The best way to describe a private luxury gulet charter is as follows…..
A Gulet (pronounced, “goo-LET”) is a wooden yacht of traditional design, with a comfortable, well-shaded aft and generous-sized cabins. It is also the most authentic way to experience the beauty of Turkey’s Turquoise Coast.
This hand-crafted yacht will serve as a holiday home for a week of cruising the much-indented southwest coast of Turkey, following ancient sea routes into stunningly beautiful harbours and across iridescent seas to tiny, jewel-like Greek islands. The Mediterranean, home to sunken cities, pristine coves, lively ports and islands dotted with the ruins of civilisations past is best experienced from the sea, and we can think of no finer way to do this than in the company of locals.
A week’s itinerary can have you take in the magnificent coastal mountain scenery that lies between Marmaris and ancient Knidos, allowing you a chance to walk along the tops of the fortification walls at Bozukkale and dine out local style in quaint Bozburun or nearby Selimiye. You can wander the cobbled streets of Old Datca and pick-up a handcrafted souvenir, or walk through the authentic open-air markets close to the port of Datca and sample local almonds and honey. At the end of the Datca peninsula are the windswept ruins of Knidos, an important city in antiquity and a fascinating site today.
Heading in the other direction, there is the Dalyan River and a fabulous half-day tour for you to experience, commencing with a relaxing river-boat ride through a labyrinth-like river delta to the ancient site of Caunos. In ancient Caunos’s amphitheatre, you can really conjure up an image of what life was like thousands of years ago ….before making your way up to the cool waters of Koycegiz Lake. If you so desire, have a local gypsy band accompany you on this journey, and play all of the local songs passed down through the ages. From Dalyan, it is a short cruise to the Gulf of Fethiye and the wonderland of bays and coves which make the area one of the most picturesque on earth.
Venturing further down the coast, the island known as Gemiler Island has a colourful history and invites exploration, and at the very least, a place to watch the sunset. Many travellers have enjoyed watching the sun sink slowly into the Mediterranean with a glass of champagne in hand. The next day, it is an early-morning sail down past the Seven Capes and into Kalkan. Kalkan, Kas and Kekova are the next three ports of call, and each holds its own unique charm. Kalkan has beautiful old houses with colourful bougainvillea spilling from balconies, Kas has a myriad of fancy shops and eateries and offers plenty of local nightlife. Kekova is renowned for its “sunken city” and has one of the most photographed castles in the area, ancient Simena.
Gulets are great for cruising. There is plenty of room on board to stretch out and relax and each cabin has plenty of room for stowage of luggage and its own private en suite facilities. Gulets have developed into high-tech vessels over the years and carry a full inventory of safety equipment and also the latest in telecommunications and entertainment systems. A number of gulets designed specifically for family charters carry safety netting along with life vests for infants and small children.
Anyone who is new to the idea and who is yet to have a sailing experience can rest assured that this kind of yacht is perfect for first-timers as it has a nice wide beam and a well-rounded hull, which makes for a very comfortable journey! There is a choice of “calm water” itineraries that are also fun and varied and will ensure a memorable week-long cruise in the sheltered waters of the Gulf of Fethiye or the Gulf of Hisaronu - two popular cruising areas.
Your crew are on hand to ensure that you are comfortable and happy at all times. Your captain will assist you with information about your chosen itinerary and give details on all there is to do and see ashore. A Turkish cook, whose culinary skills extend from traditional recipes to any variety of Mediterranean-style cuisine and in some cases, Asian-style cooking, can easily adapt his recipes to accommodate any special dietary requirements and preferences. Other valuable members of the crew include a deckhand to assist the captain and yourselves as you enjoy the water sports equipment carried on board; a steward to serve your every need and a further crew member, who is usually an additional steward or stewardess.
A gulet charter is designed for relaxation and the enjoyment of discovering new things, including cuisine, history and culture. You may find yourself haggling in local bazaars, or trekking up the side of hills, or snorkelling over sunken ruins.
Local produce is always fresh and delicious, having been grown in fertile soils under the Mediterranean sun. Vegetables are full-flavoured and summer-fruits are ripe, juicy and sweet. The food on board a gulet is for the most part Turkish and that means lots of healthy vegetables and legumes, salads and fish, tasty lamb and hot pilau rice. Local wines are of a very good quality and can be enjoyed alongside some of the best-tasting cheeses and olives in the world. You can find just about any kind of beverage in Turkey and local spring waters, sparkling mineral waters and fruit juices are especially good.
Days are filled with your choice of activity, be it swimming and snorkelling in crystal-clear waters, or sitting at the cushioned aft, reading a novel in the shade of the awning. There are countless ruins to see ashore and small villages with tiny shops selling handicrafts. Fill the daylight hours playing backgammon and doing some fishing, although as the Mediterranean is pretty much fished out you will have to be pretty lucky! If you do land a fish, you can enjoy it, barbecued and delivered to you at your beach picnic. Dance into the night, moving in time to a Turkish pop artist or your favourite band from back home.
In an area of the world awash with history, the Turkish coast certainly lacks nothing in the way of concentration and variety of archaeological sites. Some are accessible only by sea and it is possible that while you are ashore and exploring the sites, you may be the only ones there! It is the coast’s natural beauty that, once combined with your own sense of history, makes this charter destination so endearing and so memorable.