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Turkey Walk & Cruise

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4.9/5
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Turkey Walk & Cruise

  • Location: Turkey
  • Duration: 11 Days/10 Nights, or 7-night boat segment only
  • Departing from: Istanbul, 7 p.m., Wednesday, Day 1
  • Tour finishes: Dalaman airport, Saturday morning, Day 11
  • Departures 2017: June 7 & Sept 27, and private departures.
  • Price 2017: Euro €3,700 in double occupancy (10 nights). Single supplement: $550 USD. Or: Euro €3,150 in double occupancy for 1 week boat segment only. Single supplement: Euro €500.
  • Departures 2018: June 6 & Sept 26, and private departures.
  • Price 2018: Euro €3,700 in double occupancy (10 nights). Single supplement: $550 USD. Or: Euro €3,150 in double occupancy for 1 week boat segment only. Single supplement: Euro €500 .

Turkey is a must-visit for those who love to travel and discover new lands and cultures. This sailing tour and guided walking tour features three days in amazing Istanbul before a short flight to the Mediterranean coast to board our 90-foot, all-wood yacht. The yacht serves as our hotel and our transport to access wonderful walking trails along the coast. We walk and sail the Turkish coast for a week, and anchor in secluded bays at night.

The sea is a gorgeous turquoise, backed by a majestic landscape of soaring mountains and Mediterranean pine forests. Many of the walking paths are only accessible by sea, so you’ll get a real sense of exploration as we follow ancient paths to deserted Greek, Roman, and Byzantine ruins. This really is a unique trip, a wonderful combination of stimulating discovery and indulgent relaxation. (€3,600 for 3 nights Istanbul & 7 nights aboard private yacht. Trip ends at Dalaman International airport.) or (€3,000 for boat segment only, 7 nights aboard private yacht.)

Istanbul – One of the world’s most fascinating cities, Istanbul boasts the Blue Mosque, Santa Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the Grand Bazaar and the Bosphorus. There is so much to see and do here that two full days is only enough to scratch the surface. We have a guided visit of the city to optimize our time and to better understand its rich 2,000-year-old history. We also leave you some free time so you can do some exploring on your own!

Turkey Walk & Cruise itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Istanbul, independent check-in at the hotel. We will be staying in the Sultanahmet district, one of Istanbul’s oldest and most fascinating areas. Our first night’s dinner is on a rooftop terrace with spectacular views onto the Blue Mosque and the Santa Sophia church/mosque. Hotel and dinner included.

Day 2

This morning we have a visit of the spectacular Santa Sophia church, erected 1,500 years ago by Emperor Justinian and once the largest church in the world. Then we descend beneath Istanbul to the vast cisterns that enabled Constantinople to withstand numerous sieges. After a delicious lunch together we visit the Blue Mosque, built 100 years after Santa Sofia and one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. We’ll take a short break and then reconvene later to get a traditional “scrub” in a Turkish hammam. It’s an experience you’ll never forget! Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 3

Today we visit the opulent and elegant Topkapi Palace, home to the Ottoman Sultans for 500 years. We walk to lunch and then to the Grand Bazaar, a thousand-year-old shopping mecca with over 3,000 shops packed into over 60 streets! Later today we walk to the Egyptian Spice Market, and then over the Galata Bridge to have dinner in the “modern” part of town, once the seat of Genoese and Venetian traders. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 4

We have a morning transfer to the airport for our flight to Dalaman, on the Mediterranean coast. We are met at the airport and have a 20 minute van transfer to Göcek village where we board our yacht. We then cruise out to a secluded bay where we drop off for a short hike along the Lydae peninsula. Our destination is Hammam Bay, the Roman baths where Cleopatra once met her beloved Marc Antony en route to battle. We are picked up by the boat and spend the night anchored in a protected bay. Walk: 1.5 hrs over rocky but fairly flat terrain.  About 5 kms/3 miles. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.

Day 5

Enjoy a refreshing plunge into the warm waters of the Mediterranean before breakfast on the aft deck. Around 9:30 we start our 2 hour walk to Aliman Bay. We follow an ancient trail that leads from semi-submerged Roman ruins up to a hidden valley, home now to a solitary farmer and his family, but formerly the site of the Roman town of Lydae, whose ruins remain 2,000 years later. We descend along an ancient road to a gorgeous bay where the boat will be waiting for us. Time for a swim, then we have lunch on board and relax as we cruise across the Gulf of Fethiye. We anchor in the lee of Gemiler island, whose Byzantine ruins we explore in the soft glow of the evening light. Formerly a stopping off point along the pilgrimage route to Jerusalem, the island is covered in chapels and tombs dating from the 5th – 8th centuries as well as a mysterious covered walkway. Lunch and dinner on board. Morning Walk: 2.5 hours with some moderate climbing on rocky trails. About 8 kms/5 miles Afternoon walk: 1 – 1.5 hours with a short climb. About 3 kms/2 miles.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.

Day 6

Enjoy a morning swim, then we motor to Olü Deniz, one of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful bays. From here we take a van up to the village of K irme and begin our walk high above the coast. We stop on the way for tea in Faralya village, with great views over dramatic Butterfly Bay, then continue along terraced olive groves and through a pine forest to reach Kabak Bay. Here we have lunch at a small restaurant overlooking the sea and our yacht in the bay below. The afternoon is free for swimming and relaxing. Dinner on board. The Walk: 3 hrs, with one long downhill, one short uphill, and a long flat traverse. Shorter options available. Abbout 12 kms/7.2 miles. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.

Day 7

Today we go inland to get a glimpse of rural life and to explore the ruins of ancient Lycia while our boat cruises along an exposed bit of coast. Our one-hour transfer along a beautiful back roa d takes us to Pinara, a Lycian city whose acropolis is perched high on a rocky promontory. The surrounding rock walls are honey-combed with carved rock tombs. We explore the acropolis of this once important Lycian city and marvel at the ruins that date back to the 6th century B.C., including a deserted Greek theater. Lunch is prepared for us by a farming family and served up beneath the shade of their olive trees. After lunch we continue on to the coastal village of Kalkan, where the boat will be waiting for us. Cruise to a lovely calm bay, swim, aperitif, and then dinner. Dinner on board. The Walk: about 2 hours to explore the ruins; not much distance, just a bit of climbing. About 4 kms/2.5 miles. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.

Day 8

After a leisurely morning we cruise out to Aperlae, where you can swim above the sunken remains of the ancient Lycian port. We will have time to explore the ruins and then have lunch. Our afternoon walk takes us past Lycian sarcophagi to the extraordinary village of Simena, which is surmounted by a Medieval castle that contains a small Roman theater within its walls. The town spills down the hillside in a jumble of ancient rock tombs, sarcophagi, and white-washed houses. Lunch and dinner on board. Morning Walk: 1.5 hour on flat terrain. About 6 kms/4 miles Afternoon walk: 1.5 hours on mostly flat terrain. About 6 kms/4 miles. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.

Day 9

We have another relaxing morning of swimming and breakfast on the back deck before a scenic 2 hour cruise to the charming village of Kas. We have two hours to peruse the shops, cafes, and carpet shops of this colorful fishing village. Lunch is back on the boat, anchored amongst a cluster of low rock islands. We then have a two hour cruise to Finaz Liman bay where we tender to the beach for a walk up to an imposing and fascinating Roman aqueduct. We moor for the night in Finaz Liman bay. Lunch and dinner on board. Afternoon Walk: 1.5 hrs, up a fairly steep slope and then back down. About 4 kms/2.5 miles. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.

Day 10

This morning the boat has an early start while we stay nestled in our cabins. We arrive in a calm bay in time for our now ritual swim and breakfast. Afterwards we put into a quiet bay and walk to the ghost village of Kayaköy to explore the eerie remains of the village deserted in 1923 when the town’s inhabitants were sent to Greece as part of a population exchange between Greece and Turkey. We have lunch beneath the shade of enormous plane trees at Sarnic restaurant, which produces delicious and refined Turkish cuisine. Walk back through the village and down to the boat for a final swim. Dinner on board. Morning Walk: 1.5 hrs, beginning with an extended uphill on a rocky trail. 5 kms/3 miles Afternoon walk: 1 hour, mostly downhill on rocky trail. 5kms/3 miles. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.

Day 11

A short cruise takes us back to Göçek village, where we disembark our boat in time for morning flights (timing can change year by year). We transfer you to the airport for flights to Istanbul or elsewhere. Early flights can be accommodated.  Breakfast and transfer to the airport included. 

The Boat

There is no better way to travel along this beautiful coast than on a luxurious “gulet.” A gulet is an all-wood, two-masted sailing ketch. These yachts are very broad beamed for extra stability and deck space, and the boats we use range from 26 to 34 meters in length, or 84 to 105 feet. All cabins have anen suite bathroom and shower.The boat allows us to get to parts of the coast that are only accessible by sea. Using a boat means we can unpack for a week and yet our floating hotel has a different view every day! Furthermore, it means that some members of the group can choose to relax on the yacht, enjoy a swim, try sea kayaking, or just lie around on one of the sun beds or in the shade of an awning while the others walk. The crew of four are very friendly and available to serve you drinks and snacks. The crew cleans your cabin daily, and sheets and towels are changed every three days. All of the sea travel is done during the day, so nights are generally serene.

The Walking

We take paths that are cleared from frequent use by shepherds and local farmers. The terrain is often rocky (hiking shoes are recommended), and we do some climbs. We walk anywhere from 2-5 hours a day, with options to extend or shorten the walk. Of course, the boat allows us the option of really relaxing and watching the beautiful coastline unfold as you lie on deck with a good book. The choice is yours.

Food on board

The food is a highlight, with an emphasis on fresh, vegetables and fruit, fish, chicken, beef, and lamb, with a few pastas thrown in for good measure. Turkish “Efes” beer is excellent, especially nice and cold on a sunny deck. Turkish wine is also surprisingly good!

Activity rating: 2+ out of 5 = Easy to Moderate: Flat to rolling terrain but often on rugged, rocky trails. Daily activity between 2-4 hours per day, mostly in the morning but sometimes also in the afternoon. Max distance 12 km (8 mi.). Note: a typical day starts with a drop-off from the boat and a morning walk of a few hours with a stop along the way. Often we end the morning walk at a beach or cove where we are picked up by the boat. Then we have lunch, cruise to our next destination, and then have a short afternoon walk. This tour can become very easy  if you choose to skip some of the walks and enjoy relaxing on the boat!

Trip Cost Includes: ten nights accommodations (3 nights in Istanbul, 7 nights on private yacht); 10 breakfasts and dinners, 9 lunches; 2 days guided visit of Istanbul, including entrance to Topkapi palace and Aya Sophia; at least one Customwalks guide; passage aboard a luxury yacht (all cabins with en suite toilets, showers, and air-conditioning, crew of four); van transfer from Istanbul to Istanbul airport, pick up at Dalaman airport and transfer to Gocek; transfer to Dalaman airport for the flight back to Istanbul; and one way airfare from Istanbul to Dalaman in economy class.

Booking: e-mail us at info@customwalks.com to receive a booking contract (or use the 'Contact Us' link at the top of this page), or click on the 'Book Now' button to the right.

Insurance: We highly recommend the purchase of Trip Insurance. We recommend “Travel Guard” to our North American clients, just click on the logo below.  Australian, New Zealander, and British travelers, please consult your insurance brokers.

travel Guard insurance

Getting There: the trip begins in Istanbul, which is well connected with other European hubs. Turkish Airlines is the national carrier, but you should also try the smaller (and often low-cost) airlines like Pegasus Airlines, Onur Air, Atlas Global, Freebird Airlines, and Transavia which has flights to Istanbul from Amsterdam and Paris.
Be aware that there are two airports in Istanbul! The main one is “Ataturk” airport and has the airport code IST, while EasyJet and other low-cost airlines service the farther-flung Sabiha Gökçen airport (code SAW). From there you can take a shuttle bus into town, but it can take up to an hour and a half. It’s only worth it if you get a great deal.

The Hotel: our hotel is in the Sultanahmet district, the old historical center of the city with the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia, and Topkapi Palace. All taxi drivers know the area (even if they don’t know precisely where the hotel is). The ride should cost somewhere around the equivalent of €25 (though you will have to pay inTurkish Lire! Get some at the airport!)

Getting Away at the End of the Trip: The trips ends this morning around 10:00 with a transfer to the Dalaman airport. From here you may fly back to Istanbul or directly to another European destination. The Dalaman airport is small but has a number of connections to cities in Europe, including a vast array of low-cost flights to the U.K. (see the list of airlines above as well as: Saga, Sky Air, Thomas Cook, Monarch, SunExpress, Thomson Airways, British Midland, Corendon, Jet2.com and EasyJet).  For more information, see the Dalaman Airport for current schedules.

If you book a trip with us you will receive detailed information about how to get to the start of your trip, or feel free to e-mail us with any specific travel questions.

4.91/5
RatingRatingRatingRatingRating  
4.91 out of 5
Ratings based on 15 Verified Reviews

Average ratings
5.0
Guides
5.0
Quality of itinerary
4.8
Food quality & variety
4.7
Value for money
4.9
Right amount of activity
5.0
Overall satisfaction

Reviews
5
by RobH from Bondi Australia
Posted Sep 19, 2016

This tour opened our eyes to some amazing ancient history. We went during the heat of July and the boat and crew were great. Plenty of room in the cabins, but we slept on deck under the stars most nights. The scenery was great; water magical for swimming (once with a turtle); walking fun, if challenging in spots but not exhausting; food and local wines terrific; and guides exceptional. Would recommend this tour to anyone who likes some exercise and is interested in learning about the wonders of Mediterranean history.

5
by Leah from Sydney, Australia
Posted Apr 11, 2015

Best holiday ever, Claire is a wonderful guide and Mustafa a great (if over generous) cook. Yes, the water really does look like the photos. Can't wait to get back on the gulet and walk the Greek Islands.

4.8
by K from Ottawa
Posted Feb 18, 2015

Starting with Istanbul and ending on a gullet in the beautiful Mediterranean sea, the tour was a perfect blend of activity and relaxation. Brett and Illaria were excellent guides and the fellow travellers made the trip extra special.

4.6
by Bruce and Linda from USA Arlington Heights
Posted Feb 11, 2015

Great trip! We loved our pre-trip to Cappadocia.

5
by D Gragg from Canada Ottawa
Posted Feb 08, 2015

No amount of research we could have done would have led us to the special places we saw on this trip. Everything was so well organized we soon realized we could just relax and enjoy the trip. We saw many marvellous out-of-the-way places, but thanks to the well-appointed boat and its doting crew, there was no sense of 'roughing it.'

5
by R. Camarsh from Sydney Australia
Posted Feb 05, 2015

What a wonderful holiday. Experiencing Turkey, the culture, history and landscape this way was one of the best holiday experiences we've had. No surprise though - it was custom walks. Their guides are professional but fun. The Turkish coastline is amazing, a well kept secret.

4.8
by T Woodall from Atlanta, Georgia USA
Posted Feb 03, 2015

A super tour with Claire, Carol and Claudia happily guiding our every step for one of the most fun and exciting Customwalks trip we have done. Turkey is amazing with this tour treating you its beauty, variety, mystery, and history, all from the deck of our boat and on land.

4.8
by S Lane from Crawley, UK
Posted Feb 02, 2015

We have done three Turkey walk and sail private tours, so I guess that says it all really. I love pre-breakfast swims under clear blue skies, nights moored in quiet bays, the standard of accommodation and food on the gulets is wonderful, and the walks are great too because the area is steeped in so much history.

5
by DCramer from US Findlay
Posted Feb 01, 2015

This was a last minute trip for me so I could only participate in the boat part. After hearing the remarks from the other guests I so wish I could have gone to Istanbul with them. I joined the group in Gocek and everything was so well planned for me to join up with the group. Our guide was amazing and so knowledgeable. The hiking was amazing and there were times when it was an option to stay on the boat or hike, which made the activity level nice for all. The food was plentiful and wonderful!! Being able to just jump in the water and enjoy before or after the hikes was great. I particularly liked being able to just unpack for the week. This is a dream trip and so decadent. I have taken other trips with Customwalks guides and it has always been the same, they are so accommodating and so very knowledgeable. This was one of the best trips I have ever taken.

4.8
by K Cassini from Montreal, Canada
Posted Feb 01, 2015

A wonderful experience discovering the contrasts of Turkey. From the fascinating and bustling ancient city of Istanbul to the peaceful calm adventure of sailing the Mediterranean and walking the Lycian Coast. A perfect mix of invigorating walking/exercise and R & R on the deck of a sailboat.....not to mention the sumptuous and plentiful Turkish food!!



This tour opened our eyes to some amazing ancient history. We went during the heat of July and the boat and crew were great. Plenty of room in the cabins, but we slept on deck under the stars most nights. The scenery was great; water magical for swimming (once with a turtle); walking fun, if challenging in spots but not exhausting; food and local wines terrific; and guides exceptional. Would recommend this tour to anyone who likes some exercise and is interested in learning about the wonders of Mediterranean history.
by RobH from Bondi Australia

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