It’s hard to recall any other country with such interesting and unique history. Many civilizations have been settled in Turkey thousands of years BC so it’s not so strange to found Greek, Roman and Byzantine remains and ruins here. Turkey’s geographical position is in between Europe, Asia and Middle East and it’s surrounded by the Black, Aegean and Mediterranean Sea. This position has helped Turkey to combine the best from all sides, but due to the size, Turkey has influenced many countries, especially the ones on Balkan. Turkey as we know today was established in 1923 by the Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and today is modern country with strong and fast growing economy.
There are also many interesting and cool facts about Turkey – you might not have known that, but Turkey is the largest hazelnut producer, place where Troy is located as well as two of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and Temple of Artemis. Last but not least, Turkey is very safe destination.
Turkey Blue Cruise
Gulet cruise in Turkey runs from April to late October and mostly covers the area between Kusadasi on west to Antalya on east including beautiful towns such as Bodrum, Marmaris, Göcek, Fethiye and countless coves and bays.
But, how it all begun? Who can we thank for transformation of sleepy sponge-diving and fisherman villages and towns into the most desired tourist destinations?
We could definitely credit Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı, Azra Erhat and Sabahattin Eyüboğlu for this. They were group of writers who set on coastal trips to rediscover Turkish history and breathtaking landscapes. These trips were made on fishermen boats called gulets. The term “Blue Cruise” (Turkish “Mavi Yolculuk”) that was created back then was a strong basis for popularizing this type of vacation and holidays worldwide.
Today, gulet cruise is, except in Tukey, very popular and present in many other countries on Mediterranean. Since this is an exceptional way to spend your holidays in Turkey, we will shortly describe each of the possible destinations.
Located on southern coast of Bodrum Peninsula, Bodrum is unofficial center of Turkish yachting industry. It’s easily approachable from the nearest airport Milas–Bodrum. Whole area of Bodrum is filled with many antique sights, such as theatre of Halicarnassus, Mausoleum of Mausolus (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) and Castle of Saint Peter, also known as Petronium.
Also known as hometown of Herodotus (father of history), Bodrum is incredibly charming and full of life town. From the sleepy town of fishermen and sponge divers in other half of 20th century it converted into the modern destination known for its bar, bazaars, shopping spots and nightlife. Directly in front of Bodrum there is Black Island, place famous for its hot springs and mineral baths and also place where Cleopatra allegedly made her getaway from the Romans and stood here for three years. Also known as Saint Tropez of Turkey, Bodrum is modern destination with pretty glamorous spirit.
Together with the 100 kilometers long gulf between the Bodrum Peninsula and Datca Peninsula, this place represents the essence of Blue Cruise – deserted and private places, amazing sights, and crystal clear water. Apart from the fact that there are some worth a visit historical sights, this immense gulf features countless beautiful spots. This is also good place to get familiar with some local customs and way of life.
Basically, wherever you drop an anchor, you will easily have your own private spot. It’s quite hard to list all the great places to visit, but here are only some of them – Orak Island, Kedrai ancient city, Castle island with amphitheater ruins and Cleopatra’s beach. Going toward Datça, you’ll pass by Seven islands, another perfect place for anchoring and swimming.
Datça is a lovely town located on Datça Peninsula. Back in the past, this place was seat of civilization before Christ but today Datça is one peaceful seaside town. Instead of developing mass tourism like many other towns in Turkey, this place is still quite calm and in terms of accommodation family pensions and boutique hotels prevail. Going further from Datça to the very end of peninsula you will get to Knidos, back in time part of ancient Greece, a busy city in 4th century BC but destroyed by an earthquake.
The first moment you arrive to Marmaris, you can easily conclude this is a very modern and entirely tourism-oriented town. To say how popular it is, it’s enough to say that the population increases tenfold during the summer season. It’s easily accessible from the Dalaman airport. Marmaris castle stands up in the town’s landscape, surrounded by town harbor and Netsel marina. The town promenade is rather impressive, while the sand beaches just boost the thrill with the overall appearance. Marmaris itself is pretty often starting or ending point when cruising in Turkey.
Another interesting place that is also of unspeakable historical importance is Daylan. It’s known for Lycian tombs cut from rock in 4th century BC and blue crabs. Dalyan is mostly visited after leaving the gulet in Ekincik and continuing with the river boat navigating through the Dalyan delta. This area is also famous after mud baths, allegedly helping to improve the skin condition.
Well known as a place with very well built infrastructure, including six marinas, Göcek is very often departure point for gulet cruise. With some infrastructure improvements, including building the tunnel in 2006, Göcek is today modern and easily approachable destination (only 20 km from Dalaman airport). Just little away from Göcek are located Twelve Islands, one of the most stunning destinations and in a way symbol of gulet cruise in Turkey.
In ancient times known as Telmessos, Fethiye is today very important tourist center in Turkey. Apart from the fact that this region has some very interesting historical sites worth of visit, such as Telmessos theatre or Tomb of Amyntas, this entire region is littered with ruins of different ages. Fethiye is an excellent place to start your gulet cruise. Very close to it, you may find some stunning places that really show what’s gulet cruise all about, like Gemiler Island, beautiful place with footpath leading to the Byzantine-era church and tomb ruins. Another must-see spot in this area is Ölüdeniz, place where one of the most beautiful sand beaches with Blue Lagoon is located.
Kekova and Kaş
The island of Kekova, also known as Caravola, is preserved place with spirit of history and numerous pristine sites. You can easily see ruins under the sea in this place which has strong influence of Lycian civilization. Sounds like e perfect place to do some sea kayaking. Basically, this is an ideal getaway place for all those who simply want to run from the crowd places. Kaş is also another interesting stop at your gulet cruise. This lovely small town is filled with small cafes and restaurants, and excellent destination for scuba diving. Mountains that surround this area are particularly good for various activities, such as trekking, hiking or canoeing.