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A refined yet relentlessly buzzing seaside town on the Aegean Sea, Bodrum is closer in style and attitude to St Tropez than Benidorm.
As with so many cities in Turkey, Bodrum has seen its fair share of empires and history. Built 500 years ago, St Peter's Castle overlooks the town, which was an active port in Byzantine times. You will enjoy the bazaars that have traded for hundreds of years, and get a taste of the 'real Turkey' as you explore its streets and alleys.
Other towns on the Turkish Riviera have made names for themselves as being a bit on the cheap holiday end of the spectrum. This is emphatically not Bodrum's style. This is a holiday town where the wealthiest Turks come to let their hair down. You can see this as soon as the port town appears on the horizon - there are no high rise hotels and the architecture is distinctly Turkish from end to end. The local government has fought hard to keep the style and those that visit it decidedly upmarket.
You will find boutiques that are open to those with more discerning tastes, privately owned yachts in the marinas that aren't cheap to own or run, and people who have a certain cut of their cloth wandering between attractions.
On your Bodrum yacht charter you will notice that many of the hotels have their own jetties - these are both for their customers to enjoy the water and to encourage visiting yachts to moor alongside and take advantage of their hospitality.
On your Bodrum yacht charter, perhaps on your gulet holiday or luxury yacht, finding Bodrum more your style than Marmaris there are two other resorts on the Bodrum Peninsula you should visit - Turgutreis and Yalikavak.
On the west coast of the Bodrum Peninsula and just 20km by road from the main town, Turgutreis shares the laid back, upmarket vibe of the larger town. The marina itself welcomes superyachts and you may see a famous face or two on Artist Street in the marina, looking at the boutiques and art galleries.
Yalikavak lies on the north coast of the Bodrum Peninsula and for those who wish to escape the modern world on your charter yacht, do head across Yalikavak Bay to the hand carved caves close to Kudor - these show the brightest and the best from prehistoric lived in the area too!
Looking back south from Bodrum, the Greek island of Kos is closer than the next major holiday resort of Marmaris. For those who wish to enjoy the Aegean Sea at its best, pausing at this island as you head on to the secluded bays, ancient relics and quieter holiday resorts of the Datca Peninsula could well be an option.
There are two Turkish airports that serve Bodrum - Bodrum Airport and Dalaman Airport. You can also fly into Kos and take a ferry over to Bodrum to widen your options - this can be quicker and more reliable than a flight to Dalamanand a bus onward.
Only charter flights fly into Bodrum from the UK and much of Europe in the summer months. If you can only get a sceduled flight then you will have to fly to Istanbul and take a connecting flight on to Bodrum. From there it is a short shuttle bus ride to Bodrum town.
This takes sceduled flights from a number of European airports every day.
For around GBP £12 you would take two buses the 120km or so to Bodrum. After taking the shuttle bus to Dalamanbus station, you will then catch the once daily bus onto Bodrum bus station. The trip involves around 6 hours actual travel time.
This busy holiday airport administered by Greece has a large number of flights in every week from across Europe.
The car ferry takes around two hours to get between the Greek island and Bodrum. With the bus or taxi it can cost as little as GBP £30 per head to get to Bodrum from Kos Airport.
Milta Bodrum Marina is a midsized marina that is well equipped for the discerning sailor. It has a number of yachtcharter companies working into it offering luxury yacht charter, blue voyage (gulet charter) as well as superyacht charter, catamaran, motor yacht and monohull sailing yacht charter on a bareboat or crewed yacht charter basis.
Milta Bodrum Marina:
Max Length 100m (328 Feet)
Max Draught 7m (23 Feet)
List of additional services: Shore power, water, WiFi, fuel, laundry, market, medical centre, bar, restaurant, liquid waste and rubbish collection, yacht repair, ATM
Whether on a seven or 14 day, bareboat or blue cruise Bodrum yacht charter, you have a number of options to consider on your sailing holiday. Here we will make some suggestions for you to consider.
7 days - Bodrum Peninsula and Greek islands: Without doing too many sea miles every day you can take in the best of the Turkish Riviera and even sail into Greek waters. Yalikavak and Turgutreis share Bodrum's upmarket resort attitude, and you can explore the ancient ruins nearby as you wish. Perhaps after an excursion in Yalikavak you can head south to the Greek holiday islands of Symi and Kos. Both have their share of hidden bays and beautiful beaches as well as relics from the civilisations that ran the region for thousands of years.
14 days - Datca Peninsula and Greek islands: You don't have to visit Marmaris to enjoy the Datca Peninsula! Orhaniye on the north coast is surrounded by pine forest and has relics of the ancient kingdom of Bybassos. The Carian ruins of Knidos will give you lots to photograph too!The Bozburun Peninsula has many such remains too. As well as these Turkish mainland and islands, you can also head to the Greek islands of Kos and Symi - these will shorten a sail across the Gokova Gulf and Hisarönü Gulf as you explore the region.
The sailing season runs from April to October in Bodrum. July and August are the busiest months for an Bodrum yachtcharter. This is also when the NE wind the Meltemi peaks in strength. Though this makes for a cooling blast from the fierce heat of summer, it can be challenging for all but the most experienced sailors.
With the Meltemi less powerful outside of the peak season - and the marinas and sailing waters less crowded - it may pay off to do a sailing holiday either later in the year or earlier - if you can get out in May or October you may find things calmer both in terms of crowds and winds!
The Meltemi winds dominate the weather of the Aegean Sea in Turkey. The further west you go - as far as Bodrum the stronger the NW winds are during the day. The further east you go - around Antalya in the east of the country, the gentler these winds are during the day. These vary from day to day and through the day. The most comfortable time to sail in Turkey is during the morning every day during the holiday season. The winds tend to be lighter and steadier in the morning and can build to very exciting conditions come mid-afternoon.
The main points to consider are what is your budget, have you got the necessary sailing experience and qualifications to manage the boat if it's not going to have a skipper, whom you are taking sailing, where exactly you wish to go and what will the weather be like on the proposed dates of your trip.
The main marina is Milta Bodrum Marina, though you will find that many restaurants and even hotels have their own jetties too - if sailing into the area consider these as alternatives, though you will have to patronise them in return!
The winds, crowds and heat are at their peak in July and August. If you can manage to get out in September or October you will still find it much hotter than Northern Europe but a lot quieter than the peak months.
You will typically pay 50% up front on booking the yacht hire and the balance on arrival. You will either pay a security deposit with your credit card on departure or can get insurance covering damage in advance. In some cases (such as the recent Covid situation) charter companies may be more flexible but this depends on the individual charter companies themselves.
If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16 or ring the coast guard on your phone if you have reception. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to or are on a mooring you will be able to phone a help line number given by the boat charter company.
You should consider do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter or boat hire before you book and where do you want to go along with what the weather will be like. Bring warm weather and cool weather clothing if it looks like the weather can be cool as well as warm and remember at sea it can be cool on most evenings.
If you want to sail without a skipper then you will need relevant qualifications like RYA Day Skipper/International Certificate of Competence (ICC)/ASA 104 Bareboat certificate or the US Sailing Certificate. For small 'day boats' or if you choose to have a skippered on board your yacht charter you typically don't require licences.
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