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A chance to visit some of the biggest and best preserved classical cities in the world, travelling by traditional wooden gulet on the Aegean coast of Turkey.

Herodotus, a local, claimed that the climate of Ionia was the finest in the world. South-west Turkey’s autumn climate remains splendid indeed. We’ll cruise on a warm sea and under a balmy sun along a coast which developed a civilisation of quite exceptional brilliance.

In the centuries before Alexander the Great, the dynamic cities of Ionia helped lay the foundations of Greek literature, science, and philosophy.

Under Rome, these cities became ever more rich, prosperous, and beautiful – full of the finest temples, theatres and markets that money could buy. Combined with the elegance of sailing, beautiful swimming stops, and heavenly food, this archaeological cruise is the perfect way to explore this remarkable area.

Setting out from Bodrum, ancient Halicarnassus, you will cruise north upon the turquoise waters of the Aegean, mostly anchoring in coves and bays plus the occasional small port town. Every day you’ll explore the rich archaeological heritage that makes these shores a living museum, where prehistoric, Greek and Roman remains rub shoulders with Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman ones.

Well-known and monumental ancient super-cities are complemented by sites off the beaten track that have yet to see any excavation. The highlights are plentiful: from the small harbour of Myndos, where Cassius anchored after murdering Julius Caesar; to the marvellously preserved Hellenistic city of Priene, where the houses, streets and public buildings are laid out in a perfect grid across a hillside.

We’ll visit beautiful Herakleia, nestling under the mighty Latmus Mountains; Labraunda, a mountain sanctuary to Zeus; and of course, Ephesus, capital of Roman Asia. One of the very first cities to have street lighting, the site is magnificent – marble streets, agoras, villas, a theatre for 28,000 and an extraordinary library.

Your guide, Dr. Olivier Henry is a true enthusiast as well as a friendly and sociable travelling companion. He is intimately familiar with the whole region, and has conducted archaeological surveys and published widely on a number of sites you’ll visit on this tour. You’ll have the wonderful opportunity to explore some of Turkey’s most incredible and fascinating sites in his expert company, not least the sanctuary of Zeus at Labraunda where Olivier is the Director of excavations.

Pretty coastal landscapes, the pleasures of a gulet and expert guidance through one of the world’s finest archaeological landscapes – from Halicarnassus to Ephesus is the perfect way to explore this remarkable area.

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Day 1: Our gulet is about 40 minutes from Bodrum airport, in the city’s great amphitheatre style harbour, on Turkey’s south west coast. Welcome drink and dinner.
Day 2: A chance to unwind as we set sail west around the Bodrum Peninsula past the Greek island of Kos, to the secluded harbour of Yalikavak.
Day 3: We cruise east to visit the lonely ruins of Bargylia, now marooned beside marshes and old salt pans. Its unroofed temple was once renowned, for neither rain nor snow ever fell inside on the cult statue of Artemis.
Day 4: Inland to Milas, once the capital of Mausolus and his dynasty, where a magnificent tomb has recently been discovered: a prototype for the Mausoleum, and possible resting place of
Mausolus’ father, Hecatomnus.
Day 5: On the shores of Lake Bafa lies a city stupendously set beneath the Latmus mountains - Herakleia. The circuit of city walls built by a Hellenistic king nearly 3,300 years ago are 6.5 km long, and still rise mighty and majestic.
Day 6: To one of the very finest Ionian sites: Miletus, one of the most significant ancient Greek sites with its brooding atmosphere, a vast theatre, baths and spacious agoras.
Day 7: Inland from Kuşadasi lies one of the most celebrated ancient sites in the world: Ephesus. After seeing its glorious museum we have ample time to explore the spectacular remains.
Day 8: North past the beautiful beaches of the Dilek national park, and the island of Samos. We visit the attractive Greek hilltop city of Notion, still standing sentinel over the sea, and Claros
with its sanctuary of Apollo.
Day 9: Heading back south, we walk the ancient roads of Priene, an almost perfectly preserved Hellenistic city overlooking the Meander river twisting and turning below on its way to the sea.
Day 10: Cruising south we anchor off Altinkum’s golden beach to visit the colossal and awe-inspiring oracular temple of Apollo at Didyma.
Day 11: Into the mountains to Labraunda, Caria’s most sacred sanctuary, site of the great oracular shrine to Zeus Labraundus. Then into an olive grove to the temple of Zeus at Euromus, one of the best preserved in Asia Minor.
Day 12: Having overnighted in its harbour, we explore ancient Iasos, where excavations are revealing a vital and beautiful classical city.
Day 13: A gentle cruise southwest to the pretty coastal village of Gümüşlük, ancient Myndos. The scant ruins offer a glimpse of this once bustling fortified harbour.
Day 14: After a final swim we cruise east to Bodrum, to explore Mausolus’s great capital city, with time for any last minute shopping.
Day 15: Transfer back to Bodrum airport about 40 minutes away.

I would like to book, what else do I need to know?

For information not covered below please refer to our FAQ’s or contact us directly on info@petersommer.com

Arrival and Departure Information

Arrival Airport – Bodrum (Milas)

Departure Airport – Bodrum (Milas)

Departure from Bodrum Harbour (approx. 40 mins from Bodrum Airport) is planned for approx.17:00 in order that the gulet can clear customs. Embarkation is from 15:30 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 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 in Bodrum 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 to 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 in Bodrum is around 09:00. We will arrange local transfers from Bodrum Airport and to Bodrum Airport 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 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 Visas are easily obtained online at eVisa and must be purchased before you travel.

From 2 March 2020, British nationals travelling to Turkey for tourist or business purposes will no longer need a visa for visits of up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

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.

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