Yacht Charter Turkey
When you think of a yacht charter holiday you tend to imagine sitting alone in a secluded bay with just your companions for company. Unlike many other yacht charter holidays around the world, you get this in Turkey.
A Turkish yacht charter is about escapism and quiet. Anchoring in a bay with the nearest other boat (if any) a good distance away. Mooring at a restaurant’s quay with just a few other boats and enjoying high quality Turkish cuisine as part of your evening’s run ashore.
You can find buzzing nightlife hotspots but these tend to be the bigger towns and cities you begin your sailing holiday at, unlike other countries in the eastern Mediterranean where you could passage plan for a week’s clubbing!
A sailing holiday in Turkey is more of an adventure and a chance to explore a unique culture where East meets West on the cultural and geological border between Europe and Asia. Marmaris and Istanbul for example are extremely cosmopolitan but you’ll soon leave that world behind when you sail to your next ports of call.
Expect secluded, quiet anchorages where you and your group can go for a swim, sleepy villages where tourism is a bonus and not an essential part of the economy, and a chance to see and feel the deep history of a civilisation that has been around for many millennia.
You will visit bustling tourist hotspots as you go – Ephesus for example sees millions of visitors a year, but these are easily counterbalanced with lots of downtime. A yacht charter in Turkey also enables you to access places that land-based tourism doesn’t reach, allowing you to enjoy a part of the world that landlubbers can’t enjoy.
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Hiring A Yacht In Turkey
Where it comes to hiring a yacht in Turkey you will find marinas are cheap (where you have to pay) and anchorages sheltered and safe. With its often great sailing winds you will get to enjoy the journey as much as the destination itself.
As well as bareboat and skippered yacht charter you can go by gulet on your trip – think of this as a low cost private cruise where you have all your needs catered to as you explore the coastline. Flotilla holidays are popular in Turkey too, where you sail your own boat but more or less leave the navigation and bureaucracy to the lead boat of the fleet.
Many charter companies in Turkey also offer ‘one-way-charters’ where you pick the boat up at one city and leave it at another. This gives you a far greater range on your journey – no having to loop back midway along your sailing holidayto make your port of departure.
There will be longer and shorter legs between your chosen stops on your trip (depending on where you go you could end up on a 25 mile leg sometimes) but always find plenty of time to explore the world beyond the anchorage or marinaas you explore the country.
On your trip there will be opportunities to take a bus or shallow draft tourist boat to visit major sights like Dalyan’s Lycian tombs and mud baths or the ruins of Ephesus. These are busy tourist locations but important parts of exploring Turkey. However there are places that can only be accessed by yacht that will take you away from everything you see on Instagram and into a world a lot less travelled.
Turkey is also famous for its ‘one-restaurant bays’ where you can moor at a dock with just a few other boats and enjoy the hospitality on offer. Enjoy the food and explore the village beyond where tourists are a curiosity to the locals and not an essential line of business. This means you will get an authentic taste of the country and not a world that is just put on show for you.
The bazaars of the big cities are a buzzing and very much a part of Turkish culture where you can buy almost anything – don’t forget to haggle on the price! These vibrant markets are still an escape as they are an intrinsic part of the local economy and not tourist traps as so many other cultural attractions have become elsewhere in the world.
Best Areas To Charter A Yacht In Turkey
There are three main areas to explore when chartering a yacht in Turkey – the Lycian Coast, the Carian Coast and the Marmara sea near Istanbul.
The Lycian Coast is often considered in two parts – the East Lycian Coast and the West Lycian Coast. Heading east out of the main charter base of Gocek you will find some quite challenging sailing with legs between ports of up to 30 miles. The Seven Capes have an unnecessarily fearsome reputation though one would not recommend you take this route unless you have a decent amount of boating experience.
Heading west out of Gocek you will soon find the very sheltered Fethiye Bay which is just right for those with less sailing experience – gentle winds, many opportunities to anchor and one restaurant bays where you can relax for the evening. At Ekincik you can take a bus or shallow draft tourist boat to Dalyan and have a mud bath, feed loggerhead turtles and explore the ancient tombs that make the town so popular with visitors. There will be plenty of chances to drop anchor and forget the world, though you can top up on provisions and even have a lot of fun in the evening at Fethiye, a major tourist destination in its own right.
On a one-way-charter you can pick the boat up at Gocek and head west to Marmaris, without having to double back mid-trip.
Also known as the Turkish Riviera or Turquoise Coast, the Carian Coast is a busier stretch than the west Lycian Coast with lots of marinas and places to explore that have a bit more of a buzz. The city of Marmaris is at one end and Bodrum lies at the other with three main areas to explore between: the Gulf of Gokova, the Hisaronu Gulf and the southern coast of Bozburun towards Marmaris.
Heading out of Bodrum to the Gulf of Gokova you will find a long first leg but once past the north coast you will have a variety of choices as to where to stop. You will soon find a number of one-restaurant-bays and places to relax and forget the world outside.
Getting into the Hisaronu Gulf from the Datca Peninsula can be fun with sometimes choppy waters entertaining the experienced sailor before you get into the more sheltered waters of the gulf. Like the Gokova Gulf area after some decent sailing you have a variety of choices as to where to visit including the towns of Datca and Selimiye.
The hot and dry Bozburun Bay near Marmaris is a completely different world to that you may be used to in Northern Europe! If you get too far offshore you may not be able to see which is the right destination bay thanks to the sand’s colour presenting little contrast for the eye to spot the entrances. You will however find some quiet anchorages and places to explore that will leave you with memories for time to come.
With the Bosporus the border between Asia and Europe you’re in for a treat where it comes to the cultural delights of a yacht charter out of Istanbul. Connecting the Marmara Sea with the Black Sea, you will see the borders between empires ancient and modern, from the Soviet Union not so long ago to the Ottoman Empire before that.
You can bareboat charter out of Istanbul but a lot take gulet charter holidays to get the pros get them about on what is one of the busiest waterways in the world. That said, how often can you come back from your holiday having been to Asia and Europe at the same time? As a crossroads of cultures for time immemorial you can soak up everything that is offered from both great continents while getting a quite unique holiday by exploring it by sea.
Best Towns To Charter A Yacht In Turkey
Within the sailing regions above there are several key charter hubs to consider. Let’s look at these by the regions we looked at:
There are three main charter hubs on the Lycian Coast – Gocek and Fethiye to the south and Marmaris to the north. One of the great advantages of sailing out of Gocek is the proximity of Dalaman Airport – a busy international airport with direct flights to and from several airports in the UK. You can take a shuttlebus to the marina from the airport in just half an hour or so.
Close to Gocek, Fethiye is a quieter town but has a number of yachts to choose from according to what you might want from your trip. It has some nightlife too so you can let your hair down, though nothing to the extent of Marmaris.
Marmaris is a bustling metropolitan centre and is used as a jumping off point for those heading for both the Lycian and Carian coasts. Adakoy Marina is where most charter companies have their vessels, and you can use the vessel as a base while you explore the market, nightlife or beaches. Dalaman Airport is still the main way in by air – some 65 miles away from the city.
Marmaris is the first city of note on the Carian Coast, linking with the Lycian Coast. Thanks to the peninsulas and gulfs it is a short hop by road from Orhaniye but a much longer distance by sea. Out of Orhaniye you could take a trip east to Marmaris or west to Bodrum. The main airport is still Dalaman so figure on a longer transfer to and from the marina.
Bodrum is another major yachting base, and is a medium sized city in its own right with a ferry service to nearby Kos in Greece in summer. From here you can explore the Turkish Riviera (as it is sometimes known) along the Gulf of Gokova – or cross the gulf for the Datca Peninsula.
The Marmara Sea is an inland sea that links the Eastern Mediterranean with the Bosporus and then the Black Sea. The Bosporus itself is an extremely busy waterway but if you want to relax you can soon escape the big ships and fast ferries.
Istanbul itself is a riot of cultures old and new, and is worth exploring for a day or so on top of your sailing holiday. There are many flights a day to the city from the UK, so other than Gocek above is probably the most accessible in terms of travel time from your home.
Getting to Turkey
There are three main airports for accessing yacht charters in Turkey:
Dalaman Airport is closest to both the Carian and Lycian Coasts. There are flights from several airports in the UK. From there you can be in Marmaris in around an hour by bus or taxi and in Gocek/Fethiye in far less time.
Antalya Airport serves the eastern Carian Coast but will involve a bit of travel to get to the main yacht charter centres of Gocek/Marmaris
Istanbul Airport is one of the main Turkish international airports and if you are flying in from most of the rest of the world will be your best destination. If headed to the Mediterranean Sea you can then fly or take a bus.
Types Of Yachts To Hire In Turkey
Sailboat (sailing yacht)
The monohull sailing yacht is the workhorse of charter yachts. They can be hired for as little as €130 a day depending on size and season. The charter monohull sailboat will sleep 6-8 typically with different conveniences according to your budget and needs.
Simpler to get around than a monohull sailboat, charter motorboats are usually very comfortable and fun to drive. One major advantage of these over sailboats is that you can hide from the weather (too hot or cool) as you move between ports, anchorages and marinas. Expect to pay €700 a day and up.
At the luxury end of sailboat charter in Turkey, sailing catamarans combine the comfort of a motorboat with the fun of the monohull. You may find it possible to sunbathe on the foredeck while underway and all the cabins may have en suite heads and showers. You get what you pay for as luxury yachts go – expect to pay €500 a day and up.
A Turkish gulet luxury yacht charter is a fully crewed yacht where your group have as much or as little to do with the sailing as you want. Aboard these luxury yachts, you will be fed and looked after by the crew while the skipper takes you to the best anchorages and marinas, giving you a local’s view of the area you are sailing in. Even among non-seafaring types, blue cruise luxury gulet charter holidays are a very popular way of exploring the Turkish coast.
Skippered or Bareboat Yacht Charter in Turkey
So, how do you want to see Turkey? Do you want to go it alone, choosing your own adventure and take full responsibility of your charter from end to end? In this case the bareboat charter would suit you. You only pay for the boat and expenses such as food and fuel and with a bit of planning and research ahead of time can explore the Turkish coastline ahead of time.
If you perhaps lack confidence in your sailing abilities or have no experience at all you can go for a skippered yacht charter. The skipper will get you about for you in return for a fee, tip and money to cover their food. In return they will use their expertise to show you the best places to party or to relax, and give you locals’ advice as to what to see when ashore.
Do you need a licence to hire a Yacht in Turkey?
If you wish to bareboat charter in Turkey you will need a recognised national or international boating certificates like the RYA Day Skipper, ICC or ASA 104 Bareboat.
It is important to note that the ICC isn’t formally recognised by Turkish authorities (this is largely only recognised in Europe and South Africa). The ICC is automatically conferred if you have certain national sailing qualifications – the original qualifications may be accepted and not necessarily the ICC itself.
However should you choose to go a skippered yacht charter or a trip on a gulet, you do not need any qualifications at all as the skipper will have responsibility for the vessel.
Best Times To Hire A Yacht In Turkey
With late summer fiercely hot the best times to hire a yacht in Turkey are May-June and September. Demand for the boats is lower too, so you won’t pay as much for a charter. It is still warm in October though it can be wetter. July and August are most convenient for many families but with temperatures sometimes straying into the 40s it can be uncomfortable for someone unused to such heat, day or night.
Sailing Weather In Turkey
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 throughout 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.
How much does it cost to hire Yachts in Turkey?
This depends on what you want from the trip. A fully crewed gulet cruise will cost €1500 a day and up but you will be fed and looked after like royalty. At the other end of the scale, for a small monohull sailboat, you will part with as little as €130 a day. Catamarans will cost anything from €500 a day and up, while a motorboat will cost €700 a day and up. These will change according to the time of year you want to go. If you want a skipper then add at least €150 a day as well as a tip and a budget for food. On top of this, you need to think about your budget for food, fuel, marina fees and entertainment.
Explore Turkey By Renting A Yacht
Whatever you want from a luxury yacht charter in Turkey, you can find the vessel you need on Borrow A Boat. Have a look around our website today and book your next sailing holiday now!