Cruising to Ephesus
Tour Guide: Dr. Olivier Henry
8 DAYS £2,225/ Single Supplement: £615
A classic cruise this autumn, in the beautiful month of September, that takes in a series of Turkey’s most important and interesting archaeological sites, including the stunning ruins of Ephesus.
Beginning in Bodrum, ancient Halicarnassus, birthplace of the historian Herodotus, 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, culminating in 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. 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. The final site on our cruise is Ephesus, capital of Roman Asia and one of the most magnificent ancient sites in the world, its vast theatre, ornate library and wonderfully decorated Roman mansions offering a memorable and fitting conclusion to this fascinating tour.
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: Our boat is about 40 minutes from Bodrum airport, in the city’s grand harbour, overlooked by the enormous crusader castle. Welcome drink and dinner aboard.
Day 2: A gentle cruise to the pretty coastal village of Gümüşlük, ancient Myndos. Excavations here have started only recently and are beginning to reveal the remains of a fortified harbour town. The scant ruins offer a perfect start to an archaeological tour, as they show what an ancient city looks like prior to systematic exploration and excavation.
Day 3: We cruise northeast across the Gulf of Miletus to moor in the pretty harbour of ancient Iasos, where archaeological excavations are revealing a vital and beautiful Classical to Roman city, its remains attractively scattered on the olive-covered slopes of a coastal hill, crowned by a medieval fort. The agora (market), theatre and mosaic-floored Roman houses make for a small-scale preview of the glories that await us in Ephesus later on this tour.
Day 4: We head inland up into the mountains to Labraunda, Caria’s most sacred sanctuary, site of the great oracular shrine to Zeus Labraundos. Here, ongoing excavations are gradually revealing a site that is as mysterious as it is beautiful. Later, we visit the weekly farmer’s market in the town of Milas, built upon the ruins of ancient Mylasa. On the way back to port, we stop by the Roman temple of Zeus at Euromus, one of the best preserved in Asia Minor, located amidst a beautiful olive grove.
Day 5: An easy morning to relax and cruise. In the afternoon we head inland to visit Miletus, one of the most significant Ionian sites, with its vast theatre, baths, and brooding atmosphere. We also explore its most important sanctuary, the colossal and awe-inspiring temple of Apollo at Didyma, site of one of antiquity’s most important oracles and among the best-preserved of all Greek temples.
Day 6: Heading inland we walk the ancient roads of Priene, an almost perfectly preserved Late Classical (4th century BC) city, set in a strikingly lovely spot among pine trees. Visiting Priene is like walking through a model of an ancient Greek city, with its public buildings, private homes and religious shrines all there to be discovered. Conditions permitting, we cruise northwards to spend the night anchored off the lovely Dilek peninsula, a nature reserve.
Day 7: We head east to the port of 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 8: Transfer from our gulet to Izmir airport, on Turkey’s Aegean coast, about 1 hour away.
Arrival and Departure Information
Arrival Airport - Bodrum (Milas)
Departure Airport - İzmir (Adnan Menderes)
We plan for the gulet to depart Bodrum harbour around 17:00 on Sep 17th. Embarkation is from 15:30 onwards. You are more than welcome to arrive earlier to drop off your bags, but please be aware that the crew will be busy cleaning and tidying making everything ready for your group. If you arrive to the gulet after 17:00, we will do our best to enable you to join the tour at a convenient time and place. Departure time can be subject to change depending on weather, harbour or other conditions.
Disembarkation in Kuşadasi (approx 1 hour 20 minutes from Izmir airport) is at 08:30 on Sep 24th. We will arrange local transfers from Bodrum airport at the start of the tour, and to Izmir 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.