Sailing over the sparkling southern coast of Turkey in a traditional Turkish gulet boat is one of the highlights of any Turkish vacation. The region known as the Turquoise Coast or the Turkish Riviera, is one of the most stunning stretches of coastline in the world. It encompasses the area between the seaside resort of Bodrum to the modern city of Antalya, with countless beaches, bays, and traditional villages, backed by the hills, valleys and the magnificent Taurus mountain range.
The region has attracted sailors and boating enthusiasts for many years and a Blue Cruise is undoubtedly the best way to see the area. Many options are available from Private Yacht Tours to Standard Cabin Charter and you can choose from many interesting itineraries.
Best Blue Cruise Routes
Fethiye 12 Islands
For less sailing time and more swimming and exploring time, the Fethiye 4 day/3 night 12 Islands cruise is ideal. Just outside of the bay of Fethiye are several scattered islands popping up out of the sea like green lumps of sugar. Some are home to ancient Byzantine, Greek or Roman ruins. Others are uninhabited paradises. This route will take passengers from Fethiye’s bustling harbour to these small islands, stopping for swimming, snorkelling and walking. You can anchor in beautiful secluded bays overnight and later return to Fethiye.
Some of the highlights of the 12 Islands are the Yassica (Flat) Islands, with sandy beaches, shallow waters and a naturally formed swimming pool. Tersane Island is a great place to go diving. Below the sea you can find the ruins of an Ottoman/Seljuk dockyard and maybe a sunken battleship or two. At Cleopatra’s Bath/Hamam bay, you can bathe in the same location as the Egyptian queen. At the end of the day, you can watch the sunset over the glowing hills of Red Island.
Bodrum to the Greek Islands
Bodrum is a popular resort town, with lively nightlife and ancient ruins. Cruises leave from Bodrum. You can either explore Turkey’s Gokova region, calling at the English Port, a sunken warcraft cemetery and fantastic diving area, Tuzla Bay, one of the most wonderful bays in the region. Or you can explore Kara Island, home to mineral rich mud baths. It is said that bathing here can make you look 10 years younger.
Another option is to cross the Aegean Sea and visit some Greece’s charming islands before returning to Bodrum. Cruises typically run from 5 to 8 days and itineraries are available to the northern islands, including Patmos and Lleros or to the southern islands: Rhodes, Kos and Symi.
Kemer to Kekova
This is a slightly longer itinerary, usually 8 days/7 nights so passengers can see a large amount of the Turkey’s Mediterranean Coastline. Leaving from Kemer means that you will probably be arriving by plane to Antalya. As the largest city in the region, it is an optimal place to shop for beachwear and anything that you might need for your cruise.
Just outside the city is the resort town of Kemer. Particularly popular with Russian holidaymaker but your Blue Cruise will take you away from the busy resort to stunningly isolated locations such as the Hidden City at Andrasan and the Ancient Lycian City of Myra, which is based in the tomato growing city of Demre and the ruins in Kekova region. You will stop to visit turtle breeding grounds and pristine beaches in the less explored region of the Turquoise Coast.
Kas to Fethiye
If you don’t have as much time, the Kas to Fethiye Blue Cruise could be ideal for you. Cruises are usually 3 days/2 nights. You will visit some of the most stunning locations on the Turquoise Coast. This includes Gokkaya Bay, located in the Specially Protected region of Kekova. The region is home to some idyllic bays and fantastic sunset spots, such as Liman Agzi which is surrounded by rugged green hills. It is known for its calm waters and beachside bar.
Your wooden gulet boat would also take you close to the Sunken City. Here you can look from the top deck and see the ancient city walls sitting just below the surface of the water. Then cruise across the Gokkaya Bay to the Castle Village (KaleKoy) and climb to Simena Castle for spectacular views over the azure blue sea.
You may also stop in Aquarium Bay. It is located nearby the modern fishing town and of Kas, which is a fantastic swimming spot. This bay has earned its name from the incredibly transparent waters which are abundant with sea life. By snorkeling and swimming you may be able to spot red mullets, octopuses, starfish, damselfish, and clownfish. Diving down to the sea bed you can even find stingrays hiding in the sand.
On the way to Fethiye, boats also stop at the butterfly valley, home to the Jersey Tiger Butterfly and Oludeniz, the famous blue lagoon with its richly hued water and beautiful corals. People consider this area to be one of the best paragliding spots in the world.
Turkish vacation cruise
Whichever itinerary you choose, there is no doubt that your Blue Cruise will take you to multiple locations of outstanding natural beauty. You will be impressed by the refreshing waters, stunning cliff caves and incomparable panoramic views. Traditional wooden gulets also vary on size and facilities. Take your time to explore and find the cruise which is right for your Turkish vacation.