, buffet breakfast daily, an included city tour to help you get oriented and a special optional touring package are part of this deal. If you are interested in tracing the roots of our western civilization, including our religious and artistic heritage which defines our modern culture, you won't find a better and more attractive opportunity anywhere.

Detailed Itinerary

Istanbul, Athens & Rome 12 Day Tour Itinerary Day 1: Depart USA. Your exciting journey to Istanbul, Turkey, begins this evening as you check in for your scheduled overnight jet flight.

Day 2: Arrive Istanbul. Arrive in Istanbul, one of the greatest and most strategic cities in the world for the better part of two thousand years. You'll be met by our representative in Istanbul and then escorted to your hotel in the heart of the Old City, near many of the historical sites you will be visiting during your stay. Marmara Hotel Istanbul.

Agia Sophia Day 3: Istanbul. After breakfast, board your touring coach and begin a tour of the city. Visit the Agia Sophia, once the largest church in the Christian world and one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture, rich with mosaics and marble pillars and coverings. Continue to the Hippodrome, a massive stadium built by the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus in 203 A.D. to serve as a meeting place for the politicians, for chariot races, wrestling, boxing, and other athletic activities. Your morning tour concludes with a visit to the famous and fascinating Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered markets in the world with more than 58 streets and 4,000 shops. It's a "must see" where carpets, gold, leather goods and other fantastic treasures are yours for the bargaining.

Topkapi Palace This afternoon, explore independently or take advantage of a half day tour that includes the Topkapi Palace, residence and administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1465 to 1853. Continue to the Blue Mosque, one of the most prominent landmarks of Istanbul with its beautiful domes and semi domes, nice courtyards and six slender minarets. Later, enjoy a cruise on the Bosporus, beautiful strait that divides Europe from Asia, which flows between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Breakfast provided.

Istanbul spice shop Day 4: Istanbul. Enjoy another full day to explore Istanbul further. Your hotel is ideally located in the heart of the city, within short distance of many major attractions, as well as the best shopping and dining. Spend the day strolling, shopping and wandering on your own, or take advantage of additional optional tours that our representatives will offer you. Breakfast provided.

Parthenon, Athens, Greece Day 5: Istanbul/Athens. Today you'll be escorted to the airport and bid farewell to Istanbul as you board your short flight to Athens, the birthplace of western civilization. You'll be met by our representatives in Athens and then escorted to your waiting touring coach to begin a tour of the city and its most important sites. Begin your tour at Constitution Square which was named after the Constitution which King Otto was forced to grant the people after a popular and military uprising in 1843. Continue to the Panathenian Stadium, site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and the Presidential Palace, designed by famed architect Ernst Ziller. Drive to the area of the Acropolis and visit the Roman Temple of Olympian Zeus, the largest temple in Greece, completed in 132 CE by the Emperor Hadrian and the Parthenon, built in the 5th century BC on the Acropolis of Athens. The Parthenon is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece and considered the most perfect Doric temple ever built. Continue to your centrally located hotel to check in. Grecotel Athens Imperial Hotel Breakfast provided.

Day 6: Athens. Enjoy a full day to explore on your own. Your hotel is ideally located in the heart of the city, within short distance of many major attractions, as well as the best shopping and dining. Our Athens representatives will be glad to make suggestions if you prefer to explore independently.

Theater at Epidaurus Or, take advantage of an optional day tour to Mycenae and Epidaurus. Begin your tour with a drive along the coastal road of the Saronic Gulf to Mycenae, the historical setting of the epics of Homer and much other Greek mythology. Visit the remains of the ancient city including the lioness's gate, the tomb of Agamemnon and the Palace. Drive through Argos to Nauplia, a town on the Peloponnesus and the capital of the country from 1829 to 1834. This afternoon, visit Epidaurus, known for its theater. The exceptional acoustics make it possible for all of the spectators, regardless of seating, to hear what is spoken, without amplification, from the proscenium. Return to Athens late this afternoon. Breakfast provided.

Dancing, Greek Taverna Day 7: Athens. Enjoy a final day to explore on your own or take an optional Saronic Gulf day cruise. Sail first to Aegina, a pine covered island with beautiful beaches, picturesque villages, important historical monuments and modern tourist facilities. Continue to Poros, a colorful and lovely small island with plenty of tavernas, picturesque fishing and mountain villages and long, sandy beaches and finally, Hydra, an island with traditional houses which built atop one another and separated only by narrow alleys. Lunch is served aboard the ship during your cruise. Breakfast provided.

Day 8: Athens/Patras. Enjoy the morning at leisure in Athens. This afternoon, you'll drive via the new coastal highway, via the Corinth Canal, to Patras. Here you'll board your overnight ferry to sail through the Ioanian and Adriatic Seas to the port of Bari in Italy. Join your fellow travelers this evening for an included dinner. Breakfast & dinner provided.

Pompeii Resident
The Smart Car, Italy's preferred mode of transport
Day 9: Bari/Pompeii/Rome. After breakfast on board, disembark the ferry at Bari. Board your waiting touring coach and drive to Pompeii, the city buried by volcanic ash in the 79 AD Mt. eruption. While not entirely excavated, you will be able to see the ruins of villas, ancient temples and baths. Later this afternoon continue to Rome. Starhotel Metropole or similar. Breakfast provided.

Fontana di Trevi  Photo by Willem Proos
Fontana di Trevi   Photo by Willem Proos
Day 10: Rome. A morning included tour of Rome begins with a panoramic drive through the Eternal City. View the Seven Hills, Santa Maria Maggiore, the Vittorio Emmanuel Monument, and the Via Veneto and then take a walking tour to the Trevi Fountain, where a coin, thrown over your shoulder into the fountain while you make a wish, is sure to bring you good luck, and the fulfillment of your wish! Continue to the Spanish Steps, one of Rome's most endearing and scenic spots.

Arch of Constantine near the Colliseum  © The Italian Government Tourist Board
Arch of Constantine near the Colliseum   © The Italian Government Tourist Board
Enjoy your afternoon to explore Rome independently. Or, join an optional tour of Imperial Rome, including a visit to the Coliseum, that most famous of all Roman stadiums where gladiators fought to the death before audiences of thousands, the Forum, political heart of the Roman Empire and site of some of history's greatest events, and the Pantheon, originally constructed as a Roman temple and later consecrated as a Catholic Church. In addition, visit the magnificent Renaissance Piazza Navona, and the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls. Breakfast provided.

Fruit vendor in Rome Day 11: Rome. Enjoy a final day in Rome to continue your independent explorations of one of Europe's most dynamic and fascinating cities. Or, take advantage of an optional tour to the Vatican where you'll visit St. Peter's Basilica and that most famous of religious and artistic treasures, the Sistine Chapel.

Piazza Navona  © The Italian Government Tourist Board
Piazza Navona   © The Italian Government Tourist Board
This afternoon is at leisure. You'll find plenty to see and do as you stroll the picturesque and bustling streets of Rome. Shop, stroll through the Villa Borghese, enjoy a Roman pizza and a glass of wine or expresso in a sidewalk café, and savor the wonderful ambience that is found only here in the Eternal City. Breakfast provided.

Day 12: Rome/USA. Today you'll be escorted to the airport and bid farewell to Rome as you board your return flight. Your exciting journey comes to an end as you arrive in the USA later today.

Special Optional Tours Package

To take full advantage of your visit to Istanbul, Athens & Rome, we offer a special, discounted optional tours package to other "must see" sites. These are not "seat in coach" tours that pick up passengers in various hotels. All the optional tours we offer, including those in our special package, are operated for Friendly Planet groups only and are specially priced.

The special discounted optional tours package price is available when booked and prepaid in the USA.

Optional Tours Package Includes:

  • Half Day Istanbul tour including the Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque and a beautiful cruise on the Bosphorous
  • Full day tour to Mycenae and Epidaurus (from Athens)
  • Half day tour of Imperial Rome, including the Colosseum, the Forum, the Pantheon, the Renaissance Piazza Navonna and the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls

Optionals Package Price, per person: $189.

Destination FAQs

For quick answers to Frequently Asked Questions about travel to Turkey, click here.

For quick answers to Frequently Asked Questions about travel to Greece, click here.

For quick answers to Frequently Asked Questions about travel to Italy, click here.

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