Splendors of the Turquoise Coast

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Tour Description

This Turkey and Greece adventure travel tour is a superb opportunity to visit some of the most famous ancient cities of the eastern Mediterranean. Our voyage begins with our Turkey expedition, in magical Istanbul, where we visit the Blue Mosque. Sail through the Dardanelles Straits and step ashore into Homer’s fabled Troy. With our expert guides, we’ll cruise by Zodiac to tiny harbors along the coast of Turkey, view Lycian rock tombs in the charming village of Kas, and witness the old-world traditions on Karpathos Island, in Greece. This comprehensive Turkey and Greece tour also takes us to spectacular temples in Ephesus, Bronze Age remains at Bodrum, and the Palace of Knossos in Crete.

Turkey and Greece adventure travel highlights include:

  • Swimming, snorkeling, and glass-bottom boating in the crystal-clear waters over the sunken city of Simena.
  • Extensive tour of the Roman ruins in Ephesus.
  • Greece adventure travel, including strolls through dramatic landscapes in search of birds.
  • Karpathos Island (Olympos), Sitia, and Agios Nikolaos explorations in Greece.
  • Witness stunning natural beauty and age-old traditions on Karpathos Island in Greece and visit the legendary Palace of Knossos on Crete.
  • Accommodations in the all-inclusive comfort of the 110-passenger Clipper Odyssey.
  • Begin your Turkey adventure travels with an optional extension to explore Cappadocia’s thousands of pyramid-shaped rock spires and dramatic volcanic terrain.

With Zegrahm Expeditions, virtually everything is included in the cost of your trip. Here is what you can look forward to on this Turkey and Greece expedition:

  • All gratuities, from porters and ship’s crew to tour guides
  • All accommodations, including pre-voyage hotel nights
  • Welcome dinner and orientation briefing to get to know one another and get a good sense of what’s to come
  • Daily activity options, from snorkeling to archaeological tours
  • World-class lecture and expedition team
  • All meals onboard and with the group ashore
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and landing and port charges
  • All transfers on the group arrival and departure days
  • Gift certificates for recommended expedition gear and reading materials
  • Comprehensive pre-departure packet to prepare you for your Turkey & Greece tour, with everything from currency information and weather to shipboard amenities and a packing list
  • Medical and emergency evacuation insurance
  • Dedicated Zegrahm program manager and air coordinator to answer all your questions
  • Photographic journal upon returning home to relive your Turkey and Greece adventure travels

Itinerary

Day 1

USA / Istanbul, Turkey

Depart on your independent overnight flight to Istanbul.

Day 2

Istanbul

Arrive in Istanbul and transfer to our hotel. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure before a welcome reception and dinner at our hotel.

Day 3

Istanbul / Embark Clipper Odyssey

This morning we explore opulent Topkapi Palace, which served as the chief residence of Ottoman sultans for nearly 400 years. After lunch we visit the heart of Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet District, a World Heritage Site. The 17th-century Blue Mosque, a classic example of Ottoman era architecture, dazzles with its interior of azure ceramic tiles in intricate Islamic designs. We also explore the 16th-century Rustem Pasha Mosque, as well as the colorful and photogenic Spice Bazaar. Alternatively, visit the Byzantine Church of the Holy Savior of Chora. In the late afternoon we board the Clipper Odyssey and cruise up the scenic Bosporus, the boundary between the European and Asian continents.

Day 4

Canakkale / Troy

This morning we go ashore in Canakkale to visit the World Heritage Site of Troy, inhabited since about 3000 B.C. in the early Bronze Age, with each successive wave of settlers building over the previous village. We explore the mazelike ruins where Homer’s description from the Iliad of heroes battling on the plains comes alive, and we learn the history of pioneering excavations by archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in the 1870s. We return to the ship for lunch and enjoy a relaxing afternoon at sea as our lecture series begins.

Day 5

Kusadasi / Ephesus

From the resort town of Kusadasi we visit one of the world’s most outstanding Greco-Roman sites, the magnificently preserved city of Ephesus which winds its way up a hillside overlooking a vast, fertile plain. The astonishingly intact ancient city, with its marble avenues, is so well preserved that one can easily imagine Greeks, and later Romans walking along its alleys, visiting the ornate Library of Celsus, watching plays in the Odeon, or cheering for gladiators in the Roman stadium. The Temple of Artemis, whose marble ruins lie peacefully near the former harbor, was once a vast temple and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Day 6

Bodrum / Knidos

This morning we visit the birthplace of the historian Herodotus, Bodrum, built upon the ancient city ruins of Halicarnassus. Its keyhole harbor is presided over by a medieval Crusader castle which now houses the Museum of Underwater Archaeology highlighting ancient and medieval shipwrecks. The city’s claim to fame is the tomb of Mausolus, a Persian ruler from the 2nd century B.C. His wife built him a monumental tomb upon his death that became one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The tomb of Mausolus gave modern language the word “mausoleum.” After lunch on board we go ashore to explore the archaeological site of Knidos, an ancient Greek city located on a dramatic terraced hillside on the long Datca Peninsula.

Day 7

Kas / Kekova Lagoon

Today we stroll the meandering sunlit alleyways that wind through the picturesque Turkish village of Kas. Flowers spill from brightly painted wooden balconies while carpet and brass merchants set out their wares along the streets below. In the Kekova Lagoon, island-sheltered waters wash upon shorelines indented with tiny coves. Here we walk uphill to the medieval castle, surrounded by sculpted Lycian sarcophagi. Or, view the remains of the sunken village of Simena by glass-bottom boat, watching for ancient staircases, house foundations, and baths, with time to enjoy swimming or snorkeling in the inviting crystal-clear waters.

Day 8

Karpathos Island, Greece

Part of the Dodecanese chain of islands, seldom-visited Karpathos has retained its natural beauty and village charm. Sandy beaches, washed by sparkling azure waters, rim the rocky promontories, and picturesque whitewashed villages perch on mountain outposts. Here we visit the hilltop village of Olympos—in this matrilineal society, women still wear the traditional dress of multicolored embroidered skirts and vests, with goatskin boots. Grain-grinding windmills and an antique Dorian-based dialect also distinguish this community. After lunch on board we visit the village of Pigadia. Here there is free time to explore the winding streets, stroll the beach, go for a refreshing swim, or take a hike inland.

Day 9

Sitia, Crete / Agios Nikolaos

This morning we disembark in Sitia and make a short stop at the Archaeological Museum. A scenic, coastal drive takes us to Krista to visit the 13th-century Kera Church, which contains the most outstanding Byzantine frescoes on Crete, including the elaborate depiction of the Second Coming. We then continue to the seaside town of Agios Nikolaos, where the town center has retained its traditional style of buildings, alleyways, and brick stairways. After lunch there is an opportunity to snorkel the warm waters, or join an excursion to explore the archaeological site of Gournia.

Day 10

Heraklion / Disembark

Once the center of the Mediterranean slave trade, Heraklion was claimed by the Venetians who occupied Crete in the early 1300s and stayed for the next four centuries. What remains today is a beautiful collection of Venetian architecture, including the Basilica of San Marco (now an art gallery) and the Loggia, as well as an imposing fortress and surrounding fortification walls. We begin with a drive southward through Crete’s pastoral countryside to the Palace of Knossos, the most celebrated monument of the powerful Minoan civilization. This Bronze Age culture was at its height from 1700 to 1400 B.C. Among its labyrinth of many rooms we visit the living quarters of the King and Queen, rooms for state occasions, storerooms, potters’ workshops, and the theater area.

After a traditional lunch ashore we tour the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, the second largest museum in Greece, showcasing unique treasures excavated from all over Crete. We then visit picturesque Archanego, hailed as one of the best restored villages in Europe. The town is built beside the Yiouchta Mountain, where it is said Zeus, ruler of the Olympian gods, is buried. The village is also famous for its wine production. Enjoy free time to stroll through the lovely, narrow streets before we return to Heraklion and check in to our hotel for our final dinner and overnight.

Day 11

Heraklion / USA

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Athens and connect with your flight to the USA, arriving home the same day.

Departures

Pricing Information

Clipper Odyssey

One of the finest adventure ships afloat, the Clipper Odyssey is a 110-passenger luxury expedition vessel, ideally suited for cruising in off-the-beaten-path locales. On all Clipper Odyssey expeditions, guests have access to a fleet of Zodiacs, which allows remote landings anywhere nature or curiosity dictates. All cabins on a Clipper Odyssey cruise have an ocean view, safe, minibar, individually controlled heat/air conditioner, in-room music system, and sitting area with sofa. Beds can be configured for twin or queen-size sleeping arrangements, and all cabins have an en suite bathroom complete with shower and small bathtub. In the comfort of their cabin, passengers can track the progress of their expedition on the Global Positioning System broadcast—a highlight of a Clipper Odyssey voyage for adventure-minded guests. Additional facilities include a gourmet kitchen featuring American and international cuisine, dining room, lounge, small library and gym, outdoor pool, and gift shop. An elevator services all passenger cabin decks. Ship registry: Bahamas.

All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.

Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

Options and Extras

Tour Notes

Flights are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm Expeditions has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements. Since many of our expeditions embark and disembark from remote destinations, the airports that serve these areas often have limited carriers and/or daily flights. As such, our air team is well-versed in planning complex routings for our travelers.