Cruising the Lycian Shore: Archaeological Gulet Cruise & Cultural Tour in Turkey
|Adventure Travel > Peter Sommer Travels > Cruising the Lycian Shore: Archaeological Gulet Cruise & Cultural Tour in Turkey|
This gulet cruise explores the virtually untouched coastline of ancient Lycia, on Turkey’s breathtaking turquoise coast. The tour includes well-known highlights like the marble-clad city of Perge, where archaeologists are unearthing a site to rival Ephesus, Aspendos, adorned with one of the world’s best-preserved ancient theatres, or Xanthos, a vast fortified citadel city that dominated the region for centuries.
These famous sights are complemented by a whole series of “hidden gems”: ancient settlements, shrines and cemeteries set within the region’s wonderful landscapes, waiting to be discovered and explored. Examples include magnificent Arykanda, surrounded by lovely natural scenery on the edge of a mountain, beautiful Phaselis, famed in antiquity for its rascally merchants and three fine harbours, now swathed in pine trees, and unforgettably picturesque Kale, where the cottages of a traditional Turkish village rub shoulders with a medieval castle, an ancient fortification and a vast necropolis. The cruise also includes a visit to the award-winning museum of Antalya, housing a remarkable collection of Roman sculpture, a tour of the islet of Gemiler, with the remains of an unusually elaborate Byzantine pilgrimage centre, and an opportunity to see Patara, where a huge and monumental Roman city is emerging from the sand dunes.
Travelling below the soaring Taurus Mountains, we will discover the extraordinary heritage of one of antiquity’s most mysterious peoples: the Lycians. Their enduring sense of identity prevailed for centuries, even as they adopted and adapted Persian, Greek and Roman cultural influences. It found expression especially in their unique funerary architecture, unlike anything else in the world, their tombs and sarcophagi still scattered around their once prosperous ports. We find many of them lying in breathtaking and rugged settings, seemingly untouched by human hands. Others are set within modern settlements, such as the lovely resort of Kas, where rock-cut tombs, shaded by vibrant red bougainvillea, stand silent witness to the ancient city of Antiphellos.
Each day your guide, an expert archaeologist, takes you back in time and guides you through the fascinating story of how the region evolved from Classical antiquity through Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman times to the present day. Each visit is an archaeological adventure, part of a historical puzzle that reveals a remarkable story of civilisation. The enigmatic history of the ancient sites, their often astonishingly fine preservation and their stunning settings make this tour a very special treat for anyone seeking inspiration from past human achievement.
The spirit of discovery, finding new sites, new beauties and new mysteries day by day, is balanced by the time we spend cruising on a beautifully handcrafted Turkish gulet, the ideal way to explore the maritime region of Lycia. Of course, there are frequent opportunities to swim in the crystal waters of the Turquoise coast, to kayak, to go for a hike and admire the local flora or simply relax on deck. Naturally, delicious Turkish food, freshly prepared aboard or in selected local restaurants is a vital component of this, as of all our gulet cruises in Turkey.
This balance of a fascinating historical narrative, of immense natural beauty and of time spent unwinding aboard, distinguishes Cruising the Lycian Shore, a holiday designed to relax and inspire in equal measure.
ADDITION RATE INFORMATION
Single Supplement £975
Days 1 & 2: ArrivalGocek, Mediterranean, Turkey
Our gulet is about 30 minutes from Dalaman airport at Göcek, a pretty harbor beneath mountains at the head of the Bay of Fethiye, on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Welcome dinner on board.
Day 2: A chance to unwind in the Bay of Fethiye.
Day 3: A Day To RelaxFethiye, Aegean, Turkey
We cruise through the stupendous Bay of Fethiye, ancient Telmessos, with ample time to swim, relax and admire the scenery of sea and mountains, before visiting Gemiler Island, where Japanese archaeologists have revealed an extraordinary Byzantine pilgrimage centre, perhaps connected with St. Nicholas of Myra, with multiple chapels and churches linked by a most unusual long vaulted corridor that ascends towards the island’s summit.
Day 4: Explore KasKas, Mediterranean, Turkey
On to Kas, a beautiful village of white-washed houses covered with purple bougainvillea. Scattered among and around the modern settlement are the remains of the the ancient city, Antiphellos: some remarkably fine sarcophagi and rock-cut tombs, a temple and a well-preserved theatre with a magnificent sea view.
Day 5: Travel To UcagizUcagiz, Aegean, Turkey
East to picturesque Ücagiz, old Teimiussa, one of the most evocative of all Lycian burial sites. A jumble of ancient sarcophagi, cut from the area’s craggy limestone, lines the shore, overlooked by a tiny fortification. Many of them bear fine relief decoration.
Day 6: Visit ArykandaArykanda, Aegean, Turkey
We travel into the mountainous interior to visit Arykanda. Here, Turkish archaeologists are uncovering a large Greek and Roman city in a spectacular setting of slope and forest, often likened to Delphi. The monumental baths, the perfect little Greek theatre and adjacent stadium, and the unusual series of tombs make Arykanda a highly memorable place to explore.
Day 7: Visit PhaselisPhaselis, Mediterranean, Turkey
We continue to Phaselis, at times the seat of pirates who terrorised the region’s rich trade routes. Its three harbours now lie serene amid pine trees and there is much to see of the ancient city’s centre with its impressive public buildings.
Day 8: Visit AntalyaAntalya, Mediterranean, Turkey
On to Antalya, the south’s most vibrant city. We visit its super archaeological museum, a treasury of Roman sculpture. We’ll also explore Roman Perge, a vast and stunningly monumental Greek and Roman city. We stroll through colonnades and markets, marble-clad bathhouses and a pristine stadium, all overlooked by massive fortifications.
Day 9: Visit OlymposOlympos, Mediterranean, Turkey
We turn back southwards to ancient Olympos, an ancient city in a most unusual setting along the banks of a river in a canyon. We follow an ancient sacred route to visit the Chimaera, a natural phenomenon where flames burst from the ground, giving rise to the legend that the mythical beast of that name lies buried beneath the earth.
Day 10: Visit MyraMyra, Mediterranean, Turkey
We visit Myra, home of St Nicholas, famed for its near-complete Roman theatre and superb rock-hewn tombs. Walking through its port, Andriake, we discover a giant cistern and granary built by the Emperor Hadrian, as well as an ancient synagogue and a huge purple-dye workshop.
Day 11: Ancient SimenaSimena, Aegean, Turkey
We return westwards, travelling along the sunken Byzantine city of Kekova to romantic Kale, a tiny fishing village built upon the ruins of ancient Simena and surrounded by its cemeteries of sarcophagi and rock-cut tombs. The Ottoman castle, built upon an ancient citadel, offers superb views across the region.
Day 12: Visit XanthusXanthos, Aegean, Turkey
We set off for the pretty and sophisticated resort of Kalkan. From here, we travel inland to Xanthos, occasional capital of ancient Lycia, where archaeologists have been digging for half a century. Great fortifications surround a vast ancient city, unusually also including part of its cemeteries, with some of the finest of all Lycian tombs. Among them are the extraordinarily elaborate and unusual pillar tombs – a remarkable sight.
Day 13: Shop In FethiyeFethiye, Aegean, Turkey
We travel to Patara, initially a harbour town dependent on Xanthos, later the Roman capital of Lycia. Here, the sand dunes that have protected the ruins for centuries have been gradually shifted to uncover an astonishingly rich ancient city, with an enormous theatre, a vast granary, column-lined streets and an ancient lighthouse. A unique highlight here is the bouleuterion, the plenary chamber of the Lycian confederation, an ancient political entity well ahead of its time. We meet the boat near Gemiler, having strolled past the ghost town of Levissi/Kayakoy, abandoned by its Greek inhabitants in the 1920's.
Day 14: DepartureFethiye, Aegean, Turkey
After a leisurely morning given over to swimming and relaxation, we moor at Fethiye, ancient Telmessos, where we explore the monumental Temple Tombs, probably the resting places of local royalty, before ending the tour with a sumptuous farewell meal on board the boat.
Day 15:Gocek, Mediterranean, Turkey
Transfer to Dalaman airport, about an hour away.
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