Diamonds of the Med - 17 days

FROM USD $7,249

See the very best of Turkey, then up anchor at Bodrum and spend 7 blissful days aboard a traditional gulet, sailing the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean and exploring the beautiful Dodecanese Greek Islands.

Day 1: Istanbul
Welcome to magnificent Turkey and the start of a truly epic adventure. Upon arrival you will be met by one of our friendly representatives and transferred to your start hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight - Istanbul
Day 2: Istanbul
This morning you set off for a city tour of the old part of Istanbul, once known as the great city of Constantinople. Once ruled by Byzantine and Ottoman Empires the area of Sultanhamet is a sight to behold, straddling both the continents of Asia and Europe and over time having been ruled by both Islamic and Christian rulers it has a unique charm in which these influences can be seen and felt. You will visit the Byzantine Hagia Sofya with its massive main dome that dominates the area. Topkapi Palace located on the tip of the old city and commanding extraordinary views over the water was once the seat of parliament for the Ottoman regime and was built during 1459 to 1465. And of course a visit to Istanbul would not be complete without a visit to the world renowned Blue Mosque with its six minarets. Construction began in 1609 and the name ‘Blue Mosque’ is derived from the over 20 000 blue Iznik tiles adorning the walls of the interior. Later you will be able to test your haggling skills in the maze like markets of the Grand Bazaar and tonight you will have the option of enjoying a Turkish dinner and show. Overnight - Istanbul (B)
The beautiful Blue Mosque in Istanbul
Day 3: Cappadocia
Istanbul - Cappadocia. After breakfast you will depart for Ankara, declared by Attaturk in 1923 to be the new capital of the Turkish Republic. Since this declaration Ankara has not looked back, moving forward in an almost European city style. Embracing the modern and in this way fulfilling Ataturk’s vision of a contemporary Turkey. Ankara has come a long way since its roots as a small, simple city named Angora and more renowned for its production of goat’s wool than a bustling capital city. In Ankara you will visit the mausoleum and museum of Ataturk, the great father of modern Turkey. Then it is onwards to Cappadocia via Turkey’s Lakeland, an area mostly untouched by tourism and the startling contrast of blue lakes between grey mountains make it a worthwhile visit. Later today we arriving in startling Cappadocia. Overnight - Cappadocia (B)
Day 4: Cappadocia
This morning you have the opportunity to take part in an optional hot air balloon ride over the splendid scenery of Cappadocia. Over time the soft rock of the area has been shaped and eroded by water and wind creating chimney like pillars, table mountains, great canyons and castle shaped rocks, this area of Turkey has been inhabited for over a Millennia and many of its caves still are today. Cappadocia offers a spectacular sight, and even more so from the air. A little later you will take a full day tour of Cappadocia including a visit to the warren like underground city of Kaymakli where ancient inhabitants once resided, the Open-Air Museum in Goreme with its beautiful frescoes of the rock-cut churches and the natural fortress in Uchisar. Later today you will have the chance to discover the rich history of local handicrafts such as the famous Turkish carpets, Turkish tiles, onyx and potteries. (B, D)
Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia
Day 5: Pamukkale
Cappadocia - Pamukkale. Today we have an early departure for Pamukkale, en-route you will visit the 13th Century Seljukian masterpiece Sultanhan Caravanserai before arriving in Konya. Konya is a place of pilgrimage for Muslim’s the world over and it’s capital of selcuk has much more meaning and holds more pride to the local Turks than any of the well known tourist resorts. Konya was the adopted homeplace of Mevlana (Our Master), a Sufic mystic famous for being the founder of the whirling dervish sect and through his writings helped reshape Islamic thought and played a major part in the modifying of popular Islamic culture in Turkey. In Konya you will visit the Mausoleum of Mevlana before continuing on to Pamukkale. (B, D)
Day 6: Kusadasi
Pamukkale - Kusadasi. After breakfast take a visit to the Ancient Hierapolis with its magnificent Necropolis graveyard on our way to Kusadasi. The Ancient Hierapolis has a good collection of ancient Roman ruins, the Temple of Apollo and the Plutonium, dating back to third century BC although many of the current ruins are built upon ruins dating back to the second century AD, although some of these earlier ruins are still visible such as the Roman theatre. Later we continue to Selcuk with a visit to the Temple of Artemis en-route before arrival in Kusadasi. Overnight - Cappadocia (B, D)
The imposing ruins of Ephesus in Turkey
Day 7: Kusadasi
Kusadasi. After breakfast you will embark on a visit to Ephesus, a visit to this region is not complete without such a visit. Besides pompeii, Ephesus is the best preserved and largest ancient city on the Mediterranean. It is also the most commonly visited part of Turkey after Istanbul and once you set eyes upon it you will see why. Make sure to pack plenty of water as during the hotter months Ephesus can get very warm indeed and the water vendors do not sell their wares for cheap. Best to be prepared.

After being advised by an oracle advised by indications of a fish and a wild boar, Androlocus, the son of King Kodrus (who founded Athens), Ephesus was founded. Or so legend tells it. The indigenous Cybele accepted the worship of artemis and the original Ephesus of 1000 BC was built on the north facing slope of Mount Pion. In 334 BC Alexander the Great visited and offered to help fund the completion of the shrine to Artemis but was refused. After Alexander’s death his lieutenant, Lysimachus endeavoured to move the city due to the receeding sea and built its first walls. During the roman imperial period Ephesus was declared the capital of Asia, however over time and due to the general decline in the Byzantine era and the abandonement of the worship of Artemis following the introduction of Christianity, Arab raiders and the final straw, the silting of the harbour, the population began to move elsewhere and Ephesus fell in to ruin. Today you will visit the remains of the library, theatre, temples and St. Mary’s House constructed between the second and fourth centuries AD. This afternoon you will have the opportunity to purchase locally made leather products. Overnight - Kusadasi (B, D)
Lone Pine Memorial
Day 8: Canakkale
Kusadasi - Canakkale. An early departure for Bergama this morning to visit the Acropolis. With ancient ruins from the Altar of Zeus built by Eumenes II in honour of his father’s victory over the Gauls, to the third-century Temple of Athena and most famously the library which gave birth to the modern book. Pergamon’s library had over 200 000 titles due to the prolific and zealous collecting by Eumenes II and later by Attalos II containing volumes by Aristotle and theophratsos. The Egyptians soon got wind of this mighty collection and fearing it would overtake their extensive collection in Alexandria the exporting of papyrus was banned. Hence the Pergamene dynasty reverted too their old method of writing on treated animal skins. Due to it not being possible to roll the skins like papyrus the paged book was formed. Later we visit famous Troy, not the most magnificent of archaeological sites in Turkey but certainly one of the most famous due to the writings of Homer. Just outside the gate is a reconstruction of the famous Trojan horse used to get in the city walls and filled with warriors waiting for nightfall to launch a surprise attack. You can climb a ladder into the belly of the horse and see out over the ruins of the city and make your own mind up whether Homer’s Iliad is more fact or fiction. Overnight - Canakkale (B, D)
Day 9: Istanbul
Canakkale - Istanbul. After breakfast we cross the Dardanelles. The famous stretch of water the Allies fought so valiantly yet fruitlessly for during the First World War. Today you will visit the legendary Anzac Cove and Gallipoli itself, the place where over 8000 Australians and around 3000 New Zealanders lost their lives in a vain attempt to take the surrounding hills and open up a supply route through to the Black Sea. It is not completely certain how the ANZAC’s made land fall where they did but the most likely reason is that the strong currents of the Dardanelles were not fully taken into account causing the ANZAC’s to land way off course. Due to landing under the cover of darkness this was not fully realised until they were already ashore and it was too late and the awaiting Turkish machine guns opened fire. Today you will get the chance to explore the most famous battle sites in what is considered to be one of the world’s best preserved battlefields. You will get a chance to see where the battle of the Nek, Chanuk Bair and Lone Pine took place, also visiting the 57th Regiment memorial and the war museum before we travel back to Istanbul. Overnight - Istanbul (B)
A hat and medal on the shores of Anzac Cove in Gallipoli
Day 10: Gulet
Istanbul – Bodrum. Today you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight to Bodrum located on the south – west coast of Turkey. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your gulet, your home for the following 7 nights. Bodrum is a popular resort town with both foreign tourists and Istanbul – based weekenders. It‘s appeal mostly lies in its as yet undiscovered beauty by the masses yet this is changing with wealthy yacht owners mooring here on the way to far flung places and more tourists coming due to other areas such as Marmaris and Kusadasi becoming overcrowded. There are many watersport activities to take part in or perhaps an exploration of the incredible Castle of St Peter, built in 1406 by the Knights of St John to replace the fortress at Smyrna that had been destroyed by the Mongols. The castle is now home to the Museum of Underwater Archaeology and is well worth the visit. Overnight - Gulet (B, D)
Day 11: Kos - Greece
Bodrum - Kos. During breakfast you will be informed of the cruise program and what sort of activities you can take part in. After dealing with customs you will set sail for Kos, a beautiful island with 290 kilometres of beach. Overnight - Gulet (B, L, D)
A typical Turkish gulet in the beautiful waters of Fethiye
Day 12: Nisiros - Tilos
Kos - Tilos. Early we set sail to Nisiros. The volcano on Nisiros island erupted in 1422 and is still active. Nikea village located on the side of the crater has charming white streets and a mosaic-style square. There is an optional bus tour to Nikea and crater which is still active, where you can see the gases rising up eerily from underground. Cruise to the remote and beautiful island of Tilos where we anchor in the port of this tranquil island which remains refreshingly untouched by tourism. Overnight - Gulet (B, L, D)
Day 13: Rhodes
Tilos - Rhodes. Early this morning sail to Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese Islands. Rhodes has the largest European Medieval city and is steeped in history. The island was once the home of the knights of St John, then the Ottomans and Italians. The main port is in Rhodes City which is still surrounded by 12 meter-thick city-walls and gives you the feeling of travelling back to Medieval times especially when you walk around its narrow, stonepaved roads. Overnight - Gulet (B, L, D)
Day 14: Symi
Rhodes - Symi. Early this morning we set sail for Symi Island and arrive at the Monastry of Panormitis located in the southern part of Symi. There is the option to visit the monastery and the museum on this well-protected and peaceful bay. Afternoon swim stop on the eastern shores of the island, before anchoring at the beautiful port of Yialos. Symi is an enchanting island with pine and oak forests, with beautiful bays and neo-classical houses. Overnight - Gulet (B, L, D)
Boats in the harbour of Symi in Greece.
Day 15: Knidos - Turkey
Symi - Knidos. Today, return to Turkish waters via the entry point of Datca. Take a walk on shore whilst your captain takes care of customs procedures. After lunch, sail to Knidos, once a Greek city in Asia Minor and one of the most famous cities in the ancient world. Knidos was known for its artists, philosophers and engineers; including Sostrates the architect of the Lighthouse of Alexandria - one of the 7 Wonders of the World, Praxiteles, one of the greatest Greek sculptors and the astronomer Eudoxus. Today temple foundations, toppled columns, carved marble friezes, huge amphitheaters and a necropolis are all that remains of Knidos’ former glory. Enjoy free time to explore of ruins of this ancient city Overnight - Gulet (B, L, D)
Day 16: Bodrum
Knidos - Bodrum. This morning anchor in Karada Poyraz Bay for a last swim break in the beautiful blue waters before sailing to Bodrum Port for dinner and overnight stay. Overnight - Gulet (B, L, D)
Day 17: Bodrum
Today after breakfast tour arrangements draw to a close. If you need an onward transfer to the airport this can be arranged at the time of booking. We hope you have enjoyed your adventure through Turkey and Greece. (B)
Tour Details
  • Starts in: Istanbul / Ends in: Bodrum
  • No local payment required
  • Breakfast:16, Lunch: 6, Dinner: 12
  • Hotel Rating: 4 star - 3 and 5 star hotel options are available
  • Tour Guide: Yes - for included sightseeing
Special Offers
The On The Go Theatre
Highlights of Turkey and the evocative ANZAC day dawn service