Road Scholar : Home
Voyages to Antiquity: Great Empires of Greece and Turkey

Program Number: 21236RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/25/2014 - 5/13/2014;
Duration: 18 nights
Location: Greece/Turkey
Price starting at: $5,495.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Voyages
Meals: 48; 17 Breakfasts, 15 Lunches, 16 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian    

At the height of its power, the Athenian Empire built the Parthenon in tribute to its patron goddess. As the Romans expanded their massive empire, they made Ephesus the prosperous capital of their Asian province. For 400 years, the Ottoman Sultans oversaw their empire from the opulent Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. Explore these places and many more as you learn about the great empires that shaped the history of the Mediterranean.

Activity Particulars

Walking up and downhill, up to two miles per day. Standing up to four hours per day, with breaks; uneven terrain and steep stairs without railings at historic sites.

Ports of call vary between 2015 and 2016 departure dates.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Istanbul (Turkey), 3 nights; aboard Aegean Odyssey, 10 nights; Athens (Turkey), 2 nights.

Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A.

Days 2-5: Arrival Istanbul (Turkey) / embark Aegean Odyssey

Enjoy three full days to experience Istanbul including the Hagia Sophia, the exquisite Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace, home of the Ottoman Sultans. Stroll through the Spice Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar to experience their colors, aromas and buzz of activity. Lodging: Four-star seaside hotel.

Day 6: Çanakkale

In Çanakkale, choose to delve into the history of one of two very different wars: the Trojan War at the site of Troy or World War I at Gallipoli.

Days 7-8: Izmir

From Izmir, journey to two of the classical world’s great cities: Ephesus, whose well-preserved ruins include the Library of Celsus, and Pergamon, an ancient center of learning and medicine.

Day 9: Fethiye

Explore one of Turkey’s most beautiful ports, located on the site of the ancient city of Telmessos, where the Lycians once carved rock tombs into the faces of the cliffs.

Day 10: Rhodes (Greece)

Go ashore on this isle known in ancient times for its Colossus of Rhodes. Discover structures built by the medieval Knights Hospitaller including the Palace of the Grand Master.

Day 11: Kos

Discover the ancient city and healing center of Asklepieion, where the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates learned and then taught medicine.

Day 12: Rethminon

On the island of Crete, visit the Minoan palace of Knossos then explore Rethimnon’s Old Town with its well-preserved Venetian and Ottoman buildings and relax in one of the seaside cafés.

Day 13: Santorini

On this dramatically beautiful volcanic island, venture to Oia, a village of whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches and tavernas carved into the cliffs.

Day 14: Delos and Mykonos

Find the temples, buildings and famous lions of Delos, then continue to Mykonos for evening drinks and dinner.

Days 15-17: Athens / disembark / departure

Walk in the footsteps of Socrates and Plato on the Acropolis of Athens. Examine archaeological treasures in a spectacular setting at the new Acropolis Museum. Lodging: Stylish four-star hotel.

Aegean Odyssey

The Aegean Odyssey is a premium-class ship especially rebuilt for sailing along shallow coastlines, among remote islands and into small, uncrowded harbors that larger ocean liners can’t reach. Public areas include several gourmet restaurants, library, Internet center, sweeping sun decks, outdoor pool, gym and spa.

Meals and Lodgings
   Metropolitan Hotel
  Athens, Greece 2 nights
   Aegean Odyssey
  Aegean Odyssey - At Sea, At Sea 12 nights
   Armada Hotel
  Istanbul, Turkey 3 nights
 Metropolitan Hotel
Type: Five-Star Hotel
  Description: The Metropolitan Hotel, with its unique cosmopolitan atmosphere, combines traditional hospitality and luxury in central Athens. With a view to both the Acropolis and the Aegean Sea, the fully renovated Metropolitan Hotel is ideally situated in front of the Faleron Olympic Coastal Park. It is only 10 minutes away from Syntagma square, the center of Athens and the port of Piraeus.
  Contact info: Leoforos Syngrou 385
Athens,  175-64 Greece
phone: +30 210 947 1000
  Room amenities: Each room has individually controlled air conditioning, satellite television, telephone, high speed Internet connection, radio, mini bar, hair dryer, safe box, and laptop and fax machine outlets.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, lounge, bar, gift shop, fitness center, marble steam bath, outdoor heated swimming pool, business center, free wireless Internet access in lobby, and a hairdresser.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Aegean Odyssey
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The Aegean Odyssey offers boutique-style cruising at its best. In contrast to the massive vessels cruising to and from major ports, it is a midsized ship adapted for island and coastal cruising. The Aegean Odyssey can visit smaller, less crowded harbors and sail closer to the coast enabling you to really appreciate the magical views.
  Ship Information: Ship’s Tonnage: 11,563 Length: 461 feet Beam: 67 feet Draft: 20.5 feet Cruising Speed: 18 knots Passenger Decks: 7 Stabilizers: 2 Passenger Staterooms/Cabins: 198 Passengers – lower beds: 378 Classification: Lloyd’s Register Society London Ship’s Registration: Malta
  Contact info: Voyages to Antiquity
1800 SE 10th Avenue, Suite 230
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 USA
phone: 877-398-1460
  Room amenities: All cabins are equipped with a flat screen TV, air-conditioning, and personal safe. Particular importance is placed on the standard of bedding in cabins. Luxury bedding, including fine duvets, covers and sheets, ample soft pillows and quality towels can be expected. Also, shampoo, bath and shower gel, soap, and shower cap are provided. Your cabin steward is always available. Cabins and suites feature outlets with 220 voltage, using the “European” two round pin plug. Hair dryers are provided in your cabin and electric rollers, curling irons, electric shavers and other small appliances can be used in your cabin. For safety reasons, travel irons are not allowed.
  Facility amenities: Dining: Aegean Odyssey offers many dining facilities: The Marco Polo Restaurant is the ship's more formal restaurant, providing casual country-club elegance for lunch or dinner; The Terrace Cafe offers a combination of indoor and outdoor seating where you can indulge in breakfast, lunch and dinner from the grill or the sumptuous daily buffet. In the evenings, enjoy breathtaking views over dinner at Tapas on the Terrace. *There is a complimentary choice of wine, beer, or soft drinks with your evening meal. There will be a string trio, pianist and casual dancing before and after dinner. You may also wish to partake in afternoon tea, served in the Observation Lounge or enjoy an evening snack and cocktail, available in the Lido and Rendezvous bars. A limited room service menu is available. Special Diets: Please advise us at the time of booking of any special dietary requirements. The ship can usually meet most general requests such as those made with an air carrier; however, this cannot always be guaranteed. Services: Library; outdoor pool; spa; health center, saunas, massage and beauty treatment rooms and early morning yoga on the Lido Deck; elevators; Internet center (open 24 hours and a charge of $18 for 4 non-consecutive hours is applied, wireless available in reception area); beauty salon; medical center; laundry and pressing services (order form and laundry bag is provided in cabin); lecture theater and cinema and on board shop.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Armada Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The 4-star Armada Hotel is located in the historic peninsula of Istanbul, with views of two of the great masterpieces of world architecture; the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. The hotel offers modern comfort and convenience discreetly incorporated into the Turkish-inspired architecture, and period engravings throughout the hotel provide an insight into Istanbul's by-gone eras. The name of the Armada Hotel is a tribute to the memory of the renowned Ottoman Admiral Hayrettin Pasha Barbarossa. Located in the heart of the Old City, the hotel is within walking distance of museums, churches and other major attractions.
  Contact info: Ahirkapi Street 24
Istanbul,  34122 Turkey
phone: +90 212 455 44 55
  Room amenities: Each room has a mini bar, hair dryer, bathrobes, telephone, LCD television, safe box, free wireless Internet, 24-hour room service and air conditioning.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers two restaurants, a bar, lounge, meeting rooms, business center with computers and printers, library, free WIFI Internet access throughout the hotel, laundry service and air conditioning. The rooftop restaurants offer magnificent views of the area.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. 1-800-241-1404
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Athens, Greece. Meet at 7:00 PM in the hotel lobby. You will be staying at Metropolitan Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Istanbul, Turkey. The program will end after breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Armada Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. The Voyages to Antiquity Guest Registration Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Athens
  Transportation to site: Take a taxi from exit 3 of the arrivals level at the airport. Cost is 35-40 Euros (approx. $45-52), after midnight the cost increases to 60 Euros (approx. $78).
  From End of Program
  Location:  Istanbul
  Nearest city or town:  In town
  Nearest airport:  Atatürk International Airport
  Transportation from site: The Armada Hotel is located about 10 miles from the airport. Taxi ride to the hotel from the airport costs approximately 45 Turkish Liras (approx. $30) and takes approximately 30 minutes. The Armada Hotel also has an airport shuttle. Contact the hotel for more details. Alternatively, to book a private transfer ($65), please contact
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departures
(Friday, April 25)
 In Transit: Depart US/Canada on international overnight flight.

Day 2: Welcome
(Saturday, April 26)
 Morning: Arrival in Athens International Airport (ATH). Meet group outside of customs. Transfer to hotel.
 Afternoon: Settle in at the hotel. We gather in the hotel lobby at 7:00 PM for a welcome orientation to the program.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room.
Accommodations: Metropolitan Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Athens, Greece
(Sunday, April 27)

Note: Heavy walking for one or more hours over uneven terrain, with multiple uphill segments.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: We will explore the long anticipated $200-million, 226,000-square-foot Acropolis Museum. In the dramatic Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis, ascending floors of glass literally “float” you above the excavations for an extraordinary perspective of the layers of Greek history that lie below.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant in Plaka.
 Afternoon: A guided excursion through the ancient citadel of Athens, the Acropolis. Built during Athens' Golden Age between 447-438BC under the orders of the great statesman Pericles, the Acropolis represents the magnificent achievements of Athenian culture during this remarkable era.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room.
Accommodations: Metropolitan Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Athens, Greece / Embark the Aegean Odyssey
(Monday, April 28)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Enjoy neo-classical architecture while meandering the labyrinthine streets of Plaka -- a picturesque neighborhood of Athens -- during this morning's guided walk.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: We transfer to Piraeus where we will embark the Aegean Odyssey. Late afternoon Road Scholar orientation to the ship in the "Observation Lounge."
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Evening sailing for Syros.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Syros, Greece
(Tuesday, April 29)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Delight in one of Greece’s most charming isles as you view magnificent beaches, visit Cycladic villages and explore this architecture-rich capital. Occupied by Phoenicians in antiquity and ruled by Venice after the 4th Crusade, Syros was later a place of refuge for other islanders seeking to avoid massacres.

Enjoy a guided excursion through the gorgeous architecture of the capital, Ermoupoli, “The City of Hermes.” Start at St. Nicholas Church with a visit to the small garden that holds the monument to the Unknown Soldier. Then stroll amid the neoclassical villas of the “Vaporia” area, also known as Little Venice. Visit the impressive Apollon Theatre, the first opera house of Greece, and continue to Maoulis Square with its monumental marble platform built for the Syros Philharmonic. Stop by the first High School of modern Greece and a colorful shopping area. Then enter the Church of the Assumption to admire a masterpiece of sacred art, an icon by the painter, El Greco. Following your walking excursion, you’ll have free time to explore at leisure before returning to the ship.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon on Syros.
 Dinner: Dinner on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Evening: Evening departure for Santorini. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Santorini, Greece
(Wednesday, April 30)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Closed to the public for over six years, the newly reopened Minoan settlement of Akrotiri is the excursion's highlight, but you also visit several of Santorini's picturesque villages. One of the Aegean's most important archaeological sites, Akrotiri was abandoned after severe earthquakes, then covered in pumice by a volcanic eruption in about 1625BC. A visit tells the tale of an affluent society who farmed, built two-story homes and indulged a taste for frescoes, furniture and jewelry. Today's outing includes a visit to the ongoing excavations, where you can walk amid the well-preserved streets, view the workshops and squares. Start your adventure with a transfer from the ship by local boat, then drive to the northern tip of the island to the village of Oia with its whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches and coffee shops carved in the cliffs. Stroll along the cobblestone streets where wealthy sea captains built their mansions, now converted to cafes, boutiques and art galleries. Take in breathtaking views in all directions. Continue to the southern end of the island and the archaeological site of Akrotiri. The excavations, led by Professor Spyros Marintos, began in 1967. Walk around this amazing city and get an insight into the culture that laid the foundation for Greek civilization.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local taverna in Pyrgos.
 Afternoon: After lunch, wander the colorful streets of Firá. Enjoy a panoramic ride to port via cable car.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Sunset departure for Rhodes. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Rhodes, Greece
(Thursday, May 1)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: This morning attend a talk by your Group Leader followed by a day to explore Rhodes at your leisure. Due to a national holiday, archaeological sites are closed; your Group Leader or the Shore Excursion desk can advise possible activities.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or sample Pitaroudia, a local specialty.
 Afternoon: Continuation of free time.
 Dinner: Dinner on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Evening: The ship will overnight in Rhodes.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Rhodes, Greece
(Friday, May 2)

Note: There are some steep steps without handrails up to the Acropolis.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Gain inspiration from the exquisite natural setting of the Acropolis at Lindos, a destination of both historic and scenic interest, just an hour’s drive from Rhodes. This Doric town rose in power hundreds of years before Christ and continued to thrive into the middle ages. We’ll walk to the Acropolis, surrounded by the contrasting 12th-century crusader fortifications, clinging to the rocks above the village. At the summit is the Doric Temple of Lindian Athena, an archaeological jewel dating from the 4th century BC, with a double-winged portico and elaborate propylaea. The site offers sweeping views over St Paul’s Bay, where the Apostle is said to have sought shelter during a storm. Following the Acropolis, we’ll descend to the village with its whitewashed houses and tempting shops. A favorite resort since the time of Julius Caesar, Lindos is home to writers, artists and craftsmen.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Leave behind the port where the Colossus once stood and discover a stunning ensemble of Gothic architecture just a short drive from the port. These World Heritage monuments testify to the role of Rhodes, the largest island of the Dodecanese group, as a strategic crossroads. Many structures date to the era of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, who lived on the island from 1309 until 1522 when the Ottoman Empire finally dislodged the Knights. En route, you’ll visit a lookout named Mount Smith named after the British admiral Sir Sydney Smith who used this vantage point to scan the seas for French ships in the Napoleonic era. Then you enter the citadel of the Knight’s through the d’Amboise Gate and head for the restored Grand Masters Palace. The first building of the 14th-century Crusaders, the Palace was modeled on the great Papal Palace of Avignon. It served as a fortress in times of war, a residence for the Grand Master of the Knights, a meeting place for senior knights, and, in later times, a summer residence of both Mussolini and Victor Emmanuel II of Italy. Stroll the cobblestone Street of the Knights and admire the honey-colored stone buildings with their giant doorways and arched windows. Step into the 15th-century Knights Hospital, now an archaeological museum that counts the Aphrodite of Rhodes in flawless Parian marble among its treasures. At the conclusion of this excursion, you can return to the ship or stay to wander this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Evening departure for Kos. Enjoy live entertainment in the Charleston Lounge.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Kos, Greece
(Saturday, May 3)

Note: The excursion to Asklepion involves strenuous walking.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Get a view of how a hospital looked in the 4th century BC at the island's famous archaeological site, then visit a tiny Greek village where local crafts compete with stunning views for your attention. Start from the pier with a short drive to the 4th century healing center and health resort dedicated to Asklepios, the God of Health. During your excursion, a guide will bring to life the history of this ancient infirmary and point out its many features such as running mineral water. The facility is beautifully located and spread out on the slopes over several levels. Treatment here was based on the principles of Hippocrates, and you will see the Stoa where he established his medical school. Next, drive to the Roman Odeon, one of the island's best-preserved buildings, with rows of marble steps. Then immerse yourself in the pure charm of a small island village. Zia is tucked in the side of Mount Dikaion and offers unparalleled views of the Aegean Sea and the islands of Kalymnos and Pserimos. Browse the thriving arts and crafts center for locally produced sandals, lace or olive oil soap. Sample the herbs and thyme for which Zia is known. You'll have plenty of free time to stroll down the winding streets lined with little shops and tavernas where you can pause for a refreshing drink before the drive back to the ship.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a few hours strolling the narrow alleyways of Hippocrates' homeland. Plan to be back on board by 3 PM for a 4 PM departure for Antalya. Enjoy a late afternoon Road Scholar cocktail party in the Observation Lounge.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Antalya, Turkey
(Sunday, May 4)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: A few miles outside Antalya lie the isolated sites of Aspendos and Perge, once part of the ancient kingdom of Pergamon. Your adventure includes both destinations, beginning with a drive to the site of Aspendos. Located on the Eurymedon River and splendidly backed by the Taurus Mountains, this was a major port city in Roman times. To date, only parts of Aspendos have been excavated, but the well-preserved Roman theater was one of the most spectacular buildings of its time. The theater was built by two wealthy brothers during the reign of Marcus Aurelius in the 2nd century AD. The architect Xenon gave it a public entrance, dressing rooms, a colonnaded gallery, rows of marble seats and suites for the dignitaries, as well as a canopy to protect patrons from the weather. The founder of the Turkish republic, Ataturk, asked that the theater be used. The acoustics are so perfect that during performances, microphones are often not even needed.

Continue to the site of Perge, whose impressive ruins date back to around 1,000BC. Though Perge was not as large, its theater was spectacular with seating for 14,000, an orchestra, and a stage that still bears traces of the marble reliefs that once covered the entire façade. Perge may have played an important role in the spread of early Christianity. The inhabitants worshipped the goddess Artemis, but the Virgin Mary took her place. Visit the basilica where St Paul preached his first sermon in 46AD before heading out to spread the Word across the Eastern Mediterranean. The stadium here is one of the best-preserved in Anatolia, a huge arena where over 12,000 could watch athletic competitions. The vaulted areas under the seating once were shops, and the owners' names are inscribed in the marble. Walk through the Roman Gate, the entrance to the city, and follow a fine colonnaded avenue that once took the ancients to the Nymphaeum, the Baths Complex, and the Agora.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Enjoy free time among the palm-lined boulevards, beautiful Old Town and excellent shops of Antalya. Alternatively, you may wish to visit the superb Antalya Archaeological Museum.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Evening sailing for Fethiye. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Fethiye, Turkey
(Monday, May 5)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Explore three great sites of Lycian antiquity: the city of Patara with its impressive agora, Xantos whose people won fame for valor in battle, and Letoon, once the area's most important sanctuary. Some of Turkey's most intriguing ruins are to found in the region known as Lycia, a mountainous place mentioned as early as 14BC in Hittite records.

First visit Letoon, a grandiose shrine excavated in the 1950s by a French team. A well preserved theater rises above the little village that surrounds the site. A triad of temples to Apollo, Leto and Artemis form the heart of the sanctuary and are identifiable by their foundations. Interestingly, the excavations are often half-submerged below a rising local water table and a population of terrapins and frogs add to the charm. Drive next to Xantos, the capital of Lycia, set above a bend in the river with commanding views of the entire valley. Here, Lycian ruins mingle with Byzantine basilicas decorated with fascinating mosaics. Lycians gained their reputation as fierce warriors here, twice burning their own city and fighting to the death rather than submit to invading Persians and Romans.

Your final visit is to the ancient city of Patara, the birthplace of St Nicholas, a once-thriving port that counted Hannibal, St Paul and Emperor Hadrian as visitors. Pilgrims came to worship at the shrine of Apollo and consult the oracle, although Herodotus tells us the oracle worked only part time, because Apollo went on vacation in the summer. Patara's ruins include the impressive agora, the newly excavated theater (until recently half-buried in sand) and a fine proplyon that whispers of the past as it overlooks all that remains of the silted-up harbor.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Enjoy free time in Fethiye, a charming seaside town with an international atmosphere and probably the only city in the world where you'll find stone sarcophagii in the streets. Alternatively, the ship will offer an optional excursion to Ancient Telmessos & Kayakoy (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Evening departure for Bodrum. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Bodrum, Turkey
(Tuesday, May 6)

Note: This morning's excursion involves significant walking including several stairs.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Combine a visit to one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World with an excursion to a 15th-century Crusader castle and its remarkable museum devoted to under-water archaeology. Bodrum, a Dorian Greek colony, was known as Halicarnassos in antiquity and one of its famous sons includes Herodotus, the father of history and first travel writer. From the port, travel to the remains of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassos, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This shrine was begun by Queen Artemis II in 353BC to honor her husband, who was also her brother, King Mausolos. Noted artisans came to assist in the project and, when the queen died two years later, Pliny tells us they stayed on to complete what was a breathtaking work of art. Today, little remains of the tomb's former splendor. In fact, many of its stones were used to build the sight you visit next.

Towering over Bodrum is the fairytale-like Castle of St Peter. Completed in 1437 by the Knights of St John, the castle is an outstanding example of late medieval military architecture. Many of the stones used to build it are from the Mausoleum of Halicarnassos. Fluttering from the ramparts are heraldic flags bearing the coats of arms of the Plantagenets, d'Aubussons and others. You'll have time to explore the fortress on your own. Then enjoy a guided walk through the castle's Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Tucked inside the castle's stone walls are treasures retrieved from the depths, including one of the world's oldest shipwrecks, amphorae and a solid gold scarab attributed to Queen Nefertiti. Following the Museum, you'll have time to explore Bodrum's main shopping street before returning to the ship.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: The afternoon is free for independent exploration in Bodrum, an intriguing seaside town where the ancient past contrasts with its modern marina. Alternatively, the ship will offer an optional excursion onboard a traditional Turkish sailing vessel called a gulet (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture. Evening departure for Izmir.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: At Sea / Izmir, Turkey
(Wednesday, May 7)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. Treat yourself to one of many spa services offered by the ship. Attend a talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Upon arrival in Izmir, we will transfer south to arrive at the ancient city of Ephesus, one of the largest and best preserved ancient cities in the world. The cosmopolitan city of Ephesus was, in its heyday, on par with Athens and Rome. We will also visit the newly excavated Terrace Houses in Ephesus, where the rich and the ruling class once lived in comfortable homes decorated with wonderful works of art and complete with running water.
 Dinner: Dinner on board or explore local fare on your own -- Deniz Restaurant, along the Kordon, serves wonderful seafood.
 Evening: Overnight in Izmir. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Izmir, Turkey
(Thursday, May 8)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: This morning's field trip is to the Hellenistic ruins of Pergamon. Founded by the Greeks in the 8th century BC, Pergamon once rivaled Athens and Alexandria as a center of culture and learning. Here you will see the remains of the Altar of Zeus, the Temples of Dionysus and Trajan as well as the impressive Greek theater.
 Lunch: Road Scholar lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Next, visit what may be the world's first full-service health clinic: the Asclepion. Pergamon's rehabilitation center is named after the god of health, and was a site of pilgrimage for centuries, entered by a sacred road lined with columns. A sacred spring fed pools that were the basis for various water therapies. The Asclepion had latrines, a library, a theater, and treatments that included honey cures, a psychotherapy tunnel and dream interpretation.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Early evening departure for Çanakkale. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Çanakkale, Turkey
(Friday, May 9)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: From Çanakkale, choose between two excursions: Troy or Gallipoli. For the former, enter the world of Helen of Troy and Paris, Hektor and Achilles. The 13th or 12th century BC siege of Troy by Spartan and Achaean warriors from Greece has fired the imagination of poets over thousands of years. The site is one of the most significant demonstrations of early contact between the civilizations of Anatolia and the Mediterranean world. The shores of the Dardanelles, known in antiquity as the Hellespont, lead our way to the last vestiges of the fabled city called Ilion in Greek and Truva in Turkish. In legend, Troy was said to be founded by Dardanos, the son of Zeus and Electra. The site's existence was long considered merely a fable invented by Homer in The Iliad. Then, in 1870, Heinrich Schliemann, an amateur archaeologist working more on passionate belief than empirical evidence, discovered the site. Today, most historians agree that Troy was one of nine civilizations that inhabited the spot though little remains of the 5,000 years of habitation. Lecturer-guides bring its storied past to life as you view the massive walls, a Roman theater and the reputed Palace of King Priam, along with, a fantastical giant replica of the Trojan Horse.

Alternatively, take a ferry across the Dardanelles to the moving memorials and battlefields of Gallipoli on the Gelibolu Peninsula. In World War I, over 500,000 Allied and Turkish troops died in the 8-month campaign as British commanders sought unsuccessfully to make a strategic rush through the Dardanelles to capture Istanbul and open the Black Sea for the Allied Army. It is here that a young Istanbul Colonel, Mustafa Kemal, distinguished himself and later become known as Ataturk, father of the Turkish Republic. Today the peninsula is a national park with over 31 cemeteries.

Please let the shore excursion desk know of your choice. In both instances, enjoy mingling with non Road Scholar guests from the ship.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore the city of Çanakkale on your own or to relax on board.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Evening departure for Istanbul. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Disembark / Istanbul, Turkey
(Saturday, May 10)

Note: The excursions in Istanbul involve significant walking. As we will be visiting religious sites, please no shorts or sleeveless shirts. Ladies may be asked to cover their heads.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: This morning we disembark the Aegean Odyssey and begin the day with an excursion in the city of Istanbul. Our excursion begins with the amazing church of Hagia Sophia, possibly the most important architectural monument in the city, standing gracefully since 537 AD. Field trip to the Hippodrome, the civic center of ancient Constantinople, where chariot races were run between the four teams of Blues, Greens, Whites and Reds. Then visit the 17th century Blue Mosque, world renowned for its exquisite Iznik tiles surrounding the interior of this wonderful mosque.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Explore the beautiful Underground Cisterns, built by the illustrious Byzantine Emperor Justinian in 532 AD to store water underground. Visit the award winning Archeology Museum to examine an outstanding collection of artifacts spanning across millennia including the magnificent Sarcophagus of Alexander the Great.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room.
Accommodations: Armada Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Istanbul, Turkey
(Sunday, May 11)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Explore the opulent Topkapi Palace including the Imperial Harem. The Topkapi Palace was the seat of the Ottoman Sultans for 400 years and a great testimony to the wealth and power of the Ottoman Empire.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon visit the Chora Church/Kariye Museum to behold its exquisite mosaics and frescoes dating from the 14th century, a period of Byzantine reawakening in the arts.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
Accommodations: Armada Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 18: Istanbul, Turkey
(Monday, May 12)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: We start the day by visiting the Grand Bazaar to marvel at its 4,000 shops scattered around the maze of narrow streets and alleyways. Continue with a visit to the marvelous Spice Bazaar where exotic aromas immediately capture its visitors. We also visit the wonderful Rustem Pasha Mosque, built by the famous architect Sinan, a small but gem-like mosque demonstrating the most stunning examples of 16th century Iznik tiles.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: We embark on a private cruise on the Bosphorus to explore the stunning palaces, mansions, and fortresses dotted along the Asian and European shores of this marvelous strait.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Armada Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 19: Departures
(Tuesday, May 13)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer to Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST) for departures.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Rhodes Medieval Old City
A short walk from the port, the old city of Rhodes is a beautifully well-preserved medieval city with meandering cobblestone alleyways. There is a large variety of shops featuring local wares.
  Rhodes Aquarium
The Aquarium in Rhodes is a research institution which provides natural living conditions for a wide range of interesting specimens of Mediterranean organisms such as reefs, sea flowers, octopuses, clams, decapods, turtles and numerous fishes. Located just over a mile from the port, it is a 30 minute walk, or a short taxi ride (fare approx. 7-10 euro).
  Çanakkale Mirrored Bazaar
This charming Bazaar was built in 1889 by Ilia Halyo in 1889 during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamit and is a copy of the Egyptian Bazaar in Istanbul. It is believed to have been destroyed by shells deployed from the British Battleship "Queen Elizabeth" during WW1. It was restored in 2007 and is brimming with shops peddling locally manufactured goods.
  Çanakkale Archeological Museum
The Museum has artifacts from ancient sites around Çanakkale, including Troy, Assos and Dardanos. It is located about 1 ½ miles from the port in the city center.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

1453, The Holy War For Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West

Author: Roger Crowley

Description: In this well-paced history, Crowley recounts with drama the events surrounding the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks.

Anatolian Days & Nights

Author: Angie Brenner, Joy Stocke

Description: When Joy Stocke and Angie Brenner meet on the balcony of a guesthouse in a small resort town on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, they think they have only a mutual friend and a summer dream in common. Soon, they discover a shared love of travel, history, culture, cuisine, and literature; and they begin a ten-year odyssey through Turkey.

Ancient Greece: Art, Architecture, and History

Author: Marina Belozerskaya, Kenneth Lapatin

Description: This lively illustrated guide covers the architecture, painting and sculpture of Ancient Greece from the third millennium to the end of the Hellenistic period. With 282 color and 28 black-and-white illustrations.

Birds Without Wings

Author: Louis De Bernieres

Description: De Bernieres offers sweeping historical scope, memorable characters, drama and many new vocabulary words in this stupendous novel set in Anatolia during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

Byzantium, The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire

Author: Judith Herrin

Description: Herrin captures the glory, accomplishments, personalities, cruelty and import of Byzantium from the foundation of Constantinople to its capture by the Ottoman Turks in 1453.

Crescent and Star

Author: Stephen Kinzer

Description: This insightful, anecdotal report on contemporary life, culture and politics in Turkey comes from a former New York Times Istanbul bureau chief who is especially attuned to the powerful geographic position of Turkey and its multiple identities in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Culture Smart! Greece

Author: Constantine Buhayer

Description: A concise, no-nonsense guide to local customs, etiquette and culture with a short overview of the land and people along with practical travel advice.

Culture Smart! Turkey

Author: Charlotte McPherson

Description: Take along this pocket guide to local customs, etiquette and culture.

Eyewitness Guide Greek Islands

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: Color photography, excellent local maps and an island-by-island synopsis of attractions make this book the one to carry with you.

Eyewitness Guide Turkey

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: Gorgeously illustrated and filled with excellent maps, this compact book provides a thorough overview of history, traditions and sights.

Greece, A Traveler's Literary Companion

Author: Artemis Leontis (Editor)

Description: In this terrific anthology, 24 modern Greek writers offer a flavor of their nation, its culture and people, beautiful landscapes and rich history.

Greece, Land of Light

Author: Nicholas Gage, Barry Brukoff

Description: Barry Brukoff's striking color photographs are paired with an eloquent tour of the land, people, history and monuments of Greece and the islands by journalist Nicholas Gage.

Greek, A Language Map

Author: Kristine K. Kershul

Description: This durable, foldout card, featuring 1,000 words and phrases, works as a quick and convenient reference for travelers.

Helen of Troy, The Story Behind the Most Beautiful Woman in the World

Author: Bettany Hughes

Description: In her investigation into the life of Helen of Troy, one of the most enigmatic and notorious figures of all time, Hughes reconstructs life in Bronze Age Greece through Homer’s accounts, ancient literature and art. A well-researched and engaging portrait about one of the world's most famous women.

Istanbul, Memories and the City

Author: Orhan Pamuk

Description: Nobel Prize-winner Pamuk writes with dazzling grace of the city of his birth, a magical place of crumbling mansions and Ottoman riches.

Lonely Planet Turkish Phrasebook

Author: Arzu Kurklu

Description: With essential vocabulary for the traveler.

Lost to the West

Author: Lars Brownworth

Description: This popular chronicle tracks the history of Byzantium -- a stronghold of Christian civilization, education, art and architecture -- from the establishment of the eastern Roman capital to the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

The Ancient Mediterranean

Author: Michael Grant

Description: Grant explores the realms of archaeology, geography, art and economics to paint this classic portrait of the ancient world, from prehistory through the Roman Imperium, and its influence on Western civilization.

The Colossus of Maroussi

Author: Henry Miller

Description: Miller captures the spirit and warmth of the resilient Greek people in this inspired tale of a wartime journey from Athens to Crete, Corfu and Delphi with his friend Lawrence Durrell.

The Complete World of Greek Mythology

Author: Richard Buxton

Description: With hundreds of color illustrations, site plans, genealogies and maps, this handsome, encyclopedic reference illuminates the world of the Greek gods.

The Fall of Constantinople 1453

Author: Steven Runciman

Description: A classic, wonderfully written history of the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and its consequences. Runciman, a noted British scholar, draws on many sources, both Greek and Muslim, in tracing this fateful time in the history of the city. Originally published in 1965.

The Hemlock Cup, Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life

Author: Bettany Hughes

Description: An illuminating portrait of Socrates and the Golden Age of Athens. The award-winning scholar re-creates the streets, red-light district, gymnasia, religious festivals and the teeming marketplace in the heart of ancient Athens where Socrates engaged in philosophical dialogue and where he would be condemned to death.

The Parthenon

Author: Mary Beard

Description: A lively tale of the construction, significance and uses of the 2,500-year-old architectural marvel.

The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece

Author: Robert Morkot

Description: This pictorial survey of Greek antiquity, recording its culture and expansion, features dozens of full-color maps.

The Towers of Trebizond

Author: Rose MacAulay, Jan Morris (Introduction)

Description: Mixing high farce, archaeology, history and lively travel writing, Rose MacAulay's impossibly witty short novel is back in a new edition. Originally published in 1956, MacAulay follows the adventures of English missionaries traipsing across Turkey from Istanbul to Trabzon.

The Turkish Embassy Letters

Author: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Description: The unconventional wife of the British ambassador, Lady Montagu delights in Turkish life and society in these lively letters.

The World of the Ancient Greeks

Author: John Camp, Elizabeth Fisher

Description: Featuring hundreds of illustrations and invitingly short chapters on topics from The First Greeks to The Heroic Age and Classical Athens. With modern color photographs of great Greek cities from Athens and Delphi to Knossos, Ephesus, Pergamum and Priene.

Travels With Epicurus

Author: Daniel Klein

Description: Daniel Klein's witty meditation on the ancients, life in the Greek Islands, his favorite philosophers -- and growing old gracefully -- is also a delightful romp through the Aegean.

Turkey, What Everyone Needs to Know

Author: Andrew Finkel

Description: From the Kurdish question to economic policy, Turkey's role in Iraq and its quest for EU membership, Finkel illuminates the past and present of this strategically important nation in lively, straightforward prose. A journalist based in Istanbul for the last 20 years, he brings balance and insight to the task.

Turkish Reflections, A Biography of a Place

Author: Mary Lee Settle

Description: Settle's captivating travelogue is a richly detailed portrait of contemporary Turkey, its people, monasteries, myths, archaeological treasures and living traditions. Exemplary.

Women in Purple, Rulers of Medieval Byzantium

Author: Judith Herrin

Description: Herrin describes the complex and deeply religious world of Constantinople in the aftermath of Arab conquest, focusing on three Byzantine empresses’ work to restore icons to a prominent position in Eastern Christian worship. An enlightening portrait of three all-powerful women who changed history.

You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.

As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:

© Road Scholar 2016 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768