Here is a tour that brings the delicious and the sublime together to a level of rare perfection. In this odyssey you’ll reap the rewards of our decades of experience on this most wonderful Turkish coast: all our years of familiarity with some of the finest and most inspiring sites of the ancient world, of contacts – and friendships – made with some of the greatest artisans and cooks of a region famed for its production of fine foods, and for superbly rich fields and waters offering the freshest and most delicious ingredients.
This is a tour for those who want to get to know the history, culture and unforgettable food of Turkey rather than just go there. Our deep knowledge of the history of this region, drawn from the years of personal research or excavation experience of our expert guides, makes its long and intricate history clear and vivid, unwrapping the story of the many civilisations that have made their mark here. We know intimately the finest sites to tell that story – from the famous world heritage sites to lesser known but awe-inspiring sites so well-hidden that they’re a revelation even to professionals in the field. As for the food and wine, we’ve taken our time sampling the best restaurants and wineries to be found in the entire region – and that’s a pretty high bar when you consider its renown.
Here you’ll experience our award-winning approach to sharing our love and knowledge of Turkey with you, in one of the regions we know best. Relaxing on the deck of a gulet, you‘ll watch one of the most beautiful coasts in the Mediterranean glide by, knowing all the hard work’s been done for you, just waiting for the next image-perfect bay to come around, or for a fascinating trip to one of the world’s finest ancient Greek temples.
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Day 1: Our boat is about 40 minutes from Bodrum airport, in the town’s beautiful and historic harbour, site of the famed ancient city of Halicarnassus. Welcome drinks and dinner aboard.
Day 2: We cruise east and take a short drive inland to the rustic village of Etrim where we will prepare some classic Turkish dishes, enjoy a delicious lunch and see how Turkish carpets are traditionally made by skilled hands which have been doing it for half a century. We then head further east to swim and spend the night moored up in a beautiful bay.
Day 3: We head inland to Milas, home to a wonderfully colourful market with all manner of produce pouring in from the surrounding countryside and lots of locals coming to shop. We’ll have a chance to stroll around and soak up the vibrant atmosphere before we have lunch.
Day 4: In the pretty hills to the east of Bodrum is a family run winery, perfectly situated to cultivate wine grapes including a number of indigenous white wine varieties. We’ll explore the vineyards, production facilities and cellars to find out about their sophisticated processing and fermentation techniques before enjoying a splendid lunch and sampling a variety of their wines and award-winning olive oil. In the afternoon we cruise east.
Day 5: Today we set out on a journey inland to the little-visited but hugely important site of Stratonikeia. Excavated intensively over the last decades by a brilliant Turkish team, an entire ancient city is slowly being revealed and restored within the charming embrace of a rich Ottoman trading town that was mostly abandoned after an earthquake in the 20th century. From the lovingly restored mosque and Seljuk bathhouse to evocative ruined townhouses of the glorious marble city of Roman and Hellenistic times, Stratonikeia is a feast for the eyes which is growing grander every year. This is a site that has the potential to revolutionise our knowledge of this part of the ancient world. From here, we travel a little way further inland to the beautiful sanctuary site of Lagina, dedicated to the goddess Hecate, and site of some of the most important festivals in the land of the Stratonikeians. Many of the buildings here have been wrenched and twisted by seismic activity, and the result is a photographer’s dream.
Day 6: Kedreai, a small island charmingly located at the head of the Ceramic gulf, is our destination today. Erroneously associated with the famed Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, who won the hearts of both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, this island is also renowned for a beautiful beach that is like nothing else in the area, with distant hills fading to blue and purple at the further shore across the waters. Blessed with a theatre, sanctuaries, residential quarters, and harbour, this is also a lovely ancient city to explore by wending our way on paths through the trees. We then cruise southwest for an afternoon of swimming and relaxing.
Day 7: Our voyage brings us to the spectacular Greek and Roman city of Knidos, draped along the tip of the long and sinewy Datça peninsula. With a double harbour offering shelter to ships plying their way north and south, Knidos made a deep mark on Greek history and grew rich from its stunning natural position. We’ll be awed by the result: a grand and ordered city rising in tier upon opulent tier. Like many a classical predecessor on this route, we’ll anchor in the eastern harbour, with the heart of the ancient city rising above us. Decades of excavation have freed a beautifully-planned city from the soil, allowing us to make our way through its streets and along terraces festooned with temples to be met with a magnificent view across the Aegean.
Day 8: East along the Datça peninsula to the main county town, also Datça. We head inland to visit a small local winery producing a range of delectable wines from the vines which thrive in the region. Wine production has been at the heart of the local economy for well over 2,000 years. Knidos, the ancient city we visited yesterday, produced huge quantities of wine from vineyards stretching throughout the peninsula, transported in locally made amphorae all over the Mediterranean. We’ll savour a variety of them in a delightful setting and then head into town to have lunch at a traditional lokanta, where you’ll sample a number of classic Turkish dishes. You then have some free time to wander in town before we cruise east to the Bozburun peninsula for another wonderful swimming opportunity.
Day 9: We make our way inland along the gorgeous Resadiye peninsula to see how olive oil has been produced both in the past and today in the scenic village of Bayir where an old friend has laboured to conserve and restore his grandfather’s historic mill. Just downhill, we find the main working olive oil mill in the region, family-run for other locals and small farmers. We’ll enjoy a wonderful lunch, including a very special cold-pressed extra virgin olive and traditionally-produced herb oils. We spend the night in another beautiful bay.
Day 10: We journey south to one of our favourite restaurants, right by the sea in the hamlet of Söğüt. After a fabulous seafood lunch and plenty of time to savour the sublime seascapes, we take a scenic drive to the tiny inlet of Serçe Limani, an idyllic narrow cove whose waters once covered the shipwreck of a Byzantine vessel filled with a delicate cargo of glass, revealed in a ground-breaking American excavation. More finds from other ancient shipwrecks remain in the sea’s grip beneath. En route we drive through the territory of Phoenix, a wild and remote citadel city and discover the remarkable ancient pyramidal stones found only in this peninsula, whose purpose remains something of a mystery.
Day 11: Heading south we have wonderful views of the Greek island of Symi as we cruise along the forest covered slopes of the Bozburun peninsula, studded with coves and bays. One of these is watched over by the magnificent fortress of Loryma, built around 300 BC by the Rhodians, then the major naval power in the region, which made sustained efforts to control this entire coast. The deadly catapults once mounted in the squat towers of Loryma’s gleaming walls ensured domination of the splendid bay below, then treasured for its strategic value, now peaceful enough to provide a glorious spot for a swim. A fine walk across rugged ground allows us to explore the walls and shrines that protected the soldiers before returning to this natural overnight anchorage. Day 12: We head east and treat you to a day where you may have trouble deciding if it’s the fantastic site or the uniqueness of the journey that makes for the greatest memory. We’ll drop anchor in a bay and take to a flat-bottomed river boat, pass through a lagoon filled with turtles and make our way up the reed-walled Dalyan River, so remote-seeming that all trace of busy civilisation seems blotted-out. Our route twists and turns through narrow waterways, other channels appearing and disappearing. At a small hamlet, we cook and eat with one of the village ladies who prepares food each summer for the archaeological team that works here. We then continue to the ancient city of Kaunos, spread between two great rocky outcrops, some set with tombs cut into the rock. A theatre and opulent public buildings, a late antique church and a castle high above them all strain to gaze ever more steeply over an ancient harbour doomed by silting to pass from busy activity to sit green and silent in testimony to the city’s passing. Day 13: We cruise to the mouth of the shimmering gulf of Fethiye, where we have a remote and hidden marvel to visit, known by only a few. We drop anchor in the beautiful inlet of Ağlımanı and make our ascent by an ancient track, fringed by shady trees and steep in places. A slow and steady pace with magnificent views over the deep turquoise of the water soon sees us crest the ridge and reveals a magnificent sight: monumental tombs standing nearly complete in a secluded and dramatic landscape, veiled from most eyes by a cinematically-perfect curtain of hills. We’ve arrived at the isolated ancient settlement of Lydae, its ruins a spray of sculpture and inscriptions in the bowl of a valley utterly detached and silent but for the occasional tinkle of goat bells. Two thousand years ago, a settlement flourished here, now it lies beautifully desolate: mounds of sculptured rubble, a scatter of ancient buildings and, strewn between, tumbles of ancient statues and inscriptions, columns, and capitals, lying as if they’d never been seen over the long centuries since falling into ruin. We break bread and have wild sage tea and local honey with the goatherd who still lives amid the ancient ruins tending his animals and beehives, producing olive oil and collecting wild herbs like sage, oregano and thyme in a lifestyle that feels timeless and a privilege to encounter.
Day 14: We continue into the Gulf of Fethiye for a day given over to pure relaxation. As we make our way to Göcek, at the head of a beautiful bay with impossibly ultramarine waters thronged with islands, sublime views accompany swimming and sunbathing in the morning, cruising or sailing in the afternoon.
Day 15: Transfer to Dalaman airport, about 30 minutes away.
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Arrival and Departure Information
Arrival Airport – Bodrum (Milas)
Departure Airport – Dalaman
Arrival Location – Bodrum Harbour (approx. 40 mins from airport)
Departure Location – Gocek Marina (approx. 30 mins from airport)
Embarkation and departure is planned for approx.17:00. 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 so you will not be able to settle into your cabin.
If your travel plans or flights do not allow you to arrive before 17:00 we recommend arriving the day before the tour starts. This would also allow time to relax, recover from any jet lag and arrive at the boat on time for embarkation and departure.
If you arrive at the gulet after 17:00, we will do our best to enable you to join the tour at a later time and place.
Please Note: Departure time is subject to change depending on weather, harbour, or other conditions.
Disembarkation is around 09:00. We will arrange local transfers on the first and last day of the tour.
Booking Flights: 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. 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: We consider adequate travel insurance to be essential. You should ensure that you take out a suitable policy, 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.
Visas: You must check to see if you require a visa to enter Turkey. Visas are easily obtained online at eVisa and must be purchased before you travel.
Istanbul: If you are planning to stay in Istanbul before or after your gulet tour we would be happy to help with suggestions and information and things to see and do. Please get in touch.
Custom Tours: 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.