Enjoy the diversity of this unique country - cruising on a gorgeous teak yacht, exploring beautiful coves and hidden villages, visiting dramatic ruins and volcanic landscapes, and indulging in delightful cuisine.
Turkey and Turquoise Coast Cruising Tour Overview
Set astride the boundary of Europe and Asia, Turkey boasts the rich and varied history to be expected of a country at such an important cultural crossroads. Over the course of its long history the city of Istanbul, set gloriously on the Bosphorus Strait, has served as the center of numerous empires, including Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman. The historic areas of Istanbul have enjoyed UNESCO World Heritage List status for more than 20 years, testament to their significance and impressive beauty. From Istanbul, we venture to Cappadocia, a region of exceptional natural wonders characterized by fairy chimneys and a unique historical and cultural heritage. Here, we hike amid lunar-like rock formations and discover local artisans’ shops. Our stay in a wonderfully unique cave hotel completes the experience. We then arrive on the Turquoise Coast, at the meeting of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. Dotted with islands and rife with mythological history, the azure waters here invite us to explore in our traditional tirhandil-styled boat, with days are spent snorkeling, swimming, and exploring the dazzlingly beautiful coves and hidden villages along the coastline.
Itinerary at a Glance
Days 1-2: We explore on foot and enjoy a sunset cruise on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, enriched with Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman influences. Istanbul is home to the thousand-year-old Hagia Sophia, once the greatest church in Christendom, and the Rustem Pasha Mosque, with its blue-themed interior an panels of floral-motif tiles and graceful arabesque stenciling. Visit Topkapi Palace, where the sultans' wives, concubines, and eunuchs lived inside the “forbidden” harem quarters. Enjoy a guided walk through the Covered Bazaar to the Spice Market.
Days 3-4: Hiking in Cappadocia, with its magical landscape, frescoed Byzantine cave churches, and welcoming villages. Spread across the heart of Turkey is the volcanic moonscape of Cappadocia, with its mushroom-shaped rock formations into which the local people have carved homes. Enjoy hiking through the lunar-like landscape of Red Valley, from Ortahisar to Cavusin. Along the way, explore hidden churches and discover amazing frescoes that depict the early days of Christianity. Our guides describe the unique geological features of tuff cones, pillars, and the crumbling pyramid rock formations that dot the valley. Visit with Turkish craftsmen, exploring a potter's workshop carved in a cave or a local weaving cooperative.
Day 5: One of the most important outposts of the ancient world, Ephesus was the third largest city in the Roman Empire, after Rome and Alexandria. In this beautifully restored metropolis where St. Paul lived and preached, stroll from the theater to the harbor on the mile-long marble-paved Arcadian way, with its well-preserved mosaics, and feel transported back to the glory days of Rome.
Days 6-11: The calm waters of the Turquoise Coast glisten in every shade of blue in idyllic, deeply indented coves fragrant with pine forests and wild thyme. Aboard your own luxurious gulet, a wooden sailing yacht designed for cruising these waters, set out on a fantastic six-day Turquoise Coast cruise to experience the joys of this celebrated region of Turkey. Your guide will share the best hiking trails and villages, and life onboard is sheer delight: swimming, snorkeling in clear waters, and feasting on delicious cuisine served al fresco on the deck. Fresh-caught seafood is a highlight of many meals.
Days 12-13: Return to Istanbul for departure on day 13.
Cruising the Turquoise Coast
Spend seven days cruising along the azure waters of the Turquoise Coast. Sail to quiet bays and coves, and hike through unspoiled countryside among Greek theaters, Hellenistic temples, Roman arches, and Byzantine mosaics. Sample tea with villagers, soak in natural hot springs, snorkel over sunken ruins, and enjoy lunch in Turkish home. Plunge into the sea whenever heat dictates, and, at day’s end, relive your adventures over excellent food and wine.
The Boundless Journeys' Advantage
- A passion for travel. Simply put, we love to travel, and that is woven into every one of our journeys.
- Unique, award-winning itineraries. Our flexible, hand-crafted journeys have received accolades from the world’s most revered travel publications.
- Insider connections. There is simply no substitute for traveling with a knowledgeable insider.
- Small groups. We tread softly, and our average group size is just 6-8 guests.
- Flexibility to suit your travel style. We offer both small-group departures and Private Collection trips.
- Customer service that goes the extra mile. There is no request that is too big – or too small.
- Sustainability. We are committed to traveling responsibly.
Our tours often fill months in advance, and our maximum group size is smaller than most tour operators. It's very quick and easy to reserve a trip. Give us a call at 800-941-8010 or complete the online Reserve a Trip form. We will confirm your reservation with a $500 per person deposit, payable by check or credit card.
Trip Rating (1 Easiest - 5 Most Strenuous)
Traveling to and From
Most Convenient Airport:
Ataturk International Airport, Istanbul, Turkey (Airport code IST)
Meeting Time and Place:
2 p.m. on Day 1 in the lobby of the Levni Hotel & Spa, Istanbul. Please be dressed in comfortable clothing for a city walking tour.
Departure Time and Place:
Your guides will provide transportation to the Ataturk International Airport in time for your departing flights on the last day of the tour. There are no planned activities for Day 13, so you may schedule your flight for any time that day.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Boundless Journeys’ trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Istanbul to the Turquoise Coast is rated 2+, easy to moderate, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). Although generally just 2-4 hours in length, the hikes may seem longer due to trail conditions. There are no maintained trails in Turkey, so our walks take us on nomadic paths and goat trails, which are often uneven and rocky. Warm weather and lack of shade can also be a factor in perceived difficulty of the walks. Typical elevation gain and loss is about 600 feet on most hikes. All hikes are optional.
Life on board a small boat requires physical agility and a flexible and social nature. Daily excursions from our sailing yacht bring us ashore for hikes and exposure to local culture.
Preparing for this Trip
It is important that you realistically assess your physical condition with regard to the demands of this trip. The more well-prepared you are for the activities on this trip, the more you will enjoy yourself! Please engage in moderate aerobic activities (walking, jogging, or cycling) for at least 30-45 minutes several times a week for 4-6 weeks before the trip. If you live in a flat area, try to incorporate some stairs into your workout, or use a treadmill with varying incline capability. Consult your doctor before undertaking any new fitness programs.
About our Sailing Yacht
The Cavurali was designed and built for people who prefer a seaworthy boat to a floating hotel. Built in 1999, the Cavurali does not compromise comfort and quality, yet provides the nostalgia of a traditional Mediterranean sailing yacht design. Behind the design of this 65-foot, single-mast yacht lies the “Tirhandil Qaique,” a boat design preferred by the mariners and sponge divers of the area for its seaworthiness, sailing ability, and stability. Tirhandil means “3-to-1” in Greek, referring to the ratio between the length and beam. Hand built in Bodrum in 1999, the hull and decks of the Cavurali are made entirely from teak; the interior is made of mahogany. She is the largest tirhandil sailing in these waters, tastefully accented with antique bronze portholes and cowl ducts.
The Cavurali has four comfortable cabins with private bathrooms. Two cabins have separate twin beds, while the other two cabins have double beds. Spacious aft and fore decks complete with awnings provide comfortable outdoor dining, lounging, and sleeping areas, while the cozy interior salon provides an enjoyable refuge during off-season sails and on rare rainy days. Equipment available on board includes two sea kayaks, a windsurfer, and snorkeling gear. The captain of the Cavurali, Tosun Sezen, is a well-known and experienced sponge diver and seafarer. He, along with our gourmet chef, are ideal hosts during our time aboard.
The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts have mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. In İstanbul, daytime summer temperatures average around 70-74°F; the winters are chilly but usually above freezing, with moderate rain and perhaps a dusting of snow. Cappadocia has a steppe climate, meaning that there is a great temperature difference between day and night. The average temperature is 73°F in summer and 28°F in winter. It is cooler and drier than in the Mediterranean and the Aegean coasts. The average water temperature on the Turquoise Coast is in the high 60's to mid-70's.
You may obtain more detailed weather information by visiting www.weatherbase.com.
When to Go
Spring and autumn are the best times to visit, since the climate will be perfect in İstanbul and on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. Visiting before mid-June or after August may also help you avoid mosquitoes.
Overview: First-class and boutique hotels, and a traditionally-styled private sailing yacht to cruise the Mediterranean and Aegean coast. All private baths.
Nights 1 & 2: Levni Hotel & Spa
The Levni Hotel & Spa is a charming boutique hotel located in the heart of Istanbul’s historic quarter. This modern hotel is a contemporary urban oasis that offers guests comfort, impeccable service and attention to detail. The hotel pays homage to the artist Levin and reproductions of his artwork pepper the walls. Enjoy a massage in the hotel spa or plunge into the indoor swimming pool before relaxing in the Turkish bath. The hotel restaurant tempts with mouth-watering Turkish and international cuisine.
Nights 3 & 4: Sultan Cave Suites Hotel
Terraced above the village of Goreme, Sultan Cave Suites Hotel offers breathtaking views of the city below. Simple artifacts and original cave walls have been preserved and integrated into the room design in complete harmony.
Night 5: LaVista Boutique Hotel & Spa
LaVista Boutique Hotel & Spa is the first deluxe boutique hotel in Kusadasi. Built in 2010, each room has a balcony overlooking the Aegean Sea.
Nights 6-11: The Cavurali
Turquoise Coast, Turkey
A 65-foot, single-masted sailing yacht, The Cavurali sleeps seven in four cabins (each with private bath), with a crew of three in separate quarters. Teak decks, a mahogany interior, and traditional Mediterranean design offer an authentic, stable, and comfortable excursion.
Night 12: Levni Hotel & Spa
See Nights 1 & 2 for details.
A Boundless Moment in Turkey...
You might say that all of Turkey is an open-air museum, the landscape dotted with graceful Roman arches, sprawling Greek amphitheaters, and golden Byzantine mosaics—even a sunken bathhouse that Cleopatra is said to have visited twice. But at night, there is only the moon above our single-mast gulet, moored safely in the quiet cove. We drift off to sleep, hearing only the soft creak of the teak boards, the distant hoot of owls, and the gentle lap of waves against the hull.
TURKEY DETAILED ITINERARY
Istanbul: Hagia Sophia and Bosphorus Cruise
City walking tour — easy, about 2 hours; approximately 1 mile.
We meet as a group early in the afternoon and begin our exploration of this blend of Europe and Asia with a visit to the Hagia Sophia. Architecturally significant as the first structure in the world to support a dome atop a square edifice, the Hagia Sophia boasts tremendous historic relevance as well. Originally a church built between A.D. 532 and 537, the Hagia Sophia was converted to a mosque in 1453. During that time, the Christian wall frescoes were plastered over and remained covered until the early 20th century, when the building was converted to a museum in keeping with Mustafa Atatürk’s secularization of Turkey. The remarkably preserved wall murals now delight visitors of all religious backgrounds.
Early in the evening, we enjoy a scenic cruise on the Bosphorus. This is the world’s narrowest strait, linking the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, while dividing Turkey’s landmass between Europe and Asia. Our boat ride ends at a pleasant waterfront restaurant offering seafood and other Turkish specialties for our welcome dinner.
Levni Hotel & Spa, Istanbul
City walking tour — easy, 4-5 hours; approximately 2 miles.
Today we immerse ourselves in the historic wonders of Istanbul with a walking tour that includes visits to the Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, the Hippodrome, and the tile-clad Rustem Pasa Mosque. Topkapi Palace was the official residence of Ottoman sultans between the mid-15th and the mid-19th centuries. The immense complex is made up of four main courtyards and numerous buildings, many of which are now museums housing a range of interesting artifacts. The armory, jewelry, porcelain ware, Ottoman miniatures, and calligraphic manuscripts on display offer a glimpse of Turkish history and culture. At the height of royal power, as many as 4,000 people lived in the palace grounds.
At the Basilica Cistern, we explore the largest of the city’s earliest water reservoir, which lies beneath the streets but is no longer used. We wander along boardwalks above the shallow water among ancient Greek and Roman statues and columns. Above ground, little is left of the 4th-century Hippodrome, but you can still see remnants of the U-shaped horse-racing track.
Our next stop is the Rustem Pasha Mosque, a hidden gem that some describe as a miniature Blue Mosque, without the crowds. It was designed by the famous Ottoman architect, Mimar Sinan for Rüstem Paşa, Grand Vizier to Süleyman the Magnificent. However, he died in 1561, before it could be completed in 1563. What makes this mosque stand out is the gorgeous interior, covered in Turkey’s famous Iznik tiles.
Later, we meander through Istanbul’s legendary Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered markets in the world, encompassing many streets and thousands of shops. Each street features specific goods where buyers and sellers engage in the age-old practice of bargaining for the best deals. The ancient Spice Market is also a treat for the senses. Along the way we encounter the Rustem Pasha Mosque, the first example of an octagonal-shaped mosque.
When we’ve finished exploring Istanbul’s colorful streets, we board a local street car for an expeditious ride back to our hotel. After time to relax, we meet this evening for dinner at another fine local restaurant.
Levni Hotel & Spa, Istanbul
Flight to Kayseri; transfer to Cappadocia
Hike — easy to moderate, 2-3 hours; approximately 4 miles.
This morning we fly to Kayseri and drive to Turkey’s Cappadocia region, arriving by lunchtime. Cappadocia is a vast area of exceptional natural wonders characterized by strangely fascinating rock formations called fairy chimneys. Our accommodations are truly unique; carved into one of these geological wonders is our cave hotel, whose appearance is reminiscent of a Dr. Suess story! The original name for the region, Katpatuka, was taken from an Old Persian word meaning “land of beautiful horses,” and the partnership between man and equine lives on here today.
After lunch, we embark on a hike through Bagli Dere, or the Valley of Spears. We then explore the Goreme Open-Air Museum, a complex of cave churches carved by monks between A.D. 900 and 1200, featuring spectacular frescoes. The murals represent a unique Cappadocian artistic style, and the Byzantine architectural features of these churches are made more interesting because they are not structurally necessary.
Later today we visit Pasabag, an area whose striking fairy chimneys capture the imagination. The stone pillars are naturally carved from tuff, a type of rock consisting of consolidated ash ejected from vents during a volcanic eruption. This area is also known as “Monk’s Valley” because several stylite ascetics sought a hermit lifestyle here, carving rock dwellings and also preaching atop them. Afterwards, we return to our hotel for dinner.
Sultan Cave Suites Hotel, Goreme
Red Valley and Whirling Dervishes
Hike — easy to moderate, 3-4 hours; approximately 5 miles.
Our day begins with a hike through the lunar-like landscape of the Red Valley, from Ortahisar to Cavusin. Along the way, we explore hidden churches and discover more amazing frescoes that depict the early days of Christianity. Our guides describe the unique geological features of tuff cones, pillars, and the crumbling pyramid rock formations that dot the valley.
After lunch and sampling some local wine, we have the opportunity to meet Turkish craftsmen while exploring a potter’s workshop carved into a cave or a local weaving cooperative. Collecting their clay from the riverbank, Cappadocian potters create intricate designs in a range of colorful, geometric patterns. This is a great opportunity to purchase some uniquely Turkish crafts and support local producers.
By late afternoon we return to the hotel and prepare for tonight’s sema, the sacred dancing of the Mevlevi Order of Sufis, mystical practitioners of Islam. Also known as Whirling Dervishes, the Sufis practice these dances in order to achieve closeness to God in a ceremony they call dkir, or “remembrance.” The Mevlevi Order was founded by the 13th-century poet Jelaladin Rumi, who is widely known throughout the world for his verse-love poems to God. The dances are simple, yet captivating, and we are privileged to witness this sacred form of worship.
Sultan Cave Suites Hotel, Goreme
Flight to Izmir; Ephesus
Walk — easy, about 2 hours; approximately 1 mile.
Early this morning we board a flight to Izmir, on the Aegean Sea. Depending on current schedules, we may have a short layover in Istanbul or a direct flight. We then drive to Sirince, a beautiful town whose whitewashed homes with red-tile roofs creep up the verdant mountainside. We have lunch in a café and enjoy absorbing the relaxed pace of everyday life in this community. Next, we explore the marvelous ruins of Roman baths, the library, the ancient market of Agora, the theater, and the remains of homes and administrative complexes that comprise the city of Ephesus. Founded in the 10th century B.C., the Biblical city was an Ionian colony situated on the Aegean; however, archaeological evidence indicates that the site was occupied since the Neolithic period.
We stroll down the main road, paved with white marble slabs and surrounded by beautifully carved pillars, columns, and archways. The city was once distinguished for the nearby Temple of Artemis (or the Temple of Diana), dedicated around 550 B.C. The Library of Celsus (circa A.D. 135) was built to hold 12,000 scrolls and also served as a giant tomb for its namesake, Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus. Ephesus also boasts a massive Roman theater, which could seat 25,000 spectators. Initially, it was used for plays, but during Roman times, gladiators fought for their lives here; evidence of a gladiator graveyard was found in May 2007. Before departing we learn more about the history of Ephesus at the museum in Selcuk, which houses a large collection of statuary and other artifacts taken from the ruined city.
This afternoon, we check in to our hotel for the night, beautifully situated on the Aegean waterfront.
LaVista Boutique Hotel & Spa, Kusadasi
Transfer to Aphrodisias & Marmaris
Walk — easy, about 2 hours; approximately 1 mile.
This morning we drive to Aphrodisias (2.5 hours), and enjoy a walking tour of this ancient city, one of the most important archaeological sites of the Greek and Roman periods in Turkey. Famous for its Temple of Aphrodite, the city had a long and prosperous run from the 1st through the 6th centuries. An enormous earthquake in the 7th century hobbled the city, which never quite recovered. Founded near a marble quarry, Aphrodisias supported a local culture of world-renowned marble sculptors; excavations have unearthed marble statues and other treasures. Many ancient monuments still stand, and our guide tells us of the rise and fall of this fascinating city.
After lunch, we continue to Marmaris (about 3 hours) where we take a short walk around town before boarding our private sailing yacht, the Cavurali. This 65-foot, single-mast vessel was built in 1999 and combines comfortable accommodations with the adventure of living aboard a traditional tirhandil-styled boat. The hull and decks are made of teak, while the interior boasts mahogany woodwork. Late this afternoon, we embark to a wilderness cove for dinner and our first night aboard.
The Cavurali, Turquoise Coast
Ekincik; Carian Cliff Tombs
Hike — easy to moderate, 2-3 hours; approximately 3.5 miles.
In the morning, we sail to Ekincik. We enjoy breakfast aboard, with time to take a swim in the turquoise waters. We then disembark and begin a beautiful seaside hike between the villages of Ekincik and Candir. Here, we board a riverboat and cruise up the Dalyan River to view the magnificent tombs that are the resting places of the kings of Caunus. Cut into the rock faces, the Carian Cliff Tombs included false walls behind which the kings’ treasures were kept to hide them from grave robbers. Unfortunately, the trick didn’t work and many of the tombs were looted anyway.
As the day continues, we find ourselves at natural hot springs for a soak in the warm waters and an optional natural mud treatment, said to have therapeutic properties. We may also choose to swim in the crystal-clear waters of Koycegiz Lake before continuing our walk to Semisce Cove. Here we explore the ruins of Caunus, including its theater, tombs, Byzantine church, and Roman bath. The ancient city was named for Kaunos, a Greek mythological character and son of Miletus. In Semisce Cove we meet the Cavurali for another dinner at sea.
The Cavurali, Turquoise Coast
Aga Limani Cove; Lydea; Gocek Lagoon
Hike — easy to moderate, about 3 hours; approximately 4.5 miles.
An early morning cruise brings us to Aga Limani Cove in the azure waters of Fethiye Bay, once home to the civilizations of ancient Lycia. Following breakfast and a morning snorkel - where you might see various sponges and octopi - we hike to the remote site of Lydea, stopping en route to visit with nomadic shepherds for tea. The trail winds through high, rocky ridge tops covered in pine forest, and past homesteads growing aromatic herbs of oregano, thyme, and sage. Lydea was home to a time-honored Lycian oracle, and we explore the sarcophagi, temple walls, cisterns, Corinthian columns, and inscribed tablets from the Roman and Byzantine periods. Farther along, we discover the Batik Hamam, or “Sunken Baths.” Cleopatra herself is said to have bathed here.
After our hike, we have a late lunch on board our private yacht before setting sail for Gocek Lagoon. Tonight, we fall asleep to the sound of the water gently lapping the sides of our sailboat while at anchor in a secluded cove.
The Cavurali, Turquoise Coast
Hike — moderate, 3-4 hours; approximately 4 miles.
Today we sail to Gemiler Island to explore the mysterious ruins of a Byzantine monastery. We have time to wander among the temple and basilica, learning about the settlement here and viewing some lovely mosaic remnants. Pirates were said to have once inhabited this island as well.
After lunch, and some time for a swim, we take an excursion to the ruins of Affouli Nunnery, perched on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. We then discover the eerie ghost town of Kayakoy, a village of more than 600 Greek-style stone houses and churches covering the mountainside. The town was built on the site of the ancient city of Carmylessus in the 1700s. Following the Greco-Turkish War, it was abandoned due to the “population exchange” agreement between the Turkish and Greek governments in 1923. This mutually agreed upon expulsion of citizens involved some two million people who were driven from their homelands. The exchange involved Turkish nationals of the Greek Orthodox religion established in Turkey, and Greek nationals of the Muslim religion established in Greece.
From Kayakoy, we hike to Soguk Su Cove and meet our yacht. There is time to enjoy an afternoon swim or snorkel before dinner.
The Cavurali, Turquoise Coast
Burguncuk Cove; Kalkan; Xanthos; Patara
Hike — easy to moderate, about 1 hour, approximately .5 of a mile.
This morning we find ourselves at the wild Burguncuk Cove. Truly a hidden gem, this is a special place very few locals even know about. Sheer 1500-foot cliffs tower above us, while Aleppo-pine studded lowlands form our cove. A cluster of unnamed Lycian and Byzantine ruins are ours to explore on this coast, hidden under the pine forest. Next, we cross the Seven Capes (Yedi Burun), one of the last undeveloped stretches of the Turkish Mediterranean, and reach the small seaport of Kalkan. Going ashore, we take a short drive to the picturesque mountain village of Bezirgan, where we are guests at a Turkish home for a traditional lunch of delectable local cuisine. We learn more about rural life in this part of Turkey from our hosts who chat with us over the meal.
This afternoon, we explore the ruins of Xanthos, a Lycian center of culture and commerce, which later served the Persians, Macedonians, Greeks, and Romans who in turn conquered the city and occupied the adjacent territory. Excavations have unearthed texts written in Lycian and Greek, including several bilingual texts that were useful in deciphering the Lycian language. Our journey today continues to Patara, once a flourishing maritime city, where we can swim from the vast and deserted beach. At dusk, we enjoy a short hike through a secret Roman aqueduct to Firnazlar Cove to connect with the Cavurali.
The Cavurali, Turquoise Coast
Kas; Aperlae’s Sunken Ruins; Kekova; Skyrock Bay
Hike — easy to moderate, 2 hours; approximately 1.5 miles; optional snorkeling (weather permitting) — easy.
This morning we sail to Kas, a lovely town featuring charming boutiques and whitewashed houses clad in colorful bougainvillea blossoms. There is ample time to stroll through the village and enjoy lunch at one of the many cafés on your own.
Early this afternoon, we sail to Aperlae to snorkel over ruins of this mysterious town, some of which have collapsed into the sea. It is believed that the town was established to harvest a purple dye from a species of snail found here. Our guide introduces us to Aperlae’s strange past and how its resourceful inhabitants survived in harsh conditions until the city’s abandonment in the 7th century.
Next, we head for Kekova Sound; the whole Kekova region was declared a “specially protected area” in 1990 to preserve its natural, cultural, and geographic richness. At dusk, we clamber up to the Crusader Castle – built by the Knights of Rhodes – in the timeless and waterlocked village of Simena, for a breathtaking view of the sea below. We spend about an hour hiking around Lycian sarcophagi and ancient olive trees, and on to Skyrock Bay where we meet our yacht for a final dinner aboard.
The Cavurali, Turquoise Coast
Myra; Ulupinar; Olympos; Return to Istanbul
Hike — easy to moderate, 1-2 hours; approximately .5 of a mile.
Following a swim and breakfast, we set sail for the final leg of our voyage to Andriace, port of Myra. We keep an eye out for seabirds and enjoy our last scenic morning on deck, before disembarking in Myra, the leading city of the Lycian Union, which surpassed Xanthos in early Byzantine times to become Lycia’s capital. Here, we take time to discover the fantastic Lycian House Tombs carved into a hillside, like an apparition seeping from the rock. The Church of St. Nicholas was named for the 4th-century bishop of Myra, though the first church wasn’t built until about two centuries later. From here we continue to Ulupinar, where we enjoy our final lunch together.
This afternoon we hike among the fascinating eternal fires of Chimera at nearby Olympos, a site mentioned in Homer’s Illiad. Olympos became one of the six leading cities of the Lycian federation, and was invaded and settled by Cilician pirates during the 1st century B.C. Though fueled by natural gas – mostly methane – seeping through cracks in the earth, the mythical Chimaera was thought to be a savage beast who spouted fire from its mouth.
Our day concludes with a picturesque stroll through old-town Antalya before an early evening flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival, we say goodbye to our guide and are transferred to our hotel. This evening you may enjoy dinner on your own at one of the city’s many fine restaurants - your guide will be happy to make recommendations.
Levni Hotel & Spa, Istanbul
After breakfast, transfers to the airport for homebound flights are provided as needed.
Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary to take advantage of weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these should the need arise.
- May 15–27, 2016
- Jun 05–17, 2016
- Sep 04–16, 2016
2016 Land Cost
From $6,495 per person*
5-7 Guests: $6,495 per person
8-11 Guests: $6,095 per person
Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement.* This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Please note, free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.
If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement* (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!
*This does not apply to cruises in the Galapagos Islands. Please see these trip pages for more details.
Istanbul - Kayseri - Izmir - Istanbul
- Expert leadership
- All accommodations
- All meals except one lunch and one dinner
- All land transportation and charter cruise aboard a deluxe sailing yacht
- All activities as noted in the itinerary
Please complete the following information to request a reservation. A trip deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your reservation (payable by check or major credit card). Once we receive your request we will contact you within one business day to confirm availability and answer any questions you may have.
About our guides
With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work – the mark of a truly great leader – our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own.
Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.
Murat Tiryaki: Murat was born in Ankara. A travel enthusiast all his life, he has worked as an active tour guide for the past 18 years. He is a founder and a long time President of the Tourist Guide Association in Ankara. He is also the author of many articles related to tourism and travel. Putting his knowledge and experience to good use, he is a part-time University instructor in tourism and guiding fields. Art and music have been lifelong interests as well as traveling and exploring the world. Playing the guitar and the Turkish-Anatolian instrument “baglama” is a favorite pastime.
Mahmut Turhanoglu: Mahmut Turhanoglu graduated from Tarsus American College and studied TV Broadcasting at the University of Anadolu in Eskisehir. He later worked as a producer of television commercials. In 1986, Mahmut had the opportunity to work and travel with British author and explorer Tim Severin on a research project for Severin’s book "Crusader: By Horse to Jerusalem". That experience, along with Mahmut’s passion for Turkey’s culture, folklore, history, and current affairs, inspired him to become a full-time professional guide. He has led journeys in Turkey for over 15 years, and has visited the US and Europe many times. Mahmut resides in Antalya on the Turquoise Coast.
Yunus Ozdemir: Yunus is an archeologist by education but has chosen tourism as his trade. He specializes in exploring less-visited sites and his favorite outings are walking tours. He graduated from Akdeniz University in Antalya with a degree in Classical Archaeology in 2005. Prior to his education there, he studied two years at Selcuk University School of Tourism & Guiding. He was a partner at a prominent travel agency in Cappadocia between 2006 and 2009 where he developed itineraries and walking routes, guided trips, and managed the office. He assisted in developing and way-marking the Lycian Way, a 500 km hiking trail in Turkey, and has 6 years of extensive experience guiding tours in Cappadocia and along the Turquoise Coast. Currently he is working on his own book “The Carian Way” in which he focuses on walks in the Caria region of southwest Turkey.
Serdar Akerdem: Serdar Akerdem has an MA in Classical Archaeology from the University of Ankara. He has lectured at a number of Turkish universities, and excavated and surveyed widely along Turkey’s southern shore. His passions include Roman architecture and maritime archaeology. With his intimate understanding of the Turkish language, culture, and ancient sites, Serdar has been a valued guide for over fifteen years. He is also an avid bicyclist and hiker.
What other guests have said about our guides in Turkey:
"Mahmut was one of the best guides we have ever had in our travel. He is extremely knowledgeable about Turkish history, organized, caring, patient, tactful, and has a good sense of humor. We loved him!" – A.F. & J.F., Alton, NH
“Everything was perfect. The planning was flawless, the guide was easy going yet completely organized so that we felt like children only needing to show up and wonderful food would arrive on the table, a luxury minibus would be awaiting us, our tickets would be handed to us at the airport, and interesting activities would unfold…it was an amazing trip, I learned so much." – M.W., Greenport, NY
"We could not have had a better guide than Yunus. He interacted so well with both Dave and I and the girls. He timed our arrivals at sites to avoid the crowds, found shady places to stand, and added a few lovely stops that were not on the itinerary. He was funny, thoughtful, and professional at all times and we would highly recommend him. His passion for his work is obvious and his enthusiasm contagious." – P.R., The Woodlands, TX
"Mahmut is an exceptional guide. Really the best. With an exceptional guide, the experience is exceptional!" – V.M. & F.M., Katonah, NY
"This was one of the best trips I have ever taken. Our guide, Mahmut, brought the history and beauty of Turkey to life for me." – N.H., Rockport, ME
“I’d like to praise our guide, Murat Tiryaki, who went above and beyond! Murat is an exceptional person, well-educated, even-tempered, and great company. He is also a very kind and thoughtful person. His leadership made the trip.” – S.S., Catlett, VA
Picture Yourself Here:
Seven days sailing and cruising aboard a private traditional sailing vessel with active land itinerary
Hiking in Cappadocia, with its magical landscape, frescoed Byzantine cave churches, and welcoming villages
Walking explorations of important sites of the ancient world: Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Lydia, Xanthos, Olympos, and the eternal flames of Chimera
Swimming and snorkeling along the Turquoise Coast
Exploring Istanbul's Rustem Pasha Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace
- May 15–27, 2016
- Jun 05–17, 2016
- Sep 04–16, 2016
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Prefer a private departure?
Please see our Private Collection, Turkey: Istanbul to the Turquoise Coast Private Journey
Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia: Available at an additional cost. Float intimately amongst the fairy chimneys and soar over the magnificent Cappadocian landscape. To reserve call 1-800-941-8010.
Latest Blog Posts About Turkey
"This trip was the perfect blend of fascinating history, stunning scenery, exhilarating hiking, contemporary Spanish and Basque culture, and delicious meals with excellent Rioja wines."
- Katharine Svenson, Spain: Vintage Rioja