Legends of the classical world come to life as you voyage along Turkey’s western coast and across the Aegean, exploring ancient wonders from Troy to Mycenae and soaking up the charms of the Greek Isles.

Starting at: $6,820 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Statue of Nike, Ephesus, Turkey
Statue of Nike, Ephesus, Turkey
 Library of Celsus, Ephesus, Turkey
Library of Celsus, Ephesus, Turkey
 Hadrian's Temple and the Marble Way, Ephesus, Turkey
Hadrian's Temple and the Marble Way, Ephesus, Turkey
 The Terrace Houses, Ephesus, Turkey
The Terrace Houses, Ephesus, Turkey
 Theater, Ephesus, Turkey
Theater, Ephesus, Turkey
 Panorama of the Bay of Istanbul. Credit: Juraj Patekar
Panorama of the Bay of Istanbul. Credit: Juraj Patekar
 World War I Memorial along the Dardanelles
World War I Memorial along the Dardanelles
 Statue of the Trojan horse
Statue of the Trojan horse
 Entrance to the ancient city of Troy
Entrance to the ancient city of Troy
 Holy Place in Troy
Holy Place in Troy
 A few of the many city layers of Troy
A few of the many city layers of Troy
 Town on the island of Patmos
Town on the island of Patmos
 Monastery of St. John atop the hill on Patmos
Monastery of St. John atop the hill on Patmos
 Mosaic at the Monastery of St. John, Patmos
Mosaic at the Monastery of St. John, Patmos
 Santorini at sunset
Santorini at sunset
 Catamarans in the Santorini caldera
Catamarans in the Santorini caldera
 View from cliff-top Oia on Santorini
View from cliff-top Oia on Santorini
 Ancient lions on Delos
Ancient lions on Delos
 Archaeological site on Delos
Archaeological site on Delos
 Dusk at Mykonos harbor
Dusk at Mykonos harbor
 Traditional houses on Mykonos
Traditional houses on Mykonos
 The Lion's Gate, Mycenae
The Lion's Gate, Mycenae

Cruising the Aegean: Turkey and the Greek Isles

From Istanbul to Athens aboard the 184-guest Le Dumont-D'Urville

8 days from $6,820

Legends of the classical world come to life as you voyage along Turkey’s western coast and across the Aegean, exploring ancient wonders from Troy to Mycenae and soaking up the charms of the Greek Isles.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

Travel back in time on a voyage from Istanbul to Athens that links some of the most storied sites in antiquity—from Troy and Ephesus to Mycenae. As you sail along Turkey’s western coast and across the Aegean Sea, discover ancient temples and cities where the legends of Greek mythology took place. Trace early Christian history on rugged Patmos, sail a catamaran in Santorini’s caldera, and experience the lovely Peloponnese port town of Nafplio.

Smithsonian Journeys / PONANT Experience: Each cruise will be accompanied by two Smithsonian Journeys Experts. An excursion or activity is included in each port of call. You may have a choice of excursions in many ports, so that you can delve more deeply into subjects that interest you. 

Highlights Include:

  • Turkey: Step back in time in storied ancient cities along the Turkish coast, exploring the Library of Celsus and fresco-covered villas in Ephesus as well as 5,000-year-old ruins in Troy. Choose to visit the infamous World War I battlefield of Gallipoli and its poignant cemeteries.
  • Patmos: Learn about the exile of John the Theologian on the World Heritage site of Patmos, and visit the monastery and cave associated with the saint.
  • Santorini: Cruise into the spectacular natural caldera of Santorini and opt to sail a catamaran or sample local wines in the cliff-top village of Oia.
  • Delos and Mykonos: Meander among the ruins of Delos, the mystical birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, and enjoy an afternoon at leisure among the sugar-cube houses and waterfront cafés of Mykonos.
  • Peloponnese: Delve into Greek mythology on a tour of ancient Mycenae, the seat of King Agamemnon, and visit the World Heritage site of Epidaurus. Or get acquainted with the charming port of Nafplio on a tour that includes two of the town’s unique museums.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Istanbul, Turkey

Arrive in Istanbul, and transfer to the port to embark the ship. Set sail across the Sea of Marmara toward the Strait of Dardanelles, which separates Europe from Asia. (D)

Day 2 — Canakkale/Troy or Gallipoli

Go ashore at Canakkale to explore the ruins of ancient Troy, which famously resisted a 10-year siege by the Greeks until the legendary Trojan Horse was allowed through the city gates. Learn about excavations here—started by German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in 1870—which have uncovered evidence of nine different civilizations dating back 5,000 years. Alternatively, cross the Dardanelles by local boat and drive to Gallipoli National Park, which marks the World War I battlefield where forces led by the leader later known as Ataturk defeated the Allies in 1915. Visit both Allied and Turkish cemeteries at Anzac Cove, and tour the Gallipoli War Museum. (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Kusadasi and Ephesus

Dock in the beach town of Kusadasi and continue overland to the World Heritage site of Ephesus, once home to the Temple of Artemis—one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Tour its beautifully preserved temples as well as the vast Library of Celsus and the theater, known for its excellent acoustics and still in use today. Walk along the Sacred Way, where traces of an innovative water and sewer system are still visible. Visit the Terrace Houses, once the homes of wealthy Ephesians, equipped with running water and heating systems and decorated with frescos and mosaics. Tonight, set sail for Greece’s Dodecanese Islands. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Patmos, Greece

Your first port of call in the Greek Isles is Patmos, the rugged island to which St. John the Theologian was banished during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian. Set out on a tour of the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. John, still an active place of religious study and a pilgrimage site, and discover its incredible collection of Byzantine art, including countless frescoes, icons, gold and silver liturgical objects, rare manuscripts, and antiquities. Continue to the Cave of the Apocalypse and its lovely whitewashed chapel, and see the rock grotto where St. John is said to have received the visions of the Apocalypse that later became the Book of Revelation. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Santorini

Early this morning, the ship sails into the breathtaking Santorini caldera, an ancient, flooded crater ringed by majestic cliffs that tower high above the sea. Delve into the island’s long history on a visit to the archaeological site of Akrotiri and the Museum of Prehistoric Thera. Or sail a catamaran to Nea Kameni, a volcanic isle in the center of the caldera, and go for a hike for a closer look at the volcanic forces that created Santorini. Alternatively, take a walk through the whitewashed, cliff-top village of Oia and stop at a winery for a tour and tasting. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Delos and Mykonos

The mythical birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, Delos is one of the most sacred places in the Greek world—as central to ancient spiritual life as Olympia and Delphi. Your visit to this World Heritage site begins at the hilltop Sanctuary of Zeus and Athena Cynthiens, where sweeping views of the site give a sense of its grandeur when it was the center of the Delian League. Explore the Sanctuary of Apollo, a rich archaeological site with remains of three separate temples from the fifth and sixth centuries BC. See the magnificent Terrace of the Lions, where five marble lions have guarded the island for nearly 2,600 years. Walk through a district once filled with mansions to the 5,500-seat theater, the site of choral competitions during the quadrennial Delian festival. After lunch, enjoy an afternoon on charming Mykonos, where iconic windmills, sugar-cube houses, and azure bays epitomize the spectacular beauty of the Greek Isles. During your free time on the island, meander through the Little Venice neighborhood or stop in an ouzeri to nibble mezethes and sip ouzo, the quintessentially Greek aperitif. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Nafplio or Mycenae and Epidaurus

Anchor in the lovely port town of Nafplio, set on a turquoise bay on the coast of the Peloponnese. From this beautiful base, set out to visit the Bronze Age citadel of Mycenae, home to the legendary Lion Gate and the beehive tomb known as the Tomb of Agamemnon. Then explore Epidaurus and visit its renowned theater—one of the most well-preserved and acoustically perfect ancient theaters in Greece. Alternatively, stay in Nafplio and soak up its charms on a walking tour. Visit the Folkloric Foundation and see an intriguing collection of worrybeads at the intimate Komboloi Museum. Stop in at a wine shop for a sampling of local specialties and ouzo. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Athens, Greece / Return Home

Disembark at the port of Piraeus near Athens. Transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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