Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 - Sunday & Monday, September 15 & 16

U.S. / Istanbul, Turkey

Fly independently from the U.S. to Istanbul, Turkey to begin your Turkey and Greece tour. Meet our archeologist guide and spend tonight at the Marmara Pera Hotel. (Meals Aloft)

Day 3 - Tuesday, September 17

Dalaman / Embark

Fly to Dalaman and spend this afternoon in the port city of Kaunos. Take a small traditional boat – called a piyade – to venture into Turkey’s only navigable river, the Dalyan, to view the Lycian rock-cut tombs. Kaunos has a wonderfully colorful history, and our small group will explore the agora, temples and baths from the Roman period, the basilica church and the theater. Late this afternoon embark the Panorama II and relax onboard. (B,L,D)

turkey greece cruise ship panorama 2

 

Day 4 - Wednesday, September 18

Kayakoy or Gocek Bays

Today you can board a local boat and sail through the bays of Gocek, enjoying the sun, scenery, and swimming. If you prefer, an alternate excursion takes guests to visit Kayakoy and the ancient city of Telmessos. Kayakoy, or ancient Karmylassos is a deserted ghost town which was abandoned after the population exchange between Turkey and Greece in 1923. The village still stands there with abandoned houses, churches, schools and streets. On the way back to the Panorama II, we will visit ancient Telmessos city. The tombs at Telmessos tombs are some of the best examples of the rock-cut tombs, for which Lycians are famous. Tonight, a local troupe regales you with a folkloric show. (B,L,D)

Day 5 - Thursday, September 19

Sailing / Marmaris

Enjoy a full day cruising the emerald bays and towering cliffs of the Turkish coast, overnighting in Marmaris. Enjoy time to stroll along the water in this quaint resort town. (B,L,D)

greek isles cruise kaunos

 

Day 6 - Friday, September 20

Rhodes, Greece

Sail to Rhodes, Greece. The Panorama II passes beneath the former site of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and docks just across from the medieval town so we can set out on foot to explore. Meet a local guide from Rhodes who will take us to the Archaeological Museum, located in the hospital of the Knights of Saint John, and then to the Grand Master’s Palace. The Knights of Saint John came to Rhodes in 1309 after they lost their last stronghold in Palestine, St John of Acre, in 1291. They transformed the island capital into a fortified city able to withstand sieges as terrible as those led by the Sultan of Egypt in 1444 and Mehmet II in 1480. The Knights Hospitallers remained in Rhodes until 1522, when Rhodes became an Ottoman Island. Enjoy authentic Greek entertainment onboard this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 7 - Saturday, September 21

Rhodes: Lindos

Drive through the countryside to Lindos, on the Northern side of Rhodes. Overlooking the sea, the buildings of the Lindos acropolis sit atop a steep rock formation. This natural citadel was fortified successively by the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Knights of St John and the Ottomans. While history makes the site highly interesting, it also makes the acropolis difficult to excavate and interpret archaeologically. Some amazing sections have been restored: the stadium; a marble odeion — a concert hall or theater; four columns of the Temple of Pythian Apollo, and remains of the Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus. The afternoon is free to explore the old town of Rhodes. (B,L,D)

turkey and greece tour lindos

 

Day 8 - Sunday, September 22

Rhodes / Symi

The Panorama II leaves the marina early, allowing you to sleep or enjoy the early morning sights as we cruise toward Symi. The island’s colorful history is checkered with invasions dating back from the Trojan Wars through the Italians during World War II. Tiers of white homes rise from the water up a steep mountain, creating a dramatic view from the harbor. Stop first at Pedi Bay for breakfast and swimming in these waters that were once home to a thriving sponge diving industry. The afternoon is free to explore. Our Turkey and Greece tour guide will lead an informal walk to the highest point of the town where we can visit a church, and enjoy the view and the narrow streets and neo-classic architecture of Symi. Dinner is at leisure this evening so you can venture out to enjoy a wonderful dinner at a classic Greek taverna. (B,L)

Day 9 - Monday, September 23

Kos / Bodrum, Turkey

Spend a day exploring the lovely island of Kos — the island of Hippocrates — where Ancient Greek and Roman ruins are spread throughout town, while Byzantine and Ottoman monuments dominate the most popular cobblestone paths near the harbor. The island’s beaches are some of the most beautiful on the Aegean. Sail this evening to Bodrum. (B,L,D)

greece and turkey cruise knidos

 

Day 10 - Tuesday, September 24

Bodrum / Didyma / Kusadasi

Bid farewell to our friends aboard the Panorama II as we disembark and visit the Underwater Archaeological Museum of Bodrum. This magnificent museum is housed in the biggest Crusader Castle outside Europe, built by the Knights of Saint John from stones taken from the nearby, now ruined, Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Multiple underwater archaeological excavations have taken place since 1960, and many of the finds are on display. Among the things we see are three of the earliest known shipwrecks from the Bronze Age. After lunch, drive through the mountains and along peaceful Lake Bafa to Didyma. Our archeologist guide will explain how Didyma was not a city but a sanctuary connected to Miletus by a 12-mile-long sacred road. It was famed as an oracle center of Apollo, which rivaled that of Delphi. The first temple was built in the middle of the 6th century B.C. but was destroyed by the Persians in 494 B.C. The construction of the second temple started in the 4th century B.C. Didyma is regarded as one of the largest temples of the Hellenistic world, comparable to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus and Heraion in Samos. Explore the famed Temple of Apollo before continuing through the countryside to Kusadasi, where we overnight at Kismet Hotel. (B,L,D)

turkey and greece tour didyma

 

Day 11 - Wednesday, September 25

Ephesus / Izmir / Istanbul

Setting out from Kusadasi with our archeologist guide, our Turkey and Greece tour continues to one of the greatest sites in all antiquity, the city of Ephesus. Settled since the middle of the 2nd millennium B.C., in the late 4th century A.D. Ephesus entered a period of extraordinary prosperity, becoming the most important commercial city in Asia Minor and the second-largest city of the Roman Empire. With its easy access to water, Ephesus commanded the west end of one great trade route into Asia. However, it was water that would lead to the city’s decline. The silt from the Cayster River (Kucuk Menderes) caused the coastline to move west. By the early Middle Ages the city was no longer useful as a port. Nearby was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the now-ruined Temple of Artemis. The great temple was built by Croesus, King of Lydia, around 550 B.C. and was rebuilt after being destroyed in 356 B.C. It was famous, not only for its great size (over 350 by 180 feet), but also for the magnificent works of art that adorned it. The temple was destroyed by invading Goths in 262 A.D. and was never rebuilt. We tour the area, seeing the immense ancient theater, the glorious facade of the Library of Celsus and many other places of note. Our next stop is the house of Meryemana, where it is recorded that Mary lived out her days after the crucifixion of Jesus. Now a popular place of pilgrimage, the house has received the official sanction of the Vatican. End our full day with a survey of the Ephesus Museum, which houses an impressive collection of statues and other artifacts recovered during the city’s excavation. Drive to Izmir, where we board our flight to Istanbul. Spend tonight at the TAV Airport Hotel. Guests taking the Cappadocia optional post-trip extension will not overnight in Istanbul at TAV Airport Hotel this night. They will continue to Kayseri to start their extension and overnight in Istanbul at TAV Airport Hotel at the end of the extension. (B,L)

Day 12 - Thursday, September 26

Istanbul / U.S.

Transfer to the airport for independent flights to the U.S. (B, Meals Aloft)