This cultural gulet cruise will introduce you to the renowned Carian coast.
Starting in the bustling town of Kuşadası we head south to explore this magical coastline in its entirety, from the Aegean Shore facing Greece to the turquoise Mediterranean Coast.
We’ll visit some of the greatest archaeological gems on the southern shore: the world-renowned museum of underwater archaeology in Bodrum, the one-time capital of all Caria; beautifully preserved Knidos, a monumental marbled city arranged around a double harbour; and Kaunos with its exquisite rock-cut temple tombs.
Aboard our traditional Turkish gulet we’ll rediscover the realm of Mausolus, Caria’s ruler 2,400 years ago, whose tomb was ranked one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. With such rich and strategically vital cities, the area was a crossroads of civilisations. Alexander the Great liberated it from Persia, Rhodes sought to subjugate it into an empire, and the legacy of Crusader castles still speaks of the epic battle between Christianity and Islam.
This gulet cruise weaves together a cornucopia of simple pleasures: magnificent sites, quiet coves, wondrous walks, fabulous food, breath-taking vistas and glorious swims. A tour designed to inspire and relax in equal measure.
Day 1: Our boat is an hour from Izmir airport, in Kuşadası’s marina. Welcome drink and dinner.
Day 2: A chance to relax as we cruise past the Greek island of Samos for our very first swim.
Day 3: We explore Herakleia, an ancient city set in breathtaking mountain scenery boasting some of the Mediterranean’s most spectacular Greek fortifications.
Day 4: We sail east to moor in the pretty harbour of ancient Iasos, where excavations are revealing a vital and beautiful classical city.
Day 5: Into the mountains to the sanctuary of Zeus at Labraunda. At Euromus, amidst an olive grove stands a temple to Zeus, one of the best preserved in Asia Minor.
Day 6: We cruise to the pretty village of Gümüşlük, ancient Myndos. The scant ruins offer a glimpse of this once bustling fortified harbour.
Day 7: East to Halicarnassus, home to one of the seven ancient wonders and a Crusader castle that houses a splendid museum of underwater archaeology.
Day 8: At the head of the Ceramic gulf, we wander through the ruins of Cedreae on Cleopatra’s Island, strewn with Byzantine churches and an ancient theatre almost hidden by olive trees.
Day 9: A whole day’s excursion to two of the most evocative sites. First Stratonikeia, with its stunning gymnasium, then Lagina, for a picnic in the sanctuary of the underworld goddess Hekate.
Day 10: West to spectacular Knidos, a well-planned ancient city, one of the most beautiful in Turkey. At the tip of a sinuous peninsula, this was a city built for maritime trade, and famed for its fabled nude statue of Aphrodite.
Day 11: We head to Loryma, a magnificent Rhodian fortress guarding a strategic bay.
Day 12: Inland to Phoenix, a wild and remote citadel city, with grand vistas all around.
Day 13: We take a river boat up the Dalyan River to Kaunos. Its monumental public buildings, surrounding a silted up harbour, speak of its once great wealth.
Day 14: We walk up an ancient track to Lydae, set in a forgotten valley. A final chance to swim, then to Göcek, a pretty harbour town ringed by forested hills.
Day 15: Transfer to Dalaman airport, about 30 minutes away.