Where the Ruins Meet the Sea
Start with a kebab in Istanbul, leave for Gallipoli then zoom through Eceabat to Ayvalik for a visit to Troy and harbourside bevvies. On to Selcuk to explore Ephesus (where Antony and Cleopatra hung out), then Pamikkale for its healing pools, Fethiye for beach times, and a cruise for sunbaking and sunken ruins.
Leaping into the sparkly waters of the Mediterranean is super fun. Two things: don’t hold your nose or you’ll blow out an eardrum, and make sure your bikini bottoms or speedos are securely fastened before you jump.
Day 1-2 - Istanbul
The must-sees: Blue Mosque, Hippodrome and Aya Sofya. The must-eats: Kebab, balık ekmek (fish sandwich) and steamed corn from a street vendor.
- Arrive in Istanbul and perhaps visit the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market
- Meet the tour guide and fellow travel companions at an evening welcome meeting
- Head out on an optional group dinner, a good introduction to some fabulous Turkish cuisine in a street-side cafe
- Take a guided tour of the treasures of the Old Town including the the iconic Blue Mosque and the Hippodrome
- Explore under your own steam in the afternoon
- Perhaps barter for a bargain, enjoy a cruise on the Bosphorus or indulge in a traditional hamam (Turkish bath)
Day 3 - Istanbul - Gallipoli - Eceabat
A sobering visit to Gallipoli today. Then you’ve got time to reflect during a long bus trip to Eceabat.
- Head for the shores of Gallipoli, a place of immense significance for Australians and New Zealanders
Day 4 - Eceabat - Ayvalik
The town is famous for olive oil, but we suggest finding the nearest seaside cafe and ordering Ayvalik tost - toasted sanga stuffed with sausage, pickle, tomatoes, salad and chips, slathered with tomato sauce and mayonnaise. Stop drooling on the brochure please.
- Optional excursion to Troy, where you can explore the ancient ruins
- Take an orientation tour of Ayvalik and view its Greco-Ottoman houses, cobblestone streets and lively cafes
- Perhaps enjoy a drink and the sunset at the harbourside bar
Day 5 - Ayvalik - Selçuk
Get your local guide to point out secret messages that ancient Christians carved into the rocks to direct worshippers to their next meeting.
- Take a local bus to Selçuk
- On arrival we explore nearby Ephesus - perhaps the greatest Greco-Roman site in the world
- Walk the marble streets once trodden by Antony and Cleopatra and marvel at the gymnasium, baths and the restored Library of Celsus
Day 6 - Selçuk – Pamukkale
Live out your Cleopatra fantasies today with a dip in her old pool. Although back in the day she didn’t have to share it with fat dudes and screaming kids.
- Travel to Pamukkale with its natural pools, shelves and ridges
- Perhaps explore the ancient city of Hierapolis, known for its abundance of temples and religious structures
Day 7 - Pamukkale – Fethiye
We’ll stop at Oludeniz on the way. This big lagoon is so luminously blue is should have an Instagram filter named after it.
- Head for the coast and take a local bus to Ölüdeniz, described as 'the Eden bestowed by God to the world'
- Plenty of time to enjoy a swim at the three-kilometre-long beach
Day 8-9 - Southern sailing cruise
Tough couple of days ahead: swimming, exploring sunken cities, sunbaking and eating fresh seafood. Grin and bare it.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
- Board a boat for a memorable voyage along the Turquoise Coast and view some of the most stunning coastal scenery in the world
- Cruise to the sunken cities around Kekova Island from where remains of mysterious civilisations can be viewed
- Walk up to nearby Simena Castle, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding bays and islands
- Perhaps explore some of the numerous Lycian rock tombs
- Spend some time on the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea
- Swim and explore the natural and historical sites along the way
- Indulge in feasts before being lulled to sleep by Mediterranean breezes
Day 10-11 - Cirali - Antalya
Squeeze in one last bit of history with a trip to Olympos. Then see the Chimaera, heaps of little fires bursting spontaneously from the side of a mountain. They never go out. You have permission to sing Eternal Flame by the Bangles here.
- Disembark the boat in Uçagiz and head to Antalya
- Stop by Olympos en route and see the flames of Chimera
- Press on to the ruins of ancient Lycian city of Phaselis
- The trip ends today after breakfast
What to Know
Local tour guide, all transportation, accommodation and meals as indicated. Entrance fees for Ephesus only.
- International flights, arrival & departure transfers, departure taxes, visas, travel insurance (compulsory on all trips), meals (where not listed as included in the itinerary), drinks, optional additional tours or activities during free time, tips and items of a personal nature. Entrance fees except Ephesus.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price 06 Sep 2014 - 16 Sep 2014 3 places left US $1,120 Book Now 27 Sep 2014 - 07 Oct 2014 Available US $1,060 On Sale Sale: US $954 Book Now 11 Oct 2014 - 21 Oct 2014 Available US $1,025 Book Now 18 Oct 2014 - 28 Oct 2014 Available US $900 Book Now 11 Apr 2015 - 21 Apr 2015 Available US $995 Book Now 23 Apr 2015 - 03 May 2015 Available US $1,245 Book Now 02 May 2015 - 12 May 2015 Available US $1,030 Book Now 09 May 2015 - 19 May 2015 Available US $1,030 Book Now 16 May 2015 - 26 May 2015 Available US $1,090 Book Now 23 May 2015 - 02 Jun 2015 Available US $1,090 Book Now 06 Jun 2015 - 16 Jun 2015 Available US $1,060 Book Now 13 Jun 2015 - 23 Jun 2015 Available US $1,060 Book Now 20 Jun 2015 - 30 Jun 2015 Available US $1,030 Book Now 27 Jun 2015 - 07 Jul 2015 Available US $1,030 Book Now 04 Jul 2015 - 14 Jul 2015 Available US $1,030 Book Now 11 Jul 2015 - 21 Jul 2015 Available US $1,030 Book Now 18 Jul 2015 - 28 Jul 2015 Available US $1,030 Book Now 25 Jul 2015 - 04 Aug 2015 Available US $1,030 Book Now
Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments
At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.
Where the Ruins Meet the Sea
Kelly - Australia, 16 Mar, 2013
Was such an awesome experience and adventure, will never forget my Turkey tour and the amazing new friends I made.
Where the Ruins Meet the Sea
Christopher - United Kingdom, 16 Mar, 2013
Outstanding holiday. So much to see and experience. The tour not just showed us the sights, but allowed us to experience this wonderful country.
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What to know
The 23 Apr 2014 departure ties in with ANZAC day at Gallipoli and the night of Day 2 will be spent camping in Anzac Cove. This departure has a surcharge.