The Turquoise Coast route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $6295  
Length: 14 days
Arrive: Istanbul, Turkey
Depart: Istanbul, Turkey
Lodging: 9 nights aboard yacht, 4 nights first-class hotels, single cabins available
Meals: All meals included except 2 dinners
Activity: Small Boat & Yacht Cruising, Walking, Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: 6 days easy to moderate optional day hikes, 1-4 hours, some steep sections
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Highlights

  • Discover amazing Ephesus, Lycian rock tombs, ancient Xanthos
  • Swim and snorkel in the warm, clear waters of the Mediterranean
  • Superb Trip Leaders, experts on the history of the region and engaging traveling companions
  • Enjoy the good life aboard the finest gulet yachts in Turkey, with savory meals prepared by onboard chefs
  • Explore Istanbul, gem of the Ottoman and Byzantine world


Extraordinary. An exceptional two weeks rich in natural beauty, history, culture, hiking, and great companions. I may never travel without WT again.Sarah B.—Palo Alto, CA

Recent Photo Blog Posts

Ancient Cultures and Blue Seas, Jan and Orion Knox

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Early Sign-up Discount!

$350 discount per person
All 2015 departures

Limited to the first six sign-ups per departure. Please note that these special offers cannot be combined with other discounts.

Sun-drenched skies, a warm, translucent sea, hikes through fragrant pine forests to timeless villages, a dream world of astounding archaeological treasures, expert Trip Leaders who make it all come alive—our idyllic journey reveals all the enchantments of the Turquoise Coast! Aboard our traditional gulet, you’ll experience a rich tapestry of wonders as you walk the ancient streets of Ephesus, snorkel over the submerged ruins of Aperlae, hike to a Greek “ghost town,” lunch with a farming family in Bezirgan, and savor cuisine that’s beyond fabulous. Don’t miss this trip!

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-4
Istanbul / Ephesus / Kaunos / Gocek (Eastbound)

Discover the wonders of Istanbul, including a sunset cruise on a private boat along the Bosphorus. We then head to astounding Esphesus for a walk on its marble-paved Arcadian Way (you’ll feel transported back to Roman times) and a visit to a weaving cooperative in Kusadasi. In ancient Kaunos, explore its Greek temples, Roman baths, and Byzantine church before boarding our elegant gulet in the sailor’s haven of Gocek.

Days 5-8
Lydae / Kaya Koy / Xanthos / Patara / Kas

Hike to the hidden ruins of Lydae, accessible only by foot, with a chance to take tea with Yoruk nomads, and swim in “Cleopatra’s Sunken Baths.” Our hike on Gemiler Island leads to evocative Byzantine hilltop ruins and we explore the eerie Greek ghost town of Kaya Koy. After a savory home-cooked lunch with a family in the farming village of Bezirgan, explore ancient Xanthos—a UNESCO World Heritage Site, swim in azure seas at Patara, and see the Lycian rock tombs of the lively harbor town of Kas.

Days 9-14
Aperlae / Myra / Chimaera / Termessos / Antalya / Istanbul

After snorkeling above ruins long buried by the sea, you’ll hike along farmland and village trails, explore Myra’s Lycian architecture and the legendary eternal flames of Chimaera, and visit haunting Termessos, an acropolis set in the mountains. Depart Istanbul on Day 14 or join our “insider’s” extensions to Istanbul or Cappadocia.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is rated Level 2+, Easy to Moderate. It is a relaxed cruising adventure, with hikes that should be “easy-to-moderate” for the average active traveler. The hikes are a focus of the trip, often bringing us to small villages or off-the-beaten-path ruins accessible only on foot. All hikes are optional, should you prefer to relax on board the yacht. We usually have seven hikes during the trip, 2 to 4 hours each, all with some uphill and downhill walking. Several hikes are of moderate difficultly, following coastal paths that can be steep and rocky. Even if you choose not to participate in the optional hikes, most visits to archaeological sites require walking or hiking on sometimes rocky, uneven paths. For your enjoyment of the trip, you should be a fit walker and bring lightweight hiking boots. Being able to swim is important on any boating trip, and the warm waters make this an ideal trip for those who like to swim and snorkel. To ensure an enjoyable adventure in Turkey, you should make a special effort to be in good physical condition by engaging in a regular exercise regimen before the trip.

The yachts we use for our Turquoise Coast program are the finest in Turkey. Traditional wooden motor-sailers called gulets (pronounced “GOO-lets”), they are typically 90 feet in length with a 21-foot beam, which makes them wonderfully stable and comfortable for cruising. They are twin masted, with teak hulls and decks and mahogany interiors. There are six two-person cabins, each with private toilet and shower. Sheets and a small towel are provided, but bring your own personal towel for swimming. To maximize time for exploration, we normally proceed under motor power. When conditions permit, and at the captain’s discretion, sails will be raised. Air conditioning is generally not used all night, even though the boats are equipped with it. It’s noisy, runs off the generator, and is usually inefficient. Air conditioning will be run for 3-4 hours at night. Many trip members enjoy sleeping out on the deck under the stars for fresh air. This is not a luxury cruise aboard a big cruise ship, but it’s easy to adjust to yacht life, and we think you’ll find this to be one of the most pleasant and relaxing journeys imaginable.

On board, you’ll probably spend most of your time on deck, as the deck is quite spacious and comfortable. There is a sun awning covering the outdoor dining area. Another awning can be put up over the foredeck to shade the sun mattresses. To get on and off the boat, there is a gradual 45-degree incline on the suspended sea ladder that allows easy access. The dinghy can take up to five guests at a time and has an outboard engine. For recreation, a sea kayak and some snorkeling and fishing gear are on board.

Cabins are assigned on board on a lottery basis, so requests for double cabins or for fore or aft cabins cannot be confirmed ahead of time.

Each gulet varies a bit in design, but a typical cabin size is 8 by 12 feet. Two of the cabins have double beds and four have twin beds. All cabins have en suite facilities, including a shower stall, and there are marine windows that open. Sheets and a small towel are provided, but bring your own personal towel for swimming and a washcloth if you use one. The bedding is changed once during the cruise.

There are 220-volt electrical outlets in the bedroom and bathroom (you will need a plug adaptor with two round prongs), plus an outlet in the salon that supplies power around the clock for charging batteries; it’s a useful source when the generators are not on. A laundry tub, warm water, and soap are provided for hand-washing laundry on board. It’s a good idea to bring lightweight clothing, such as the new synthetic “travel” fabrics that dry quickly.

Meals on Board
With the wide variety of meats, fruits, and vegetables produced in Turkey and the bounty of fish in the Mediterranean, the Turks have developed a sumptuous and rich cuisine, influenced by its position as a cultural and geographical crossroads between Asia and Europe. We enjoy Turkish cuisine at its best aboard our yacht. In fact, for some trip members, meals on board become as much of a trip highlight as hiking and discovering ancient ruins! Breakfasts include fresh yogurt, local honey, fresh-baked breads, eggs, and Turkish breakfast items such as feta cheese, olives, and sun-ripened tomatoes and cucumbers. Lunches and dinners offer an array of appetizers, a variety of salads and vegetable dishes (eggplant in olive oil is a favorite), plus a main entree of lamb, beef, chicken, or fish, grilled, baked, or prepared in other styles. Main dishes are often served with side dishes such as rice pilaf seasoned with currents or pine nuts. Some days, our crew fishes and serves us their “catch of the day.” Desserts include fresh fruits or assorted local pastries such as baklava (nuts and honey in puff pastry). Thanks to the balmy Mediterranean climate, we enjoy our meals in the open air of the yacht’s deck, sitting around a large table under a shade awning, with the fragrant breezes blowing. On occasion, we eat a lunch or dinner at a local town we are visiting. Wine, beer, and sodas are available for purchase. You can run a tab for your drinks and pay at the end of the cruise in Turkish Lira or US Dollars (credit cards are not accepted on the gulet). Complimentary drinking water, coffer, and tea are provided.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

2014
Sep 18-Oct 3, 2014  Westbound

2015
May 14-27, 2015
May 21-Jun 3, 2015
Jun 11-24, 2015
Sep 3-16, 2015
Sep 10-23, 2015
Sep 17-30, 2015
Sep 24-Oct 7, 2015
Oct 1-14, 2015

*Call for pricing, this departure has a maximum of 7 members

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$6295 (11 members)
$6595 (9-10 members)
$6995 (7-8 members)
Single supplement: $520 (hotels only)
Single supplement: $1300 (boat only)
Forced single supplement: $520 (hotels only)
Internal airfare: $525 (subject to change)
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Cappadocia Extension
   from: $1395

Deck Plan

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodations in hotels/shared yacht cabins
  • All meals included except 2 dinners
  • Yacht staff
  • Entrances to museums and sites
  • Airport arrival transfers and departure transfers on Day 16 to/from Istanbul Ataturk Airport (airport code IST)

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, internal flights, transfers for independent arrival or departure, or to/from any airport other than Istanbul Ataturk, airport departure taxes, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, any additional hotel nights that may be necessary due to airline schedule changes or other factors; pre-trip expenses of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, passports, visas, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule*

At time of reservation: $500
150 days prior to departure: 50%
90 days prior to departure: Balance

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $500 per person
61-120 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
60 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Hotel Levni

Hotel Levni

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights),
Day 13 (1 night), Istanbul, Turkey

This hotel’s location could not be better—it’s within close walking distance to all the major sights (you can see the outer walls ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Kusadasi Hotel

Day 3 (1 night), Kusadasi, Turkey

In Kusadasi we stay at one of the following properties:

Traditional Gulet

Traditional Gulet

Days 4 to 12 (9 nights)

The yachts we charter are traditional wooden motor-sailers called gulets, especially designed for cruising this beautiful coastline. They ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions options:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Mehmet Koc

Mehmet Koc, a native of Istanbul, graduated from the University of Bosphorus in Tourism and Travel Management and from Anadulo University in Economics. A professional guide since 1989, he has explored and traveled extensively in Turkey and western Europe. With his passion for archaeology, history, economics, and current events, Mehmet wants trip members to come away with a deep feeling not only for the historical treasures of Turkey but also for its contemporary culture. Among Mehmet’s favorite spots are the ancient sites of Termessos and Phaselis, for their dramatic settings in the mountains, and the landscape of Cappadocia, which he calls “a geological poem.” When not guiding, Mehmet enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and sailing. He speaks fluent English and understands German and Spanish.

Upcoming Trips:

The Turquoise Coast, September 18-October 3, 2014

Client Testimonials:


Mehmet Koc is extraordinary in every way! His charming personality and love of his work made us all fall in love with his wonderful country. Jean U., Salem OR
Turquoise Coast
Mehmet Koc’s knowledge of Turkey’s history and his pride in his country made this a very special trip. And he made sure everything ran smoothly 100% of the time. He is an exceptionally intelligent and interesting conversationalist as well as being a lot of fun. Bill S., Crystal, MN Mehmet Koc was great! Very knowledgeable, proud of his country, very experienced. Kinyon G., St. Helena, CA Mehmet was a unique combination of knowledge, responsiveness, and concern for our welfare and enjoyment of Turkey. Grover W., San Francisco CA
Turquoise Coast
Mehmet was terrific—warm and very learned. Ginger H., Mercer Island WA
The Turquoise Coast
Mehmet was a consummate professional and superb guide. His knowledge was superlative. Hayley M., Honolulu HI
The Turquoise Coast
Unusually well-versed in historical, political, economic, and archaeology. I would love to take another trip with Mehmet. Justin C., Santa Fe, NM
The Turquoise Coast
Mehmet is very personable, knows how to work with people. He really knows his subjects and is fun, funny, and very nice. We could not have asked for a better guide. Mary Lee C., Santa Fe NM
The Turquoise Coast
An intelligent, knowledgeable leader and a delight to travel with. Calm, patient, completely in control. A very impressive person. Cindy C., Santa Barbara CA Your Trip Leaders are outstanding! Mehmet totally made this trip. His deep knowledge of history made all the ancient sites come alive. Marjorie R., New York NY
The Turquoise Coast
Mehmet's knowledge was outstanding, along with his personality, sense of humor, and people skills. I'm a history professor and think I know the real deal when I see it. He's it. Neal F., Reno, NV
Turquoise Coast
Mehmet was amazing, and so very well informed. His knowledge of the area we traveled was phenomenal! Roberta F., Reno, NV
The Turquoise Coast
Mehmet was wonderful. He was helpful, friendly, funny, organised, and very knowledgeable. He made the trip a very special one and I can't thank him enough. Belinda L., Thirroul, Australia
The Turquoise Coast
Mehmet is a true leader, not just a guide. He's a real professional: warm, personable, with deep knowledge, able to handle some difficult situations with aplomb. I'd follow him about anywhere! Paul G., Seattle, WA
The Turquoise Coast
I would not hesitate to travel with Mehmet again. He has a great sense of humor and is well informed about his country and the world. Jan B., Mountain View, CA
The Turquoise Coast
Mehmet is a gem! He is knowledgeable about the areas we visited and its history, as well as any subject anyone asked him about. He is funny, personable, wonderfully respectful of everyone, had a great rapport with everyone we met, and seems to know everyone. He is one of the best guides I have encountered. Claire G., Seattle, WA
The Turquoise Coast
I cannot say enough about Mehmet. He is a warm, urbane man whose knowledge of history, both ancient and modern, is bottomless. Susan M., Pebble Beach, CA
The Turquoise Coast
We really enjoyed Mehmet's sense of humor, his calm attitude, his willingness to answer a wide range of questions, his dedication to getting things people in the group needed, and all sorts of other support he provided. We've awarded him sainthood! Ann S., Los Alamos, NM
The Turquoise Coast
Mehmet is the ultimate trip leader: professional, super-knowledgable, kind, caring, attentive. Pam H., Denver, CO
The Turquoise Coast
Mehmet is an extraordinarily knowledgeable and competent guide—a real asset for WT. We greatly benefited from his years of experience. Dennis K., Shaker Heights, OH
The Turquoise Coast
Mehmet represents the best in his own country and in Wilderness Travel. He was calm, personable, knowledgeable, and watchful over every detail. To top it off, he has a delightful sense of fun. Lindsay A., Bend, OR
The Turquoise Coast
Mehmet's thorough skills are understated but all-powerful. He has a quiet and respectful way about him, but his knowledge, organization, and all- encompassing leadership skills are over the top. Rachel S., Somerset, NJ
The Turquoise Coast

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

Turkey

Cappadocia Extension

Explore a Surreal Fairytale Landscape

Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
5 days  -  Level 2

Inside Istanbul Extension

Explore the Fabled Capital of Byzantium

Cultural Adventures
3 days  -  Level 1

Client Comments

Extraordinary. An exceptional two weeks rich in natural beauty, history, culture, hiking, and great companions. I may never travel without WT again. Sarah B., Palo Alto, CA It was a perfect trip - the organization, timing, food, accommodations, and especially the itinerary. Informative and great fun. I could not have asked for more. Joan and George S., Margate, NJ Best holiday ever. We saw and experienced more than we could have dreamed possible. We ran out of superlatives on the second day! Lee T., Abbotsford, BC Great combination of interesting sites, education, activities, swimming, comfortable accommodations, great fresh food, and a nice small group with a terrific leader. I’m hooked and planning on traveling with WT again. I like your style and small-group trips. Madeleine G., Bellevue, WA WT never ceases to amaze. This trip was more than we expected, with the perfect mix of culture, fun, food and drink. Gary F., Manhattan Beach, CA This is a fabulous trip! The boat we were on was wonderful: great crew, great food, great guide, and amazing sites. Caroline S., Dover-Foxcroft, ME What a treat. Our first WT trip but it won’t be our last. The number of veteran WT travelers on our trip speaks very highly of your company. Bruce N., Oakland, CA This trip was relaxing, fun-filled, full of learning, and very well choreographed! Darian M., Eugene, OR This trip was fantastic. The boat was beautiful and the crew and their service first-rate. I heard that this is one of your most popular trips—now I know why. Mary Beth P., Arlington, MA Really, really good. Have raved about it to friends. George E., Pacific Palisdes, CA The hiking was incredible, the food was out of this world, and the variety of activities and locations made for a first-rate trip. Life on the boat was wonderful! Elizabeth F., Aptos, CA Just had a perfect time—an outstanding trip! Cindy C., Santa Barbara, CA The most interesting trip I've ever taken. I loved everything, and especially Turkey! Mary Lee C., Santa Fe, NM Fantastic! Could not have asked for more. Paul P., Scarsdale, NY The captain and crew of the gulet were skilled, personable, and fun. Neal F., Reno, NV We would rate this as one of our top vacations, a perfect combination of relaxation, hiking, and history. Abigail H., Bowie, MD This was hands down the most enjoyable trip I have taken in years. The combination of sailing, hiking, exploration, and goofing off on the boat is unbeatable. John D., Louisville, KY
My husband and I travel A LOT and this was one of the best trips we have ever taken. Susie T., Columbia, SC The combination of sailing, swimming, and hiking in a sunny climate is hard to surpass. Couple this with historical sites that rival more well known places and a guide whose knowledge is astounding—the perfect trip! Wendy H., Beecroft, Australia This was the most relaxing vacation we've ever been on. The gulet was extremely clean and the crew worked constantly to keep it that way. The food on board was fresh, creative, wholesome, and we looked forward to every meal! Jan B., Mountain View, CA This was truly a magical adventure. The visit to the rug weaving school, tea with the goatherder's family, and lunch with an extended family high in the mountains were amazing experiences. We visited many wonderful villages, markets, restaurants, and shops as well as ancient ruins. I felt I was really getting a taste of the culture and the history of the region. Claire G., Seattle, WA This was one of the best vacations we have had. I can't believe how good the quality of food was that came out of that little boat kitchen. Jerrold E., Seattle, WA The trip exceeded my expectations. The optimum weather, outstanding boat and crew, and fun traveling companions allowed us to fully enjoy all the scenery and historical sites. Tom E., Lawrenceville, NJ This trip was fantastic, with excellent coordination of boat/van/walking itineraries—a trip you just couldn't do on your own. And the food was fabulous—both in cities and on the boat. Ann S., Los Alamos, NM There is so much history in this beautiful land that I knew nothing about. Archeological sites, scenery, food, and people are all magical, and traveling by gulet adds another level of other-worldliness. No world traveler should miss this trip! Pam H., Denver, CO A well designed trip through a beautiful and fascinating part of the world. We enjoyed every minute of it. Dennis K., Shaker Heights, OH This trip was so good, we would like to do it again. We will certainly tell all of our friends that this is the ONLY way to go. Lynn C., Bellevue, WA This was an experience we won't forget. Traveling the Turquoise Coast via gulet was the only way to go. The captain and his crew, along with our excellent guide, made this trip close to perfect. Carolyn S., Edmonton, Alberta We loved the hikes, found the archaeological sites fascinating, and loved being on the boat (and the food on the boat was beyond fabulous!). Judy S., Bend, OR

Recent Photo Blog Posts

Ancient Cultures and Blue Seas, Jan and Orion Knox