Ancient Civilizations & Gulet Sail (Small-group trip)

Istanbul • Cappadocia • Konya • Antalya • Kekova Island • Gulet sail in Fethiye bay • Pamukkale • Ephesus
(13 Nights / 14 Days)

Note: For those who wish to have more time in Istanbul, we are happy to book additional nights for you, either before or after the main trip. 


Day 1: Arrival at Istanbul Ataturk Airport
Arrive at Ataturk airport and enjoy an included transfer to your centrally located hotel. At approximately 5:30pm (based on your arrival schedule) we will meet for a walking tour along Istiklal (the famous pedestrian walking street) from Taksim to Galatasaray. Some of the noteworthy places we will see include the French & Greek Consulates, the Greek Orthodox Church (Hagia Triada), the Armenian Catholic Church (Surp Hovhan Vosgeperan), The Flower Passage, The Produce & Fish Market as well as Galatasaray High School. While walking, we will stop to taste some of the local “street food” and your guide will point out restaurants that you may enjoy for dinner.

Day 2: Istanbul – Full day tour
Begin the morning with an extensive tour of Topkapi Palace, former residence of the Ottoman Sultans. Later we stop at Sirkeci Railway Station (last stop of the Orient Express), before visiting the Spice Market. After some free time for lunch we enjoy a Bosphorus cruise for about an hour along the shores of the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, disembarking at Uskudar, one of the largest towns on the Asian side of the Strait. We will visit the produce & fish market and view the Mihrimah Sultan’s Mosque as well as Maiden’s Tower in Salacak. Return to your hotel with a steamboat ride of twenty minutes, crossing the Bosphorus from Uskudar to Kabatas. (B)

Day 3: Istanbul – Full day tour
This morning, we visit more iconic sites in Istanbul, including the Roman Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern. In the afternoon, we visit the Grand Bazaar then drive over the Galata bridge to the Tophane area to see the “Museum of Innocence”, created by Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk. Have a walking tour again late this afternoon: this time from Galatasary to Pera. Noteable buildings along the way include the British Consulate, St. Antoine's Catholic Church, the Consulates of the Netherlands, Russia and Sweden, Galata Whirling Dervish Hall, the Tunel area, The Galata Tower and Neve Shalom Synagogue. We end our walk at The Pera Palace Hotel and have a short drive back to the hotel. Those who wish to stay, may dine on their own at many local restaurants such as Kivahan or Guney (Turkish / Ottoman cuisine), Fureyya small fish restaurant or The Pera Palace Hotel’s Agatha Restaurant and can walk or taxi back to the hotel on their own. (B)

Day 4: Istanbul / Cappadocia – Flight to Kayseri or Nevsehir
Upon arrival, start to discover the wonders of this incredible region. Enjoy beautiful panoramas at the Ortahisar Valley and visit the Goreme Open Air Museum. (B, D)

Day 5: Cappadocia
Optional early morning balloon ride is available. After breakfast, included visits to the remarkable Underground City of Kaymakli, Uchisar town and fortress, Pasabag and the small town of Avanos where the pottery and rugs are splendid representatives of the Turkish handicraft tradition. (B)

Day 6: Cappadocia / Konya / Antalya – Transfer to Antalya via Konya
Drive with your guide to Antalya today. Enroute, we can visit the Agzikarahan Caravanserai. Also stop in the city of Konya to visit the shrine to Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi who founded the Whirling Dervishes. In the late afternoon arrive in Antalya - Turkey's principal holiday resort in the Mediterranean region. (B, L)

Day 7: Antalya
Our first visit today is to the ancient site of Perge which is located about 30 minutes outside of Antalya city. Perge was an important city in Pamphylia. Today its ruins include a theater, a palaestra, a temple of Artemis, and two churches. From here we drive further to the the ancient site of Aspendos. Aspendos is famous for having the best preserved theater of antiquity. Here we can also visit the acropolis of the city with a great view of the river. After a break for lunch by the river we will go back to the city center and visit the Antalya Archaeology Museum which offers an exposition on statues of various Greek gods, a stunning mosaic collection from Xanthos, extraordinary findings from the Karain Caves, which date back to the Old Stone Age, as well as a comprehensive ethnographical collection. Finally, we will visit Kaleici, Antalya’s old quarter. Narrow streets, charming cafés, and numerous souvenir shops bring a special attractiveness to this part of the city. (B)

Day 8: Antalya / Fethiye / Embark Gulet – Depart for Fethiye
Depart down the beautiful Turquoise Coast toward Fethiye. On the way, visit the church and tomb of St. Nicholas. Then arrive in Ucagiz where we can take a boat trip to the sunken ruins near Kekova Island. Lunch is on the boat. Drive on to Fethiye and embark on your private gulet. You can discover the lovely marketplace of Fethiye before embarkation and meeting your captain and crew. Weather permitting, your captain will head towards a quiet cove for dinner and an overnight stay. (B, L, D)

Day 9 & Day 10: Gulet / Blue Voyage in and around Fethiye bay
Spend two full days - and three nights - on a gulet, admiring the natural beauty of the Turquoise coast. Your adventure includes swimming, short hikes on the shore, and home-style meals served on the open deck. Cruising and sailing (weather permitting) will take place inside Fethiye Bay. Some of the visits we will do are Gemiler Island, abandoned Kayakoy old Greek town, Bedri Rahmi and Cleopatra Bath coves & Yassica Islands. (B, L, D)

Day 11: Gocek / Pamukkale – Disembark in Gocek and Transfer to Pamukkale
Arriving in early afternoon. Visit the ancient site of Hierapolis, the cotton-white travertine formations and then have time to enjoy the thermal pools at your hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 12: Pamukkale / Kusadasi – Depart for Kusadasi
Depart in the morning, stopping along the way for a visit to Aphrodisias. View the famous stadium preserved in remarkable condition as well as the theatre, odeon and temple. Then continue on to Kusadasi, where you will spend two nights. (B, L)

Day 13: Kusadasi / Ephesus and Sirince old Greek village
Visit the ruins of Ephesus, including the Roman period villas known as the Terrace Houses. Have lunch in the local village of Sirince with a chance to socialize with the locals and taste the simple but delicious cuisine of the Aegean at an included local lunch. A final stop is in the town of Selcuk where you can visit the Museum of Archaeology. (B, L)

Day 14: Kusadasi / Istanbul - Homebound departure
Transfer to Izmir Airport for a flight to Istanbul, connecting to your flight home. (B)



Price is per person, in USD and based on double occupancy at hotels and aboard a private gulet yacht.


Single Supplement: $600

Subject to availability.

Maximum  number of participants on this small group tour is 14

2013 scheduled date (Istanbul arrival date): September 11
2014 scheduled dates (Istanbul arrival dates): May 14, September 10


Price of the trip package includes:
  • Accommodation at hotels and aboard a private gulet yacht:
  • - 3 nights Istanbul: Hotel Central Palace
    - 2 nights Cappadocia: Hotel Uchisar Kaya
    - 2 nights Antalya: Hotel Rixos Downtown
    - 3 nights aboard a traditional hand-made wooden gulet yacht (in and around Fethiye bay)
    - 1 night Pamukkale: Hotel Lycus River
    - 2 nights Kusadasi: Hotel La Vista  

  • Domestic flights in coach class within the program (Istanbul to Kayseri or Nevsehir and Izmir to Istanbul).
  • Meals as indicated by (B, L, D) - B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner.
  • 25 Meals: 13 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 5 dinners include bottled water.
  • Services of a private licensed, professional English-speaking guide throughout your trip.
  • All transfers and travel by private, modern, air-conditioned, chauffeur driven vehicles.
  • All entrance fees to the sites and museums mentioned in the program.
  • Parking, ferry, and toll road fees. Not applicable if you are driving a rental car.
  • Gratuity at restaurants where a meal is included in the program.
  • Porter fees at hotel(s) & airports.


Price of the trip package excludes:
  • Airfare for international flights.
  • Beverages other than water during included meals.
  • Optional gratuities to the tour guide(s), driver(s) and the gulet crew.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Visas, laundry, and personal items.