Cruising the Turkish Riviera
Join us for 12 days of sailing and exploration in Turkey, traveling from the bustling streets of Istanbul to ancient Ephesus and the sun-drenched Turquoise Coast. This once-in-a-lifetime adventure includes 7 days/6 nights aboard a traditional wooden motor sail yacht known as a gulet.
Spend your days exploring ancient Greek, Roman, and Ottoman ruins, swimming in hidden bays, and discovering charming coastal villages. Traveling by gulet offers a unique insight into Mediterranean seafaring traditions while gazing at towering mountains as they cascade into the crystal clear waters.
At night, we will anchor in remote bays where you can wander ashore and swim to your heart’s delight. On other days, there will be the opportunity to go snorkeling, with the water temperatures around 77-80 degrees F in September.
Traditional gulet yachts are handmade in Turkey, with wide beams that provide plenty of support. The generally calm sea conditions mean that we normally travel under motor power, although we raise the sails whenever wind conditions allow. In addition to six to nine ensuite cabins, the vessels feature a comfortable salon and a dining area near the stern with a covered awning. Here, traditional Turkish cuisine is served using fresh vegetables, fruits, lamb, and seafood, accompanied by excellent local wines and beers. There’s also plenty of deck space for sunbathing and relaxing during our three to four hours of cruising each day.
In addition to the convenience of gulet travel (there’s no need to pack and unpack each day), it gives you the freedom to participate as much or as little as you like in the daily activities. People from ages 4 to 87 have loved these journeys, as have independent travelers who wouldn’t normally consider a group tour. One of the beauties of small-group travel is the opportunity for flexibility and taking advantage of discoveries we make along the way.
Not only was Turkey the first international destination for ROW Adventures in 1984 but our in-country itineraries were led by Betsy and Peter themselves until 1991. For the last 20 years, we have handed over the reins to Alper Ertubey, one of Turkey’s friendliest guides, who will lead you on this memorable trip.
Images & Videos
Fly to Istanbul
We recommend arriving in Istanbul at least a day before the itinerary starts to give you time to settle in and recover from any jetlag. Adventure Unbound will happily arrange any extra hotel nights you may need and can organize a private tour of the city.
In the evening, we will meet for a welcome dinner and orientation meeting at our designated hotel. This will give you a chance to meet your local Turkish guide and ask any questions you may have about the itinerary.
Spend the day discovering the sights of Istanbul, which straddles Europe and Asia and has been a major metropolis for the past 16 centuries. We’ll tour the 15th-century Topkapi Palace whose opulent rooms are decorated with artefacts once belonging to the Ottoman Sultans. From the grounds, there are magnificent views across the Sea of Marmara.
Marvel at the Hagia Sophia, which was constructed in 536 AD and served as an Orthodox church for many years before being transformed into a mosque. Nearby are the towering minarets of the Blue Mosque, which was built for Sultan Ahmet in 1619 and is magnificently decorated with blue Iznik tiles.
Istanbul + Izmir + Şirince Village
In the morning, we’ll fly from Istanbul to Izmir and make the one-hour drive to Kusadasi. From here, we’ll tour the Ephesus Museum to learn more about this ancient city and visit the tomb of St. John. In the late afternoon, we’ll continue to a boutique inn near the village of Şirince. Take time to explore the beautiful gardens and take a dip in the swimming pool before dinner.
Today will be spent exploring the archaeological site of Ephesus, a beautifully preserved city where St. Paul and St. John once lived. Follow in the footsteps of those who walked here more than 2,000 years ago as you tour the ancient Roman ruins, with a highlight being the mosaic floors. Wander between the public baths, library, and temples as you learn about the city’s destruction by the Goths in 263 AD.
Ephesus to Göcek
After breakfast, we’ll make the drive to Göcek, stopping to visit the ancient Greek city of Priene along the way. In the late afternoon, we will board our yacht and cruise to a nearby cove where you can enjoy your first swim in the Mediterranean Sea. A dinner feast will be served onboard under the stars.
Göcek to Agalimani Cove
This morning will be spent exploring the coves surrounding Göcek and snorkeling around the sunken ruins of a Roman bath. In the afternoon, we will embark on a hike through a pine forest towards Lydae, a collection of remote Lycian ruins that aren’t accessible by road. From here, we will continue on foot to meet our yacht while enjoying magnificent views across Fethiye Bay.
Fethiye + Pinara + Kayakoy + Gemiler Island
An early departure will see us driving towards Pinara, a spectacular Lycian city that perches high above the Xanthus Valley. It is believed to have been settled by Cretians in the 15th century BC, with impressive temple tombs and burial sites etched into its cliffs.
From Pinara, we’ll continue driving to the ghost town of Kayakoy, a Greek settlement that was deserted following the population exchange with Turkey in 1923. After lunch, we’ll embark on another hike to rejoin our yacht and can refresh with a swim before watching the sunset from Gemiler Island.
Gemiler + Kalkan + Xanthos + Yayla + Kas
As the sun rises, we’ll cruise past the “Seven Capes” and moor in a picturesque harbor near the village of Kalkan. You can refresh with a swim here and set out on an optional hike to see a Roman-built aqueduct.
Our main excursion today will take us to the Lycian, Greek and Roman ruins of Xanthos, an ancient capital that is famed for resisting attacks by General Harpagus in the 6th century BC. Marvel at the sculpted tombs depicting scenes from times gone by and learn about the reliefs taken by the British in the 19th century.
Lunch will be served in a small mountain village “yayla” before we continue driving east to Kas. This cobblestoned fishing town features a Roman amphitheater, modern boutiques, and great restaurants where you can dine at your leisure in the evening.
Kas + Aperlae + Kekova
From Kas, we’ll continue to Aperlae where you can snorkel above its sunken ruins before exploring the traditional fishing villages of Kekova. Soak up the spectacular views from the Crusader castle of Kale before discovering Tersane, which once served as an Ottoman shipbuilding and repair harbor.
Today will be spent exploring Kekova, with the option to go sea kayaking, walking, and swimming. It’s a relatively relaxed day to spend as you please while enjoying the many wonders of this area.
Üçağız to Dalaman
After saying goodbye to our yacht, we’ll travel to Üçağız and on to Dalaman Airport for our return flight to Istanbul. In the afternoon, you’ll have free time to explore this bustling city before we congregate for a farewell dinner in the evening.
As your tour comes to an end, it’s time to depart Istanbul or extend your trip with a four-day adventure through Cappadocia. Featuring magnificent valleys dotted with “fairy chimneys” and underground towns, this is one region of Turkey not to be missed. Our four-day Turkey extension is designed to run after our Turkey’s Lycian Shore trip for a seamless connection.
Dates & Rates
|Dates||Adult (USD)||Child (USD)|
|Jun 04, 2024 to Jun 14, 2024||$6,150£0€0$0$0||$6,150£0€0$0$0|
|Sep 17, 2024 to Sep 27, 2024||$6,150£0€0$0$0||$6,150£0€0$0$0|
6-8 People = $6550/person*
9-12 people = $6150/person*
*Prices based on double occupancy in hotels and on yacht.
Single Supplement Yacht: $1890
Single Supplement Hotel: $450
Local Air: We will arrange and buy the domestic flights within Turkey from Istanbul to Izmir and from Dalaman to Istanbul. The cost is $170 (Subject to change) and will be billed with your trip invoice.
TRIP COST INCLUDES:
- Service of our Adventure Consultants
- Hand-crafted itineraries
- Accommodations in hotels/shared yacht cabins
- All meals included except one dinner
- Expert leadership of a local Turkish guide
- Experienced English-speaking guide(s)
- All entrance fees to historic sites and museums
- Sea kayaking excursion as described in Kekova
- Specialized activity guides based on activity of trip (kayaking, biking, hiking, etc.)
- Specialized equipment needed for activities such as kayaks, bikes, helmets, paddles, personal flotation devices, etc.
- A glass or two of wine or beer with dinner. You are welcome to bring your own liquor on board as well.
- Non-alcoholic beverages on board (water, juice, soda, etc.)
- Full yacht staff including captain, sailor, deckhand and cook
- Airport arrival transfers and departure transfers on Day 11 to/from Istanbul Ataturk Airport (airport code IST)
- Private pre-tour orientation meeting
TRIP COST DOES NOT INCLUDE
- International airfare, internal flight
- Transfers from airport to Istanbul before or after trip. Taxis or the city tram work well.
- Airport departure taxes
- Additional hotel nights pre or post tour
- Travel Protection Plan (Travel Insurance)
- Pre-trip expenses of medical immunizations (if any), passports, visas, etc.
- Other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).
- Optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff
FAQ & More
Spring and fall tend to be the best times to plan a trip to Turkey. In the spring and fall the tempretures are moderate and pleasant. In the fall (September and October) the summer warmth continues and popular tourist spots become less busy, making it a great time of year to sightsee.
People from all walks of life and all ages join our trips. We get a mix of couples, singles, families and friends, usually between 25 and 60 years of age. Some are physically challenged. Some are very active and some are not. Without exception everyone comes to have a good time and the variety of people and interests found on each trip makes it all the more fun. Our adventure consultants know that a primary consideration may be the mix of people on the trip, so we're happy to tell you who has signed up and help you choose a compatible group. Adventure Unbound has taken people in their nineties on our trips. It's important that you're fit and active and choose an appropriate trip.
As long as we are informed in advance of any food allergies or dietary needs, we can mostly accommodate for it. In some rare instances, where substitutions may not be locally available in Turkey, we may ask that you bring your own substitutions.
The crew of the Yaselam speak Turkish and limited English. Your guide and Yacht Host will speak fluent English and will be your primary sources of information while you are on your trip.
If you are prone to sea sickness, make sure to talk to your physician before travelling for suggestions as to what will help. A natural and inexpensive way to combat sea sickness is ginger chews and acupressure bands.
Depending on where you are traveling from, you may need to bring a power converter with you. The Yaselam ship has a 22kva generator. Turkey uses the Europlug type C and type F plugs. If you are coming from outside of Europe, you will want to purchase and bring along a power outlet adapter.
September is one of the best months to visit Turkey. The heat of summer has past but the days are long with about 11 hours of daylight and warm tempretures continue. The average daily temperatures in September range from 68-80 degrees F, making active travel comfortable. The water temperatures are also perfectly warm for swimming on both the the Aegean and Mediterranean coastlines.
The culture throughout Turkey changes vastly depending on the region you are visiting. It is best to bring clothes that you are comfortable in and wear back home. We do recommend bringing a few extra pieces that are on the more conservative side just in case you feel more comfortable in that while exploring cities and towns. There is no dress code on the yacht and people tend to dress casually and comfortably.
You will definitely find people who speak English, but it is not the primary language. It is polite to learn simple greetings in Turkish as locals appreciate it. The crew aboard the ship will all speak English.
The Turkish Lira is the currency throughout Turkey. The currency rate changes frequently, so be sure to check the rate from the currency you are coming from before departing.
Please see our full Terms & Conditions HERE.