Important sites and historical monuments, great food, warm and generous people, emotionally moving visit to Gallipoli, swim from Europe to Asia.
The legend of Hero & Leander inspired lord Byron to swim the Hellespont (Dardanelles) in 1810. To commemorate this crossing he wrote a poem (for more information about the legend and Byon's poem see attachment).
We have a limited number of spots available for this wonderful trip - don’t miss out!
Arrive Istanbul - transfer to your hotel in the historical area of Sultanahmet.
Optional visit to a Turkish haman -a wonderful way to relax and ease the pain of aching muscles after a long flight.
Turkish Baths or 'hamams' as they are named, are for many aspects of health, not just for external cleanliness. Before Turkey was established as a separate country, the Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans and nomadic people of the region had their own variations of bathing rituals. These traditions combined, created a different variation of these ancient bathing habits, The Turkish Bath (Turkish Hammam). The bather enters the dry heat of a sweating area. Afterwards, the bather begins to perspire heavily because of a wet steam. The skin is then washed with soap and warm water and the muscles massaged. After being scoured and washed, the bather's body temperature returns to normal. You will be taken to one of the best hamams to experience this way of life and enjoy this tradition so well established in Turkey.
Afternoon walking tour to Aya Sophia, the Blue mosque and The Grand Bazaar.
Firstly we visit the magnificent Byzantine church of St Sophia, one of the finest architectural works in the world, this church has been nominated as the 8th wonder of the world by many historians. Then continue to the Blue Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Istanbul. Dating back to the 17th century, this is one of the principal adornments on the skyline of Istanbul and is also famous for its blue tiles and 6 minarets. We will also visit the Hippodrome, the former centre of sporting and political activities in Constantinople. During the visit you will be able to see the Obelisk from Egypt, the Serpentine, columns from Delphi and the fountain of Willhelm II. Our final visit of the morning is to the Grand Bazaar, which in addition to its historical importance, is a bazaar that will tempt you with its rich collection of precious handmade carpets, jewellery, leather and souvenirs.
Morning visit to Topkapi Palace
Apart from brief intervals, Topkapi Palace was home to all the Ottoman sultans until the reign of Abdulmecid I (1839-1860), a period of nearly four centuries. Over the years the palace complex underwent constant evolution. Some buildings disappeared, destroyed by fire, earthquakes or demolished to make way for new buildings. The palace was therefore not a single massive building in the western tradition, constructed at one go, but an organic structure which was never static, and reflected the styles and tastes of many periods in many independent units with individual functions.
Afternoon tour to Egyptian Spice Bazaar and Bosphorus cruise.
Your tour starts with a visit to the Egyptian Spice Bazaar which is full of the mystical aromas of various spices and colourful shops selling fruit, vegetables, flowers, fish etc. Next we board our boat for a cruise along the Bosphorus, the waterway separating the two continents of Europe and Asia. As we travel, you will have the chance to see the European style palaces of the Ottomans and the palaces of Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi, in striking contrast to some of the modern villas that line the shores.
Morning transfer to Gallipoli- After lunch you will be given a full guided tour of Gallipoli with visits to the Kabatepe Museum, Brighton Beach, Beach Cemetery, Anzac Cove, Ariburnu Cemetery, Anzac Commemoration Site, Lone Pine Australian Memorial, Johnston's Jolly (Turkish and Allied trenches and Tunnels), The Nek as well as Chunuk Bair New Zealand Memorial. Later you will cross the Dardenelles by ferry to reach Canakkale. The ferry follows the swim course- your chance to note important land marks and plan tactics.
Evening drinks and meeting with SwimTrek staff and other foreign swimmers. SwimTrek is responsible for the swim package for all foreign competitors.
In the morning there is an opportunity to attend a private beach, a short walk out of Çanakkale’s bustling centre. Here you can get used to the conditions and take advice from our swim coaches on any last minute preparations. In the afternoon you are invited to the complimentary race lunch and race briefing which is compulsory for swimmers.
Late afternoon guided tour to the ancient city of Troy.
The story of Troy is part-mythology and part-archaeology. Where does the legend stop and history begin? It involves larger-than-life figures like the heroes from Homer's Iliad: Achilles, Helen, Paris and Hector, not forgetting the rascal Schliemann, who stole its treasure. The Trojan War is a dramatic story of bravery and deceit, one that has influenced European literature since its very beginnings.
The world’s most concentrated shipping lane is closed to all traffic as we participate in the annual Turkish Remembrance Day Hellespont Swimming race. You can either race to win it or just go along at your own pace and enjoy the experience of swimming in the wake of Leander & Byron. Our course over the crossing is similar to an ellipse as we compensate for left sided current. Following the swim, the awards ceremony and the SwimTrek post race dinner is held to commemorate this wonderful and unique swimming event.
Check out from your hotel and transfer back to Istanbul or join one of our optional extensions to Greece or southern Turkey.
We strongly reccomend you extend your stay by one day for the optional swimming trip to Bozcaada Island $180pp
- Transfers Istanbul/Canakkale/Istanbul
- 6 nights accommodation 4 star hotels (based on twin share)
- Breakfast daily
- Walking tour in Istanbul
- Guided Topkapi Palace tour - Harem entrance not included
- Bosphorus cruise
- SwimTrek package including race entry, lunch and presentation dinner
- Tour of Gallipoli
- Tour of Troy
Single supplement $595pp
"I want to tell you how much I enjoyed the Turkey and Cinque Terre tours. To achieve my aim of swimming across the Dardanelles was one of many highlights even though I was second last overall! Long lasting memories of great experiences and company from these tours will remain with me."
"One word - Excellent! Your planning, hotel bookings, rail travel, etc. were brilliant. Everything went like clockwork. The hotels were outstanding."
"Gina, I have to tell you how well you did organising our 4 in 1 trip ... Turkey swim ... Cinque Terre swim ... Sicily swim tour ... Roma (with a taste of Milano perfectly timed of course to accommodate the Fashion Night!). Great locations for our hotels, perfecto choices of spots to stay in-between tours, interesting guides and tours and better still, a great bunch of people to spend time with."
"The Dardanelles swim and the tour istelf was fantastic. The flexibility, fun and camerarderie that I found on the tour made it truly memorable."
"The Dardanelles and Cinque Terre trip far exceeded my expectations and the ease of planning made for a fantastic time. Congratulations! Looking back, the highlights for me included the "training swim" in Istanbul, the baklava hunt in Canakkale, the medicals (complete with cigarette smoking doctors), the swims at Deiva Marina and Cavi, and not forgetting the people who regardless of anything, just went and enjoyed themselves. I'm looking forward to my next Cousins Tours and Travel trip and continuing my international open water swimming career!!"
Why not consider joining the swim tours in the Cinque Terre and Spain following the Dardanelles?