Enter the world of Blue Cruises in Turkey – an extraordinary sailing holiday of Turkish coastal treasures and pristine waters aboard traditional gulets or luxurious yachts. Also called blue voyage, with crystal-clear waters as your playground and charming villages as your backdrop, jumping on board a Blue Cruise in Turkey promises unparalleled journeys. In this article, we embark on an odyssey to discover Blue Cruises and the Turkish coast, an unforgettable and sought-after escape in the heart of the Mediterranean.
About Blue Cruises in Turkey
What is a Blue Cruise in Turkey?
A Blue Cruise in Turkey, also known as a "Blue Voyage" or "Blue Tour," is an iconic Turkish experience that allows travellers to explore picturesque coastal landscapes and historical sites along the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. Typically conducted aboard traditional Turkish wooden boats called gulets or occasionally luxury yachts, Blue Voyage cruises offer immersive experiences of Turkey.
They are a unique form of sailing holidays that accommodates luxury passengers but also caters for budget travellers. Originating in the mid-20th century, Blue Cruises were inspired by the adventures of travellers and artists who sailed along the Turkish coastline, captivated by the turquoise waters and the timeless charm of coastal villages. Overall, the Blue Cruise routes offer chances to disconnect from the stresses of daily life. It is like joining another world.
What to Expect from a Blue Cruise
The heart of the Blue Cruise is the sailing journey itself. Sail on a traditional wooden gulet, a classic Turkish sailing vessel of comfort and charm. Enjoy the gentle sway of the boat while traversing beautiful turquoise waters. As you cruise along the coastline of Turkey, enjoy breathtaking views of rugged cliffs, hidden coves, and pristine beaches as you sunbathe. On designated stops, when they drop anchor, jump off the boat and swim in secluded bays, explore underwater marine life, and cool off in the refreshing sea.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, is served onboard. Blue Cruises often stop at charming coastal villages and towns for passengers to explore local markets, interact with friendly residents, and experience the unique cultures of each destination. Many Blue Cruise routes also visit historical sites and ancient ruins. Evenings are about leisurely dinner under the stars, engaging in meaningful conversations, and perhaps experiencing traditional Turkish music and dancing.
How Much Do Blue Voyage Holidays in Turkey Cost?
The Blue Cruise price in Turkey varies widely depending on several factors, including vessel (gulet or yacht), cruise duration, group size, luxury, route and itinerary. Gulets are traditionally more affordable than luxury yachts. They are often chosen for more authentic experiences while in Turkey, while yachts offer more luxury.
The length of the cruise plays a significant role in determining the cost. Shorter cruises (e.g., 3-4 days) are generally less expensive than longer ones. Some gulets offer private cruises to charter the entire vessel for your group, while others offer shared cabins.
Luxury yachts with high-end amenities, spacious cabins, and top-notch services will be more expensive than standard gulets. The cost may cover different inclusions, such as meals, beverages, water sports activities, extra activities, entrance fees to historical sites, and crew gratuities. Be sure to clarify what is included in the price.
Lastly, peak tourist seasons (summer months) in Turkey have higher prices than shoulder or off-peak seasons. As a rough estimate, Turkish gulets start from around $500 to $1,500 per person for a few days. Luxury gulets or private yacht charters range from $1,000 to several thousand dollars per person daily. Also, remember single supplements may apply.
Cabin Charters on Blue Cruises for More Affordable Sailing
Cabin charters on Blue Voyage Cruises offer unique ways for individual travellers or small groups to experience the coastline, islands, and cultural sites in Turkey without having to charter an entire gulet or yacht. Instead of booking the whole vessel, book one or more cabins for flexibility of cruise duration and departure dates. Cruise operators in Turkey offer various cabin charter options, ranging from a few days to a week or more.
Each passenger has a cabin with shared or private facilities, depending on the cruise type and vessel category. Cabin sizes and amenities vary based on the vessel. Cabin charters typically include meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) prepared by an onboard chef. They are excellent for solo travellers, couples, or small groups in Turkey who want to experience Blue Voyage cruises while enjoying shared cruise conveniences and social aspects.
What are the Cabins like on a Blue Cruise Boat?
Cabins on Blue Voyage Cruises, whether traditional gulet or luxury yachts vary in size, layout, and amenities. However, we will add that we never sleep in the cabin on our blue voyage cruises and have always slept on deck.
Gulet Cabins: Gulets in Turkey offer more authentic experiences, and their cabins reflect this ambience. Cabins on standard gulets often have shared bathrooms (typically one or two) with simple furnishings, including bunk beds or twin beds, storage space, and essential lighting. Some gulets may have limited or no air conditioning, particularly in the standard category. Luxury gulets are more likely to offer air-conditioned cabins.
Luxury Gulet or Yacht Cabins: Luxury gulets and yachts in Turkey offer higher levels of private comfort. Cabins on luxury vessels often have en-suite bathrooms for added comfort, privacy and convenience. They are more spacious and well-designed, providing ample room to relax and unwind. Cabins may feature double beds, queen-size beds, or twin beds. Luxury cabins often feature elegant and tasteful décor, high-quality furnishings, and attention to detail. Air conditioning is also more likely to be available in luxury cabins.
The Difference Between a Yacht and a Gulet Cruise
Yachts and gulet boats are both vessels used for cruising and sailing in Turkey, but they have distinct characteristics that set them apart.
Modern Yachts in Turkey: Often feature sleek designs with streamlined hulls and advanced engineering for efficient cruising. They may have spacious cabins, en-suite bathrooms, and sophisticated interior designs. Yachts are known for their speed, particularly motor yachts. They reach higher speeds and are designed for efficient but fast navigation through the water. They include onboard facilities, like entertainment systems, water sports equipment, and spa facilities. They are well-suited for those seeking luxury, comfort, and personalised services.
Gulet Boats in Turkey: Gulets are traditional Turkish yachts with distinctive designs characterised by wooden construction, wide beams, and spacious decks. They often have two or three masts and are known for their elegant and classic appearance. Gulets typically offer comfortable cabins that emphasise rustic and traditional ambience. Gulet boats of Turkey are well-suited for relaxed sailing and exploring calm coastal waters rather than high-speed travel. They are more focused on providing an authentic and laid-back sailing experience in Turkey, emphasising enjoying the natural beauty and tranquillity of the surroundings.
What Food is Served on a Turkish Blue Cruise?
The cuisine on board reflects rich flavours and culinary traditions of Turkey. Meals served on board gulets or yachts during a sailing holiday often highlight the experience, providing a delightful blend of fresh ingredients, local dishes, and traditional flavours. The cuisine on board starts with a Turkish breakfast of eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, honey and bread. Lunch is numerous choices, from basic sandwiches to local Turkish dishes like stuffed grape leaves.
Evening meals are often a big spread with the main staples of chicken, beef or lamb. Expect to sample several Turkish mezes, known as appetisers. Seafood and fish will also be staples. On some Blue Cruises, there might be special events or themed meals, such as barbecues, seafood feasts, or traditional Turkish evenings featuring live music and dance. Snacks and Refreshments include fresh fruit, nuts, and local sweets. While all beverages, from tea to beer and soft drinks, are also served, but sometimes at an additional charge.
Meals served during Blue Voyage sailing holidays vary based on the cruise operator, region, and chef's expertise. Crew members often go to great lengths to provide dishes showcasing the best of Turkish cuisine. Vegetarians and anyone with food allergies should chat with the booking agent, who usually arranges separate menus.
Type of Cruises for Ideal Holidays on the Coast
Standard Gulet Cruises: These are traditional Blue Cruises on classic Turkish wooden sailing vessels called gulets. They provide shared cabins and basic amenities. These sailing holidays suit travellers seeking more budget-friendly options.
Luxury Boats in Turkey: For those looking for more comfort and luxury, a yacht rental offer upscale accommodations, spacious cabins with private facilities, gourmet dining, and additional amenities such as Jacuzzis, water sports equipment, and attentive crew service.
Private Boats in Turkey: Charter an entire wooden yacht for your group to customise the itinerary, activities, and experience according to your preferences. Private charters are great for families, groups, or special occasions.
Cruise and Stay: This option mixes sailing with overnight stays in coastal towns or cities of Turkey. Enjoy sailing and exploration on the sea, followed by hotel accommodation in charming villages or resorts to further explore the region's culture and attractions.
Cultural and Historical Cruises: Some Blue Cruises explore historical places, ancient sites, and cultural landmarks along the Turkish coastline. These cruises provide a deeper understanding of Turkey's rich history and heritage through the archaeological sites they visit.
Adventure and Theme Cruises: Adventure-oriented cruises may include hiking, kayaking, snorkelling, and exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations of Turkey. Some Blue Cruises have specific themes, such as wellness and relaxation, photography, gastronomy, or yoga.
Cruise Extensions: Extend your cruise with additional experiences, like hot air balloon rides over Cappadocia or visits to ancient cities like Ephesus. These extensions allow more exploration of Turkey's diverse attractions.
Island-Hopping Cruises: These cruises visit multiple islands, in Turkey and neighbouring Greece, for combined cultures and landscapes. Some well-known islands in the Dodecanese group include Rhodes (the largest and most famous), Kos, Kalymnos, Patmos, Symi, Leros, and Karpathos.
Sailing Routes - Where is the Turkish Riviera?
All blue cruise routes happen on The Turkish Riviera, aka the Turquoise Coast, which covers Turkey's Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. They never sail the northern coast or places like Istanbul. The Turkish Riviera stretches from the northern Izmir province to the southern Antalya region. The region includes popular cities and towns such as Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye, Antalya, and Alanya. The turquoise coast features stunning beaches, turquoise waters, famous sites, ancient times, and vibrant cultures.
About the Turkish Riviera - Cities, Towns and Villages
Recreational Cruises to Marmaris
Marmaris welcomes millions of tourists yearly who enjoy picturesque beaches, clear blue waters, and lively atmospheres. The town boasts a stunning coastline with several beautiful beaches, offering water sports, sunbathing, and relaxation opportunities. Marmaris is also home to a modern marina catering to boating enthusiasts. It's one of Turkey's largest and most well-equipped marinas, offering facilities for yachts and sailboats.
The iconic 16th century Marmaris Castle, overlooks the town. While Bar Street (Barlar Sokagi) features many bars, nightclubs, and entertainment venues that come alive after dark. The town offers various water sports, including diving, snorkelling, jet skiing, parasailing, and more. The clear waters and diverse marine life make it a popular destination for underwater activities.
The park, located nearby, provides opportunities for hiking and exploring nature through diverse ecosystems include pine forests, rocky landscapes, and tranquil bays. The town's popularity as a holiday destination contributes substantially to local businesses, accommodations, and services.
Unforgettable Holidays from the Bodrum Peninsula
The peninsula's namesake town, Bodrum, a bustling and cosmopolitan hub, seamlessly blends history with modernity. Its iconic Bodrum Castle, also called the Castle of St. Peter, stands proudly at the entrance to the town's harbour. Other prominent places include Yalikavak, which has transformed from a quaint fishing village into a sophisticated resort destination, with marina, upscale restaurants, and boutique shops. In stark contrast, with a serene ambience and artistic communities, Gumusluk town is famous for Rabbit Island, reached by wading through shallow waters.
Additionally, named after the famous Ottoman admiral Turgut Reis, Turgutreis offers more relaxed experiences than bustling Bodrum. The town features a long beach promenade, local markets, and a marina. A few kilometres from Bodrum, Gumbet features vibrant nightlife, beach clubs, and water sports activities. The town's lively atmosphere attracts younger travellers seeking entertainment and excitement.
Lastly, often referred to as "Golturkbuku," this town is a favourite among Turkey's elite and celebrities. It features high-end restaurants, luxury resorts, and a lively social scene. The calm bay and beautiful beaches add to its charm.
The Perfect Opportunity to explore Fethiye
Fethiye sits within the Mugla province. The location between the Mediterranean Sea and the Taurus Mountains contributes to the diverse topography, including rugged hills, fertile valleys, and pristine beaches. Fethiye town serves as the region's main urban centre. The town seamlessly combines modern amenities with its rich history.
The town's charming old quarter features narrow streets, traditional architecture, bustling bazaars, and plenty of opportunities to shop for souvenirs. Places of interest include Oludeniz and the Blue Lagoon, one of Turkey's most famous and photographed beaches, and Kayakoy ghost village.
Accessible by boat, Butterfly Valley, nestled between steep cliffs, is named for the numerous butterfly species that inhabit the area. While notable historical sites include the Lycian Rock Tombs, ancient burial chambers carved into the cliffs overlooking Fethiye. The ancient city of Telmessos, where Fethiye was built, also offers glimpses of its past through ruins and archaeological sites.
The beautiful Region of Antalya
Antalya city centre is the provincial capital and combines modern amenities with historical charm. The historic Old Town (Kaleici) boasts narrow streets, Ottoman-era architecture, and ancient city walls. The city also features beautiful beaches, vibrant bazaars, and lively nightlife. A short distance away, Side ancient port city features well-preserved ruins, including an impressive theatre and the Temple of Apollo. Famous for the iconic Alanya Castle, which overlooks the town from a rocky peninsula, Alanya's vibrant atmosphere, stunning beaches, and vibrant nightlife make the town lively for travellers.
Nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the Taurus Mountains, Kemer offers outdoor activities, beaches, and nightlife. While Kas coastal town attracts diving enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Kas features a laid-back atmosphere, cobbled streets, and a stunning harbour. Kas also sits next door to Kalkan, a high-end luxury town in Mediterranean Turkey.
Olympos boasts bohemian vibes, rustic treehouse accommodations, and the nearby Olympos Ruins. The ancient city, amid lush greenery, attracts many backpackers. Formerly known as Myra, Demre is famous for the Church of St. Nicholas, a pilgrimage site dedicated to the original Santa Claus. The town also boasts rock tombs and ancient ruins. Lastly, an ancient Lycian city, Phaselis offers well-preserved ruins situated amidst pine forests. Explore the aqueduct, theatre, and baths while enjoying sea views.
Popular Blue Cruise Routes in Turkey
Bodrum to Gocek: This route passes through beautiful bays, picturesque villages, and historical sites. Starting in Bodrum, explore the Bodrum Peninsula, visit lively towns like Marmaris, enjoy the natural beauty of Dalyan, and finally reach the tranquil bay of Gocek.
Marmaris to Fethiye: Starting in Marmaris, visit the famous Cleopatra Island, explore the charming town of Kaş, swim in the Blue Cave, and conclude your journey in Fethiye, home to the famous blue lagoon.
Fethiye to Antalya: Traveling along the Lycian Coast, this route is about ancient ruins, hidden coves, and vibrant towns. Visit picturesque Butterfly Valley, explore historical Xanthos and Letoon, and enjoy vibrant Antalya city.
Bodrum to Datca: Departing from Bodrum, head to the charming Datca Peninsula, with unspoiled beauty and tranquil atmosphere. Along the way, visit the enchanting bays of Orak Island, the ancient city of Knidos, and relax in the peaceful town of Datca.
Bodrum to Greek Islands: Combine your Blue Cruise by visiting nearby Greek islands. Depart from Bodrum and sail to islands like Kos, Symi, and Rhodes, the largest Dodecanese Island, while enjoying blended Turkish and Greek cultures.
Gocek to Kekova: From beautiful Gocek, this route sails along the Turquoise Coast to the Kekova region. Visit the sunken city of Kekova, Ucagiz village famous for Caretta turtles, the historical castle and homemade ice cream.
Further Reading About Turkey
As you embark on this journey through the captivating world of blue cruises in Turkey, we hope you've found inspiration and insights. For more about the country of Turkey, there's a treasure trove of articles, guides, and tales in our blog. From hidden gems and travel tips to living in Turkey, our blog invites you to delve further into this beautiful country. Happy reading, fellow fan of Turkey.
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