When departing from Bodrum its best to start with something sensational to kick off the vacation, that why sailing to the Gulf of Hisonaru and onwards to Kos, which is due east and clos by will be a wonderful way to whet your appetite for all the wonderful mysteries that lie ahead. Imagine the Odysseus and look down into the clear blue sea as your yacht sails over horizons that have served mankind for millennia. What was once the garden of Neptune is now your grazing ground.
Kos is one of the most prominent Dodecanese islands, most probably only second to Rhodes. This is where Hippocrates taught in the Asklepion, the ancient Greek college that was set under a Plane tree that still stands in its place. Kos is steeped in history, and there are many archeological treats to find here, including Corinthian columns that line the roads, the Castle of the Knights of Saint John, and the famous Kos harbor. With all this magnificent history, it is not surprising to see how modern tourism fits in perfectly, with an international marina, lost of shops, tavernas and leading restaurants that offer local cuisine as well as international dishes.
Pserimos is a small island with a population of 35 residents. This is a tourist island, and its closeness to Kos and Kalymnos attract visitors for its remoteness and the wonderful local cuisine and hospitality. Many a visitor falls in love with this wonderful isolated island.
The large port town of Lakki on Leros islands beckons you with its white washed houses and neo-classical architecture. The streets are wide and lined with palm trees, and the local restaurant, cafes and tavernas provide you with a plethora of cuisine, including famous local delicacies and international dishes.
One of the lesser visited sites in the Dodecanese chain is Lipsi. This small island is next to the more popular Leros, but don’t overlook it. Lipsi has beautiful beaches and an even more inviting town, with wonderful taverna and shops to enjoy. If you want a quieter atmosphere, then this is the place to visit.
Many devout Christians know of Patmos Island, since it is where the Apocalypse of St. John was written in a cave, that has become a pilgrimage site. The island of Patmos is also known as the Jerusalem of the Aegean due to this historical fact. This is why tourism on the island is split between religious visitors and holiday seekers that enjoy the amazing beaches dotted around the isle. Due to the religious significance of the island, the culture here is more subdued and conservative. You will not find an active night life, but you will find a lot of amazing beaches and wonderful restaurants and taverns. This is a great place to visit during Easter, where the Greek Orthodox Church enacts the last supper ever year. On your way to Kastelli Hill, where sunsets are legendary, you should enjoy strolling around the narrow alleyways and streets of Chora. There is also an 11th century fortress like monastery dedicated to the saint that overlooks the whitewashed houses of Chora.
Vathi stretches from the port area up the hills behind. A traditional small fishing port, the colourful boats dock in the harbor when not at sea and there are also boats available for day trips out into the Aegean. The region is fairly dry and vegetation limited but the cuisine, often with fresh fish, is wonderful. Tourists will find tavernas and shops in the village.
Early in the morning, we will have a swimming break at a bay of Gyali Island on the way to Nisyros Island. Gyali is a small volcanic island that is situated just south of Kos and above north from Nisyros Island. This is not a tourist site, in fact, it’s a very industrious strip mining operation. There is a special thermo powder called “Perli” mined here and shipped all over the world. It's also a great sail to see how strip mining can reduce an island. There is a small islet nearby which you can anchor off and enjoy.
In the center of the Dodecanes group of islands you will find Nisyros island. This small island is volcanic but full of vegetation and has a rich history and culture. There are approximately 1,000 inhabitants and the there is still an active volcano in the center, called Stefanos crater. The town of Mandraki has a lovely port and this picturesque village is filled with tourists visiting the natural beauty of this island. There are many small coves to anchor off, or you can just visit Mandraki and enjoy the whitewashed houses with blue windows that stand out form a clear blue sky and warm brown mountainside.
Between Kos and Rhodes in the Dodecanese lies the small island of Tilos. Nestled between two giants, this lovely spot is quieter than its two neighbors. The main town to start in is Livida, where the port will greet you with few facilities. There is a ghost town nearby called Mikro Chorio, and the beaches along the coastline are relatively quiet and raw.
Another quiet spot to visit from the madding crowd is Chalki. So many tourists overlook this lovely island, and the beaches are mostly empty, the town has a port with a small promenade, and some local eateries which provide excelled local cuisine.
Rhodes is a world-famous island, with its UNESCO world heritage town and is the largest of the Dodecanese islands. Rhodes has over 200 kilometers of coastline and is filled with everything an advanced society based on ancient heritage can provide. You have access to culture, architecture, history, religion, entertainment and of course, cuisine. Unfortunately, what you cannot get is a view of the colossus of Rhodes, this amazing feat of ancient sculpture was destroyed in an earthquake centuries ago, but there is plenty more to see around the old walled town.
Our next destination is the charming bay of Nanou in Symi Island where the boat will anchor for lunch and a swimming break. We will anchor at Symi Port late in the afternoon. You can see the shoreline with its neo-classical houses and the peripheral districts. You are going to adore Symi Island for its pine and oak forests and unique bays.
One of the popular coastal stops is Datca, a small southern shore yachting stop over 75kms west of Marmaris. Datca is located in an area that provides you with many small covers along the peninsula, so you can anchor along the coastline and enjoy a swim in the privacy of your own cove. The coast is dotted with small fishing villages and farming towns, and the local tomatoes and olives are famous for their depth of taste. While visiting Datca, enjoy some local produce and maybe even ask your chef to use it as a staple ingredient.
At the tip of the southern coast of the Datca Peninsula of Turkey nestles the lovely town of Palamutbuku. This amazing quiet town, close to the historic ruins of Knidos, is home to some of the most desired long and quiet beaches, green streets, and walled gardens. Like a fairytale town come to life, as you walk along the seaside and look down into some of the clearest waters in the Aegean. In fact, you can walk well into the sea, and be able to see every stone and fish around your feet even when the waters reach head high. The sea is full of fish and many a dinner is caught just moments before it is on your plate, served alongside exceptionally tasty local produce. What is still wonderful is that this coast is still virgin from all the expected tourism, and the town hosts many wonderful taverns and restaurants, as well as the amazing residents that make your stay even more memorable.
At the extreme southwest of Turkey, along the Datca peninsula, sits the small archeological town of Knidos. This is one of Turkeys finest historical legends preserved in amazing condition. You find the Statue of Demeter in one location, and in the ancient harbor there were two Lions that stand guard but are now in the British Museum in London. The main attractions are the temple of Aphrodite and the Necropolis. Excavations are ongoing, and have been unearthing more and more amazing finds for over half a century. Since Knidos is considered to be remote, the best way to reach it is by yacht. This is a must stop for all yacht charters, and one site that will provide a lot of great memoires as well as photos.
Divers and snorkelers seeking some variety will love the Poyraz Bay area, where a lot of different sea life coexist in a continuous struggle for survival. Here you will find octopus, moray eels, starfish and many different sizes and types of fish, as well as amazing rock formations and fragments of ancient times.
Just north of Bodrum you will find the nose shaped bay of Pabuc Burnu. This is considered to be good place to anchor, ad the clear blue waters provide for a nice dip in the sea, as well as a short visit onshore.
After an exceptional yacht charter, you come sail back to Bodrum and prepare for your flight home. This is a perfect time to visit this wonderful city and enjoy your last (but not final) taste of Turkey. Bodrum is a jewel surrounded golden sunsets and azure waters. You really should partake in all the local cuisine, cultural attractions and visit the waterfront outside the famous Bodrum Castle, built from the stones of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. It houses an amazing underwater archeology museum and is a must see when in Bodrum.