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  • Explore ancient cities containing fascinating classical remains on a voyage around the coast of south-west Turkey

  • Journey inland to discover the beautifully located town of Pinara with tombs cut into the rock face

  • Cruise down the Loryma Peninsula, where mountain tops are guarded by impressive fortresses of the Hellenistic age

"This was undoubtedly one of the best holidays we have had. The crew on the boat were helpful and hospitable beyond what we have experienced before and they made this a truly magical holiday"

– ACE customer on a previous Lycian Cruise tour

Many of the most striking cities in the Greek and Roman world are found along the coast of south-west Turkey, where the towering limestone cliffs and lofty mountain ranges have changed little since classical times. The armies of Alexander, the emperors of Rome and the traders of Byzantium all brought untold wealth to these rugged shores.


One of the most thrilling ways to experience the bygone cities of Lycia and south-eastern Caria is as the ancients saw them: by sea. Our private voyage on board the beautiful MS Lycian Queen, a traditional Turkish gulet, will begin with a cruise to Gemiler, where the vestiges of the once-thriving monastic community conjure up the majesty of high Byzantium at the time of Justinian.


Midway through our tour we will reach the cities of the Xanthos valley – Xanthos itself, for its Roman theatre and Byzantine citadel, and Letoon. One of the most fascinating aspects of our cruise will be the opportunity to spot ruins beneath the clear waters of the eastern Mediterranean: the remains of Aperlae and the Byzantine town of Tersane, for example, are clearly visible to the naked eye.


The cruise along the Bay of Fethiye to the ancient hilltop settlement of Lydae is always inspiring. At the extreme end of the Datça Peninsula we will drop anchor at Knidos, one of Asia Minor’s most dramatically-sited cities. Once home to Praxiteles’s celebrated Aphrodite, Knidos retains many original Hellenistic features and current excavations are unearthing more and more of this riveting twin-harboured settlement. Our journey ends in ancient Halicarnassus, site of the famous mausoleum built in honour of King Mausolus c 350 BC.


This tour will be led by Gillian Hovell, BA (Hons), an ancient historian and archaeologist with expertise spanning the Neolithic to Roman Britain and the Greek and Roman Mediterranean. Gillian actively digs at major sites in the UK and Europe, from Orkney to Pompeii, and is also an experienced tour leader and lecturer, regularly delivering talks for the Arts Society and at museums including the British Museum and the Ashmolean. An award-winning writer, she has given several TV, radio and podcast interviews and also runs online courses in archaeology, ancient history and Latin as ‘The Muddy Archaeologist’. Gillian’s guide to the archaeological sites of the Mediterranean is due for publication in 2024.

Tour Code

Please call us on 01223 841055 to discuss cabin availability.

Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded cabin, full board (except lunch on day 8) with water, tea & coffee, shore excursions & admissions, crew gratuities & all taxes.

Not Included: visa, travel insurance, master cabin supplement £390, cabin for single use supplement £1495 (on request).

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