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.
The Dodecanese Island of Kos has become one of the most popular islands in the region, arguably second behind only Rhodes. Its rich history includes the impressive fortress, the Castle of the Knights of Saint John close to the Town harbor, the ancient plane tree under which Hippocrates taught students and the Asklepion (his ancient sanatorium). Old Corinthian columns still gather weeds by the roadside. The purpose- built marina is just a short distance south of the ferry port. Kos Town has numerous restaurants, tavernas, cafes and shops and ‘’night owls’’ will find things stay open until late.
As you sail north of Kos, you will encounter the gorgeous island of Pserimos. This is a small island, and only about 100 residents inhabit the island. The islanders main source of revenue is from fishing; however, tourism is on the rise. Most of the local tourism comes from day trippers out of Kos or Kalymnos and provides organized beach trips and parties. Since you are sailing in a yacht, you can enjoy visiting Pserimos any day of the week and join in on the local fun. The harbor has few berths, and the town offers lovely local dishes made from fresh produce and seafood. Apart from a short visit for beachside entertainment, a local dish in the port, you will find that the island also provides some secluded spots to anchor. There are plenty of taverna sotted along the coastline, so you will always find a place to visit no matter in which location you decide to anchor.
Lakki is a large port on the Island of Leros. There is plenty of neo-classical architecture alongside the white-washed houses. Wide streets are lined with palm trees and restaurants and bars near the port offer tempting menus. While in Lakki, it is worth visiting the interesting war museum.
Lipsi in the Dodecanese has yet to get much tourism, and what there is often comes from nearby Leros. The result is a real feel of Greece. It is a relaxing place, fairly quiet and with beautiful beaches and clear waters. Lipsi has some tavernas and shops but it is not really a place for stocking up.
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.
Gylai 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. Its also a great sail by to see how strip mining can reduced 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.
Tilos in the Dodecanese is located between Kos and Rhodes with mass tourism not really a factor. You can visit on a yacht charter and you will find nice beaches and small settlements. Livadia is the island’s port but the place to visit while there is Mikro Chorio, an abandoned village, now a ‘’ghost town’’. On an island with few visitors, the beaches are quiet with no real facilities.
Chalki is another place where peace and quiet is virtually guaranteed. The beaches are great and some will be entirely deserted. There is one small settlement, a port with cafes and tavernas on the promenade.
Rhodes, with its Old Town a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the largest of the Dodecanese and offers everything a tourist would want. There is a 200 kilometre coastline, a fascinating interior, good nightlife and plenty of history. It has been home to several ‘’civilisations’’ in its history and also to a former Ancient Wonder of the World though the Colossus was destroyed by an earthquake many centuries ago. The narrow streets of this walled Old Town can be crowded at times but worth visiting with the Palace of the Grand Master and the architecture of the Knights of St. John notable features.
Symi, off the Datca Peninsula of Turkey is another relaxing island. It is fairly small but offers plenty of chance to explore. The landscape is lovely and once back in Ano Symi there are bars and tavernas offering delicious Greek cuisine which you should try with the local wine.
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.