Turkey is an exceptional destination for a yacht charter, filled with character and beauty. This melting pot of multicultural influences serves up food from the Mediterranean, personality from the Middle East and some fascinating Balkan culture. A bridge between east and west, connected by the exotic and intoxicating capital, Istanbul, this is a country that appeals to history aficionados, with countless archaeological sites. Sheer diversity and social contrasts abound: churches coexist with mosques, vibrant nightclubs sit next to Byzantine and Ottoman monuments, and the Aegean coastlines are sprinkled with Mediterranean beaches and fishing villages. Mesmerizing cruising grounds create a true yachting haven and exploring from the water is an absolute charm.
A short drive from Dalaman Airport is the picturesque marina town of Göcek, famous for local shops and its lovely promenade walk – an ideal spot to embark on your yacht anchored in the bay. The Gulf of Göcek on Turkey’s Lycian coast is an alluring charter destination where the landscape is strewn with towering peaks covered in emerald pine forests and the crystal clear waters teem with marine life. Beautiful anchorages and plenty of attractions are available along the undulating coastline.
Take a short cruise to the breath-taking bay of Ölüdeniz where the crescent-shaped cove is perfect to enjoy some early morning wakeboarding. This is a hotspot to launch the watersports toys plus a great opportunity to sample some of the best paragliding available in Turkey. Drop anchor by the incredible sheltered and protected Blue Lagoon and adjoining lush national park to soak up the stunning views and equally amazing sunset.
Set off for an early morning cruise to the beautiful coastal town of Marmaris. A former fishing village in the Mugla Province of southwest Turkey, Marmaris is framed by rugged mountains with a reputation for being Turkey’s cosmopolitan hub. It is particularly attractive for yachting enthusiasts thanks to one of the most impressive natural harbors in the world. Here a tour around the castle is a chance not to be missed and then enjoy snorkelling and some watersports locally at leisure. A wonderful dinner ashore awaits at a highly recommended restaurant, Tepe located in the renowned Aqua Dream Water Park overlooking the bay with your charter yacht moored nearby. Alternatively enjoy a quiet night under the stars on deck, while you sample delicious culinary delights created by your dedicated chef on board.
Make a stop in Bozburun Village, a veritable hidden gem. This is a fabulous location to relax and savor leisurely time on the water in the totally secluded bay where some of the most pristine waters in Turkey are found. Take a walk around the quaint town to work up an appetite for dinner, with many waterfront restaurants offering excellent local cuisine. Alternatively, relax under the stars on board in the evening with a cocktail and fine dining.
Sail to the calm seclusion of Kizil Ada Adasi Island which is indeed a slice of paradise. Enjoy all that this area perfect for yachting has to offer spending the day swimming, snorkelling, jet skiing, paddleboarding and just making the most of the fabulous array of toys on offer in this sublime setting. This island is named “kizil” meaning red after its soil color – and at sunset this is further enhanced. Nearby to the north west the Deliktas Islands are a great place also to enjoy diving and fishing.
An overnight cruise will take charter guests to Bodrum, ready for a new adventure. With its palm-lined streets, this elegant seaside resort is packed with chic boutiques and lively restaurants. From the top of the castle to the glittering marina, this popular town radiates a cool, cosmopolitan vibe. he imposing crusader castle in the bay, built by the Knights of St. John, is home to the best underwater archaeological museum in the Mediterranean, and is well worth a visit. Among the artefacts on display are finds from what is thought to be the earliest known shipwreck dating from the Bronze Age. After time ashore, take a short cruise to Orak Island, a rocky little island with some pretty, sheltered coves which are perfect for swimming and water sports.
A must-see is gorgeous Gündoğan translated as “breaking day”, where the broad bay with fabulous views is backed by lush hillsides dotted with sprawling villas and local 5-star hotels and spas are not to be missed. Heading ashore there are many excellent restaurants, different shops and fascinating historical sites to visit.
Following another overnight passage, awake with a view of the pretty coastal town of Datça. This is a great spot to enjoy a leisurely stroll around the town or take time to relax on board. Should you feel adventurous then Datça is in fact the home of rock climbing, with numerous opportunities. Little-known, yet a stunning peninsula, sun-drenched views abound across whitewashed towns and undulating hills strewn with pine forests, not to mention the 50-mile stretch of pristine beaches.
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Final stop is the sensational bay of Ekincik where smooth calm waters and unspoiled scenery may mean you have this location all to yourselves. As Turkey’s hidden gem, it is really only accessible by boat and is a perfect base for exploring the Dalyan River, the ancient ruins of Caunos and the Lycian tombs. Near to the city center the Sultaniye Thermal Baths are a great spot to relax where the 40oC natural springs are believed to cure all ills. Visit MyMarina, an exclusive and traditional fresh seafood restaurant for an outstanding culinary experience where yachts can berth alongside the restaurant for the day or just during the evening.
The clear warm water and dazzling bays are trademarks of cruising in Turkey. Charming and animated, soak up the vibe in coastal villages where waterfront boulevards are filled with locals simply embracing life. Relaxed evenings are best spent enjoying lively restaurants and watching the world go by, following a day of swimming, snorkelling and watersports at sea. What more could you want from a summer yacht charter?
50m motor sailer MEIRA will be cruising the delights of Turkey during summer 2022. With accommodation for 12 guests in 6 beautiful staterooms, plus a full range of watersports equipment, guests will be pampered by her professional crew of 10 for a truly unforgettable experience.
Nicholas Dean is Managing Partner of Ocean Independence. Ocean Independence is a global leader in luxury yachting, providing a bespoke experience across yacht charter, sales and management.
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