Turkey is one of the most popular destinations for yacht charter in the Mediterranean – and we know why!
- There is more coastline in Turkey along which to cruise than any other Mediterranean country;
- There are a multitude of Ancient Sites to explore along the Turkish coastline with ruins left by the Carians, Lycians, Greek, Romans and Byzantines, that include ancient cities, sunken Roman harbors, and Crusader Castles;
- With an extensive coastline, there are always beautiful anchorages available, cooled by the surrounding green pine trees.
Enjoy a luxury yacht charter cruise along the Turkish coastline following the Ancient Trading Routes through the wake of history.
After breakfast, spend the morning swimming and snorkeling over sunken ruins of an ancient harbor with quay and building foundations just under the clear waters along the island. Then, take a tender ashore to explore the island. Walk around the remains of a sizeable Byzantine settlement with a covered walkway and several churches. Take advantage of the fabulous view from the summit and sit down with beverage glass in hand while watching the sun set over the sea. Those with the need for further exercise or interest in exploring can take the hiking trail back into the mountains for a visit to Kayakoy village, an abandoned Greek village from the mid 20th century, now a true ghost town.
Leave early for Kas, one of the most famous tourist resorts along the southern coast of Turkey. Kas is also historically important as it was originally the ancient town of Antiphellus, harbor of the town of Phellus. On the top of the hill, offering a view over the creeks and inlets, stands the ruins of a Greek theatre, built during the first century BCE; its proportions, excellent condition and panoramic position have made it one of the most outstanding monuments along this stretch of coast. From Kas, a driver with a guide can take you to nearby Xanthos, Patara and Letoon, returning you at the end of the day to Kekova. Xanthos was the capital of the Lycian league which rose to the height of its splendor in the 10th century BC. Patara, known as the birth place of Apollo, was an important grain trade port in antiquity and is now mostly covered in sand dunes – still, it is an interesting place to visit and the extensive beach is lovely. Letoon was a place of worship for the people of Xanthos and is cited in many guide books as one of the most delightful sites in Lycia. The foundations of three temples remain and most are underwater. Your yacht can cruise to Kekova while you tour and join the yacht in Kekova at the end of your tour. Or, if ancient sites are not your thing, it is a beautiful sail from Kas to Kekova.
Kekova Island Shoreline Ruins
Stay in Kekova for a two-day visit to include Kekova Island, Ucagiz and Kale Koy (ancient Simena). Kekova Island has a very nice spot known as Tersane, where the apse of a church stands on the beach. The sunken city is the other major attraction on Kekova Island. After an ancient earthquake much of the land in the area sunk into the sea creating the island of Kekova, and Kekova Bay. Ruins are now everywhere underwater in Kekova Bay; the remains of a once extensive inhabited area, and the ruins can be viewed from above by tender or by snorkeling over where allowed. Ucagiz is a small town which has yet to be disturbed by tourism. There are a number of Lycian sarcophagi perched on a hillside nearby. At Kale Koy, there is a single sarcophagus peeking out of the water and some interesting steps carved into off-lying rocks, said to be the ruins of an old Roman mill. Perhaps the highlight of a visit to Kekova is the climb to the castle and medieval fortress on Kale Koy. Within the castle is a tiny ancient theatre built for 300 people, with several Lycian Temple Front Tombs behind. The view is breathtaking. Also available is a tour of Myra, where the church of St. Nicholas is located, an important early Christian site, and the Demre-Ucagiz area, with an extraordinary display of Lycian Cliffside tombs situated next to the remains of a Roman Theater. All around in the area can be seen various ruins of ancient buildings from various civilizations still sitting in the countryside after centuries have passed.
An early morning departure for Kalkan. Enjoy lunch in the anchorage and spend the afternoon exploring Kalkan, an important port during the 1800’s. Settled by Greek and Turkish people under the Ottoman Empire, Kalkan was a large trading port. Here goods were brought by camel from inland locations and put on trading ships bound for other international ports. Kalkan grew as a prosperous city and its many streets and buildings are reflective of the Greek Ottoman architecture of the 19th century. Wander this unspoiled trading city and explore the many nooks and crannies, filled with little shops and hidden terraces. Overnight in Kalkan.
Return to Gocek Bay which is enormous and has many different anchorages to explore, and the town of Fethiye to visit. Chose an anchorage for overnight and set out in the ship’s tender to visit Wall Bay, Tomb Bay, Tersane Bay, or enjoy the beach within the Seven Islands area. A bay not to be missed is Hamam Bay where Roman Ruins of a Bath are located, said to have been built for Cleopatra. Fethiye has a small bazaar for any last minute shopping, with the ruins of a small amphitheatre and several Lycian Cliffside Tombs.
Disembark in Gocek.
Board your Gulet in the evening before dinner in Bodrum. Overnight in Bodrum Harbor with dinner on deck in the shadow of the Crusader Castle. Enjoy the ambiance on board in Bodrum Harbor, or go ashore after dinner for the busy nightlife of the Bodrum Bazaar, which spiders out from the harbor around the castle.
Bodrum Underwater Museum
In the am explore Bodrum, or ancient Halicarnassus, which is situated on a peninsula facing the island of Kos, and is the hometown of Herodotus. Guarding the harbor is a virtually intact castle built by the Crusaders. This castle now houses an excellent underwater archaeological museum where many of the artifacts are housed found in wrecks along the ancient trading route where you will be sailing. This is a must see. Bodrum also has a very nice bazaar and an attractive town located around the harbor. After lunch set sail towards Knidos and stop in a beautiful anchorage in a protected area for swimming and sunning, in unspoiled natural settings.
In the am have breakfast in the quiet beauty of your remote anchorage away from it all, and then cruise along the Turkish Coast with the Greek Dodecanese Islands in sight in the distance to the ancient harbor of the ruins of the city of Knidos. This ancient city sitting on a clear-water cove at the tip of the Doric Peninsula was a center of art and culture in the 4th-century BC. Drop anchor in the larger of the two harbors, and enjoy lunch surrounded by the ruins of this ancient wealthy trading city. After lunch, go ashore to visit the site of Knidos, which includes city walls, two theatres, terraced streets, and the remains of several temples including the temple of Aphrodite. Triopian cliffs will be flush in rosemary and myrtle and there is a theater and stoa at the water’s edge. See the Temple of Aphrodite (the “round” temple reconstructed during the Roman period), once housing Praxitele’s first nude. A must visit. There is an additional entrance fee for all to visit Knidos paid at the gate. After visiting Knidos, cruise to the little Turkish Village of Datca and explore ashore, before finding a lovely anchorage for the night.
Cruise in the early am to the little seaside village of Datca to clear out of Turkey and head to the Greek Island of Symi. A lovely, mountainous island, Symi (or Simi) was reputed to be the birthplace of the Three Graces. Explore the Venetian flavor of the shops and taverns of Symi Harbor, as colorful and inspiring as the houses and churches which cascade from the hill tops down to the water.
In the am cruise to the Greek island of Rhodes and after lunch, head off to explore the walled Old City and castle. The incredibly well preserved old town of Rhodes is the largest inhabited medieval town in Europe. Once an important fortress for the Crusading Knights including the Knights Hospitalier and Knights of the Templar, the tranquil, twisting alleyways in the old town are a web of Byzantine, Turkish and Latin architecture. It is well worth the time to wander and explore the old town of Rhodes behind the huge entrance gates and walls and even tour the castle within. There are many shops, cafes and tavernas as well. Wander back into Old City at night for a very busy nightlife.
Marmaris Castle and Quay
In the am, leave for Marmaris, and clear back into Turkey. Anchor or dock on the old quay in the shadow of the castle ruins, and walk around the busy quay and back into the bazaar right behind the main quay. Perhaps after dinner visit “Bar Alley” in the bazaar for nightlife.
Lycian Cliff Tombs
Early am departure for Ekincik with breakfast underway for the Dalyan River Trip, which is an extra charge. On arrival mid morning, a flat bottomed river boat will pick you up from your yacht for the Dalyan River Trip with Abidim Kurt as your guide for the ruins of the ancient city of Caunos and a view of the Lycian Tombs. This tour takes you inland along the reed-lined channels of the Dalyan River delta, where you need to keep an eye out for turtles, herons and kingfishers. At Caunos visit the remains of a theater, a Byzantine church, a Roman bathhouse and an agora. For the adventurous, there is a theatre acropolis on the hill above the site, which rewards the climber with a magnificent view of the entire area. Head up-river to the town of Dalyan, and pass beneath the Lycian Tombs. Stop in the town of Dalyan where your guide Abidim will arrange a lunch at a riverside Taverna of fresh Dalyan River seafood and other fresh Turkish food for non seafood eaters. Lunch is an additional charge based on what is ordered. Take a brief stroll through the town before returning by river boat to the yacht in Ekincik. Head towards Gocek Bay, perhaps to anchor and swim over the ruins of Cleopatra’s Baths. Overnight on anchor, dinner aboard
Return back into and disembark in Gocek in the am for transfer to Dalaman airport for flight to Istanbul.