The Turquoise Coast

Ancient Treasures and Seaside Villages of Mediterranean Turkey

The Turquoise Coast route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $5995  
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


  • Explore Istanbul, gem of the Ottoman and Byzantine world
  • 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 and overnights in tranquil coves
  • Optional extensions to Cappadocia and in-depth explorations of Istanbul

This is one of the most outstanding trips we have ever taken. The depth of information, the comfort of the boat, the culture we learned about...all added up to a perfect trip.Lynn B.—Portland, OR

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.


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.

Early Sign-up Discount!

$400 discount per person
All 2016 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 Greek, Byzantine, and Roman treasures, expert Trip Leaders who make it all come alive—our idyllic journey reveals all the enchantments of Turkey’s Turquoise Coast! With our base aboard a traditional gulet (motor-sailing yacht), 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 a 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. Heading to astounding Esphesus, you’ll walk on its marble-paved Arcadian Way, feeling transported back to Roman times, and visit a weaving cooperative. 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 on foot, with a chance to take tea with Yoruk nomads, then swim in “Cleopatra’s Sunken Baths.” Our hike on Gemiler Island leads to evocative Byzantine hilltop ruins and you’ll 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 submerged in 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



May 12-25, 2016
May 19-Jun 1, 2016
Jun 2-15, 2016
Sep 1-14, 2016
Sep 8-21, 2016
Sep 15-28, 2016
Sep 22-Oct 5, 2016
Sep 29-Oct 12, 2016

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

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2016
$5995 (9-11 members)
$6395 (7-8 members)
Single supplement: $475 (hotels only)
Single supplement: $1300 (hotels and boat)
Forced single supplement: $475 (hotels only)
Internal airfare: $420 (subject to change)
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Inside Istanbul Extension
   from: $1195
Cappadocia Extension
   from: $1350

Trip Payment Schedule*

At time of reservation: $600
150 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
90 days prior to departure: Balance

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

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $600 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.

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
  • A glass of wine or beer with dinner
  • Yacht staff
  • Entrances to museums and sites
  • Airport arrival transfers and departure transfers on Day 14 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.).

Arrival & Departure Information

You are responsible for your own transportation to the arrival and from the departure cities listed below. For more detailed information, including transfers, please download the Detailed Itinerary.

Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule.

2016 Departures

Meeting Place:
Istanbul, Turkey
Date: Day 1

Suggested Arrival Airport:
Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey (airport code IST)
Suggested arrival time: by 4:00 pm in 2015 (2016 arrival by 1:30 pm)
Istanbul, Turkey
Date: Day 14

Suggested Airport for Departure:
Suggested Arrival Airport: Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey (airport code IST)
Suggested departure time: anytime

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.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Mehmet Koc

As a 20-year veteran leader of The Turquoise Coast trip, Mehmet Koc’s passion for archaeology and history—not to mention his local insight throughout Turkey—has our guests leaving with a deep connection to the mesmerizing region. As one client put it, “Mehmet represents the ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Mahmut Turhanoglu

Mahmut Turhanoglu graduated from Tarsus American College and studied TV Broadcasting at the University of Anadolu. He later worked for five years as a producer of television commercials. In 1986, he had the opportunity to work and travel with British author and explorer Tim Severin on a research ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Optional Extensions

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


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

This is one of the most outstanding trips we have ever taken. The depth of information, the comfort of the boat, the culture we learned about...all added up to a perfect trip. Lynn B., Portland, OR The itinerary was fabulous and we enjoyed every minute of the trip. It's one of the best we have ever taken. Joanne G., Denver, CO A superb trip with an excellent guide. The boat crew was extraordinary. They pampered us, prepared wonderful meals, and simply could not have done more to ensure that every aspect of life on the boat was wonderful. Lawrence G., East Falmouth, MA Bravo WT! You have fine-tuned this adventure to perfection. It exceeded our every expectation. Paul M., Richmond, VA This was the trip of a lifetime. I was treated like the sultan's wife. The gulet, the hikes, the food, the weather, the sea, snorkeling over sunken ruins—it was all wonderful. Joni H., Evergreen, CO 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 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 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 A well designed trip through a beautiful and fascinating part of the world. We enjoyed every minute of it. Dennis K., Shaker Heights, OH 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 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 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 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 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 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 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
My husband and I travel A LOT and this was one of the best trips we have ever taken. Susie T., Columbia, SC 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 We would rate this as one of our top vacations, a perfect combination of relaxation, hiking, and history. Abigail H., Bowie, MD The captain and crew of the gulet were skilled, personable, and fun. Neal F., Reno, NV Fantastic! Could not have asked for more. Paul P., Scarsdale, NY The most interesting trip I've ever taken. I loved everything, and especially Turkey! Mary Lee C., Santa Fe, NM Just had a perfect time—an outstanding trip! Cindy C., Santa Barbara, 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 Really, really good. Have raved about it to friends. George E., Pacific Palisdes, CA 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 This trip was relaxing, fun-filled, full of learning, and very well choreographed! Darian M., Eugene, OR 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 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 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 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 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 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 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