Special - Turkey and the Greek Islands (2024)

Itinerary

DAY 1 | ISTANBUL

Embark on a European and Asian adventure packed with a wealth of charm and cultural diversity. Roam the ‘blue’ mosque of Sultan Ahmet, the Grand Bazaar, opulent Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia or sink into a serene Turkish Bath experience. Embrace the city’s vine-shaded homely district where ladies shop for butter-soaked baklava and freshly picked olives. Explore further to haggle for gold jewellery, linen and oriental antiques. Dine in the atmospheric old city or take a ferry to Asia for street-served food. Feast over rich platters of meze, moist grilled bluefish and succulent kebabs. Heighten your senses even further in the spice bazaar with enticing aromas and vibrant, colourful displays. After such a sensorial feast, indulge in a restorative raki, whichever continent you’re in. By night parties don’t start until late, but expect to dance till dawn. Join the late crowd spilling into the streets overlooking the Bosphorus. Sway at European rooftop bars, shimmer by ferry over to the Asian suburbs or remain ensconced in old-fashioned folk venues. An eclectic fusion of east and west, this city is conservative at heart with a truly modern soul.

DAY 2 | At Sea

DAY 3 | SANTORINI

Dreamily sail into Santorini when others leave. Romantic, exuberant and pure; roam one of the world’s most enchanting islands as you enjoy breathtaking scenery, rock-set whitewashed houses, paved paths, sugar white sand, black beaches and terracotta cliffs. Experience the many geological and architectural delights; blue-domed churches, an active volcano, excavate with experts and cover the caldera between cliff-hanging Oia and Fira. Glide through sapphire seas in a catamaran, taste local wine, eat freshly-caught seafood, break plates and shop elegant boutiques. Then settle in for a slow moonlit dinner high on a hilltop, just in time for the world-famous sunset.

DAY 4 | RHODES

Rising from the sea like a jewel, the island of Rhodes was a gift from Zeus to Helios, the sun god. A sun-kissed home to Cicero and Caesar whose rhetoric and thinking still echo along stone-paved lanes and the UNESCO-listed Old Town. Follow the footsteps of the Knights of St. John and their Turkish conquerors who both left fascinating monuments, fountains and shady squares. Soak up the buzzing energy and be gently tempted to step back in time. Pay respect at the pinkish Suleiman Mosque with its tall minaret then seek serenity at the Byzantine Church or heavenly views where perfectly positioned white houses are dotted high into the hills. Whilst you wander, lean into the legend of the 100-foot Colossus, a wonder of the world, replaced now with twin bronze deer that guard the Mandraki Harbour.

DAY 5 | BODRUM

Imagine an old-world fishing town with high society appeal. Explore breathtaking sights on the sunlit Peninsula of the turquoise coast. Soak up the town’s buzzing energy; shop, eat, relax and explore. Pay respect to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, savour fresh fish and meze and sip coffee of toe-tingling strength. Delve into captivating landscapes bursting with nature; the Bafa Lake, olive groves, bougainvillea and hundreds of different bird species. Feel the wind in your hair on a private gullet as you voyage to crystal clear coves of the Aegean. Lasting memories abound.

DAY 6 | SAMOS

Considered a cosmopolitan locus of leisure in the Ancient World, Samos welcomed many of the greats to its sandy shores, including Herodotus, Aesop, Pythagoras and Cleopatra. Hera is thought to have held her wedding to Zeus here, and we retrace her steps amidst the columns and coastal temple ruins. This far-flung Aegean island also boasts lush botanical beauty: hike through the hills to springs and waterfalls, seeking pretty mountain villages, churches and monasteries, and enjoy harvests of local fruit and vegetables, olives, honey, lavender, rosemary and acclaimed muscat wine. Alongside a wealth of great beaches with sparkling azure waters, carve time for the archaeological museum in the pretty harbour town of Pythagorio and wander Kokkari, a fishing village known as Samos’s Little Venice.

DAY 7 | PAROS

Unveil picturesque Paros' unadorned charms from ancient remains to traditional tavernas and sweet villages and blue-domed churches to a bounty of blonde-sand beaches. Head out to Parikia to find the awe-inspiring AD326 Byzantine monastery or take a ferry across to explore caves in the rugged natural beauty of Antiparos. Walk through the island's ancient archaeological history at the tiny museum and lose yourself in the labyrinth of lanes at the old Venetian port of Náoussa. Banish any tension on a sunlounger, then breeze through home-cooked mezze feasts in white-washed tavernas. Windsurf, kite-surf, dive, swim au naturel and enjoy a network of walking trails. Somehow Páros has managed to preserve more of the soft spirit than some of her Cyclade cousins.

DAY 8 | PIRAEUS (ATHENS)

Athenians don’t live in the past. Ahead of its time, Athens exudes glamour and a sense of possibility - housing galleries, gelaterias, bijoux boutiques alongside a plethora of museums. And you can’t help but marvel at the archaeological wonders of the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Stroll through vibrant streets and markets, dance at buzzing bouzoukia, sing along in tavernas. At night, head to the harbour, where dimly lit bars serve the local ice cold beer. And, as you inhale the salty air and watch Greek fishing boats peacefully depart for their catch, reflect on this ancient city's progressive attitude.

Special - Turkey and the Greek Islands (2024)
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