The coastline between Bodrum and Kemer in western Turkey has become a must in the Mediterranean yacht chartering world.
Those wishing to sail along this beautiful coastal stretch will find a rich history, blue waters, small, picturesque villages, the much-vaunted hospitality of its inhabitants, hidden tavernas and unspoiled anchorages.
The weather in Turkey is lovely from April to October, the marinas and yachting facilities being less crowded in spring and autumn, though. Depending on the time you have three main itineraries can be suggested:
1) Starting in Bodrum, stopover at Knidos, then Cati with its beautiful coastline. Next stop English Harbour where free anchoring is safe, a great place to savour seafood: Local fish prepared with lemon, onions and tomatoes will be remembered after having long left. Cosy Ballisu will host you the following night followed by visits to Cleopatra near Sidere.
The most called-for port, however, is Marmaris, a real Turkish Saint Tropez, a place that notwithstanding its mundane attraction has preserved its oriental glamour with an intricate web of alleys within the fortified citadel. Marmaris is situated on the lovely Datca peninsula, the natural dividing point between the Aegean Sea and the rest of the Mediterranean. Another place not be overlooked is the Ekincik Cove from where the river Dalyan can be navigated upstream with flat, low-draught dinghies to be found at the entrance. The nearby village is well-known for the sea bass served in its tavernas. A short paddle, through a rustling cane thicket where herons nestle, will lead you to the archeological site of Kaunos and the famous Theatre.
After spending the night with your yacht at Ekincik sail to Manastir the following day and then proceed to Fethiye. Sailing in this area is very pleasant especially when heading for Baba island and the Byzantine pyramid, the island's landmark, or the Gocek archipelago at the centre of the Skopea Gulf. Here the exotic configuration of Kapi Creek may be admired and also the semi-submerged ruins at Manastir Koyu where, among other Byzantine vestiges, the remnants of what was once thought to be Cleopatras thermal baths, are still visible.
2) In Gocek, a place surrounded by stunning scenery and a real magnet for sailors, resupplying is compulsory! From here the sailing tour will take you to the Oludeniz, the “Blue Lagoon”, and one of the most beautiful white beaches in the world. The night stopover should be at Geminel Islet, rich in past maritime tradition with Byzantine ruins and renowned fish restaurants.
After rounding Burunlar Cape on the following day, the hamlets of Kalkan and Kas are reached. Here safe mooring will be found at the very deep and sheltered Polemos Creek. Tersane is the largest island in the Gulf of Fethiye, a channel providing easy entry into a beautiful natural harbour and to the ruins of an old church and the remnants of what once was a town. From Fethiye, also a recommended night anchorage, beautiful Gemile and Kadriga can be easily reached on the following day.
3) Starting in Kemer, stopover at the port of Geneviz and finishing the day's navigation at Adrasan. From here Finike and Kekova with its renowned beaches and archeological ruins can be reached after a short sailing trip.
Wherever you go in Turkey, the coast will reward you with incredible seascapes and mild weather. June and September are, however, the best months for a cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean: Navigation is easy and aided by light winds, the sun is warm without burning and the presence of tourists is hardly felt. Those who look for warm waters and swimming around the clock, should select for your yachtcharter the hotter months of July and August although May and October should not be discounted due to the favorable climate.