Greece & Turkey: from Athens to Istanbul: Jun 18—29, 2015

Aboard the Sea Cloud

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Departs: Athens, Greece
Ends: Istanbul, Turkey
Tour Limit: 52
Operations Manager: Greg Lopez
Download Itinerary: PDF (348.9 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Victor Emanuel

Victor Emanuel started birding in Texas 70 years ago at the age of eight. His travels have t...


Barry Lyon

Barry Lyon's passion for the outdoors and birding has its roots in his childhood in southern...


Paul Woodruff

Paul Woodruff is an experienced guide to the intellectual landscape of ancient Greece. He ha...


Peter Zika

Peter Zika is a field biologist from Seattle, investigating and describing new species of pl...

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Sea Cloud

Sea Cloud— Photo: Courtesy Sea Cloud Cruises

An Eastern Mediterranean cruise from Athens to Istanbul visits Aegean islands and famed historical sites of Greece and Western Turkey with birding and natural history throughout.

In 2005, our first-ever departure to Greece, a Birds & History cruise from Athens to Istanbul, was an unforgettable success. Ever since, we have waited for the opportunity to repeat that trip and now, after 10 long years, the dream is a reality.

In June 2015, VENT will return to the Eastern Mediterranean for a cruise from Athens to Istanbul. We have chartered the peerless Sea Cloud, a four-masted barque widely regarded as the world’s most beautiful sailing vessel, for a trip that combines the rich history of Greece and Western Turkey—Archaic, Classical, and Helenistic periods—with emphasis on finding some of the special birds of southern Europe and the Aegean Sea region.

Our cruise route begins in Athens and ends a week later in Istanbul. An exciting itinerary includes two days in the “City of Athena”; cruising the Aegean Sea—one of the world’s most historic bodies of water; visits to the islands of Chios, reputed birthplace of Homer, and Lesbos, featuring remarkable birding and many eras of human history; and exploration of Western Turkey and the famed archaeological sites of Pergamon, Troy, and Assos. Our journey culminates in Istanbul, one of the world’s most cosmopolitan and historically rich cities. A bonus activity is a cruise of the Dardanelles Strait on the 100th anniversary of the epic World War I battle of Gallipoli.

Pergamon Amphitheater

Pergamon Amphitheater— Photo: Brad Schram

Adding to the allure is the opportunity to travel aboard Sea Cloud. Ornate in her all-wood construction, resplendent under sail, and owner of a vivid history, this majestic ship sets a standard by which all other ships are measured.

Mid-June is a pleasant time of year to travel in Greece, with dry weather expected and a variety of breeding birds on territory. Among the species we’ll seek are Levantine Shearwater, Short-toed Eagle, Eleonora’s Falcon, Long-legged Buzzard, Audouin’s Gull, Pallid Swift, European Bee-eater, Blue Rock-Thrush, Sardinian Warbler, Rock Nuthatch, Woodchat Shrike, and Black-headed Bunting in addition to other resident birds.

Joining VENT leaders Victor Emanuel and Barry Lyon for this special departure are Dr. Paul Woodruff, a professor of philosophy and classics at the University of Texas, and Peter Zika, a field biologist and botanist at the  herbarium of the University of Washington. Paul is well-versed in the history and culture of ancient Greece and will present several lectures that incorporate the dominant themes of ancient Greek civilization, namely history, philosophy, and theater. Peter has done field work in different parts of the United States and traveled with tour groups around the world. He is a superb presenter and will deliver lectures on the botany of the Aegean Sea region and botanical interpretation on our excursions.

A Birds & History program featuring two nights in Athens, a week aboard Sea Cloud, and a night in Istanbul; excellent accommodations and cuisine; shore excursions to ruins and birding areas involving short, easy walks; warm temperatures and little or no precipitation expected.