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Setting the sail from Marmaris to Fethiye and the deep blue sea will draw your soul straight in. Add to that the pine trees’ luminous green that spreads over the water as if to cool off, and your entire being is tossed hither and yon until it lands at Ekincik. Passing Dalyan, it turns first to Disibilmez and then to the headlands at Kurtoglu, where it plunges into Fethiye Bay, cutting a wide circle from left to right. Then it’s Bedri Rahmi Cove followed by Gocek and from there to the Dodecanese and then Kayakoy, where it finally lands like a bird.
Marmaris / Fethiye
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Known in antiquity as Physkos, this ancient port city of Caria dates back to 900 BCE. Following the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods and brief rule by the Mentesogullari principality, it joined the Ottoman Empire following the conquest by Suleyman the Magnificent in 1522. It came to be known as Mimaras and its later variations, Mermeris and Marmaris. Most of the Carian ruins lie in the vicinity of the Bozburun Peninsula.
The most important historical structure in the city center is the fortress erected by Suleyman. Thought to have been built originally by the Ionians, Marmaris Castle was opened up for settlement following the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923.
Other Ottoman buildings in the city include the Hafza Sultan Caravanserai and the vaulted bazaar in the old marketplace.
For years a tranquil town of fishers and sponge-divers, Marmaris became one of Turkey’s leading centers of tourism starting in the 1980s.
Whether you arrive by plane at Dalaman or overland when you’ve crossed the last hills down the road lined with pines, you’ll encounter a sign saying “Here’s Marmaris!” This is the best spot for getting a bird’s eye view of the city.
When you reach the coast, you’ll either plunge wholeheartedly into the fast-paced action or set sail for a quiet holiday on one of the many available yachts and try to fathom the ‘deep blue sea.’ The blue cruise you’ll make from Marmaris to Fethiye will take you into waters where green mingles with blue, and you won’t know whether it’s real or just a dream.
Ekincik Bay should be your first stop after leaving Marmaris. You’ll moor at the vaulted quays in the pine-shaded coves, where you can enjoy delightful evenings at the clubs and restaurants on the shore.
And if you anchor in the open sea off Dalyan, which takes its name from the area’s natural canals and the fishing weirs set up here, you can not only tour the canals in one of the small boats waiting at the shore; you can also have a soothing mud bath at one of the nearby spas.
Meanwhile, the royal rock tombs, the ancient city of Kaunos, and Iztuzu Beach, nesting ground of the Caretta Caretta Turtles, are some of the added boons of this route.
The islands and the coves of Fethiye and Gocek are far and away from the best stops on this route. No sooner will you enter the cove than an array of incredibly beautiful islands such as Domuz, Tersane, Gocek, Tavsan and Yassica (fanciful names that translate as, for example, ‘Pig’ and ‘Rabbit’) will rise before you.
Domuz Island, so named for the many wild boar that used to roam there, is covered with olive groves and pine trees. The island also has a harbor naturally sheltered from the wind.
The Yassica islands, where you can watch the world’s most stunning sunsets, are small and have no touristic facilities. Just choose a patch of land, tie up your boat and take a hike; on the biggest one, you’ll come to a lake that makes it all worth the effort.
Tersane, the largest of the islands on the Gocek side, boasts the homes of the former Anatolian Greeks, which were vacated in the population exchange of 1918.
Gocek island, the first choice for those who prefer to stay in town and swim at the nearest beach, is an excellent port for you and your yacht. The minute you get there, you can anchor at either the municipal marina or one of the private marinas and delve into the town, where your feet will lead you automatically into the narrow back streets with their bustling array of colorful shops.
If hiding out in secluded coves is your thing, you’ll encounter scores of them at Gocek. Kille, Taslica, Sarsala, Hamam, and Gobun, to mention just a few.
At the entrance to Taslica cove, also known as ‘Bedri Rahmi Cove,’ the first thing you’ll notice are the rock tombs cut into the hills on your right, to be followed by the figure of a fish painted on a rock by none other than Bedri Rahmi Eyuboglu himself, one of Turkey’s leading painters and poets of the last century.
The green foliage and scent of the storax trees that line Boynuz Buku from end to end will instantly start you daydreaming.
The emerald coves of Sarsala and Hamam cove with its ancient ruins submerged under the water will be the most beautiful stops on your trip. When you anchor at this cove, you can either swim straight out to the baths or view the ruins from land as you stroll under the pines.
Later, when you set sail once again, you’ll come to the coves of Yavansu and Gobun.
When you turn towards Fethiye from the coves of Gocek, you will come to three islands. One of them is known as Kizil Ada, the ‘red island,’ for the reddish hue the sand and pebbles on its shore take on at sunset. The islands large and small to the northwest of this island are a favorite place with diving buffs. Sovalye or Chevalier Island, just at the entrance to Fethiye, is a spot once used by the Knights of Rhodes.
As you unfurl your sails and head for the islands, you will turn at Bozburun and Iblis Point to arrive at the Bay of Belcegiz. Here, where you will find nature and history hand in hand, is the island of Gemiler and, directly opposite it, the village of Kayakoy nestled in the hills.
As Gemiler entertains ‘blue cruise’ enthusiasts with its ruins dating back to the Byzantine period, it also offers the added boon of the world’s most gorgeous sunsets.
Several ruins have been unearthed in the excavations that have been underway here since 1991 under the direction of the Fethiye Archaeological Museum Directorate and a team of Japanese archaeologists.
As you wander amidst the ruins in the hills, which you will climb at sundown, you will try to engrave all the beauty on your heart and in your very being when the sun’s red glow falls upon the ruins and mosaics. For they will afford memories, you can return to all winter long.
And if you wander out to the beach opposite the island, you’ll be surrounded by children’s voices. Save a break at the beach cafe for later, and start your hike up to Kayakoy. Five meters up the slope, you’ll come upon an abandoned Greek village in ruins. The artisans’ workshops in this village, which is just these days gaining fame, have started to open as restaurants.
When you’ve completed your village tour and have returned to the coast by the way you came, don’t forget to have a glass of tea at the tiny rustic coffeehouse on the shore where you can watch the island slip into the bosom of the night as you chat with your friends.
And before you leave, be sure to visit Butterfly Valley, one of the most beautiful coves not just in Turkey but in the whole world. This cove is not accessible from the sea by your ‘blue cruise’ yacht. But once you’ve arrived at the Oludeniz, make an effort to hire a small motorboat and, if you have the time, spend a night here to make another of your dreams come true.
Upon arrival at Dalaman Airport, meet your driver and enjoy the scenic private transfer to your hotel. Since the embarkation time might vary between 14:00 to 15:30, you can enjoy strolling the streets of Marmaris and complete your shopping till you get on board.
Once you reach the gulet, meet the crew while sipping your welcome drinks and getting briefed about the route on the map and other briefings before you leave the harbor/marina.
Anchors Aweigh! Your first stop will be Ekincik, which is a beautiful cove covered with pine trees and waiting to amaze you with its crystal clear waters. While you can enjoy the entire day around these coves, you can alternatively opt for a Dalyan (Caunos) tour as well.
Dalyan is a small fishing town that is home to one of the most beautiful beaches of Turkey, along with a rich history that goes back to 3000 BCE. Since gulets are not allowed to get in, taking a shuttle boat is the easiest way, passing through the beautiful reeds route.
The Dalyan Delta is a National Conservation area and home to more than one hundred species of birds, and to its most-known Loggerhead (Caretta Caretta) turtles.
While it is pretty touristy and might not feel like a good idea considering the smell as well, there is also a natural mud bath that might turn into a fun alternative as well if not experienced before.
Time for relaxing. This is one of those days you do absolutely nothing, but just enjoy swimming and sunbathing. In the late afternoon, sail to another bay for dinner and overnight.
Due to strong waves around Kurtoglu and Disibilmez heads, we will start the engines early in the morning to reach the sunken bath where we will anchor. This beautiful spot is also known as Cleopatra Bay where you will also enjoy swimming over the ruins of an old bath.
Little cafes and shops, beautiful seaside restaurants, and a couple of private marinas, this is Gocek. This charming small town that won the hearts of many travelers and became one of the hotspots for gulet cruises.
You can enjoy snorkeling or strolling the town itself for a couple of hours, and if you like, we can also arrange some water sports such as jet-skis, banana, ringo, kayaks, etc.
Home to four Byzantine churches and other ruins, Gemiler Island, for some visitors, is the best one of the Mediterranean. It offers incredible sunset views and also thought to be the birthplace of Saint Nicholas (Father Christmas).
In the afternoon, you can pay a visit to an old greek town, Kayakoy, also known as the ghost town. An extraordinary place that was first inhabited by Lycians and was a place of harmony where Anatolian Muslims and Greeks had lived.
Accessed only by water, this remote valley was named thanks to over 100 species of butterflies that are orange, black, and the famous Jersey Tiger. This hidden sandy beach offers nothing but “nature” that you won’t want to leave.
On the way back, anchor and enjoy the lunch break near Oludeniz. Gulets are not allowed to anchor by the beach so that we can take you with a small boat or if you would like to swim to the shore, that is also doable.
Sail to Fethiye Harbor and overnight on board.
After one last wonderful breakfast, the crew will assist you with the disembarkation. Our driver will be waiting for you to pick you up to head to the airport for your next flight or if you would like to extend your adventure, there are numerous closeby destinations to enjoy.
We do prefer to book domestic air tickets to have better control over connections and embarkation & disembarkation times. However, if you prefer to book on your own, please let us know so that we can suggest the best possible options.
Exactly! And that is the best way to enjoy the closeby sites once you are there as Turkey offers numerous experiences to enjoy.
Yacht rental fee: Avg. an ok gulet is starting from 7000+ EUR total, which includes all meals for a couple or a family of four. However, once you select this route and advise the travel dates, we will check the availability of different types of gulets (ranging up to 110,000 EUR total for a week) and send you all the detailed info of these available yachts.
Beverages: while you can bring your favorites, we will send you a shopping list for drinks as well. The crew will do the shopping on behalf and will hand you the supermarket receipt on arrival. The idea is all about the time of cooling it all and get your cold drinks ready before arrival.
Watersports & Equipment: there will be flippers, snorkels, fishing tackle, some card and board games available onboard. Some gulets even come with kayaks, or Ringo, too. However, if you would like to enjoy one of the days with more watersports such as jet-skis, bananas, etc. it is also available at extra charge.
Tipping: the best judgment is all yours always, and we do recommend %8 to %10 of the total of the yacht rental fee.
Availability: gulets are chartered Saturday – Saturday, and if your travel calendar doesn’t match, we will still plan the best possible options.
Route: the recommended route above is just a sample, and depending on the weather conditions or crowds, the captain will pick different alternatives. Again, once you are on board, you can discuss and ask for other reasonable options for sure.