Arriving in Turkey is like coming home. The welcome is always warm and the faces are smiling. This you will experience to the utmost when you step aboard a Turkish gulet for a Blue Cruise journey by sea. . . . encountering at each turn an indescribable beauty, not only in the colours of the water, or in the way the sun works at teasing a dozen different hues out of a pine forest, but in the far silhouettes of ancient fortresses, in the smile on the face of a crew member and in the world of gastronomical delights once created to tempt sultans and visiting statesmen.
And if you should choose to broaden your holiday horizons aboard a Turkish gulet, cruising along the Turkish Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, or through the Greek islands - then let it be known that from here on in, every other holiday or vacation you make will be measured against this one!
Imagine the freedom of switching off your cell phone, slipping of your watch and casting off your every day attire in favour of shorts, bathing suits and sarongs. This is a “barefoot” type of holiday, where the times and movement reflect your own requirements and your privacy and comfort is put ahead of everything else. This is a truly unique holiday aboard a one-off, hand-crafted Turkish vessel, where your only concern is that you take sufficient time out for yourself to truly relax and enjoy some of the finer pleasures in life. Being on the sea in Turkey is one of the finest ways to reward yourself, at the same time benefitting from an authentic experience as only Turkey can provide.
Gulet.com.au has a wide selection of luxurious, yet affordable Turkish yachts in its fleet and over 20 years’ experience in creating the perfect itinerary for any occasion. If you have never cruised before, now is a great time to discover one of the most relaxing modes of travel against the backdrop of tiny coves, quaint harbours and deserted bays that make up the south-west corner of Turkey. It’s a chance to taste a different way of life, where time seems to pass a little slower and the locals preserve traditions handed down through eons. This is an opportunity to explore out-of-the-way coastal villages or climb to hilltop monasteries on adjacent Greek islands, to discover ancient ruins only accessible by sea, or snorkel over the remains of a Byzantine settlement.
This is an enchanting corner of the world with much to tempt travellers back again and again. There is never a “one size fits all” itinerary, when you choose your own group to travel with and when Gulet.com.au works closely with you to customise an itinerary.
Try this itinerary, and see just what’s possible in the space of a week:
Lycian Adventure Itinerary along the Southwest Coast of Turkey
Day 1 Gocek and Tomb Bay
Embark in the pretty port of Gocek, just 20 minutes’ drive from Dalaman International Airport. Sail for Tomb Bay on the western side of the Gulf of Fethiye. This is a beautiful bay with wooded slopes and many rock tombs, carved into the rock face by the people of ancient Lycia. Exploring the tombs involves a little climbing but this is a wonderful opportunity to take a closer look at these ancient relics of both the porticoed temple and the pigeon-hole variety. Take in superb views across the bay and into the gulf beyond. For the really adventurous, there is the acropolis of ancient Cyra a little higher up on the hill.
Overnight in Tomb Bay.
Day 2 Skopea Harbour and Manastir Bay
Following a swim and a leisurely breakfast, enjoy a series of short hops in “Skopea Harbour”, the most picturesque part of the gulf, stopping to explore some Byzantine ruins en route to the evening anchorage, “Manastir” (Monastery) Bay. Swim, snorkel or walk ashore among olive groves. There are also the partially-submerged ruins of a monastery to explore and this is best done either with snorkel and flippers or by taking a tender ashore. Tonight, dine beachside on typical Turkish fare.
Day 3 Turunc Pinari (Turunc Stream)
Sail for the other side of the gulf and drop anchor in the idyllic bay known as “Turunc Stream”, fringed with fragrant pine forest. Here, you may take a tender ride up to the wooden quay and walk around the small garden paradise created by local restauranteur Osman and his wife, Tulay - both very friendly people. Snorkel, swim, or take a quiet nap on deck. This is a true paradise. The beauty of the cliffs above are highlighted as the sunset touches them with a golden glow.
Day 4 Gemiler island
Cruise around the entrance to the Gulf of Fethiye and drop anchor off Gemiler island. Grab mask and flippers to leisurely explore Gemiler’s sunken treasures: an ancient quay and some quayside shops - just below the surface of the water. In the afternoon, go ashore to visit the ruins of what was once quite a large Byzantine settlement: amid countless ruins, there are three churches, one of which has a mosaic floor. Also of interest, is the curious covered walkway which runs down the side of the hill and to the harbour. It is a fascinating site and the sunset view from the top of the island is nothing short of superb. Move on to Cold Water Bay where a delightful narrow trail takes you to an excellent vantage point alongside the small restaurant servicing visiting yachts.
Day 5 Kalkan
Wake up in beautiful “Butterfly Valley”. If there is time to walk ashore, this is a great place to take in the area’s abundant natural beauty. It is a lengthy passage to Kalkan via a number of headlands. . . a great opportunity to enjoy reading your book and relaxing on deck.
Once at anchor in Kalkan harbour, take a walk ashore to better appreciate the beauty of this charming hillside town. Kalkan’s winding cobblestone streets are lined with white-washed houses, some almost concealed from view by masses of bright-coloured bougainvillea. These Greek-style houses serve as a reminder that Kalkan was formerly occupied by people of both Greek and Turkish descent. Tonight's dinner ashore can be taken at one of the many fine restaurants which overlook the harbour below.
Day 6 Ancient Aperlae and Kekova
This morning’s journey begins at daybreak so that breakfast can be enjoyed in one of more interesting destinations on this route: Ancient Aperlae. Aperlae was founded in the late 4th/early 3rd century BC and held its importance for a good 1,300 years due to the local production of Tyrian purple - an extremely valuable dye, extracted from a marine mollusk. Evidence of the size and affluence of this former settlement is clear to see, both above and below the shoreline. Wear sturdy shoes to tackle the rocky slopes ashore, or don a mask and snorkel to explore relics lying in the shallows. Mid afternoon, sail into the Kekova Roads, a well sheltered stretch of water, enclosed by the Island of Kekova on one side and the lower slopes of the Taurus Mountain range on the other. The area is one of stunning natural beauty rivaling that of Skopea Limani. Spend the night at anchor either in Pölemos Buku or Üçağız.
Day 7 Kekova and Kas
Wake up to the magnificent sights and sounds of Kekova, one of the most photographed regions on the entire Turkish coast. A morning tour of ancient Simena and the well worn battlements of her Medieval fortress is an unforgettable experience! High above the village of Kale, the hilltop fortress appears to be perched atop the hill like a crown. Upon reaching the top, relax and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Kekova Roads. A good part of the day is yours to discover the wonders of Kekova. See the sunken city along Kekova island, visit the lone sarcophagus sitting in the middle of the bay and marvel at set of steps hewn into the rock many thousands of years ago. This is as exciting as history gets. Return along the coast, stoping at Bayındır Harbour for the night. Dinner out in the bright and lively town of Kas.
Day 8 Kas
Disembark late morning in the harbour of Kas.