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Turkey

The Best of Turkey: A Journey by Land and Gulet

Program No. 18761RJ
Go off the beaten path as you explore the Turkey seldom seen by tourists. From a private Sufi and Zikr ritual to expert-led walks and sailing excursions, this adventure has it all.

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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 6 - May 22, 2024
Starting at
6,099
May 13 - May 29, 2024
Starting at
6,099
Sep 23 - Oct 9, 2024
Starting at
6,099
Oct 7 - Oct 23, 2024
Starting at
6,099
Oct 14 - Oct 30, 2024
Starting at
6,099
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 6 - May 22, 2024
Starting at
7,599
Filling Fast!
May 13 - May 29, 2024
Starting at
7,599
Sep 23 - Oct 9, 2024
Starting at
7,599
Oct 7 - Oct 23, 2024
Starting at
7,599
Oct 14 - Oct 30, 2024
Starting at
7,599

At a Glance

Experience the mingling of modern and ancient civilizations as you explore the wonders of Turkey. Beginning in Ankara, find expressions of the living heritage of Turkey in its myriad forms. Walk the streets of Istanbul where crusaders and janissaries once marched, and step aboard an exclusively chartered gulet for a four-night voyage along the Mediterranean coast.

Extend Your Adventure

This program offers an optional program extension.

Extension: Istanbul: Ancient City and Modern City

Istanbul is thousands of years old, so it deserves a few extra days of exploration. Continue your discovery of this complex and mysterious city with our local experts.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
Walking up to three hours on varied terrain. Steep stairs without railings. Stooping in underground city. Elevations up to 3,100 feet.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Board a privately chartered gulet and discover the ancient ruins, harbors and coves of the Turquoise Coast.
  • Witness a private Sufi and Zikr ritual not open to the public.
  • Head inside the Hagia Sophia mosque, then enjoy views of Istanbul from a boat on the Bosphorus.

General Notes

Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Timur Comertpay
Timur Comertpay was born and raised in Adana, a city on the eastern Mediterranean shore of Turkey. After working as an English teacher at several schools, he took up a new profession as a licensed excursion leader in 1992. Timur has lead educational groups to some of the best known archeological and historical sites in Turkey, as well as on hiking adventures along the Blue Voyage Coast. He believes to truly appreciate Turkey, visitors should experience the culture, taste different foods and interact with locals.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Sami Ozcini
Sami Ozcini View biography
Sami Ozcini has shared his love for Turkey — and his home city of Istanbul — with Road Scholar participants for more than 12 years. His on-site lectures bring a different perspective to understanding and appreciating the rich history and legacy of Istanbul. A graduate of Marmara University, Sami has a degree in English literature and enjoys traveling throughout Europe, Australia and the U.S. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and acting as a referee for amateur football games in Istanbul.
Profile Image of Timur Comertpay
Timur Comertpay View biography
Timur Comertpay was born and raised in Adana, a city on the eastern Mediterranean shore of Turkey. After working as an English teacher at several schools, he took up a new profession as a licensed excursion leader in 1992. Timur has lead educational groups to some of the best known archeological and historical sites in Turkey, as well as on hiking adventures along the Blue Voyage Coast. He believes to truly appreciate Turkey, visitors should experience the culture, taste different foods and interact with locals.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Constantinople; City of the World’s Desire, 1453-1924
by Philip Mansel
Mansel is a noted historian and author of several works about the Sultans and the Ottoman World. This book focuses on the political and architectural history of the capital Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) and covers the span of the Ottoman empire. The book ends on November 17, 1922 when the last Sultan and a small party slipped out of Palace at 8 AM and scrambled aboard a British naval ship that hauled anchor for Malta at 8:43 AM. A fine work, lots of detail, very readable and helpful in sorting out the complexities of 600 years of Ottoman power.
Birds Without Wings
by Louis de Bernières
In his first novel since Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernières creates a world, populates it with characters as real as our best friends, and launches it into the maelstrom of twentieth-century history. The setting is a small village in southwestern Anatolia in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire. Everyone there speaks Turkish, though they write it in Greek letters. It’s a place that has room for a professional blasphemer; where a brokenhearted aga finds solace in the arms of a Circassian courtesan who isn’t Circassian at all; where a beautiful Christian girl named Philothei is engaged to a Muslim boy named Ibrahim. But all of this will change when Turkey enters the modern world. Epic in sweep, intoxicating in its sensual detail, Birds Without Wings is an enchantment.
Eyewitness Guide Turkey
by Eyewitness Guides
Gorgeously illustrated and filled with excellent maps, this compact book is a thorough overview of Turkey, its history, traditions, cultures and sights. With hundreds of color photographs and illustrations.
Ataturk: A biography of Mustafa Kemal - Father of Modern Turkey
by Lord Kinross
Kinross tells the story of Ataturk in such an engaging way that you stay glued to the page. Beginning with his birth in 1881 in Salonika, Greece, during the usual Balkan struggles, the book traces his youth through his early education and military service. Along the way Kinross reveals the experiences that formed Ataturk’s rebel spirit, leads you through the evolution of his hatred for the rich, the corrupt, and the abusive religious and political classes. He takes you onto the battlefield where Ataturk’s leadership and inspiration routs the Greeks who invaded Turkey in the aftermath of W.W.I. Kinross takes you step by step through the formation of a new, secular Republic, free of domination by Sultans, Moslem Caliphs or foreign countries, and describes how Turkey secured a place among nations. You’ll learn of Ataturk’s commitment to equality for all people, men and women alike, and how he lead the new Turkish nation westward by adopting the western alphabet overnight, creating a new Turkish language, and provided free education for all. A “must read” in order to understand present-day Turkey’s struggle to maintain the secular principles Ataturk established.
Harem - The World Behind the Veil
by Alev Lytle Croutier
The author left Turkey at age 18 for the US, returning 15 years later to visit her birthplace and family. Intrigued upon learning that her grandmother had lived in a harem, she interviewed aunts and other family members about their recollections. About that same time (mid 1970’s) the Harem of Topkapi Palace was opened to visitors. With thoughtful research and richly illustrated, Croutier pieces together a realistic description of daily life in the Sultan’s Harem. Her fascinating insights into customs, food and ceremony of the Palace through 450 hundred years, make this an enjoyable read. The addition of family photographs and an amusing chapter about Western misconceptions of the term “harem” sets this work apart from all other books of its kind.
Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities
by Bettany Hughes
Istanbul explores a city which stands as a gateway between the east and west, one of the indisputably greatest cities in the world. Previously known by the names Byzantium and Constantinople, this is the most celebrated metropolis in the world to sit on two continents, straddling the dividing line of the Bosphorus Strait between Europe and Asia. During its long history, Istanbul has served as the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman Empires. Its architecture reflects these many cultures, including the Hagia Sophia (Byzantine), the Blue Mosque (Ottoman), the Valens Aqueduct (Roman), the Topkapi Palace (Ottoman), and more modern Art Nouveau avenues built in the 19th and 20th centuries - many of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. With the founding of the Republic of Turkey by Ataturk in 1923, Istanbul was overlooked and Ankara became the capital. Over the next 90 years, Istanbul has undergone great structural change, and in the 1970s the population of the city rocketed as people moved to the city to find work, turning Istanbul into the cultural, economic and financial centre of Turkey.Events there recently have again brought Istanbul to the forefront of global attention. Indeed, while writing this book, Bettany was caught with her daughters in the crossfire of Taksim Square. Bettany Hughes has been researching and writing this rich portrait of one of the world's most multi-faceted cities for over a decade. Her compelling biography of a momentous city is visceral, immediate and sensuous narrative history at its finest.
The Bastard of Istanbul
by Elif Shafak
In her second novel written in English (The Saint of Incipient Insanities was the first), Turkish novelist Shafak tackles Turkish national identity and the Armenian "question" in her signature style. In a novel that overflows with a kitchen sink's worth of zany characters, women are front and center: Asya Kazanci, an angst-ridden 19-year-old Istanbulite is the bastard of the title; her beautiful, rebellious mother, Zeliha (who intended to have an abortion), has raised Asya among three generations of complicated and colorful female relations (including religious clairvoyant Auntie Banu and bar-brawl widow, Auntie Cevriye). The Kazanci men either die young or take a permanent hike like Mustafa, Zeliha's beloved brother who immigrated to America years ago. Mustafa's Armenian-American stepdaughter, Armanoush, who grew up on her family's stories of the 1915 genocide, shows up in Istanbul looking for her roots and for vindication from her new Turkish family. The Kazanci women lament Armanoush's family's suffering, but have no sense of Turkish responsibility for it; Asya's boho cohorts insist there was no genocide at all. As the debate escalates, Mustafa arrives in Istanbul, and a long-hidden secret connecting the histories of the two families is revealed. Shafak was charged with "public denigration of Turkishness" when the novel was published in Turkey earlier this year (the charges were later dropped). She incorporates a political taboo into an entertaining and insightful ensemble novel, one that posits the universality of family, culture and coincidence.
Istanbul: Memories and the City
by Orhan Pamuk
Turkish novelist Pamuk (Snow) presents a breathtaking portrait of a city, an elegy for a dead civilization and a meditation on life's complicated intimacies. The author, born in 1952 into a rapidly fading bourgeois family in Istanbul, spins a masterful tale, moving from his fractured extended family, all living in a communal apartment building, out into the city and encompassing the entire Ottoman Empire. Pamuk sees the slow collapse of the once powerful empire hanging like a pall over the city and its citizens. Central to many Istanbul residents' character is the concept of hüzün (melancholy). Istanbul's hüzün, Pamuk writes, "is a way of looking at life that... is ultimately as life affirming as it is negating." His world apparently in permanent decline, Pamuk revels in the darkness and decay manifest around him. He minutely describes horrific accidents on the Bosphorus Strait and his own recurring fantasies of murder and mayhem. Throughout, Pamuk details the breakdown of his family: elders die, his parents fight and grow apart, and he must find his way in the world. This is a powerful, sometimes disturbing literary journey through the soul of a great city told by one of its great writers.
Essential Rumi
by Coleman Barks
A collection of poetry by the 13th-century Sufi mystic. Coleman renders a well-chosen selection of Persian estatic poetry into contemporary English
The Turks Today
by Andrew Mango
Istanbul-born, British-based Mango (Atatürk) offers an insightful, sympathetic portrait of recent Turkish history. The first third of the book discusses the growth of the Turkish state after Atatürk's death in 1938, with a fitful spread of democracy, clashes with Greece and the departure of Istanbul's Greek community. Economic and social conflict from 1960 to 1980 was subsequently "contained" by a military-driven constitution and rapprochement with Europe. A battle over the logo of the mayoralty of Ankara, the capital, illustrates the recent negotiations between Islamists and secularists. Istanbul, whose "infrastructure does not match its size," is growing as a regional base. In impoverished, traditionalist eastern Turkey, "the Third World has not been banished," though Mango argues that integration with the state—if not assimilation—is the best hope for the Kurdish minority. Turkey today, Mango suggests, resembles the late modernizing countries of southern Europe in many ways. He sees potential for a fully democratic and secular state, but warns that it takes time to "implant Western institutions in non-Western soil." Though this volume lacks some of the bite and immediacy of a journalist's book like Stephen Kinzer's Crescent and Star, it emerges as a more thorough introduction to a less-known but increasingly vital country.
A Short History Of Byzantium
by John Julius Norwich
No time to wade, albeit enjoyably, through his three volume Byzantium series? This recent edition is based on his Byzantium trilogy and is equally as intelligent and inspired. Norwich is, as always, ever entertaining and engaging about this subject. An efficient read without loss of style or spirit. If you can’t manage three volumes right now, this one is for you.
Blue Guide to Turkey
by Bernard McDonagh
Blue Guides are complete and jam-packed with historical and practical information. This one lives up to the reputation. You want to go to Nemrut Dag and learn what you’re looking at once you’re there? The Blue Guide is for you. Painstakingly researched it is a course book text on the history of civilization and includes detailed town plans, up-to-date classical site information, route maps, hotel recommendations and lots of information about Turkish customs, food and history. From one end of the country to the other! It’s all there. The book to have, whether you’re exploring Turkey with us in a group or out there on your own.
My Name Is Red
by Orhan Pamuk
A dead man, a dog, a murderer, a coin, two lovers, and a tree take turns narrating this tale, which is Pamuk's follow-up to the well-reviewed but little read The New Life (1997). Set in sixteenth-century Istanbul, the novel is equal parts mystery, love story, and a philosophical discussion on the nature of art and artistic vision. Two men have been killed: Elegant, a miniaturist engaged (with others) on a book project glorifying the life of the sultan, and Enishte, the man who hired the artists to do the book. During a trip to Venice, Enishte became particularly entranced with the new Italian painting, particularly its use of perspective and figurative art. He urged his employees to adapt the new art form in their illustrations of the grand book they are producing. Black, Enishte's nephew, wants to win the hand of Enishte's daughter, Shekure, which he can only do by solving the murders. This intellectual mystery will appeal to fans of Eco, Pears, and Perez-Reverte.
Tales from the Expat Harem: Foreign Women in Modern Turkey
by Anastasia M. Ashman, Jennifer Eaton Gokmen
As the Western world struggles to comprehend the paradoxes of modern Turkey, Tales from the Expat Harem reveals its most personal nuances. This illuminating anthology provides a window into the country from the perspective of thirty-two expatriates from seven different nations—artists, entrepreneurs, Peace Corps volunteers, archaeologists, missionaries, and others—who established lives in Turkey for work, love, or adventure. Through narrative essays covering the last four decades, these diverse women unveil the mystique of the “Orient,” describe religious conflict, embrace cultural discovery, and maneuver familial traditions, customs, and responsibilities. Poignant, humorous, and transcendent, the essays take readers to weddings and workplaces, down cobbled Byzantine streets, into boisterous bazaars along the Silk Road, and deep into the feminine stronghold of steamy Ottoman bathhouses. The outcome is a stunning collection of voices from women suspended between two homes as they redefine their identities and reshape their world views.
Classical Turkey
by John Freely
A well written, well illustrated, architectural guide for travelers new to the Graeco-Roman sites of Western Turkey. Detailed with good drawings of most ruins accompanied by historical information about these great sites. Freely is the master.
Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds
by Stephen Kinzer
A passionate love for the Turkish people and an optimism that its ruling class can complete Turkey's transformation into a Western-style democracy mark Kinzer's reflections on a country that sits geographically and culturally at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. Kinzer, the former New York Times Istanbul bureau chief, gives a concise introduction to Turkey: Kemal Ataterk's post-WWI establishment of the modern secular Turkish state; the odd makeup of contemporary society, in which the military enforces Ataterk's reforms. In stylized but substantive prose, he devotes chapters to the problems he sees plaguing Turkish society: Islamic fundamentalism, frictions regarding the large Kurdish minority and the lack of democratic freedoms. Kinzer's commonsense, if naeve, solution: the ruling military elite, which takes power when it feels Turkey is threatened, must follow the modernizing path of Ataterk whom Kinzer obviously admires a step further and increase human rights and press freedoms. Kinzer's journalistic eye serves him well as he goes beyond the political, vividly describing, for instance, the importance and allure of the narghile salon, where Turks smoke water pipes. Here, as elsewhere, Kinzer drops his journalist veneer and gets personal, explaining that he enjoys the salons in part "because the sensation of smoking a water pipe is so seductive and satisfying." Readers who want a one-volume guide to this fascinating country need look no further.
Istanbul: The Imperial City
by John Freely
Whether you call it Byzantium, Constantinople, or Istanbul, the “old Turkish hand” John Freely tells the story of each creation and decline up to today’s Istanbul under the Turkish Republic. Spirited and colorful, Freely gives his readers a lively account of the turmoil each incarnation brought. In addition to “page turning history”, Freely gives a complete listing of monuments & museums in the city - he has lived there for decades. This is the one to read on Istanbul if you have a short list of books and limited time to get into its history.
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17 days
16 nights
41 meals
15 B 13 L 13 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight

Evening: Overnight flight.

DAY
2
Arrive Ankara, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Ankara
D
Divan Cukurhan Hotel

Activity note: Upon arrival in Ankara Airport, clear passport control, claim your bags, go through customs and the sliding doors and look for a representative with a Road Scholar sign. Hotel check-in from 2:00 p.m.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: After checking in to the hotel and getting your room, take some time to freshen up and relax before our Orientation meeting. Orientation: 7:00 p.m. The time of our meeting will be based on arrival times of Road Scholars. In our meeting room at the hotel, the Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will review COVID-19 protocols and will adhere to applicable requirements and guidelines throughout the program. The Group Leaders for our Road Scholar programs in Turkey serve as Study Leaders as well as managers of logistics. They are licensed and certified by the Ministry of Tourism for proficiency in Turkish history, culture, archeology, mythology, current affairs, and more. In addition to lectures and field trips, they will often give presentations on topics such as these during long transfers. Program-related travel and transfers will be via comfortable, air-conditioned Mercedes-Benz buses. Meals will generally offer foods representative of their regions. Depending on the accommodations, some will be multi-course plated meals while others will be buffets with numerous choices. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/current conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Prepare for check-out and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
3
Anatolian Civilizations Museum, Anitkabir Atatürk Mausoleum
Cappadocia
B,L,D
Yunak Evleri

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 195 miles, approximately 4 hours riding time. Walking up to 1.5 miles throughout the day and standing, primarily indoors during field trips.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will set out on a walking field trip to the award-winning Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, located steps away from the hotel. There, we will have a lecture by an expert from Bilkent University in Ankara who will lead our exploration. We will learn about ancient civilizations that flourished in Anatolia and talk about the unique artifacts on display, providing a general overview about the civilizations of Turkey. The Museum exhibits boast artifacts from the Paleolithic era and continue chronologically through the Neolithic, Early Bronze, Assyrian trading colonies, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian, Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman periods. It is especially renowned for its artifacts from the Neolithic site of Catalhoyuk. The collection includes Mother Goddess sculptures, wall paintings, clay figurines, stamps, earthenware containers, and agricultural tools made from bones. The most impressive parts of this exhibit are a hunting scene on plaster from the 7th millennium BCE, a reproduction of a Çatalhoyuk room with wall-mounted bull heads, a Mother Goddess Kybele (later Cybele) sculpture, obsidian tools, wall paintings of the (now extinct) volcano Mount Hasan erupting, and wall paintings of a leopard.

Lunch: At a restaurant in the old city.

Afternoon: Next, we will ride to Anitkabir, the Mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938), who led the war for Turkish independence, the Turkish revolution, and founded the Turkish republic. Our Group Leader-Study Leader will provide background on modern Turkey and give us a deeper understanding of this revolutionary character who shaped the nation. We will see in this complex how his legacy lives on and he is very deeply revered all over Turkey. The mausoleum’s museum provides insight to the history of modern Turkey and the personality of Atatürk. We will then board the motorcoach and ride to Urgup in Cappadocia. The landscape of spectacular volcanic pillar formations is the “fairy land” of Turkey. Upon arrival, we will check in to our hotel with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Goreme Museum, Artisan Potter, Whirling Dervishes
Cappadocia
B,L
Yunak Evleri

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 20 miles, approximately 2 hours riding time. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; uneven terrain, crouching to enter some cave churches. Wear sturdy walking shoes.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will set out on the bus for a field trip to the Goreme Open Air Museum. This monastic center is comprised of caves and churches carved out of the soft volcanic rock of Cappadocia and decorated with frescoes and paintings. We will learn about the history of Christianity and monasticism in the area as well as the artistic and religious significance of frescos in these churches.

Lunch: At a local restaurant carved out of rock that was once home to the hosting family.

Afternoon: We will ride to the workshop of a local artisan who specializes in pottery making, using the clay from the nearby Halys River. We will learn about this 5,000 year old craft and have an opportunity to work on the potter’s wheel. We will then attend a Whirling Dervish ceremony, performed by local Sufis at a restored caravansaray (ancient camel motel on the Silk Road) from the 13th century.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to have what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Sinasos, Cappadocia Gorges & Valleys, Elective Hike
Cappadocia
B,D
Yunak Evleri

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 30 miles, approximately 2 hours riding time. Walking about 2 miles, approximately 1 hour; uneven terrain through natural geological formations. Elective hiking approximately 1 hour; uneven terrain through natural geological formations Wear sturdy walking shoes.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will board the bus to explore the village of Sinasos that had a largely Greek population in Ottoman times. Once a busy seafood center, today it is a thriving town with a small university and elaborate houses built in the 19th century.

Lunch: On your own to have what you like in Sinasos. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Our next field trip will be dedicated to seeing and learning more about Cappadocia’s gorges and valleys. We will explore an impressive underground city, carved out of the ground to provide shelter from the attacking armies. For those who would like to go further, there will be an opportunity for an elective hike with photo stops at some significant vantage points to get an overview of this magical landscape.

Dinner: At the hotel

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
The Silk Road, Sufism
Konya
B,L,D
Hich Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 150 miles, approximately 4 hours riding time. Walking about 1/2 mile, generally even terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel, board the motorcoach, and ride west to Konya, following the ancient Silk Road on the central plateau of Turkey. We will stop to explore Sultanhani, a 13th century Seljuk caravanserai built to accommodate the caravans of trade. Sultanhani is the largest and best preserved of the existing caravanserais.

Lunch: At a restaurant in Konya specializing in local dishes.

Afternoon: Upon arriving in Konya, we will walk to the Mevlana Museum that is also the mausoleum of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi — known as Mevlana Rumi — the Sufi mystic who founded the Whirling Dervish sect of Islam. We will learn about the mystic aspect of Sufism and hear some of Rumi’s beautiful poetry. Our Group Leader-Study Leader will discuss the principles of Sufism and enlighten us about their beliefs and rituals. We will also visit the workshop of a local felt master who specializes in making the special hats worn by the dervishes. This same master also will talk about Sufism and what it means to be a Sufi. Moving on, we will check in to our hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
7
Majestic Taurus Mountains and the Roman Theater of Aspendos
Antalya
B,L,D
Akra Barut Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 190 miles, approximately 4 hours riding time. Walking up to 1 mile throughout the day and standing during field trips; uneven terrain at ancient sites.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: After checking out, we will board the motorcoach and ride south. Crossing the impressive Taurus Mountains towards the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, we will hear expert commentary as we go.

Lunch: At a restaurant en route.

Afternoon: We will arrive in Aspendos and take a field trip to the stunning Roman theater, where our Group Leader will give us a detailed on-site presentation. The theater of Aspendos is among the best preserved ancient theaters in the world and is still used for performances today. Next we will drive a short distance to our hotel located on the Mediterranean and check-in before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Antalya Archeological Museum, Embark Gulet
Turquoise Coast Cruise
B,L,D
Exclusively Chartered Gulet (yacht)

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 140 miles, approximately 3 hours riding time. Walking about 1/2 mile throughout the day and standing during field trips; steep streets in old town heading down to harbor.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will set out on the bus for a field trip to the award-winning Antalya Archeological Museum, one of the largest archaeology museums in Turkey, featuring traces of ancient Lycia, Pamphylia, and Pisidia. There are 13 exhibition halls and an open air gallery, displaying more than 5,000 works of art that illuminate the history of the region. An archeologist from the local Akdeniz University will give us a lecture and lead our exploration.

Lunch: At a restaurant en route to Göcek.

Afternoon: We will ride inland and south through lush valleys of the Taurus Mountains. We expect to arrive in Göcek mid-afternoon and board our privately-chartered, Road Scholar exclusive gulet — a classic wooden yacht — for a four-night study cruise. Lifting anchor, we will go a short distance to spend the night in a quiet and pristine cove.

Dinner: Aboard the gulet.

Evening: Each evening during the study cruise, we will gather with our Group Leader-Study Leader to learn about topics of interest and for Q&A.

DAY
9
Gemiler, Island of St. Nicholas
Turquoise Coast Cruise
B,L,D
Exclusively Chartered Gulet (yacht)

Activity note: Walking about 1/2 mile; uneven, steep terrain up/down hill.

Breakfast: Aboard the gulet.

Morning: We will sail to Gemiler Island and explore. We will see the remains of several churches built between the fourth and sixth centuries as well a variety of associated buildings Archaeologists believe it was the location of the original tomb of Saint Nicholas. Gemiler — which means ships in Turkish — is noteworthy because its north shore is lined with galliot and other ancient ship parking slips. Once home to Lycian and Byzantine pirates, there are remains of an entire village and we will walk from the pirate-ship slips through a covered walkway to a basilica. There will be an elective opportunity for a hike to the summit of the island with stunning views. Those who wish to remain aboard the gulet to swim and relax are welcome to do so.

Lunch: Aboard the gulet.

Afternoon: We will have a choice to hike to the top of the island to explore its ruins, or to Kayakoy, a now-abandoned village used during the “Exchange of Citizens” between Greece and Turkey in the 1920s. There, learn more about the history of the village and talk to some locals from a nearby village that was inhabited by Turks sent from Greece. Those who wish to remain aboard the gulet to swim and relax are welcome to do so.

Dinner: Aboard the gulet.

Evening: We will gather with our Group Leader-Study Leader to learn about topics of interest and for Q&A.

DAY
10
Hamam, Lydae
Turquoise Coast Cruise
B,L,D
Exclusively Chartered Gulet (yacht)

Activity note: Walking about 2 miles; uneven terrain, dirt tracks.

Breakfast: Aboard the gulet.

Morning: We will cruise to the cove called the Hamam, also known by locals as Cleopatra’s Bath because she supposedly had a bath built here thanks to the hot thermal waters in the cove. Cleopatra was here twice, once in 46 BCE and again in 32 BCE on her honeymoon with Marc Antony who was en route to Actium.

Lunch: Aboard the gulet.

Afternoon: We will hike up to the ruins of Lydae, not accessible by car as there is no road to this ancient site. Off the beaten path and rarely visited, Lydae has vivid features and ancient buildings including mausolea, agora foundations, statue remnants, Corinthian column sections, and inscribed pedestals from the Roman and Byzantine periods. Those who wish to remain aboard the gulet to swim and relax are welcome to do so.

Dinner: Aboard the gulet.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Dalyan River, Rock Tombs, Kaunos, Loggerhead Turtles
Turquoise Coast Cruise
B,L,D
Exclusively Chartered Gulet (yacht)

Activity note: Getting on/off a small boat. Elective opportunity to hike from Kaunos back to Ekincik; long, strenuous.

Breakfast: Aboard the gulet.

Morning: We will cruise a short distance to Ekincik, another lovely cove on the Mediterranean. We’ll then step off the gulet and onto a small local boat to “put-put” through the reeds and the maze of the Dalyan River delta. We will see impressive Lycian rock tombs carved out of the hillside, built for the local kings and dignitaries. We will also explore the well-preserved Carian city of Kaunos.

Lunch: At a restaurant in Dalyan.

Afternoon: Returning to the gulet, the remainder of the afternoon will be free. For those who are interested, we will have an opportunity for an elective hike from Kaunos back to Ekincik; long hike, strenuous.

Dinner: Aboard the gulet.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy our last evening aboard the vessel. Prepare for disembarkation and transfer in the morning.

DAY
12
Disembark, Transfer to Kusadasi, Turkish Carpets
Kusadasi/Ephesus
B,L,D
La Vista Boutique Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 150 miles, approximately 4 hours riding time.

Breakfast: Aboard the gulet.

Morning: We will disembark the gulet in Ekincik, board a motorcoach, and drive north to Kusadasi near Ephesus. Our Group Leader-Study Leader will provide expert commentary as we go.

Lunch: At a restaurant en route.

Afternoon: We will take a field trip to a weaving center near Selcuk and hear a presentation on the centuries old craft of hand-made Turkish carpets and silk production. We’ll also have an opportunity for a hands-on demonstration of carpet weaving. We’ll then ride to the hotel and check in before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Ephesus
Kusadasi/Ephesus
B,L,D
La Vista Boutique Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 25 miles, approximately 1 hour riding time. Walking up to 2 miles; uneven terrain in ancient Ephesus, climbing a few flights of stairs visiting Terrace Houses.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will board the bus with our Group Leader-Study Leader and ride to Ephesus where we’ll set out on a walking field trip to explore the mesmerizing ancient site that was the jewel of Greek-Roman cities and capital of Asia Minor. We will gain in-depth knowledge of this unforgettable ancient city that once had a population of 250,000. We will also visit the Terrace Houses, a museum within the ancient site where the rich and famous of Ephesus once lived. Excavations and restorations at the Terrace Houses have been partly sponsored by Road Scholar.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Next, we will explore the Museum of Ephesus that houses stunning artifacts excavated here. We’ll then stop at the ruins of the Temple of Artemis — one of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World — and learn about its fascinating story.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer flight in the morning.

DAY
14
Transfer to Istanbul, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Architecture
Istanbul
B,L,D
Armada Hotel Istanbul

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 50 miles, approximately 1 hour riding time. Boarding/deboarding flight to Istanbul. Walking about 1 mile; generally even urban terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel, ride to Izmir Airport, and board a flight to Istanbul.

Lunch: At a restaurant in Istanbul.

Afternoon: We will set out with our Group Leader-Study Leader on a field trip to explore Istanbul that will begin at the famous Blue Mosque, one of the most important landmarks of the city, dating back to 1616. The Blue Mosque soars above the old city with its 6 minarets and is a testimony to the golden age of Ottoman architecture. We will also walk through the ancient Hippodrome of Constantinople and learn about the monuments that once adorned this huge structure. Next, we will check in to our hotel. After some time to freshen up, we will gather for a lecture by an architectural historian about the urban development of Istanbul.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
Topkapi Palace, Taksim Square, Istiklal Avenue
Istanbul
B,L
Armada Hotel Istanbul

Activity note: Walking up to 4 miles in old city; cobblestone streets, uneven terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will spend the day exploring on foot due to traffic restrictions in the old city. For our first walking field trip, we’ll set out for Topkapi Palace, the seat of the Ottoman Sultans for 400 years and a testimony to the power and wealth of the Ottoman Empire. We will also visit the amazing Treasury and the Harem to catch a glimpse of what daily life was like behind these closed doors.

Lunch: At a restaurant in the Sultanahmet district of the old city.

Afternoon: We will walk to Taksim Square and stroll along vibrant and colorful Istiklal Avenue that demonstrates Turkey’s position between the East and the West and the forces that affect it.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy the local fare of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
16
From the Palace to the Bazaar
Istanbul
B,L,D
Armada Hotel Istanbul

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles; generally flat urban terrain, streets-sidewalks; crowded conditions, especially at Bazaar.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will walk to the extraordinary Hagia Sophia, once the greatest church in Byzantium — built in 537 CE — and a great mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. We will learn about the unique architecture as we stand in awe at its size and dazzling beauty. We will then explore the Underground Cisterns, built in 532 CE by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian to store water for his city. We will then board a bus and ride along what were the ancient city walls of Constantinople and learn about their strength and history.

Lunch: At a restaurant serving Ottoman food like that at the court of the Sultans.

Afternoon: We will explore the small but gem-like mosque of Rustem Pasha that will display the stunning masterpieces of Iznik tiles from 16th century. Next, we will walk to the Spice Bazaar — in Turkish, the “Egyptian” bazaar — constructed in 1663 and second in fame only to the Grand Bazaar. The scents and aromas will enliven our senses immediately. We will also explore the Grand Bazaar, a maze of 4,000 shops from the 15th century, literally the first shopping mall in history. We’ll then board a privately chartered boat and embark on a study cruise on the wonderful Bosphorus and see its lovely waterfront houses and palace. We’ll hear expert commentary as we go.

Dinner: At the hotel. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
17
Program Concludes, In Transit From Program
Istanbul
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 12:00 Noon. See your program’s “Getting There” information regarding transfers.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: There will be group transfers from the hotel to Istanbul Airport, depending on flight departure times. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.