Biblical Turkey Tours in the Footsteps of St. Paul and the First Christians offer an incredible opportunity to explore ancient Turkey’s rich history and culture. This tour will take you to some of the most important cities in the region, including Antalya, Anamur, Silifke, Tarsus, Iskenderun, Antakya, Pozantı, Eskigumus, Cappadocia, Konya, Aspendos, and Perge. These cities were important centres of Christianity in the early days of the religion. St. Paul and other early Christians visited them. Today, they offer a wealth of historical and cultural treasures to explore. Join us on this incredible journey through the heart of ancient Turkey.
Arrival in Antalya, where you will be welcomed by your local guide and transferred to your hotel. Dinner and overnight in Antalya.
You will follow one of the most beautiful mountain roads from Antalya to Tasucu (Silifke). On the way you will stop at Anamur, Turkey’s southernmost point, where you will visit Mamure, an old, well-preserved Crusader castle. Originally built by the Romans in the 3rd or 4th century AD, it was enlarged by the Byzantine Empire and the Crusaders. Then you will go on to the neighbourhood of Silifke, formerly called Seleucia, for dinner and overnight.
In the morning you will continue to Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Pauls. You will visit his house with a well, where water level never drops and the water is believed to be sacred with healing properties. Further you will drive to Iskenderun, which is believed to be the ancient city of Issus, where Alexander the Great led a famous battle against Persians in 333 BC. You will finish your day in Antakya, the ancient Antioch. Antioch was the fourth largest city in the Roman Empire and has historical significance for Christianity, being the place where the followers of Jesus Christ were called Christians for the very first time. It became the starting point for Paul’s journeys. On his first journey, Paul and Barnabas travelled from Antioch in 46 AD by boarding a ship from Seleucia Peria (Samandag) to Cyprus. Half-day tour is ahead of you with the following highlights: Daphne promenade, the Grotto (cave church) of St. Peter, where Peter himself was preaching, Samandag with ruins of the former port town of Seleucia. Dinner and overnight in Antakya or its neighbourhood.
Today you will follow the first Christians to Cappadocia via Adana, Pozanti and the Cilician Gates, form the main pass through the Taurus of southern Turkey. The ancient track was a track for mule caravans, not wheeled vehicles. The Army of the Ten Thousand, Alexander the Great before the Battle of Issus, Paul of Tarsus on his way to the Galatians, and part of the army of the First Crusade all passed through the Cilician Gates. After having visited the Eskigümüs Cave Monastery on the way, you will reach the magical landscape of Cappadocia. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.
Don’t miss the one of life’s great thrills, Cappadocia hot-air balloon flight (facultative). The spectacular surrealistic landscapes combined with excellent flying conditions allow the balloons to gently drift over and between fairy chimneys, pigeon houses hewn into the unique rock formations, orchards and vineyards – through impressive valleys, each with distinctive rock formations, colours and features – and then float up over rippled ravines for breathtaking views over the region. The flight takes ca. 1 hour and you will be comfortably back in your hotel to take your daily tour.
After the breakfast you will visit the largest excavated underground city in Turkey, multi-level Derinkuyu Underground City with 8 accessible floors extending to a depth of approximately 85 m. The city provided a refuge for early Christians. It contained food stores, kitchens, stalls, churches, wine and oil presses, ventilation shafts, wells and a religious school. Then you can admire churches in the Göreme Valley, which were dug into the rocks and were richly decorated with colourful frescoes (e.g. the Church of the Buckle, the Apple Church, the Church of Saint Barbara, the Snake Church). Göreme Valley belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage. In the afternoon you will visit a long-established carpet school, and will be acquainted with history, dying, techniques etc. The Turkish carpets have exuberant colours, motifs, and patterns, and are traditionally woven by women. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.
From Cappadocia you will return to Antalya via Konya, the city of Whirling Dervishes, members of the Mawlawi Order. The Mawlawi believe in performing their dhikr (remembrance of God) in the form of a dance and music ceremony. It represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfect”. Turning towards the truth, the follower grows through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives at the “Perfect”. The most important place to visit in Konya is the Mevlana’s Mausoleum. Later in the evening you will reach Antalya, where you will spend your last 2 nights. Dinner and overnight in Antalya.
Today you will enjoy a trip in the neighbourhood of Antalya: Aspendos, Perge and Antalya City Tour. Aspendos was an ancient Greco-Roman city in Pamphylia. In the 5th century BC, Aspendos had become the most important city in Pamphylia. At that time the Eurymedon River was navigable as far as Aspendos, and the city derived great wealth from a trade in salt, oil, and wool. Aspendos is known for having the best-preserved theatre of antiquity. Perge, another Greek city in the region, is today a large site of ancient ruins. Paul visited Perge twice during his first journey. In Antalya you will take a bus panoramic city tour including the Karpuzkaldiran Waterfall, then you will visit the traditional market area and you will stroll through Kaleici, the restored historical city centre which retains much of its historical character. Dinner and overnight in Antalya.
Transfer to the airport for departure to your homeland.
As our tours are fully customizable we can tailor the suggested inclusions for your particular quotation based on your preferences, requirements, budget etc.
Combine this tour with one of our other tours.
Enjoy an upgrade to a luxury hotel for the duration of your stay.
Extend your trip to Istanbul.