Written by Missy Johnston
The luxury travel market is saturated with advertisements for history-themed vacation opportunities. One can fly to and take guided tours at destinations you choose. Or one can take a cruise ship to explore historical sites with many other passengers. But what these travel packages do not offer is the opportunity to make your historical exploration vacation your own private dream historic vacation, customized to see exactly that which you want to see, and from the standpoint of your historic bent. With a customized historical-themed luxury yacht cruise, you can immerse yourself in an area, moving the entire time on your own private charter at your pace, with your own hotel and private Chef.
On a luxury yacht charter, see historical landmarks in Turkey, Italy, Croatia, and many other global dream destinations. Sail through colonial New England in the footsteps of the patriots who lived and traveled there centuries before. Or sail along the Ancient Trading Route on the southern coast of Turkey, snorkeling over the ruins of ancient, sunken cities. Your private yacht charter vacation is yours to customize within whatever historic era is of interest.
For a truly memorable vacation exploring world-famous historic areas, picking and choosing that which you want to see and enjoy from the comfort and luxury of your private yacht charter, let us customize a charter for you to any of the following destinations.
You may not think of visiting Turkey by water, but Turkey is a fantastic place to explore from the sea as, after all, most civilizations traveled exactly as you will by sea on your private charter yacht: sailing along coastal ancient trading routes.
The sunken city of Dolchiste, located off the coast of Kekova Island in southern Anatolia, Turkey, provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience for anyone by yacht, because much of what there is to see is underwater and on land along the coast of a large expanse of water, since in ancient times, Kekova Bay and Kekova Island did not exist. Kekova Bay was home to the ancient city of Dolchiste until a massive earthquake caused a large part of the city to sink creating Kekova Bay, while the outskirts of the city were left behind on newly formed Kekova Island, and the surrounding shores. Later civilizations built further on top of those bits of the city that remained on land and on the newly formed islands..
While land-based travelers can look only from afar, you can sail over this ancient Lycian sunken city and, in certain locations, snorkel over submerged quays and building foundations. Here there are sunken foundations, quays, and sewer and water piping systems, as well as carved staircases clinging to the land left behind. Strewn across the bottom of the bay in protected areas that can be seen by tender are ancient roofing tiles, pottery shards, and parts of ancient amphoras. By water, on your charter yacht, you can visit the ancient ruins left standing on islands and islets, built on by civilizations that came after.
Perched on a small island is a Byzantine castle, fortified by a tiny Roman theater carved into the side. Sticking up out of the water and on the land surrounding are ancient Lycian Tombs, and the ruins of a Roman mill. This is an area that can only really be explored by private charter yacht.
On a yacht charter out of Bodrum, visit the Crusader’s Castle that guards the entrance to Bodrum. Make time to see Bodrum’s fascinating underwater archeology museum housing exhibits from excavated ancient shipwrecks, before cruising along part of the ancient trading route to stop in the ancient harbor of Knidos. Ruins of this once-great trading city are strewn on either side of the harbor, just waiting to be explored.
Italy has many wonderful cities, villages, and historical sites. You could take a dozen Italian private yacht charters and still not discover them all. Anyone can fly into Rome and see all that this city has to offer by land, or drive to Florence and visit, by land, all of the museums. But only by sea can you see the place loved by the ancient Romans as their resort islands, a chain of islands rarely heard of, the Isole Pontine, including the archipelago’s largest island, Ponza. These islands are abundant with beautiful scenery, ancient Roman and Etruscan ruins, unique rock formations, and grottos..
Ponza was the resort island of choice for ancient Romans, who built massive villas there. The ruins can still be seen on the island today. Walk through the ancient tunnel dug, by the Romans centuries ago, that connects Ponza Town with Luna Bay. This beautiful bay is surrounded by white chalk cliffs that you can explore while your yacht cruises from Ponza Town to meet you in Luna Bay, a perfect location for swimming and water sports.
The Isole Pontine is so off the beaten path that when Benito Mussolini came to Ponza (where he was later imprisoned) in 1943, many of the island’s local inhabitants didn’t know a second world war was raging nor did they know who Mussolini was.
There are plentiful opportunities to immerse yourself in history when you visit this island chain, but don’t forget to dive into the clear blue waters while you are there. Be sure to visit the other Pontine Islands as well. On the uninhabited island of Palmarola are beautiful natural rock arches, bright blue and green grottos, and beautiful clear water.
On Ventotene, also a favorite ancient Roman hideaway, you’ll find an authentic ancient fish farm. Carved into the rock by ancient Romans, this set of three pools was used to raise fish and eels, while a nearby basin was used to collect salt from the evaporated saltwater. An underground series of cisterns and waterways stored fresh water. Ventotene also features Roman cave systems and a large palace that once housed the banished family members of emperors. And while visiting Ventotene, be sure to snorkel, dive, or swim off the coast to enjoy the abundant marine wildlife and breathtaking coves.
Benito Mussolini was not the only person imprisoned on these islands. If you want a guided tour of a famous Italian penal colony, book an opening to visit the island of Santo Stefano before you leave.
Consider a Croatia luxury private yacht charter and cruise along the famous trading route out of Venice frequented by ancient and medieval ships, but do so in style and comfort from aboard your luxury yacht.
Various civilizations battled for control over Croatia throughout much of its history, so you’ll find influences from several major empires in its culture, food, and the architecture of its walled villages.
The village of Pula is home to an ancient Roman arena and several other relics of the Roman Empire. Visit the Gate of Hercules, the Arch of the Sergii, and the famous sites where two Caesars were executed in 326 and 354 AD. The city’s other ruins can be traced back to the Bronze Age and the Hellenistic Age.
After Pula, journey to the Old Town of Cres, the village of Lubenice, the island of Losinj, and Krk City to see more fascinating historical sites. There are too many options to include in just one article, so come prepared with good walking shoes and a strong drive to explore Roman ruins!
And if Roman ruins are not your thing, Croatia is chock full of medieval history and medieval fortified villages, such as Trogir near Split and Old Town Korcula on Korcula Island.
You don’t have to stray too far from your own backyard to enjoy charming historical sites in New England, where every state was one of the original 13 colonies. Cruise up and down the Hudson River in New York, stopping to see the quaint antique shops and 18th and 19th-century buildings in the riverfront village of Coxsackie or downtown Kingston.
If maritime history floats your boat, so to speak, the Hudson River Maritime Museum is well worth a stop for an afternoon. After that, stay in the Hyde Park area to tour historic sites such as the Vanderbilt Mansion Historical Site, Eleanor Roosevelt’s home, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s home, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Museum. You can also visit the historic areas of West Point before continuing on to the more modern New York City portion of your cruise.
Visit New York City’s counterpart to The Gilded Age, Newport, Rhode Island, where many of the wealthy summered in quaintly called “Summer Cottages”. Newport is not just well known for The Gilded Age. Newport was also a bustling town—larger than New York City or Boston—up until the Revolutionary War, when the British blockaded Newport throughout the war, and brought life to a standstill.
As it turns out, while not provident at the time, stopping industry in Newport left America’s largest number of colonial buildings still standing in one location, including the first-built Jewish Synagogue, the first-built Quaker meeting house, the oldest courthouse (where the Declaration of Independence was first read aloud to the people), and the longest continually open tavern.
All of these and a fascinating graveyard with markers from the late 1600’s wait to be discovered on a charter out of Newport, in which the equally historic islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket wait to be visited.
Step off of your yacht to be immersed in any historic era wanted on a crewed private charter as only on private charter can the itinerary be customized to be exactly what you want to see and do. At Northrop-Johnson Yacht Charters, we specialize in customizing crewed yacht charters for exactly what you want to do. Stay tuned for more great destination ideas for your next luxury private yacht cruise.