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 – Kaş – 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. Kaş 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 the 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.
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 favorite 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 Sea. The long, deep, green gulf of Gökova is where the first gulet cruises of the 1950’s ventured away from Bodrum, exploring along the northern coast and discovering deep sheltered bays such as English Harbor, Longoz 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.
Day cruise routes
Many visitors to Bodrum enjoy their first cruise on a daily boat trip on the small gulets in Bodrum Harbor, where they may buy a ticket to be on a shared cruise or better still enjoy a private hire for the day. The day cruises may take guests to the furthest island possible at Orak, or around the undisturbed shores of Black Island to Poyraz Bay, Rabbit Cape, or west to the Aquarium, Bitez Bay and Camel Beach. It is all great fun to have a swim, a snorkel, sunbathe on the boat and dine on fresh food with the salt, sun and sea breeze. Daily cruise boats also depart from Yalıkavak, Turgutreis and Gündoğan harbors to explore their part of the peninsula coastline, where there are still quiet coves off Kudur Peninsula, Paradise Bay and the small islands offshore to snorkel and swim around from the boats. From Turgutreis to Torba is also the popular coastline for short or day trips by motor yachts, not matter what size, perhaps to swim or to get around from Yalıkavak to a Göltürkbükü beachclub, or a Gümüşlük restaurant.
Dropping anchor around Bodrum
D-Marin, Didim – 37° 20’ 26’’ 37 N, 27° 15’ 34’’ 19 E; www.d-marin.com
D-Marin, Göcek – 36° 45’ 10’ 01” N, 28° 56’ 39’ 6” E; www.d-marin.com
Ece Marina, Fethiye – 36° 37’ 29.85” N, 29° 6’ 6.54” E; ecesaray.com.tr
Marmaris Yacht Marina, Marmaris – 36° 49’ 05” N, 28° 18’ 32” E; www.yachtmarin.com
Martı Marina, Marmaris – 36° 45’ 30” N, 28° 08’ 30” E; www.marti.com.tr