Contact Us|1-888-831-7526

Treasures of Turkey

Trip Length 14 days

From $6,995

  • Explore Istanbul’s greatest attractions, including Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the spice market on our most comprehensive Turkey itinerary
  • Journey through history as you explore the ancient sites of Ephesus, Myra, Xanthos and Cappadocia
  • Follow expert MTS guides as they take you on an East meets West exploration of Turkey's history, culture, and cuisine
  • Cruise for six days aboard a luxury gulet along the celebrated Turquoise Coast

Experience the best of Turkey on this fabulous journey through the past! Our adventure kicks off with a two-day exploration of Istanbul’s greatest attractions—including Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the spice market. After exploring the unusual volcanic landscapes of Cappadocia and seeing the Whirling Dervishes of Konya, we'll cruise down the coast to visit the ancient cities of Myra, Xanthos, and Ephesus aboard a traditional Turkish gulet. Turkey’s ancient ruins offer an in-depth glimpse of history, and our MTS guides with degrees in art history and archaeology are the ideal travel companions to guide you. See all that Turkey has to offer in style!

 

Day 1: Arrive in Istanbul

Upon arrival at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport, you'll be met by an MTS representative who will escort you to your hotel in the Old City. After getting settled in the hotel, we’ll meet for an orientation at 6:30pm, then head out for a welcome dinner in a traditional restaurant.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hagia Sophia Hotel Istanbul – Old City

Day 2: Take a scenic cruise along the Bosphorus

We’ll begin our day with a fantastic ferry ride along the Bosphorus, the narrow strait that separates Europe from Asia. During the scenic 1¼-hour cruise, we’ll pass by half a dozen ornate Ottoman palaces, dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, and beautiful modern mansions. After disembarking on the European side, we'll then drive back to the Old City. After lunch, we'll stop at the world famous Spice Market, where the air is redolent with tea, exotic spices, dried fruits, and of course, Turkish Delight. We'll then visit the Rüstem Pasha Mosque, named for and dedicated to the Grand Vezir of Suleiman the Magnificent. With its colorful handmade Iznik tiles, it's an excellent example of 16th-century Ottoman architecture. Dinner tonight is on your own, giving you the chance to sample a range of Turkish restaurants and cuisine.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Hagia Sophia Hotel Istanbul – Old City

Day 3: Explore Old Istanbul and the Hagia Sophia

After breakfast, we’ll immerse ourselves more deeply in Istanbul and its many ancient monuments. We'll start with Topkapi Palace, the residence of the Ottoman Sultans for 400 years and still home to a dazzling collection of jewels and other artifacts. We’ll visit the Harem section of Topkapi, a palace within the palace that functioned as the private area of the sultan and his sons. After lunch, we'll explore Hagia Sophia, an astounding 6th-century church that is considered by many to be the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Originally built by Justinian the Great, Hagia Sophia with its domes and pillars eventually became a mosque, and today is used as a museum focusing on both Christianity and Islam.

We’ll also visit the Blue Mosque, regarded as one of the greatest pieces of Islamic architecture. With intricate carpets, 20,000 blue handmade tiles, 200 stained glass windows, and a centerpiece of sculptured marble, the Blue Mosque is truly a sight to behold. Finally, we’ll tour the Basilica Cistern, a massive tank constructed with 336 marble columns and capable of holding over 20 million gallons of water. Dinner tonight is on your own.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Hagia Sophia Hotel Istanbul – Old City

Day 4: Journey through Cappadocia's beautiful valleys

This morning, we’ll take a one-hour flight to Kayseri or Nevsehir, after which we'll transfer to the Cappadocia area, a 45-minute drive through beautiful and interesting valleys. Cappadocia is surely one of the most unusual spots in the world, with a moon-like landscape boasting a variety of weird but interesting natural formations, including pyramid-shaped rocks and sensuously carved fertile valleys that are volcanic in origin. After lunch in one of the charming local restaurants, we’ll get a perspective of the area by walking up to Uchisar Castle for a panoramic view of the Cappadocia region. We'll then drive through breathtaking valleys and explore the Fairy Chimneys, an area of natural rock formations with pointed basalt caps and unique colors. Dinner tonight is at a lovely restaurant nearby or at our hotel.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Argos in Cappadocia

Day 5: Discover the Göreme Valley and stroll among Fairy Chimneys

The day starts with a visit to the Göreme Valley and its Open Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you'll discover monasteries and churches carved into the soft, volcanic rock. Your visit includes the reconstructed Dark Church, with its magnificently preserved frescos. After lunch in a local restaurant, we'll visit a multi-level underground city formerly used as a hideout against foreign invaders. We’ll also stroll among more Fairy Chimneys in an area known as “Love Valley,” and visit an underground clay pottery workshop to see how pottery was produced in ancient times.

Please note that by request, and if space is available, we can arrange a hot-air balloon ride for you in the early morning at an additional cost. Advanced reservations are recommended. Call for details.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Argos in Cappadocia

Day 6: See Whirling Dervishes in Konya

In the morning, we'll drive three hours to the city of Konya, a fertile region set in the heart of the Anatolian high plains. A city of import to both Muslims and Christians, it is also the birthplace of the Whirling Dervishes, the Sufi order that engages in the practice of whirling or meditative turning. In the afternoon, we’ll visit Mevlana Museum, the 13th-century lodge of the Whirling Dervishes and also the tomb of the Sufi mystic and poet, Rumi. And tonight, we’ll be treated to a special performance of the Whirling Dervishes—a unique and inspirational experience.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hilton Garden Inn

Day 7: Embark on a traditional gulet cruise

After breakfast, we'll take a 3½-hour drive to the coastal city of Antalya, where the steep cliffs and turquoise blue coastline will take your breath away. En route, we'll visit the well-preserved 2nd-century AD Aspendos Theatre, one of the best examples of Roman theatre construction in the world. We'll continue another three hours through forested coastline to Demre, where we'll greet our friendly Turkish crew as we board a traditional Turkish gulet. These traditional, two-masted yachts have been used in this area for centuries, though they've been updated in modern times to include a motor. The gulet is as sturdy as it is impressive to look at, with its wide deck, reverse S-shaped hull, and immense imported cross timbers of teak and mahogany. We’ll cruise to a small, secluded cove and stay there for the night.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:M/S A. Candan

Day 8: Explore Demre, Simena and Kash

We’ll go ashore and take a short drive to Demre, where we'll visit the ruins of the ancient Lycian city of Myra, located in a fertile alluvial plain next to the river Myros. Though once covered by silt, much of this ancient Greek city has now been excavated. One of Demre's many fascinating features is a Lycian necropolis that was carved into the face of a cliff, which we will visit during our tour. We'll also see structures from Roman times, including an acropolis and a massive semi-circular theatre that is still largely intact. A short ride will take us to the earliest known church dedicated to St. Nicholas, who was a Christian bishop here in 400 AD before becoming the inspiration for Santa Claus.

From Demre, we'll cruise to Simena (now known as Kale), an ancient city that sits below the ruins of a hilltop Byzantine castle. From a tiny Roman theatre on the hill, we'll get a magnificent view across the bay to the Island of Kekova and down to the village of Simena. Finally, we'll cruise to the town of Kash, taking a short walk in town, if time allows. We’ll anchor in a nearby bay and eat a delicious Turkish meal prepared by our accomplished shipboard chef.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:M/S A. Candan

Day 9: Enjoy ancient ruins at Xanthos

A short cruise will bring us to Kalkan, a pretty seaside village with picturesque, pastel-colored houses. We'll then drive to the ruins of Xanthos, which was the capital of ancient Lycia. We’ll visit a Roman amphitheatre with a sunken floor suitable for gladiator fights and animal games, and see the Harpy Tomb, a family sarcophagus situated high on a rock featuring carvings of four winged female figures. As we walk through the ruins, we'll note the different styles of stonework in the Lycian, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine periods, and we'll learn about Xanthos' tragic history that led to its reputation as "the city of disasters."

We’ll return to our boat, where there will be time for some spectacular swimming along the rocky shore. In the late afternoon, we’ll hike up a trail to visit a remarkably well-preserved Roman aqueduct.

(Hiking time: 1½-2 hours; Elevation gain: 1,000 feet)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:M/S A. Candan

Day 10: Hike to Livissi's ghost town and cruise to Gemiler Island

Today, we’ll anchor beneath the cliffs and hike through a pine forest to the empty remains of Livissi, a town that was shamefully depopulated in 1923 when Turkey and Greece agreed to forcibly exchange their religious minorities. In summer, wildflowers colonize the streets and grow inside the exposed rooms of vacant homes, and the empty cobbled paths and roofless houses are as evocative and forlorn as any of the ancient ruins we'll visit elsewhere.

After our morning walk, we’ll return to our boat and have a refreshing swim before lunch. In the afternoon, we’ll cruise to Gemiler Island (also known as Ship Island), where you can explore extensive Byzantine ruins with unusual covered pathways and small outbuildings, and hike to the summit to watch the sun set.

(Hiking time: approx. 3½ hours; Elevation gain/loss: 1,200 feet)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:M/S A. Candan

Day 11: Anchor at Friendly Bay and hike to the Bay of Goçek

We’ll drop anchor in Friendly Bay and take a long walk to the Peninsula of Lydia and the Lydae ruins, nestled in a valley 1,000 feet above sea level. Our walk continues along an ancient stone path through red pine forests with spectacular views of the coves below. Our hike will end at the Bay of Goçek, one of the most picturesque harbors anywhere in the Mediterranean. Allegedly, Anthony and Cleopatra once swam here, and Cleopatra’s Bath remains, though partially destroyed by earthquakes. We’ll descend to the water on a steep trail covered with pine needles, and cool off with a swim before lunch. The afternoon is free to swim, kayak, or relax at our leisure.

(Hiking time: approx. 3 hours; Elevation gain/loss: 1,500 feet)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:M/S A. Candan

Day 12: Swim in Goçek Bay and visit the Temple of Artemis

After a morning swim in Goçek Bay, we’ll say goodbye to our attentive crew and disembark in the town of Goçek. A short drive will bring us to a local restaurant nestled in the hills, with a large terrace overlooking the deep blue Aegean Sea. After lunch, we’ll drive three hours to Kusadasi, with a stop to visit the Temple of Artemis—one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The temple took over 100 years to complete and is made almost entirely of marble, with 127 Ionic columns, each 60 feet high. After checking into our hotel on a peninsula over the Aegean Sea, we’ll enjoy a farewell dinner together at a local restaurant.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:LaVista Boutique Hotel & SPA

Day 13: Go back in time at Ephesus

Today we’ll take a short drive to Ephesus, known during the Roman Empire as the “First and Greatest Metropolis of Asia” and now one of the best archaeological sites found anywhere. We’ll spend the morning exploring the fascinating ruins, which date back to the 10th-century BC, including gymnasiums, stadiums, brothels, and the beautiful, columned façade of the Library of Celsus, once home to 12,000 scrolls.

In the afternoon, we’ll visit the Ephesus Archaeological Museum in nearby Selçuk, which houses finds from the site at Ephesus, including magnificent marble statues of the Greek goddess Artemis. Later in the afternoon, we'll drive to the airport in Izmir for our one-hour flight to Istanbul. We should arrive at our hotel in Istanbul around 7:30pm, and the rest of the evening is free. Dinner tonight is on your own.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Hagia Sophia Hotel Istanbul – Old City

Day 14: "Gule Gule" (Go happily)

After breakfast, we'll transfer to the international airport for departing flights.

  • Breakfast

May 08 - 21, 2017

Sep 04 - 17, 2017

Oct 02 - 15, 2017

pricing

2017 Prices
$6,995 (7-14 members)
$350 internal airfare
$1,000 single supplement (hotels only)
$1,000 per cabin master cabin upgrade (2 available)

NOTE: Group size is 7-12 in standard cabins, and up to 13-14 with Master Cabin upgrades.



 

Got your own great photos of this or other MTS trips?
Share them with us on our Facebook page!

Argos in Cappadocia — Cappadocia

As if the geological oddity of Cappadocia wasn't fantastical enough, Argos in Cappadocia has thoughtfully restored ancient dwellings, underground tunnels and caves to offer guests a hotel experience unlike any other. Six different "mansions" make up this incredible property, which offers luxurious rooms and stately suites—the "Splendid Suites" come with private cave pools. The restaurant serves a menu of fresh, local foods, while the wine cellar is an oenophile's dream, featuring Anatolian and Turkish wine in a historic setting.

Hagia Sophia Hotel Istanbul – Old City — Istanbul

This luxurious hotel is centrally in Sultanahmet district, surrounded by major cultural landmarks of the old city including the Basilica Cistern and the Hagia Sophia, and close to Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque. The hotel's stylish, elegant rooms are air-conditioned and equipped with modern amenities, including free Wi-Fi. The rooms offer views of the surrounding area and some rooms have stunning views of Hagia Sophia. The hotel's chic restaurant serves Turkish and international cuisine, and guests can choose to have their meals indoors or outdoors on the terrace overlooking the Hagia Sophia. Sultanahmet Bus Stop and Tram Stop are both 265 yards away, offering easy access to other sites of the city.

Hilton Garden Inn — Konya

LaVista Boutique Hotel & SPA — Kusadasi

M/S A. Candan — Turkey

The M/S A. Candan is a gulet. Gulets are wooden hulled boats, traditionally built along the Mediterranean coastlines, which have evolved into motor/sail yachts. Averaging between 70 to 80 feet in length, they typically have a broad beam and two masts. The M/S A. Candan is 118-feet long, and can accommodate up to 16 people, though we limit our groups to just 14 people.

The spacious deck has a very large shaded dining area for all guests to dine together family-style. The sun deck has 16 individual sun beds so that all guests can bask under the sun at any time. The saloon is finished with warm tones, has wide windows for light, and is equipped with audio-visual equipment (music, TV/DVD). All cabins have en suite bathroom and shower facilities, and are well lit and ventilated. The boat is also fully equipped with recreational equipment, everyone can have fun snorkeling, canoeing, fishing and swimming.

The pace of life on your floating hotel is delightfully relaxed. Meals are enjoyed family-style and are usually served outdoors on the deck under the sun shade. Each day you can choose to participate in the planned land excursions, or you can opt to stay on board the gulet and sunbath, read, or take a nap. There is a fully stocked bar, and a tab will be kept open for you for the duration of the trip (some wine is included with your dinner meals).

Cabins:

  • 1 Master Double cabin (front) with WC and hot water shower (L. 14' 8'' x W. 8' 9'' x H. 7' 9''), and with 1 double king bed (L. 6' 5'' x W.  5' 8'').  This bed is 7” shorter than a North American “California king” sized bed, and 4” narrower.  However, the bed is also larger than a North American queen-sized bed.  Extra fee for master cabin upgrade (see detailed itinerary).
  • 1 Master Double cabin (stern) with WC and hot water shower (L. 18’ x W. 11' 9'' x H. 6' 5''), and with 1 double king bed (L. 6' 9'' x W.  5' 6'').  This bed is 3” shorter than a North American “California king” sized bed, and 6” narrower.  However, the bed is also larger than a North American queen-sized bed.  Extra fee for master cabin upgrade (see detailed itinerary).
  • 2 Standard Double cabins with WC and hot water shower (L. 11' 5'' x W. 9' 2'' x H. 7' 2''), and with 1 double queen bed in each (L. 6' 5'' x W.  5' 9'').  This bed is 3” shorter than a North American queen-sized bed, but 9” wider; and larger overall than a North American double-sized bed.   
  • 4 Twin cabins with WC and hot water shower (L. 10’ x W. 8' 9'' x H. 7' 2''), and with 2 twin sized beds (L. 6' 4'' x W.  3' 2'').  These beds are 1” longer than North American twin-sized beds, but are also 1” narrower.   
  • Note – One cabin is reserved for our guides, which means we will only take up to 14 guests per departure.

"I viewed it as a high quality experience with a very professional staff and excellent service." Stephen Merman

  • Explore Istanbul’s greatest attractions, including Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the spice market on our most comprehensive Turkey itinerary
  • Journey through history as you explore the ancient sites of Ephesus, Myra, Xanthos and Cappadocia
  • Follow expert MTS guides as they take you on an East meets West exploration of Turkey's history, culture, and cuisine
  • Cruise for six days aboard a luxury gulet along the celebrated Turquoise Coast

Experience the best of Turkey on this fabulous journey through the past! Our adventure kicks off with a two-day exploration of Istanbul’s greatest attractions—including Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the spice market. After exploring the unusual volcanic landscapes of Cappadocia and seeing the Whirling Dervishes of Konya, we'll cruise down the coast to visit the ancient cities of Myra, Xanthos, and Ephesus aboard a traditional Turkish gulet. Turkey’s ancient ruins offer an in-depth glimpse of history, and our MTS guides with degrees in art history and archaeology are the ideal travel companions to guide you. See all that Turkey has to offer in style!

 

review

"I viewed it as a high quality experience with a very professional staff and excellent service." Stephen Merman

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Istanbul

Upon arrival at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport, you'll be met by an MTS representative who will escort you to your hotel in the Old City. After getting settled in the hotel, we’ll meet for an orientation at 6:30pm, then head out for a welcome dinner in a traditional restaurant.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hagia Sophia Hotel Istanbul – Old City

Day 2: Take a scenic cruise along the Bosphorus

We’ll begin our day with a fantastic ferry ride along the Bosphorus, the narrow strait that separates Europe from Asia. During the scenic 1¼-hour cruise, we’ll pass by half a dozen ornate Ottoman palaces, dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, and beautiful modern mansions. After disembarking on the European side, we'll then drive back to the Old City. After lunch, we'll stop at the world famous Spice Market, where the air is redolent with tea, exotic spices, dried fruits, and of course, Turkish Delight. We'll then visit the Rüstem Pasha Mosque, named for and dedicated to the Grand Vezir of Suleiman the Magnificent. With its colorful handmade Iznik tiles, it's an excellent example of 16th-century Ottoman architecture. Dinner tonight is on your own, giving you the chance to sample a range of Turkish restaurants and cuisine.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Hagia Sophia Hotel Istanbul – Old City

Day 3: Explore Old Istanbul and the Hagia Sophia

After breakfast, we’ll immerse ourselves more deeply in Istanbul and its many ancient monuments. We'll start with Topkapi Palace, the residence of the Ottoman Sultans for 400 years and still home to a dazzling collection of jewels and other artifacts. We’ll visit the Harem section of Topkapi, a palace within the palace that functioned as the private area of the sultan and his sons. After lunch, we'll explore Hagia Sophia, an astounding 6th-century church that is considered by many to be the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Originally built by Justinian the Great, Hagia Sophia with its domes and pillars eventually became a mosque, and today is used as a museum focusing on both Christianity and Islam.

We’ll also visit the Blue Mosque, regarded as one of the greatest pieces of Islamic architecture. With intricate carpets, 20,000 blue handmade tiles, 200 stained glass windows, and a centerpiece of sculptured marble, the Blue Mosque is truly a sight to behold. Finally, we’ll tour the Basilica Cistern, a massive tank constructed with 336 marble columns and capable of holding over 20 million gallons of water. Dinner tonight is on your own.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Hagia Sophia Hotel Istanbul – Old City

Day 4: Journey through Cappadocia's beautiful valleys

This morning, we’ll take a one-hour flight to Kayseri or Nevsehir, after which we'll transfer to the Cappadocia area, a 45-minute drive through beautiful and interesting valleys. Cappadocia is surely one of the most unusual spots in the world, with a moon-like landscape boasting a variety of weird but interesting natural formations, including pyramid-shaped rocks and sensuously carved fertile valleys that are volcanic in origin. After lunch in one of the charming local restaurants, we’ll get a perspective of the area by walking up to Uchisar Castle for a panoramic view of the Cappadocia region. We'll then drive through breathtaking valleys and explore the Fairy Chimneys, an area of natural rock formations with pointed basalt caps and unique colors. Dinner tonight is at a lovely restaurant nearby or at our hotel.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Argos in Cappadocia

Day 5: Discover the Göreme Valley and stroll among Fairy Chimneys

The day starts with a visit to the Göreme Valley and its Open Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you'll discover monasteries and churches carved into the soft, volcanic rock. Your visit includes the reconstructed Dark Church, with its magnificently preserved frescos. After lunch in a local restaurant, we'll visit a multi-level underground city formerly used as a hideout against foreign invaders. We’ll also stroll among more Fairy Chimneys in an area known as “Love Valley,” and visit an underground clay pottery workshop to see how pottery was produced in ancient times.

Please note that by request, and if space is available, we can arrange a hot-air balloon ride for you in the early morning at an additional cost. Advanced reservations are recommended. Call for details.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Argos in Cappadocia

Day 6: See Whirling Dervishes in Konya

In the morning, we'll drive three hours to the city of Konya, a fertile region set in the heart of the Anatolian high plains. A city of import to both Muslims and Christians, it is also the birthplace of the Whirling Dervishes, the Sufi order that engages in the practice of whirling or meditative turning. In the afternoon, we’ll visit Mevlana Museum, the 13th-century lodge of the Whirling Dervishes and also the tomb of the Sufi mystic and poet, Rumi. And tonight, we’ll be treated to a special performance of the Whirling Dervishes—a unique and inspirational experience.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hilton Garden Inn

Day 7: Embark on a traditional gulet cruise

After breakfast, we'll take a 3½-hour drive to the coastal city of Antalya, where the steep cliffs and turquoise blue coastline will take your breath away. En route, we'll visit the well-preserved 2nd-century AD Aspendos Theatre, one of the best examples of Roman theatre construction in the world. We'll continue another three hours through forested coastline to Demre, where we'll greet our friendly Turkish crew as we board a traditional Turkish gulet. These traditional, two-masted yachts have been used in this area for centuries, though they've been updated in modern times to include a motor. The gulet is as sturdy as it is impressive to look at, with its wide deck, reverse S-shaped hull, and immense imported cross timbers of teak and mahogany. We’ll cruise to a small, secluded cove and stay there for the night.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:M/S A. Candan

Day 8: Explore Demre, Simena and Kash

We’ll go ashore and take a short drive to Demre, where we'll visit the ruins of the ancient Lycian city of Myra, located in a fertile alluvial plain next to the river Myros. Though once covered by silt, much of this ancient Greek city has now been excavated. One of Demre's many fascinating features is a Lycian necropolis that was carved into the face of a cliff, which we will visit during our tour. We'll also see structures from Roman times, including an acropolis and a massive semi-circular theatre that is still largely intact. A short ride will take us to the earliest known church dedicated to St. Nicholas, who was a Christian bishop here in 400 AD before becoming the inspiration for Santa Claus.

From Demre, we'll cruise to Simena (now known as Kale), an ancient city that sits below the ruins of a hilltop Byzantine castle. From a tiny Roman theatre on the hill, we'll get a magnificent view across the bay to the Island of Kekova and down to the village of Simena. Finally, we'll cruise to the town of Kash, taking a short walk in town, if time allows. We’ll anchor in a nearby bay and eat a delicious Turkish meal prepared by our accomplished shipboard chef.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:M/S A. Candan

Day 9: Enjoy ancient ruins at Xanthos

A short cruise will bring us to Kalkan, a pretty seaside village with picturesque, pastel-colored houses. We'll then drive to the ruins of Xanthos, which was the capital of ancient Lycia. We’ll visit a Roman amphitheatre with a sunken floor suitable for gladiator fights and animal games, and see the Harpy Tomb, a family sarcophagus situated high on a rock featuring carvings of four winged female figures. As we walk through the ruins, we'll note the different styles of stonework in the Lycian, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine periods, and we'll learn about Xanthos' tragic history that led to its reputation as "the city of disasters."

We’ll return to our boat, where there will be time for some spectacular swimming along the rocky shore. In the late afternoon, we’ll hike up a trail to visit a remarkably well-preserved Roman aqueduct.

(Hiking time: 1½-2 hours; Elevation gain: 1,000 feet)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:M/S A. Candan

Day 10: Hike to Livissi's ghost town and cruise to Gemiler Island

Today, we’ll anchor beneath the cliffs and hike through a pine forest to the empty remains of Livissi, a town that was shamefully depopulated in 1923 when Turkey and Greece agreed to forcibly exchange their religious minorities. In summer, wildflowers colonize the streets and grow inside the exposed rooms of vacant homes, and the empty cobbled paths and roofless houses are as evocative and forlorn as any of the ancient ruins we'll visit elsewhere.

After our morning walk, we’ll return to our boat and have a refreshing swim before lunch. In the afternoon, we’ll cruise to Gemiler Island (also known as Ship Island), where you can explore extensive Byzantine ruins with unusual covered pathways and small outbuildings, and hike to the summit to watch the sun set.

(Hiking time: approx. 3½ hours; Elevation gain/loss: 1,200 feet)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:M/S A. Candan

Day 11: Anchor at Friendly Bay and hike to the Bay of Goçek

We’ll drop anchor in Friendly Bay and take a long walk to the Peninsula of Lydia and the Lydae ruins, nestled in a valley 1,000 feet above sea level. Our walk continues along an ancient stone path through red pine forests with spectacular views of the coves below. Our hike will end at the Bay of Goçek, one of the most picturesque harbors anywhere in the Mediterranean. Allegedly, Anthony and Cleopatra once swam here, and Cleopatra’s Bath remains, though partially destroyed by earthquakes. We’ll descend to the water on a steep trail covered with pine needles, and cool off with a swim before lunch. The afternoon is free to swim, kayak, or relax at our leisure.

(Hiking time: approx. 3 hours; Elevation gain/loss: 1,500 feet)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:M/S A. Candan

Day 12: Swim in Goçek Bay and visit the Temple of Artemis

After a morning swim in Goçek Bay, we’ll say goodbye to our attentive crew and disembark in the town of Goçek. A short drive will bring us to a local restaurant nestled in the hills, with a large terrace overlooking the deep blue Aegean Sea. After lunch, we’ll drive three hours to Kusadasi, with a stop to visit the Temple of Artemis—one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The temple took over 100 years to complete and is made almost entirely of marble, with 127 Ionic columns, each 60 feet high. After checking into our hotel on a peninsula over the Aegean Sea, we’ll enjoy a farewell dinner together at a local restaurant.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:LaVista Boutique Hotel & SPA

Day 13: Go back in time at Ephesus

Today we’ll take a short drive to Ephesus, known during the Roman Empire as the “First and Greatest Metropolis of Asia” and now one of the best archaeological sites found anywhere. We’ll spend the morning exploring the fascinating ruins, which date back to the 10th-century BC, including gymnasiums, stadiums, brothels, and the beautiful, columned façade of the Library of Celsus, once home to 12,000 scrolls.

In the afternoon, we’ll visit the Ephesus Archaeological Museum in nearby Selçuk, which houses finds from the site at Ephesus, including magnificent marble statues of the Greek goddess Artemis. Later in the afternoon, we'll drive to the airport in Izmir for our one-hour flight to Istanbul. We should arrive at our hotel in Istanbul around 7:30pm, and the rest of the evening is free. Dinner tonight is on your own.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Hagia Sophia Hotel Istanbul – Old City

Day 14: "Gule Gule" (Go happily)

After breakfast, we'll transfer to the international airport for departing flights.

  • Breakfast
lodgings

Argos in Cappadocia — Cappadocia

As if the geological oddity of Cappadocia wasn't fantastical enough, Argos in Cappadocia has thoughtfully restored ancient dwellings, underground tunnels and caves to offer guests a hotel experience unlike any other. Six different "mansions" make up this incredible property, which offers luxurious rooms and stately suites—the "Splendid Suites" come with private cave pools. The restaurant serves a menu of fresh, local foods, while the wine cellar is an oenophile's dream, featuring Anatolian and Turkish wine in a historic setting.

Hagia Sophia Hotel Istanbul – Old City — Istanbul

This luxurious hotel is centrally in Sultanahmet district, surrounded by major cultural landmarks of the old city including the Basilica Cistern and the Hagia Sophia, and close to Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque. The hotel's stylish, elegant rooms are air-conditioned and equipped with modern amenities, including free Wi-Fi. The rooms offer views of the surrounding area and some rooms have stunning views of Hagia Sophia. The hotel's chic restaurant serves Turkish and international cuisine, and guests can choose to have their meals indoors or outdoors on the terrace overlooking the Hagia Sophia. Sultanahmet Bus Stop and Tram Stop are both 265 yards away, offering easy access to other sites of the city.

Hilton Garden Inn — Konya

LaVista Boutique Hotel & SPA — Kusadasi

M/S A. Candan — Turkey

The M/S A. Candan is a gulet. Gulets are wooden hulled boats, traditionally built along the Mediterranean coastlines, which have evolved into motor/sail yachts. Averaging between 70 to 80 feet in length, they typically have a broad beam and two masts. The M/S A. Candan is 118-feet long, and can accommodate up to 16 people, though we limit our groups to just 14 people.

The spacious deck has a very large shaded dining area for all guests to dine together family-style. The sun deck has 16 individual sun beds so that all guests can bask under the sun at any time. The saloon is finished with warm tones, has wide windows for light, and is equipped with audio-visual equipment (music, TV/DVD). All cabins have en suite bathroom and shower facilities, and are well lit and ventilated. The boat is also fully equipped with recreational equipment, everyone can have fun snorkeling, canoeing, fishing and swimming.

The pace of life on your floating hotel is delightfully relaxed. Meals are enjoyed family-style and are usually served outdoors on the deck under the sun shade. Each day you can choose to participate in the planned land excursions, or you can opt to stay on board the gulet and sunbath, read, or take a nap. There is a fully stocked bar, and a tab will be kept open for you for the duration of the trip (some wine is included with your dinner meals).

Cabins:

  • 1 Master Double cabin (front) with WC and hot water shower (L. 14' 8'' x W. 8' 9'' x H. 7' 9''), and with 1 double king bed (L. 6' 5'' x W.  5' 8'').  This bed is 7” shorter than a North American “California king” sized bed, and 4” narrower.  However, the bed is also larger than a North American queen-sized bed.  Extra fee for master cabin upgrade (see detailed itinerary).
  • 1 Master Double cabin (stern) with WC and hot water shower (L. 18’ x W. 11' 9'' x H. 6' 5''), and with 1 double king bed (L. 6' 9'' x W.  5' 6'').  This bed is 3” shorter than a North American “California king” sized bed, and 6” narrower.  However, the bed is also larger than a North American queen-sized bed.  Extra fee for master cabin upgrade (see detailed itinerary).
  • 2 Standard Double cabins with WC and hot water shower (L. 11' 5'' x W. 9' 2'' x H. 7' 2''), and with 1 double queen bed in each (L. 6' 5'' x W.  5' 9'').  This bed is 3” shorter than a North American queen-sized bed, but 9” wider; and larger overall than a North American double-sized bed.   
  • 4 Twin cabins with WC and hot water shower (L. 10’ x W. 8' 9'' x H. 7' 2''), and with 2 twin sized beds (L. 6' 4'' x W.  3' 2'').  These beds are 1” longer than North American twin-sized beds, but are also 1” narrower.   
  • Note – One cabin is reserved for our guides, which means we will only take up to 14 guests per departure.
Dates and Pricing

May 08 - 21, 2017

Sep 04 - 17, 2017

Oct 02 - 15, 2017

pricing

2017 Prices
$6,995 (7-14 members)
$350 internal airfare
$1,000 single supplement (hotels only)
$1,000 per cabin master cabin upgrade (2 available)

NOTE: Group size is 7-12 in standard cabins, and up to 13-14 with Master Cabin upgrades.



 

Activity Level Easy
Trip Length 14 days

From $6,995

Interested in this adventure? Take the next step and book it!

Got questions?

Call us at 1-888-831-7526
or click here!

Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure

Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure