UNESCO Istanbul and Cappadocia

Rising from the Bosphorus in a vision of minarets and domes, Istanbul stands as the former capital of the Eastern Roman Empire and a true crossroads. It is the only city on Earth to span two continents, the place where Europe and Asia meet, and where Christian and Muslim cultures merge into one of travel’s great adventures. Browse the stalls of the world's largest bazaar, visit ancient mosques and churches, and ogle the Ottoman Sultan’s precious jewels in the Topkapi Palace. Your Journey also takes you to Cappadocia, a fairytale land that is at once mysterious and enchanting. Explore its amazing rock formations and underground cities while staying at a hotel made up of millennia-old caves and rock-cut rooms.

Starting at $3,099 USD per guest

Pre-Cruise Itinerary Overview

4 days, 3 nights

Day 1: Welcome to Istanbul! Transfer to the Istanbul Hotel Shangri-La and check in, then spend the rest of the day at leisure. Your hotel is ideally situated in the Besiktas entertainment district, just a short walk away from the Dolmabahce Palace and Nisantasi’s upscale boutiques. Then again, you may want to treat yourself to a hammam in the hotel’s spa or simply soak in the views over the Bosphorus Straits.

Hotel: Istanbul Hotel Shangri-La 

Day 2: The Sultanahmet or Old City is the heart and soul of Istanbul, and your guided tour takes you to many of its most important treasures. Everything here centers around the Byzantine Hippodrome or Sultanahmet Square and its 3,500-year-old Egyptian Obelisk of Theodosius. Gaze at the famous minarets and domes atop Blue Mosque before stepping inside; the Ottoman-era mosque features more than 21,000 hand-painted tiles in myriad patterns. Then cross the street to the massive Hagia Sophia — once the largest church in Christendom — to view its exquisite Byzantine mosaics. Next door stands Topkapi Palace, residence of the Ottoman Sultans for nearly 400 years. Visit the Imperial Treasury collection and infamous Harem Quarters, and peek at the palace’s collection of more than 10,000 Chinese porcelain pieces.

Enjoy lunch at a nearby restaurant before heading to the mammoth Grand Bazaar, the largest covered market in the world and the ultimate shopping experience. Every item imaginable is for sale in its 4,000 shops and stalls, spread across 75 acres. After practicing your bartering skills, fly to Kayseri in central Turkey and check in at the Cappadocia Cave Resort Hotel, your home for the next two nights. The unique hotel offers uninterrupted views over the stunning Red Valley — perfect for watching Cappadocia’s mesmerizing sunrises and sunsets. It also features the region’s only cave spa-therapy rooms and guestrooms carved into the millennia-old rocks.

Hotel: Cappadocia Cave Resort Hotel 

Day 3: Cappadocia’s surreal landscape of soft tufa spires, pinnacles, and fairy chimneys stretches for some 50 square miles of Turkey’s Anatolia region. Shaped by ancient volcanic eruptions and millions of years of wind and rain erosion, Cappadocia’s cliffs and underground caves have been inhabited since the Paleolithic Era and offered refuge to early Christians escaping persecution from Rome. Beginning in the 4th century, monks excavated extensive troglodyte communities including rock-hewn monasteries, living quarters, and churches adorned with beautiful Byzantine murals. More than 30 underground cave-cities were created, and today you explore the largest, Kaymakli. Navigate its low, narrow passages over multiple floors, marveling at its stables, wineries, kitchen, nave, and altars. Above ground, the Zelve Archaeological Site reveals one of the most important troglodytic Christian communities, built into the area’s famous fairy chimneys that reach over 130 feet in height. The site features a seten or mill for making bulgur, a winery and a monastery complex, along with churches and a mosque.

Enjoy lunch before visiting the Göreme Valley Open Air Museum, which comprises several troglodyte monastic centers complete with refectories and rock-cut churches covered with stunning frescoes. Return to the hotel and relax before an early evening Whirling Dervish performance and dinner at a Saruhan caravanserai, an inn for ancient traders and travelers. As a branch of Sufism, the Order of the Whirling Dervishes believes in the universality of all things, and their highly symbolic spinning unites them in a rapturous love with all humanity.

Hotel: Cappadocia Cave Resort Hotel 

Day 4: After breakfast, fly back to Istanbul for a tour of the Mısır Çarşısı or Spice Bazaar. Built in 1664, the atmospheric market displays mounds of exotic spices; consider taking home some Turkish mainstays like pul biber (a dried red pepper), burgundy-colored sumac, and Çörek otu or Nigella seeds, often sprinkled atop baked goods. Enjoy lunch before transferring to the port and your Seabourn ship for embarkation.

This Pre-Cruise Seabourn Journey Is Available: 

April 21, 2022 Pre-Cruise (April 24, 2022 Cruise Date)

May 5, 2022 Pre-Cruise (May 8, 2022 Cruise Date)

June 2, 2022 Pre-Cruise (June 5, 2022 Cruise Date)

June 30, 2022 Pre-Cruise (July 3, 2022 Cruise Date)

July 28, 2022 Pre-Cruise (July 31, 2022 Cruise Date)

August 25, 2022 Pre-Cruise (August 28, 2022 Cruise Date)

September 22, 2022 Pre-Cruise (September 25, 2022 Cruise Date)

October 20, 2022 Pre-Cruise (October 23, 2022 Cruise Date)

November 3, 2022 Pre-Cruise (November 6, 2022 Cruise Date)

Post-Cruise Itinerary Overview

Day 1: Disembark your Seabourn ship in Istanbul and set out on a guided tour of the Sultanahmet or Old City. Many of Istanbul’s most important treasures are located around the Byzantine Hippodrome or Sultanahmet Square and its 3,500-year-old Egyptian Obelisk of Theodosius. Gaze at the Blue Mosque’s famous minarets and domes before stepping inside the Ottoman-era mosque to admire its more than 21,000 hand-painted tiles in myriad patterns. Then cross the street to the massive Hagia Sophia — once the largest church in Christendom — for a look at its exquisite Byzantine mosaics.

Enjoy lunch at a nearby restaurant before flying to Kayseri in central Turkey. Check in at the Cappadocia Cave Resort Hotel, then spend the rest of the day at leisure. The unique hotel offers uninterrupted views over the stunning Red Valley — perfect for watching Cappadocia’s mesmerizing sunrises and sunsets. It also features the region’s only cave spa-therapy rooms and guestrooms carved into the millennia-old rocks.

Hotel: Cappadocia Cave Resort Hotel 

Day 2: Cappadocia’s surreal landscape of soft tufa spires, pinnacles, and fairy chimneys stretches for some 50 square miles of Turkey’s Anatolia region. Shaped by ancient volcanic eruptions and millions of years of wind and rain erosion, Cappadocia’s cliffs and underground caves have been inhabited since the Paleolithic Era and offered refuge to early Christians escaping persecution from Rome. Beginning in the 4th century, monks excavated extensive troglodyte communities including rock-hewn monasteries, living quarters, and churches adorned with beautiful Byzantine murals. More than 30 underground cave-cities were created, and today you explore the largest, Kaymakli. Navigate its low, narrow passages over multiple floors, marveling at its stables, wineries, kitchen, nave, and altars. Above ground, the Zelve Archaeological Site reveals one of the most important troglodytic Christian communities, built into the area’s famous fairy chimneys that reach over 130 feet in height. The site features a seten or mill for making bulgur, a winery and a monastery complex, along with churches and a mosque.

Enjoy lunch before visiting the Göreme Valley Open Air Museum, which comprises several troglodyte monastic centers complete with refectories and rock-cut churches covered with stunning frescoes. Return to the hotel and relax before an early evening Whirling Dervish performance and dinner at a Saruhan caravanserai, an inn for ancient traders and travelers. As a branch of Sufism, the Order of the Whirling Dervishes believes in the universality of all things, and their highly symbolic spinning unites them in a rapturous love with all humanity.

Hotel: Cappadocia Cave Resort Hotel 

Day 3: Catch an early morning flight back to Istanbul for a tour of the Mısır Çarşısı or Spice Bazaar. Built in 1664, the atmospheric market displays mounds of exotic spices; consider taking home some Turkish mainstays like pul biber (a dried red pepper), burgundy-colored sumac, and Çörek otu or Nigella seeds, often sprinkled atop baked goods. Next stop: Topkapi Palace, residence of the Ottoman Sultans for nearly 400 years. Visit the Imperial Treasury collection and infamous Harem Quarters, and peek at the palace’s collection of more than 10,000 Chinese porcelain pieces.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, then transfer to the Istanbul Hotel Shangri-La; check in and share a farewell cocktail before an evening at leisure. Your hotel is ideally situated in the Besiktas entertainment district, just a short walk away from the Dolmabahce Palace and Nisantasi’s upscale boutiques. Then again, you may want to treat yourself to a hammam in the hotel’s spa or simply soak in the views over the Bosphorus Straits.

Hotel: Istanbul Hotel Shangri-La

Day 4: At the appropriate time, transfer to the Istanbul airport for your flight home.

This Post-Cruise Seabourn Journey Is Available: 

April 24, 2022 Post-Cruise (April 17, 2022 Cruise Date)

May 8, 2022 Post-Cruise (May 1, 2022 Cruise Date)

June 5, 2022 Post-Cruise (May 29, 2022 Cruise Date)

July 3, 2022 Post-Cruise (June 26, 2022 Cruise Date)

July 31, 2022 Post-Cruise (July 24, 2022 Cruise Date)

August 28, 2022 Post-Cruise (August 21, 2022 Cruise Date)

September 25, 2022 Post-Cruise (September 18, 2022 Cruise Date)

October 23, 2022 Post-Cruise (October 16, 2022 Cruise Date)

November 6, 2022 Post-Cruise (October 30, 2022 Cruise Date)