There are direct flights from the many regional airports of Western Europe to the Turquoise Coast of Turkey for eight months a year. One of the two airports serving the coast is Dalaman in Mugla. It is a modern airport with plenty of capacity and is less than an hour west of the expanding Turkish tourist town of Fethiye, an obvious starting point for those wishing to experience the delights of the warm, crystal blue waters on board a yacht.
As Turkish tourism has grown, so has the demand for sailing adventures on what is a stunning coastline. The seas are calm for most of the extended season and the sun is guaranteed. Those wanting to relax away from the crowds can do so on fully equipped yachts that are available at most budgets, from standard up to absolutely luxurious. A Fethiye motor yacht charter can offer a personalised itinerary heading east towards Antalya or west past Marmaris and down the Datca Peninsula. There is no need to travel huge distances because there are quiet coves with little beaches all along this coast where there will never be many boats, if any, anchored.
Fethiye itself is worth exploration, on and off the boat. It has grown over the years with its modern marina just metres away from an ancient amphitheatre. The Lycian sarcophagi which are carved in typical Lycian style are scattered around the town, the best preserved situated in the yard of the town governor’s office on the main street and another on the main street going towards the caves tombs and Kayakoy.
The Lycian Amintas Rock Tombs are 2400 years old. They are located in the cliff at the back of the town centre. These huge impressive rock tombs are the symbol of this town and give outstanding views of the archipelago. Kayakoy is the deserted Greek City, ruins that are scheduled to be restored. The Greeks left in the population exchange nearly a century ago when the Turkish Republic was formed.There are numerous bars and restaurants, modern shopping but also narrow streets where vendors sell everything from carpets and crafts to spices and souvenirs. Once on board, it is a pleasure to sail out of the bay between islands en route west to Gocek, a small town specializing in hosting those enjoying holidays on the sea.
At times there are yachts as big as any in the world anchored in Gocek. It has a modern marina and boats offering day trips around the ’12 Islands’ as the popular tour is known. There are cafes and restaurants for a coffee or beer while the captain buys any supplies he might need. There is shade from the sun at the height of the day and a street full of tourist shops.
There is never any great haste when cruising these waters. It is tempting to stop in every cove but the next place that has gained a degree of fame is Iztuzu Beach, a 5 km strip of sand that has been given protection because it is a nesting site for the endangered Loggerhead Turtle. That does not mean that tourists cannot enjoy the beach; they are just barred at 8 in the evening for twelve hours during which time many turtles come ashore to lay their eggs and weeks later the hatchlings head for the sea under the cover of darkness.
Just a short distance further west on a Blue Cruise in Turkey there is a sheltered bay called Ekincik. There is a beach and restaurant as well as a pier to tie up. It is a nice place to stop for a swim while the captain cooks lunch, typically kofta (meat balls), chicken, fish, salad and the day’s fresh bread.
There is no need for a watch on such a holiday. The sun rises in the height of summer very early and sets around 15 hours later though there is minimal drop in temperature at night. The experience however is so good that time can sometimes appear to go so quickly. The answer of course is to come back again in the future and perhaps visit another part of the coastline ‘aboard ship.’