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MAX SHORE: 24-Night Comprehensive Anatolia and Holy Land

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COMPREHENSIVE

ANATOLIA AND HOLY LAND

ANCIENT WORLDS

Take a 24-night voyage on this signature MAX SHORE itinerary, starting in Istanbul, traveling into Greece and Cyprus before arriving in Ashdod, Israel. Here, choose between two COMPLIMENTARY, 6-day/5-night land packages: Explore Haifa and Ashdod with local excursions. Or, if you’re more adventurous, head inland for an immersion into Petra, one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World before glamping at an authentic Bedouin camp. Venture over to Tel Aviv’s famously vibrant marketplace. Rejoin the ship with another overnight in Israel before sailing onto Egypt and disembarking in Athens, Greece.

Like all other Atlas Ocean Voyages expeditions, our signature MAX SHORE itineraries are All Inclusive All The Way, including COMPLIMENTARY inland transportation, hotels and glamping, meals, and tours. It’s truly a vacation within a vacation.

ALL INCLUSIVE ALL THE WAY

Roundtrip airfare • Top-shelf beverages • Elevated accommodations • Butler service for suites • In-room indulgence: Enjoy L’Occitane products • Self-care on us with yoga, mat Pilates and Spinning®️ • Enriching classes • A Complimentary adventure in select ports • Gourmet international dining • Prepaid gratuities

Comprehensive Anatolia and Holy Land

Aug 13, 2021 / 24 nights

World Navigator

Base Rates
Starting FROM $15,698 per person

*Government Taxes and Fees are additional.

Aug 13 Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul’s combination of religious history and vibrant, cultural influences make it a dream destination for the most experienced travelers. Throughout its history, many empires have ruled in Turkey. The influences of Roman, Egyptian, Byzantine, and more remain apparent in the city’s architecture, art, and traditions. Straddling the Bosphorous Strait, the narrow passage that joins the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, Istanbul has connected trade and culture between Europe and Asia for millennia.

You will want to stop at the Grand Bazaar to get a true feel for the present-day culture of the city. Filled with merchants, artisans, and authentic wares, the bazaar provides a vibrant backdrop for a little holiday shopping. The rush of locals haggling back and forth to get the best prices will sweep you up in the energy of the people and make you want to join in.

For the traveler that wants an intimate experience with Istanbul’s traditions, a visit to a hamam, the famous Turkish baths, fits the criteria. The city has transformed the historically Roman baths into spa-like sites for the modern explorer’s needs. Structures crafted from shining marble give these baths a classic look and feel with contemporary amenities, bringing together the best of both past and present.

Some of the most beautiful architecture in Istanbul is found in the mosques. These sacred spaces filled with centuries of religious history inspire awe with their colorful paintings and intricate patterns throughout the interiors. Their grand appearances from the outside also create a striking view when roaming the bustling streets of the city.

Aug 14 Istanbul, Turkey Depart: 6:00PM
Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul’s combination of religious history and vibrant, cultural influences make it a dream destination for the most experienced travelers. Throughout its history, many empires have ruled in Turkey. The influences of Roman, Egyptian, Byzantine, and more remain apparent in the city’s architecture, art, and traditions. Straddling the Bosphorous Strait, the narrow passage that joins the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, Istanbul has connected trade and culture between Europe and Asia for millennia.

You will want to stop at the Grand Bazaar to get a true feel for the present-day culture of the city. Filled with merchants, artisans, and authentic wares, the bazaar provides a vibrant backdrop for a little holiday shopping. The rush of locals haggling back and forth to get the best prices will sweep you up in the energy of the people and make you want to join in.

For the traveler that wants an intimate experience with Istanbul’s traditions, a visit to a hamam, the famous Turkish baths, fits the criteria. The city has transformed the historically Roman baths into spa-like sites for the modern explorer’s needs. Structures crafted from shining marble give these baths a classic look and feel with contemporary amenities, bringing together the best of both past and present.

Some of the most beautiful architecture in Istanbul is found in the mosques. These sacred spaces filled with centuries of religious history inspire awe with their colorful paintings and intricate patterns throughout the interiors. Their grand appearances from the outside also create a striking view when roaming the bustling streets of the city.

Aug 15 Kepez, Turkey Arrive: 7:00AM Depart: 8:00PM
Kepez, Turkey

Kepez leaves much room for imagination as its rich culture gives way to legend and history, where the lines between the two often overlap. From Troy to Gallipoli, Turkey beckons the curious to explore its deepest reaches.

Approaching the shores of seaside town Kepez, a line of historic structures on the horizon greets travelers as they arrive and bids them farewell when they depart. But beyond this view, the Turkish city holds a great deal of modernity that any explorer can appreciate for its contemporary history. From here, those filled with wanderlust can venture to the likes of Troy and Gallipoli.

The land of myth and legend no longer resides in history as archaeologists have brought to life Troy’s storied past, made accessible to the present. A walk through the ancient stone columns of the 3,700-year-old city will make you feel like you just witnessed the battle between Paris and Achilles. As you catch sight of the monument commemorating the famous Trojan horse, it’s impossible not to feel a sense of victory.

Over in the Gallipoli Peninsula, a more hushed aura surrounds the region’s history and its role in World War I. At the Gallipoli Campaign Historic Site you will find monuments and memorials that honor the Allied defeat. It’s a place of pilgrimage for many who wish to pay their respects for the lives lost to the battle. Along the Anzac Cove, where the troops landed for their campaign, the soft lap of the water against the rocks and shore brings you back to that fateful moment in history.

Aug 16 Bozcaada, Turkey Arrive: 8:00AM Depart: 6:00PM
Bozcaada, Turkey

Bozcaada Island, also known as Tenedos, offers spectacular views of the cerulean Aegean Sea. Rocky coastlines lead to lush vineyards, of which cover one-third of the island, where fun-loving travelers can tour the wineries and wine cellars. A gateway to the Canakkale Province, the third largest island of Turkey begs explorers to come and play.

From the white, sandy beach shores and diving into the crystal-clear Aegean waters, a diverse array of underwater flora invites you to see more beneath the waves. That’s why so many visitors spend so much time snorkeling the island’s coast, discovering all the ocean has to offer.

Beyond the shores and making your way to town, whitewashed houses in the Greek style decorated with vibrant foliage line the narrow, cobblestone streets. This idyllic scene makes a leisurely stroll through town well worth the steps on the pedometer. A gentle breeze under the shade of trees in an alleyway between restaurants entices wanderers to stop for a bite to eat and to bask in the scenery with a glass of wine in hand.

As you take the road to Canakkale, you get closer to myth and legend than ever before. In the city center lies the replica Trojan horse from the star-studded film Troy. Sadly, a Brad Pitt appearance is not guaranteed. But you can still dive into the seaside city’s culture and history by stopping for dinner at a local restaurant and enjoying the catch of the day directly from the Dardanelles Strait.

Aug 17 Dikili, Turkey Arrive: 8:00AM Depart: 6:00PM
Dikili, Turkey

Rich history and ancient ruins. Sandy shores surrounded by mountain ranges. Hot springs and mud baths. The coastal town of Dikili, Turkey offers plenty of off-the-beaten-path hot spots for travelers seeking more than the average vacation.

Lying on the coast of the Aegean Sea, Dikili’s panoramic views include blue as far as the eye can see with the expansive sight of the surrounding Madra Mountains, dotted with lush forest. Venturing past the shores, the streets of the Turkish town mix cobblestone paths with modern roads, for a charming combination of past and present one would expect of a small town.

For a true journey to the past, you must go where the western Anatolia and the Aegean converge: Pergamon. This UNESCO World Heritage Site abounds with ruins, stones, and columns that stayed behind from the sprawling city that once claimed the site. An ancient amphitheater carved directly in the mountains takes you back in time to spark your imagination.

Many find their way to Dikili for the thermal springs and healing mud baths. The country’s unique geography makes this miraculous feature possible. Slipping into pure relaxation and bliss has never been so easy. While a mud bath might sound counterintuitive, there is something about the activity that brings you back to childhood, playing in the dirt without a care in the world.

Aug 18 Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey Arrive: 8:00AM Depart: 11:45PM
Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey

Making port in the coastal resort town of Kusadasi from the Aegean Sea, travelers are greeted by a castle on Pigeon Island surrounded by lush, green trees. The causeway along the route connects this lone island to the mainland of Kusadasi, where visitors will disembark to begin their exploration of Turkey.

Picture this: marble ruins of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World right before your eyes. Through the rubble you gaze upon the impressive Temple of Artemis. This is the experience of Ephesus, a UNESCO-listed, 4,000-year-old city located in Selcuk that is considered the best-preserved classical city of the eastern Mediterranean.

Countless historical sites and ruins abound in the region, from the Basilica of St. John to the House of the Virgin Mary. A visit to Ephesus makes it easy to step into the past and imagine life among the locals in times before. Nothing invokes that feeling more than the ruins of the Library of Celsus, an ancient Roman site where its namesake is buried in a crypt beneath it.

This archaeological zone still buzzes with activity, as archaeologists continue to dig through the ruins and discover its secrets. To walk among the excavations as scientists continue to unearth the site’s remnants makes it hard not to get swept up in the history.

Standing amid the ruins, beyond the excavations, stretching far and wide before your eyes is Ayasuluk Hill. Dotted with palm trees and other foliage, the site creates the perfect picture of the region’s mild climate, making it a vacation haven.

Aug 19 Patmos, Greece Arrive: 8:00AM Depart: 10:00PM
Patmos, Greece

The “Holy Island” of Patmos holds religious history as the site where St. John wrote the Book of Revelations. With quintessential whitewashed houses in the Greek style and iconic windmills against a backdrop of blue skies, the Sacred Land of the Aegean also offers breathtaking panoramas that will impress the most experienced travelers.

Venturing over to the Cave of the Apocalypse amid the hills between Skala and Chora, you get a whole new view of the countryside. As the golden sun hits the Monastery of St. John over the rich, brown stones and hillside, it’s easy to see why this is a sacred land. Constructed in the Byzantine style, its stone walls and turrets call to the explorer with a thirst for knowledge.

Sunny skies and the quiet rush of waves from the Aegean Sea over sandy shores make Patmos the perfect destination for a lazy beach day. The mountains ranges of Greek islands dot the horizon, making it an ideal scene for a photo op. As the sea breeze blows through your hair, whether you’re playing in the water or laying on the sand, it brings a sense of utter relaxation.

Along the seaside village you will find an array of restaurants with the fresh catch of the day. Whether you’re indulging in a hearty meal full of Greek flavors and favorites or simply stopping for a cup of coffee along the boardwalk, the sleepy little town gives you the chance to slow down, mingle with the locals, and get an intimate feel of life on a Greek island.

Aug 20 Bodrum, Turkey Arrive: 8:00AM Depart: 6:00PM
Bodrum, Turkey

From its sunbathing corners shaded by olive groves to gourmet cuisine and a lively night life, Bodrum has been deemed the St. Tropez of Turkey. The vibrant city has become a celebrity hot spot for a getaway away from prying eyes.

Located along the southern coast of Bodrum Province, this town offers vistas of deep blue sea that only the Aegean Sea can provide. Whitewashed houses mixed with the more colorful buildings reaching up into the hills creates a magnificent sight that calls travelers to come further explore the city’s shores.

Further into the backstreets and side paths of Bodrum, you pass between the iconic Greek style houses adorned by brightly colored flowers and lush foliage. These narrow streets and paths beckon with the sense of adventure and taking the road less traveled.

From the street markets and into the Bodrum Bazaar, you get the chance to test your haggling skills as you shop among the locals for fresh herbs and produce. The spice markets of Bodrum tantalize with a rainbow of colors and fresh, aromatic scents that drift through the air as you peruse the stalls for what will become part of your next culinary adventure.

Fresh seafood abounds at the restaurants along the waterfront. Savory smoked mackerel fillets send a whiff of pure deliciousness through the air that will make your nose lead the way. If you have a sweet tooth, then lokmasi is the way to go. These deep fried dough balls submerged in syrup will leave your mouth watering for more once the very last one is gone.

Aug 21 Marmaris, Turkey Arrive: 8:00AM Depart: 6:00PM
Marmaris, Turkey

At the intersect where the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas meet lies the Turkish town of Marmaris. Stunning vistas of deep blue ocean and sky surrounded by expansive mountain ranges dotted with lush green make this city an absolute heaven on earth. Sandy beaches dotted with multicolored umbrellas along the water’s edge invite travelers to stop for a moment and take in the wonder.

As soon as you step on shore the sight of Marmaris Castle, built around 1044 B.C.E., greets you. The path that leads you to the castle lies on a stone road between whitewashed houses with vibrant flower decorations. Interspersed within the castle’s stone walls stand tropical palms, creating a juxtaposed image of ancient history with paradise vibes.

Throughout the town, structures range from the iconic Greek style to brick paved houses and streets. But all paths wind their way through the city, giving you plenty of corners to explore and discover away from crowded areas. Between adventures you can stop at one of the many tavernas to grab a kebab or indulge in a piece of baklava or kunefe. You may get pulled into conversation among the friendly residents while you’re there.

In the evening, the musical dancing fountain provides a fantastic spectacle that will bring out your inner child. Located in the heart of the Marmaris town center, many visitors stop for a few minutes to catch the show. Colorful lights synchronized with music and a spewing fountain make for a delightful performance to forever keep in your memory.

Aug 22 Fethiye, Turkey Arrive: 8:00AM Depart: 6:00PM
Fethiye, Turkey

Along Turkey’s southwestern Turquoise Coast lies the perfectly blue-green lagoon of the beach at Oludeniz in Fethiye. The rocky coast dotted with green shrubbery amid the remote, ocean backdrop makes the perfect spot to do a cannonball into the water and grab an epic picture.

The former ancient city of Telmessos transformed into Fethiye holds thousands of years of rich history and culture. The ancient ruins of Lycian society and a Roman theater strewn over the mountains spark a sense of adventure as your imagination runs wild of what life must have once looked like among the stone structures and columns.

Amid the 86,000 square meters of Butterfly Valley you can mingle with over 100 species of these gossamer beauties. A cascading waterfall in the background runs into a gentle river that waters the butterflies’ native habitat, the chaste trees. Between the nature preserve and forested mountains, Fethiye’s environment enchants and enthralls with its breathtaking views.

The city’s Old Town creates the perfect backdrop for wandering through the bazaars where you can haggle with the locals for their goods and wares. When your appetite opens up, there are plenty of restaurants to stop and grab a kebab, mezes, or fresh-caught seafood.

The sweet and savory flavors of dishes like yogurt with herbs and garlic or hot pepper, walnut and tomato crush mix on the palate for a feast you are not soon to forget. Along the seaside promenade lies a feast for the eyes as well as the sun sparkles on top of the water.

Aug 23 Kekova Island & Demre, Turkey Arrive: 8:00AM Depart: 6:00PM
Kekova Island & Demre, Turkey

Amid the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea lies the uninhabited Kekova Island, also known as Caravola, still bountiful with raw nature. Between stony shores and dotted green hills remnants of a former Lycian society give visitors a glimpse into the world’s first democratic federation.

The sunken ruins of a Byzantine church, visible in Tersane Bay, add an air of mystery around an already remote paradise. But don’t forget — no swimming allowed.

However, kayaking and snorkeling off the coast of Kekova Island is allowed. Lying along the Teke peninsula on the Mediterranean coast amid the backdrop of the Tauras Mountains, the town of Demre allows you to go further into history with the ruins at Myra. Stone pillars and temples carved into the mountain rocks give the impression of a society long past but still alive.

The tomb of Saint Nicholas, most famously associated with Santa Claus, in the ancient city has become a popular pilgrimage for many travelers. There is even a statue of the saint in the main square of Demre that offers an opportune photo op for those that are tickled by the legend of jolly old Saint Nick.

The modern town of Demre consists of wide acres of farmland. But on the outskirts of today’s Demre still remain the abandoned Greek settlements from so many years ago, giving an eerie feel of a ghost town. Kekova Island and Demre lie so far off the beaten path that very few travelers get to explore their storied pasts and bask in their present wonders.

Aug 24 Paphos, Cyprus Arrive: 8:00AM Depart: 5:00PM
Paphos, Cyprus

Considered the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite, Paphos contains enough prehistoric archaeological sites rich in the real and the mythical to satiate the most curious of minds. The vast Archaeological Park and Tombs of the Kings, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, offer a playground of ancient stones and ruins to let travelers’ imaginations run rampant with life from as far back as the fourth century B.C.E.

Overlooking the impossible blue hue of the Mediterranean Sea from Cyprus’ southwest coast, Paphos offers spectacular vistas of horizons filled with white, sandy hills. Tropical palms mixed with old castles create the backdrop for this picture-perfect destination that is made for exploration.

Paphos does not get mired in its past, though. A modern waterfront filled with shops, restaurants, and hotels makes it ready to greet travelers looking for everyday conveniences. Visitors can stroll along the brick-paved promenade and watch local fishermen bring in the catch of the day. A cool sea breeze from the coast creates an idyllic scene to sit for a spell at one of the cafes.

Cypriot cuisine makes an impression on every traveler. With influences coming from across three continents and various cultures, the flavors of this island’s food range from Greek to Turkish to Middle Eastern. Those who take a trip to Cyprus cannot leave without trying its signature cheese dish, halloumi. Letting the salty cheese run wild against the palate is best enjoyed with a glass of Cypriot wine.

Aug 25 Masada (Ashdod), Israel Arrive: 8:00AM OVERNIGHT
Masada (Ashdod), Israel

The port of Ashdod acts as a gateway to the powerful history of the Holy Lands. A pilgrimage along the expansive scenery along the Dead Sea takes you to Massada: an ancient fortress and ruins that hold great significance in the Jewish religion. Overlooking the remnants of the past Jewish rebels’ stone houses from which they fled slavery, solemnity takes hold under the blazing desert sun.

The trek to the summit of Massada begins either on the zig-zagging Snake Path or the easier Roman Ramp. The walk along these paths offers stunning views of golden sun over brown, stone hills as far as the eye can see. But if walking is not your speed, then you can ride the cable car up from the eastern entrance of the national park for an equally amazing vista.

Below the ancient fortress lies the lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea, where you can float weightlessly for an experience like none other. The silky smooth waters flow over your skin creating a pleasant sensation that makes it impossible to tell that you are still bound to the earth.

Out in the quiet desert of the Mitzpe Ramon nature reserve, a deep blue-black sky filled with twinkling stars surrounds you with a sense of wonder. As you gather around a crackling fire at your campsite with new friends, basking in the crisp, cool night, you cannot help but be overwhelmed with the pure magic created by a perfect night for stargazing.

Aug 26 Masada (Ashdod), Israel Depart: 8:00PM
Masada (Ashdod), Israel

The port of Ashdod acts as a gateway to the powerful history of the Holy Lands. A pilgrimage along the expansive scenery along the Dead Sea takes you to Massada: an ancient fortress and ruins that hold great significance in the Jewish religion. Overlooking the remnants of the past Jewish rebels’ stone houses from which they fled slavery, solemnity takes hold under the blazing desert sun.

The trek to the summit of Massada begins either on the zig-zagging Snake Path or the easier Roman Ramp. The walk along these paths offers stunning views of golden sun over brown, stone hills as far as the eye can see. But if walking is not your speed, then you can ride the cable car up from the eastern entrance of the national park for an equally amazing vista.

Below the ancient fortress lies the lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea, where you can float weightlessly for an experience like none other. The silky smooth waters flow over your skin creating a pleasant sensation that makes it impossible to tell that you are still bound to the earth.

Out in the quiet desert of the Mitzpe Ramon nature reserve, a deep blue-black sky filled with twinkling stars surrounds you with a sense of wonder. As you gather around a crackling fire at your campsite with new friends, basking in the crisp, cool night, you cannot help but be overwhelmed with the pure magic created by a perfect night for stargazing.

Aug 27 Jerusalem (Haifa), Israel Arrive: 8:00AM OVERNIGHT
Jerusalem (Haifa), Israel

On the plateau of the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and Dead Seas lies one of the oldest cities in the world. The very atmosphere of the ancient city of Jerusalem is heavy with solemn energy and sacred history. Along the northern slope of Mount Carmel lies the port city of Haifa, where your pilgrimage begins to a land filled with religious significance.

Atop Mount Carmel, the view gives way to a sprawling, modern city complete with skyscrapers and contemporary constructs. Often called “Israel’s San Francisco,” Haifa contains a bustling city alive with workers and residents as they go about their daily lives. Filled with museums and cultural events, Haifa boasts a rich and vibrant backdrop for even the most experienced traveler.

But the true jewel of the city are the Bahai Gardens, an oasis with Italian stone, fountains, emerald lawns, and vibrant flowers sloping down 19 steep terraces to a resplendent dome shrine that makes up the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Out at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a hushed reverence falls over the place of prayer, a site rife with emotion. Walking through the old stone corridors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, you cannot help but get mired in the history of this sacred city that holds significance to many major religions.

Venturing to the outskirts of the city, you find the Mount of Olives, where some of the oldest olive trees in the world still stand. The Garden of Gethsemane provides another holy site, with a backdrop of lush green to feel the embrace of nature.

Aug 28 Jerusalem (Haifa), Israel
Jerusalem (Haifa), Israel

On the plateau of the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and Dead Seas lies one of the oldest cities in the world. The very atmosphere of the ancient city of Jerusalem is heavy with solemn energy and sacred history. Along the northern slope of Mount Carmel lies the port city of Haifa, where your pilgrimage begins to a land filled with religious significance.

Atop Mount Carmel, the view gives way to a sprawling, modern city complete with skyscrapers and contemporary constructs. Often called “Israel’s San Francisco,” Haifa contains a bustling city alive with workers and residents as they go about their daily lives. Filled with museums and cultural events, Haifa boasts a rich and vibrant backdrop for even the most experienced traveler.

But the true jewel of the city are the Bahai Gardens, an oasis with Italian stone, fountains, emerald lawns, and vibrant flowers sloping down 19 steep terraces to a resplendent dome shrine that makes up the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Out at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a hushed reverence falls over the place of prayer, a site rife with emotion. Walking through the old stone corridors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, you cannot help but get mired in the history of this sacred city that holds significance to many major religions.

Venturing to the outskirts of the city, you find the Mount of Olives, where some of the oldest olive trees in the world still stand. The Garden of Gethsemane provides another holy site, with a backdrop of lush green to feel the embrace of nature.

Aug 29 Jerusalem (Haifa), Israel Depart: 10:00PM
Jerusalem (Haifa), Israel

On the plateau of the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and Dead Seas lies one of the oldest cities in the world. The very atmosphere of the ancient city of Jerusalem is heavy with solemn energy and sacred history. Along the northern slope of Mount Carmel lies the port city of Haifa, where your pilgrimage begins to a land filled with religious significance.

Atop Mount Carmel, the view gives way to a sprawling, modern city complete with skyscrapers and contemporary constructs. Often called “Israel’s San Francisco,” Haifa contains a bustling city alive with workers and residents as they go about their daily lives. Filled with museums and cultural events, Haifa boasts a rich and vibrant backdrop for even the most experienced traveler.

But the true jewel of the city are the Bahai Gardens, an oasis with Italian stone, fountains, emerald lawns, and vibrant flowers sloping down 19 steep terraces to a resplendent dome shrine that makes up the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Out at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a hushed reverence falls over the place of prayer, a site rife with emotion. Walking through the old stone corridors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, you cannot help but get mired in the history of this sacred city that holds significance to many major religions.

Venturing to the outskirts of the city, you find the Mount of Olives, where some of the oldest olive trees in the world still stand. The Garden of Gethsemane provides another holy site, with a backdrop of lush green to feel the embrace of nature.

Aug 30 Masada (Ashdod), Israel Arrive: 6:00AM OVERNIGHT
Masada (Ashdod), Israel

The port of Ashdod acts as a gateway to the powerful history of the Holy Lands. A pilgrimage along the expansive scenery along the Dead Sea takes you to Massada: an ancient fortress and ruins that hold great significance in the Jewish religion. Overlooking the remnants of the past Jewish rebels’ stone houses from which they fled slavery, solemnity takes hold under the blazing desert sun.

The trek to the summit of Massada begins either on the zig-zagging Snake Path or the easier Roman Ramp. The walk along these paths offers stunning views of golden sun over brown, stone hills as far as the eye can see. But if walking is not your speed, then you can ride the cable car up from the eastern entrance of the national park for an equally amazing vista.

Below the ancient fortress lies the lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea, where you can float weightlessly for an experience like none other. The silky smooth waters flow over your skin creating a pleasant sensation that makes it impossible to tell that you are still bound to the earth.

Out in the quiet desert of the Mitzpe Ramon nature reserve, a deep blue-black sky filled with twinkling stars surrounds you with a sense of wonder. As you gather around a crackling fire at your campsite with new friends, basking in the crisp, cool night, you cannot help but be overwhelmed with the pure magic created by a perfect night for stargazing.

Aug 31 Masada (Ashdod), Israel Depart: 4:00PM
Masada (Ashdod), Israel

The port of Ashdod acts as a gateway to the powerful history of the Holy Lands. A pilgrimage along the expansive scenery along the Dead Sea takes you to Massada: an ancient fortress and ruins that hold great significance in the Jewish religion. Overlooking the remnants of the past Jewish rebels’ stone houses from which they fled slavery, solemnity takes hold under the blazing desert sun.

The trek to the summit of Massada begins either on the zig-zagging Snake Path or the easier Roman Ramp. The walk along these paths offers stunning views of golden sun over brown, stone hills as far as the eye can see. But if walking is not your speed, then you can ride the cable car up from the eastern entrance of the national park for an equally amazing vista.

Below the ancient fortress lies the lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea, where you can float weightlessly for an experience like none other. The silky smooth waters flow over your skin creating a pleasant sensation that makes it impossible to tell that you are still bound to the earth.

Out in the quiet desert of the Mitzpe Ramon nature reserve, a deep blue-black sky filled with twinkling stars surrounds you with a sense of wonder. As you gather around a crackling fire at your campsite with new friends, basking in the crisp, cool night, you cannot help but be overwhelmed with the pure magic created by a perfect night for stargazing.

Sep 01 Limassol, Cyprus Arrive: 8:00AM Depart: 4:00PM
Limassol, Cyprus

Limassol surprises travelers not only with its rich, historical culture, but also as a modern city. From beautiful beaches and wine villages, to outdoor adventures, to galleries, shopping, and a wealth of venues to indulge yourself with the local gastronomy, this Cyprus city has no shortage of wonder. Cyprus’ largest seaport lies in Akrotiri Bay, awaiting explorers to discover its magic.

To begin your historical journey through the city, find the path to Limassol Castle, also called Lemesos Castle. Archaeologists found that while the castle itself dates back to the Middle Ages the structures of its foundations appear to come from long before then. These old stones stand amid a surrounding scenery of lush green and blue skies, creating a picture of a monument that stands outside of time.

A walk through Prokymea Sculpture Park along the seaside with a pleasant ocean breeze creates the perfect combination of cosmopolitan sensibilities with simple pleasures. Molos promenade stretches from the zoo to the Old Port, its path lined by palm trees for a stroll that invites you to linger for a while. Once you have worked up an appetite, samplers known as mezes wait to tempt your palette at tavernas.

Rich flavors abound among the local fare of olives, grilled vegetables, hummus, calamari, roasted fish, and halloumi. A sampling of traditional Greek food might not be enough, so try a classic dish of moussaka. If you only want a quick snack between adventures, then stop at a local café to enjoy the rich aroma of a cup of coffee with a sweet pastry as you sit outside in the sea breeze and sunshine.

Sep 02 Cairo (Port Said), Egypt Arrive: 7:00AM Depart: 8:30PM
Cairo (Port Said), Egypt

The major seaport city of Port Said acts as the gateway to the iconic Cairo, Egypt. While often associated with the likes of the pyramids and the Sphinx, invoking images of ancient Pharaohs, Cairo stands as a relatively modern capital by Egypt’s standards. A vibrant mix of ancient history with contemporary skyscrapers and ornate mosques led Cairo to become known as the City of a Thousand Minarets.

Port Said stands along both the Mediterranean Sea and the Suez Canal. You can roam the five-mile boardwalk of the Waterfront Quarter for a peek at the grand homes. A trip to the port’s historic lighthouse provides a glimpse into the architectural evolution throughout the 19th century. The old lighthouse stands out among the palms and modern complexes that surround it, creating a unique backdrop for exploration.

Cairo comes alive with the bustling residents and citizens as they make their way between historic architecture and modern storefronts. The buzz and energy thrum through the city like its heartbeat, calling out to the venturous traveler looking for an authentic dive into Egyptian life and culture. The Khan Al-Khalili Bazaar makes for a loud and vibrant scene to find exotic spices and local wares.

Out on the Giza plateau lies one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – the renowned Pyramids of Giza. Standing in the heat of the desert, watching camels pass these monolithic structures of past brings you to another place and time that will make you catch your breath.

Sep 03 Alexandria, Egypt Arrive: 8:00AM Depart: 10:00PM
Alexandria, Egypt

Founded in 331 B.C.E. by Alexander the Great, Alexandria once stood as the greatest city in the ancient world. The city is most associated with its famed library that came to a tragic end. Today, you can explore its grandeur through palaces of past, archaeological museums, and 150 acres of royal gardens and forest reserve.

The Port of Alexandria lies on the western edge of the Nile Delta and acts as Egypt’s second-largest seaport. The port leads to popular sites such as Alexandria’s Montazah Palace, overlooking the beach on the Mediterranean Sea amid lush scenery and palm trees for a magnificent view that inspires awe.

At the Roman Amphitheater of Alexandria in Kom El Dekka, a civilization long past comes to life amid the stone ruins. As the only ruins of Roman influence that remain in Egypt the pillars and benches of old feel like they hold a secret history that want you to discover it. Down in the Anfushi Necropolis, walking among ancient tombs below ground level, you cannot help but feel a chill as you step so far into the past.

Sprawled out in expansive, vibrant greens lie the Shalalat Gardens of Alexandria. The peaceful atmosphere of El Shalalat Park, where the gardens reside, creates the perfect backdrop for a quiet stroll along the paved path that eventually leads to a crumbling tower. Like a picture out of a storybook, the gardens make it easy to get lost in the magic of the city.

Sep 04 Cruising the Mediterranean & Levantine Sea
Cruising the Mediterranean & Levantine Sea

Spend the day on the high seas pampering yourself at the spa or enjoying some time on deck. Mingle with your fellow explorers and swap stories of your exploits, making plans for new ones together once you get to shore.

Sep 05 Heraklion (Crete), Greece Arrive: 8:00AM Depart: 5:00PM
Heraklion (Crete), Greece

The capital of the Greek island Crete, Heraklion, holds so much history and wonder. It is known for the Palace of Knossos, a vibrant, painted structure of the Bronze Age. These rocky ruins of one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world will captivate even the most veteran traveler. What remains of ancient Minoan society gives modern-day explorers much to discover.

The Venetian Harbor greets you as you enter Crete’s largest city. Small fishing boats docked at the port create an odd yet intriguing picture floating in the water next to the ancient stones of Koules Castle. Wandering from the docks and into the city you will find influences and remnants of Byzantine, Turkish, Venetian, and Greek culture all throughout.

Heraklion’s Old Town takes you past neoclassical architecture and modern-day shops selling bronze statues that pay homage to the city’s myths and history. Strolling into Lion’s Square, you find the city’s famed fountain that gave the plaza its name. Once a part of an aqueduct built in Venetian times, The Lions, as the fountain is known, now stands as both history and incorporated into the town’s contemporary structures.

Explorers that want to take it easier will find the picture-perfect Ammoudara Beach not far from downtown Heraklion. A backdrop of local tavernas and a mountain range in the distance against blue skies creates an image out of a postcard. Clear, blue waters lapping against white sands mixed with pebbles make it a paradise that you will not want to leave.

Sep 06 Athens (Piraeus), Greece Arrive: 6:00PM
Athens (Piraeus), Greece

Athens is still as iconic as ever. Winding pathways from ancient times transformed into modern-day roads and streets lead you to the monumental gateway of the Acropolis and other archaeological sites. It is a land soaked in history and mythology, but not stuck in the past.

As you wend through back alleys, passing the street art and getting serenaded by street musicians, you are never lost. You are simply taking a journey to an unknown destination. You may find yourself at the likes of the Church of Agioi at the southeast corner of the Holy Apostles Ancient Agora, a less-crowded historical site away from the flocks of tourists.

Try your hand at haggling with local vendors at the Plaka or Monastiraki flea market. There are so many handmade wares and trinkets to peruse and purchase. Keep an eye out for the more risqué souvenirs if you want a good laugh.

Aside from venturing through the cradle of Western Civilization, you can explore the port of Piraeus. It is the biggest port in Greece and one of the most important ports of the Mediterranean. Centuries of history have transformed this seaside town from a wartime fortress to a major shipping and transportation center.

Comprehensive Anatolia and Holy Land

24 nights

Call your Travel Advisor or one of our adventure specialists at 1-844-44ATLAS (28527) for more information.

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