The Aegean Coast of Turkey

Ephesus Library Square
Ephesus Library Square
Ephesus Library Square
Ephesus Library Square
Ancient ruins of Assos
Ancient ruins of Assos
Temple of Trajan at Acropolis of Pergamon
Temple of Trajan at Acropolis of Pergamon
Amphitheatre in ancient Hierapolis
Amphitheatre in ancient Hierapolis
The ruins of the ancient city Hierapolis
The ruins of the ancient city Hierapolis
Didyma, ancient Greek sanctuary on the coast of Ionia
Didyma, ancient Greek sanctuary on the coast of Ionia
Pamukkale hot spring
Pamukkale hot spring
Tourists at Pamukkale
Tourists at Pamukkale
Aphrodisias Temple
Aphrodisias Temple
Trojan Horse, Troy
Trojan Horse, Troy

The Greek and Roman cities of Turkey’s Aegean coast were once some of the most powerful in the ancient world, from - if Homer is to be believed - the site of the legendary conflict between Greeks and Trojans, to the World Heritage Site of Hierapolis. The remains of these splendid cities are set in a breathtaking landscape of rugged limestone peaks, plunging valleys, olive groves, pine forests and flower-dotted meadows, with the glittering blue waters of the Aegean Sea highlighting the distance.

Each site we visit offers a memorable experience, but the star attraction is undoubtedly the special access we have to the Roman-era terraced houses of Ephesus, whose painted walls and mosaics are amazing.

  • Gaze upon the mighty walls of Troy
  • Explore well-preserved Classical cities and lesser-known ruins
  • Enjoy the sublime scenery of the Aegean Coast away from resorts
  • Uncover the stories woven deeply into this area’s rich tapestry
  • Experience this adventure in the company of a revered expert

Themes

  • Romans
  • Prehistory
  • Medieval
  • Historic Churches
  • Ancient Greek

Practicalities

  • Special Access
  • All Inclusive

Itinerary 2018

Day 1

We arrive in Istanbul and transfer to our hotel overlooking the Bosphorus.

Day 2

We travel to Çannakale and continue to the site of ancient Troy, evoking Homer’s epic poem and the efforts of archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann. It is tantalising to imagine the Greek army ranged across the landscape, while Paris strode the walls of the city and Hector duelled with Achilles.

Day 3

This morning, we take a scenic drive high into the hills to the site of Assos, on a rocky ridge, one of the most beautifully situated ancient sites in the world. We also explore the well-preserved Doric Temple of Athena. Your afternoon is free - explore the site further or enjoy a swim.

Day 4

We travel to the ruins of Alexandria Troas. The ancient city is home to an extensive array of Roman remains, including: the agora temple, its columns and reliefs; and a partly dug-up odeion with two massive arched entrances. This afternoon we drive to Ayvalik.

Day 5

We spend the day at the great Greek city of Pergamon, where remains are widespread. Our explorations include the Acropolis, the theatre, and altar of Zeus. After lunch, we visit Pergamon Museum and the Aesclepium, an ancient medical centre. We continue to Izmir.

Day 6

We enjoy a brief brush with the Hittites – an ancient Bronze Age Turkish civilisation - at the Karabel rock relief, then drive inland to Sardis, with its massive gymnasium and bath-house and finely preserved Temple of Artemis. We continue to Pamukkale, the limescale ‘cotton castle’.

Day 7

We explore ancient Hierapolis, with extensive tombs, a ‘Plutonium’ (shrine to the underworld deity Pluto) and oracular Temple of Apollo. The limescale formations with cascading pools and hot springs make this site very picturesque. Enjoy a free afternoon.

Day 8

We travel east up the valley of the Maeander river, through magnificent scenery to the site of Aphrodisias. The mountains produced very fine white marble, and the city became famous for its sculptors.

Day 9

We spend the morning at Priene, set on a peaceful wooded hillside. The Temple of Athena stands as a substantial ruin. We follow in the footsteps of the Greeks to Didyma, a huge temple which housed a shrine to Apollo. We end the day at Miletus, home of philosophers and scientists.

Day 10

Our tour culminates at Ephesus, one of the highlights of western Turkey. This was one of the richest cities in Asia Minor and continued to thrive through the Roman period.

We have special access to the Roman terraced houses, with painted walls and mosaics now beautifully restored, with a talk from the curator.

After exploring the city we visit the newly reopened museum, housing treasures from the site. End the day at the fortifications and Basilica of St John at Selçuk, the city which replaced Ephesus in Medieval times.

Day 11

We drive to Izmir for our flights home via Istanbul.

Itinerary 2019

Day 1

We arrive in Istanbul from London and head to our hotel, which overlooks the Bosphorus - a scenic waterway and natural strait.

Day 2

We travel to Çanakkale and continue to the site of ancient Troy, evoking Homer’s epic poem and the labours of archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann. It is tantalising to imagine the Greek army ranged across the landscape, while Paris strode the walls of the city and Hector duelled with Achilles.

Day 3

This morning, we drive from sea level up to the site of Assos, perched on a prominent hilltop overlooking the Aegean and Sappho's island of Lesbos. Assos is one of the most beautifully situated ancient sites in the world. We also explore the well-preserved Doric Temple of Athena. Your afternoon is free - explore the site further or enjoy a swim.

Day 4

We travel to the ruins of Alexandria Troas. The site is little-known today but was visited twice by St Paul in the first century. Surviving features include: the agora temple, its columns and reliefs, a partly excavated odeon and superb section of Roman streets. This afternoon we drive to atmospheric Ayvalik, a wholly Greek town up until the population exchanges of 1923.

Day 5

We spend the day at the great Hellenistic city of Pergamon, whose extensive remains range across a dramatic rocky outcrop. Our explorations include the Acropolis, the theatre, and altar of Zeus. After lunch, we visit Pergamon Museum and the Aesclepium, an ancient medical centre. We continue to Izmir.

Day 6

We enjoy a brief brush with the Hittites – an ancient Bronze Age Turkish civilisation - at the Karabel rock relief, then drive inland to Sardis, with its massive gymnasium and bath-house and finely preserved Temple of Artemis. We continue to Pamukkale, the limestone ‘cotton castle.’ Located in the River Menderes Valley, the Roman ruins here remain remarkably well-preserved.

Day 7

We explore ancient Hierapolis, with extensive tombs, a ‘Plutonium’ (shrine to the underworld deity Pluto) and oracular Temple of Apollo. The limescale formations with cascading pools and hot springs make this site very picturesque. Enjoy a free afternoon.

Day 8

We travel east up the valley of the Maeander river, through magnificent scenery to the site of Aphrodisias. The mountains surrounding this idyllical site produced very fine white marble, and the city became famous for its sculptors.

Day 9

We spend the morning at Priene, set on a peaceful wooded hillside beneath a towering limestone peak. The Temple of Athena stands as a substantial ruin. We follow in the footsteps of the Greeks to Didyma, a huge temple which housed an oracular shrine to Apollo. We end the day at Miletus, home of philosophers and scientists.

Day 10

Our tour culminates at Ephesus, one of the highlights of western Turkey. This was one of the richest cities in Asia Minor and continued to thrive through the Roman period.
We have special access to the Roman terraced houses, with painted walls and mosaics now beautifully restored, with a talk from the curator. After exploring the city we visit the newly reopened museum, housing treasures from the site. End the day at the fortifications and Basilica of St John at Selçuk, the city which replaced Ephesus in Medieval times.

Day 11

We drive to Izmir for our flights home via Istanbul.

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels
  8. Flights

Travel Information

For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.

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2019 Tour Details

Sat 5th October - Tue 15th October

Available

£2,495

inc.

sgl supp: £425

AEG19A

Led By: Terry Richardson

Guide Lecturer

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