Turkey - Turquoise coast← Back to all destinations
The Turquoise coast of Turley is everything that the name suggests – beautiful crystal clear waters of an iridescent turquoise hue lapping a rugged remote cost line punctuated by tiny fishing ports and stunning undiscovered bays.
#Compared with the hustle and bustle of the Greek islands this is another world. Away from the freneticism of Marmaris and Bodrum, a rural calm prevails with extraordinarily friendly people who, despite the fact that their country is most definitely on the tourist map, have time to talk and rarely resent the window-shopper. Bargaining is a way of life and the time taken to strike a mint-tea fuelled deal over a lovely Konya rug is both a pleasure and a mark of mutual respect between buyer and seller.
For the yachtsman, the coast is a feast of visual and cultural pleasures. The ancient city of Kaunos, the turtle nesting sites at Kalkan and the plethora of beautiful ports and harbours dotted along the coast make this a kaleidoscope of delights. Combine this with few visitors outside the big resorts and this is the Mediterranean of dreams – warm seas, blue skies and rugged scenery...and almost nobody else.
Flying in to Dalaman, Goçek is a thirty minute drive away in the opposite direction to the tourist-laden buses heading for Marmaris. The yacht is in Club Marina, Skopea Liman, a delightful gulf some twelve miles long. Surrounded by islands and known for its flat water, it is considered one of the most beautiful cruising areas of the Turquoise coast. Tiny bays are mostly deserted, some sport a simple little restaurant or café, each with its own rickety jetty and delightful places to stop off to enjoy a coffee and a raki. Overnight at a peaceful anchorage.
It is a three hour steam to the small but pretty bay of Ekinçik from where a local boat can be hired (no yachts allowed) to navigate the winding delta to the ancient city of Kaunos. This thriving Roman port fell into disuse as the bay silted up and is now an atmospheric place with ruins of temples, amphitheatres - and very few tourists. On the way back, the floating fish grill should not be missed – stop next to an old fishing boat where a local woman will grill you fish to order – the freshest of takeaways! A further three hours sail heads east to Gemiler Island where competition between the waterborne “greeters” makes choosing one of the two shoreside restaurant ashore an entertaining affair. Overnight in the bay.
The island is littered with Lycian ruins, including a covered walkway built for a princess who was thought too beautiful to be seen. A ruined palace complete with Roman mosaics and several byzantine churches make this fascinating place to explore. Lunch is enjoyed over a three hour steam to Kalkan to swim in crystal clear waters off beaches where loggerhead turtles nest. To contrast hedonism with culture, the ruins of Tios are a short drive away. Dating back to 2000 BC Tios is home to Pegasus, the winged horse of the warrior Bellerophon, slayer of the Chimera and whose rock tomb is well worth a visit. A short sail takes the yacht back into Greek waters to the tiny island of Kastellorizon for the night.
Kastellorizon is the most easterly outpost of Greece with a delightful little waterfront and its collection of decorated churches (many named after St George) make it an attractive overnight anchorage. A morning climb up to the Castle of the Knights is worth the effort for stunning views over the straits to the Turkish coast. Despite a population of a mere 200, it has a thriving duty-free centre. Across the narrow stretch of water lies the picturesque fishing village of Kas with a vaguely bohemian atmosphere and a unique Mediterranean charm. Built on the ruins of Antiphellos, the site was a significant port in Lycian, Roman and Byzantine times. Fabulous swimming and snorkelling in one of the tiny coves makes for a relaxing afternoon and a peaceful anchorage overnight.
A short steam around the rocky headland takes the yacht to the island of Kekova, meaning “plain of Thyme” and appropriately describing the local flora. Popular with visiting yachts, some spending weeks here exploring the coast, and discovering the sunken city of Simena whose ruins can be found on the island and also on the seabed, the result of a huge earthquake in 200 AD. At the top of the village of Kaleköy stands a castle built by the Knights of Rhodes containing the smallest amphitheatre in Lycia. Across the water is the other half of the ancient city of Simena and the more recent Roman castle overlooking the charming village of Kale, virtually unspoilt as it is almost inaccessible by road. Overnight in the sleepy fishing village of Üçagiz with its whitewashed, bougainvillea-covered houses.
A short cruise across to Andraki bay and worth the time to taxi up to Myra (now known as Demre) where there are fine examples of rock-hewn Lycian tombs and is also the home of St Nicholas whose status was elevated to the generous Christmas figure from his habit of dropping small bags of gold coins down the house chimneys of poor girls of marriageable age but with no dowry. An 11thC church in Demre once held his remains but these were stolen by holy relic hunters. A brief sail across the bay takes the yacht to a beautiful anchorage with a delightfully simple beach-side restaurant.
An early start to sail the 40 miles to Porto Çeneviz over a leisurely breakfast. It is said that Mediterranean pirates found this cove an impregnable refuge. With no land road to Çeneviz, the sheer mountain walls that surround the perfect natural harbour shelter it from almost every wind direction and whilst it has become a popular anchorage in the summer, it is a delightful spot to relax, swim and explore. An eleven mile sail takes around an hour to reach the ancient city of Phaselis, set in three perfect bays and now a protected national park. All that remains of this once-prosperous city is a golden limestone aqueduct. A perfect place for a last night anchorage.
A short steam to the purpose-built resort of Kemer and where guests take their leave of the yacht. Somewhat comparable to Mexico’s Cancun, Kemer has fashionable modern hotels and its principle attractions are sand and sea. A convenient port to visit Antalya and to connect with the local airport or drive back down the coast to Dalaman.
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