If Greece is home to the magic islands of the Mediterranean, then Turkey is the storehouse of it’s romantic past. Apart from the magnificent scenery, just about 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 explore. The legacies of ancient civilisations abound, making irresistible attractions.
Amphitheatres, sunken villages and rock tombs wait to get discovered and marvelled at. Turkey is often the meeting host to the East and West. Considering that the days when Istanbul was Constantinople, Turkey has been a country astride two cultures, European and Eastern.
Turkey is the home of such unlikely historical and mythological companions since the city of Troy, Noah’s ark and Santa Claus. The country is a fortuitous combination of cultures, coupled with a wealthy history which comes alive within the too-numerous-to-count archaeological sites. The jewel of Turkey’s southern coast is Marmaris, a clean, modern town having a festive promenade over the wharf beneath a 16th century citadel. Regardless of rampant development, Marmaris remains a charming town while supplying the best facilities accessible to the cruising yachtsman.
A brief sail in almost any direction from Marmaris and the modern marinas and high rise hotels give approach to a peasant Turkey with impromptu restaurants set against ancient ruins in secluded bays. Here a 3-course meal is probably going to set you back the buying price of an assorted drink as well as the warmth, colour and frankness of the local people provide truly memorable evenings.
The nearby fishing village of Datca furnishes the area with the freshest seafood imaginable, and dining at even the littlest café is really a culinary treat. Shops offer good buys on carpets, brass, silver and leather goods. The site of ancient Knidos – where just about the most beautiful sculptures of antiquity resides, the Venus of Praxiteles – reaches the tip from the Peninsula of Marmaris.
South of Marmaris, the little fishing village of Dalyan will be the starting point of river trips to the ancient ruins at Caunus. In the process, boats pass centuries-old Lycean tombs carved to the rocky cliffs in 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 city of Fethiye, built on the 400 BC ruins of Telmessos. It is an area of great archaeological fascination: the ruins of 19 ancient cities are littered in the surrounding countryside. One of many nearby spots most interesting to charterers is Ruin Bay. Running from your 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 renowned for its many beautiful waterfalls cascading into the sea. The epicentre from the famed Turquoise Coast, it offers the best beaches and swimming anywhere.
Besides the bareboat option, Turkey offers a range of fully crewed charter yachts with Marmaris the crewed charter capital from 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 says that the crewed charter alternatives are becoming increasingly popular with Australians, particularly 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 below are carpeted mahogany interiors, efficient showers and toilets, lockers fimcji of snorkelling masks, windsurfers and backgammon sets. Even so, you can still make the discernable outline of the boat that might have carried sponges or oranges in times of yore.
Travelling overland through Turkey is area of the adventure and romance of this interesting country. Local buses leave for anywhere almost hourly with places such as Gallipoli, Capridoccia, Pamukkale and Ephesus to see; you can easily spend the good thing of the week ashore. A trip to Turkey is surely an enlightening journey as whoever has experienced it will testify. It thoroughly deserves its reputation to be one of the finest cruising spots on the planet.