Open to Families and All
This cruise among the timeless Islands of the Dodecanese archipelago is a perfect and entertaining introduction to the varied history of the Aegean Sea and its inhabitants. It is also the fabulous setting for our family cruise in Greece. Every day on Cruising the Aegean: A Family Adventure brings new discoveries, new things to learn, and new places to enjoy together.
With a team of expert guides at hand to bring the region’s past back to vibrant life, you will discover the mysteries of ancient Gods and hear tales of giants and monsters! You’ll learn of the skills of the ancient Greek city-builders, of Roman merchants, of Byzantine holy men, of Crusader Knights, of Ottoman warriors and of Italian architects, all set next to each other in compelling harmony, and each monument with its own story to tell. These stories, all linked across space and time, form a dense web of meaning, offering insights on humanity itself. Of course, we will “meet” these characters and their stories hands-on, by walking through a smoking volcano, strolling along mighty castle battlements, admiring intricate ancient craftsmanship and sailing the very same azure waters that the ancient traders and conquerors criss-crossed for thousands of years.
The spirit of discovery and the joy of engaging with the many stories the region has to tell goes hand-in-hand with ample time to relax, swim, snorkel, kayak, or simply gaze at the ever-changing maritime scenery – the perfect way to truly enjoy this famously beautiful area in an unforgettable way. There is no finer experience of the Greek Islands than a family gulet holiday. As always, wonderful food, freshly prepared on board or in selected tavernas on the islands, will complete the days, from breakfast on deck in the morning sunshine to lively bustling tavernas providing dishes of glorious salads, slow roasted meats and freshly caught seafood. The experience, is unique, exciting and most of all fun!
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.
Join us on Cruising the Aegean: A Family Adventure, for a family holiday to remember!
Day 1: We embark on our gulet, about 40 minutes from Bodrum airport, in the town’s beautiful grand harbour. Welcome drink and dinner on board.
Day 2: After a morning cruise to Kos, we begin our adventure by exploring the archaeological museum of Kos, a superb collection of sculpture, pottery and other finds, ranging from prehistory to the Roman era and serving as a perfect introduction to the archaeology of the region. We then set out for our first long crossing to the little-visited island of Leros, where we anchor in a picturesque bay.
Day 3: On Leros, we make our way to the formidable medieval Castle of Panteli, whose military history extends as recently as the tragic Dodecanese campaign of 1943. Its extensive medieval walls crown the heights of the former ancient acropolis as it sits high above a deep blue sea and overlooks a fascinating scenery of coves, bays, and a dense jumble of ornate mansions. Originally a Byzantine stronghold, it later became a major outpost of the Hospitaller Knights of St John, who greatly expanded it to ward off the threats of the fiercely-contested fourteenth century Aegean. From the castle we take a stroll around the Italian military town at Lakki, a unique planned outpost in a then-showpiece architectural style before making our way westwards to sacred Patmos, to anchor in a beautiful cove.
Day 4: In the morning, we explore the extraordinary cultural riches of Patmos, some of the most memorable images of our tour. We discover the Cave of the Apocalypse, now a chapel, and traditionally the refuge of St John the Divine as he composed, or transmitted, the Book of Revelations. At the great Monastery of Saint John, we find one of Greece’s greatest medieval treasures, whose soaring and stout walls house some extraordinary Byzantine survivals. Clustered around is the breathtakingly beautiful Chora, the island capital with its maze of cobbled streets and beautiful houses. The setting, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, is stunning and reveals a thousand years of life in a small and remote island uniquely connected to a greater world. In the afternoon, we set out for the rugged island of Kalymnos.
Day 5: In the morning, we visit the beautifully laid-out archaeological museum of Kalymnos, home to a surprisingly rich collection of ancient Greek sculpture. Outstanding even amidst the fine marbles is the over life-size ‘Lady of Kalymnos’, a superb and near-complete bronze statue of a himation-swathed woman, drawn up from the sea as recently as 1994 after being found by fishermen. Kalymnos being the last redoubt of the once extensive sponge-diving industry, we take the opportunity to visit one of the remaining sponge-washing workshops and observe this almost-lost art first-hand. In the afternoon, we continue southwards, anchoring near the tiny islet of Pserimos with a permanent population of just a few dozen.
Southwards to Giali, a small island famous for its ample supplies of pumice and obsidian, a rare volcanic glass, used for cutting tools since early prehistory. There is ample time to swim and relax before we enter the port of Mandraki on Nisyros. Here, we explore the small but excellent archaeological museum of Mandraki, with rich finds from the island’s ancient cemeteries. Later, we discover the astonishingly well-preserved Hellenistic fortification of Palaiokastro, probably built by the Rhodians to secure their northernmost possessions. Afterwards, we enter the island’s huge volcanic caldera to visit the atmospheric steam crater of Stephanos, where we see, hear and smell the true nature of Nisyros: the whole island is an active volcano. We walk past mud pools to stand in the stark amphitheatre of its crater where hot water bubbles on the surface and steam vents from beneath, leaving mounds of crystallized sulphur, before heading off to enjoy a well-earned dinner with unforgettable views of the island.
Day 7: We return to Kos. Here we explore the Casa Romana, the vast mansion of a Roman aristocrat, partially restored to give a strong sense of the palatial residence’s original opulence. Mosaics and wall paintings still adorn its spacious expanse and the restoration offers a rare chance to experience what the colonnades and courtyards of a Roman aristocratic home really felt like. Afterwards, we go to the beautifully-set Asklepieion, the most important sacred site on the island. The extensive shrine, an important international sanctuary where pilgrims sought the attentions of the healing god Asklepios while they slept, post-dates Hippocrates, the ‘father of medicine’ so closely associated with Kos, but the picturesque terraces, monumental stairways and ornate columns attest the god’s lasting presence. After our final crossing back to Bodrum port, farewell dinner on the gulet.
Day 8: Transfer to Bodrum airport, about 40 minutes away.
£2,895 per person, children up to 12: £2,750 / Single Supplement: £795
Arrival and Departure Information
Arrival Airport – Bodrum Milas
Departure Airport – Bodrum Milas
We plan for the gulet to depart around 17.00. Embarkation is from 15:00 onwards. 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 may not be able to settle in to your cabin. If you arrive at the gulet after 17:00, we will do our best to enable you to join the tour at a convenient time and place. Departure time can be 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 Athens 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 Greece such as Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air. Both Airlines have a wide selection of flights on these days. 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 Travel insurance is a requirement of our booking conditions and we recommend you investigate the options thoroughly 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 A Visa is required to pass through Turkish customs during the cruise. Visas are easily obtained online at eVisa and must be purchased before you travel.
Citizens of European Union or Schengen Treaty member states need no visa for Greece, those from the United States, Canada and Australia do not need to apply for a visa to visit Greece for trips of less than 90 days duration.
Athens, Kos and the Greek islands If you are planning to stay in Athens before or after your tour we have included below links to more information and things to see and do. If you intend to add time on Kos or any other Greek island, we are happy to offer information and advice.
Nature of the itinerary Cruising and Itinerary: This remarkable cruise has a character very different to that of most of our other gulet cruises. We will be crossing some stretches of wide open sea between the islands and covering considerable distances on some of the days. In so doing you’ll gain a wonderful appreciation of the nature and beauty of this part of the Aegean, a thoroughfare for sailors since the Bronze Age. There will be some early starts so we can make passage in the early morning before the wind picks up in the afternoon. While the average travelling time will be longer than our normal coastal gulet cruises, there will be opportunities to swim each day (schedule and weather permitting).
As with all of our gulet cruises, we have spent a great deal of time crafting the itinerary to be as good as it can be, but we are travelling aboard a boat and may need to make changes according to the weather and the captain’s advice.
Overnights: Compared with our coastal gulet cruises in Turkey and Italy, where we tend to spend a good number of nights moored out in isolated bays, on this trip we will be spending more nights in harbour on the islands. This means you’ll have the chance to explore not only as part of the expert led outings, you’ll also be able to go ashore and wander in the mornings and evenings when we are tied up in the picturesque Greek harbour towns.
Food: The boat you’ll be travelling on is a Turkish gulet with a Turkish crew including a chef who will be cooking up wonderful meals throughout your cruise. As such the food served on board will be traditional ‘Turkish’ or Eastern Mediterranean. We will be going ashore to eat authentic Greek food in family run tavernas at intervals along the way and your tour leader will ensure you’ll have the chance to sample a good many of the local Greek delicacies of the islands. The gulet will be stocked with Greek wine and spirits and your guide, Heinrich, something of a Greek wine connoisseur, will introduce you to some of the best beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) the Greek islands have to offer.