Bodrum, a city steeped in ancient history is also one of Turkeys leading tourist attractions. Scholars of history will know it as Halicarnassus, home to the Mausoleum of Mausolus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The modern term “mausoleum” comes from his name. Unfortunately, we cannot see this site anymore since the Knights Hospitalier used the mausoleums stones to build another impressive structure, the imposing Bodrum Castle. This 15th century edifice sits on the waters edge and was the founding point of the city of Petronium, which is today Bodrum. The castle contains Bodrum’s underwater museum of archeology.
Akvaryum Bay is a pristine cove with long sandy beaches and aquamarine waters. This amazing bay located between Bitez and Gumbet provides an amazing respite during your Blue Cruise voyage. Enjoy a relaxing respite in an explorable cove within the bay area and watch as ducks and geese join you in these amazing waters.
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.
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.
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.
Aktur bay in the Datca peninsula has received an amazing accolade as the best bay in Turkey. This is some achievement and should not be discounted. Aktur is located between Datca and Kurucabuk and is the narrowest part of the peninsula. Two spheres of water held at bay by a slim slice of land. The Persian army back in 550BC (Xerxes and the 300) built a tunnel so he could connect directly to the Gulf of Gokova to speed up his fleets attacking capabilities. Today Aktur bay is a vision of beauty that many try to emulate, perhaps that is why it is awarded so highly.
Nestled between the Gulf of Hisonaru and the Aegean Sea is Dirsekbuku. This area has a lot of sheltered bays and hidden coves and is a great spot for a stop over while sailing from Bodrum to Marmaris. There are quite a number of small islands to sail by and anchor off for a swim, or just to laze away the time relaxing with a perfect view.
Bozburun is a lovely small town 45kms west of Marmaris. It is home to a small but modern marina and the town is famous for its shipbuilding industry. This is where some of the worlds finest wooden boats and Gulets are fabricated. This is a quite port town, and the way to reach it is as picturesque as the town itself. Boxburun is great for a relaxing evening, this means you will not find night life here. What you will find are amazing hotels, cafes, bars and restaurants all serving local cuisine using the freshest sea food and locally farmed produce.
One of the popular and frequently used sites for Blue Cruises is Serce. This lovely town has an amazing sheltered harbor, and this is the reason for the pristine clear waters. The area is steeped in ancient history and many of the local finds are now housed in Bodrum’s underwater archelogy museum. Just sailing into Serce is an experience worth waiting for, and along the way, many amazing and memorable views are provided. Nearby Serce are the ancient towns of Kirkkuylar and Sidilli, in which you will find over 40 cisterns that provided fresh water to the inhabitants of this area.
Right between the Aegean and Mediterranean sea sits the small inhabited islet of Arap. This spot of nature has a small village called Taşlıca, and when you anchor off the beach, you can just stretch your legs for a 3.5km walk to town on this quiet island and experience the silence of nature.
Just west of Marmaris you come to the blue flag awarded and shelter Kadirga Harbour. Aptly awarded since it has amazing clear waters and provides a nice respite for a quick dip.
Between Marmaris and Dalyan lays the wonderful bay of Ekincik. What is most beautiful in this bay is small Iztuzu Beach. Iztuzu Beach is closed at night since it is a nesting ground for the loggerhead turtle, otherwise it provides a carefree pebble and sand beach environment during the day, when only a few yachts are moored off its side. Just after the beach you will find the Dalyan Delta, and this is an explorers dream, with its Lycian tombs and the ancient ruined city of Kaunos. If you prefer a more active respite, then take to some of the water sports offered in the bay of Ekincik. Apart from these three activities, which should be enough, there is also a short brisk walk along the western banks of the Delta that will provide you with a chance to spot a wild boar foraging for food.
Just a short sail away from Oludeniz is Gokemile Bay. This is a lovely place to visit, and a short walk to the top of the island will provide you with a panoramic view of the entire area with all its coves and bays.
Within the Gulf of Fethiye lies the twin bays of Aga Limani. This is a wonderful place to anchor, and are prefect for swimming, fishing and just enjoying the day. The waters here are cool since they are connected to an underwater fresh water stream that comes down from the mountains. The seawater here is crystal clear, but if you prefer to visit inland, then take an hours walk to the ancient city of Lyda. There you will find a lot of archeological discoveries and the path leading there is exceptionally delightful.
The biggest island in the Gulf of Fthiye is Tersane Island, known also as Shipyard Island. This bay has a 100 meter deep channel that was used by the Ottoman navy, hence the name shipyard island. The bay area has a lot of coves and towards the east lies the Summer harbor. The west side of the bay is not used much due to the strong winds that prevail most of the year. There is an ancient ruined town nearby called Telandria, and if you want to stretch your legs, this is a great place to do so.
In the Gulf of Fethiye lie the Yasica islands, these are uninhabited islands that are perfect for swimming, visiting and just sailing around. Most of these islands have secluded beaches that provide a private relaxation environment, and you can while away the hours swimming and enjoying the quiet. Apart from relaxing, you can also enjoy a lot of water sports here, especially child safe water sports that provide a great daytime activity for your kids. The beaches and sea shores are stony, so you should come prepared with proper sea footwear. Some of the islands are so close to each other, that you can swim from one to the other, which provides a lot of exhilaration, as well as competitiveness. The nearest port is located at Gocek, and that is also where most of the day trippers come from. Try to stay for sunset, this is when the cameras come out and some of the most romantic and breathtaking shots can be taken during these hours of the late day.
Gocek is a starting point for the local 12 Islands Tour and an island of the same name is closest to the harbour, perhaps 10 minutes sailing? Those not wanting to sail can visit its beach where many will stop during their tour of the islands. There are refreshments available on Gocek Island throughout the sailing season. If you wish, you can camp perfectly safely under the trees ans simply spend a relaxing time.
You arrive at Gocek at the end of your voyage, after taking in all the wonders of the Mediterranean, possibly also the Aegean and Adriatic. When you berth in Gocek, take some time off before you leave to the airport. Enjoy the wonders of this beautiful town and take one last taste of all that Turkey has to offer. Walking the promenade and enjoying the sunset. Maybe that carpet you saw when you arrived is still waiting for you to buy it and place it at home, providing extra warm, memories of an ancient coastline and land filled with warm wonders and experiences.