On the Route of Alexander the Great by Gulet
Join us aboard a luxury gulet for a shore-hopping cruise on the waters of the Lycian Coast as we sail in the wake of this iconic military leader. As we cross the sparkling sea, we pause to explore the spectacular ancient treasures found on Turkey’s Lycian coast. The ruined cities of Lycia were once some of the most powerful in the ancient world and we will voyage amongst their picturesque ruins, experience Turkish culture, and swim in the azure waters on the journey of a lifetime.
Roman and Greek remains are found in beautiful countryside, amid the ruins of cavernous temples, and in superb museums. While each of these offers a truly memorable experience, undoubtedly the star of our tour is 'the city that is known for its oracles', Telmessos. We prise fact from fiction in these mystic ruins and uncover the secrets they hold, none of which with such a story to tell then Myra's rock-cut tombs. As we recover lost mysteries we stop at the sunken city of Simena, where earthquakes have sent this Lycian city under the turquoise waves.
- Take to the waves and reach fascinating places difficult to access by land
- Discover ancient Antiphellos, with ruins set among olive trees and rocky hillsides
- Sail to Üçaz to discover Myra and discover 5th century BC rock-cut tombs and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Xanthos
- Spend a relaxed morning at the ancient site of Patara, home to a beach that was voted one of the best in the world by Times Online
- Special Access
- All Inclusive
We arrive into Turkey’s Dalaman Airport and from here we transfer to the beautiful harbour of Göcek, where we will board our private gulet - a traditional sailing vessel - and meet the crew that will be joining us for the tour.
This morning begins peacefully with a cruise to Gemiler - St. Nicholas Island - an ancient sanctuary, once known as Smybola, developed into a religious centre in the middle ages and is doted by the ruins of Byzantine churches contained within their own acropolis on the top of the hill, dominating the civil township below.
Today we set sail for the glorious, unspoilt town of Kaş, where we will disembark to explore ancient Antiphellos, whose period of glory begins in the Hellenistic era. Ruins here include a stunning theatre set among olive trees and rocky hillsides. By the Roman period, Antiphellos, which was also the seat of a bishopric in Byzantine times, had become the most significant city in the region.
Our touring begins as we navigate east to Üçağız to discover Myra, which boasts amazing 5th century BC rock-cut tombs that have been carved directly into the rock face here. The Lycians believed in the afterlife and thought that a mythical winged creature would carry them away from their earthly existences when the time came, the high cliff-side locations underscore this belief. We visit the Church of St. Nicholas, which was built in AD 520 on the foundations of an older Christian church, and contains the tomb of St. Nicholas himself. Considered the third most important Byzantine structure in the region of Anatolia, it is also famous for its remarkable frescoes and architectural significance.
The Lycian sea trading city of Simena is our destination this morning and we sail there, admiring the glorious scenery and sun along the way. This beautiful area was impacted by violent earthquakes and sank below the waves back in the 2nd century CE. Upon our arrival here, we will discover the city’s impressive ruins, which include Lycian tombs with trademark vaulted roofs, the remains of an early church and the foundations of public buildings. Not yet considered a World Heritage Site, UNESCO has instead marked Simena as a “tentative” candidate for this revered status.
Another morning of wonderful cruising awaits us as we make our way to Kalkan, where we will visit ancient Xanthos, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Referred to in Homer’s Iliad, historians have noted that this city has been burned and buried many times, but it always arose from the ashes. Hugely prosperous under the Persian Empire, it surrendered to Alexander. It was investigated by Charles Fellows in the 1840s, who brought substantial remains back to the British Museum. From here, we head towards the ancient site of Patara, home to a beach that was voted one of the best in the world by Times Online as well as some fascinating ruins. Apollo supposedly lived in Delos during the summer and Patara during the winter. The city was also visited by St. Paul while on his third missionary journey en-route to Jerusalem.
We set off for Gemiler Island this morning to explore Kayaköy - a religious ghost town that became abandoned following the 1923 population exchange between Turkey and Greece. This haunting area has an undeniable air of mystery and it remains little visited today. In the afternoon, we will visit Telmessos, which was once described by Herodotos as “the city that is known for its oracles”.
This morning we enjoy a delicious farewell breakfast before returning to Dalaman Airport and journeying back home.
- Return flights - London to Dalaman
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
- Hotels - On this particular trip, our hotel is a gulet.
We stay aboard 'Holiday X', a luxury gulet, for the duration of this tour. This private charter boat is 8.2 meters wide and 39 meters long with 5 staff providing services to our valued guests on the boat cruise. It has undergone a renovation in 2017 and the cabins onboard are comfortable with a private shower, WC and air conditioning. The boat offers guests indoor and outdoor dining areas, lounge area, and an American bar.
Please note: guests must be comfortable getting on and off the boat without assistance.