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Cruising the Carian Coast: from Mediterranean to Aegean offers a marvellous combination of superb archaeological sites and a remarkably beautiful maritime landscape – a stretch of Turkey’s Turquoise Coast that so far remains mostly untouched by mass tourism and other modern developments.

Starting in Göcek, a quiet small town in a lovely setting on the Gulf of Fethiye this cruise follows the convoluted shoreline of Caria, made up of deep inlets and long peninsulas forming a complex and diverse geography where land and sea constantly embrace one another. It ends at the lively harbour of Bodrum, ancient Halicarnassus and the birthplace of Herodotus.

Along the way, we visit a series of fascinating archaeological sites, each of them with its own story to tell about the past of Caria, a region that often found itself at the intersection of different cultural and political realms, adopting and adapting features from all of them. They include famous ancient cities like Knidos, in a stunningly beautiful peninsular location overlooking twin harbours, and spectacular Kaunos, overlooked by uniquely elaborate rock-cut tombs. We also get to explore more remote spots, such as the mighty Rhodian fortification at Loryma, one of the best examples of defensive architecture to survive from antiquity, the virtually unknown town, surrounded by evocative grave monuments, and long-forgotten Lydae, hidden away on a wild promontory far away from roads, towns and modern life.

And it’s not all archaeology. We aim for all of our trips to be gastronomic adventures where you can enjoy the local food and wine. Near the lovely little town of Datça, you’ll visit a small winery to try a few bottles and then have lunch at a traditional lokanta, where you’ll be able to sample a variety of delicious, freshly cooked home-style Turkish dishes.

Along with this engrossing narrative about the fate and deeds of humankind throughout time, this gulet cruise in Turkey also offers many opportunities to just sit back and enjoy the magnificent scenery, dip into the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean, or stroll through landscapes of unforgettable beauty – a perfect combination of cultural experience and quality time.

Our tours receive an average rating of 5 out of 5 from 762 reviews, according to AITO reviews.

Day 1: Your gulet awaits you in the marina at Göcek, about 30 minutes from Dalaman airport. Welcome drinks and dinner on board.
Day 2: We cruise towards the gulf of Fethiye today, where a choice of marvels lies open to us. We drop anchor in the beautiful inlet of Ağlımanı and make our ascent by an ancient track, steep in places, but a slow and steady pace is all that is needed to crest the ridge and see monumental tombs standing nearly complete overlooking the Mediterranean Sea below. We’ve arrived at the isolated ancient settlement of Lydae, its ruins a diffusion of sculpture and inscriptions in the bowl of a valley silent but for the occasional tinkle of goat bells. Two thousand years ago, a settlement flourished here, now it lies beautifully desolate at the hand of earthquakes, leaving mounds of sculpted rubble, a scatter of ancient buildings and, strewn between, a profusion of ancient sculptures and inscriptions, columns and capitals, lying as if they’d never before been found.
Day 3: We head west and treat you to a fantastic site that will nevertheless contend with the uniqueness of the journey to reveal it as the greatest memory of a superb day. We drop anchor in a bay and taking to a flat-bottomed river boat, we enter a lagoon filled with turtles and make our way up the reed-walled Dalyan River. Our route twists and turns through narrow waterways, other channels appearing and disappearing, until we glimpse the great slab-sided horn of rock that tells us we’re close to our destination, the ancient city of Kaunos. We disembark at this striking site, spread between two great rocky outcrops, with others marching into the screens of distant hills, 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 4: Heading west may bring us wonderful views of the Greek islands of Rhodes and 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 people of Rhodes, once the major naval power in the region, which made sustained efforts to control this entire coast. The catapults once positioned in the squat towers of Loryma’s gleaming walls provided a powerful means to dominate the fine bay below, then noted for its strategic value, now peaceful enough to provide a glorious spot for a swim. A lovely walk across rugged ground allows us to explore the walls and shrines that fortified the soldiers before returning to this natural night-time anchorage.
Day 5: North-west to the Datça peninsula and the main county town, Datça. We head inland to visit a small local winery producing a range of lovely wines from 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 visit tomorrow, 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 wines 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 on for another wonderful swimming opportunity.
Day 6: Our voyage brings us to the spectacular Greek and Roman city of Knidos, on the tip of long and sinewy Datça peninsula north of Bozburun. With a double harbour offering shelter to ships plying north and south, Knidos made its mark on Greek history and grew rich from its stunning natural position, and we’ll see the results in the grand and ordered city rising in tier upon opulent tier. Like many a classical predecessor, we’ll anchor in the eastern harbour, the heart of the ancient city rising above us. Decades of excavation have freed a beautifully planned city from the soil, allowing us to wander through its streets and along terraces festooned with temples to be met with a magnificent view across the Aegean.
Day 7: A last chance to swim as we cruise north to Bodrum. In the late afternoon we visit the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and Bodrum’s magnificent Crusader castle, which houses one of the finest museums of underwater archaeology in the world. A final opportunity to shop.
Day 8: Transfer to Bodrum airport, about 40 minutes away.

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Arrival and Departure Information

Arrival Airport – Dalaman

Departure Airport – Bodrum (Milas)

Arrival Location – Gocek Marina (approx. 30 mins from airport)

Departure Location – Bodrum Harbour (approx. 40 mins from airport)

Embarkation and departure is planned for approx.16:45. 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 16:45 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 16:45, 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.

Tour Includes:
Full board accommodation with water, tea and coffee and wine with dinner
Airport transfers on the first and last day of the tour
Travel by private minibus
Harbour fees and crew services
All entrance fees and tips on land
The services of your expert tour leaders throughout the entire trip
WiFi (coverage permitting)

Not included:
Flights and airport taxes
Travel insurance
Gratuities on the gulet. It is customary to tip the crew at the end of a tour (we recommend a minimum of 20Euro per day per guest)
Tips for guides

Peter Sommer

Peter studied Ancient History and Archaeology at Birmingham University before completing a Masters on the archaeology of Central Asia. He has taught at Birmingham University and Istanbul’s Bogaziçi Üniversitesi (Bosphorus University). In 1994 he walked 2,000 miles across Turkey, retracing the route of Alexander the Great, and fell deeply in love with the country. For this epic journey he received The Explorers Club of America Young Expeditioners’ award. Two years into a PhD. at University College London, he was seduced into television to work on In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great (BBC/PBS). An award-winning documentary producer, he has shot around the world for acclaimed series like Millennium: A thousand years of history (BBC/CNN), Commanding Heights: the Battle for the World Economy (PBS/BBC), and Tales from the Green Valley (BBC).

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Filip Budić

Steeped in the history and archaeology of Croatia, Filip has walked and travelled extensively across the mainland, coast and islands of his homeland. Passionate about history and archaeology since his childhood, he has worked on multiple excavations and surveys throughout Croatia as well as at sites in Kosovo, Germany, Greece, Israel and the Russian Federation. Filip holds a BA, MA and PhD. in Archaeology from the University of Zagreb, where he has won numerous awards and currently holds the post of Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Ancient History. Filip is a man of many gifts: apart from his native Croatian, he is fluent in English and German. For many years, he has taken a hands-on interest in theatre, especially in productions of Ancient Greek plays, in which he has starred both home and abroad. A true enthusiast, persuasive public speaker and charming host, he has long expertise guiding at ancient sites both in Croatia and also abroad in Greece, Sicily and Turkey. We are truly delighted Filip is able to share his enthusiasm and knowledge of the history, culture and landscapes of the Mediterranean with our guests.

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AITO Tour Operator of the Year 2015 Gold Award AITO Tour Operator of the Year 2017 Gold Award AITO Tour Operator of the Year 2018 Silver Award AITO Tour Operator of the Year 2019 Silver Award Best Travel Company for Arts and Culture Holidays Silver British Travel Award 2022 Member of AITO The Specialist Travel Association Member of ABTA the Association of British Travel Agents Member of ASTA The American Society of Travel Advisors Member of ABTOI the Association of British Travel Organisers to Italy

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