Cruising to Ephesus
A classic cruise this June that takes in a series of Turkey’s most important and interesting archaeological sites, including the stunning ruins of Ephesus.
Beginning in Gümüşlük and following the shores of the ancient regions of Caria and Ionia, this cruise makes for an ideal introduction to the glories of Turkey’s archaeological heritage. It takes in some of the most impressive and best-understood sites in the country, a veritable succession of “must-see” highlights, as well as a number of more intimate “off the beaten track” remains and includes a visit to the astoundingly monumental ruins of Ephesus.
Cruising to Ephesus opens up a panorama of the ancient world, presenting a great variety of extraordinary visits, ranging from prehistory via Classical Greek and Roman antiquity to the Middle Ages and beyond. Every day will bring new insights and new beauties to behold.
Ancient cities and sanctuaries are the central themes of this cruise. From ancient Myndos, where excavations have only just started, it leads to Iasos, where the remains of a once-vibrant port town are scattered amongst olive groves. An inland excursion leads to the mysterious mountain-top sanctuary of Zeus at Labraunda and to the beautiful Temple of Zeus at Euromos. A major highlight of this tour is Ephesus, capital of Roman Asia and one of the most magnificent ancient sites in the world, with its vast theatre, ornate library and wonderfully decorated Roman mansions. At Miletus, we explore the vast ruins of a “lost” city that was a major centre of culture in Greek and Roman days, as well as its main shrine, the huge oracular Temple of Apollo at Didyma. Priene, in its remarkably beautiful wooded setting, is the most clearly accessible and comprehensible of all Greek cities, its private homes and public buildings there to see.
Archaeology apart, Cruising to Ephesus also includes much time for swimming, sunbathing, admiring the scenery or simply relaxing on our beautiful gulet.
You’ll have the wonderful opportunity of exploring the sanctuary of Zeus at Labraunda with Dr. Olivier Henry, the Director of the excavations. A true enthusiast, Olivier is intimately familiar with the whole region. He has travelled widely through the area and published articles on a number of the sites you’ll visit on this tour.
Day 1: Your gulet awaits you in the pretty coastal village of Gümüşlük, about an hour from Bodrum airport on Turkey’s south-west coast. Welcome drink and dinner aboard.
Day 2: A gentle cruise north-east, with plentiful swimming opportunities on the way, before mooring in the late afternoon in the pretty harbour of ancient Iasos where archaeological excavations are revealing a vital and beautiful classical city.
Day 3: In the morning we head inland to the temple of Zeus at Euromus, one of the best preserved in Asia Minor, located amid a beautiful olive grove. Then, on into the mountains to Labraunda, Caria’s most sacred sanctuary, site of the great oracular shrine to Zeus Labraundus. In the afternoon, a chance to swim, kayak, snorkel and relax as you cruise westwards.
Day 4: Landing in the morning near Altinkum’s golden beach, you’ll visit the colossal and awe-inspiring oracular temple of Apollo at Didyma. In the afternoon, a glorious long cruise northward to anchor off the southern coast of the isolated Dilek peninsula, where herds of wild horses roam free.
Day 5: We head north to Kuşadasi. From there, we travel a short distance to the town of Selçuk, where we visit the Archaeological Museum housing key finds from Ephesus. Finally, just as the main crowds are leaving, we enter Ephesus itself, to explore the vast site at leisure, walking through its monumental squares and along marble-paved roads, admiring a whole series of stunning structures, such as the 28,000-seat theatre, the ornate Library of Celsus and the remarkable Terrace Houses, a set of fine residences, bedecked in mosaics and marble inlay.
Day 6: Heading south overland, you will walk the ancient roads of Priene, an almost perfectly preserved Greek city set in a strikingly lovely spot among pine trees. You’ll also discover Miletus, one of the most significant ancient Greek sites, with its vast theatre, baths, and brooding atmosphere, before re-joining your gulet, which will have cruised down to meet you, for a late afternoon of swimming and leisure.
Day 7: A leisurely day cruising around the Bodrum peninsula, to Bodrum itself, ancient Halicarnassus. In the late afternoon you’ll visit Bodrum’s magnificent Crusader castle which now houses one of the finest museums of underwater archaeology in the world.
Day 8: Transfer from our gulet to Bodrum airport, on Turkey’s Aegean coast, about 40 minutes away.
Arrival and Departure Information
Arrival Airport - Bodrum (Milas)
Departure Airport - Bodrum (Milas)
We recommend you arrive at the gulet in Gümüşlük (approx 1 hour from Bodrum airport) in the late afternoon/evening on September 9th. Disembarkation in Bodrum (approx 35 minutes from Bodrum airport) is around 09:00 on September 16th. We will arrange local transfers from Bodrum airport at the start of the tour, and to Bodrum airport at the end of the trip.
If you are staying in or connecting via Istanbul then the easiest way to get to and from the gulet is to fly. There are a number of airlines that offer domestic flights in Turkey such as Turkish Airlines. Turkish Airlines has a wide selection of flights on these days and there are alternative flights to and from Istanbul with some of Turkey’s low cost airlines such as Atlas Jet, and Onur Air. The cheapest way to book flights is directly with the airline online.
Please note: Flights are subject to change. Please contact the airline for exact details.
If you prefer to book with a travel agent, we are happy to recommend specialists in a number of countries around the world, please contact our office for more details.
Travel insurance is a requirement of our booking conditions and we recommend you investigate the options thoroughly to make sure that your trip is properly covered. Please be advised some insurers may require you to take out a policy within 15-20 days of booking your holiday to receive all of their insurance benefits. If you would prefer not to take out travel insurance please let us know. We would require you to complete and return to us a travel insurance waiver form.
Visas are easily obtained online at eVisa and must be purchased before you travel.
If you are planning to stay in Istanbul before or after your gulet tour we have included below links to more information and things to see and do.
If you are thinking of extending your trip to Turkey to include visits to Cappadocia, Istanbul or further afield, please contact our office for further information.