Day 1 Welcome to Turkey
Welcome to Istanbul! You will be transferred to your hotel and the remainder of the day is yours free to explore at your own pace. Overnight Istanbul.
Day 2 Best of Istanbul
We would suggest that you go ahead and have the tour on the day following your arrival so that you will be familiarized with your surroundings enough to enjoy the remainder of your time visiting some other spots that you may like to see, those can easily be negotiated on your own after you’ve had a good day of orientation.
This morning, embark upon a fully guided tour of the only city that spans two continents, Europe and Asia. Before lunch, we start with Eyup cable car, and then ride up it to the Pierre Loti Café, where the French poet Pierre Loti wrote while admiring views of the Golden Horn. Sit down and relax here, while soaking up commanding views of the horn-shaped fjord below that splits the city’s European shoreline into two. Step inside Rustem Pasha Mosque for a short tour. Small yet spectacular, this city secret boasts an eye-catching interior with a liberal smattering of geometric and floral tiles that adorn the walls and ceiling before a visit to the Egyptian Spice market (stock up on bargain saffron, spices and Turkish delight here!).
Why hit just one continent when you can get double value from the city that straddles two?
No stay in Istanbul would complete without a traditional and unforgettable cruise along the Bosphorus, the winding straits seperating Europe and Asia. The humble fishing villages and suspension bridges set against the dramatic outline of the Strait exemplify the newest link between the East and West. While onboard, seeing Bosphorus Bridge and Rumeli Fortress, built in just 4 months in 1452 by Mehmet the Conqueror in preparation of his planned siege of Byzantine Constantinople.
The Marmaray provides you a unique chance to make a link between the European and Asian continents by train in a sub-sea tunnel (resting upon the sea floor beneath the waters of the Bosphorus Strait). This engineering feat was first conceived by a legendary Ottoman sultan in 1860. Designed to withstand earthquakes, this is the world’s first underwater tunnel that connects two continents. In theory, it brings closer the day when it will be possible to travel from London to Beijing via Istanbul by train! The giant rail system of Istanbul’s Marmaray Project was inaugurated and opened on October 29, 2013 following four years of construction delays that were largely due to the discovery of ruins dating from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
After lunch, a visit to the Hippodrome area – famed as the centre of Byzantine life for 1000 years and of Ottoman life for another 400! Continuing, visit the stunning Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia, built by Emperor Justinian. Once a church, then a mosque, today it is a museum. Before tour’s end, visiting the Basilica Cistern an ancient underground water tank replete with carved and fluted Corinthian columns and a puzzling head of Medusa. Visitors walk on walkways suspended above the clear, now shallow water. It’s very cool and peaceful. Overnight Istanbul. (B, L)
Day 3 Northern Cappadocia
05:00 This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Kayseri. On arrival you will be met and transferred to Cappadocia. Cappadocia is an extraordinary national treasure and is perhaps even the jewel in Turkey’s illustrious crown. Turkey’s most visually striking region, where erosion has formed caves, clefts, pinnacles, fairy chimneys and sensuous folds in the soft volcanic rock.
09:30 Start the tour by visiting Esentepe, a hillside with spectacular views over the Goreme Valley. Here, take photos of the magnificent, lava-formed landscapes as a taster of what’s to come, and then set off with your guide to explore properly. Visit Pasabag (Monk’s Valley), whose chimneys are widely regarded as the best in Cappadocia, see a chapel dedicated to the well known reclusive monk, St. Simeon as well as some small cave habitations that were carved and used by monks one thousand years ago. and ogle the Devrent Valley, where more mushroom-shaped pinnacles cover the hillsides.
Drive to the pottery town of Avanos, where the longest river Kizilirmak (Red River) in Turkey passes through. Have the chance to view the pottery making demonstration and even try your hand at making your own unique pot. Break for a buffet lunch at a local restaurant before visiting the UNESCO-listed Goreme Open-Air Museum, famous for its rock-cut chapels coated in Byzantine frescoes. Admire the beautifully painted chapels. Marvel at the numerous cave churches and monasteries with their richly frescoed walls painted by Orthodox Monks around 1000-1200 AD.
See also the Uchisar Castle. Situated at the highest point and providing superb panoramic vistas, it is a large rock formation full of interconnected rooms, tunnels and passages that have been carved from the tufa. Scattered throughout the immediate surroundings are several Roman tombs also cut from the tufa. Board back to your coach and end your experience with a hotel drop-off. Spend the evening at leisure amid Cappadocia’s magical landscape or don’t miss the optional traditional Turkish folklore evening and performance of a whirling dervish! Overnight Cappadocia. (L)
Optional Whirling Dervish Ceremony & Traditional Turkish Folklore Evening – EUR 45
19:30 A great night out where dinner, unlimited drinks and entertainment is included in the price, which takes place in a cave restaurant, which is carved into the region’s soft volcanic rock. The show features belly dancers, traditional folk dancers and traditional Turkish musicians.
Before drinks are served, Mevlevi Dervishes perform the whirling sema ceremony with Sufi music concert. In 2005, UNESCO proclaimed the ‘The Mevlevi Sema Ceremony’ of Turkey as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The dervish music and whirling event lasts about 15 minutes. These shows not only to introduce you to Turkish culture and various Anatolian dances, but provide you with a genuinely entertaining show.
Day 4 Southern Cappadocia
This morning you have the option of taking a hot-air balloon ride in a region famed for being one of the best places in the world for ballooning.
Optional Hot Air Ballooning – EUR 110
05:30 Start the day with a balloon ride over the moonscapes of Cappadocia. Discover the stunning landscape of the region from a hot-air balloon! Admire Cappadocia’s beautiful scenery of tall, volcanic rock spires and high plateaus from the air on a 1-hour flight.
Toast to your unforgettable experience with a glass of Champagne during the post-flight celebration and receive a souvenir medal. Your Cappadocia hot-air balloon flight includes a complimentary pre-flight buffet breakfast and convenient round-trip hotel transportation.
09:30 Today you will begin with a visit to the remarkable underground city of Kaymakli, which was occupied during the period of early Christianity when the local population went underground for protection. When the Arabs invaded Asia Minor in the 7th and 8th centuries, Cappadocia remained relatively undisturbed by the conflicts; perhaps due to the fact that the monks and local Christians went underground, literally, excavating the subterranean cities and richly frescoed cave churches which you can explore today. Kaymakli is one of many such complexes that have been discovered in the region. Wind through the network of tunnels and chambers as you descend several levels underground.
The tour will then visit Cavusin, an old Christian village, where you will see a triple apse church and the Monastery of St. John the Baptist. The day’s touring includes lunch and an easy grade, three kilometer hike through the Red Gulludere Valley, inaccessible by automobile and providing absolutely breathtaking scenery. Walk among the fantastic rock formations and along the way discover hidden frescoed cave churches. Before tour’s end, visit the natural landmark of Ortahisar Castle.
18:00 This evening you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight to the exotic city of Istanbul. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your accommodation. Overnight Istanbul. (B, L)
Day 5 Istanbul (Free Day)
Day at leisure. Istanbul is easy to get around on foot and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes dotted about the city. Perhaps check out the Grand Bazaar for exotic souvenirs or soak up the ambiance of the city at your own pace. Overnight Istanbul. (B)
Absorb yourself in history and beauty of Istanbul on our optional Rest of Istanbul tour and visit the home of legendary Ottoman Sultans, Topkapi Palace with accommpanying Harem Museum. Continue to the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora, the interior of the building is covered with fine mosaics and frescoes and Turkey’s largest covered market-Grand Bazaar and more. Marvel at these famous monuments alongside your expert guide who will give you individual attention on this small-group tour.
Explore Buyukada, the largest of Turkey’s Princes’ Islands, on this optional full-day trip from Istanbul! Cruise across the Sea of Marmara, watching the sights of Istanbul slip from view, and then explore the pedestrianized island in the best possible way – by horse-drawn carriage!
Optional Rest of Istanbul Tour
Enjoy an extensive tour of the Topkapi Palace and Harem Museum, the royal residence of the legendary Ottoman Sultans, now converted into a museum. Originally constructed between 1460 and 1478, the lavish palace boasts four lush courtyards made up of pavilions, kitchens, barracks and kiosks; an impressive treasury with an assortment of treasures and artefacts; and fantastic views over the Sea of Marmara.
The royal quarters where the sultan, his family and, yes, many concubines lived are there, but be sure not to miss the Chamber of Holy Relics, which has King David’s sword, a fragment of Moses’ staff, and John the Baptist’s arm and a section of his skull. Relics of Mohammed are also on display.
Before lunch, check out the labyrinthine and chaotic, Grand Bazaar sprawling over a huge area in the heart of the Old City. This was the first shopping mall ever built during the time of Mehmet the Conqueror. Starting as a small masonry bedesten (covered market), today, the bazaar has 16 hans (caravanserais), 64 lanes, mosques, banks, a police station, restaurants, workshops and more than 2000 shops, making it a world within itself. Before long, it became the center for trade in the entire Ottoman Empire. At its prime, the market was locked down and guarded by more than a hundred soldiers every night, like a fortified castle.
After lunch, enjoy a visit to the Suleymaniye Mosque, built by the greatest, richest and most powerful of Ottoman sultans – Suleymaniye I, better known as Suleymaniye the Magnificent and the nearby Kariye Museum, where you will see some of the finest examples of Byzantine art, frescoes and golden mosaics. Your guide will take you through the lifetime of Jesus and Mother Mary following the artefacts on the walls.
Your tour then ends with a visit to the City Walls, initially built by Constantine the Great, the walls surrounded the new city on all sides, protecting it against attack from both sea and land. As the city grew, the famous double line of the Theodosian Walls was built in the 5th century. Ultimately the city fell from sheer force of Ottoman forces on 29 May 1453 after a 6-week siege.
Optional Princes’ Islands Leisure Tour
Leave your central Istanbul hotel by air-conditioned coach and head to the port with your guide to board your boat to the Princes’ Islands. The largest and most interesting one is Buyukada – your destination of the day! While cruising, look back on the sights of Istanbul, seeing iconic landmarks like Topkapi Palace and pretty Kiz Kulesi (also known as Maiden’s Tower or Leander’s Tower), which was featured in the James Bond film The World is Not Enough.
Dock in Buyukada and then amble through the streets with your guide, soaking up the laid-back atmosphere of island life. Vehicles are notably non-existent here, and the pretty roads resonate with the pleasing clip-clop of horse-drawn carriages. Hop aboard your own carriage and explore Buyukada at a fittingly relaxed pace. Your guide will explain the island’s history as you travel, talking about its time as a place of exile for banished statesmen and royalty, and of its life as a monastic settlement during Turkey’s Byzantine-Christian period.
Pass the lovely wooden mansions that exemplify the island’s late Ottoman-era architecture, and look out over the sparkling sea lapping on the shores. Seagulls are everywhere in Buyukada, and if you want to feed them your guide will give you simits (bread with sesame seeds) so you can throw them a treat.
Stop for lunch at a seafood restaurant and then spend the rest of your day at leisure on the island. Bring your bathing suit if you want to swim, or perhaps explore the island’s craft shops and waterfront cafés. Meet your guide at a pre-arranged time for your boat ride back to Istanbul. The last leg of your journey is made by coach to your Istanbul hotel, where your tour ends.
Day 6 Istanbul to Gallipoli
12:00-12:30 We meet at our central meeting point in Istanbul and departure for the 5-hour drive to the WW1 battlefields of Gallipoli. We’ll stop for a bite, stretch our legs and stock up on supplies, as we drive along the shores of the Sea of Marmara and the straits of the Dardanelles, we’ll be viewing the waterway that the British, French and Anzac troops were intended to secure during the Gallipoli campaign.
17:00-17:30 On arrival at the Gallipoli battlefield area we will enjoy free time for dinner in the port town of Eceabat before we head to ANZAC Cove at 20:00 where the ANZAC legend was born, to secure a good spot at ceremonial site in readiness for the long night ahead.
(Please note: No accommodation is available on this night – you will sleep under the stars as the ANZAC’s did 102 years before * The evening may be very cold – please come prepared with appropriate shoes and clothing * Food and drinks are available to purchase near the dawn service site)
Day 7 Dawn Service
The battlefields cover an extensive area from Cape Helles at the southern tip of the peninsula north for over 35 km (22 miles) to the Anafartalar hills. Around 100,000 were killed and 400,000 wounded during the nine-month campaign (1915-1916).
This tour gives you the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the 60,000 Australians and 8556 New Zealanders who served at Gallipoli, including the 11,500 who never came home.You’ll have plenty of time to independently explore the many trenches and memorial sites as you make your way up to Lone Pine or Chunuk Bair for the Australian or New Zealand National services.
05:30 Start with a poignant bugle call, as dawn breaks over the Gallipoli peninsula, we will join thousands of fellow Australians and New Zealanders in an once-in-a-lifetime event, the Dawn Service at Anzac Cove. As the sun rises behind us, the strains of the Last Post will echo across the valleys and ridges of Gallipoli, silent now but once the scene of so much sacrifice and tragedy. The service lasts for an hour.
The dawn service continues until around 08:00 and then your tour guide will bring you up to Lone Pine and Chunik Blair for the Australian and New Zealand Services.
After the service, walk 5km (3.1 mi) to the Australian cemetery at Lone Pine, before continuing a further 2km (1.24 mi) uphill to Chunuk Bair for the New Zealand ceremony, which will end at approx. 1:30. The service at Chunuk Bair starts 45 minutes after the Australian service at Lone Pine. If you’re a New Zealander, you will need to head straight to Chunuk Bair. It’s a good walk uphill and you’ll be struggling to view both services.
10:00 Australian National Ceremony at Lone Pine (Please note – as of 2016 onwards, the Australian ceremony at Lone Pine will no longer be conducted. Passangers can still visit the Lone Pine site following the dawn service, but the ceremony will no longer take place)
11:45 New Zealender National Ceremony at Chunuk Bair
Late afternoon you will meet up with the coach again and drive back to your hotel. Overnight Gallipoli.
Day 8 Tour of Gallipoli
The World War I battlefields of Gallipoli are now a serene site. Here, we’ll embark upon a guided tour of the region, once the site of fierce fighting and today almost hauntingly beautiful, with its wooded landscape dotted with understated memorials to the war dead. Our guided tour of the region will take in sights such as ANZAC Cove and Commemorative Site, Lone Pine Australian War Memorial and cemetery (the site where Albert Jacka became the first Australian to be awarded a VC in WW1), Chunuk Bair New Zealand War Memorial and cemetery, the Nek (where the Australian Light Horse Brigade suffered heavily in August offensives), Johnston’s Jolly and the many fortified trenches still clearly visible amongst the scrub after all these years. Roughly 3 feet deep, the system of trenches provided much need safe cover for troops as they desperately fought the enemy.
You will also have the chance to visit the Turkish 57th Infantry Regiment Cemetery and Memorial and the sculpture ‘Respect to Mehmetcik’ at Pine Ridge. (Mehmetcik – ‘Little Mehmet’ – an affectionate Turkish nickname for Ottoman/Turkish soldiers).
Among the many statues, cemeteries and memorials at Gallipoli, this one stands out. Recalling a true event, the Mehmetcik Memorial revive the moment an incredible event occurre:
‘A piece of white underwear was raised from one of the Turkish trenches and a well built, unarmed soldier appeared. Everyone was stunned and we starred in amazement. The Turk walked slowly towards the wounded British soldier gently lifted him, took him in his arms and started to walk towards our trenches. He placed him down gently on the ground near us and then straight away returned to his trench. We couldn’t even thank him. This courageous and beautiful act of the Turkish soldier has our love and deepest respect to this brave and heroic soldier’. First Lieutenant Casey
Richard Casey later became Governor-General of Australia and served at Gallipoli as aide-de-camp to Major-General Sir William Bridges.
The day ends on the small Kabatepe Information Centre and Museum – a museum of modest proportions which exhibits period uniforms, weapons, copies of letters from servicemen and other poignant personal possessions. Outside the small museum are some memorial gardens and top views of the peninsular memorials dotted across the landscape. Overnight Gallipoli.
Day 9 Troy and Pergamum
This morning we enjoy a guided tour of Troy! If you’ve seen the movie – ‘Troy’ or read the poet Homer’s – ‘The Iliad’ you’ll be familiar with Paris – Prince of Troy, his prized Helen and Hector – Prince of Troy on the Trojan side and Agamemnon and Achilles (he of the heel) on the Aechaean (Greek) side. The legend of the lost city of Troy and Homer’s poetry was bought alive by it’s rediscovery in 1863. Subsequent excavations revealed 9 ancient cities, one on top of the other, dating back to 3000 BC!
We enjoy a tour of the ruins and bear witness to a replica of the stoic Trojan wooden horse that, as the story goes, was filled to the gunnels with Aechaean soldiers who helped sack Troy. Canakkale city is also home to a replica of the Trojan horse used in the 2004 film Troy. Movie of Troy features an ensemble cast that includes Brad Pitt, Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom.
Visit the ancient Acropolis of Pergamum en route to Kusadasi, once the capital of the East Roman Empire. Sitting in a stunning location on top of a hill, Pergamum is also famous for its awesome hillside amphitheatre, one of the steepest in the classical world. The highlight of any visit is the Temple of Trajan, the ruins of what would have been a colossal marble temple, that has been carefully restored using ruins found on the site. There is also the dramatic amphitheatre, carved steeply into the hillside, and thought to date back to the 3rd century BC.
In the early Christian era, Pergamon’s church was a major center of Christianity and was one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. We’ll follow a picturesque route along the Aegean coastal to the cosmopolitan resort town of Kusadasi where your hotel awaits. Check into your room, enjoy dinner and then spend the rest of your evening at leisure. Overnight Kusadasi.
Day 10 Ancient city of Ephesus and Sirince Village
09:00 Today, we explore legendary Ephesus open-air museum – positively the best-preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean. Ephesus, under the Romans was a vast city with a population nearing 250,000, revelling in prosperity from commerce. We have plenty of time to tour the marble ruins of Ephesus. Be sure to see the famous Library of Celsus, the gymnasium of Vedius, Stadium, and the Great Theatre. We’ll see ancient public toilets, a brothel, fountains and various temples.
You will also have the chance to visit the pilgrimage point claimed to be the last home of the Virgin Mary before driving to the nearby Ottoman-Greek village of Sirince, trying some of their specialty fruit wines and take a break to enjoy a delicious lunch of Turkish cuisine at a local restaurant, while your local guide explains interesting facts about gourmet’s paradise of Turkey. As you approach the village, the road passes through vineyards, orchards and olive groves which is why it is sometimes referred to as the Tuscany of Turkey. Have your cameras ready as you stroll with your guide up and down the narrow cobblestone lanes between buildings of stone, wood, and plaster. The fragrance of burning wood or the local orchards in bloom will captivate your senses.
Continue to the nearby site of the Temple of Artemis also known as the Temple of Diana, built in around 550 BC and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. See the restored column that marks the site and hear how the temple was rebuilt three times before its destruction in 401 AD. It was discovered during excavations that were undertaken by the British Museum, in 1869-1874 under the supervision of J.T. Wood and in 1904-1905 under David G. Hogart. Many of the ruins are displayed at the museum in England.
Before tour’s end, visit the wonderful example of the Seljukian architecture, Isabey Mosque located just beneath the citadel in Selcuk near the Basilica of Saint John. It’s interior is carved and decorated beautifully and a masterpiece of its time. There is an inscription to God that decorates the main doorway.
Opt to visit amazing tile murals and artwork of the Terrace Houses in the free time given while you are inside the Ephesus open-air museum. Excavated from the 1960s to the 1980s, the structure is a city block of 1st-century AD (Roman) private residences, comparable to a condominium and occupying about 4,000 square metres (about an acre). In many regards, the remains are on a par with the famous ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy – making them one of the world’s key sites to experience and admire the sophistication, luxury and aesthetic refinement of upper-class Roman domestic life. Surprisingly, only about one in twenty visitors to Ephesus explores this unique structure. (Entrance to the Terrace Houses is not accommopanied by a guide and requires additional entrance fee paid on the spot, 15TL or 5 Euro). Overnight Kusadasi. (B, L)
Day 11 White calcium formations of Pamukkale
08:00 Driving east, we arrive at Pamukkale – home of the famous gleaming white calcium terraced pools. Known locally as the Cotton Castles, they are a natural phenomena and gift of Mother Nature. Pamukkale was formed when warm, calcium rich mineral water cascaded over the cliff edge, cooling and depositing in the process. The calcium built natural shelves and pools on the cliffs, known as travertines. Today, many of the pools are closed to tourists. However, areas of the travertines can be walked upon, albeit in bare feet.
We can also opt to enjoy a unique and very pleasant dip in the warm waters at the Pamukkale Thermal, with its submerged fragments of fluted marble columns near the centre of the ruined spa town of Hierapolis, which was a was a cure centre founded around 190 BC by the Romans. The Romans were aware of the curative powers of mineral springs and created communal baths.
This afternoon you are transferred to the bus station and board an afternoon local bus driving south towards the Aegean coast to the resort town of Bodrum, once known as Halicarnassus, the popular resort and yachting port of Bodrum, at the western end of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Overnight Bodrum. (B, L)
Bodrum may be just as much of a hyperresort as Kusadasi and Marmaris, but with its sugar-cube houses, draped in bougainvillea, and the palm-lined streets it has been more successful at clinging to its original charm. Despite the influx of charter deals and lager louts in high summer, a short walk along the waterfront will show Bodrum is gaining a reputation as the Monte Carlo of the Aegean, with a smart new marina, sophisticated restaurants and millions of dollars worth of sailing craft laying over for a night or two. Bodrum’s outstanding Museum of Underwater Archaeology is also well worth a stop in itself.
But it’s certainly not a place for those whose idea of a dream holiday revolves around peace and quiet. For years the outdoor Halikarnas disco revelled in its fame as the loudest disco in the Med and these days it has competitors too. Come in spring or autumn, however, and Bodrum reverts to a pleasant, relatively low-key resort. Not surprisingly, tourism is the local economy’s lifeblood, although there’s a plentiful tangerine crop in winter.
Day 12 Bodrum
Enjoy a day at leisure in Bodrum. Maybe you would prefer to visit Bodrum castle, museum of underwater archaeology and antique theater of Halicarnassus or spend the day relaxing on the beach on your own. Alternatively, you can choose an optional day trip to the Greek Island of Kos or relax on a day cruise around the crystal waters of Bodrum. The choice is yours. Overnight Bodrum. (B)
Optional Kos Island Independent Day Trip from Bodrum
Start your day with a hotel pickup from your Bodrum hotel, and then board your hydrofoil in Bodrum to cruise southwest to the island of Kos, roughly twenty minutes away. The most easterly Greek island, Kos sits adrift in the southeastern Aegean Sea and boasts paradisaical scenery and history in equal measures.
After docking at the port, how you spend your time on the gorgeous island is up to you. All entrance fees, food and drinks are at your own expense. Follow the footsteps of sun worshipers to the island’s best beaches and enjoy a day of soaking up the sun on the sand. Visit Paradise Beach for soft sand and calm waters, relax in tranquil seclusion at Limnionas Beach or maybe stroll along the pebbled shores of Agios Theologos Beach.
If you are keen to discover the island’s urban delights, head into Kos town to explore its palm-fringed streets, thronged with restaurants, bars and shops. The town is home to some of the island’s more interesting historical landmarks and Roman ruins. Perhaps pay a visit to the Castle of the Knights (Kos Nerantzia Castle), to explore the ruined towers, battlements and ramparts that date to the days of the knights’ reign. The group of Christian crusaders occupied the city from the 14th century for some 200 years.
Having enjoyed your day, make your own way back to the island’s port at the prearranged time. Then, simply re-board your hydrofoil, and cruise back over the sea to Bodrum. Your independent day trip then finishes with a drop-off at your Bodrum hotel.
Optional Bodrum Peninsula Full-Day Cruise
Spend a day cruising around Turkey’s glorious Bodrum Peninsula on a full-day cruise from Bodrum! Soak up the scenery from out on deck and admire the region’s sun-drenched shoreline framed by forests and hills. The route taken on the relaxing cruise includes several stops for swimming, snorkeling and walking, plus a visit to Kara Ada, a gorgeous yachting island that’s known for its mineral-dense waters. Lunch is served roughly halfway through the day and beer, wine and soft drinks are available while on board (own expense).
Start your day with a pickup from your centrally located Bodrum hotel, and then travel by minivan to the port. Step aboard your hydrofoil boat and take a seat out on deck as you cruise away from the city and around some of Turkey’s most unspoiled stretches of coastline.
The exact route taken depends on the sea conditions on the day of your cruise, but it will always take in several of the beautiful sheltered bays and pine-fringed beaches that personify the Bodrum Peninsula. Enjoy frequent stops to swim, snorkel and top up your tan. Perhaps take a book with you to read in the sun, or simply sit back and ogle the scenery as you cruise from cove to cove.
Kara Ada — or Black Island — is a site that is always taken in on your cruise, so enjoy a stop to bathe in the grotto and see if its mineral waters enhance your complexion, as legend suggests. The island is a popular stop-off on cruises around Turkey’s so-called Turquoise Coast, so look out for swanky yachts and gulets(traditional Turkish sailing boats) bobbing around the island’s chic shores.
Roughly halfway through the day, enjoy a stop for lunch, cooked on board by your crew. Meals vary, but typically include a fresh salad, grilled chicken and rice or pasta.
After exploring the scenic coastline of the Bodrum Peninsula, start cruising back to Bodrum. On arrival at the city’s port, swap from your hydrofoil to your minivan, and finish your day trip with a drop-off at your Bodrum hotel.
Day 13 Bodrum to Fethiye/Oludeniz
Relaxing morning before an afternoon drive further south the Mediterranean coast to Fethiye, rests on a broad Mediterranean bay boasting some of Turkey’s best beaches and yachting.
Tonight we choose to stay either in the resort town of Oludeniz, famous for paragliding or harbour town of Fethiye. Overnight Fethiye or Oludeniz. (B, D)
Oludeniz (Dead Sea), about 15km southeast of Fethiye, is not devoid of life like its biblical namesake. Rather, it’s a sheltered lagoon hidden from the open sea. The scene as you come down from the pine-clad hills is absolutely beautiful: in the distance open sea, in the foreground a long spit of sandy beach.
Unfortunately the paradise that many past travellers fondly recall has all but been ruined by the tightly packed belt of hotels behind the beach. Oludeniz (the lagoon) and Belcekiz (the adjacent beach resort) used to be one of the highlights of independent travel in Turkey but the development of identical air-conditioned hotels, loud bars and overpriced restaurants has hardly bolstered its appeal. Many travellers may prefer to shoot straight through. Note that the name of the lagoon (Oludeniz) is becoming synonymous with the town and that asking for Belcekiz may draw a blank.
Day 14 Fethiye/Oludeniz
You have the option to relax on a day cruise around the 12 Islands of Fethiye, discover Dalyan river and experience the therapeutic properties of the mud and thermal baths, explore one of Turkey’s highlights Saklikent Gorge, Turkey’s longest and deepest canyon or visit the stunning Greek Island of Rhodes. Overnight Fethiye or Oludeniz. (B, D)
Optional 12 Islands Full-Day Cruise
The word fantastic will fall short in describing this tour. We promise a perfect day on board our fully equipped and comfortable vessels with all the services you or your family might need provided. This tour will make a climax in your holiday. There are a lot of activities on this boat trip for every taste and state of vintage we dont call it age anymore!
After pick-up from your accommodation and a drive to Fethiye harbour, when you embark our comfortable and spacious boats, our hospitable crew will take you for an enchanting ODYSSEY along the 12 Islands. On a myriad of bays and islands where navies and corsaires sought shelter from tempests all through mans nautical history, you will find yourself in the bosom of Mediterranean like no other boat trip can compare. Swim in the aquarium-clear crystalline waters, disembark and take strolls at various islands and bays, sunbathe and fall asleep in tune with mother natures most tranquil lullaby, and have BBQ lunch on board. You will return with unforgettable memories.
With more than enough legroom for our guests on our 65 foot single and double decker boats you will find comfort and peace. Clean toilets and shower facilities, bar, sun beds and shades, fishing tackle and snorkelling apparatus, jackets for non-swimmers and beginners for all ages provided on the boats.
Optional Dalyan River, Sultaniye Mud Baths, Caunos, Turtle Beach Tour
We drive through pine and frankincense forests along a most spectacular scenery of Taurus chain of mountains on one side, the Mediterranean coast on the other.
A vast green area with unique properties Dalyan is a very popular small town not spoiled by buildings. The wonderful 7 kilometres sandy Iztuzu Beach, which is accessible by a 45 minutes boat trip, is one of the last nesting areas for the Caretta caretta, Sea Turtles. Between May and September, the female turtles come to the beach to lay their eggs, to keep check on them from time to time and finally to take their babies to the sea.
A 15 minutes boat trip will take you to the sulphur bath which is a different experience for many people visiting the city. The mud containing sulphur and other elements is said to be good for skin conditions and makes you feel refreshed and revitalized. Also there is a small spa where you can just relax.
Caunos, the ancient city near modern Dalyan, was founded around the 9th century BC. Once it was a Mediterranean city port, but over the centuries the silt from the Dalyan River choked the harbour and today the town lies several kilometres from the sea. Caunos is famous for its rock-cut tombs. These were graves for the kings and important people of the city. Since the pagans of the area believed in resurrection, they put lots of food, money, jewellery and other valuable items in holes at the entrance of the tombs, but because of grave robbers nothing is now left today.
Optional Rhodes Island Independent Day Trip from Fethiye
Start your day with a pickup from your centrally located Fethiye hotel or meet your air-conditioned vehicle at a pre-arranged location. Then, travel to the port and board your high-speed catamaran to Rhodes, the largest of the Greek Dodecanese islands. Enjoy the views of the Aegean Sea as you make your 45-minute crossing to Rhodes Town, the island’s charming capital. Conveniently, the ferry port is an easy walk from the walled Rhodes Old Town, one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval cities.
When you arrive, you’re free to do as you wish, with no itineraries tying you down. Do as most visitors do and head straight for the UNESCO-listed Rhodes Old Town, entering through one of the seven gates in its walls. Then, spend the day exploring the cobbled streets and Gothic, Frankish and Ottoman gems of this stunning district founded by the Knights of St John in the 14th century. Admire the Street of the Knights and visit the Palace of the Grand Masters, Archaeological Museum and Museum of Decorative Arts. Delve into the maze-like alleys to see the gorgeous medieval architecture; shop for Rhodean lace and ceramics, and sample Greek dishes at the tavernas and cafes.
Alternatively, hit the capital’s modern shopping district, laze on its beaches or absorb the views from historic Mandraki Harbour, once the site of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. All entrance fees, meals and drinks are at your own expense. Return to the port in the late afternoon to catch your catamaran back to Turkey. Then, on arrival in Fethiye enjoy a drop-off back at your hotel.
Day 15 Fethiye/Oludeniz to Kas
Heading west around the coast towards Kas with a stop at the atmospheric village of Kale Koyu, sitting beneath Simena Crusader castle and looking out over turquoise waters to rocky, uninhabited Kekova Island. Peeping out from a riot of carob, palm, walnut, fig and banana trees, the village is a mere smattering of old Greek houses, three of which are simple pensions.
Kas, once an unspoiled fishing village, is now a relatively unspoiled tourist town on the southern bulge of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast two hours’ drive southeast of Fethiye and three hours’ drive southwest of Antalya. Overnight Kas. (B)
A more workaday destination than Kalkan, Kas – pronounced (roughly) ‘cash’ – may not sport the finest beaches in the region, but it’s a yachties’ haven and the atmosphere of the town is wonderfully mellow. The surrounding areas are ideal for day trips by sea or scooter, and a plethora of adventure sports are on offer, in particular some excellent wreck diving.
Extending to the west of the old town is the 6km-long Cukurbag Peninsula. At the start of it you’ll find a well-preserved ancient theatre, about all that’s left of ancient Antiphellos, the name of the original Lycian town here. Above the town several Lycian rock tombs in the mountain wall can be seen even at night when they are illuminated. Lying just offshore is the geopolitical oddity of the Greek island of Meis (Kastellorizo), which can be visited.
Day 16 Kas
Day at leisure. You can embark on easy walks, difficult treks, white-water rafting trips, diving and snorkelling. You can visit ancient cities, go paragliding and take boat trips – the list is almost endless. The town is very family-friendly and is popular amongst travellers of all ages, abilities and levels of fitness. Overnight Kas. (B)
Optional Lycian Way Trekking
Why not walk partly Turkey’s Lycian Way, widely regarded as one of the world’s great trails. Gain an appreciation of the landscape of this great country in a way that is impossible from inside a bus. Whether a casual walker or a serious trekker, this active journey will appeal to those looking for a better way to appreciate magnificent scenery. You’ll hike through pine forests and olive groves, across flower-filled fields, past shepherd’s huts, and the soul-lifting views of valleys. This is adventure at its purest and most simple.
Optional Greek Island of Meis Kastellorizo Independent Day Trip from Kas
This is very pleasant day trip to a tiny Dodecanese island with the population of around 450 people. The island sits just opposite the harbour of Kas and Meis Kastellorizo is the closest Greek island to Turkey.
Meet at 9.30am at Kas harbor, all you need is your passport with you. The boat will sail over to the island where you can spend whole your day in Meis island and see the Greek’s culture. Relax in the sun on the beach or walk the island. The harbour area in Meis is charming with warren of alleys and houses behind the pretty waterside shops and restaurants.
Day 17 Kas to Antalya
We drive along the Turquoise coast today, stopping for a lunch in Olympos, home of the world famous tree houses before heading towards Antalya, ‘capital’ of the Turkish Mediterranean Coast, is a sprawling modern city with a small, charming historic center, a good archeology museum, long sunny beaches to east and west, the Turquoise Coast’s busiest airport, good hotels, lots to see and do and dramatic sea and mountain views. Overnight Antalya. (B)
Situated directly on the Gulf of Antalya, this quickly growing epicentre of both ancient history and thoroughly modern Turkish culture has, since the 1960s, become known as a gateway city for the country’s so-called ‘Turkish Riviera’. Over the past decade sun-worshippers heading to nearby Mediterranean resorts have been laying over in Antalya in such great numbers that the guesthouse industry has experienced astounding growth of its own – by more than 200%, according to tourism officials.
It isn’t difficult to discern why: The preserved Roman-Ottoman quarter of Kaleici commands a heart-stopping view of the Beydaglari (Bey Mountains), as well as the Roman harbour at Kaleiçi’s base and the refreshingly clean body of water in between. And although its populace hasn’t yet reached the level of urban sophistication found in Istanbul or Ankara , life here nonetheless pushes forward at a remarkably modern clip. Antalya lays claim to some of Turkey’s finest restaurants, one of its most impressive archaeological museums, and some of its best-preserved Ottoman architecture.
Day 18 Antalya
Enjoy a full day at leisure in Antalya. Antalya is an international resort city that has become a prime destination in Turkey. Long popular among yachters, the city also offers the liveliest nightlife on the southern coast, fantastic beaches, and world-class shopping, in addition to historic ruins in the surrounding region. A fascinating optional tour is offered to the Pamphylian city of Perge and to the ancient city of Aspendos. Overnight Antalya. (B)
Optional Perge-Aspendos-Side and Kursunlu Waterfall Tour
Your guide will pick you up from your hotel by luxury minibus and then drive you to Perge. Easily the most important city of ancient Pamphylia, Perge is said to have been in its heyday during the Hellenistic period and under Roman rule. Most of its relics date from the 2nd century AD, and you’ll see some of the finest on a tour with your guide. See Perge’s Roman Gate with its magnificent arches, the colonnaded main street and the city’s meticulously restored public baths.
After lunch in a café, continue by minibus to Aspendos to see one of the best-preserved Roman theaters of the ancient world. Still used today, this incredible theater stages sell-out operas, events and concerts. Nearby, see Aspendos’ 3rd-century basilica ruins and remains of the town’s central meeting point, known as the agora.
Before tour’s end, a pleasant stop at the Duden Waterfalls and its surrounding gardens. A natural cave has formed behind the falls and it is possible to sit here and watch the cascades. There are restaurants, boardwalks and picnic tables in the gardens immediately surrounding the falls to help you make the most of this scenic spot.
Day 19 Antalya
You are free to depart at any time today. After breakfast your tour draws to a close and we say goodbye to our new friends. Please note that check-out time from the hotel is normally noon, but luggage storage facilities are available.
We are able to organise extra post-trip accommodation and day tours/activities if you wish to extend your stay. Happy travels! (B)