Trace the Turkish coast from Istanbul to Antalya, discovering historic mosques and marketplaces, captivating shorelines dotted with ancient ruins and harbor towns, and legendary Greco-Roman sites from Ephesus to Pergamum.

Starting at: $5,592 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Aerial view of Istanbul with the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia
 The expansive interior of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
 The Rustem Pasha Mosque, Istanbul
 Grand room in Topkapi Palace, Istanbul
 Tile work along the wall of Topkapi Palace
 The dramatic underground cisterns in Istanbul
 The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul
 Spices in a Turkish bazaar
 Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul
 The ANZAC Memorial along the Dardanelles
 Entrance to the ancient city of Troy
 A few of the many city layers of Troy
 Holy Place in Troy
 Statue of the Trojan horse
 The dramatic hillside amphitheater in Pergamum
 Trajan's columns on the acropolis at Pergamum
 Statue of Nike, Ephesus, Turkey
 Hadrian's Temple and the Marble Way, Ephesus, Turkey
 Library of Celsus, Ephesus, Turkey
 The Terrace Houses, Ephesus, Turkey
 Theater, Ephesus
 Gulet in a bay along the Turquoise Coast
 Gulets along the Turquoise Coast
 Archaeological site of Perge
 Stadium at Perge
 Amphitheater in Perge
 Old town of Antalya

Legendary Turkey and the Turquoise Coast

15 days from $5,592

Trace the Turkish coast from Istanbul to Antalya, discovering historic mosques and marketplaces, captivating shorelines dotted with ancient ruins and harbor towns, and legendary Greco-Roman sites from Ephesus to Pergamum.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

Along Turkey’s western shores lie the vestiges of great empires, from the marble cities of the ancient Greeks to the opulent palaces of the Ottomans. Uncover layers of fascinating history as you make your way from captivating Istanbul to the Turquoise Coast, discovering world-renowned mosques, charming harbor towns, and some of the most legendary Greco-Roman archaeological sites in the world. Venture into local bazaars and watch artisans at a rug cooperative, swim in gem-colored coves on a private yacht cruise, and enjoy ample free time to explore Istanbul, Fethiye, and Antalya.

Highlights Include:

  • Istanbul: Take three full days to discover the many sides of this incomparable city, enjoying guided tours of celebrated sites from Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque to Topkapi Palace. Venture into the aromatic alleyways of Istanbul’s legendary bazaars and explore the ancient Roman cisterns beneath the city streets. Sail the Bosphorus on a private cruise and enjoy free time to explore Istanbul as you wish.
  • Gallipoli and Kayakoy: Retrace 20th-century history at two evocative sites: the World War I battlefield of Gallipoli where Ataturk’s forces defeated the Allies in 1915, and the centuries-old ghost town of Kayakoy, abandoned during the Turkish War for Independence in the 1920s.
  • Ephesus, Pergamum, and Troy: Explore some of the most storied cities in antiquity, learning about their former grandeur and their excavation—some of which continues today. Retrace the tale of Troy, thought to be a mythological city until the 1800s, and venture to the royal city of Pergamum, set spectacularly on a lone hilltop. Spend a full day and a half at fabled Ephesus, getting an inside view on legendary sites such as the Library of Celsus, the theater, and the Terrace Houses.
  • Fethiye and the Turquoise Coast: Ride a skiff along intricate waterways from Dalyan to Lake Koycegiz, spotting ancient cliff tombs along the way.  Settle into your base in the lovely harbor town of Fethiye and set sail on a “Blue Voyage” aboard a private yacht, stopping in secluded coves along the Turquoise Coast to swim or snorkel.
  • Antalya: See the historic church of Demre and stroll the serene beaches of the Greco-Roman harbor of Phaselis on the way to Antalya. Stay on the waterfront and set out to discover the city sites, from the enchanting old town of Kaleiçi to the Roman ruins of Perge.

Itinerary

Days 1 and 2 — Depart the U.S. / Istanbul, Turkey

Depart on an overnight flight to Istanbul. Transfer to your hotel upon arrival and enjoy the remainder of the day to settle in.

Day 3 — Istanbul

Meet your group for an introduction to legendary Istanbul, a city divided by the Bosphorus Strait and straddling Europe and Asia—both literally and figuratively. Take a short walk along Istiklal Street, a lively pedestrian street lined with boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and late Ottoman-era buildings.  Drive along the historic walls of Istanbul’s Old City to visit two landmark mosques:  Rustem Pasha, an intimate mosque with exquisite Iznik tiles, and the 16th-century Mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent, one of Istanbul’s best-known sites.  The latter features a massive central dome and exquisite tilework, as well as four 250-foot minarets. Take a short walk into Istanbul’s renowned Spice Bazaar, where fragrant spices from all over the world are sold alongside nuts and dried fruits. After lunch on your own, set off on a private cruise on the Bosphorus, one of the most strategically significant waterways in the ancient world.  After time at leisure back at the hotel, gather for a welcome dinner of traditional Turkish fare at a nearby restaurant. (B,D)

Day 4 — Istanbul

Cross Galata Bridge, which spans the waters of the Golden Horn, and tour Old Istanbul, home to splendid mosques and palaces.  Your first stop is the ancient Roman Hippodrome, where chariot races once took place. Admire its 3,500-year-old obelisk, brought from Egypt in 390 BC.  Continue to the magnificent Blue Mosque, topped by six slender minarets and housing one of the world’s great collections of blue Iznik tiles, as well as 260 stained glass windows. At the renowned Museum of Turkish & Islamic Art, set within the Palace of Ibrahim Pasha, view artifacts from different eras of Turkish history, from the Ottoman Empire all the way back to the 8th century. After lunch at a local restaurant, experience the iconic Hagia Sophia, the world’s grandest Christian cathedral when it was built in 537 AD and later transformed into a mosque. The rest of the day is yours to pursue your own interests in Istanbul. (B,L)

Day 5 — Istanbul

Spend the morning at the splendid Topkapi Palace, the home of Ottoman sultans—and thousands of their courtiers and relatives—for some 400 years. Dramatically set on a promontory with remarkable views over the Bosphorus, the vast palace showcases treasures from the Ottoman Empire, including paintings, jewel-encrusted swords, and porcelains. Then visit one of Istanbul’s ancient Roman cisterns, marble-columned underground chambers fed by aqueducts that provided water to the city in antiquity. Experience the colorful bustle of the Grand Bazaar, a vast covered market where merchants sell everything from jewelry and pottery to local delicacies and housewares. Enjoy your final afternoon and evening in Istanbul at leisure. (B)

Day 6— Gallipoli, Troy, and Assos

Rise early for today’s journey south, stopping first at the coastal town of Gallipoli, where Mustafa Kemal (later known as Ataturk) defeated the Allied forces during a bloody World War I battle in 1915. Learn how the battle helped cement Ataturk’s role as the leader of modern Turkey, and visit the ANZAC Beach Cemetery to pay respects to the many who lost their lives here. Then travel across the strait of the Dardanelles to Troy, a city believed to have been a fabrication of Homer’s until Heinrich Schliemann excavated its ruins in the 1870s. Explore the archaeological site, which has revealed remnants of nine civilizations dating back 5,000 years. Drive on to Behramkale, or ancient Assos, your home for the night. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Pergamum and Kusadasi

Spend today exploring the spectacular ruins of Pergamum, a city that reached the height of its power in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC under the Attalid dynasty and was later ruled by the Romans. Set high on a solitary hill, the Pergamon under the Attalids was renowned for as a center of architecture and the arts, and it remains an excellent example of city planning in the Hellenistic Age.  Explore the ruins of its royal city, including its temples and the Pergamon Altar, and see the vestiges of the Roman Empire, including an amphitheater, a gymnasium, and a marketplace. Later this afternoon, check in to your waterfront hotel in the beach town of Kusadasi and enjoy dinner together tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Ephesus and Kusadasi

Travel inland to Ephesus, one of the most beautifully preserved Greco-Roman cities in the world.  The site once harbored one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the marble Temple of Artemis. Venture into the immense theater, known for its stellar acoustics and still in use today.  Stroll the Sacred Way, once lined with the homes of the aristocracy, and see traces of an innovative water and sewer system built beneath the marble paving stones. At the Temple of Hadrian, note the head of Medusa intended to ward off evil spirits. Then encounter the legendary Library of Celsus, one of the largest in the Roman Empire, which boasted three floors and some 12,000 ancient scrolls in its heyday. Gain insight into family life at the acclaimed Terrace Houses, the residences of wealthy Ephesians from the 1st to the 7th centuries, equipped with running water and heating systems and adorned with frescos and mosaics. Stop for a late lunch in the village of Sirince before returning to Kusadasi late this afternoon. (B,L)

Day 9 — Ephesus and Kusadasi

Return to Ephesus to visit the ruins of the Basilica of St. John, which stand over what is believed to be the burial site of St. John the Apostle. Constructed by Justinian I in the 6th century, the basilica is modeled after the now lost Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople. Get a closer look at the treasures found during the ongoing excavation of Ephesus on a tour of the Ephesus Museum and learn about the history of the city through the ages. Leaving Ephesus, stop at the Sultankoy rug cooperative to see a demonstration of the ancient art of carpet weaving.  Break for a fresh and organic al fresco lunch sourced from Sultankoy’s own farm and orchards. Return to Kusadasi in the afternoon and meet for dinner at our hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Fethiye

Journey south towards the Turquoise Coast, stopping in Dalyan to ride a skiff through an intriguing maze of waterways to Lake Koycegiz. Here, see 4th-century Lycian tombs cut into the cliffs at the water’s edge—some of the thousands of tombs carved along Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.  Sit down to lunch at a riverside restaurant before traveling on to Fethiye, known for its beautiful natural harbor. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Fethiye / Turquoise Coast

Venture to the Greek “ghost town” of Kayakoy, where some 1,000 stone houses remain deserted since Christian and Muslim residents fled after World War I and the Turkish War of Independence.  Explore the town and its two churches, which still retain some of their painted decoration and mosaic floors. Then take to the seas on a “Blue Voyage” aboard a private yacht, cruising along the magnificent Turquoise Coast. Sail into secluded coves set against a backdrop of forested mountains and enjoy the chance to swim and snorkel in the dazzlingly blue-green waters. Lunch is served on board. Upon your return to Fethiye, the remainder of the day is at leisure. (B,L)

Day 12 — Antalya

A scenic drive along the coastal road brings you to Demre (ancient Myra), home to the 6th-century Church of St. Nicholas. Inside, see impressive frescoes and learn about its significance to both Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians—as well as its connection to Santa Claus. Continue to the evocative seaside ruins of Phaselis, an ancient Greek and Roman port city that is now a national park.  Travel on to the celebrated resort town of Antalya, arriving in time for dinner together tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 13 — Antalya

Delve into the winding lanes of Kaleiçi, Antalya’s charming old city, passing Ottoman buildings, mosques, and parks on a morning walking tour.  After lunch at a local restaurant, tour a collection of priceless artifacts at the renowned Antalya Museum. Enjoy an evening at leisure to seek out a dinner of fresh seafood or Turkish specialties. (B,L)

Day 14 — Perge and Antalya

This morning, head for the Roman city of Perge just outside Antalya. Established around 1500 BC, Perge reached its pinnacle during the era of Alexander the Great.  Among the outstanding ruins here are the ancient shopping arcade, a 12,000-seat stadium, and a 15,000-seat theater.  Stop to see Düden Waterfall, which tumbles some 130 feet off a cliff into the Mediterranean. The afternoon is yours to pursue your own interests in Antalya.  Tonight, celebrate our Turkish adventure over a farewell dinner at a harborside restaurant. (B,D)

Day 15 — Depart for Home

Transfer to the airport early this morning to catch your connecting flight to the U.S.

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

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