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Turkey's Sacred Lands & Ancient Civilizations 2014

From Only:
Itinerary : Istanbul Adana

Trip Extensions

Post-trip: Cruising the Turquoise Coast: Ephesus, Izmir & Turkey's Hidden Coves

No travel to Turkey is complete without a visit to its dazzling Turquoise Coast—which you’ll explore aboard a traditional Turkish gulet-style yacht. Disembark to discover the wonders of the ancient Greco-Roman city of Ephesus, then continue on to Izmir—a gem often overlooked by other travel companies.

It's Included:
Airfare from Adana to Dalaman
Accommodations for 4 nights aboard an intimate gulet-style yacht and 2 nights in Izmir
14 meals—6 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 5 dinners
7 small group activities
Services of our own resident OAT Trip Leader who speaks English and the native language
All transfers
  • After your Turkey's Sacred Lands & Ancient Civilizations adventure, fly to Dalaman on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast and embark our privately chartered Mediterranean gulet-style yacht. Enjoy dinner on board as we sail to a nearby cove.

  • Cruise the craggy coast and disembark on a small beach to begin our hike to Kayakoy via a rarely used trail that follows the side of a hill full of carob trees, thyme, and bay, with vistas of inlets and lacy coastline. Anatolian Greeks once inhabited this city of about 600 houses. During the 1920s, the entire population was relocated to Greece in the aftermath of the Turkish War of Independence. It is an eerie and moving place, a tragic reminder of how politics can affect human lives. We walk first uphill, and then descend on a well-graded but sometimes rocky path to a cove at Soguk Su, where we meet our gulet.

    Lunch is served on board, and in the afternoon we cruise to nearby Gemiler Island, where we see a sixth-century Byzantine monastery and ancient churches and refectories. If you like, you can hike to the top of the island, about a 400-foot elevation gain, for a breathtaking view of the azure channel below. We return to our gulet in the afternoon, and may have time for a brief swim before dinner.

  • In the morning, we cruise to Aga Limani, or "Friendship Cove." You may join an elective hike through forests, meadows, and coastal scenery to a little-known Greco-Roman site called Lydea. We walk a pine-shaded trail amid the smells of wild herbs, and the music of goat bells, with spectacular vistas of the Gocek Lagoon and Bay of Fethiye. As we hike, our gulet sails around to meet us in a scenic cove that shelters the sunken baths of Cleopatra, built for her by Mark Antony. Legend says that Antony gave Cleopatra the entire Turquoise Coast as a wedding gift—a present fit for a queen. This is another excellent place to swim, if you feel so inclined.

    After lunch, you'll have the afternoon free. Dinner is on board the ship tonight.

  • This morning, we meet up with a small river boat and take a side trip up the Dalyan River. A shimmering blue band, the Dalyan snakes amid bamboo and cattails, glimmering like the nearby Mediterranean Sea. Named for dalyans, the fishing weirs that have supported locals for centuries, the river reveals abundant birdlife. As we cruise this lovely waterway, we may well see some of the many species of birds that live here, from the shy ibis to the fearless gull.

    When our small river boat brings us to the estuary of the Dalyan, we may also discover the Loggerhead Sea Turtles, depending on the season, who have nested here since the age of the dinosaurs. You'll be transported by the tranquil sands, which are bordered by the Dalyan on one side and the Mediterranean on the other. We'll enjoy lunch during our cruise.

    Then set out to visit the ancient Lycian site of Caunus, where we can stroll around the temples, baths, nympheum, and an ancient theater. We have striking views along the way of Lycian temple tombs hugging a rock face. Afterward, we return to our gulet and enjoy dinner on board.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    After breakfast, set out overland for the world-famous ancient Greco-Roman site of Ephesus, one of the largest and best-preserved ancient cities in the world.

    We’ll walk on the remarkably preserved wide marble streets, flanked by columns and temples. We see the Library of Celsus, a tiered façade decorated with exquisite statues. The amphitheater we’ll see is the same one where St. Paul preached to the Ephesians. And there are also remarkably preserved baths. Ephesus was also the site of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. No longer standing, it was said to be one of the most colossal temples ever built. After lunch on your own, we visit the Basilica of St. John.

    We arrive in Izmir early this evening, where you are free to explore and have dinner on your own.

    • Meals included:
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    Discover the highlights of Turkey’s third-largest city on an included panoramic tour featuring Kemeralti, its historic market district; the tony Alsancak neighborhood; and Asansör Street, renowned for its century-old elevator. Then, ferry to Izmir’s twin city, Karsiyaka. Your afternoon is at leisure in Izmir today, and we gather together for an included dinner tonight.

    • Meals included:

    After breakfast this morning, we transfer to the airport for our return flight to the U.S. via Istanbul.