By Bob Schulman
Adventurous vacationers are invited to cruise the seaways of ancient Hellenic sailors on four upcoming trips across the Aegean Sea aboard traditional wooden gulets. Sleeping up to 18 persons, the gulets will poke along from island to island, giving guests a laid-back taste of the history of Greece while sampling local food and wine.
The sailings have been put together by archaeologist and BBC TV historical documentary-maker Peter Sommer (www.petersommer.com).
Three different itineraries are available, each accompanied by expert tour guides with a choice of these four departures:
Cruising to the Cyclades — Departing April 30 and returning May 14, this 15-day sailing stops at more than a dozen Aegean islands including popular destinations like Santorini, Kos, Naxos and the sacred island of Delos, as well as rarely visited spots like remote Astypalaia, picturesque Nisyros and tiny Anafi. The tour is priced from approximately $5,380 per person double occupancy.
Cruising the Dodecanese – Offered on two different sailings, June 4-18 and Sept. 24-Oct. 8, the adventure features stops at 11 Greek isles including three UNESCO-listed World Heritage Sites. Ancient Carians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, Crusaders and Ottomans all visited or settled among these strategically located islands, leaving a rich legacy of castles, monasteries and traditional villages. The tab runs from approximately $ 5,405 ppdo.
Cruising the South-East Aegean – Set for Sept. 10-17, the eight-day expedition will combine stops at Greek islands on the eastern Aegean with sites on the Turkish shore.
Among highlights of the tour are: a sanctuary where Hippocrates practiced medicine, the tiny island of Nisyros with its labyrinthine harbour village and stupendous volcanic caldera; Symi, one of the Mediterranean’s most picturesque ports; and the monumental site of Knidos, one of the greatest cities of the ancient Aegean.
Ticket prices start at approximately $3,410 ppdo.
Tour prices include transport, accommodations, most meals, crew and guide services, and all entrance fees and tips on excursions. Airfare is not included.
Specializing in small-group expeditions, Peter Sommer Travels offers more than 20 different expert-led land tours and gulet cruises among ancient sites dotting Turkey, Greece and Italy.
Other itineraries include gulet cruises among Greek and Turkish islands and along Italy’s famed Amalfi Coast; family tours; gastronomic tours of Sicily and Turkey; city tours of Athens, Rome and Istanbul; cultural walking holidays; and tours of regions such as Crete, the Peloponnese and Sicily.