Trip reference number: 09
Trip Operator: Peter Sommer Travels
This gulet cruise explores the virtually untouched coastline of ancient Lycia, on Turkey’s breathtaking turquoise coast. The tour includes well-known highlights like the marble-clad city of Perge, where archaeologists are unearthing a site to rival Ephesus, Myra, with some of the finest rock-cut tombs and Xanthos, a vast fortified citadel city that dominated the region for centuries.
These famous sights are complemented by a whole series of “hidden gems”: ancient settlements, shrines and cemeteries set within the region’s wonderful landscapes, waiting to be discovered and explored. Examples include magnificent Arykanda, surrounded by lovely natural scenery on the edge of a mountain, beautiful Phaselis, famed in antiquity for its rascally merchants and three fine harbours, now swathed in pine trees, and unforgettably picturesque Kale, where the cottages of a traditional Turkish village rub shoulders with a medieval castle, an ancient fortification and a vast necropolis. The cruise also includes a visit to the award-winning museum of Antalya, housing a remarkable collection of Roman sculpture, a tour of the islet of Gemiler, with the remains of an unusually elaborate Byzantine pilgrimage centre, and an opportunity to see Patara, where a huge and monumental Roman city is emerging from the sand dunes.
Travelling below the soaring Taurus Mountains, we will discover the extraordinary heritage of one of antiquity’s most mysterious peoples: the Lycians. Their enduring sense of identity prevailed for centuries, even as they adopted and adapted Persian, Greek and Roman cultural influences. It found expression especially in their unique funerary architecture, unlike anything else in the world, their tombs and sarcophagi still scattered around their once prosperous ports. We find many of them lying in breathtaking and rugged settings, seemingly untouched by human hands. Others are set within modern settlements, such as the lovely resort of Kas, where rock-cut tombs, shaded by vibrant red bougainvillea, stand silent witness to the ancient city of Antiphellos.
Each day Peter will take you back in time, guiding you through the fascinating story of how the region evolved from Classical antiquity through Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman times to the present day. Each visit is an archaeological adventure, part of a historical puzzle that reveals a remarkable story of civilisation. The enigmatic history of the ancient sites, their often astonishingly fine preservation and their stunning settings make this tour a very special treat for anyone seeking inspiration from past human achievement.
The spirit of discovery, finding new sites, new beauties and new mysteries day by day, is balanced by the time we spend cruising on a beautifully hand-crafted Turkish gulet, the ideal way to explore the maritime region of Lycia. Of course, there are frequent opportunities to swim in the crystal waters of the Turquoise coast, to kayak, to go for a hike and admire the local flora or simply relax on deck. Naturally, delicious Turkish food, freshly prepared aboard or in selected local restaurants is a vital component of this, as of all our gulet cruises in Turkey.
This balance of fascinating historical narrative, immense natural beauty and time spent unwinding aboard, distinguishes Cruising the Lycian Shore, a holiday designed to relax and inspire in equal measure.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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