The Blue Mosque, Istanbul
Caption: The Blue Mosque, Istanbul
Caption: Cruising on the Aegean Sea
Caption: St Peter's Castle overlooking Bodrum
Caption: Gulets in Harbour
Caption: One of the famous Bazaar markets, where you can buy almost anything and practice your haggling skills
Caption: Street to Bodrum Harbour
Caption: Temple Ruins at Kaunos
Caption: At sea
Caption: Temple of Artemis, Ephesus
Caption: Gulets at Anchor
BEST VALUE
Journey Price from: £8,355
8,355 Points Applied: -£1,671
Cash Remainder: £6,685
Prices per person sharing a room. 20% @20p per point. Standard, Silver, Member, Preferred & Preferred Plus Members Members

 Deposit 20%.
Prices are per person based on 2 people sharing a cabin/room. Single room supplement £2,749.00.

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Book online or call Call us on:0844 3350 197 Monday - Thursday 9:00am - 8:00pm, Friday 9:00am - 5:30pm (London time)

Book your journey

Choose from the list below to book your journey

Available journeys:

  • Cash Only Option 13 May - 24 May 2025 from £8,355 Book Now
  • Standard, Silver, Member, Preferred & Preferred Plus Members members:
    Apply 8,355 points per person at £0.20 per point leaving a cash remainder of £6,685 per person
    13 May - 24 May 2025 from £6,685 Book Now
Book online or call 0844 3350 197

Journey Snapshot

Activity level: Level 2 Requires moderate physical activity. You need to be able to participate in physical activities such as longer walking tours, walking over uneven terrain, climbing steps and be comfortable with some periods of standing. Not suitable if you have limited mobility or require a wheelchair/mobility scooter.
Destination: Turkish Delights
Sailing South to Dalaman
Duration: 12 days / 11 nights
Flight information: Please arrange your flights to arrive into Istanbul Airport [IST] on Day 1 and to depart from there on Day 12
Pickup location: Istanbul Airport [IST]

Overview

13 - 24 May 2025

Cruise the Turkish Mediterranean Coast discovering ancient civilisations, walk in the footsteps of Sultans and exploring the Turkish Delights of Istanbul & Bodrum

Turkey stands as the bridge between European culture to the West and Asian culture to the East. Located in the eastern Mediterranean, it is a unique destination to discover. From the bustling city of Istanbul, the glittering blue Aegean Sea, historic Ephesus to cosmopolitan Bodrum and Marmaris.

Combine a city break in fascinating Istanbul, with a 7 day cruise along the Mediterranean on a traditional Turkish sailing boat on this unique journey through Turkey.

Discovering Istanbul is like walking through a time tunnel, where history and tradition live alongside the modern world in perfect harmony. Explore quaint coves, bustling fishing villages, and ancient ruins as we sail along the coast, with time to swim and relax, to walk and discover more of the history and beauty of these ancient trading spots. Visit the Imperial Residences of the Sultans, step into ancient city of Ephesus, cruise across glittering blue seas and enjoy the local cuisine and hospitality. There is no better way to explore the cultural melting pot of vast history, different religions and the mix of cuisines that is very uniquely Turkey.

Itinerary

Itinerary summary: DAY 1 - Welcome to Istanbul - Gateway to the East
DAY 2 - Exploring Istanbul
DAY 3 - Imperial Istanbul
DAY 4 - Ancient Ephesus
DAY 5 - Bodrum & its Wonder of the Ancient World
DAY 6 - Historic Knidos
DAY 7 - Cruising to Bozburun & Loryma
DAY 8 - Modern Marmaris
DAY 9 - Exploring Ekincik & the Ancient City of Kaunos
DAY 10 - The Ancient Ruins of Lydae
DAY 11 - Disembarkation & Return to Istanbul
DAY 12 - Farewell to Turkey
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Full Itinerary

DAY 1 - Welcome to Istanbul - Gateway to the East

Upon arrival at Istanbul Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

After relaxing into your hotel, join together this evening with your Big Journey Company Tour Director for dinner and to meet the rest of your tour group.

Included meals: Dinner 
Accommodation: Marmara Pera, Istanbul (or similar) 

DAY 2 - Exploring Istanbul

Today we enjoy a city tour of Istanbul, taking in some of the most spectacular sites the ancient city has to offer.

We will see the Hippodrome, once the social center of Constantinople, as Istanbul was once known. Built by the Romans in the 3rd Century AD, only fragments are left of this once grand stadium that held 100,000 spectators for events, chariot races and executions.

We also visit the Blue Mosque - one of the most important temples in the world. Named for the blue Iznik tile work that decorates its interior, the Blue Mosque can be seen from all over the Sultanahmet district.

Lunch today is an opportunity to experience the best examples of the Ottoman cuisine, before continuing to explore Istanbul. We visit the dramatic and beautiful Basilica Cistern, built in the 6th Century as a water reservoir for the city and then explore the famous Old Spice Market, where you can find a vast diversity of spices, sacks of henna and, of course, the world’s very best Turkish delight.

This evening, we will dine at a local restaurant where you can experience a good introduction to traditional meyhane culture as your foodie tour guide will accompany you and guide you through this experience. You will taste the famous Turkish alcoholic drink Raki with an explanation on its history and production. The Lion's Milk, as its often called, will be served with a selection of traditional mezze, seasonal fresh fish and a Turkish cheese platter to enjoy.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 
Accommodation: Marmara Pera, Istanbul (or similar) 

DAY 3 - Imperial Istanbul

Today we walk in the footsteps of Sultans, exploring the Topkapi Palace and its exhibits from the Ottoman Empire, one of world history's mightiest and longest-lasting dynasties! This Islamic-run empire ruled large areas of the Middle East, Eastern Europe and North Africa for more than 500 years.

We will complete our tour at the Grand Bazaar. First started in 1455 under Mehmet the Conqueror, it was added to many times over the centuries. The end result is an enormous labyrinth of covered streets lined with thousands of shops selling, for example, hand-woven carpets and kilims, gold and silver jewelry, hand-painted ceramics, leather goods, fine antiques and illuminated manuscripts. A great place to practice your bargaining skills!

The rest of the day is at leisure to explore Istanbul at leisure, or perhaps visit a famous Turkish bath!

Included meals: Breakfast & Lunch 
Accommodation: Marmara Pera, Istanbul (or similar) 

DAY 4 - Ancient Ephesus

This morning, we check out of our hotel and transfer to Istanbul Airport for our flight down the coast to to Izmir.

On arrival at Izmir, we travel to Selcuk and the ancient city of Ephesus. Settled nearly 3,000 years ago, Ephesus was one of the most beautiful cities of the ancient world. Much has been done to restore the white marble streets, theatres, baths, gymnasium, market and beautifully carved library.

Over a barbeque lunch prepared by the ladies of the village showcasing local Turkish cuisine, before we continue on to Bodrum for the rest of the evening.

Bodrum, enjoys a picturesque setting on the Aegean coast. Named Halicarnassus in ancient times, it was the birthplace of Herodotus and the home of one of the seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

After checking in to our hotel, the evening is at leisure.

Included meals: Breakfast & Lunch  
Accommodation: The Marmara, Bodrum (or similar) 

DAY 5 - Bodrum & its Wonder of the Ancient World

This morning, we enjoy a guided tour of Bodrum, exploring the Castle of St. Peter, which dates from the time of the Crusades and now houses the Museum of Nautical Archaeology and Museum of Underwater Archaeology.

We will also visit the ancient site of the Mausoleum, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Built in 255 BC by Artemisia, the sister and the wife of King Mausolos, it was completely destroyed by an earthquake and the ruins were then used in building of the Halicarnassus Castle.

We enjoy lunch before heading to the port to board our private gulet and begin our cruise. A traditional sailing vessel from the southwestern coast of Turkey, the gulet boats are built in the coastal towns of Bodrum and Marmaris.

We’ll be able to anchor in secluded bays where you can enjoy swimming in the crystal waters of the Aegean Sea. Today we sail to Aga Limani where we’ll anchor overnight.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 
Accommodation: Gulet cruise 

DAY 6 - Historic Knidos

This morning we arrive at the Ancient Greek city of Knidos.

Once upon a time, visitors to the city were welcomde by the sculptor Praxiteles’ famous statue, The Aphrodite of Knidos. The area is still occupied by many ancient remains. With its rich history and a multitude of stories to tell, the ancient city is a highlight of our day today.

Lunch back on board is followed by an afternoon at leisure for swimming, kayaking, sunbathing.

This evening, we overnight anchorage at Palamutbuku Cove.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 
Accommodation: Gulet cruise 

DAY 7 - Cruising to Bozburun & Loryma

Today we have the opportunity to enjoy two small shore excursions, visiting quaint coastal villages.

The first is a visit to the small, secluded fishing village of Bozburun. In ancient times, Bozburun was famous for its marble quarries, but today there are only about 2,000 residents and the area is now famous for its thyme honey.

Afterwards, we motor to the ancient once-fortified port of Loryma. Here we disembark at a small dock with a dry landing. You can walk up to the top of the hill (about 15 mins walk) for panoramic views of the old ruined Rhodian fortress, where visitors from the Greek island of Rhodes once built a trading town.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 
Accommodation: Gulet cruise 

DAY 8 - Modern Marmaris

This morning, our gulet will dock directly in the marina in Marmaris.

Marmaris is a large modern port town with a covered bazaar and lots of dockside cafes and restaurants. Spend your time at leisure in this Mediterranean idyll, strolling along the seafront promenade and through the vibrant town center.

Late afternoon, we set sail for Ekincik, a popular and protected stopping place for yachts and gulets alike.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 
Accommodation: Gulet cruise 

DAY 9 - Exploring Ekincik & the Ancient City of Kaunos

Our first stop of the day is the tiny village of Ekincik. Surrounded by forested hills and family-run farms, this rustic piece of paradise is the ideal place to step ashore.

We return to the gulet for lunch onboard before cruising to Dalyan. The Dalyan River Delta is too shallow for our gulet to enter, so local river boats will collect us to cruise up the mouth of the Dalyan River to Kaunos.

Dating back to the 10 centry BC, the ancient city of Kaunos was an important seaport. Access is on foot from the jetty, via a rocky but fairly level path going steadily upward. Our visit will take in the remains of the large theatre, Roman baths and temples to various Greek and Roman deities.

Once back aboard, we cruise to a nearby viewpoint to see the impressive Lycian tombs, carved into the cliff face above before we reach our overnight anchorage within sight of Dalyan.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 
Accommodation: Gulet cruise 

DAY 10 - The Ancient Ruins of Lydae

This morning, we enjoy breakfast on board as we weigh anchor and head for Aga Limani Bay.

Disembarkation here will involve a dry landing on the rocky, gravel beach. Those who wish to explore further on foot can take a very rocky path leading steadily uphill for about 1 mile to a hilltop with the Roman and Byzantine ruins of ancient Lydae.

Here, hikers will be rewarded for their efforts with a truly lovely view of the local coast before returning to the beach. (Approx. 45 mins’ hike each way).

We return to the boat for lunch aboard and for the opportunity for an afternoon swim at one of the nearby coves, such as Bedri Rahmi or Boynuz Buku before overnighting at Yassicalar Island and enjoying our Farewell dinner with the onboard crew.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 
Accommodation: Gulet cruise 

DAY 11 - Disembarkation & Return to Istanbul

After breafkast, we bid a fond farewell to our Aegean cruise this morning and disembark in Gocek, noted for its fine harbour.

From here we travel to Dalaman Airport for our flight back to Istanbul. Upon arrival back in Istanbul, we check in to our hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure before we our rejoin together for one farewell dinner to round off our time in Turkey.

Included meals: Breakfast & Dinner 
Accommodation: Marmara Pera, Istanbul (or similar) 

DAY 12 - Farewell to Turkey

After breakfast it is time to check out as we say farewell to Turkey. You will be transferred to the airport in time for your onward flight home. 

Included meals: Breakfast 
Accommodation: none 

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More information

What's includedWhat's not includedImportant information

What's included

  • Meet & Greet at Istanbul Airport [IST] on arrival
  • One-way domestic economy flights: Istanbul [IST] - Izmir [ADB]; Dalaman [DLM] - Istanbul [IST]
  • Transport as detailed in the itinerary
  • Accommodation as detailed in the itinerary
  • Meals as detailed in the itinerary
  • English speaking tour guide throughout
  • All activities, visits and excursions as detailed in the itinerary
  • Tour Director from The Big Journey Company (subject to minimum group size being reached.)

What's not included

  • Flights to/from Istanbul Airport [IST] - please contact us for a flight quotation
  • ATOL Protection
  • Drinks
  • All entrance fees to non-stipulated attractions
  • Visas, travel insurance
  • Any personal items and anything not mentioned under included in price above
  • Any meals not mentioned in itinerary
  • Any optional activities offered
  • Gratuities
  • Any COVID tests or related entry & exit requirements

Important information

  • Please note, flights to/from Turkey are not included in this package. The Big Journey Company would be happy to provide a quotation for your flights - please contact us for further details
  • Please let The Big Journey Company know prior to travelling if you have any medical needs or take any medication that we need to be made aware of to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant journey.
  • Check in is after 2-3pm and check out is before 10am unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
  • Cancellation 90 - 0 days prior to departure cancellation fee is 100%. It is your responsibility to ensure the correct travel insurance in place to protect you against the need to cancel your holiday. Deposits are non-refundable.
  • A non-refundable deposit is due at the time of booking. Full balance will be due 14 weeks prior to departure.
  • Further terms and conditions apply and will be provided upon request or at the time of booking. The Big Journey Company reserves the right to withdraw any offer prior to accepting a reservation request. This does not affect your statutory rights. This offer is subject to availability and space is limited.
  • Please consult your doctor letting them know your travel plans so that they can advise you about any vaccinations/medications you may need to take.
  • Please let The Big Journey Company know prior to travelling if you have any medical needs or take any medication that we need to be made aware of to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant tourPrices are based on two people sharing and do not include increases in government taxes, fuel surcharges.
  • The boat may moor side-to-side with others in port and it may be necessary to cross other boats to get to the shore. Some daily excursions land directly on the beach or on small jetties. Walking on some of the daily excursions will include moderate activity and on uneven terrrain. Therefore, this cruise is not recommended for passengers in wheelchairs or with limited mobility.
  • In some events, for example due to adverse weather conditions, the captain can choose to alter the itinerary for the comfort and safety of the passengers.
Once in a lifetime

Book your journey

Choose from the list below to book your journey.

Available journeys:

  • Cash Only Option 13 May - 24 May 2025 from £8,355 Book Now
  • Standard, Silver, Member, Preferred & Preferred Plus Members members:
    Apply 8,355 points per person at £0.20 per point leaving a cash remainder of £6,685 per person
    13 May - 24 May 2025 from £6,685 Book Now
Book online or call 0844 3350 197

The big journey promise

The big journey company was set up with one goal in mind, to share our passion for inspirational cultures, destinations and experiences. Over the last 10 years we have had the privilege to escort thousands of travellers on awe inspiring and sometimes life changing journeys. Our promise to every guest who joins us is that we will do everything possible to make sure your journey not only exceeds expectations but delivers at least one moment of true amazement.

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Holiday tours are operated by The Big Journey Company Limited. Registered in England. Registered office: Marron Bank, Branthwaite, Cumbria, CA14 4SZ. Registered number: 6532140. The Big Journey Company Limited is a member of The Travel Trust Association member number U5675 and holds an Air Travel Organiser’s License number T7282.

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