BODRUM GULET BOAT CRUISE
With turquoise seas beckoning you to discover more of Bodrum’s beautiful coastline, this cruise is the ultimate mix of exploration and relaxation. You’ll sail out on a gulet to while away the hours sunbathing on deck, swimming and tucking into an al fresco lunch.
Step aboard tour traditional gullet, and discover a vessel that’s all polished masts, lacquered decks and bright white sails. Regular sailings are family-friendly – an adults-only cruise runs on Sundays. You’ll set sail along the crimped coastline of Bodrum, where chilling out, sunbathing and taking in the ever-changing views are the order of the day.
Your captain will drop anchor from time to time, so you can cannonball into the Aegean. It’s idyllic snorkelling territory, so don’t forget to bring your snorkelling gear along. When the lunch bell rings, you’ll find an array of Turkish treats including meatballs, meze and salad laid out on the captain’s table – all complete with local wine, beer and soft drinks from the bar.
DALYAN RIVER BOAT CRUISE
What could be more relaxing than surrounding yourself with natural beauty on a Dalyan river cruise? One of Turkey’s most pristine beaches is the destination, with stops at mud baths and a riverside restaurant en route. Due to the presence of endangered loggerhead turtles nesting here, Iztuzu beach is also known as Turtle Beach. It was set to be developed with new resorts in the 1980s, but luckily conservation was prioritised, and instead it remains a sanctuary for the turtles. It’s a magical spot with very little human interference.’
We’ll start by meandering down the River Dalyan on an eco-friendly boat – which doesn’t harm marine life – and have fun smoothing on the anti-ageing clay during a stop at mud baths. Great for glowing skin, local legend says Cleopatra visited for a pampering soak in the mineral-rich liquid mud. Finish with a dip in the warm sulphur pool before cruising across the river for a freshly prepared lunch of local dishes. Adding a little history and culture to the mix, you’ll glide past Lycian Rock Tombs carved into the cliffs more than 2,000 years ago.
You’ll have the chance to spot birdlife where the river widens into a lagoon, before docking at Iztuzu beach. This 4km sweep of sand divides the river from the sea, a natural oasis that’s a true haven for wildlife. Sheltered by mountains, the beach shelves gently into a calm bay, where an afternoon of pure chilling beckons. Round off your day with the return river cruise to Dalyan.
BODRUM SIGHTS & SHOPPING TOUR
This Bodrum tour delivers a great mix of sights and activities. Highlights include the Gumbet Windmills, Myndos Gate, the ancient theatre – and even leaves time for a shopping centre visit and a while to explore the old town at your own pace.
Start things off with a visit to the stately Gumbet windmills, which overlook the bay, before heading on to the Myndos Gate – which dates back to the 4th century BC. The ruins of the gate are all that remains of a wall that once encircled ancient Halicarnassus, as Bodrum was known in ancient times.
Then you’ll have a guided visit to Bodrum’s theatre, which is a wonderfully preserved example of an ancient Greek public arena architecture. The rest of this Bodrum city excursion is dedicated to retail therapy, enjoying some free time to explore the city and browse the shops on your own.
EPHESUS AND HOUSE OF VIRGIN MARY TOUR
Ephesus is one of the best-preserved archaeological sites from the classical era. Highlights include the Celsus Library and the Great Theatre. You’ll also discover the House of the Virgin Mary and stop by Sirince for a spot of lunch. Gökhan, one of our local guides, says, ‘During the time of Emperor Tiberius, Ephesus was the most important city in Europe apart from Rome. It was wealthy due to its flourishing commercial activity, home to 250,000 people and culturally very advanced. The site is truly impressive – so much detail remains.’
Let your expert your guide transport you back in time, learning about the living past of Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire the Celsus Library, built with double walls to protect its scrolls from the heat. Peek into houses still decorated with frescoes, and nose around the public baths, brothel and shops. Walk down Marble Street to see the Great Theatre, a spectacular 24,000-seater dug into the hillside, which once rang with the cries of gladiators and the sermons of St Paul.
Next, we’ll visit the House of the Virgin Mary, a Catholic and Muslim shrine. There’s a wishing wall, where you can leave written prayers, and a fountain whose waters are believed by some to have miraculous powers.
BODRUM TURKISH BATH & HAMMAM
Turkish baths are synonymous the world over with relaxation and rejuvenation. On this excursion to a premier Turkish bathhouse, you’ll detox in the steam room, receive a body scrub on a stone slab and receive a foam massage.
The bath house, or hammam, has been a central part of life in Turkey for centuries, and with good reason – they’re a serious refresher for the mind, body and soul. Change into your swimwear in a cubicle, wrap yourself in a towel and step into the marble-tiled hammam or steam room. Relax on a heated marble bench and let the warm steam open your pores and ease the toxins from your skin.
Then lie on a warm stone slab for an exfoliating body scrub. And after that, you’ll be treated to a massage in warm, soapy bubbles. Once you’ve cooled off, you’ll come away feeling utterly refreshed. There’s also an optional oil massage available for an extra charge.