Summary : This is a journey to the home of Western civilization, a chance to enjoy the beauty and richness of the Turkish coast and the Greek isles, to explore Greek and Turkish cultures and to sail aboard Sea Cloud, the square rigger that is, arguably, one of the most remarkable clipper ships anywhere in the world. With extraordinary shore visits and a window on island life, discover Istanbul, the city that is a bridge between East and West; Ephesus, one of the great centers of the Greek world rich with Classical and Christian meaning; intriguing Didyma, home to one of Apollo’s oracles and Greece’s Cycladic islands of Santorini, Folégandros and sacred Delos, home to some of the greatest works created by the ancients.
Activities : Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking
Free Subscription: Complimentary 1-year subscription to National Geographic Magazine (one per booking).
$999,999,999 to $0
Fly overnight to Istanbul, Turkey.
Arrive in Istanbul and check into your extraordinary hotel. After lunch, you’ll take a brief driving tour that includes a visit to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. This afternoon, you may rest or explore on your own, and then gather for dinner.
Today, board your flight to Izmir and drive to Ephesus, an ancient Greco-Roman city that was for many years the second largest city of the Empire, ranking only behind Rome. Ephesus was famed for one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis (Diana), who had her chief shrine there; for the Library of Celsus; and for its theater, which was capable of holding 25,000 spectators. You'll explore the Great Theater and the ruins of the Library. After lunch, drive the short distance to the port of Kusadasi and embark Sea Cloud.
On deck, watch as nimble sailors climb the lines to raise Sea Cloud’s sails by hand. Under full sail, you head for Didyma. Once a shrine of ancient Greece, Didyma was established preceding literacy, and even before the Hellenic colonization of Ionia. Next to Delphi, this site was home to the most renowned oracle of the Hellenic world. Here, you visit the Temple of Apollo and learn the site’s meaning in the ancient world. Return to the Sea Cloud late this afternoon.
Bodrum enjoys a picturesque setting on the Aegean. On a small promontory lies the Castle of St. Peter, built in the 15th century by Crusader knights and later captured by Suleiman the Magnificent. It houses the fabulous Museum of Underwater Archaeology, where you’ll have a special visit, seeing many items excavated from shipwrecks of the Bronze Age and subsequent eras, including artifacts from all over the Mediterranean.
Today, you’ll set the sails and leave them up all day long, sailing among the Cycladic islands, watching the crew up in the rigging, trimming the sails. You’ll hear presentations from your historians and naturalist, catch up on reading and experience the five-star service and cuisine for which the Sea Cloud is famous. And, you might even go for a swim or make an impromptu stop in the late afternoon.
Incomparable Santoríni is an island archipelago that was once a single volcanic cone. It erupted in the second millennium BC and buried what some say might have been the legendary island of Atlantis. Stand on deck as you sail into the caldera (the center of the old volcano) and observe the cliffs from the sea. On shore, you drive through windswept vineyards characteristic of Santoríni, and along the rimmed town of Oia before visiting the main town of Thira. Perched high on the volcanic cliff, Thira affords unrivaled views of the caldera below. Santoríni is, quite simply, one of the most spectacular islands on earth.
Today, you watch the crew climb the rigging and set sail. At Folégandros, you head up to the stunning cliffside town of Hora. Folégandros is a quintessential “undiscovered” island, with tremendous charm and just a relative handful of visitors.
Tiny Delos is where the twin gods Artemis, goddess of animals and the hunt, and Apollo, god of healing, reason and light, were said to have been born. Today, Delos is a magnificent archaeological site, where you explore, among other places, the Street of the Lions and the marble Temple of Apollo. On your final afternoon, you relax, unwind and set sail one last time, bound for Piraeus.
Disembark Sea Cloud this morning for transfers to Athens airport.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Reverse Itinerary: 5/16/2014 (Athens to Istanbul)
Optional Extensions: Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details about the pre- or post-voyage extensions in Athens and Istanbul.
Accommodations aboard ship and in hotels per itinerary or similar; all meals and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship; some meals on land; shore excursions; sightseeing and entrance fees; special access permits; transfers to and from group flights; use of snorkeling equipment and wet suits; gratuities (except to ship’s crew), taxes and service charges, services of a ship physician on most voyages, services of expedition staff.
Air transportation; extensions; passport, visa, and immigration fees; some meals; travel protection plan; items of a personal nature, such as alcoholic beverages, internet access, and laundry; gratuities to ship's crew are at your discretion.