loading spinner
24219
Greece/Turkey/Georgia/Bulgaria

Grand Odyssey: Istanbul, the Black Sea & Greek Isles

Join us for a grand voyage on the Aegean Odyssey as we sail from Istanbul, through the Bosporus to the great port cities of the Black Sea and back to ancient islands of Greece.
Program No. 24219RJ
Length
22 days
Starts at
6,999
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
FREE
Greece/Turkey/Georgia/Bulgaria

Grand Odyssey: Istanbul, the Black Sea & Greek Isles

Join us for a grand voyage on the Aegean Odyssey as we sail from Istanbul, through the Bosporus to the great port cities of the Black Sea and back to ancient islands of Greece.
Length
22 days
Starts at
6,999
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
FREE
Length
22 days
New
Starts at
6,999
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
FREE
Program No. 24219RJ

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

Enroll with Confidence

We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
airfare
Need airfare?
Our airfare tool can help. Check it out
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.

DATES & PRICES

Ship Inside Ship Outside Ship Balcony
A representative picture of a cabin in this category.
Accommodation Details

A cabin with no window, porthole or balcony.

A representative picture of a cabin in this category.
Accommodation Details

A cabin with a window or porthole to view the outside.

A representative picture of a cabin in this category.
Accommodation Details

A cabin featuring a verandah, or balcony, that allows you to step outside without going to a public deck.

Sep 29 - Oct 20, 2022
Ship Inside 6,999
Ship Outside 8,199
Ship Balcony 11,999
Special Offer

COMBINE & SAVE! Enroll by July 31, 2022 for free air from many cities. Airfare availability may vary by date. Ask about low-cost air from other cities. The prices shown reflect a savings of $1,799 (compared to purchasing corresponding dates of programs 23587 & 23513 separately.)

Itinerary Note

This departure begins in Athens and ends in Istanbul. Please see itinerary for details.

Oct 9 - Oct 30, 2022
Ship Inside 6,999
Ship Outside 8,199
Ship Balcony 11,999
Special Offer

COMBINE & SAVE! Enroll by Aug. 10, 2022 for free air from many cities. Airfare availability may vary by date. Ask about low-cost air from other cities. The prices shown reflect a savings of $1,799 (compared to purchasing corresponding dates of programs 23587 & 23513 separately.)

Itinerary Note

This departure begins in Istanbul and ends in Athens. Please see itinerary for details.

DATES & PRICES

Ship Inside Ship Outside Ship Balcony
A representative picture of a cabin in this category.
Accommodation Details

A cabin with no window, porthole or balcony.

A representative picture of a cabin in this category.
Accommodation Details

A cabin with a window or porthole to view the outside.

A representative picture of a cabin in this category.
Accommodation Details

A cabin featuring a verandah, or balcony, that allows you to step outside without going to a public deck.

Sep 29 - Oct 20, 2022
Ship Inside 8,999
Ship Outside 10,199
Ship Balcony 14,999
Special Offer

COMBINE & SAVE! Enroll by July 31, 2022 for free air from many cities. Airfare availability may vary by date. Ask about low-cost air from other cities. The prices shown reflect a savings of $1,799 (compared to purchasing corresponding dates of programs 23587 & 23513 separately.)

Itinerary Note

This departure begins in Athens and ends in Istanbul. Please see itinerary for details.

Oct 9 - Oct 30, 2022
Ship Inside 8,999
Ship Outside 10,199
Ship Balcony 14,999
Special Offer

COMBINE & SAVE! Enroll by Aug. 10, 2022 for free air from many cities. Airfare availability may vary by date. Ask about low-cost air from other cities. The prices shown reflect a savings of $1,799 (compared to purchasing corresponding dates of programs 23587 & 23513 separately.)

Itinerary Note

This departure begins in Istanbul and ends in Athens. Please see itinerary for details.

At a Glance

On this extraordinary three-week voyage, transit the famed Bosporus Strait at Istanbul and explore the history-rich countries on the shores of the Black Sea — Turkey, Georgia and Bulgaria. Investigate ancient civilizations and Cold War intrigue in port cities like Varna, before passing back through the Bosporus to discover countless treasures across the Aegean — both ancient and modern — from the dazzling charms of Mykonos to the romantic vistas of Santorini, ending in the historic capital of Athens. Throughout your journey, take in the private ambiance of the Aegean Odyssey, as you attend expert-led lectures and presentations and enjoy the camaraderie of your fellow Road Scholars.
Activity Level
Choose Your Pace
This program offers two activity levels to choose from on every departure date: one that has less walking and fewer stairs and another at a more active pace.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Visit two Istanbul gems with a local expert, the breathtaking Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.
  • Explore historic Black Sea port cities such as Varna. Discover the storied past behind the ruins of Ephesus, the jewel of Greek-Roman cities, during your time in Turkey.
  • Experience authentic local life and time-honored treasures on two of the most popular Greek Isles, Mykonos and Santorini.

General Notes

We’ll have up to 350 Road Scholar participants on the ship, divided into groups of 35 for shore excursions.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Dionysios Flevotomos
Dr. Dionysios Flevotomos studied archaeology at the University of Wales, Lampeter. He obtained his master’s and doctoral degrees in Cultural Studies at the Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences in Athens. His PhD research focused on Greek souvenirs, an interdisciplinary study that combined approaches from the fields of archaeology, museum studies, anthropology, and tourism studies. For the last 16 years, Dionysios has worked as a licensed group leader in Greece and has led various Road scholar field trips around Europe and the Mediterranean area.

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

Profile Image of Dionysios Flevotomos
Dionysios Flevotomos View biography
Dr. Dionysios Flevotomos studied archaeology at the University of Wales, Lampeter. He obtained his master’s and doctoral degrees in Cultural Studies at the Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences in Athens. His PhD research focused on Greek souvenirs, an interdisciplinary study that combined approaches from the fields of archaeology, museum studies, anthropology, and tourism studies. For the last 16 years, Dionysios has worked as a licensed group leader in Greece and has led various Road scholar field trips around Europe and the Mediterranean area.
Profile Image of Roula Skoula
Roula Skoula View biography
Roula Skoula was born in Heraklion, Crete. She studied journalism in Athens and worked as a freelance print and radio journalist. After enrolling in the School of Professional Greek Tourist Guides, she travelled with university professors, learning history, philosophy, archaeology, and more. Roula has been a professional exploration leader since 1987. In addition to Greek, she speaks English and Italian. She continues learning to increase her vast knowledge of Greek history and culture and has worked with Road Scholar for the past 13 years.
Profile Image of Vicky Papantoniou
Vicky Papantoniou View biography
Vicky Papantoniou was born in Athens, Greece. She studied History and Archaeology at the National University of Athens and earned a master’s degree. In Florence, Italy, she studied Italian Religious Art of the Renaissance, and was licensed as a lecturer and guide. She also received a degree in Academic Theology at the University of Athens. Vicky has worked with Road Scholar for 15 years. She is an artist and has pained Byzantine Icons since she was a teenager. She speaks Greek, English, Italian, and French.
Profile Image of Effie Soupourtzi
Effie Soupourtzi View biography
Eftychia “Effie” Soupourtzi feels lucky and blessed to be a licensed guide/lecturer since 2000 because this has been her dream job ever since she was a child. Back then, she was happy to show the sites and tell stories to friends and family visiting from abroad, today she's twice as happy and excited to meet interesting people, travelers of the world who wish to see, hear and learn about her beautiful country’s history and culture and share with them her passion and insight.
Profile Image of Yasemin Akhun
Yasemin Akhun View biography
Yasemin Akhun began her career at Aegeon University, where she studied and became a licensed guide in 1998.Her specialties are archeological and cultural exploration. She is interested in Turkish classical music as well as cooking and tasting food from different cultures. Yasemin has worked with Road Scholar since 1998 and likes being a Group Leader Scholar because "Road Scholar’s reputation ensures high quality services for every element of the program, which in turn creates an advantage of being a group leader for these programs."
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 Scholars for more than 20 years. His on-site lectures bring a special perspective to understanding and appreciating Turkey’s rich history and legacy. A graduate of Marmara University, Sami has a degree in English literature. He also served as an instructor in two online Road Scholar programs in 2020. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cooking, and acting as a referee for amateur football games in Istanbul.
Profile Image of Mine Karahan
Mine Karahan View biography
Mine Karahan has been a licensed guide for more than 20 years. She studied Political Science and International Relations at Marmara University and earned a Master's degree in European Union Studies at Bosphorus University in Istanbul. She previously lived in Spain, learning Spanish for two years, and in New York City for a year to improve her English. She is fluent in English and Spanish. Mine is Turkish and currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey.
Profile Image of  Isa Gurcavdi
Isa Gurcavdi View biography
Isa Gurcavdi has worked as a Group Leader for the past 30 years. He enjoys traveling, discovering new places, reading, learning, and sharing what he learned with others. His specialties include history, religion, and etymology. According to participants and friends, Isa has a good sense of humor. His motto is “Never lose your smile or your patience.”
Profile Image of Ozan Sayin
Ozan Sayin View biography
Ozan Sayin was born in Istanbul. Being a military brat and traveling all over the world, led him to become a group leader in Turkey. His goals when leading groups are eating, living, thinking like locals, and creating a sense of confidence. Ozan likes to hike in nature, take pictures, read books, and taste local cuisine. He lives in Kusadasi next to the ancient city of Ephesus, where philosopher Heraclitus lived and said, "Everything flows and nothing abides, everything gives way and nothing stays fixed."
Profile Image of Athina Trigkoni
Athina Trigkoni View biography
Athina Trigoni was born in Veroia, Greece, and currently lives in Thessaloniki. She has worked as a licensed travel educator for Greece since 1988 and has led groups all over the country, both on the mainland and the islands. During the past 30 years as a travel educator, she has led cultural heritage, academic, religious, and family programs. Athina enjoys her job very much because she loves sharing her knowledge about Greece as well as interacting and exchanging experiences with people.
Profile Image of Enzo Mangini
Enzo Mangini View biography
Enzo Mangini was born and raised in Calabria, southern Italy. He moved to Perugia for college and graduated in political sciences with a major in history of the Mediterranean. He then moved to Rome to attend the LUISS School of Journalism. After 15 years as a professional journalist, Enzo decided to change careers and became an exploration leader. He is married to Federica and the father of 5-year-old Frida. They live in a small town between Rome and Naples.
Profile Image of Elisabeth Kontidou
Elisabeth Kontidou View biography
Elisabeth Kontidou is a Greek exploration leader, licensed to lead groups in Greek, English, and French. She has also served as a lecturer with particular emphasis on history, religion, society, culture, and art. She has participated in conferences in cooperation with American and European cultural institutions and academic groups. In addition to her professional certifications and degrees, Elisabeth has a diploma in piano studies and a BA in philosophy and liberal arts. Her special interests are ancient Greek religion, archaeology, language, poetry, creative writing, music.
Profile Image of Anastasia Rigatou
Anastasia Rigatou View biography
Anastasia Rigatou is a licensed guide in Greece. She leads groups in Greek and in English. Her passion for history and mythology led her to study archaeology and history of art (B.A) and Human Communications and Culture (M.A). As a leader and a passionate traveler, she is enthusiastic about introducing people to Greek history, culture, and life. When she is not working, Anastasia enjoys traveling, reading books, and spending as much time as she can with her friends and family.
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.
Turkey: A Modern History
by Erik J. Zürcher
A revised edition looks at Turkey's modern day changes and continuations into a capitalist and modern world. Focuses on the 1950s and forward, Zürcher focuses on politics, military, human rights issues, Turkey's relationships with Europe and the West and their ambivalent relationship with the Middle East.
Ancient Greece: Art, Architecture, and History
by Marina Belozerskaya, Kenneth Lapatin
This informative handbook traces Greek art and architecture from the third millennium to the first century B.C.
A Traveller's History of Athens
by Richard Stoneman
A brief history of Athens through the 1990's -- wide-ranging, accessible and effectively condensed. With a useful chronology and historical gazetteer, this book marches confidently through the centuries.
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.
A Traveller's History of Greece
by Timothy Boatswain, Colin Nicolson
A nicely written survey from prehistory through the 1990s: wide-ranging, accessible and necessarily condensed.
The Black Sea, A History
by Charles King
A history of the region of the Black Sea by Charles king, that investigates the numerous connections that have made the crossing point of the Balkans, Central Asia and the Middle East a place in which religious communities, linguistic groups, empires and states met and co-existed for centuries.
Turkey: A Short History
by Norman Stone
A concise survey of Turkey's relations with neighboring countries and the wider world from 11th century to today.
Athens Map
by Borch Maps
An excellent laminated map of the city center at a scale of 1:7,500 with inset maps of the Acropolis, Epidaurus, Mycenae, Attica and the surrounding region.
The Museum of Abandoned Secrets
by Oksana Zabuzhko
Following 60 years of Ukrainian history, Zabuzhko weaves a dramatic tale of multiple generations and the secrets that refused to remain hidden. Though fiction, the story helps those who read it better understand the dim days of World War II up until the eve of the Orange Revolution.
Greece, Land of Light
by Nicholas Gage, Barry Brukoff
Brukoff's dramatic color photographs are paired with incisive commentary by award-winning author Nicholas Gage for this striking portrait of the people, land and history of Greece and the islands
Greece, A Traveler's Literary Companion
by Artemis Leontis (Editor)
In this terrific anthology, 24 modern Greek writers offer a flavor of their nation, its culture and people, beautiful landscapes and rich history.
Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea, Why the Greeks Matter
by Thomas Cahill
Cahill brings to life ancient Greek society and civilization through the lives and words of politicians, playwrights, a poet, a philosopher and an artist in this eloquent and absorbing tribute.
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.
Circe
by Madeline Miller
#1 New York Times Bestseller, Madeline Miller weaves an intoxicating tale of gods and heroes, magic and monsters, survival and transformation.
The Greeks, An Illustrated History
by Diane Harris Cline
This accessible photographic history of ancient Greece pays special attention to Greek innovations: great literature and architecture, war tactics, democracy, the Olympics, Socrates and much more. Cline laces the gripping story of the Greek empire with archaeological discoveries.
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.
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.
Eyewitness Guide Greek Islands
by Eyewitness Guides
Color photography, excellent local maps and an island-by-island synopsis of attractions make this book the one to carry with you. Includes a chapter on Athens.
The Greek Myths, Complete Edition
by Robert Graves
A new edition of Graves' classic collection with a cover by comic book artist Ross MacDonald. This expert retelling by Graves, a poet, memoirist and the author of I, Claudius (ITL429), still remains the seminal modern translation of the mythologies of Ancient Greece.
The Fragility of Goodness, Why Bulgaria's Jews Survived the Holocaust
by Tzvetan Todorov
A reconstruction of what happened in Bulgaria during World War II, detailing how Bulgaria became one of two countries not to turn over its Jewish population.





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.