$4750.00

FROM: $4750 USD

UPCOMING: Sept. 5, 2015

Turkey Highlights & Gay Cruise

A Gay Tour of Turkey + A Turquoise Coast Gay Cruise (combo trip)

DESCRIPTION

Enjoy a double dose of Turkey – both by land and sea – on this epic vacation combo. First we’ll immerse you in the magic of Istanbul, from the Blue Mosque, to the Grand Bazaar, to the raucous gay bars. We’ll then visit far-flung places like the gorgeous travertine terraces of Ephesus, and the ‘fairy chimney’ rock formations of Pamukkale. Finally, we’ll board a private Turkish sailboat for the most relaxing leg of our adventure: seven glorious days cruising the Turquoise coast, with stops in charming towns and gorgeous bays along the way.

QUICK FACTS

Duration: 15 Days/14 Nights
Starts In: Istanbul
Ends In: Bodrum
Group Size: Min 6, Max 20
Deposit: $1500 USD
Accommodation: 3-Star +, Turkish Gulet
Physical Rating: 3/5
Prices: Based on double occupancy

DEPARTURES & PRICES:

HIGHLIGHTS

• Wander through cathedral-turned-mosque-turned-museum, the mighty Aya Sofya
• Discover Topkapi Palace & its Imperial Harem
• Feast on local Turkish cuisine
• Relax and get scrubbed down in a traditional hammam
• Haggle with shopkeepers at the Grand Bazaar
• Be astonished by the natural wonder of Cappadocia
• Dip your feet into the travertine terraces of Pamukkale
• Learn about ancient history at Ephesus
• Dip into the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea
• Meander amongst the ruins of Knidos
• Explore an ancient castle, then dance the night away in Bodrum

AREA MAP

ITINERARY:

Merhaba! Welcome to Turkey. As the first day of our tour, there are no activities planned until our welcome meeting at 6PM, where we'll get familiar with one another before our first official (and included) dinner in the evening. We'll then head out to explore Turkish nightlife at one of the city’s many gay bars.

Today we’ll explore some of Istanbul’s most highly-regarded sites. We’ll visit Topkapi Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with its Imperial Harem. We’ll peel back layers of history at the Aya Sofya, which was both a cathedral and mosque, before its current incarnation as a museum. And finally, we’re off to the Grand Bazaar, where you can try your hand at haggling for some swish Turkish goods, before we venture into the narrow laneways rarely seen by tourists. The evening is yours to enjoy dinner near the hotel.

After breakfast, we’ll stroll into the Hippodrome of Constantinople, the ancient sporting centre filled with some impressive monuments. From there, the sacred Blue Mosque awaits, along with the Basilica Cistern (which makes an appearance in everything from Bond film To Russia With Love, to video game Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, to Dan Brown’s novel Inferno). We’ll have an optional lunch overlooking the Golden Horn waterway, then visit the gorgeous mosaics and frescoes of the Chora Church. The rest of your afternoon is free until we get steamed and scrubbed down at the city’s best hammam (you may need a menthol after they’re done with you), followed by an optional dinner to wrap up the day.

This morning we’ll fly to Cappadocia, where locals have carved everything from homes to temples to underground cities into the region’s insane rock formations. Our first stop is the Göreme Open-Air Museum, where we’ll learn about the history of the region, followed by a visit to a local carpet shop to learn about (and perhaps purchase) authentic Turkish rugs. Dinner will be served early, and it will be a delicious traditional feast worth savouring. Then we’ll check into our boutique hotel, that, fittingly enough, happens to be in a cave. The rest of the evening is yours to unwind.

Rise and shine! Before breakfast, if you’re interested, you can get a bird’s eye view of the sunrise from a hot air balloon. We’ll then explore Kaymakli, an underground city where the locals lived during the Arab-Byzantine wars. And finally, we’ll scope out some sensational pottery at the Güray Ceramic showroom, before we break for an optional lunch. There will be some free time this afternoon, before we devour a traditional home-cooked meal prepared by a local family.

This morning we’re on another flight to Kuşadası, a seaside resort town, and the gateway to the ancient Greek city of Ephesus. The afternoon is yours to frolic on the beach before we head out for an optional dinner.

This morning we’re off to Ephesus, where we can see what 150 years of excavation and reconstruction has unearthed. You’ll be impressed by what you see, but shocked to learn that more than 80% of the city remains to be seen. Among many site highlights, we’ll see the terraced houses that once belonged to the city’s wealthiest residents. Back in Kuşadası, the remainder of the afternoon is yours, followed by an optional dinner and some refreshing libations at a local gay bar.

Today we’re off to Aphrodisias, an ancient Greek city as beautiful as its namesake goddess – Aphrodite – and one of the finest archaeological sites in Anatolia. We’ll then continue to Pamukkale where we spend our final night and celebrate this journey together with a Farewell Dinner.

This morning we’ll visit the ancient ruins of Hierapolis, and the travertine terraces of Pamukkale. Following this, we drive towards Gocek to board our private Turkish Gulet. We’ll then set sail for Tersâne-i Âmire, or the Imperial Arsenal, which served as a dockyard for the Ottoman naval fleet during WWI. After a short stop, we’ll continue onwards to the painfully quaint Aga Limani cove on the Gulf of Fethiye. From here, you can meander up the hill to the rarely visited Roman ruins of Lydae.

Today we’ll make our way to Ekincik, a picturesque bay surrounded by red cliffs and steep wooded slopes. A small shallow-bottomed riverboat awaits, which will bring us to visit the town of Dalyan and the ruins of the ancient seaport of Kaunos, where a medieval fort stands guard over the amphitheatre and Roman baths. We’ll even cross a sand bar, to where the Dalyan River meets the sea, and get to see the adorable Loggerhead Turtle in a protected habitat. To top it off, we’ll visit the spectacular 4th-century Lycian rock tombs, then end our day at Lake Koycegiz, where we can cure whatever ails us in a sensational mud bath.

This morning we’ll explore Bozukkale, a sweeping bay surrounded by the citadel walls of ancient Loryma. A walk along the 320-metre long wall provides impeccable views of the surrounding bay. After lunch, we’re off to the town of Bozburun, where life revolves around the harbour square, mosque, and waterfront cafes.

Today we visit the fishing village of Selimiye for an authentic taste of rural Turkey. There are two castles on the hills above the village, and one in the village itself, all of which are open to explore. From here, a short road trip brings us to a nearby waterfall for a dip in the cool water before we head for Dirsek - a long inlet which is home to an ancient underwater wharf.

Our cruise continues toward Bencik Bay today. Interestingly, during the Persian invasions, there was a plan to dig a canal and turn the isthmus into an island…but it never became a reality based on a warning from the oracle! Afterwards, we’ll end our day in Datca, which may seem like a sleepy harbour, but it comes alive at night with many bars lining the waterfront. This is a great place to explore, with narrow alleyways and quaint streets, charming cafés and carpet shops.

Our last full day of cruising takes us to the ancient settlement of Knidos, a place once renowned for its contribution to the art and science communities. You can soak in great views of the harbour from the amphitheatre, then head up the hill to check out a marble pedestal where the first nude statue of Aphrodite once stood. In the afternoon, we’ll make our way to the bustling port of Bodrum, where we can visit the spectacular Bodrum Castle. Our Farewell Dinner will be celebrated at a local gay-welcoming restaurant, then we’ll hit one of the local gay bars for some final drinks to wrap up a sensational week.

There are no activities planned today, and you are free to depart following breakfast. Safe travels!

• Arrival transfer to accommodation booked through OUT Adventures 
• Group leader from beginning to end of tour 
• 14 breakfasts, 5 lunch, 10 dinners
• Bottled water during cruise
• 3-star or higher accommodation (8 nights), Turkish Gulet (6 nights)
• Entrance and tour of Topkapi Palace, including the Harem
• Sightseeing in Istanbul: Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya, Grand Bazaar, Basilica Cistern, Chora Church
• Deluxe Hammam experience

• Entrance to Goreme Open-air museum, Kaymaklı underground city, and Güray Ceramic showroom
• Turkish rug educational
• Guided tours of Ephesus, Aphrodisias and Hierapolis
• Entrance to Pamukkale travertine terraces
• Domestic Flights: Istanbul to Cappadocia, Cappadocia to Kuşadası
• Guided tours of Dalyan, Kaunos & Knidos
• Travel insurance package covering medical, trip interruption & baggage loss

• International Airfare
• Departure Transfer
• Meals & Activities not mentioned in itinerary

• Gratuities for Tour Leader ($90-$180 USD)
• Gratuities for drivers, hotel staff, porters (approximately $60-$100 USD)

GALLERY

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