Sail the Enchanted Coast

The long-lasting summer of the Aegean, Turkish Riviera, and the Eastern Mediterranean coasts allow one to trade the fast-paced daily grind for an extended solitude deep into the season. Yachting trips and charters to this magnificent region grant unrivaled freedom to explore some of the best coastal scenery in Türkiye. It is the quintessential Turkish ideal of luxury to set sail along the Turquoise Coast, exploring the high-end boutiques, restaurants and clubs on land, after the quality time spent with family in nature. Not to mention the romance of exploring ancient ruins, temples, and tombs –treasures that remain of the great and historic city-states along the shores. If you are a novice to maritime adventures in Türkiye, here’s what you can expect.

Impeccable Service on Water

The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts of Türkiye allow skippers to chart several idyllic week-long itineraries venturing between lacelike bays, peninsulas, and islands, departing to and from the ports of Bodrum, Marmaris, Göcek, and Fethiye and Antalya. The Aegean Sea is the fabled home to the mythological figure Poseidon – god of the sea and the storms. So be prepared to have good winds at your sails almost every day from May to October.

Navigating the Aegean requires expertise though, so make sure to charter a boat helmed by an experienced skipper and crew. You can reserve a sleek motor yacht for yourself as Forbes billionaires do, or an elegant wooden sailing yacht called gulet. These local sailing boats, traditionally used for sponge-diving and fishing, have been updated in recent decades to offer greater comfort with larger decks and luxurious wood-paneled cabins added to their original design. Alternatively, cabins could be rented in gulets, allowing you to share the experience with fellow travelers. Many of these seaworthy crafts are built in the coastal towns of Türkiye, offering official certificates of Safe Tourism issued by Turkish authorities. If you’d like to sharpen your sailing skills, you can also take the helm by renting a bareboat. Göcek Marinas and Dalaman coves of Göcek are the ideal spots to secure such a vessel for amateur sailors, with their abundance of coves and islets suitable for mooring in almost all weather conditions.

A Typical Day on Board

On a gulet trip, typically referred to as a Blue Voyage*, your days begin with a morning dip off the boat deck itself, followed by a hearty Turkish breakfast including olives, local varieties of cheese, sun-kissed tomatoes and cucumbers, platefuls of fresh fruits, a good selection of local jams and pine honey -all accompanied by the world-famous Turkish tea or coffee.

It is the captain’s task to review his chart each morning and decide which picturesque bay to anchor for the next swimming break or which jetty to berth for land excursions. If you have chosen a charter package offering sailing participation as well, these would be the prime opportunities to help the crew to catch the wind. If not, you can now grab your sunscreen and book to lounge on the deck all day and enjoy the northerly meltem breeze on your face, and the scents of juniper and pine drifting from the shore. Premium charter companies could also integrate holistic massage treatments, on-deck yoga classes, or a personal fitness trainer to your custom-made program, making the whole experience even more rejuvenating.  

Explore the Local Culture and Ancient Kingdoms in Style

During a Blue Voyage –if needing a break from the daily rituals of indulgence on board– you will have many reasons to go ashore as well. Among the olive orchards and sounds of goat bells, many of the sleepy fishing villages feature local markets where your private cook can source fresh fruits and vegetables for sumptuous meals onboard. The charming coastal towns make for perfect stopovers as well: Bodrum for its luxury marinas, celebrity mega-yachts, and premium shops featuring the international brands revered by discriminating globetrotters, as well as fine-dining restaurants and buzzing nightlife; Datça, Selimiye, and Kaş for their rustic-chic feel and artisanal shops.

There are many ancient cities and ruins to discover along the coast as well. Sunken cities, stone tombs jutting from the water or cut into the cliff faces themselves, ancient theaters restored to their original glory, marble columns of majestic temples, all remnants of millennia-old Anatolian civilizations like Caria and Lycia scattered along your epic journey. Some of the more important ancient city-states to include on your must-see list are Halicarnassus, upon which the modern Bodrum rises today; Knidos, one of the wealthiest ports of antiquity that controlled the ancient wine trade in the Mediterranean basin; Kaunos with its unique 167 rock-cut tombs overlooking Dalyan -a meandering river connecting Köyceğiz Lake to the Aegean; the UNESCO World Heritage site Xsanthos -the capital of the Lycian League- with its amazing cult center Letoon, dedicated to ancient deities; and finally Patara with its other-worldly ruins extending half-buried from the dunes of a gorgeous 10-km beach.

After visiting countless secluded coves and deserted islands, swimming in crystal-clear waters, paddling over the sunken ruins, and dining under the stars at night savoring local wines inherited from ancient cultures -indeed enjoying the luxury of having the whole bay to yourself- one could develop an unparalleled appreciation for yachting along the shores of Türkiye. It’s no wonder that many Blue Voyage guests return to the serenity of the Turkish Riviera again, and again, for this simple reason. Luxury and discovery never go out of style.

Best Moments of a Blue Voyage in Türkiye

- See some of the most elegant sailing yachts of Türkiye compete at Bodrum Cup while sipping your cocktails onboard, moored near the racecourse.

- Berth to the little coastal town of Gümüşlük to enjoy jazz on the beach.

- Have a feast on fresh seafood at one of the small restaurants at Fethiye Fish Market.

- Watch one of the best sunsets of your life at Gemile Island (Fethiye) featuring ancient ruins.

- Enjoy paragliding with the help of an experienced pilot at Baba Mountain in Ölüdeniz.

- Explore the İztuzu and Patara beaches, where the Caretta caretta sea turtles lay their eggs.

- Swim or paddle over the sunken city of Simena, on Kekova Island.

- Walk a small section of the popular Carian and Lycian trails interconnecting ancient cities.

- See some of the most elegant sailing yachts of Türkiye compete at Bodrum Cup while sipping your cocktails onboard, moored near the racecourse.

- Dine and wine at Bodrum branch of a world-famous restaurant, before berthing at a posh club in Yalıkavak or Türkbükü to dance the night away.

- Catch a live concert bringing big names to the Yacht Club at Bodrum Marina.

- Shop unique items of the resort collections created by premium international fashion houses, especially for Bodrum.

- Berth to the little coastal town of Gümüşlük to enjoy jazz on the beach.

- Have a feast on slippery lobsters served at seaside restaurants catering to yachtsmen in Göcek.Enjoy paragliding at Baba Mountain in Ölüdeniz.

- Explore the İztuzu and Patara beaches, where the Caretta caretta sea turtles lay their eggs.