Turkish Gulet - Tour to Greece and Turkey Itinerary
DAY 1 - As soon as we arrive, we move to our hotel luxuriously located in the ancient city. There we find our guide. We take a stroll before having our dinner at an outdoor terrace café. The dinner turns out to be a fitting preface to the characteristic and Turkish culture and cuisine. And the sight from atop the restaurant is matchless. In the backdrop we find the Topkapi Palace, Golden Horn, Bosphorus, Suleimans Mosque, Spice Market, Bosphorus Bridge and the Galata Tower. Overnight we stay at Hotel Sultanahan, a former government building of the Ottoman now made into a momentous hotel with lofty ceilings and adorned with unique ethnographic etchings of the East.
DAY 2 - The entire day, we keep curiously observing the majesty of Istanbul. The morning hours we spend on a variety of superb relics of the Ottoman and Byzantine empires, including the Blue Mosque, Aya Sophia, the Topkapi Palace, the Roman Hippodrome, and time permitting, the Kapali Carsi (sheltered marketplace). As the sun starts to sink, we trip on a passenger ferry, accompanying the local populace of Istanbul as they return from workplaces; a cruise that discloses palaces, lavishly refurbished historic buildings and embassies on the Asian and European banks of the stately Bosphorus. At sundown we dine at a conventional Turkish eatery with an inventive menu and vivacious Roma music. The night, we spend again at Hotel Sultanahan (or any similar one).
DAY 3 - After daybreak, we move to the airport to fly to Izmir and ride towards the Ephesus region. Almost the whole day is spent visiting the imposing ruins. The Ephesus tour is facilitated with an expert guide. A very important costal city with remarkable Roman ruins, Ephesus has ever been an attraction to statesmen, artists and the merchants from across the world. Here we explore the relics of the Roman, Hellenistic, biblical, Ottoman and Byzantine times as the Archeological Museum, the ancient residential region of Ephesus as well as the Artemis’ Temple which is considered an ancient world wonder. We then drive to the Sirence Village, situated in the stunning farming hills to the east of Ephesus. We take pleasure in local wine during dinner and rest overnight at the historically significant Nisanyan Houses. We may also rest at the Gullu Konaklari, ancient Ottoman-style buildings now turned into private dwellings for guests to the village. Drive from Izmir to Sirence is 55 miles and takes just around one and a half hours.
DAY 4 - The morning awakens us with the cries of chickens and the sounds of shepherds leading their sheep to the hills for grazing. The routine rural life of Turkey unfolds before us as we start taking a walk around. The tea gardens, attractive architecture and handicrafts, all give us a visual treat. We then drive to Bodrum to get into our gulet lying tied up in the wharf. Bodrum, once known as Halicarnassus, was a major city of the ancient territory of Caria. Today, Bodrum’s historical pedigree, unique architecture, modern seaside inns and pulsating nightlife hold it as the busiest seaside resorts in the country of Turkey. It’s now also a popular zone for affluent Turks, senior artists, celebrities and casual visitors. At Halicarnassus, we go to King Mausolus’ Tomb. This tomb, considered one of the Wonders of the early times, derives its name Mausoleum from the king’s name. We also spend some time at the Templar Castle and at the Underwater Archaeology Museum considered one of the world’s best. We pass the night aboard our gulet in the harbor of Bodrum. Distance between Sirence & Bodrum is 110 miles and the traveling time is around two and a half hours.
DAY 5 - Early on, this day, we cruise for around one and a half hour to the Island of Kos. Passing through the authorities of the Greek customs we reach the famous land of Greece. The history of Kos extends from as far as the Mediterranean civilizations. At the outset, we take a look at the beautiful harbor and visit the center of the town. Next we proceed to Asclepieion, an age-old temple. It is said that, in the fifth century BC, a famous medical center was set up here by Hippocrates. From there we move to the famous “Tree” which is ascribed to Hippocrates for it is believed that in the shade of it he instructed students on medicines which the Greeks had acquired from Persian and some other ancient sources. The Asclepieion at Kos was once a very popular health center of the early centuries. Then we go on an effortless and enjoyable three-mile trek along the ancient ruins and discover the modernity of the town of Kos. Overnight again aboard gulet harbored now in Kos.
DAY 6 - Early morning we navigate straight to Nissiros. Nissiros is a tiny island of the Dodecanese. Here we put our sails to rest and get into vehicles and within half an hour’s drive reach the edge of the dynamic Nissiros Volcano. We get into an adventurous walk into and through the caldera (it takes around one hour) surrounded by steam vents and fizzy puddles of sulphur-water. After all this excursion on land, we board our gulet again. We sail this time to the volcanic island of Tilos. Tilos has over a dozen isolated beaches. It is embellished with castles of historic significance built specially to control the tactical routes across Aegean Sea around here. A European Union Reserve enjoying special protection, the island of Tilos sports notable and unique birdlife and flora. Tilos carries orchids alone of twenty-eight varieties. Eight of them belong to a rare category. Afternoon we entertain ourselves on the dazzling beaches full of white-sand and picturesque trails. This night we stay in Tilos aboard our gulet.
DAY 7 - We start the day by sailing to Agalimani Cove which is a tranquil, turquoise cove in Fethiye Bay. Here we trek to Batik Hamam which is a cluster of submerged Roman baths lying about five feet below water level. It is believed that Cleopatra and Mark Anthony used to spend time here. We do a bit of swimming and snorkeling, hunting sponges, fish and octopus. After lunch we trek from Agalimani Cove and reach Lydea. Lydea is an ancient Lycian oracle which can be reached only on foot. This hike, which is optional when undertaken, takes us through an enchanting trail over the Lycian range. The hike carries us over coastal promontories clothed with pine forests studded with shepherds' homesteads. As we trudge along the fragrance of natural herbs from gardens of oregano, sage and thyme fills the air and transports us to a magic world. As night falls we stay in Hamam Cove aboard our gulet.
DAY 8 - Today we voyage northward to Dacta, a Turkish peninsular town where we face the customs and enter Turkey again. Our voyage continues across the Aegean finally we anchor at the town of Knidos. We take our lunch there and then start exploring the far-reaching ruins found at Knidos. Among others, Knidos is famous also as the birthplace of Eudoxus, the first astronomer to calculate the circumference of the Earth and Sostratos who constructed the Lighthouse at Alexandria (another wonder of ancient times). Knidos was one of the major Aegean harbors of the Roman and Greek periods, and the ancient town stretches to four miles on the coastline. The ruins of this historic town include numerous temples, fortified walls and two theaters. We spend the night aboard our gulet in Knidos.
DAY 9 - From Knidos we walk to the Turgut, a village active in peanut cultivation and honey production. We visit one of the pastoral homes and get treated with honey and sage-tea by the village family. Most of the villagers here are beekeepers and this enables us to buy pure Turgut honey to relish during the remaining tour. After sauntering through this pretty village, we get on board our gulet and voyage to Selimiye, a sluggish village of fisher folk with a petite harbor, a handful of gift shops and cafés. Overnight we rest aboard our gulet near Selimiye, in a silent cove.
DAY 10 - After relaxing ourselves with a morning walk in the sleepy Selimiye, we sail to Bozburun. We find here a number of calm coves with pure and clear waters. We search for the most fascinating sites suitable for a nice pre-lunch swim. In the afternoon we drive a short distance and reach Taslica village. The road here runs steeply and the coastal scenes look fantastic. Taslica village is well known for its ancient wells and "one thousand donkeys". From this village we march (5 miles) on a track paved centuries ago and through an ancient Carian site known as Phoenix. This hike leads us to the Fjords of Serce. The two-mile section of the route between Taslica and Carian shimmers in the sun, the path having been polished by foot traffic for around 2000 years. Finally we reach our boat harbored at Serce Cove, a natural harbor for ships since very ancient times. The Bodrum Museum displays an unfortunate ship that had sunk here as far back as the 6th century. We spend the night again in our gulet, but this time in Serce Cove.
DAY 11 - This morning we get down from our gulet and move to the Dalaman Airport for a flight to Istanbul. In Istanbul we spend the afternoon freely walking and shopping and finally move in for our farewell dinner hosted at a vivacious typical Turkish restaurant. Overnight, again we check in at Hotel Sultanahan (or any similar one).
DAY 12 - For international flights to return home or for beginning trip extension, transfer to Istanbul airport.