Why Turkey? Because what a better place for a church group to follow in the footsteps of St. Paul’s missionary journeys and sail the seas as he did? You could feel the thrills of the history of the early church and Turkey does have more history than you can imagine.
At Tropical Sails Corp, we offer pilgrimages and religious tour to places where Christianity first spread. Did you know the seven churches of the Apocalypse were located in western Turkey? Join us in an historical journey along Pauls route to Turkey and to Greece the very places where the peoples of the Classical world firstly accepted the Christian Gospel. We can arrange an amazing experience for you, combining land with the unique fellowship only a yacht can provide. Sail in a wood ship a St. Paul did! Follow the footsteps of St. Paul in Turkey!
1) Class of accommodations: three star or four star. We usually do five star in Pamukkale because most groups want to experience the hot springs. For private groups, we suggest two nights in Pamukkale.
2) Meal plans. The savings of having clients buy their own lunch does not equal out to what lunch would cost on their own. We can discuss places where you may want to eat on your own. For example, in Ephesus, you may go to a cafeteria or to a restaurant attached to a carpet shop.
3) Most yachts are chartered by the week. For church groups, in the shoulder season, we may be able to procure yachts for perhaps 4 nights to give you an authentic experience. We think it is important to get people out of the roads and let them relax.
4) Turkish Night is not to be missed in Istanbul or Cappadocia. It is a floor show of authentic Turkish folk dancers, music, with a belly dancer or two. The meal is also excellent. It usually includes a glass of wine or beer. This can be removed from the package with advance notice.
5) An evening dinner cruise in Istanbul on the Bosporus can be arranged for groups.
6) Tipping can be pre-collected or done in Turkey. The yacht crew needs to be tipped and so do your guides. Baggage handling and restaurants have tips included in the tour package.
7) Alcohol is always optional. Sometimes wine is included in yachting packages. We will discuss this with you and plan accordingly.
8) If our agency handles the flights, we can arrange inbound and outbound transfers. If everyone is on a different schedule, it makes it very difficult to provide group transfers.
9) Shopping opportunities. On many tours, the guides want to take you to places where they get a commission on your purchases. We do not allow this practice and clearly label shopping events such as carpet stores, pottery places, silk factories and so on.
10) Your Turkish tour guide will undoubtedly be a Muslim. He or she will have had appropriate training regarding the bible and sites that you will visit. Turkey takes licensing and training of tour guides very seriously.
Our journey begins in Istanbul, a city which abounds in vibrancy and secularization. Arriving at the Ataturk Airport, you will be amazed at the construction and size of the hub of the Middle East, or the crossroads of Europe and Asia. It is still a major trade center and many immigrants contribute to its colorful atmosphere.
Crossing the bridge to Taksim will bring you to the Galata tower on the hill, but apart from that, the Blue Mosque, the spice market and the bazaar will simply amaze you. On my first trip here, I stayed at a hotel in Bosporus; the ships passing through the narrow straits day and night were just mesmerizing.
One of your first stops will be Hagia Sophia, once the largest church in the world. You will feel that the history of the original seat of the Eastern Church is still alive. From here, you will be on your way to Chora, which, unfortunately, many tours skip; but we will give you the chance to see one of the best preserved and most interesting mosaics depicting the life of Christ. Ephesus Istanbul Hagia Sofia Pergamum Philadelphia Sardis
The traditional Footsteps of St Paul Turkey tour is by bus from Adana across ending in Istanbul. Some tours only visit the western side of Turkey, where the seven churches of revelation are located. Turkey has so many sites to see! On my 4th trip to Turkey, I finally made it to Cappadocia. The area is rather surreal; it felt like walking on the moon. It was a cool spring day and I walked through the Open-Air Museum at Goreme. It resembles a vast monastic complex compound of scores of refectory monasteries placed side-by-side, each with its own fantastic frescos. And you cant miss the underground city!
Now, just try to relax for a few minutes and to picture to yourself the trip of a lifetime I am about to propose to you. Imagine going south, to Taursas, to Pauls hometown. Here, you can visit the Apostles well and also the Gate of Cleopatra and see the latest excavations. Then, there is Seleucia, the port from which Paul, Barnabas, John and Mark departed from Antioch in their first missionary journey.
The longest drive of any tour follows, as you head to Konya and the Sultanhani Caravansary for a fascinating look at one of the rest stops for ancient camel caravans. These caravansaries appeared along the trade routes at intervals of about 25 miles, which was the average distance a camel could travel in a day. Continue on to Lystra, where Timothy joined Paul during his second journey (Acts 16:1-3). And then depart for Iconium, once the home of a sect of mystical Muslims called Whirling Dervishes, but where Paul preached and encouraged believers during his first missionary journey (Acts 14:1-6)
Your trip will continue to Antioch of Pisidia, where almost the whole city came to hear Pauls preach (Acts 13:14-52). Here you can visit the marvelous excavations, among which are the ancient church and the great first-century Temple of Augustus.
You will travel the Royal Road that once connected Ephesus with distant Babylon feel the footprints on ancient history. By the village of Honaz, you must make a stop and visit the unexcavated site of ancient Colossae.
From there, reach Hierapolis (Pamukkale) and let yourself be surprised by the image of the Cotton Castles, formations of brilliant calcium rocks and hot water travertines, one of the natural wonders of Asia Minor. Hot mineral waters emerge from the earth and cascade over the cliffs. As the water cools, the calcium precipitates and clings to the cliffs, forming what resemble to be waterfalls of white stones, which gives credence to the name Pamukkale, meaning cotton castle. Here you can take advantage of the hot water baths for a small fee and then shortly visit the churches of Hierapolis, Colossae and Laodicea.
Most non-biblical tours pass HIERAPOLIS – PHILADELPHIA – SARDIS SMYRNA very quickly. But these are such incredible places to see! You can explore the amazing excavations at Hierapolis, like the Byzantine Church, the Great Theater, the Temple of Apollo or the Plutonium, once called the entrance of hell by pagan cults.
You will discover the sites of the Churches of Revelation to be quite intriguing. Let yourself be taken back to the first century by Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22). Read your Bible at Philadelphia and see how it comes alive in light of firsthand study. Visit the impressive intact imperial court and the Jewish synagogue in Sardis and study in the light of prophetic Scripture, as you rest in the shade of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Optionally, the group can visit St. Polycarp Parish, but finally, you will enjoy an appetizing dinner at one of Smyrnas famous kebab or sea food restaurants.
A highlight of any tour is Ephesus and a stay in the port city of Kusadashi. Apostle Pauls first visit here was brief (Acts 18:19-21), but his second visit, during his third missionary travel, lasted about three years (Acts 19:1 to 20:31). Ephesus became part of the Roman Empire in the second century B.C. and as the capital of Asia Minor, the city boasted a population of almost 250,000 people. The Great Theatre, mentioned in Acts 19:29-31, could seat 25,000 people.
Along with the Great Theatre, see the Fountain of Trojan and the Library of Celsius. Visit the Chapel of the Virgin Mary, where the Third Ancient Council convened and enjoy St. John’s Basilica (built on the site of the Apostle Johns tomb), as you walk the marble-paves streets with grooves made by chariot wheels. Smaller groups can visit the hillside houses and watch the archeologists painstakingly rebuilt the houses of the rich.
From here, traditional tours usually head north, to Pergamum, Galipoli, Troy and maybe Nicea. However, we suggest going south to Didyma, Miletos and the boarding a yacht for a week of relaxation and further exploring, to complete the experience for your group. You may sail to Greece or perhaps the Dylan River, Knidos, English Harbor or back north.
We suggest the private yacht in order to give you the real feel of how St. Paul sailed. Of course, you will be totally relaxed and waited on for the whole week. You will visit ruins, small villages and larger towns or quiet anchorages, spend time in water or exploring ashore. This will provide a touch of intimacy to your group and let it assimilate the marvel of the entire journey.
Our yachts have four to eight cabins, so we can fit your group comfortably aboard. We cannot begin to describe the fellowship experience of a week on a wooden gullet with 10 to 14 of your church members! You will enjoy fantastic food and you will all sit around a big table. And dont worry if there are multiple yachts, we will tie up in the evenings for fellowship.
For church and other groups, we will help you plan and market the journey of a lifetime visiting ancient Christian sites. Our Vice-President has extensive travel experience in the Middle East, should you decide to expand beyond Turkey. Nonetheless, we can combine Turkey and Greece tours too for an even more holistic experience.
The Footsteps of St Paul Turkey tours are available on individual basis, so please email us at email@example.com and we will send you the dates and confirm prices.
Feel free to give us a call or write us and we will make your venture possible!