IT IS OFTEN DIFFICULT TO DECIDE WHERE EXACTLY TO CHARTER A YACHT IN THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN
One of our clients sent us an email saying that he wanted to charter a modern gulet somewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean. However, he couldn’t choose whether to hire a yacht in Croatia, go on a cruise in Greece, or to charter a gulet in Turkey. The main difficulty was that he didn’t know how these three yachting destinations differed from each other, and which one would fit his preferences the most. So he asked our help to share some of our local knowledge.
After this email we thought - it’s a good idea to share such information with all our clients who would consider travelling to the Eastern Mediterranean and stay on a crewed yacht. At the end of the day, our yacht experts are here to make your life easier when it comes to a decision-making point.
So, a private yacht tour in Croatia, Turkey, or Greece - what’s better?
In reality, there’s no better or worse. The only issue is that these three countries are very different from each other. That’s it.
Let’s cover the main points when it comes to choosing a destination. We'll use a ranking system where 5 is the highest rate, and 1 stands for the lowest one.
Authentic ports with beautiful architecture
Croatia as a country to charter a gulet definitely wins among those who like old European/Venetian architecture. Coastal towns feature well preserved medieval architecture. So together with beautiful and lush nature, clear seawater and beautiful bays those who love architecture have it all in one journey.
Greece is more about sailing from one island to another, enjoying a different nature. Somewhere it’s lush and green, like in the Ionia, and somewhere it’s “no green at all” like in the Dodecanese. Instead, such islands are covered with whitewashed little houses, dotted with authentic fish ports and seaside restaurants. Greece is about slow-path lifestyle.
Turkey is very green if you decide to charter a yacht and sail from Bodrum to Marmaris, or from Gocek to Finike. And in none of those coastal Turkish towns, you will see European style architecture like in Croatia. However, there are elements of Greece in each of them which looks pretty too. It is worth mentioning, that Turkey is very rich with historical heritage and numerous important architectural sites that are must-see, like Ephesus, for example.
Great wine & food
Greek food is amazing. It’s very simple, fresh, delicious. It’s not about something complicated, exquisite Michelin-starred restaurants, but rather about the eco quality of products and richness of delicious and simple taste. Local wine, especially homemade one is quite good.
Turkish lamb and beef meat (kebab, doner, kofte), vegetables, salads, meze, mouthwatering fruits, desserts are part of an absolutely unique travel experience that you should live through at least once. Modern Turkish or Ottoman cuisine has been influenced by all the empires and cultures that once ruled this land. The meals you’ll taste in Turkey will make you fall in love with this country even more. Local wine isn’t so good, but it’s always possible to buy imported spirits for your charter when you hire a yacht in Bodrum or start a cruise in any other town.
Croatian food is somehow heavy: meat, potatoes, etc. Sure you can order more fish on a yacht cruise in the Adriatic, and dining experiences will be much lighter and more delicious.
Warm water & nice weather
When it comes to the best weather conditions for a yacht charter in the Mediterranean, Turkey wins in this category. Summer season is the longest here in comparison with the other two countries. Therefore, there are more warm days to enjoy while being on board a private yacht.
Greece is famous for its strong winds. Of course, it’s not windy everywhere, but there are certain groups of the islands which you wouldn’t visit with a yacht in July or August - the high season months in the Mediterranean yachting. There’s Meltemi wind that’s quite strong from mid-July to late August. For example, the Cyclades area is the worst with Meltemi, whereas the Ionia doesn’t get affected by it. As for the Turkish coast that’s near the Dodecanese islands, Meltemi doesn’t affect it so much as the Greek Islands. One of the main reasons is that the bays in Turkey are quite protected.
It is calmer in Croatia in July and August than it is in Greece.
The sea temperature is cold in the Greek Islands in June and early July. The same is for the Adriatic.
Protected bays and calm cruising
Turkey wins in this category. The area from Bodrum to Fethiye (the most popular cruising area in the Aegean) features one of the highest numbers of protected bays in the whole Mediterranean.
There are fewer points for Croatia, however, it is still great for sailing and cruising there.
To have the best sailing experience in Greece, it is better to choose one group of islands and cruise there, for example - only in the Dodecanese or only the Ionia. This is to avoid long distances between anchorages. It is better to charter a yacht without a rush. Plus, there are less protected bays when it comes to a yacht journey in Greece.
It is not possible to give points in this category, as it is very personal and subjective when it comes to choosing what’s beautiful and what’s not.
Croatia is about medieval architecture, old Venetian ports, lush greenery, national parks, mountains, lavender fields, wineries, olive groves.
Greece is unique. Its food, hospitality, holiday mood, Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu, small islands near Athens, whitewashed houses and churches with blue domes make this country a very special yachting destination.
Turkey has a totally different mood. It has beautiful bays, lush greenery, quiet ambience outside of the towns, unique cuisine, and many historical and religious sites left from various civilizations. The combination of the East and the West that exists in Turkey gives to its visitors a very special feeling when they come there.
Some additional points to keep in mind:
If you wish to have a vacation with very beautiful experiences, meeting other culture that's very different from the other ones and yet it is a great mix of the modern world with authenticity, then Turkey is for sure #1. Croatia is beautiful, but it is similar to other European countries. Greece is gorgeous and it has a very special summer vibe. It is a true relaxing yachting destination.
If you choose to sail in Croatia, then you can also visit Montenegro. We can create a tailor-made yachting route for you see both countries in one charter. It can be an amazing experience as Montenegro yacht charters in the Bay of Kotor are unique. And there are many affordable gulets in the area.
Charterers often choose Croatia to follow the Game of Thrones itinerary as some of the seasons were filmed in this Adriatic country, and the fans like to visit the places that appeared in the TV series.
Turkey may be more attractive when it comes to the onshore activities: food tasting, whirling dervishes ceremony, kite surfing, paragliding over the lagoon, visiting a canyon, diving, hiking, visiting remote villages, Turkish bath, belly dancing, and so much more…
If you choose to sail in Turkey, during your charter you can visit some nearby Greek islands (Dodecanese group of islands). You can start a journey in Bodrum, sail to Greece and then come back to Turkey and continue your holiday. So you'd discover two cultures in one vacation.
Each year we inspect hundreds of gulets in different countries. And it’s been part of our job since we entered the industry in 1995.
Let us know the following information before we send you a free selection of yachts: