Steps of Apostle Paul (sample itinerary)

Chora Sunset

“We went through our pictures last night and I just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our tour. Dehoney Travel certainly came through with a great tour for us.” Dehoney Travelers R & C Tanner, Sherman, TX

In the exotic, mystical city of Istanbul, see the stunning mosaics of the Kariye Museum, the six minarets of the spectacular 17th century Blue Mosque, the proud spires of St. Sophia, and the countless shops of the Grand Bazaar.  View the indescribably unique landscape of Cappadocia, where wind, water, and volcanic activity have resulted in bizarre rock formations and dreamlike terrain.  Visit ancient Hierapolis where Paul’s co-worker Epaphras established a church and admire its well-preserved baths and basilica.  Soak in a hot spring among fantastic calcium formations at Pamukkale, known as the “Cotton Castle.”

See Ephesus, where Paul stayed for two years.  Visit Sardis, one of the most picturesque areas of the Seven Churches, and Philadelphia, an important Christian center during Byzantine times.  At Smyrna, see the ancient agora and the Church of St. Polycarp.  In Pergamum, view the parchment library that contained over 200,000 volumes, the site of the famous altar to Zeus, and the amphitheater that is the steepest ever known to be built.  Admire the acropolis of Assos, rising 238 meters above sea level, the excavations of ancient Troy (from Homer’s Iliad), and Alexander Troas where Paul saw a vision calling him to come over into Macedonia.

The sequence of touring and days may be altered to adjust to religious holidays, special closings of sites, air schedule changes, etc. Hotels listed subject to availability. Meal inclusions may vary by departure.

Day 1 – USA/VIENNA

Depart this morning for Washington where we connect with our transatlantic flight to Vienna. (meals aloft)

Day 2 – VIENNA/ISTANBUL

After arrival Vienna, we connect with our flight to Istanbul. On arrival we transfer to our hotel and have the balance of the day at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the Romance Hotel. (meals aloft, D)

Temple StepsDay 3 – ISTANBUL

Today we tour Istanbul. We visit what was originally built as the Chora Church in the 4th century, now the Kariye Museum, with the best Byzantine mosaics in the region. Also today we visit the spectacular Blue Mosque, the 17th century Ottoman Mosque famous for its six minarets. After leaving your shoes at the door, step inside to see the brightly-colored interior decorated with at least 20,000 shimmering blue Iznik tiles and stained-glass windows. We stroll around the historical Hippodrome, where chariot races and athletic events took place during the Roman period. We will see St. Sophia, an early Christian church later converted into a mosque and now a museum famous for its mosaics. Near St. Sophia is the Basilica Cistern, which once held over 80,000 cubic meters of water. Also included is a visit to the Grand Bazaar, a market of over 3,000 tiny shops. Dinner and overnight at our hotel. (B,D)

Day 4 – ANKARA/CAPPADOCIA

This morning we fly to Ankara, capital of Turkey, and visit the Hittite Museum, the most important museum in Ankara from the point of view of its historical and art-historical exhibits. We then depart Ankara for the indescribably beautiful and interesting landscape of Cappadocia, where wind, water, and volcanic activity have resulted in bizarre rock formations and a dream-like landscape. We transfer to the Hotel Altinoz for dinner and overnight. (B,D)

Day 5 – CAPPADOCIA

We have a full day sightseeing of the area including an underground city, along with other natural formations and wonders of the Goreme Valley. Dinner and overnight at our hotel. (B,D)

Day 6 – COLOSSAE/APHRODISIAS/PAMUKKALE

Today we visit the site of Colossae (Paul’s epistle to the Colossians) where we will see the ancient church and other remnants of this once bustling city. We proceed to Aphrodisias to view the ancient theater. From here we continue on to Pamukkale, known as the “Cotton Castle” because of its fantastic calcium formations and pools of natural warm water. We visit the ruins of ancient Hierapolis, where Paul’s co-worker Epaphras established a church (Col.4:13). We see its well-preserved baths, the basilica (dating back to the 6th century AD), the Temple of Apollo, and the theater before proceeding to our hotel, the Villa Lycus, for dinner and overnight. (B,D)

Day 7 – PAMUKKALE

Today is at leisure in Pamukkale.  You may wish to further explore Hierapolis, or perhaps have a leisurely soak in a calcium-rich hot spring for which Pamukkale is famous. Dinner and overnight at our hotel. (B,D)

Day 8 – LAODICEA/DIDYMA/MILETUS/KUSADASI

We depart Pamukkale and travel to Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22). Mark, Timothy and Epaphras brought the Gospel here and established the first church (Col. 1:7, 4:12-13). In Revelation the church members were condemned for their “lukewarm attitude” toward Christianity. However, they must have repented, because Laodicea became the seat of a bishopric and hosted an important Ecumenical Council in the fourth century A.D. Highlights of our touring here will be Nymphaeum, the Amphitheater and the Council Chamber. We travel on to the magnificent ruins of Didyma, an important sacred site in the ancient Greek world. Its famous oracle and Temple of Apollo attracted crowds of pilgrims and was second in importance only to Delphi. We then visit Miletus, where Paul delivered a farewell testimonial to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:16-38) before proceeding to Kusadasi for dinner and overnight at the Pine Marina Hotel. (B,D)

Day 9 – EPHESUS/KUSADASI

We journey to Ephesus where Paul spent two years and which had become the capital city of the Roman Province of Asia by the time John wrote the Book of Revelation to the churches there. We walk through history in a city founded as early as the 10th century B.C. In the magnificent excavations we see streets lined with wonderful public buildings such as the Baths of Scholastica, the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, the Basilica of St. John and the great Theatre where the Ephesians screamed against Paul (Acts 19:28). We return to Kusadasi for dinner and overnight. (B,D)

Day 10 – SARDIS/PHILADELPHIA/IZMIR

Today we begin our touring at Sardis, center of numerous trade routes set upon a steep hill surrounded by an impregnable citadel and one of the most picturesque areas of the Seven Churches. We will visit its famous third-century Jewish synagogue, the largest synagogue ever excavated, with a seating capacity of a thousand persons. Other highlights include the Gymnasium, House of Bronzes, Temple of Artemis, and the ancient Church. From here we drive to Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7-13), another of the seven churches of Revelation, and an important Christian center during Byzantine times. The modern town of Alasehir is built over ancient Philadelphia, although the ruins of a Byzantine basilica built of brick with a high arch and frescoes are still visible. The city was destroyed in 17 and 23 AD by earthquakes. Following our visit here, we proceed to Izmir (biblical Smyrna, Rev. 2:8-11) where we visit the ancient Agora and the Church of St. Polycarp, who was Smyrna’s first bishop. Dinner and overnight at the Hotel Aksan in Izmir. (B,D)

Day 11 – PERGAMUM/ASSOS

After breakfast we depart for Pergamum (Rev. 2:12-17), capital of Asia Minor and site of one of the seven churches. Here we visit the parchment library that contained over 200,000 volumes, the site of the famous altar to Zeus, and the amphitheater, which is the steepest ever built. At the foot of the acropolis we visit the Asclepion, the most famous hospital of all Asia Minor. We travel on to Assos, which Paul visited by foot after visiting Troas (Acts 20:13). Aristotle, Plato’s most famous student, was invited to Assos and spent over three years living and teaching here. The acropolis of Assos is 238 meters above sea-level, and the Temple of Athena was constructed on this site in the 6th century B.C. Below lies a tiny and idyllic ancient harbour. Dinner and overnight at the Eden Gardens Hotel in Assos. (B,D)

Day 12 – ALEXANDER TROAS/TROY/ISTANBUL

Today we visit Alexander Troas where St. Paul saw a vision calling him to come over into Macedonia (Acts 16:8-11). Paul later established a church at Troas and also restored the young man Eutychus to life there (Acts 20:5-12). Next we drive to the ancient city of Troy, long thought to be simply an imaginary city from Homer’s Iliad. However, Troy was excavated in the 1870s by Heinrich Schliemann, a German amateur archaeologist who also found the remains of nine successive civilizations, one on top of the other, dating back 5,000 years.  We travel on to Istanbul — Constantinople of history, Byzantium of the New Testament era — for our dinner and overnight at the President Hotel. (B,D)

Day 13 – ISTANBUL/VIENNA

We transfer to the airport this morning for our flight to Vienna. The afternoon is at leisure with overnight at an airport-area hotel. (B)

DAY 14 – VIENNA/USA

We return to the airport this morning for our transatlantic flight to the States, returning home this evening. (B,meals aloft)