Sailing Turkey

Destinations

Sailing holidays in Turkey offer a wonderful opportunity to combine the thrill of exploring enchanting new landscapes and fascinating culture every day with tranquil time-outs at deserted anchorages to enjoy the clear waters, hidden bays and sunny skies of the Turquoise Coast. Even though Turkey is a very popular yachting destination, development has for the most part been confined to larger cities and tourist resorts, leaving most of the country unspoiled and perfect for a boating holiday. Yacht charter holidays on the Turkish Riviera are an ideal way for families, couples or groups of friends to relax and unwind while discovering the spectacular scenery, wealth of ancient ruins and warmth and hospitality of Turkey’s long Mediterranean coast. 

Situated at the intersection of European and Asian cultures, Turkey is a living monument to many of the greatest civilizations from ancient times, and the country’s long coastline features countless inlets, bays and peninsulas that make a yachting holiday an exciting, incredibly varied adventure, with a memorable tour of the scenic coves, beautiful beaches and fascinating ruins from the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and other periods. 

Tips for a boat holiday in Turkey

  • Discover one of the world’s great cuisines at seaside restaurants of the Carian coast and try the spicy meatballs, shish kebabs, freshly caught seafood and delicious starters
  • Shop for crafts, jewelry, ceramics, leather goods and carpets in the markets and bazaars of the Lycian coast and bargain to get the right price 
  • Sail to Bodrum and Ephesus to see two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the Mausoleum of Maussollos in Halicarnassus and the Temple of Artemis
  • Visit Datça to explore the ruins of the ancient city of Knidos and enjoy a lively night out in the town’s seafront cafés and bars
  • Sail to the resort town of Kuşadası to swim, snorkel and relax on impeccably clean beaches and tour the nearby attractions, which include the ruins of Ephesus, the house of the Virgin Mary, Pigeon Island and the Dilek Peninsula National Park

Turkey sailing itinerary

The top sailing routes in Turkey are along the Ionian, Carian and Lycian coasts, which stretch from the ancient city of Izmir on the western tip of Anatolia to the historic city of Antalya in Turkey’s southern Mediterranean region. A sailing holiday is the best way to discover the breathtaking scenery of the Turquoise Coast, and the calm sailing conditions are suitable both for keen sailors and beginners. Less experienced crews will find many sheltered coves and anchorages which invite visitors to stop for a swim in their pristine waters or to moor their boat at a wooden jetty next to a restaurant and try some of the specialties the country is known for.   

Sailing the Ionian coast: Izmir to Bodrum

Turkey’s Ionian coast has one of the best climates in the country and lures countless visitors each year with its vibrant culture and lifestyle. It is the perfect destination for bareboat sailing holidays and gulet charters, but somewhat less crowded than the Carian and Lycian coasts. The highlights of the region include the historic sites of Teos, Ephesus, Didyma and Gümüslük. In addition to the cities of Izmir and Bodrum, the main ports are located at Çesme, Kuşadası, and Güllük, and the Greek islands of Chios, Samos, Ikaria, Leros, Kalymnos and Kos are only a short sailing trip away.

Carian coast itinerary: Bodrum to Marmaris

The Carian coast covers a long stretch of beautiful green and mountainous landscapes with scenic anchorages, small villages and many tavernas off the beaten track. With ports of entry at Bodrum, Datça and Marmaris, it is one of the most popular gulet cruise and boat charter areas in Turkey thanks to its stunning sandy beaches, excellent yacht support, friendly winds, and favourable sailing conditions. The Bodrum peninsula and the western side of Marmaris bay are major tourist hubs, but there are many quiet anchorages and lovely forested hillsides that provide shelter from the crowds.

The region is known for its ancient rock tombs and many historic cities, including Gümüslük, Cökertme, Knidos, Datça, and Bozburun. Its proximity to the beautiful Greek islands of Kos, Rhodes and Symi makes it a frequent stop on sailing routes from Turkey to Greece. 

Lycian coast cruise: Marmaris – Fethiye – Antalya   

The Lycian coast is famous for its ancient Lycian tombs, rugged landscapes and commanding mountain ranges, ravines and cliffs, which are best seen from the deck of a sailboat. The region has numerous majestic coves and hidden bays that are perfect for anchoring. The west Lycian coast stretches from Marmaris to Göcek and Fethiye, while the east portion extends from Fethiye to Antalya.

Archaeological sites that can be visited on these routes include the ancient cities of Myra, Olympos and Phaselis and the cultural sites in Fethiye, Kas, Finike and Antalya. For a relaxing break in a captivating landscape, Ölüdeniz is a must-stop. The resort village is famous for its Blue Lagoon, the nearby Butterfly Valley nature reserve, and the stunning views from Babadag mountain, a paragliding hotspot with spectacular views of a lush nature park and the sea.