Yacht Itinerary for the Turkish Coast
Why choose Turkey for your cruising grounds?
The Turkish Riviera in Turkey, also known as the Turquoise Coast, stretches from Cesme down to Antalya and true to its name yields blue-water beaches and coves in abundance for Turkey luxury yacht charters. Snorkel and dive sites are plentiful and varied, with the water remaining warm almost year-round that encourage swimmers of all ages to jump in and swim with dolphins, manta rays, loggerhead turtles and a host of curious fish species.
Greek and Roman influences have left behind extensive coastal ruins hidden just out of sight above a pale white cliff or a screen of pines beside your beach, and the days offer plenty of opportunity to learn new skills on the water toys, fish or simply de-stress.
Aboard your luxury yacht, you can take your accommodation and entertainment with you as you travel with an expert crew, who might include a professional masseuse, yoga instructor or dive master. Sunbathe in your sundeck or wallow in your Jacuzzi as you are transported from pristine nature to bustling cities with shopping opportunities unlike anything back home, flavoursome local cuisine and an animated nightlife.
An extensive Turkish luxury yacht charter itinerary takes in the sights over 14 days and divides guests' time equally between stunning natural wonders, the marvels of ancient civilisation in the region and satisfying modern conveniences and luxuries to be found in the towns and cities beside the shores.
Find out what your group could be doing for your next family break with the following Turkey Yacht Charter Itinerary.
Day 1: Kusadasi
Commence your Turkey luxury yacht charter in the ancient city of Kusadasi and immerse yourself in a place where the past and the present harmoniously live side-by-side. The aroma of local cuisine fills the streets as you explore the bazaar for handmade carpets, rugs and other bespoke pieces for your home and wardrobe. Kusadasi Castle is just a short walk from the marina and offers elevated views of the city and the harbour.
Unwind from a busy day in one of the beautiful hammams to be found throughout the city, of which 'Hammam Kusadasi' is the oldest and most traditional, built in the late 15th Century.
The Dilek National Park to the south of Kusadasi presents luxury yacht charter groups with on sandy bay after another for private rest and relaxation or an afternoon of fun with the water toys in the crystal clear waters of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Location highlights: Kusadasi Castle, Hammam Kusadasi, Dilek National Park
Day 2: Ephesus
From Pamukçuk Plajı (Pamucak Beach) head east to the ruins of the Temple of Artemis and the Ancient Greek city Ephesus, now an open-air archaeological museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site surrounded by cafes and eateries to rest and savour local fare during your tour.
During your day trip, discover the entertainments of the day as you roam the ancient amphitheatre, Roman baths and the newly restored villas that belonged to the city elite, who enjoyed underfloor heating and opulent works of art covering the ceilings to the floor.
If you still have an hour to fill, take in the tranquillity of the ruined St. Jean Kilisesi, the church and burial place of St. John the apostle, and Selcuk castle to the north.
Location highlights: Pamukçuk Beach, Temple of Artemis, City of Ephesus, St. Jean Church, Selçuk Castle
Day 3: Didim
After the two vibrant Turkish cities, follow up with a day of relaxation among the myriad beaches surrounding Didim. There are many easy Scuba dive sites and even a snorkel off the beach will reward with reefs teeming with fish. The winds in the region create the perfect conditions to learn kitesurfing, windsurfing or sailing before resting and recharging with a delicious freshly-prepared lunch on your shaded main deck aft.
The wonderfully preserved Temple of Apollo at the heart of Didim is a must-see for family groups of all ages for its labyrinth of columns, intricate carvings such as the Medusa head and cool shadowy hallways leading back into bright sunlight - splendid photo opportunities to last a lifetime.
Head to a secluded bay to watch the sunset from your Jacuzzi with a cold glass of wine in hand, or moor at D-Marin Marina - Turkey's biggest marina providing berths of up to 70m/229ft - and party the night away at the local bars along Altınkum Beach.
Location highlights: Temple of Apollo, D-Marin Marina Yacht Club, Altınkum Beach
Day 4: Gol Turkbuku
South of Didim is a whole other world of glitz and glamour in Gol Turkbuku, where the Turkish well-to-do spend their summers amongst heavenly scenery surrounded by spa resorts, fine dining opportunities and luxury boutiques. Cafes line the beachfront and in the evenings the glow of the bars and beach clubs might be enough to tempt you ashore, or inspire you to host your own gathering on your sundeck.
Meran Adasi is one of several forested nearby islands where you can moor away from the crowds for private sunbathing or fun on the motorised water toys. Instead, head farther along the coast to Halk Beach and similar sandy coves around Yalıkavak Marina, where restaurants such as Zuma Bodrum prove high quality alternatives to your own dining experience on board your luxury yacht.
Location highlights: Nikki Beach Resort & Spa, Meran Adasi, Halk Beach, Yalıkavak Marina, Zuma Restaurant
Day 5: Bodrum
This once-Greek city is an eclectic mix of modern and ancient culture that makes for a lively and welcoming stop on your 14-day luxury cruise. Start your morning with breakfast alfresco on the main deck aft, then spend the cooler hours of the day touring local sights: St. Peter's Castle holds many miniature exhibitions within, and pass by the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, as you shop in the local art galleries and boutiques along your route. The ancient Roman-Greco amphitheatre Halicarnassus puts on performances, concerts and similar events for some open air entertainment while you rest weary feet, then receive a relaxing and authentic Turkish hammam treatment for soft and radiant skin. On your way back to the marina stop by at one of the many cafes or restaurants for a light lunch before heading to the nearby beaches.
Scuba divers should not miss the opportunity to visit nearby Kara Ada (meaning 'island') for the caves and WWII wrecks such as the C47 Dakota that line the coast. Even if you decide to stay dry, there is a magnificent selection of once-submerged artefacts at the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology within St. Peter's Castle to discover the region's ancient pottery that could have been lost forever.
Location highlights: St. Peter's Castle, Halicarnassus Amphitheatre, Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology, Kara Island
Day 6: Sideyri Island
Far from the built-up cities and main tourist attractions, the island of Sideyri in the Gulf of Gokova is a serene retreat for romantics and yacht charter groups looking to follow in the footsteps of Cleopatra and Mark Antony, who used the island for their trysts. Hike or bike the island trails and discover the Ancient Theatre, Kedrai Ancient City with its carved limestone cliff mausoleums, and soft sandy beach named after Cleopatra herself, the sands brought here from North Africa at her bequest.
Kayak, jet ski or sail around the islands to the north or explore the coves along the mainland then settle in for hours of sunbathing, beach-side games and water sports. End your evening with family films or a romantic candlelit meal under the stars, prepared by your own professional chef.
Location highlights: Kedrai Ancient City, Cleopatra Beach, the Ancient Theatre
Day 7: Symi
Move in to Greek territory with Symi - part of the Dodecanese Islands - and absorb the charms of port town Ano Symi where the colourful houses are a delightfully chaotic scene as they follow the twisting roads up into the hills. Begin your morning with a stroll followed by a coffee at one of the beautiful waterfront cafes, photographing the myriad Mediterranean blues before cruising on to nearby Pedi and its beach or St. Nicholas Beach for water sports and relaxation.
As a more private place to snorkel, Scuba dive and host a meal, the secluded Church of St. Basil and its nearby beach is far from the maddening crowd and stop by at Panormitis along the way to see the imposing monastery.
Location highlights: Pedi Beach, St. Nicholas Beach, Church of St. Basil, Archangel Michael of Panormitis Monastery
Day 8: Rhodes
Those who love to learn about history and walk through the remnants of the past will be excited at what the island of Rhodes has to offer, particularly behind the walls of the City of Rhodes. The picturesque Old Town of medieval origin is deserving of UNESCO World Heritage Status along with the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, where sunlight dapples the courtyard columns and magnificent mosaics can be found throughout the halls.
The Rhodes windmills can be seen on a stroll to the lighthouse and back, and museums and galleries will provide a welcome break from the midday heat before cruising to such swimming spots as Kallithea Beach or the turquoise-coloured Anthony Quinn Bay. Night owls have a thriving scene of clubs, bars and restaurants to keep them entertained from dusk 'til dawn in the City of Rhodes, and there are dozens of bays for a private party.
Water sports enthusiasts have much to enjoy as well, from shallow pools excellent for young children to deep open waters to run wild on the water skis and jet skis. Scuba divers have myriad dive sites to choose from, including WWII wrecks, caves, the shallow Kallithea Springs and Stegna Islands, and the much deeper Ladiko Wall.
All-in-all, Rhodes has something for everyone and is the rugged backdrop to a day of fun in the sun.
Location highlights: Old Town, Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, Anthony Quinn Bay, Kallithea Beach, Kallithea Springs dive site, Stegna islands dive site, Lakido Wall dive site
Day 9: Dalyan
Situated between Marmaris and Dalaman, Dalyan is a day of adventure involving nature parks, thermal spas, ancient ruins and rafting along the rivers. Leave your luxury yacht behind at Iztuzu Beach - the middle section of the 5km strip being protected as a breeding ground for loggerhead turtles - and take the tender up the river past the cliff-carved Lycian rock tombs to Kaunos, the ruins of a once-thriving ancient city.
Canyon and raft through the Toparlar Canyon throughout the afternoon, or stay and ease tired muscles at the Sultaniye Thermals and Mud baths along the beautiful Lake Koycegiz to the backdrop of distant mountains. Return to Iztuzu Beach for a snorkel and swim in the warm waters, then savour a cocktail or two at sundown.
Location highlights: Iztuzu Beach, Lycian rock tombs, Kaunos, Sultaniye Thermals and Mud Baths, Lake Koycegiz.
Day 10: Gocek
The luxury marinas in Gocek have top notch modern services for you to refuel and dine in style with other cruisers, then it's a true escape into the Turkish wilds from this favoured favoured luxury yachting destination: Sail to the 12 islands and find sandy crescents and plenty of room for motorised and towable toys, as well as shallow clear water to test your windsurfing and kite surfing skills.
Back on dry land, Gocek has several bars and restaurants for a late afternoon or evening meal, including dock-side restaurant The Breeze and Q Lounge for an evening cocktail.
Guests will be spoiled for choice when it comes to secluded forested bays for privacy when sunbathing on of the foredeck or hosting a gathering on board, and in the evenings the group can fall asleep to the sounds of nature under a clear night sky.
Location highlights: Gocek Yacht Club, The Breeze Restaurant, Q Lounge
Day 11: Fethiye
The more built-up city of Fethiye is just across the bay from Gocek and adds even more options for sunbathing, sight-seeing, shopping and night time entertainment. Those who want to explore beyond the shore and spend a day on land can admire the Ancient Rock Tombs opposite the marina and the ancient city of Telmessos at the heart of Fethiye, or head farther afield to the ghost town of Kayakoy.
Fethiye Museum is a short stroll from the marina and provides Lycain period and onwards exhibits in air conditioned surroundings for a welcome change to outdoor sightseeing. On your way back to the marina, indulge your sweet tooth at Servet Turkish Delight Factory and take home some handmade ceramic bowls, jewellery boxes or board games as a souvenir from Eskisehir Pazari. The canal-side market in Old Town has a variety of stalls for bargain hunters while bespoke jewellers, carpet makers and clothes shops can be found on your wanders.
After a tiring day exploring the wonders along the coast, rest and rejuvenate at one of the many spas and hammams dotting the city: The Old Turkish Bath Boutique Hammam close to the Ece Marina for guests wanting a little luxury before a night on the tiles or a relaxing night in. Calis Beach is packed with bars, bistros and restaurants to cater to your mood, and the soft sandy beach fringed by turquoise water is suited to families of all ages.
Location highlights: Ancient Rock Tombs, Ancient City of Telmessos, Kayakoy, Fethiye Museum, Servet Turkish Delight Factory Old Town, The Old Turkish Bath Boutique Hammam, Calis Beach, Patara Beach
Day 12: Kalkan
On your way south to Kalkan be sure to stop off at Oludeniz for paragliding over its brilliant blue lagoon and emerald hills. The beach has an array of restaurants and bars for lunch out of the sunshine, and the long crescent beach or nearby Kidrak Beach give you options for beach games and relaxation in privacy.
Those in the group looking to spend some energy have the trails up into Kelebekler Vadidi, a butterfly and nature park beginning at the beach and passing through a quaint Turkish village. Farther south, Kabak Beach has a reputation as a hedonistic paradise with few modern day distractions other than the ones you bring with you.
The natural beauty of Kalabantia (a.k.a. Pirate Bay) will stir younger imaginations, who can then play out their adventures on the 20km long Patara Beach, which also makes an ideal location for that candlelit dinner under the stars with a meal prepared to your dietary requirements by your expert on board chef.
Before sundown, there is plenty of time to walk through the floral scented streets of Kalkan for some boutique shopping at the galleries and bespoke jewellers amongst the white-washed buildings. Lycian ruins and natural hideaways can be found along the coast - just ask your Captain to his or her local knowledge on the best spots.
There are also some amazing dive sites in the area, including the shallow Firnaz Bay for beginners and Blue Cave and the Wreck of the Duchess of York, sunk in 1943 for experienced divers after more of a challenge. The Blue Cave can also be visited by boat for family and friends who want to remain dry and see more of the spectacular sights along the coast.
Location highlights: Oludeniz Beach, Kidrak Beach, Kelebekler Vadisi, Kalabantia, Patara Beach, Firnaz Bay dive site, Blue Cave dive site, Duchess of York dive site
Day 13: Kas
Get in some incredible dive sites on the penultimate day of your luxury yacht charter with shallow cave dives, reefs and wrecks thriving with fish species, loggerhead turtles, dolphins and the occasional seal. East of Kas there is the sunken Aperlai Ancient City, where semi-submerged tombs are surrounded on three sides by beautiful jade forests.
Dry off on your sundeck as you cruise in to Kas and admire the stunning white cliffs and golden-hued beaches over lunch. Kayak, paddleboard and snorkel along Incebogaz Beach or grab the opportunity to paragliding if you missed your chance in Oludeniz, then rest and recover in one of the beautiful spas. For shopping, Tugra Art Gallery in the town square boasts a range of high quality ceramics, lanterns and jewellery boxes that would make an original gift for friends and family back home or a memento of the trip. Kas Pazar Market held on a Friday is a short walk from the marina and sells authentic local crafts and produce down picture-perfect old streets. Kas has a thriving nightlife scene surrounding the marina, with a fine selection of restaurants and cafes for groups looking for a more laid back way to take in the ambiance of the city aglow at night.
Location highlights: Incebogaz Beach, Tugra Art Gallery, Aperlai Ancient City, Tunnel dive site, Flying Fish Reef dive site, Hidayet Bay dive site
Day 14: Antalya
End your two-week Turkey luxury yacht charter in Antalya a coastal city that has all the cosmopolitan delights that you could ever want. Moor in the Old Town marina and wander through shaded cobblestone alleyways, discovering ancient forts and mansions, markets, the three arches of Hadrian's Castle Gate from 130 CE, and Antalya's fantastical toy museum with items dating from the late 19th Century onwards. Just outside at Konyaalti Beach, there are numerous restaurants and cafes for a true taste of Turkish cuisine in a vibrant city. Shopping centres are scattered throughout the metropolis and have a variety of international brands for those who want to get in some final day shopping, and spas and hammams both traditional and modern are copious along the seafront. Farther afield, Perge Ancient City awaits 15 kilometres outside of Antalya and is the site of a Roman theatre, baths, stadium and Nymphaeum. For the more adventurous, Termessos Ancient City is nestled within the Taurus mountains away from the busy tourist trails and boasts six temples, a main square, cemetery and theatre, for which Termessos is most well known. As your private transport returns you to town, visit the beautiful Kursunlu waterfalls within the serene nature park.
Location highlights: Kaleici, Hadrian's Gate, Konyaalti Beach, Perge Ancient City, Termessos, Kursunlu Waterfalls
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