20 Day St. Paul’s Missionary Tour

Tour Route

Ankara – Cappadocia – Adana – Mersin – Antalya – Pamukkale – Kusadasi – Ephesus – Izmir – Pergamon – Iznik – Istanbul – Kavala – Thessaloniki – Kalambaka – Athens

20 Day St. Pauls Missionary Tour Summary

Welcome to Turkey!
You will not just be visiting the major attractions in Turkey on the path to Saint Paul’s Missionary but will be crossing borders to neighboring country of Greece that is full of legends and myths to explore further from one capital to another.

Day 1 - Ankara - Arrival Day
(Dinner included) Arrive in Ankara, the capital of Turkey. You will be transferred to your hotel, where you will check in with the TSG team. The rest of the day is yours to explore the city. Overnight in Ankara.
Day 2 - Ankara – Cappadocia
(Breakfast and Dinner included) Upon completing breakfast, we embark on a journey towards Ankara, which is the capital city of Turkey. The first place to visit is the Anatolian Civilization Museum. The museum showcases a variety of exhibits ranging from the Paleolithic period to the Byzantine era. One of the museum's most famous exhibits is the Hittite Gallery, which contains a vast collection of Hittite artifacts, including monumental stone sculptures and reliefs. The Augustus Temple is the next visiting site. It is an ancient Roman temple located in the Ulus district that was built during the reign of Roman Emperor Augustus, in the early 1st century AD. The temple is notable for its well-preserved facade, which features a portico of six columns topped by a triangular pediment. The temple's facade is adorned with reliefs depicting scenes from the life of Augustus and his family, as well as mythological figures. Ataturk's Mausoleum, also known as Anitkabir, is the final resting place of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder and first President of the modern Republic of Turkey. The mausoleum's architecture is notable for its grandeur and the use of modernist and traditional Turkish elements. The exterior of the mausoleum is adorned with sculptures and reliefs depicting the history of the Turkish people. Ataturk's Mausoleum is not only a place of commemoration but also an important symbol of Turkish national identity. In Cappadocia, we will explore the scenic Ihlara Valley, where early Christians carved some 3,500 cave churches from the tuff rock. With their numerous wall paintings and Christian symbols, these chapels are astounding in their beauty and tranquility. The first Christians built dozens of underground cities beginning in the second century to flee first the Romans and then the Arab invaders. Some of these underground cities are probably older. Such cities have carved-out rooms for kitchens, bedrooms, stables, and chapels for worship that descend five to ten stories into the ground. You will explore Ozkonak Underground City, which is one of the best preserved underground cities in the region, with your guide. Overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 3 - Cappadocia City Tour
(Breakfast and Dinner included) Full Day excursion Visit Cappadocia for a full-day excursion to see the incredible red rock cones, troglodyte churches, and homes from 4000 BC. These incredible landscapes of volcanic ash were formed by mother nature 3 million years ago. The historic fortress of Uchisar Castle is a naturally occurring rock formation that has been shaped over centuries by erosion and volcanic eruptions, creating a remarkable and eye-catching geological formation. The Byzantine Empire initially constructed the castle in the seventh century as a barrier against Arab incursions. The Seljuks and the Ottomans, two later civilizations to use it, embellished the castle with their own architectural and decorative features. From the castle, you can explore the Guvercinlik Valley. Goreme Open Air Museum, on the other hand, is the home of dozens of churches and unbelievably beautiful frescoes. You can view notable, well-preserved frescoes that feature scenes from the lives of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and the saints at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will visit the Girls and Boys Monastery, St. Basil’s Church, Elmali Church, Saint Barbara Church, Serpent Church, Malta Crusader Church, Dark Church, and more. The area's highest concentration of fairy chimneys is found at Zelve Open Air Museum, which was also a significant Christian settlement between the 9th and 13th centuries. Also, it has been known that the first religious seminars were given to the priests in Zelve. For over 4000 years, Avanos has been the center of pottery and ceramics production in Anatolia, thanks to the region's red clay resources. You can shop and explore the traditional way of making pottery. Later, return to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 4 – Tarsus – Hatay
(Breakfast and Dinner included) After breakfast, drive to Tarsus, which will take approximately 2 hours. Tarsus was the birthplace of St. Paul. He was a tent cloth weaver like his father, and when he was 13, he went to Jerusalem for his religious education. In Tarsus, we will visit St. Paul's Well, which is believed to have curing water. St. Paul Memorial Museum, which was built in 1850 by the Orthodox Arab-Greek Community, will be visited too. The Seven Sleepers Caves, where it is believed that seven Christian youths hid while fleeing the cruel Roman Emperor Decius and slept for 300 years, is the next stop on our tour. At the same time, it is a sacred place for Islam too. The Cleopatra Gate and the Ancient Roman Road are on our itinerary. After the tour, we will ride to Hatay, which will take 3 hours for dinner and overnight.
Day 5 - Antakya – Antioch – Mersin
(Breakfast and Dinner included) Following breakfast, we will tour the city's ancient religious sites and its modern ones. We will go to the Saint Pierre Church in Hatay, which is regarded as a significant historical and religious site and is thought to be one of the oldest churches in the entire world. The Habib Neccar Mosque, Anatolia's oldest, will be the next stop. We will explore the rare ancient Roman mosaics in the Hatay Archaeology Museum. Its collection dates back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, and today it is one of the most visited sites in Hatay. The most well-known pieces in the collection are The Gypsy Girl, The Three Graces, which depict three goddesses from Greek mythology, The Birth of Venus, Hercules, and Omphale, and The Amazon Queen Penthesilea. We will return to Mersin for the night after visiting the Harbiye Waterfall.
Day 6 – Anamur – Antalya
(Breakfast and Dinner included) Set out west along the Mediterranean coast on a well-known coastal road. Take a lunch break in Anamur. Anamur District is Turkey's southernmost point and is famous for its bananas and peanuts. Anemorium, which was the political and economic hub in Anatolia and Cilicia throughout the Roman era, will be visited after the lunch. The Mediterranean view will capture you. Dinner and overnight in Antalya.
Day 7 - Antalya Side/Perge & Aspendos Ancient City
(Breakfast and Dinner included) After breakfast, we have a very full day. We will visit the ancient city of Side, where Paul, Barnabas, and Mark landed during their missionary journeys to its old port. Later, they sailed to Antioch. It was one of the wealthiest port cities in Pamphylia in antiquity, and today the old porthe theatre, columnar road, Nymphaeum, Vespasian Monument, and historical houses can still be visited. The next destination is Perge. In ancient times, Perge used to have a reputation for its sculptures. Also, it has been known that one of the most important figures of Christianity, St. Paul, arrived in Perge during his missionary travels. Because it takes place in the Bible, the city is considered one of the holiest places in Christianity. Next is Aspendos, an ancient city that is known for its ancient theater. It was built by the architect Zenon, son of Theodoros, during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161–180 AD). Today, it is the best preserved Roman theater not just in Anatolia but also in the whole Mediterranean world. Overnight in Antalya.
Day 8 - Pamukkale City Tour
(Breakfast and Dinner included) After breakfast, drive to Laodicea (Rev. 3:14–22), which will take you back to the first century and was condemned by St. John in Revelation (Act: 4:15). Here you will hear the story of a people who were ordered to repent from investing in material riches that make them miserable, but the gold has overcome. Then drive to Hierapolis and explore incredible excavations; including a Byzantine church, the Great Theatre, the Temple of Apollo, and the Plutonium, which pagan cults once called "the entrance to hell." Examine the intriguing sites of the churches of Revelation. The churches here in Hierapolis, Colossae, and Laodicea once flourished under the ministry of Epaphras (Colossians 4:12–13). Next at Pamukkale, enjoy the "Cotton Castles" of brilliant white calcium rock formations and hot - water travertines, where hot mineral waters emerge from the earth and cascade over cliffs. As the water-cools, the calcium precipitates and clings to the cliffs, forming snowy white travertines (waterfalls of white stone), which give credence to the name Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle.". This enchanting place is one of the natural wonders of Asia Minor. Dinner and overnight in Pamukkale.
Day 9 - Philadelphia - Sardes – Kusadasi
(Breakfast and Dinner included) After breakfast, drive to Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7 - 12), your Bible will come alive as you read it in light of firsthand study. This city was located along an important trade route that linked Pergamon in the north with Laodicea to the south. In A.D. 17, an earthquake devastated twelve Asian cities, including Philadelphia, and for a time the people lived in fear of aftershocks. Philadelphia was rebuilt with help from Emperor Tiberius At Sardes (Rev. 3:1 - 5), your thoughts will turn to the Old Testament period following the 586 B.C. destruction of Jerusalem. That was the time when the phrase "rich as Croesus" originated. Croesus (560 - 546 B.C..) was the king of Lydia, and Sardis was his capital. Gold was discovered in the Pactolus River at Sardes, and it was here that coinage as we know it. Cyrus and the Persians defeated and captured Croesus for all his wealth and made Sardis the administrative center for the western part of their empire. The fabled Royal Road connected Sardes with the Persian cities to the east. Sardes was the hardest hit of the twelve cities destroyed in the earthquake of A.D. 17. According to Tacitus' Annals, Emperor Tiberius contributed significantly to its reconstruction. Your visit to Sardes will include the imperial court and the ancient Jewish synagogue. You will rest in the shade of the Temple of Artemis, while studying in the light of prophetic Scripture. Dinner and overnight in Kusadasi.
Day 10 - Ephesus - Sirince Village – Kusadasi
(Breakfast and Dinner included) After breakfast, we ride to Ephesus (Rev. 2:1 - 7), a major port city on the Aegean, that was the commercial, political, and religious center of all of Asia Minor. According to historical sources, Herostratus destroyed the Temple of Diana (Artemis) on the eve of Alexander the Great's birth. Then, for 120 years, the Ephesians labored to rebuild the temple, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The city became part of the Roman Empire in the second century B.C. As a Roman capital of Asia Minor. The Apostle Paul’s first visit to Ephesus was brief—during his second missionary tour (Acts 18:19 - 21). His second visit lasted about three years—during his third missionary tour (Acts 19:1 to 20:31). Luke’s account of the worship of Diana appears in Acts 19:34 - 35. The "great theater" (stadium) mentioned in Acts 19:29 - 31 could seat 25,000 people. Walk the marble-paved street, see the Fountain of Trajan, the Library of Celsus, and the Grand Theatre. Visit the Chapel of the Virgin Mary (Double Church), where the Third Ancient Council convened. We visit the House of the Virgin Mary, where she spent her last years. Enjoy St. John's Basilica, which was constructed over the apostle John's grave, and consider the Temple of Diana's ruins. While Sirince promises a cute village visit, it can impress you with its religious gems. In St. Dimitrios Church, explore the interior decoration and architecture. Learn about the history and significance of the church and the Orthodox Christian community in the area. After that, take a short walk to St. John Baptist Church. The distinctive octagonal design of the church will charm you. Take some time to walk around the charming streets of Sirince and explore the traditional houses, shops, and cafes. Sirince is known for its well-preserved historical architecture and traditional way of life, so there is much to discover and enjoy. Overnight in Kusadasi.
Day 11 - Izmir (Smyrna) Tour
(Breakfast and Dinner included) You'll wake up to a sunny day full of ancient sites and other attractions in Izmir, Turkey's most visited city. We'll go to St. Policarp Church before arriving in Akhisar. We will see the St. Policarp church during our visit, which was built in 1625 with the approval of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I and at the request of French King Louis XIII. French architect Raymond Charles Pere created the frescoes depicting Polycarp's life in this lovely church. The next stop will be Sardis. It was the capital of the Lydian Empire during the Iron Age. It was also the location of an early Christian community, as well as one of Asia's seven churches. Thyateira and Apollonia, two ancient sites in the Akhisar region, are up next. Thyateira was home to a prominent early Christian church and one of the seven churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation. According to the Book of Revelation, a woman named Jezebel, claiming to be a prophetess, led the Christians of Thyateira into sexual immorality and eating food sacrificed to idols. Afterwards, we will visit Apollonis, which was renamed Apollonis after the queen Apollonis, who was the mother of Eumenes II and Attalus II of Pergamum. Cicero made mention of it in his writings. Unfortunately, the city was harmed during a devastating earthquake but rebuilt by Tiberius. The city was known for issuing coins, some of which are still in existence from the reigns of Marcus Aurelius to Severus Alexander. Today, Apollonis holds the status of a titular bishop in the Roman Catholic Church. Dinner and overnight in Izmir.
Day 12 - Pergamon Tour
(Breakfast and Dinner included) After breakfast, we drive to Pergamon, which is actually called Bergama. It is one of the sites of the Seven Churches of Asia [Rev. 1:11; 2:12]. Here, we explore the impressive Acropolis, the steepest theater in the world. Then, at Asklepion, a famous classical medical center, see the Altar of Zeus, which is referred to in the Book of Revelation as the "Throne of Satan," as well as the marble columns of the Temple of Trajan. Furthermore, the library, which was the best in the world and had long been a rival to Egypt's equally famous Library of Alexandria, had a wealth of volumes estimated at over 200,000. It inspired the invention of parchment. After the tour, drop back to your hotel. Dinner and overnight in Bergama.
Day 13 - Pergamon - Nicea – Istanbul Half Day City Tour
(Breakfast included) Drive to Nicea through Bursa. At Nicea, you will see the remains of Constantine’s palace, now covered by the water at the shore of Lake Iznik. It was here in this palace chapel that the First Ancient Church Council convened in A.D. 325 to produce the Nicene Creed. Enjoy Nicea’s St. Sophia Church, where the Seventh Church Council convened in 787. Continue to Istanbul. We will visit the old city of Istanbul. In the Hippodrome, (Sultanahmet Square), which was the sports and social hub of ancient Constantinople, we will see the iconic historical artifacts, including the Obelisk of Theodosius from Egypt, the Serpentine Column from Delphi, the German fountain gifted by Wilhelm II and more. Blue Mosque, whose six minarets adorn Istanbul's skyline and are known for their rare blue tiles, and the Hagia Sophia Mosque, which was the largest church for centuries around the world and like the Blue Mosque is a masterpiece, are the following visiting sites in the old city. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 14 - Istanbul Half Day City Tour/Bosphorus Cruise
(Breakfast included) Begin your visit by exploring the Basilica Cistern, believed to have been constructed after the Nika revolt in 532 AD. During the Roman period, owing to the presence of a Stoa Basilica located above the pre-existing cistern. Afterward, take a short drive to the Chora Museum, home to the church of Saint Savior in Chora, featuring exceptional Byzantine mosaics. Take a lunch break at 1:00 pm before continuing your tour to the bazaar, where you can find exotic spices and herbs, Turkish Baklava, delicious Turkish Delights, Turkish Coffee, nuts and fruits, hand made souvenirs, and more. After a lunch break, we will then continue our journey on Bosphorus. "Bosphorus by Boat,". a traditional excursion by boat along the waterway separating Europe and Asia. The shoreline is home to dozens of old wooden villas, palaces of marble, fortresses, and small fishing villages. You will have the opportunity to see the 19th-century Ottoman masterpiece Dolmabahce Palace, Yildiz Palace, one of the unique samples of the last period of Ottoman architecture, and Ciragan Palace with its amazing marble facades from the boat. Moreover, the iconic view of Ortakoy, the Rumeli Fortress, which is one of the most beautiful works of military architecture of the Ottomans, the harmony of the architectural styles of east and west at Beylerbeyi Palace, and more can be seen during the boat tour. Lunch break at the Turkish restaurant. Return to the hotel for overnight.
Day 15 - Istanbul to Kavala - Border Crossing
(Breakfast and Dinner included) Following breakfast, we will commence our journey towards the border of Greece. By midday, we'll be met by our Greek guide as we travel from the Turkish/Greek border to Kavala, passing through Alexandroupolis. Rest of the day is free. Overnight in Kavala.
Day 16 - Kavala - Philippi - Thessaloniki
(Breakfast and Dinner included) After breakfast at the hotel, we drive to Philippi. Located northwest of the neighboring island of Thasos, Philippi was a significant Greek city established by Thasian colonists in 360/359 BC. The city was inhabited throughout the Roman and Byzantine eras, but was abandoned in the 14th century following the Ottoman conquest. In recognition of its remarkable Roman architecture, its urban layout, (a smaller replica of Rome), and its significance in early Christianity, the archaeological site was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016. During his second missionary journey, the apostle Paul visited the city, which is recorded in the New Testament. Based on the Acts of the Apostles and the letter to the Philippians, early Christians inferred that Paul was the founder of their community. During our visit, we will also see the Agora, the 5th and 6th century Basilica, and the Theater. The next destination is the Baptistery of St. Lydia, also called the Zygakti River. It is located near the archaeological site of Philippi, where the Apostle Paul is said to have baptized, the first Christian in Europe. Today, the baptistery is open for use, hosting weddings and baptisms. Every year on May 20, in commemoration of St. Lydia of Philippi, Christians are baptized at the same location. The next site to visit is the remains of the prison where Paul and Silas were detained in Philippi, now situated in present-day Greece, after being apprehended without a trial, beaten, and imprisoned for supposedly causing a disturbance in public. We will drive to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight.
Day 17 - Thessaloniki - Veria - Meteora - Kalambaka
(Breakfast and Dinner included) After a brief tour of Thessaloniki in the morning, which included visits to the ancient Roman Agora, Dikasterion Square, the renowned Mausoleum constructed by the extraordinary Roman emperor Galerius, the White Tower, and Ladadika, we continued our journey to Meteora. The Meteora is a central Greek rock formation that is home to one of the most magnificently constructed complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries. These six monasteries were built on massive natural pillars and hill-like rounded boulders that tower over the surrounding area. Meteora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located near the town of Kalambaka on the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly, close to the Pineios River and the Pindus Mountains. Later on, we headed to Beroea, an ancient city from the Hellenistic period and the Roman Empire, now called Veria (or Veroia) in Northern Greece. According to the Acts of the Apostles, the town was where the apostles Paul, Silas, and Timothy preached the Christian Gospel. We had dinner and stayed overnight in Kalambaka.
Day 18 - Kalambaka - Delphi – Athens
(Breakfast and Dinner included) As you make your way towards Mount Parnassus, take in the picturesque Greek countryside and journey into the realm of King Oedipus - a tragic mythical hero whose destiny was foretold by the Oracle of Delphi. Upon arrival to Delphi, explore the Temple of Apollo, the theater, and the Museum of Delphi, where you'll discover remarkable artifacts like the Bronze Charioteer, the Naxian Sphinx, and the Statue of Antinoos, among others. Following a refreshing lunch break, visit the Athena Pronaia Sanctuary, which boasts the most photographed scenery in Delphi. Before heading back to Athens for dinner and an overnight stay at the hotel, there will be a brief pause for a photo opportunity at the charming mountain village of Arachova.
Day 19 - Athens – Corinth
(Breakfast and Dinner included) Our journey begins promptly at 8:00 a.m. as we depart from Athens and travel along the scenic Saronic Gulf, the very site where history was transformed in 480 BC. Our first stop is at the historic Corinthian Canal, where we'll capture some memorable pictures. Next, we'll explore ancient Corinth and all its sites associated with the ministry, including the Agora, the Temple of Apollo, the Roman Odeon, the Bema, and Gallios' Seat. Before heading back to Athens, we'll visit the ruins of the early Christian, 5th-century basilica in Cenchreae. In the afternoon, we'll embark on a half-day sightseeing tour of Athens, starting with a climb up the marble-capped Acropolis to witness the famous Parthenon and Erechtheum, among other architectural marvels. Our time-traveling journey then takes us to Mars Hill (Areopagus), where the Apostle Paul delivered his powerful sermon to the great thinkers of philosophy, logic, and learning. Our tour concludes with a visit to the highlights of modern Athens. Overnight in Athens.
Day 20 – Athens - End of Tour
(Breakfast included) The tour ends this morning after twenty amazing days. Join your fellow travelers for breakfast at the hotel, and take the opportunity to bid farewell to your newfound friends. You can sign up to take advantage of TSG credits, and this is the best way to snag credits and use them for your next trips as a discount, as well as to hear about the hot deals according to your interests. We look forward to welcoming you back on another adventure in the near future!
  • Arrival airport transfer from Ankara airport
  • 1 night hotel in Ankara
  • 2 nights hotel in Cappadocia
  • 1 night hotel in Adana
  • 1 night hotel in Mersin
  • 2 nights hotel in Antalya
  • 1 night hotel in Pamukkale
  • 2 nights hotel in Kusadasi
  • 1 night hotel in Izmir
  • 1 night hotel in Bergama
  • 2 nights hotel in Istanbul
  • 1 night hotel in Kavala
  • 1 night hotel in Thessaloniki
  • 1 night hotel in Kalambaka
  • 2 nights hotel in Athens
  • 19 open buffet breakfasts
  • 17 dinners
  • Guided Ankara tour
  • Guided Cappadocia tour
  • Guided Adana tour
  • Guided Antakya /Mersin tour
  • Guided Antalya tour
  • Guided Pamukkale tour
  • Guşded Philadelphia - Sardes – Kusadasi tour
  • Guided Ephesus tour
  • Guided Izmir / Smyrna tour
  • Guided Pergamon tour
  • 2 half day Istanbul City tour
  • Half day Istanbul Bosphorus tour
  • Guided Kavala tour
  • Guided Thessaloniki
  • Guided Kalambaka tour
  • Guided Athens tour
  • All entrance fees mentioned in the itinerary
  • Transportation in a fully air - conditioned, non - smoking coach
  • Professional English - speaking tour guide
  • Return airport transfer
  • International flights
  • Insurance: All types
  • City Tax
  • Turkey entry visa
  • Items of a personal nature such as alcoholic drinks, cold drinks, laundry
  • Any others expenses which are not mentioned at the included section
  • Tipping

Tour Highlights

  • Ankara: Asia Minor; Anatolian Civilization Museum, the Temple of Augustus and Ataturk’s Mausoleum. Cappadocia: Asia Minor; Ihlara Valley, Uchisar, Zelve, Goreme Open Air Museum, Avanos and Ozkonak Underground City
  • Adana: Asia Minor; St. Pauls Well, Cleopatra Gate and Ancient City.
  • Mersin / Iskenderun: Asia Minor; St. Peters Grotto, Mosaic Museum and old city of Iskenderun.
  • Antalya: Asia Minor; Side, Perge, Aspendos, Monophystie Archbishop of Seleucia
  • Pamukkale: Asia Minor; Hierapolis, Cotton Castle and Laodicea
  • Akhisar: Asia Minor; Sardis, Temple of Artemis, Temple of Cybele
  • Alasehir: Asia Minor; Philadelphia
  • Kusadasi: Asia Minor; The Virgin Mary House, Basilica of St. John and Ephesus; Library of Celsus, Theatre, Temple of Aphrodite, Town Overlooks, The Apostle Paul, the Temple of Hadrian, and the Temple of Diana.
  • Izmir: Asia Minor; Acropolis and Asclepion, Red Basilica, St. Policarp Church and Altar of Zeus
  • Bursa: Asia Minor; Nicea
  • Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Bosphorus Cruise, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, and Grand Spice Bazaar.
  • Kavala: Alexandroupolis, Strong Church,
  • Thessaloniki: Byzantine mosaic, monument, Byzantine monasteries,
  • Kalambaka: Delphi, Sanctuary of Apollo, Bronze Charioteer, Athlete Aghias,
  • Athens: Saronic Gulf, Corinthian Canal, Arthenon Erechtheum
Destination HOTELS or Similar Category
Ankara  Radisson Blue Hotel
Cappadocia Antique Cave House Hotel or 5 Star Suhan Hotel
Adana  Ramada Adana Hotel
Mersin Ramada Mersin Hotel
Antalya Best Western Khan Hotel
Pamukkale Pam Thermal Hotel
Kusadasi Ramada Hotel Kusadasi
Izmir Karaca Hotel
Bergama Labella Hotel
Istanbul The Central Palace Hotel
Kavala Egnantia Hotel
Thessaloniki Capsis Hotel
Kalambaka Amalia Hotel
Athens Titania Hotel
PS: If This hotel list not available at the time of your booking then we will arrange similar other hotel for your group. If you prefer a Different category hotel, there might be an additional cost.