A Fethiye to Antalya cruise is a must-do experience when visiting Turkey. This relaxing journey of the turquoise coast, cannot be matched. Also known as part of the Turkish riviera, it’s unlike its counterpart in France because Turkey’s long stretch of gorgeous coastal towns caters for the rich and elite but also budget travellers.
Within the Turkish Riviera, defined sailing routes, known as blue voyage cruises are the highlight of summer both for Turks and foreigners who arrive from far to find out for themselves what all the hype is about. The route from Fethiye, another major hub of Mediterranean Turkey to Antalya, or nearby Demre is one of the most popular.
Many sign up for the 4-day, 3-night cruises, to sunbath, swim and visit beautiful natural landscapes. So don’t think a sailing holiday is about spending every day, all day on the boat because this is a lifetime adventure of Turkey’s southern coastline.
Fethiye to Antalya Cruise: Exploring the Turquoise Coast
3 Reasons to sail from Fethiye to Antalya
1: Affordable Prices: Cruising in Turkey soon becomes expensive if you opt for a private yacht, but for most of us, the cabin charter cruises are just as good, and they don’t break the bank. With meals and drinks served onboard and clean cabins and a crew with expert local knowledge, it is like having your travel company. Cabin charters also offer chances to meet new people and make friends, so solo travellers often prefer them.
2: Easy Way to Explore: This stretch of coastline is home to countless villages, towns, historic ruins, and tourist attractions. Exploring them by road is fun, but doing it by boat is even more adventurous. Certain places like Gemiler Island, Simena, and Pirates Cove cannot be reached by road either. The other bonus is the captain steers the boat, and the crew handles the fine details, so you can sit back and relax.
3: A Unique Lifestyle: Ask any sailing expert who knows their seas and oceans, and they will confirm Turkey’s sailing scene is unlike anywhere else in the world. For example, a frequent sight is the Caretta turtle, an endangered species swimming and nesting their eggs in beaches all along the Mediterranean. Combine this with stunning sunsets that Turkey is famous for, delicious cuisine, Turkish hospitality, and unique places to visit, and you have all the ingredients for a fun-filled holiday, no other country in the world can replicate.
How to Cruise: The Glory of Gulet Boats
The other unique aspect of sailing in Turkey is gulet boats, a time-honoured tradition that has evolved with times to provide guests with modern cons but with a cultural twist. The original gulet boats stem from Bodrum, and Marmaris, two Turkish riviera hubs renowned for their excellence in boat construction. Crafted by hand, and used as fishing boats, 100 years ago, the concept of sailing started in Turkey, and they were adapted so passengers could stay overnight and sail for longer.
These days, a gulet boat ranges from 20 to 30 metres and features between 4 to 8 cabins. Don’t think size dictates price though because it is the services offered and facilities that make a difference. For example, some gulet boats have all water sports equipment on board, including jet skis, canoes, and smaller speed boats. Other factors include Jacuzzis, air conditioning, furnishings, TVs, and the menu, whether it is basic meals or fine dining.
What Do You Need to Pack for a Gulet Cruise?
The significant aspect of gulet cruising in Turkey is the relaxed ambience because dress codes are non existent. Pack shorts, t-shirt, summer dresses, and any other comfortable clothing. Still prepare for the sun though, so remember swimming costumes, sun cream, sunglasses, and grooming products like hair conditioner, shower gel, brush, and razor.
Many people also pack books for quiet moments, although most gulets have onboard games. Not all boats have wi-fi, so if you can’t stay offline for over 24 hours, source your connection from your mobile supplier.
When is Best Time to do a Gulet Cruise in Turkey?
The cruising season in Turkey starts in May and ends in October. During the beginning and end months, evenings times are cooler, so pack a light jacket. From July to September, the day and night temperatures are at their highest, with August reaching peak daytime temperatures of the mid-40s. This time is deceiving, because cool winds while sailing disguise the sun’s heat of the sun, so wear sun cream and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
12 Places to See on a Blue Cruise Fethiye to Antalya
1: Fethiye Town Centre: Many people arrive a day early and book into a hotel so they can explore the delights of Fethiye town centre. They include the Lycian rock tombs, Paspatur old town, and Kayakoy Ghost Village, an eerie collection of abandoned houses, churches and schools. During evenings, dine in the marina, or Fethiye fish market, a unique concept where you buy your fish and nearby restaurants cook and serve it with a delicious selection of salads and mezes. (Complete Guide and Resort Information for Fethiye.)
2: Gemiler Island: This small island is home to many ruined churches, and urban legends say Saint Nicholas spent time here before heading to Patara. His legacy is as the original Santa Claus. Explore the ruins, but also take a prime hilltop seat for a memorising sunset view. Many boats dock into Gemiler island to spend the night, before setting off to sail the next morning again.
3: Butterfly Valley: The natural landscape of a green valley nestled in a gorge makes this destination look straight out of the film Jurassic Park. Most people leave the boat to hike to the waterfall at the back or take a seat in the beachside bar.
4: Beautiful Oludeniz: Home to the famous Blue Lagoon, one of Turkey’s most photographed sights, Oludeniz is also the place to try your hand at parasailing, a popular water sport. Depending on which route you pick, the above are often all visited on the first day.
5: Delightful Kas: It might only be a small Mediterranean town, but Kas has earned the admiration of travellers from all around the world. Known for its small amphitheatre and Lycian sarcophagus dotted throughout the town, explore cobbled streets, admire old Ottoman architecture, and do as the locals do and enjoy the harbourside ambience.
6: Kekova Sunken City: While Turkey has thousands of historical ruins, Kekova is unique because it has sunk. This old city, destroyed by an earthquake thousands of years ago and abandoned, attracts all who sail the Mediterranean. While diving is prohibited, ruins of houses under the water are still visible as the boat sails by.
7: Scenic Simena: After seeing Kekova, the boat turns sharp left to head to Simena, a rustic village keeping a low-key reputation, but famous among the sailing world for local homemade ice-cream. It is around Simena, swarms of Caretta turtles swim around for food, so keep your eyes open to spot this amazing creature. Also, walk the cobbled path uphill to the Byzantine castle that gives off a stunning panoramic peninsula view.
8: Gokkaya Bay and Smugglers Inn: Gokkaya bay rarely appears on the mainstream travel scene of Turkey, yet for sailors, the beautiful bay stands out as a must-visit destination. The main attraction, a small cave is only accessible by a jet ski or small boat, but boats also dock in overnight for their passengers to take the water taxi to Smugglers Inn, a fun place to party and have fun.
9: Nostalgic Demre: Some boats finish their tours here, while others travel inland to see the ancient ruins of Myra and Church of Saint Nicholas a.k.a Santa Claus. The well-preserved large theatre and Lycian rocks are some of the best in Turkey, while the church, a quiet, serene place often hosts pilgrims from all over the world.
10: Rustic Olympos: As another finishing point for this blue voyage route, getting ashore is tricky because there isn’t any harbour in Olympos. This is because it belongs to the protected Olympus park and construction is prohibited. That indicates its natural beauty and sites to see include the ancient ruins, quirky Olympus village, quiet Cirali village and if time allows it, Chimaera Burning Flames.
11: Ancient Phaselis: These ancient ruins nestled in between two beaches include houses, an aqueduct, agora, and theatre. The best fun, though, is swimming in the bay and just soaking up the stunning scenery.
12: Antalya: If your Fethiye to Antalya Cruise finishes here, stay a few extras day and book into a hotel. The region, the 2nd most popular touristic destination in Turkey, has a wealth of attractions to see including Kaleici the old town, Mount Tahtali cable car ride, Aspendos ancient ruins, and two of Turkey’s best beaches; Konyaalti and Lara. Its shopping, nightlife, and dining scene also dominates Turkey’s tourism industry as a leader of excellence. (Antalya city and resort travel guide.)
Also of Interest
The Marina Lifestyle of Turkey: This social scene in a world of its own revolves around sailing, shopping, fine dining, spa, and wellness. In this article, we look at why marinas in Turkey stand out and which Turkish establishments dominate the sailing world.
Sailing the Turkish Riviera: Stretching from the north Aegean to Antalya, we look at places on the Turkish Riviera that stands out for their excellence. Also exploring its history, and social status, read our tips on how to make the most of your sailing holiday.
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