We have asked some of the world’s leading charter brokers to share their highlights of the southern Turkish coast
JENNIFER M. SAIA
International Yacht Collection (IYC), Florida
Though it has been many years since I was actually cruising in Turkey, I have fond memories of the Turquoise Coast between Bodrum and Göcek.
One of the most impressive ruins is Ephesus located outside Kuşadasi and I absolutely recommend booking a private guided tour of the site. The walled city of Bodrum which has Turkish gullets bordering the harbor is a beautiful sight. The anchorages are just magnificent with pine trees that touch the water from the rugged natural shore-side setting. Some of the bays have rustic barbeque proprietors. You can just anchor your vessel, tie a line to one of the pine trees or rocks and tender ashore for a familystyle barbeque meal with live music and local dance under the stars and around the fire.
Marmaris—the center of yachting activity—is bustling with restaurants, resorts, nightlife, marinas, and services for client and captain alike. The Spice Market found in the Bazaars outside Fethiye is a sensory experience not to be missed. Another highlight is a trip up the nearby Dalyan River to see the Caunos Tombs carved in the high cliffs. But my favorite experience was the Turkish bath, Hum-Mum, in Göcek which is a ‘must do’ when visiting Turkey.
I’ve been told that communications at all the marinas has vastly improved since I was last there with Wi-Fi and other services now available. I think I’ll re-visit this stunning area to reacquaint myself with this magical land.
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When cruising south from Bodrum it seems the further south you sail, the further back in time you travel.
Kekova, an island far in the south, has the appearance of being adrift in another time entirely, with Lycian Tombs, a Byzantine Castle and little else besides. Many who cruise Turkey’s south coast overlook Kekova and therefore miss out on one of Turkey’s finest gems. When you drop anchor in the bay take a kayak or snorkel over the Lycian Tombs that have disappeared underwater after a series of earthquakes. The color of the water in the bay is true turquoise, much more so than the rest of the Turkish coast, so you can really see the tombs in absolute detail. Then, before sunset, climb up the hill to the Byzantine Castle, only a short walk but the views over the bay below are spectacular.
Kekova is one of very few areas of the Mediterranean inhabited by rock lobsters, these strange creatures are not necessarily very beautiful but incredibly good to eat when simply boiled, grilled and served with a few local spices. Sweeter and meatier than most lobsters, they are a unique and sumptuous delicacy of the region. Finally to sit on deck with a glass of wine and looking up at a completely clear night sky with the odd shooting star is the perfect way to spend the last evening onboard before returning, once again, to the real world.
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