Duration: 17 days
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  • Overview

    You may have made your way into Turkey before, but now it’s time to take it a little farther east and discover some of the greatest underexplored territory in the world. This 17-day rail tour will bring you through the Turkish countryside to see the highlights of the Cappadocia region and the elegant, lakeside city of Van. You’ll cross into Iran to find yourself in bustling Tehran, roam ancient Persepolis, and sample Shiraz grapes in the city that gave them their name. Take a true adventure and experience a part of the globe that’s made for small-group travel.

    What’s Included

      • Istanbul orientation walk. Anitkabir visit. Traditional dinner with local family (Göreme). Open Air Museum visit. Trans-Asia train. Mt Ararat day trip (Van). Ishak Pasha Palace visit. Ahtamara Island visit. Van Castle visit. Tehran city tour, including Sa’d Abad Palace and the National Jewelry Museum. Karim Khan Citadel visit (Shiraz). Vakil Mosque visit. Hafez and Sa’adi tombs visit. Persepolis guided tour. Naqsh-e-Rostam visit. Koran Gate visit. Pasargadae visit. Isfahan city tour. Golestan Palace visit (Tehran). National Museum visit. Carpet Museum visit. Transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

  • Itinerary

    Day 1 Istanbul

    Arrive at any time.

    Day 2 Istanbul/Ankara

    Enjoy an orientation walk around Istanbul before moving on to the capital city of Ankara.

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Day 3 Ankara/Göreme

    Visit Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, before driving to the Cappadocia region. Enjoy a home-cooked dinner with a local family.

    Meals included: Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 4 Göreme

    Enjoy an included visit to the Open Air Museum before free time to explore this unique region. Opt to see it from above on a hot air balloon ride.

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Day 5 Göreme/Tatvan

    Enjoy one more morning in Cappadocia before driving to nearby Kayseri. Board an overnight train for Eastern Turkey.

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Day 6 Tatvan/Van

    Arrive to Tatvan and board a ferry for the scenic ride across Lake Van. Arrive to the other side and the town of Van in the afternoon.

    Day 7 Van

    Enjoy a day trip to Mt Ararat with a visit to the Ishak Pasha Palace.

    Day 8 Van

    Use a full day here to enjoy Lake Van. Drive to Gevas for a short cruise to Ahtamara Island to visit a beautiful Armenian Church. Opt to swim at the local beach.

    Day 9 Van/Tehrān

    Enjoy another day in the Van area with a visit to the Van Castle. Board the Trans-Asia train in the evening for the journey to Tehran.

    Day 10 Tehrān

    Spend the day absorbing the scenery from the train, arriving into Tehran in the evening.

    Day 11 Tehran/Shiraz

    Explore Tehran with a local guide, visiting the Sa’d Abad Palace and National Jewel Museum before boarding an evening train to Shiraz.

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Day 12 Shiraz

    Arrive in Shiraz in the late morning. Spend the day visiting the Karim Khan Citadel, Vakil Mosque, and the tombs of Hafez and Sa’adi.

    Meals included: Lunch | Dinner

    Day 13 Shiraz

    Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Persepolis, the ceremonial palace of Darius, and admire its amazingly well-preserved carvings. Later, wander the streets and mingle with the students in laid-back Shiraz.

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Day 14 Shiraz/Isfahan

    Stop at the Koran Gate and the UNESCO-listed Pasargadae complex en route to Isfahan, one of the finest Islamic cities in the world.

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Day 15 Isfahan/Tehrān

    Tour the beautiful city of Isfahan, enjoying the famous square, mosques, and bartering at the bazaar. Hang out on the many bridges that make Isfahan unique, or shop for an authentic Persian rug. In the evening, board a final overnight train to Tehran.

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Day 16 Tehran

    Arrive early and enjoy a final day of sightseeing in the busy capital of Tehran. Visit Golestan Palace, National Museum, and the Carpet Museum.

    Day 17 Tehran

    Depart at any time.

    Meals included: Breakfast

  • “Rail”

    Get closer to the big cities, isolated communities, and stunning landscapes of the world’s greatest destinations via train-based adventures on iconic rail routes like the Glacier Express, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, and the Trans-Siberian.

  • “standard”

    • Comfortable tourist-class accommodations with character; mix of public and private transport.
  • “Small Group”

    Group trips average 12 travellers per departure, depending on the adventure. The maximum is usually no more than 16, but some can be smaller or bigger, depending on the trip. Check individual trips for details.

  • “light”

    Light walking and hiking suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.

    There’ll be some light walking and hiking. Suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.