How to spend all summer on deck: Turkey's cruising routes

How to spend all summer on deck: Turkey's cruising routes

The Guide Istanbul editorial team
July 15, 2016

It never fails. The weather gets hot, and the lure of the sea is hard to resist. Explore the secrets of the Turkish coast by boat, rocked gently by the Aegean and cooled by its blessed breezes. Here are some of the best routes to take. 

The cruising coast of Turkey is universally acknowledged to be the long stretch of indented coast from Antalya to Bodrum. It is a fascinating area, with many bays, rocky coves, wild places and forests that reach down to the seas. Sheltered moorings for anchor are plentiful, peaceful and delightful. They are perfect hideaways for making sure the noise of the world and its troubles are a long, long way away.

Fethiye – Kafl – Kalkan – Demre:  A vista of turquoise seas and rocky bays backed by the panorama of the mighty Taurus Mountains, where the mysterious Lycians left fabulous sarcophagi littered in the water and hills. Kafl and Kalkan are charming small towns worth a stop and exploration, and have excellent restaurants.

Fethiye and Göcek share a wonderful gulf and the Twelve Islands, so popular with day cruises also. But in the evenings, there are plenty of moorings for everyone in the green forested coves. Göcek is a popular port being a mere 25 minutes from the Dalaman airport.

The emerald coast of Göcek- Marmaris can include a stop at Ekincik, and a possible side trip on river boats up the Dalyan River past awe-inspiring rock tombs, the charming village of Dalyan, the sulphuric mud baths on Lake Köycegiz shores, and the return to the long sandy beach where the loggerhead turtles nest in early summer. You may well see one of the large turtles swimming out to sea.

Cruising from buzzing harbor of Marmaris westward takes the yacht around the long rugged peninsula of Loryma complete with intriguing ancient ruins. Ancient sites and small villages vie with rocky hills and patches of forest for special views. Sail into Bozburun with a possible side trip to the Greek Island of Symi, if the customs post is open for the summer, otherwise cross from Datça town.

D-Marin Turgutreis

The Bozburun peninsula is a key stop on the blue cruise sailing route. Situated where the Aegean and Mediterranean seas meet, this area is a haven with little development, so you’ll find untouched ranges of forests and pristine waters to swim in. You also won’t find a lot of construction here, but rather a series of smaller boutiques hotels that blend the natural surroundings into their design.

Between Datça and Bozburun are the beautiful bays of Selimiye, Orhaniye and Bencik, and Hisarönü itself– which gives its name to that beguiling Gulf, an area that is a great favourite for every yacht cruise.

The long, thin Datça Peninsula with forests, high mountains, and crystal clear waters is reputed to have the cleanest air of the Mediterranean, while the small villages and many almond and olive groves give more hints of the healthy lives lived there. The small beaches and bays have the most glorious turquoise-colored sea. It is hard to leave for the next anchorage.

At the very tip of incredibly rocky steep shores lies the remains of Knidos, the once splendid city of 2,000 years ago, heart of the cult of Aphrodite, and perhaps of loving life too. Theatres, stadiums, and harbors tell tales of folk living beside the twin harbors where boats of old sheltered and traded.

Turn north around the Knidos Cape, they say, and you sail into the Aegean from the Mediterranean. The long, deep, green Gulf of Gökova is where the first gulet cruises of the 1950’s ventured away from Bodrum, exploring the northern coast and discovering deep sheltered bays such as English Harbor, Löngoz and Seven Islands in the south. A cruise cannot miss a stop at the fabled Cleopatra’s Island, before turning home for Bodrum, relishing the wind in their sails.

Dropping anchor around Bodrum

D-Marin, Didim
37° 20’ 26’’ 37 N, 27° 15’ 34’’ 19 E
T: (0256) 813 80 81
www.d-marin.com

D-Marin, Göcek
36° 45’ 10’ 01” N, 28° 56’ 39’ 6” E
T: (0252) 645 15 20
www.d-marin.com

Ece Marina, Fethiye
36° 37’ 29.85” N, 29° 6’ 6.54” E
T: (0252) 612 88 29
ecesaray.com.tr

Marmaris Yacht Marina, Marmaris
36° 49’ 05” N, 28° 18’ 32” E
T: (0252) 422 00 22,
(0252) 422 00 85
www.yachtmarin.com

Martı Marina, Marmaris
36° 45’ 30” N, 28° 08’ 30” E
T: (0252) 487 10 63
www.marti.com.tr