Turquoise comes from the French word for Turkey and, yes, it used to refer to the stone that was found in Turkey, but now the word naturally pops up when describing the colour of the amazing crystal waters of the Turkish Riviera.
This place of the world brings together the best of two worlds – beautiful nature and rich culture. When cruising the Turkish Riviera you will get the chance to visit some of the most famous archaeological sites of the world, taking a trip back in various historical periods. At the same time you will get the opportunity to relax taking in the astonishing landscapes, swimming in turquoise waters and eat some of the best food in the world.
If you are into shopping, the Turkish bazaars will steal your heart and you will end up a master of bargaining – a must when shopping in one of the local markets. The offers are countless – rags, glass artefacts, jewellery, leather goods – and there is certainly something for every taste and pocket. What you should absolutely buy is a charm with an evil eye bead that will keep you protected throughout this marvellous journey and your life!
As the Turkish coastline goes down along the Aegean Sea and then opens us to the Mediterranean, there are three distinctive regions – each with its own merits and attractions. Do not miss the opportunity to visit each region in one cruise, if time permits it, or in multiple ones. This is a trip you will never forget!
As far as culture goes, you definitely need to see the rock-cut tombs and sarcophagi scattered around in Myra, along with the Byzantine church of St. Nicholas and the great roman theatre. Another site to explore is Xanthos, the fortified citadel city that dominated the area for centuries. Phaselis, once a mighty trading centre, boasts three harbours, a theatre and baths – all worthwhile a visit. The small, vibrant town of Kas is another favourite stop to explore the little theatre and pay a visit to the majestic Lycian tomb in the middle of a central street. You must go to Kale, a small village with a medieval castle and the necropolis at Teimioussa. Don’t miss the opportunity to swim over the underwater roman ruins!
Along the way, there are so many things to see and do. On the Datça peninsula, a visit to the ancient city of Knidos, so important in classical times to have two ports, is a must. In Laryma, on the Bozburun peninsula, you can see the Rhodian ancient fortifications. Kaunos, an ancient city near Dalyan right on the border between the ancient regions of Caria and Lycia, will thrill you with the temple-like tombs cut into the cliffs. If you find yourself in Bodrum, site of the ancient Halicarnassos, don’t miss a visit to the ruins of the mausoleum of Mausolus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Keep in mind that this is the birthplace of Herodotus.
Colonised by the Greeks during the 11th century BC, this narrow strip of land gave birth to western philosophy, as we know it. Open to foreign influences and ideas, a number of philosophers here attempted for the first time to explain the natural phenomena without recurring to super-natural laws. A major attraction is Ephesus, an ancient Greek city founded in the 10th century BC and famed for the temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Sadly only one column of the 100 supporting the temple has survived. Wander around the ruins and you will undoubtedly be in awe in front of the Library of Celsus, the façade of which has been carefully reconstructed from original pieces. To visit Ephesus, head to Kusadasi if you like some cosmopolitan overdose before you sail for more serene harbours. Or you may choose Cesme for a quieter alternative. Asin Limani is a favourite port of call with a sheltered quay and a lovely setting. Didyma, site of the ancient Miletus is definitely worth a visit. Yalikavak, on the northern side of the Bodrum peninsula is also charming and welcoming.