Sailing the Cusp of Europe and Asia

Eastern Mediterranean: From Istanbul to Limassol 11 Day Expedition Cruise
SH Diana
10 Nights
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Leaving the culturally diverse city of Istanbul in Turkey behind, our five-star boutique ship heads across the Aegean Sea on our Highlights of the Aegean & Southern Turkey before landing in Cyprus. This absorbing voyage takes us on a journey through Eastern Mediterranean history, discovering once-glorious ancient sites that were home to some of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Discover the remnants of Ancient Greek and Roman trading ports, cities and temples as you roam through World Heritage archaeological sites. From picturesque medieval towns to the site of a bloody World War I battle, history surrounds you on this cultural cruise where ancient worlds have shaped the modern cities you visit today.

Trip Highlights

Stand among the ruins of Ancient Troy and listen to stories of Trojan history
Learn more about the ancient Greek poet, Homer, on his home island of Chios
Wander through ancient streets in the legendary commercial city of Ephesus
Discover more about two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
Walk though the triumphal arch of Hadrian’s Gate and immerse yourself in Antalya’s old town


Day 1-2
Istanbul bridges Europe and Asia, shaped by Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans. This diversity infuses the city's architecture, cuisine, music and arts. Sites include the Hagia Sophia museum, a former church and mosque, the stunning Blue Mosque with six minarets, Topkapi Palace, the former residence of the Ottoman sultans, and the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world.
Day 3
The culturally significant seaport of Çanakkale is the gateway to the Dardanelles, connecting the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean Sea. This historic city in northwestern Turkey, on the Asian side of the Dardanelles Strait, is renowned for its role in the poignant Gallipoli Campaign during World War I, commemorated at the Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park. The ancient city of Troy, immortalised in Greek mythology, lies nearby.
Day 4
The birthplace of Greek poet Homer, Chios island In the Aegean Sea, is known for mastic production and medieval villages. Fortress-like mastic villages were built under Genoese rule in the 12th century. Highlights include Olympi and medieval Pirgi with its intricately patterned geometric house decorations, Mesta with its fortified alleyways and central Taxiarches Church, and the mastic tree groves used to produce the unique resin.
Day 5
Kusadasi is the gateway to 11th century BC Ephesus, a well-preserved ancient site. This UNESCO-listed treasure was a vital Roman capital and religious hub from 129 BC. It features marble streets, the Temple of Hadrian, mosaic-adorned Terrace Houses, the Library of Celsus and the amphitheatre where St. Paul spoke. Nearby stood the Temple of Artemis/Diana, once among the Seven Wonders. The Seljuk archaeological museum displays Ephesus artefacts.
Patmos, Pamos
Day 6
An Aegean island in the Dodecanese islands, Patmos is an important sacred site for Christian pilgrims connected to St. John. It is here that St. John, or John of Patmos, was believed to have written the Book of Revelations in the Cave of the Apocalypse, above the port of Skala. Pilgrims walk to the top of the hill to the 11th-century Monastery of Saint John, which overlooks the picturesque white-washed capital of the island, Chora.
Day 7
Rhodes Town, one of Europe's best medieval walled towns, is known for the 14th century UNESCO-listed Old Town constructed by the Knights of St. John and the 100-foot Colossus statue that once stood in the harbour. Highlights include the bustling Turkish district, Grand Masters' Palace adorned with marble mosaics and Gothic Street of the Knights. Nearby Lindos offers whitewashed streets and an Acropolis with views over St. Paul's Bay.
Day 8
Kastelorizo, also known as Megisti, is Greece's easternmost island and the most remote one in the Dodecanese archipelago. It consists of a small complex of fourteen rocky islets and islands. Kastelorizo has a rich history. It was ruled by the Knights of Rhodes in the 14th century, followed by the Ottoman Empire, and later ceded to Italy in 1912. During WWII, the British occupied the island and finally returned it to Greece in 1948.
Day 9
As part of Türkiye's Turquoise Coast, Fethiye is known for its aqua-coloured waters. The modern town is built over the Ancient Greek city of Telmessos, the largest Lycian city. Lycian rock tombs carved into a bluff overlooking the city. include the 350 B.C. Tomb of Amyntas. The 400-km Lycian Way Trail connects sites from here to Antalya. Nearby, Ölüdeniz's Belcekiz Beach features the Blue Lagoon, while Butterfly Valley is a nature reserve.
Day 10
Founded in 150 BC by Attalos II, King of Pergamon, Antalya is now a major harbour and the largest Mediterranean Turkish city. Hadrian’s Gate marks the historical entrance to Antalya and in the Archaeological Museum, impressive collections of pottery, mosaics and artefacts. Antalya’s Old Town is a maze of narrow winding streets and for an authentic Turkish shopping experience, the Antalya Bazaar is a must.
Day 11
Limassol is the second-largest city in Cyprus, lies between the ancient sites of Amathous and Kourion. The city has witnessed various occupations. Modern waterfront buildings and a sleek promenade stand in contrast to the ancient core of the Old Town. Notably, Limassol Castle played a historic role, serving as the venue for Richard the Lionheart's marriage to Berengaria of Navarre after his conquest of the island in 1191.