If Greece is home to the magic islands of the Mediterranean, then Turkey is the storehouse of it’s romantic past. Aside from the magnificent scenery, probably the most striking characteristics of Turkey is the friendliness and honesty of its people. Wherever you sail in Turkish waters, particularly along the southern coast, there will always be something exciting to learn. The legacies of ancient civilisations abound, making irresistible attractions.
Amphitheatres, sunken villages and rock tombs wait to be discovered and marvelled at. Turkey is often the meeting host to the East and West. Since the days when Istanbul was Constantinople, Turkey has become a country astride two cultures, European and Eastern.
Turkey is the house of such unlikely historical and mythological companions since the city of Troy, Noah’s ark and Santa Claus. The country is really a fortuitous combination of cultures, combined with a rich history that comes alive inside the too-numerous-to-count archaeological sites. The jewel of Turkey’s southern coast is Marmaris, a clean, modern town having a festive promenade along the wharf beneath a 16th century citadel. Despite rampant development, Marmaris remains a charming town while providing the best facilities accessible to the cruising yachtsman.
A quick sail in any direction from Marmaris as well as the modern marinas and high rise hotels give way to a peasant Turkey with impromptu restaurants set against ancient ruins in secluded bays. Here a three-course meal is probably going to set you back the buying price of an assorted drink and the warmth, colour and frankness in the local people provide truly memorable evenings.
The nearby fishing village of Datca furnishes the town with the freshest seafood imaginable, and dining at even the tiniest café is really a culinary treat. Shops offer good buys on carpets, brass, silver and leather goods. The website of ancient Knidos – where one of the most beautiful sculptures of antiquity resides, the Venus of Praxiteles – is at the tip in the Peninsula of Marmaris.
South of Marmaris, the small fishing village of Dalyan will be the starting point of river trips to the ancient ruins at Caunus. As you go along, boats pass centuries-old Lycean tombs carved to the rocky cliffs from the river banks. At Caunus ancient remains include a well-preserved 15,000 seat theatre.
South of Dalyan – in the eastern gulf of Fethiye – is definitely the town of Fethiye, built on the 400 BC ruins of Telmessos. It is really an area of great archaeological fascination: the ruins of 19 ancient cities are littered in the surrounding countryside. One of the nearby spots most interesting to charterers is Ruin Bay. Running through the shoreline towards the crystal clear bay are ancient foundations; by simply donning a mask and snorkel, visitors can float over the long-forgotten village, accessible only by yacht.
East of Fethiye is legendary Antalya with its Roman lighthouse overlooking the harbour. This coastal area is known for its many beautiful waterfalls cascading into the sea. The epicentre from the famed Turquoise Coast, it provides among the best beaches and swimming anywhere.
Apart from the bareboat option, Turkey offers a range of fully crewed charter yachts with Marmaris the crewed charter capital of the eastern Mediterranean. Europe’s finest vessels up 200ft line the quay creating a French Riviera display of teak decks and polished brass. Charter World’s Brook Felsenthal states that the crewed charter options are becoming increasingly popular with Australians, especially the Gulets and Caiques.
These vessels are really roomy with as many as six double staterooms all with ensuites. The wide beams create excellent deck space while listed here are carpeted mahogany interiors, efficient showers and toilets, lockers fimcji of snorkelling masks, windsurfers and backgammon sets. Even so, you can still make out your discernable outline of the boat that might have carried sponges or oranges in days of yore.
Travelling overland through Turkey is part of the adventure and romance with this interesting country. Local buses leave for anywhere almost hourly with places like Gallipoli, Capridoccia, Pamukkale and Ephesus to see; you can easily spend the best part of the week ashore. A visit to Turkey is an enlightening journey as whoever has experienced it can testify. It thoroughly deserves its reputation to be one of the finest cruising spots on the planet.