From sanctuaries of the gods to waters reflecting every imaginable hue from blue to rose, the Turkish coast and islands dotting the Mediterranean Sea can capture the imagination of romantics and historians alike. Embark on International Expeditions’ new Greece and Turkey cruise, exploring the treasures of the ancient Turquoise Coast and Greek Isles by small ship and by land. Discover centuries of architecture, history and storied culture coupled with leisure time to explore small ports and swim in the crystal clear waters on this Greece and Turkey cruise.
So Much History, So Little Time
Our 12-day Turkey and Greece tour offers an extraordinary survey of ancient history — from Bronze Age shipwrecks and Crusader Castles, to unexcavated sites dedicated to the gods. Accompanied by an archaeologist and local guides, you’ll learn the history and local lore surrounding these ancient sites.
Tour Turkey and Greece with Someone You Know
IE’s Co-Founder and Executive Director Steve Cox is a friend and former traveling companion to many past International Expeditions’ travelers. Steve will be accompanying both departures of this Greece and Turkey cruise on “Founder’s Tours” in 2012.
Our Spacious Greek Isles Cruise Yacht, the Panorama II
Although built somewhat in the style of a traditional gullet, the Panorama II is larger than the typical gullet that you may find on bargain Turkey and Greece tours. The Panorama II offers more spacious cabins and areas for gathering during our Greece and Turkey cruise without losing the intimate atmosphere you won’t find on other Greek Isles cruise ships.
U.S. / Istanbul, Turkey / Marmaris
Fly independently from the U.S. to Istanbul, Turkey to begin your Turkey and Greece tour. For your convenience, International Expeditions has arranged for use of the Executive Lounge until our group flight to Dalaman. Meet our archeologist guide and drive to the resort town of Marmaris and check into our hotel. (Meals Aloft)
Embark / Ekincik
Enjoy a morning at leisure to stroll along the water in Marmaris before we embark the Panorama II for our Greece and Turkey cruise toward Ekincik, the port city for Kaunos. We enjoy leisurely sailing, gorgeous scenery and wonderful meals onboard this afternoon before anchoring tonight in a secluded bay. (B,L,D)
Kaunos / Aga Limani / Lydae / Hamam Bay
Take a small traditional boat – called a piyade – to venture into Turkey’s only navigable river, the Dalyan, to view the Lycian rock-cut tombs. Kaunos has a wonderfully colorful history, and our small group will explore the agora, temples and baths from the Roman period. Our Turkey and Greece tour also takes in the basilica church and the theater before cruising to Aga Limani. Hike from Aga Limani, through beautiful bays and passes covered with thick pine forests, to Lydae. The area is so remote that the Lycian ruins of the city have never been excavated and ruins dot the rocky hills where nomads set up camps. We have local herb tea with nomads and see the agora, the monumental tombs built for Lycian heroes in the shape of a Greek temple. Stroll down to Hamam Bay through carob trees and breathtaking views of Baba Mountain and the Gulf of Fethiye. Hamam Bay features ancient baths, partially sunken in the water. Locals believe these baths were used by Cleopatra; however, the baths date from a much later period, around the 6th century A.D. (B,L,D)
The morning is free to explore Hamam Bay before your Greek Isles cruise departs to Gemiler Island. This picturesque island features monuments spanning history from the 6th to 13th centuries. The island was also sacred to Saint Nicholas, patron saints for sailors. Walk around this wonderful island, seeing Byzantine churches, tombs, a curious tunnel and once we reach the summit, a great view of the Gulf of Fethiye. You have some time to relax and swim before returning to the Halis Temel. (B,L,D)
Your Greece and Turkey cruise departs early to Fethiye to clear customs and enjoy breakfast before sailing to Rhodes, Greece. The Panorama II passes beneath the former site of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and docks just across from the medieval town so we can set out on foot to explore. Meet a local guide from Rhodes who will take us to the Archaeological Museum, located in the hospital of the Knights of Saint John, and then to the Grand Master’s Palace. The Knights of Saint John came to Rhodes in 1309 after they lost their last stronghold in Palestine, St John of Acre, in 1291. They transformed the island capital into a fortified city able to withstand sieges as terrible as those led by the Sultan of Egypt in 1444 and Mehmet II in 1480. The Knights Hospitallers remained in Rhodes until 1522, when Rhodes became an Ottoman Island. (B,L,D)
Drive through the countryside to Lindos, on the Northern side of Rhodes. Overlooking the sea, the buildings of the Lindos acropolis sit atop a steep rock formation. This natural citadel was fortified successively by the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Knights of St John and the Ottomans. While history makes the site highly interesting, it also makes the acropolis difficult to excavate and interpret archaeologically. Some amazing sections have been restored: the stadium; a marble odeion — a concert hall or theater; four columns of the Temple of Pythian Apollo, and remains of the Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus. (B,L,D)
Our Greek Isles cruise ship will leave the marina early, allowing you to sleep or enjoy the early morning sights as we cruise toward Symi. The island’s colorful history is checkered with invasions dating back from the Trojan Wars through the Italians during World War II. Tiers of white homes rise from the water up a steep mountain, creating a dramatic view from the harbor. Stop first at Pedi Bay for breakfast and swimming in these waters that were once home to a thriving sponge diving industry. The afternoon is free to explore. Our Turkey and Greece tour guide will lead an informal walk to the highest point of the town where we can visit a church, and enjoy the view and the narrow streets and neo-classic architecture of Symi. Dinner is at leisure this evening so you can venture out to enjoy a wonderful dinner at a classic Greek taverna. (B,L)
Our Greece and Turkey cruise continues to Datca, Turkey to clear customs en route to the rarely visited jewel of Knidos. Knidos is a Carian city which gained notoriety as the home of the first nude statue of Aphrodite, made by famous sculpture Praxiteles in the 4th century B.C. Many scholars and travelers paid visits to Knidos in search of this statue. The architect of the famous Pharos at Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, also called Knidos home. The city lies just at the point where the Mediterranean is separated from the Aegean with two harbors, agora, temple of Aphrodite, theater, sun dial and many tombs and buildings. Few travelers visit this isolated area, and we enjoy ample time to explore and swim. (B,L,D)
Bodrum / Miletus & Didyma / Kusadasi
Bid farewell to our friends aboard the Panorama II as we disembark and visit the Underwater Archaeological Museum of Bodrum. This magnificent museum is housed in the biggest Crusader Castle outside Europe, built by the Knights of Saint John from stones taken from the nearby, now ruined, Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Multiple underwater archaeological excavations have taken place since 1960, and many of the finds are on display. Among the things we see are three of the earliest known shipwrecks from the Bronze Age. After lunch, drive through the mountains and along peaceful Lake Bafa to Didyma. Our archeologist guide will explain how Didyma was not a city but a sanctuary connected to Miletus by a 12-mile-long sacred road. It was famed as an oracle center of Apollo, which rivaled that of Delphi. The first temple was built in the middle of the 6th century B.C. but was destroyed by the Persians in 494 B.C. The construction of the second temple started in the 4th century B.C. Didyma is regarded as one of the largest temples of the Hellenistic world, comparable to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus and Heraion in Samos. Explore the famed Temple of Apollo before continuing to Miletus. Known to the Hittites as Milawanda, it was one of the biggest cities of ancient Ionia with an estimated population of 100,000 during the Roman period. Highly prosperous, it founded many colonies and was the home of the 6th century B.C. philosophers Anaximander, Anaximenes and Thales as well as Hippodamos, the earliest known town planner. The architect Isidoros, who built the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, was also from Miletus. There are extensive remains of the classical city from the 5th century B.C. to Roman imperial time including an enormous theater which could hold around 15,000 people, the remains of the Delphinium, Stoas, and a processional road, the Nymphaeum, the South Agora, the Temple of Serapis and the Baths of Faustina. A drive through the countryside brings us to Kusadasi, where we overnight at La Vista Hotel. (B,L,D)
Ephesus / Izmir / Istanbul
Setting out from Kusadasi with our archeologist guide, our Turkey and Greece tour continues to one of the greatest sites in all antiquity, the city of Ephesus. Settled since the middle of the 2nd millennium B.C., in the late 4th century A.D. Ephesus entered a period of extraordinary prosperity, becoming the most important commercial city in Asia Minor and the second-largest city of the Roman Empire. With its easy access to water, Ephesus commanded the west end of one great trade route into Asia. However, it was water that would lead to the city’s decline. The silt from the Cayster River (Kucuk Menderes) caused the coastline to move west. By the early Middle Ages the city was no longer useful as a port. Nearby was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the now-ruined Temple of Artemis. The great temple was built by Croesus, King of Lydia, around 550 B.C. and was rebuilt after being destroyed in 356 B.C. It was famous, not only for its great size (over 350 by 180 feet), but also for the magnificent works of art that adorned it. The temple was destroyed by invading Goths in 262 A.D. and was never rebuilt. We tour the area, seeing the immense ancient theater, the glorious facade of the Library of Celsus and many other places of note. Our next Greek Isles cruise stop is the house of Meryemana, where it is recorded that Mary lived out her days after the crucifixion of Jesus. Now a popular place of pilgrimage, the house has received the official sanction of the Vatican. End our full day with a survey of the Ephesus Museum, which houses an impressive collection of statues and other artifacts recovered during the city’s excavation. Drive to Izmir, where we board our flight to Istanbul. Spend tonight at the TAV Airport Hotel. (B,L)
Istanbul / U.S.
Transfer to the airport for flights to the U.S. (B, Meals Aloft)
NOTE: The September 13 Greece and Turkey cruise is a reverse cruise itinerary. This group will fly from Istanbul to Bodrum on Day 2 and overnight at a hotel in Bodrum before visiting the Underwater Archeological Museum prior to embarkation in Bodrum on Day 3. This Turkey and Geece tour group will disembark in Marmaris.
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
What kind of visas are required for travel to Turkey and Greece?
U.S. and Canadian citizens require a visa to enter Turkey. Visas are purchased upon arrival for $20USD in cash. U.S. and Canadian citizens do not require a visa to enter Greece.
What vaccinations are required for a cruise to Turkey and Greece?
Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if entering Turkey and Greece from an affected area; the US is not an affected area. No other vaccinations are required; however, the CDC recommends that all travelers to Turkey and Greece be up-to-date on vaccinations for measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT), poliovirus, hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Please consult your personal physician for more information and to ensure your vaccinations are current.
How active is International Expeditions’ Turkey and Greece travel package?
This trip requires a good amount of walking, hiking, climbing stairs and standing. Guests should be in reasonably good shape to enjoy this program fully. This Turkey and Greece travel program also includes a lot of water based activities.