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Shifting the Sands of the Aegean

(2 Reviews)
  • 20 Nights / 21 Days
  • Private Tour
  • May-November
  • Easy
  • Cultural, Historical, Leisure
  • Couple, Friends, Family

Highlights of the Itinerary

Stay active on a bespoke adventure of Turkey’s magnificent land attractions and stunning Aegean coastline on a 21-day tour of the country’s some top highlights perfectly blended with some under-the-radar towns and sites.

  • Explore the city of Istanbul for a taste of fine Ottoman and Byzantine architecture, along with a scenic cruise of the Bosphorus.
  • Visit the historic Gallipoli, a peninsula that tells an inspiring story of valor and sacrifice.
  • Explore the site of the ancient city of Troy and view a remake of the infamous Trojan horse.
  • Tour the impressive ruins of Assos.
  • Spend a day in the idyllic seaside town of Ayvalik.
  • Visit one of the most important cities in the Hellenistic and Roman times at Pergamon.
  • Explore the beautiful city of Izmir on the Aegean coast.
  • Tour the ruins of Sardis, the ancient capital of Lydia.
  • For two days, enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of the seaside towns of Alacati, Sigacik, and Seferihasar.
  • Explore the well-preserved ruins of Ephesus for a glimpse of stunning Greek architecture.
  • Spend a day touring the ancient towns of Priene, Miletus, and Didyma.
  • Proceed to Bodrum, where your cruise of stunning beaches, bays, and charming coastal towns and cities will begin. Your voyage will take you through Knidos, Datca, Bencik Bay, Selimiye, Hisaronu, Loryma, Serce Bay, Ekincik, Fethiye Gulf, Tersane and Gocek.

Departure & Return Location

Istanbul / Dalaman

Approx. Pick-up Time



Istanbul, Gallipoli, Troy, Assos, Ayvalik, Pergamon, Izmir, Sardis, Alacati, Sigacik, Seferihisar, Ephesus, Priene, Miletus, Didyma, Bodrum

Price Includes

  • Boutique Style Accommodation
  • All Private Transfers
  • Professional Tour Guide
  • Local (Non-Touristy) Lunches
  • Private Bosphorus CruiseLuxury motor-yacht / 2 hours
  • Private gulet yachtBasic standards with full-board menu
  • Entrance Tickets/Fees

Price Excludes

  • Dinners at hotels
  • Gratitudes


  • Room / Cabin Upgrade
  • Turkish Bath (Hamam) Experience
  • Optional activities and water sports
What to Expect

The Shifting Sands of the Aegean is a 21-day exploration of Turkey’s historical, cultural, and scenic attractions. Explore the country’s roots in historical cities and ruins before relaxing in idyllic seaside towns and beaches along the Aegean sea.

Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean sea.

Itinerary Details

Day 1Arrival in Turkey

Arrival in Turkey. Welcome at the airport and private transfer to your hotel in Istanbul. Optional activity: let’s get over that jetlag with a relaxing bath session at a Hamam (Turkish bath).

Overnight at Istanbul

Day 2Istanbul

Our guide will meet you at your hotel at a convenient time. Today will include visits to the Hippodrome, the former center of sportive and political activities of Constantinople. We will also explore the Blue Mosque, well known for its blue Iznik tiles and six minarets that make for a unique sight.

The day’s highlight will be the St. Sophia Museum, the most magnificent Byzantine Church come mosque. From here, enjoy a delicious lunch in one of the special traditional restaurants around the old city, where you will discuss tour options with your guide.

We then visit Topkapi Palace, the former Ottoman imperial residence where Sultans ruled their grand empire for over 400 years. Finally, our last great architectural marvel will be the sea of columns named the Basilica Cistern. The cistern was the primary water supply of the Great Palace, boasting a capacity of over 80,000 cubic meters.

Finally, explore the Grand Bazaar (Kapalicarsi), the world’s oldest “shopping mall,” to look for treasures in its 4000 shops.

Overnight at Istanbul | Meals: B

Day 3Istanbul

Start the day with a morning Bosphorus Cruise on a luxurious motor-yacht for 2 hours, passing half a dozen Ottoman imperial palaces, traditional Yalis (waterside villas), and shore villages. Disembark and enjoy a visit to the sumptuous imperial Dolmabahce Palace. After some nice lunch, we discover the beautiful mosaics of the church St. Savior in Chora, which tell us all the life cycles of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. This church is known as one of the best examples of late middle age and pre-renaissance.

Overnight at Istanbul | Meals: B

Day 4Gallipoli

The fourth day takes us to the Gallipoli peninsula. Tour the Anzac Memorials, commemorating a World War I battle where Turkish troops under the command of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk defended the region against enemy forces. This earned Canakkale a place in history as “Canakkale; impassable.”

To honor the 500,000 soldiers who gave their lives at Gelibolu (Gallipoli), this peninsula has been made a national park of remembrance. There are memorial monuments here in surroundings of natural beauty.

Overnight at Canakkale | Meals: B, L

Day 5Troy

After breakfast, head straight to Troy (Truva), the first excavation site in Turkey. Archeological findings show there had been nine separate periods of settlement (3000 BCE- 400).

This is also Troy, the site where Greek mythology tells of the bloodiest battle in their history. Here, one can see the ruins of city walls and the famous Trojan Horse.

As a result of excavations, you can see nine stowed settlements with four architectural layers representing seven different cultures.

Overnight at Canakkale | Meals: B, L

Day 6Assos

After breakfast, we drive to the historic town of Assos. Once a thriving city, Assos attracted many historical figures. For example, after leaving the Platonic Academy in Athens, Aristotle went to Assos where he was welcomed by King Hermia and opened an Academy in this city. It was also visited by St. Paul during his third missionary journey through Asia Minor (53- 57 CE).

Explore the town’s magnificent ruins, starting with the 5000-seat theatre, the gymnasium, bathhouse, city gates and walls, the agora, and the remains of the Temple of Athena.

Overnight at Assos | Meals: B, L

Day 7Ayvalik

Discover the famous seaside town of Ayvalik, where you will enjoy tranquil waters and pristine sandy waters. The city’s stunning coastline and spectacular natural beauty are more than enough to satisfy your eyes, while the delicious Aegean cuisines will entertain your tastebuds. Spend your day at the beaches and explore the town to glimpse the traditional Greek architecture of the town. At night, you have the opportunity to experience the vibrant nightlife of Ayvalik.

Overnight at Ayvalik | Meals: B, L

Day 8Pergamon

Today takes us to Pergamon, once the ancient world’s foremost power and center of learning and the arts. The acropolis of Pergamon was the capital of the Hellenistic Attalid dynasty. Here, marvel at the monumental temples, theatres, stoa or porticoes, gymnasium, altar, and library set into the sloping terrain and surrounded by crumbling city walls.

After lunch, visit Asclepion, perhaps the world’s most famous ancient medical center, and is the second-most important site in Bergama.

Overnight at Pergamon | Meals: B, L

Day 9Sardis

Spend the day exploring the ancient capital of the kingdom of Lydia, Sardis. From the 7th century BCE to the 15th century, Sardis was one of the great cities in the region until the Mongol Timur obliterated it. While there, explore ruins of the ancient citadel and about 1,000 Lydian graves. The untouched landscape surrounding the ruins gives the whole area a refreshingly natural and unpolluted aura.

Overnight at Izmir | Meals: B, L

Day 10Izmir

Today takes you to the city of Izmir on the Aegean coast. The city has incredibly historical and archeological heritage and stunning natural beauty in the surrounding areas. Believed to be the birthplace of Homer, there is a lot to do in Izmir. Visit the lively Konak square, explore the magnificent agora, and sample delicious Turkish cuisines.

Overnight at Alacati | Meals: B, L

Day 11Alacati

After breakfast, we head for the charming seaside town of Alacati and former home to a Greek population. Their influence is still evident today as the town is characterized by traditional Greek stone houses.

Alacati is a hidden gem boasting clean cobblestone streets lined with beautiful bougainvillea gardens. Take time to appreciate the laid-back atmosphere before proceeding to the sea for a taste of the warm beaches and azure waters.

Overnight at Alacati | Meals: B, L

Day 12Sigacik - Seferihisar

Experience a great dose of authenticity in the seaside village of Sigacik, where you will discover quirky little shops and nice restaurants as you explore this maze of cute stone houses. The town is part of the Seferihisar district, Turkey’s first slow city. The town values the richness of craft traditions, good food, the authenticity of products, and the beauty of unspoiled landscapes.

While here, explore archeological sites like Teos and the gorgeous beaches of Ekmeksiz and Akkum while surrounded by green citrus and olive groves. The district’s soft winds and natural aesthetic make it one of the most laid-back Aegean locations.

Overnight at Kusadasi | Meals: B, L

Day 13Ephesus

Take off to the ancient city of Ephesus. Start your visit at the Basilica of St. John, who came here with the Virgin Mary and wrote his Gospel. From here, we explore the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus, one of the most important religious and cultural centers of the ancient world.

Impressive structures, you will see the Isa Bey Mosque and one of the wonders of the ancient world; the Temple of Artemis. There is also the Library of Celsus, Temple of Hadrian, Theater, and Odeon. Terrace houses that opened to visit recently will also be included in our itinerary.

Close by is the House of the Virgin Mary, where she is believed to have spent her last years. On August 18th, 1961, Pope John XXll proclaimed the House of Virgin Mary at Ephesus to be sacred. Thus, you will have a chance to take a Phial of Holy Water from the Sacred Spring.

Overnight at Kusadasi | Meals: B, L

Day 14Priene - Miletus - Didyma

Early in the morning, proceed to Priene, or as historians like to call it, the Pompei of Anatolia. Highlights include the Ecclesiasterium, the Temple of Athena Polias, and the Agora. The next visit is to Miletus, where we will explore the Delphinion, Baths of Faustina, and the Council Chamber.

The last visit to Didyma served as an oracle center and a religious sanctuary to the god Apollo. Among the highlights is the Temple of Apollo and the Stadium. The Greek philosopher and historian Strabo once described Apollo’s temple as the grandest and most magnificent in the ancient world.

Embark your private gulet yacht and ahoy!

Overnight on board | Meals: B, L, D

Day 15Bodrum

Your private gulet cruise will begin in Bodrum, a lively port city with gorgeous beaches, resorts, and one of Turkey’s most exciting nightlife. Swim in the harbors’ azure waters or explore the ancient city’s myriad of historical attractions. Visit the 15th century Bodrum castle, explore the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archeology, tour the theatre and mausoleum at Halicarnassus, to name a few.

Return to your gulet for introductions with the crew and a briefing on your tour.

Overnight on board | Meals: B, L, D

Day 16Knidos - Datca

Enjoy a sweet breakfast on board before sailing for the ancient city of Knidos. From the bay, enjoy the spectacular scenery of the surrounding hillsides planted with almond, green olive, and fruit trees. Afterward, disembark and explore the historical ruins of the temple of Aphrodite Euploia, a Hellenistic theatre, and the ruins of a Doric stoa.

Your cruise will then take you to the small town of Datca, where you will get to swim in the turquoise waters of the bay and relax on one of its stunning beaches. Discover excellent seaside restaurants and explore the harbor before calling it a day.

Overnight on board | Meals: B, L, D

Day 17Bencik Bay - Selimiye

Cruise to the gorgeous Bencik Bay and enjoy its clear, calm waters surrounded by stunning views of forest-covered steep hills. Swim, snorkel, engage in watersports, and relax on the beach before sailing for the beautiful Selimiye village. The idyllic little fishing village has a laid-back, untouched feel to it and boasts of peaceful little beaches that make for excellent relaxation sports.

Overnight on board | Meals: B, L, D


Day 18Hisaronu - Loryma - Serce Bay

After breakfast, sail to Hisaronu for a session in its crystal-clear sea as you savor its clean, fresh air and magnificent view of the coastline. Next, proceed to Loryma for a delicious lunch and explore its splendid fort before heading to Serce Bay for the evening. Swim in the sheltered bay’s clear waters and enjoy a breathtaking view of the sunset from your yacht.

Overnight on board | Meals: B, L, D


Day 19Ekincik - Fethiye Gulf

Sail for Ekincik beach, where you will enjoy the sea, scenery, and historical attractions. Next, visit the Dalyan Delta and relax in its long sandy beaches as you watch the sea life before exploring the magical ruins of the ancient city of Kaunos. From there, visit the Sultaniye Kaplicalari for a therapeutic session in the mud baths, and in the late afternoon, sail for Fethiye.

Here, enjoy the excellent bays and coves as you dive or snorkel in the turquoise waters. Engage in watersports like fishing and white-water rafting, or hike the surrounding mountains for an opportunity to paraglide.

Overnight on board | Meals: B, L, D

Day 20Tersane - Gocek

After breakfast, sail for Tersane Island for an opportunity to explore underwater ruins of churches, tombs, and boathouses in the sea. Discover seaside restaurants along the coast where you will sample delicious seafood cuisines.

Return to your yacht and sail for Gocek harbor. Explore the beautiful town and savor its white sandy beaches, idyllic streets, and breathtaking scenery. Overnight will be in Gocek Harbor.

Overnight on board | Meals: B, L, D

Day 21Departure

Disembark after breakfast and private transfer to Dalaman Airport for the next destination or flight back home via Istanbul.

Meals: B



Do you have any other suggested routes for the gulet yacht?

Absolutely! At the time of the booking, we will advise the best available route and once we have a better idea of your travel type, we can also discuss other alternatives for sure.

2 Reviews
Sort By:RatingDate

Mariyam S.

Family Traveller

It was my first trip to Türkiye with my daughter and it was amazing! Ismail was always in contact, even when he was on vacation:) Highlight of our trip was on my B’day! Ismail had arranged some of his friends to come with a cake to surprise me!! Was so touched and made some new friends as well. Highly recommend working with Made in Turkey Tours!

August 10, 2023

Izzi B.

Couple Traveller

Our experience with Made In Turkey Tours was A++ our tour lasted for 20 days and everything was perfect.

From the drivers, the knowledge of the tour guides, the hotels & the restaurants that were recommended was superb.

Ismail and his staff went head over heels to make our trip pleasant and enjoyable.

September 16, 2022