Offbeat European Summer Holiday

For an off the beaten track European experience, explore Croatia, Turkey and Montenegro and uncover a different vibe. This 15 day itinerary showcases the best that these 3 unique countries have to offer.

Day 1: Arrival

Upon arrival, you will be transferred you to your hotel, Argos in Cappadocia. Located in the heart of Cappadocia on the site of an ancient monastery in Old Uçhisar Village, Argos in Cappadocia has carefully restored the remains of historical dwellings, underground tunnels and caves to offer guests an enchanting perspective on this unique area.

You will have the remainder of the day at leisure to explore the surroundings or just relax.

Stay: Argos in Cappadocia

Day 2: Cappadocia Tour

After breakfast, you will meet your guide and begin your tour to Goreme Open Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to view some of the fascinating frescoed and rock carved churches. Then stop in the historic village of Cavusin followed by a stroll among the majestic fairy chimneys of Pasabag. Afterwards, you will continue to Sarihan, a very authentically and beautifully restored 13th century Seljuk caravanserai.

Later in the day, you will, you will stop to admire the multitude of bizarre rock shapes, almost like sculptures fashioned by nature in the Devrent valley before drive in Avanos, a town renowned primarily for its traditional pottery work. After lunch, you will visit the famous pottery artisans in their rock carved workshops. Enjoy the panoramic view of Goreme valley before returning to the hotel.

Stay: Argos in Cappadocia

Day 3: From Pigeon Valley to Sinaso

You will begin your day with a visit to Pigeon Valley. Pass through typical Anatolian villages such as Ayvali and Mazi to arrive in Soganli Valley, also known as the ‘Valley of Dolls,’ where many Byzantine period rock tombs are found. Here, take a leisurely hike to explore the Cappadocian architectural style rock carved churches and monastery ruins. After lunch in a village, pass through the village of Sahinefendi, and visit Sobessos, a recently discovered late Roman site featuring incredible mosaic work.

You will then proceed to Taskinpasa Caravanserai, which now serves as the village library and features a wonderfully carved stone gate. The next stop will be the Byzantine Keslik Monastery, followed by a visit to Mustafapasha (Sinasos), renowned for its excellent Ottoman and Greek architecture. You will take an easy stroll to explore the village and the first church that was constructed by the Ottomans for the Christian community. Proceed to Urgup to explore this ancient town. Before returning to the hotel, you will stop to see the famous fairy chimneys known as “The Three Beauties”.

Stay: Argos in Cappadocia

Day 4: From Cappadocia to Istanbul

In the morning, you will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight to your next destination: Istanbul. Where Europe and Asia meet, Istanbul is a cosmopolitan metropolis. Once the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, this evocative, unique city is brimming with opulent palaces, mosques, churches, museums, bazaars, delectable dining and a thriving nightlife. Divided by the Bosphorus, Istanbul has been influenced by both the East and West, creating a cultural melting pot. Prepare yourself for the awakening of your spirit and mind as you experience one of the oldest cities in the world!

Upon arrival in Istanbul airport, you will be transferred you to your hotel, Gezi Hotel Bosphorus. Located mere steps away from Taksim Square and featuring suites and rooms with Bosphorus views, the Gezi Hotel Bosphorus offers a boutique, carefree experience in the heart of Istanbul. The acclaimed Turkish architect Sinan Kafadar restructured the building according to ecologically friendly principles, earning it Turkey’s acclaimed “Greening Hotels” certification.

You will have the remainder of the day at leisure to explore the surroundings or just relax.

Stay: Gezi Hotel Bosphorus

Day 5: Exploring Istanbul

Today you will explore Istanbul, an old city adorned with magnificent monuments. Your tour will start with Hagia Sophia, built in 6th century with huge dome. It was the biggest cathedral for decades where you can see the best “Deisis” from 12th century. Then you will continue with the marvelous Topkapi palace that served as the palace of the Ottoman Sultans between the 16th and 19th centuries. You will have opportunity to see the Treasury, where the extensive exhibits include priceless world-class collections of jewellry, porcelain, textiles and costumes of the Sultans.

After lunch break, Blue Mosque will be your next stop. It’s still serving as a mosque and keep it alive with vibrant atmosphere. Underground or Basilica Cistern is the “sine qua non” for this part with its 336 columns. Your tour ends at the famous Grand Bazaar where you will get lost while checking the shops and items, as it has more than 3000 unique shops. After the tour, you will enjoy Turkish bath and a special treatment.

Stay: Gezi Hotel Bosphorus

Day 6: Admiring the Bosphorus

Start off your day with a visit to the Old City and the famous Egyptian Spice Market that is located in the busy part of the city. Next, you will visit Rustem Pasa Mosque, where you can see the best tiles in Istanbul. Then, proceed to the most interesting Byzantine churches in the city the Church of the Holy Savior of Chora.

Later that day you will board a private boat and take a 120 minutes trip in Bosphorus that allows you to see the best parts of the Bosphorus.

Stay: Gezi Hotel Bosphorus

Day 7: Tasting local cuisine

The Turkish love their food. Their street food is world renown for being gastronomical delights and today you will chase the junk foods of the streets. First, you will taste the street food such as fried mussels, stuffed mussels and simit (bagel). Then, you will visit small shops to taste different things or may dive in to local bazaars to taste fresh fruits or sit in local restaurant and feast with delicious homemade foods.

Before returning to your hotel, you will have a walking tour on famous pedestrian street, Istiklal. Don’t forget to have quick stop for a cup of coffee under Galata Tower.

Stay: Gezi Hotel Bosphorus

Day 8: From Istanbul to Sveti Stefan

Today, arrangements have been made for your transfer to the airport in time for your next flight out to Podgorica, Montenegro. Upon arrival, make your way through customs and meet your driver at the arrival hall. You will be then driven to your hotel, Aman Sveti Stefan, for check-in.

In a country famed for its beauty, the most iconic images associated with Montenegro are of the tiny islet named Sveti Stefan. Attached to the coast by a narrow isthmus, the island lies across the bay from Villa Milocer and the resort’s stand-alone Aman Spa, and together these historic sites comprise Aman Sveti Stefan.

Aman Sveti Stefan incorporates two kilometres of coastline including the pink sandy beaches of Sveti Stefan, Milocer Beach and the famous Queen’s Beach which is backed by the resort’s expansive Aman Spa. Aman Sveti Stefan offers breathtaking views of the sea, across the bay and along Montenegro’s most renowned stretch of coastline.

Stay: Aman Sveti Stefan

Day 9 - 10: Days at leisure

You will spend the next two days at leisure, where you can opt to relax at your hotel, which is possibly the most iconic sight in Montenegro or start to explore the surroundings.

Here are just a few suggested activities for your free time:

  • Beaches. Besides Queen’s Beach, the two kilometres of coastline dedicated to Aman Sveti Stefan also incorporates the pink sandy beaches of Sveti Stefan and Miločer Beach.
  • Wine tasting. There are a number of vineyards within a two-hour’s drive of Aman Sveti Stefan. These include the family-run wineries of Milovic in Ulcinj and Masanovic in Crmnica.
  • Cycling. Guests can cycle to the nearby villages whenever they wish, while guided cycling expeditions farther afield can easily be arranged.
  • Bird watching. Skadar Lake is home to 280 bird species including the endangered Dalmatian Pelican and Black Ibis.
  • Water sports such as: sailing, fishing, diving and waterskiing
  • Tour to Budva. Notable historic edifices include: the Church of St. Sava, the Church of Santa Maria in Punta, St Ivan’s Church, and the town’s fortress of Citadela.
  • Tour to Cetinje, a town of immense historical significance. It is home to many museums, libraries, galleries and archives, as well as an art academy.
  • Ostrog monastery. Dedicated to Saint Basil of Ostrog, it offers superb views of the Bjelopavlici Plain and is the most popular pilgrimage destination in Montenegro.

Stay: Aman Sveti Stefan

Day 11: From Sveti Stefan to Dubrovnik

After checkout, meet your driver and local guide at the hotel lobby for a private transfer to Dubrovnik – a pearl of the Adriatic. In Boka Bay, the only fiord in Mediterranean, mountains sink in the crystal-clear sea in front of your eyes in the unique harmony of intact nature and cultural heritage, that is today yours to discover.

Your first destination is Budva, considered to be one of the oldest settlements in the Balkans. Then, you will visit Kotor, Cathedral of St. Trifun, Maritime Museum and the old town of Perast. After the tour you will be transferred to Villa Dubrovnik. Sits perched over the blue waters of the Adriatic, this villa has the most stunning views across the water to the Old City and Lokrum Island.

Stay: Villa Dubrovnik

Day 12: Tour of Dubrovnik

This morning you will experience a private walking tour of Dubrovnik, one of the most beautiful stone-built cities in the world. As one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Dubrovnik owes its special charm to the historic monuments which testify to its rich history.

First, you will visit the Franciscan monastery of the “Order of Friars Minors” that preserves one of the three oldest pharmacies in Europe. Then, you will continue down to Orlando Column and the Sponza Palace and visit the Church of St. Blasius, the patron-saint of the town. You will also discover Rector’s Palace and the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary with a treasury containing the originals by Tiziano and Rafaelo and many other valuable relicts.

The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure to explore this stunning town on your own. Dubrovnik is full of charming cafes, boutiques and local curiosities, nestled in the intricate network of the cobblestone streets.

Stay: Villa Dubrovnik

Day 13: Visiting Korcula

Be whisked away by a private motor boat to Korcula Island. Enjoy the cruise through the breathtaking archipelago of Elaphiti Islands with a light snack onboard.

Upon arrival to Korcula, you will have a private tour of the glorious old town. This secluded part of the world is known as the home town of Marco Polo – the first world traveler. Through the narrow cobblestone streets you will come to the Cathedral of St. Marko, an architectural masterpiece in Gothic and Renaissance style.

In the afternoon, you will be transferred back to your hotel.

Stay: Hotel Lesic Dimitri Palace

Day 14: Private Motorboat Tour of Mljet Island

In the morning, you will enjoy a cruise to the island of Mljet, one of the greenest and most beautiful islands in Adriatic. You will enjoy a self-tour of the national park area, where you can see the Great and Small Lakes connected with the open sea by a narrow channel. In the heart of the Great Lake stands the Isle of St Mary with the sleepy 12th century Benedictine Monastery. Afterwards, you will be transferred back to Dubrovnik.

Stay: Villa Dubrovnik

Day 15: Departure

Today, you will be transferred to Podgorica airport to catch your return flight home.

Itinerary

Duration Description Overnight
Day 1: Arrival Argos in Cappadocia
Day 2: Cappadocia Tour Argos in Cappadocia
Day 3: From Pigeon Valley to Sinaso Argos in Cappadocia
Day 4: From Cappadocia to Istanbul Gezi Hotel Bosphorus
Day 5: Exploring Istanbul Gezi Hotel Bosphorus
Day 6: Admiring the Bosphorus Gezi Hotel Bosphorus
Day 7: Tasting local cuisine Gezi Hotel Bosphorus
Day 8: From Istanbul to Sveti Stefan Aman Sveti Stefan
Day 9 - 10: Days at leisure Aman Sveti Stefan
Day 11: From Sveti Stefan to Dubrovnik Villa Dubrovnik
Day 12: Tour of Dubrovnik Villa Dubrovnik
Day 13: Visiting Korcula Hotel Lesic Dimitri Palace
Day 14: Private Motorboat Tour of Mljet Island Villa Dubrovnik
Day 15: Departure

Inclusions

Included

  • Accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Transfers
  • 24 hour emergency contact
  • Activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • English speaking tour guide

Not Included

  • International and domestic airfare
  • Personal expenses
  • Visa fees and/or visa authorization
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Other expenses not mentioned on the itinerary
  • Travel insurance (please note that travel insurance is mandatory for all Lightfoot Travel holidays)

Map

Argos In Cappadocia Gezi Hotel Bosphorus Aman Sveti Stefan Villa Dubrovnik Hotel Lesic Dimitri Palace

Price available upon request

Notes on our prices

  • This price guide provides you with a broad indication of how much to budget for your holiday.
  • Prices are generally based on two people travelling together (unless stated otherwise) on a shared room basis.
  • Prices can fluctuate depending on season, standard of accommodation, excursions selected (private versus shared) etc.
  • This basic structure works very nicely, but don’t forget that Lightfoot Travel can provide a range of experiences and we tailor-make each itinerary based on your travel requirements. Get in touch to start planning your perfect trip with your own travel consultant.