Experience Turkic and Persian Splendours on this Middle East trip.

Visit Turkey, Turkmenistan and Iran, a fascinating collection of nations joined not only by land but by distinctive cultures and charms. Beginning in Turkey, travel overland through Cappadocia; visit the underground cities of the Goreme Valley and explore the Lake Van region before crossing into Iran - an amazingly friendly country with a great tradition of hospitality. Visit Esfahan and explore the ancient capital Persepolis, following in the footsteps of Alexander the Great. Travel to Tehran, then on through the north of the country, crossing into Turkmenistan, a once-isolated land that is now proudly accessible to travelers. Your expedition through Turkic and Persian splendours ends in the surreal city of Ashgabat, an oasis of modernity set among a desert of antiquity.

Start
Istanbul, Turkey
Finish
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Countries
Turkey,
Turkmenistan,
Iran
Themes
Overland
Code
KDOT
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 4, Max 19
Carbon offset
1 066kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Wonder at Ashgabat’s futuristic architecture
  • Munch on a kebab in Yazd
  • Search for Noah's Ark in Anatolia
  • Visit Istanbul and see the Blue Mosque
  • Make camp in the wilds of Iran
  • Explore the ruins of Persepolis
  • Experience the beauty of Esfahan

Itinerary

Welcome to incredible Istanbul! Have your fortune told in the Taksim, bargain up a storm in the Grand Bazaar or admire the imposing Blue Mosque.
Visit Turkey's salt lake, Tuz Golo, which provides 63% of Turkey's salt. Bush camp in the evening.
Discover Cappadocia's Goreme Valley and underground troglodyte cities, fairy chimneys and caves.
Travel overland into Eastern Turkey via ancient trade routes. Camp under skies that have been gazed at for centuries by fellow travellers.
The town of Dogubayazit is at the foot of Mount Ararat, reportedly where Noah's Ark came to rest after The Flood.
Enjoy the first night in Iran at Kandovan, an ancient village of caves built into the volcanic rock - and where locals still live.
Explore Zanjan's delightful bazaar and check out the beautiful handicrafts on sale here - perhaps answer the question: does a handcrafted rug fit in a backpack?
Travel to Tehran and be awed by this vibrant city where ancient meets modern. There is plenty of time here to explore the incredible Golestan Palace.
Spend three days in this breathtaking city and take time trawling the souqs, bazaars, beautiful squares and blue-tiled Mosques of Esfahan.
Explore the ancient ruins of Persepolis, Persia, and visit the stunning Islamic Shiraz - discovering its impressive citadel and mosques.
Feel transported back in time while staying in a traditional caravanserai in the Dasht-e Lut desert.
Wind through the old city of Yazd - reputedly one of the oldest towns in the world.
Travel through the Dasht-e Kavir Desert, which lies in the middle of the Iranian plateau, to the tranquil oasis of Khoor.
Explore Iran's oldest surviving mosque - dating back to the 1st century - in Damghan.
Relax by Shirvan's Atrak River, which gives this small town a lush and peaceful feel.
Say goodbye to Iran and travel into Turkmenistan. Conclude the adventure among the futuristic architecture of Ashgabat.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
n/a
Transport
Overland vehicle
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (5 nights), Camping (with facilities) (2 nights), Guesthouse (1 night), Hostel (2 nights), Hotel (15 nights)
Included activities
  • Ali Qapu Palace
  • Ashgabat - Sunday Market
  • Esfahan walking tour
  • Goreme - Guided Goreme Valley tour
  • Guided tour of ancient ruins of Persepolis
  • Guided walking tour
  • Iman Mosque entrance and guided tour
  • Ishak Pasha Palace
  • Jameh Mosque
  • Tehran walking tour
  • Visit to Lake Tuz

Dates

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Important notes

1. Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights.
2. Due to a British government travel warning, from September 2012 this itinerary will no longer be able to visit Iran. It will instead travel from Turkey to Georgia and then through Azerbaijan to Turkmenistan. Passengers already booked to travel in 2012 have been notified. The new itinerary for 2013 will be published by November.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes