As we seek to provide the “complete experience” for yacht charter clients coming to Turkey for the very first time, we have partnered with a prestigious and reliable Turkish tour operator. This company has taken a handful of popular short tours and refined them, creating what they call “pre and post cruise land tours”, which introduce visitors to some of the best places of interest in the country.
When you charter a yacht in Turkey, and require a couple of nights’ stay in a converted palace on the shores of the Bosphorus or a boutique-style hotel in Istanbul’s Old Town, there is something for every budget – all inspected by our partner’s staff.
A short stay in Istanbul is either two or three days in length, with a 2-day tour including an afternoon of sightseeing in the historic Old Town, and, following a good night’s rest, a morning tour of the palace at Topkapi, including the harem… before an afternoon flight down to the coast.
Of this 3-day tour, “Day 1” is devoted to the major sights of Istanbul; Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, the Saint Sophia Museum and the Underground Cistern (known locally as “The Sunken Palace”). This is a very full day, and in the company of a highly experienced guide, it is paced just right. . . there is plenty of time given for resting at a lunchtime stop and there is a chance to do some shopping for souvenirs.
The following day, “Day 2”, starts with a short flight to Izmir, followed by a transfer to an out-of-the-way village known as “Sirince” (Shir-in-jay) where the party gets to sample the local way of life in an old Greek village, complete with cobble-stone streets, a church, a mosque and a wine house. Here, they can explore at leisure through the narrow winding streets which lead up the sides of the hills, meeting the locals along the way and enjoying the sweet rural air.
In the evening, there is a chance to sample some locally produced wines with dinner at the Artemis Wine House and Restaurant.
The following morning, is devoted to a thorough exploration of the ancient city of Ephesus, in the company of an extremely knowledgeable guide named Murat. Those that have done the tour already will agree: “no other Ephesus guide will do”!
The last part of “Day 3”, is the transfer from Ephesus to the port of Kusadasi, Bodrum, Marmaris or Gocek or where ever the clients will board their yacht. If they have opted for a guide to accompany them for the entire tour, there will be afternoon visits to the sites within Bodrum, including the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and the Castle of Saint Peter.
If you still have time to spare after a week on board a yacht, the recommendation is to take an overland tour to Cappadocia via the historical sites of Antalya and Konya (Whirling Dervishes) to see the underground “cities” and the churches in Goreme and perhaps enjoy a unique “Cave Hotel” and a hot air balloon trip over the Fairy Chimneys, a natural wonder.
Our amazing fam trip began in Gocek, Turkey with a handful of brokers and Cem Boz of Contact Turkey on board the beautiful 183’ schooner REGINA built in 2010 at the Pruva yard in Turkey.
The crew of 7 warmed our hearts and stomachs from the beginning. Turkey, with her incredible history and generously kind people, is a country and coast not to be missed by anyone seeking culture, beauty and adventure. The Aegean Sea hugging the mountainous islands and coastline is blue and clear, and the numerous secluded bays and anchorages provide ample opportunities to relish in its warmth.
Gocek is a small and quaint town, perfect place to pick up charter guests and ease into the week. A walk around the shops and narrow streets is comforting and pleasant. As in most towns along the coast, you’ll see vendors with their wares of fresh vegetables and herbs, colorful Turkish rugs and fabrics, spices, jewelry and souvenirs.
Then off to our ports of call… We were underway every day, but never longer than was comfortable, with time to enjoy the yacht and relaxing moments. There are many beautiful bays to stop for swims and hikes between Gocek and Bodrum, all with different and interesting qualities. A few highlights were a fun and fast tender ride with the first mate who sped us around to some gorgeous bays….
Cleopatra’s baths half submerged, beaches, serene coves, mountains tumbling into the sea, and the Dalyan River tour with our guide Abidin Kurt who took us winding up the river past feeding sea turtles and bright local river boats for a tour of Caunos. Ancient tombs are carved into the mountains along the river from the Lycean period before 500 bc.
A stop in the bustling town of Marmaris is always good for bazaar shopping, great local restaurants, and exciting nightlife, not to mention the best rug store in Turkey-The Silk Road! The Greek islands of Rhodes and Symi are within easy striking distance of the Turkish coast and offer rich ancient culture and sightseeing.
The beautiful old city of Rhodes is walled of limestone, with pebbled paved streets. A real study of the Byzantine period. Returning to the beautiful coast of Turkey, Bozburun is a cozy and quiet town, perfect for a leisurely stroll and dinner onboard stern to the town key.
In Datca you can visit an organic olive oil factory and dine at the exquisite Mehmet Museum Hotel. Before heading in to Bodrum, we anchored in the bay of Knidos, where the ruins are a must see. All said, any client would be pleasantly surprised and completely awed by the beauty and ancient culture of Turkey and the friendliness of her inhabitants. And don’t forget to be pampered at a Turkish Hammam!