Open to Families and All
“I can’t think of anything to improve. This was a wonderful trip for our family, especially for our children. The Turkish people LOVE children, so having them with us allowed us to connect with Turks in a way we never could have as an adult couple.”
Jill Horwitz, California, USA
“Best family vacation by a mile. Everything was wonderful. The sites, the people, the food and the boat totally exceeded our expectations. Definitely did not want the week to end. Thank you!!”
Pat and Sam Bryden, Alberta, CAN
One of the best family holidays – The Times.
When we think back on our childhood and youth, many of us find that the most vividly remembered scenes and moments are often ones that took place on holidays and while travelling. It makes perfect sense: travel is a wonderful and formative experience for children and adults alike. The adventure of exploring new places and meeting new people, combined with the intense sense of enjoying that adventure together as a family, is what memories are made of.
Out of all the cultural experiences travel can offer, archaeology is one of the most appealing for children and teenagers. They delight in the idea of tracing the course of long-lost civilisations, finding out about the mysteries of the past, but also simply learning how people long ago lived and organised their lives, from the private household via the organisation of city or state, to the great events and battles that made history what it is. After all, archaeology, by looking at the physical remains of the past to understand the lives and thoughts of its people, is a particularly instructive way to understand how humans act and interact. Thus, our family cruises include a diverse, but not too heavy, archaeological programme, taking in sites and monuments that we carefully select for their beauty and grandeur, but also for the stories they tell.
Rather than having to deal with the usual hassle of finding hotels, getting from place to place by car or public transport, having to arrange meals and so on, guests on our family cruises can simply relax. The tour takes place on a beautiful handcrafted wooden gulet (a traditional Turkish motor-yacht), cruising along the shore and adding to the sense of adventure. Meals are freshly prepared by an on-board chef, so there is also ample time to play, swim, snorkel, read, sunbathe, nap, or simply enjoy the beautiful boat and the wonderful scenery in the company of friends and loved ones – the holiday of a lifetime.
This gulet cruise in Turkey follows the Carian Coast from Göcek to Bodrum offering a marvellous mix of fantastic ancient sites, including monumental wonders like beautifully preserved Knidos, a stunning marbled city arranged around a double harbour and Kaunos with its exquisite rock-cut tombs.
As well as these celebrated archaeological sites where excavations have been going on for decades, we visit ancient towns like Phoenix and Lydae, set in remote and beautiful locations, rarely visited and as yet completely unexcavated.
Most of the sites are located in stunning landscape settings along what is probably the least developed stretch of Turkey’s turquoise coast. It’s an ideal opportunity to explore this beautiful area by sea, sharing the joy and excitement with your family.
Day 1: Our boat is about 30 minutes from Dalaman airport at Göcek, a very pretty harbour on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Welcome aboard, there’s an excellent dinner on its way!
Day 2: The engines starts and we head south through a wide bay with sparkling waters, filled with islands and speckled with other boats. Leaving them behind, we go to a little-known inlet called Ağlımanı. We’ll go ashore by small boat – there’s no town or harbour here, just a beautiful cove - and climb up an old track to the ancient city of Lydae. You won’t hear anything but the occasional klonk of goat bells as they shuffle around the ruins surrounded by big hills. It’ll feel like you’re the first archaeologist to find this place: it’s like discovering a lost world.
Day 3: We cruise west, but we’ll need to get a smaller boat to find our next destination. On it, we’ll thread our way through a lagoon and then into channels surrounded by tall and thick reeds which make the view ahead up the Dalyan river a surprise every time we turn, now left, now right, till we finally reach the ancient city of Kaunos. It used to be a rich port, but the mud brought down by the river silted it up, and now only the silent buildings and strong walls tell us how important it was.
Day 4: The waters as we arrive at the Bozburun peninsula are crystal clear. In front of us, the peninsula is rocky and wooded. Time to go inland to the remote ancient site of Phoenix! The views when we get there are amazing, and Phoenix itself has never been excavated: you’re seeing it in wild countryside, still overgrown and mysterious.
Day 5: We arrive at a great place to swim in a really pretty bay. It hasn’t always been this peaceful, though. If you’d been sailing here just over two thousand years ago, these were dangerous waters – powerful kings were battling each other, city was fighting city and there were pirates all over the place. Nearby Rhodes made its money from the sea trade, so her ships were always on patrol and she built forts to guard safe places for ships like this. We’ll head up to Loryma to see one, with its strong walls and towers, and the little shrines the soldiers prayed at.
Day 6: There’s a long, thin finger of land stretching out to sea as we head west. Right about where the fingertip would be is the ancient Greek city of Knidos. It had a double harbour, so ships from east and west could come here for safety from storms and rough seas. That gave Knidos the wealth to build famous temples to the gods, impressive places to meet and shop, a theatre and even a lighthouse, all clinging to the slopes of the finger-peninsula.
Day 7: A last chance to swim as we cruise north to explore Bodrum. In ancient times it was called Halicarnassus and one of the Seven Wonders of the World, a huge tomb, cast its vast shadow over the city. If it has fully reopened, we visit the castle of the Crusader knights, which is now one of the world’s best museums of underwater archaeology. Inside, we’ll look at the shipwrecks and the cargoes brought up by divers, including some from the Bronze Age that sailed the Mediterranean more than three thousand years ago until disaster struck them. After that, you can enjoy the town and do some last-minute shopping.
Day 8: Transfer to Bodrum airport.
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Arrival and Departure Information
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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.