Open to Families and All
A classic cruise that takes in a series of Turkey’s most important and interesting archaeological sites, including the stunning ruins of Ephesus.
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 experience of Exploring new places, meeting new people, tasting different foods and enjoying the daily adventures brings families closer together – it’s what memories are made of.
One of the things that is so special about our family tours is that the children contribute their boundless energy and curiosity to the experience. When we take kids of any age to ancient sites, they are no longer just places where we stand back, admire and discover the history. Instead, the children make themselves at home, the sites become places to inhabit: fallen down columns are balanced upon, dark tombs are crawled into, pottery and other artefacts are found, walls are climbed, hidden inscriptions are hunted for, old theatres are performed in. Sticks become swords, flowers become jewels and the ruins come alive in the imagination.
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 hand-crafted 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.
Beginning in Gümüşlük 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, and includes a visit to the astoundingly monumental ruins of Ephesus.
“The combination of our beautiful gleaming gulet, a totally professional crew, a talented chef producing exquisite yet simple dishes, our lovely local guide and our scholar tour leader who led us into the magic of the ancient world with charm and humour was a rare privilege. We went to deserted bays to swim every day, when there was wind the sails went up and we gently sailed along the beautiful coastline. All the sites were fascinating… Every night one’s head was reeling with what one had seen and heard. What more can I say? I shall never forget it.”
Katherine Wyld, West Sussex, UK
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.
Average rating 5 out of 5 from 371 reviews for Cruising to Ephesus – Family Tour, according to AITO reviews.
Day 1: Your gulet awaits you in the pretty coastal village of Gümüşlük, about an hour from Bodrum airport on Turkey’s south-west coast. Welcome drink and dinner aboard.
Day 2: A gentle cruise north-east, with plentiful swimming opportunities on the way, before mooring in the late afternoon in the pretty harbour of ancient Iasos where archaeological excavations are revealing a vital and beautiful classical city.
Day 3: In the morning we head inland to the temple of Zeus at Euromus, one of the best preserved in Asia Minor, located amid a beautiful olive grove. Then, on into the mountains to Labraunda, Caria’s most sacred sanctuary, site of the great oracular shrine to Zeus Labraundus. In the afternoon, a chance to swim, kayak, snorkel and relax as you cruise westwards.
Day 4: Landing in the morning near Altinkum’s golden beach, you’ll visit the colossal and awe-inspiring oracular temple of Apollo at Didyma. In the afternoon, a glorious long cruise northward to anchor off the southern coast of the isolated Dilek peninsula, where herds of wild horses roam free.
Day 5: We head north to 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 6: Heading south overland, you will walk the ancient roads of Priene, an almost perfectly preserved Greek city set in a strikingly lovely spot among pine trees. You’ll also discover Miletus, one of the most significant ancient Greek sites, with its vast theatre, baths, and brooding atmosphere, before re-joining your gulet, which will have cruised down to meet you, for a late afternoon of swimming and leisure.
Day 7: A leisurely day cruising around the Bodrum peninsula, to Bodrum itself, ancient Halicarnassus. In the late afternoon you’ll visit Bodrum’s magnificent Crusader castle which now houses one of the finest museums of underwater archaeology in the world.
Day 8: Transfer from our gulet to Bodrum airport, on Turkey’s Aegean coast, about 40 minutes away.