Sail the Sapphire Seas of Turkey
Cruise the southwestern coast of Turkey and experience the wealth of remains of former civilizations, fascinating crusader’s castles, and remote fishing villages.
With Professor Jennifer Tobin
April 28 – May 12, 2024
Why travel on Far Horizons’ Sail the Sapphire Seas of Turkey Tour ?
- Travel with Dr. Jennifer Tobin, who excavated in Turkey and taught at Ankara’s Bilkent University
- Visit the twin UNESCO World Heritage sites of Letoon and Xanthos
- Spend eight days cruising the Mediterranean coast on a 90-foot Turkish yacht
- Stroll through charming, out-of-the-way fishing villages
- Explore ancient cities most accessible to the outside world by sea
- Limited to a maximum of 10 participants
(click to enlarge)
Travel & Tour the Sail the Sapphire Seas of Turkey – Daily Itinerary
Day 1: Depart the USA.
Day 2: Arrive Antalya.
Day 3: Antalya city tour
Day 4: Phaselis, Olympos
Day 5: Arykanda. Board yacht in Finike
Day 6: Theimussa, Simena
Day 7: Demre, Myra
Day 8: Aperlae
Day 9: Letoon, Xanthos, Patara
Day 10: Gemiler Island, Pinara
Day 11: Gocek, Lydae
Day 12: Caunos
Day 13: Disembark. Marmaris Castle Museum
Day 14: Bodrum Castle & underwater Museum, Mausoleum
Day 15: Fly back to the USA
Our craft, a Turkish gulet, is an all wooden handcrafted motor-sailer (YES! It sails!) that has been carefully chosen for its comfort and service. Although larger than most, it is still a yacht with all the limitations of sea travel. 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. Meals onboard will feature the delightful tastes of the Turkish countryside cuisine: lamb, eggplant, cheeses, seasonal fruits, yogurt, honey and olives. Our double-occupancy cabins are finished in varnished pine and fitted with twin or a double beds, a small wardrobe and a private bathroom. These accommodations are simple but comfortable. Far Horizons has been chartering exceptional yachts since 1985. Only the best for our discerning travelers!
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 the lifetime.
“When I want to picture paradise, I just think of the days we spent onboard our gulet and I know it cannot be better than that.” – Barbara Matula
“Just wanted to tell you, how much I enjoyed this trip. I loved the time on the boat. It surpassed all expectations.” – Jutta Greweldinger
‘Wonderful! It’s a keeper!’ – Bob Haller
“I’d never traveled on a boat before. This was a wonderful introduction.” – Ruth Wahlstrom
Sail the Sapphire Seas of Turkey Tour Leader
Jennifer Tobin received her BA in Classical Studies from Stanford University and her PhD in Classical Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991. From 1992-97, she was Assistant Professor at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. She is now Professor Emerita of History and Classics, University of Illinois, Chicago. Professor Tobin has worked on archaeological projects in Israel, Turkey, Jordan, and Greece. She speaks Modern Greek, German, French, Italian and Turkish, and has published widely on everything from Roman architecture in Syria to Alexander the Great. Her books include Black Cilicia: A Study of the Plain of Issus during the Roman and Late Roman Periods and Herodes Attikos and the City of Athens. She has been a featured teacher for The Modern Scholar series – Learn Out Loud, recorded not-for-credit lecture courses taught by university professors, including the Glory that was Greece and The Grandeur that was Rome. Twice a recipient of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Silver Circle Teaching Award, Professor Tobin’s enthusiasm, marvelous teaching skills, and appreciation of the people and archaeology of the Mediterranean World is infectious.
‘Professor Tobin was excellent – Approachable, knowledgeable and down-to-earth. I would travel with her again.’ – Sharon Berman
‘Jennifer is fabulous! Her handouts were very appreciated. She is obviously talented in her chosen field. I am very glad to have met her and learned from her.’ – Tamara Ferrari
‘She was just excellent. Jennifer had handouts for each site which were very valuable and allowed a very organized review of the day’s activities. Very deep knowledge. Good companion too.’ – John Miller
‘We would go anywhere with Jennifer. Her enthusiasm, tolerance, patience and knowledge were extraordinary. She is a great teacher.’ – Carola Sohns
Sail the Sapphire Seas of Turkey Tour Itinerary
(B) breakfast, (L) lunch, (D) dinner
Day 2: 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)
Day 3: 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)
Day 4: 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)
Day 5: 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)
Day 6: 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)
Day 7: 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)
Day 8: 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)
Day 9: 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. (B/L/D)
Day 10: 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)
Day 11: 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)
Day 12: 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)
Day 13: 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)
Day 14: 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.
Day 15: 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. Far Horizons has been chartering exceptional yachts since 1985. Only the best for our discerning travelers.
CALL (per person, double occupancy) includes the private yacht charter; all hotels; all entry fees; gratuities to drivers, guides, and yacht crew; meals as noted; and ground transportation in Turkey.
Single Supplement: CALL. Should a roommate be requested and one not be available, the single supplement will be charged. NOTE: The yacht has only eight cabins and single rooms are very limited. Single supplements will be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Cost does not include: International airfare to Istanbul; two Turkish domestic flights (Istanbul/Antalya and Bodrum/Istanbul); airport or departure taxes; alcohol and other beverages or food not included on regular menus; the separate check of $150.00 (per person) to a designated donation project; passport or visa fees; necessary vaccines and tests; excess baggage charges; personal tips; laundry; telephone, internet, and fax charges; or other items of a personal nature.
Fuel Surcharges: Far Horizons must pass on price increases when additional fuel charges are levied.
Donation Checks: The cost of the trip does not include the separate donation check for $150.00 (per person) written directly to a designated project. As a travel company that benefits from the cultural and natural riches of our destinations, we have a policy of donating to the scientific and cultural projects and museums we visit. This has created a bond between Far Horizons and 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 write a check to the noteworthy project we designate. Note that the donation is required as part of your registration for the trip and that it is non-refundable. We will be designating a donation project for this trip shortly.
A deposit of $1000 per person is required along with a completed and signed registration form. Final payment is due 120 days before departure (December 26, 2021). Upon receipt of your deposit and completed registration form, you will be sent a reading list and a tour bulletin containing travel information. Click here to download a Registration Form.
Cancellations and Refunds
Cancellations received in writing at least 120 days before departure will receive a refund less a $450 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. Insurance recommended by Far Horizons can be reviewed by clicking HERE.
International and two domestic flights are not included in the cost of the trip. If you do not arrive or depart on the designated flights, you are responsible for all transportation (including airport transfers) to join the group. 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.
Private Tours of Archaeological Sites
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.
This Archaeological Tour to Turkey is limited to 10 participants