Picture yourself lounging on the teak deck of a 90-foot wooden yacht surrounded by breathless vistas, azure seas with an indigo sky above. Imagine watching a glorious crimson sunset and then the canopy of stars as it slowly appears overhead.
Dream of the relaxation as a smiling crewman brings you a frosty drink and serves you delectable Turkish dishes created by your personal chef. See yourself standing next to the captain as he steers the craft into a silent bay, once an ancient port. Each day presents a new discovery!
Explore the dazzling remains of former civilizations, fascinating crusader’s castles, and remote fishing villages. Enjoy the leisure time to hike, swim in the crystal-clear water of the Eastern Mediterranean or simply snooze on deck. And during the voyage, enjoy informal lectures on the culture, archaeology, and history of Turkey.
Far Horizons proudly presents a 15-day trip along the Mediterranean coast of Turkey that includes eight days onboard a traditional wooden gulet, or motor-sailer. Today, as in antiquity, the ancient cities along the Turkish Caria and Lycia coasts are most accessible to the outside world from the sea.
This part of the Turkish coastline is so lush, verdant, and bountiful in natural beauty and history that it takes your breath away. Won’t you join only eight others for what is truly a trip of a lifetime?
Continue reading to learn more about this Far Horizons adventure. If you have any questions, please get in touch.
Depart on flight bound for Turkey.
Arrive Antalya, Turkey. Transfer to our home for the next two nights – the Tuvana Hotel, an exquisitely restored 19th century Ottoman home located in the Kaleiçi, the delightful old port section of the city encircled by 2,000-year-old Roman walls. This picturesque quarter with its narrow winding streets and lovely Ottoman homes has won national and international architectural awards for its beautiful restoration. The charm of the ancient Roman and later Ottoman architectural styles has been maintained with outdoor cafes, restaurants, hotels, and shops housed in the old buildings along the twisting cobblestoned streets. After the long flight, enjoy the outdoor swimming pool encircled by lush gardens before gathering for our festive welcome dinner party in one of Antalya’s fine restaurants. (D)
Begin in the Antalya Archaeological Museum, displaying splendid marble sculptures from nearby Perge. In the afternoon, enjoy a walking tour of the kaleici, the ancient port, to study both the Ottoman and Roman architecture. We will see a decorated three arched monumental Roman gate built into the city wall to celebrate Emperor Hadrian’s visit in 130AD, the Karatay Medrese that exemplifies the best of Selcuk stone carvings, the elegant fluted minaret all that remains of a building that started its life as a Roman temple, was converted into a Byzantine church, and finally became a mosque, and the 19th century Iskele Mosque that is built of cut stone and set on four pillars over a natural spring. The rest of the afternoon and evening is on our own to discover the secrets of the old port section. (B/L)
Depart Antalya and drive along the southern coast with stops to see the remains of two memorable cities. Ideally positioned to be an important commercial center, Phaselis was settled many centuries before Christ by Greeks from the island of Rhodes. Tucked between the rocky crags of the mountain and the azure sea, the location is stunning with archaeological remains still standing within a grove of pine trees, encircled by enticing beaches. Olympos was named for the nearby mountain, one of more than twenty mountains of the same name throughout Greece and Asia Minor. Built in the Hellenistic period, it was a hidden home for pirates during the Byzantine period. Located where a river meets the Mediterranean Sea, the site is especially striking in the summer when it is overgrown with flowering pink oleander bushes. The city is also known for the perpetual fire that burns on the massif and has been burning continuously since long before classical antiquity. A climb takes us to see the eternal flames of the Chimaera, “the fire-breathing monster,” dedicated to Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. Overnight in the Turkuaz Köy Hotel in Finike. (B/L/D)
Travel to the rarely visited Arykanda, perched high in the Taurus Mountains and known to be one of the oldest Lycian sites. Overlooking a spectacular valley, the city’s strategic location allowed it to control ancient trade routes. As we ascend the five terraces supported by huge basalt stone blocks, we will spot the odeon, theater, stadium and immense Roman bath. After lunch, we board our gulet, or traditional wooden yacht, our home for the next eight nights. Cruise to Kekova, a national underwater park, where submerged ruins of an earlier civilization glisten beneath the crystal-clear, cerulean blue waters. The area includes a protective island as well as an ensemble of scenic bays and we will anchor in one of them. All breakfasts, most lunches and dinners will be created for us onboard by our creative Turkish chef. (B/L/D)
Our day’s explorations begin in Theimussa, or present day Üçağız, which existed as early as the ninth century BC. A multitude of sarcophagi from Hellenistic and Roman times lie scattered in the nearby fields, and the remains of a massive dock is still visible. Along the northern shore of Kekova Island, earthquakes have disturbed the land causing some of the houses to sink below the sea. As we motor along the shore we will catch glimpses of this city below the sea. The village of Kale is set on the remains of Lycian Simena. Our climb up the hillside takes us to both the Lycian citadel and a crusader’s fortress, perched at the top of the mountain. As we climb down, stop to investigate a theater that is Lycia’s smallest and take some time to explore the teahouses and shops dotting the fishing village below. (B/L/D)
Demre was one of the most important towns of ancient Lycia. During the 5th to the 3rd centuries BC. hundreds of dramatic tombs were cut into the towering cliff-face, many with decorative pillars and finely carved reliefs of funeral scenes. The remains of a glorious theater, one of the largest and finest in Anatolia, stands at the base of the acropolis. The Eastern Roman emperor Theodosius II made Myra, ancient Demre, the capital of Byzantine Lycia. The fame of the city is primarily due to St. Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra in the 4th century AD. He was known to help the needy and, after his death, Saint Nicholas transformed into the legendary character called Santa Claus, who brings Christmas presents to children around the world. Legend has it that he is buried in the still-standing church. Upon return to our vessel, enjoy a swim in the crystal-clear waters of our cove. (B/L/D)
This part of the coast, heavily indented and full of isolated caves and islets, encompasses some of Lycia’s most breathtaking scenery. Hundreds of tombs dot the hillsides with many rising out of the sea. Founded 2,500 years ago, Aperlae is protected by a formidable wall of perfectly carved stone blocks. Once the capital of a confederation of Lycian cities, today it can only be reached from the sea and stands deserted but for the herds of goats wandering among the silent ruins. Immense middens of murex shells found here suggest that the city manufactured the prized purple dye used for the robes of royalty.
Then we move on to the alluring village of Kaş, or ancient Antiphellos, a member of the Lycian League. Whitewashed houses are festooned in vivid bougainvillea, and rock-cut tombs and sarcophagi are scattered among today’s buildings. After walking to the Hellenistic theater, there will be time to wander in the town square or sip Turkish tea in one of the shore-side gardens. (B/L/D)
Today we travel by minibus to visit three important cities of the Lycian federation. Letoon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was a shrine dedicated to the goddess, Leto, and her children by Zeus – Apollo and Artemis – the principal deities of Lycia.
In Xanthos, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the fine theater is dominated by towering tombs. After the 4th century BC, nearby Patara became the capital of the Lycian Federation and its port. Today the harbor has completely silted in and the resulting five-mile-long beach is considered the most beautiful in southern Turkey. Over the centuries, the magnificent buildings have been covered by the blowing sand. And Turkish archaeologists have been excavating here for the past several years. Cruise to Gemiler Island where we anchor for the night.
Climb to the top of Gemiler Island to explore the remains of several churches built between the 4th and 6th centuries AD. This was once a Byzantine trading port crowned by a basilica, and remains of the city completely cover the small island. As we climb to the summit, we pass the ruins of churches, small chapels, tombs and sarcophagi, and walk along an immense covered walkway which leads to the cathedral dominating the island. Following lunch, drive by minibus to visit Pinara one of the three major cities in the Xanthos Valley and one of the six principal cities of Lycia. These little-known remains are dramatically located in a mountain setting of fragrant pines, ancient olive trees, wildflowers, and thyme-scented breezes. Explore Kayaköy where Anatolian Greeks lived until the exchange in 1923. The ghost town, now preserved as a museum village, consists of hundreds of mostly intact Greek-style houses and churches covering a small mountainside. Once back onboard, move on to the enchanting Bay of Sarsala where we anchor for the night surrounded by pine trees. (B/L/D)
The Gulf of Fethiye is surrounded by the lower slopes of the Taurus Mountains, pine clad to the water’s edge and surrounded by the ruins of ancient sites. Dotted with small islands, the bay is a naturally protected harbor. The adventurous may want to hike to Lydae, twice visited by Cleopatra but well off the beaten path today. Still visible are the remains of mausolea, basilica, temple walls, cisterns, Corinthian column parts, and inscribed pedestals from the Roman and Byzantine periods as well as a vaulted Carian rock tomb in two levels dating from the 5th or 4th century BC. This night will be spent in a tranquil cove in the Gulf of Fethiye. (B/L/D)
We meander further north to Ekincek, where in the afternoon we climb aboard a small boat to putt-putt up the meandering Dalyan River. As we travel between the reed-lined banks of the river, we will see royal temple tombs cut into the cliff face towering above. At the end of the short boat ride is Caunos, an important Carian fishing center in ancient times. Although initially settled during the 9th century BC, the buildings standing today are Greco-Roman and include a recently excavated Byzantine church. (B/L/D)
Cruise to Marmaris where we sadly leave our yacht and wonderful crew. While here, we will enter Marmaris Castle, where, according to the renowned historian Heredotus the first city walls were constructed in 3,000 B.C. The bastion was reconstructed by Süleyman the Magnificent during his campaign for the Greek island of Rhodes in 1522, and in 2014, was turned into a museum.
After examining the displays, drive to Bodrum. Tonight’s dinner party will be in a local seafood restaurant along the shore. Overnight for two nights in the boutique Bodrium Hotel with views over the Aegean Sea. (B/L/D)
As a port with a long history that spans thousands of years of continuous habitation, charming Bodrum has an incredibly rich past. In ancient times known as Halicarnassus, this is the location of the Tomb of King Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Today this small city is home for Turkish artists and intellectuals and a major boat building and yachting center.
We will visit the 15th century Castle of Saint Peter, built by the Knights of Saint John as part of a network of fortresses to defend the southeastern Aegean. It now houses the Bodrum Archaeology Museum, renowned for its wide range of fascinating underwater findings displayed throughout the Castle in myriad of atmospheric halls and galleries.
Continue to a tersane, a Turkish shipyard. Here, learn how ancient trading vessels were constructed, and how these techniques carry through to the superb wooden yachts that are used for charter.
Transfer to the Bodrum airport for our flight to Istanbul, and our international flights home. (B) Or join Far Horizons’ Eastern Turkey tour.
LIFE ONBOARD THE YACHT: You will be spending eight days aboard a traditional gulet, or wooden motorsailer (YES! It sails!), built in Turkey based on designs of vessels that have navigated these waters for centuries. Carefully selected for its comfort and service, they are still yachts with all the limitations of sea travel. Our double-occupancy cabins are finished in varnished pine and fitted with beds, a small wardrobe and a private bathroom. These accommodations are simple but comfortable. We recommend that you pack with comfort and limited storage space in mind. Even though our gulet is 90 feet long, it draws only a few feet of water, thus enabling us to anchor each night in secluded coves close to the shore. You will be tempted to begin and end each day with a refreshing swim in the azure waters of the Eastern Mediterranean, as the temperature will be inviting and the visibility excellent.
Price is based on double occupancy and includes:
Trip prices are based on a minimum number of participants. If this minimum number is not met, trip prices are subject to change. Should the prices need to change, Far Horizons will reach out to registered guests to discuss directly.
Should a roommate be requested and one not be available, the single supplement must be charged.
As a tour company that benefits from the cultural and natural riches of our destinations, we have a policy of donating to the scientific and cultural sites and projects which we visit. This has created a bond between Far Horizons and the academic and local communities that has helped us establish an extensive list of lecturers and contacts in each of our destinations. We ask that each participant donate to the noteworthy project we designate. The donation amount is $150.00 per person. Note that the donation is required as part of your registration for the trip and that it is non-refundable.
Prices are based on currency exchange rates keeping below a projected level. While it is unlikely, if the exchange rates should change substantially, Far Horizons reserves the right to charge an additional amount to the trip cost.
A deposit of $1000 per person is required along with your registration & health forms, which will be linked in the email confirmation you receive once you pay your deposit on our booking platform. Final payment is due 120 days before departure. Prior to departure, you will be sent a reading list and a tour bulletin containing travel information.
Cancellations received in writing at least 120 days before departure will receive a refund less a $500 per person administrative fee. Cancellations received less than 120 days before the departure date will not receive a refund. If for any reason you are unable to complete the trip, Far Horizons will not reimburse any fees. Upon registering for the tour, the purchase of travel protection with both trip cancellation and emergency evacuation is strongly advised. Links to recommended insurance policies will be included in the email you receive confirming receipt of your deposit.
International round trip flights are not included in the cost of the trip. If Far Horizons must change the trip dates or cancel the trip for any reason, Far Horizons is not responsible for any air ticket you may have purchased. Please send your complete air schedule as soon as you have it. NOTE: Please contact Far Horizons if you would like for us to handle your air ticketing.
The private tours of archaeological sites and talks by specialists are scheduled in advance and include a donation to each. Specialists working at these sites are excited about showing their work to interested enthusiasts. However, please be aware that there may be times when the director or a member of the staff may not be on site when our groups arrive due to other commitments.
Far Horizons expects all participants to be physically active and able to walk and climb independently throughout the full touring days. This includes walking over uneven terrain (uphill and downhill) for 2 miles or more at each site. You should expect to be on your feet for much of each day, averaging as much as 5 miles of walking per day. As such, each participant should be able to walk unaided at a pace of 3 miles per hour for at least an hour at a time, and to stand unsupported for at least 60 minutes. Bearing this in mind, we suggest that, if you have not already done so, you begin walking several miles every day, ideally including stairs and hills. If you have questions about your ability to keep up with the group or the strenuous nature of this trip, please contact the Far Horizons staff.
This tour is designed for flexible, energetic people who like to be active, have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. We have designed this trip to be as comfortable as possible, while also aiming to visit some remote or unique sites that other companies do not attempt to include in their itineraries. There may be days where we have very long drives and the conditions of the roads may vary. Hotels and transportation in some remote areas may not be up to western standards. There may be times when no bellhops are available; please pack with the understanding that you need to be able to handle your own luggage at times. At times we may be walking over uneven trails for a mile or more; hiking boots are strongly recommended. Not every meal will not be haute cuisine and several lunches may be picnics or box lunches. By maintaining a flexible attitude we will soon be captivated by the beauty of the natural scenery, the hospitality of the local people, and the fascinating sites we will see. Your flexibility and patience will be appreciated.
Changes in our itinerary, accommodations, and transportation schedules may occur. While we are committed to keeping as close to the published details as possible, sometimes it is simply not possible. Weather events, government affairs, or other factors out of our control sometimes come into play. A good book to read as well as patience, flexible attitude, and a sense of humor are essential.