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Elegant gulets, Cappadocian cave culture and historical Istanbul

11th July 2012 Print

Offering respite from the searing summer heat – yet with plentiful sunshine and seas warmed nicely to the mid-twenties – September’s an ideal time to try an expert-led cultural tour in Turkey. With the schools having gone back, archaeological sites will be quieter, making sight-seeing even more enjoyable.

Here’s a snapshot of September tours – both gulet cruises and land-based – all currently with availability:

A trio of Turkish gulet cruises

Glide through turquoise waters aboard a traditional wooden gulet this September, following itineraries put together by expert guides. Swim, snorkel and kayak in warm seas, anchor in secluded bays and visit archaeological sites accompanied by expert guides. 

Led by Professor Jim Crow, Cruising Western Lycia* (1-8 September) takes in some fascinating sights along the historical Lycian coast, including Xanthus – the great capital of ancient Lycia – and the remarkably well-preserved archaeological site of Patara, birthplace of St Nicolas (Father Christmas). Costs from £1,995 pp* 

Beginning in Bodrum, Cruising to Ephesus* (1-8 September) heads north to Ephesus – one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the Mediterranean and the capital of Roman Asia. The cultural tour (led by Dr. Nigel Spivey) also takes in the magnificent temple of Apollo at Didyma and the beautiful ancient city of Priene. Costs from £1,995 pp 

Spanning over two weeks and led by Peter Sommer himself, A Carian Odyssey* (8-22 September) explores the length of the Carian coast from Ku?adasi to Göcek. Highlights of the tour include Halicarnassus (home to one of the seven wonders of the ancient world), a picnic in the sanctuary of the underworld goddess Hekate and the romantic ruins of Cedreae on Cleopatra’s Island. Costs from £3,425 pp*

*Prices (based on two sharing) include transfers, seven or 14 nights’ full-board accommodation aboard a gulet, all entrance fees and expert guiding. Flights extra.

Another way to admire Cappadocia’s caves

Immerse yourselves in the Cappadocian cave culture on this brand-new tour – the only expert-led escorted tour of Cappadocia. Staying in a boutique cave hotel, explore the volcanic, moonlike landscapes led by Byzantine specialist and archaeologist guide Nota Karamaouna. As well as admiring the sculpted shapes from above on a spectacular hot air balloon ride, you’ll also visit an underground city, stroll through abandoned 19th century rock-cut villages and admire spectacular Byzantine churches. 

Departing 3 September, Exploring Cappadocia costs from £1,375 pp (two sharing) including transfers, five nights’ B&B at a boutique cave hotel, most meals, all entrance fees, hot air balloon ride and expert guiding. Flights extra.

From Constantinople to modern Istanbul

Istanbul’s a remarkable place at the best of times, but its fascinating history really comes to life on this popular tour led by archaeologist and Byzantine specialist Dr Richard Bayliss. Delve into the city’s rich Byzantine and Ottoman legacy, visiting palaces, fortifications, mosques and churches and explore the countryside too, admiring Constantinople’s ancient aqueduct – one the guide’s personal archaeological projects. The must-see Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace and a Bosphorus boat trip all feature as well – all interwoven with a gastronomic exploration of Turkey’s fabulous cuisine. 

Departing 8 September, Exploring Istanbul costs from £1,925 pp (two sharing) including transfers, seven nights’ B&B, most meals, all entrance fees and expert guiding. Flights extra.

Visit for further information.