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The Pamphylian and Cilician coasts run east from Antalya (described in the Lycian page) to the Syrian border (about 300 miles). This is a coast of passage to Syria or Cyprus, rather than a cruising ground. Cruising is unspoilt, similar to west Turkey 20 years ago. There are no charter boats and very few cruising yachts. Locals are friendly, helpful and genuinely interested in chatting about where you have come from and where you are going, even if little English is spoken. Apart from the resort of Alanya, there is little tourist development. Alanya has a new marina; another is planned for Gazipasa. En route to to Mersin there are small coves and fishing harbours, with a relatively busy ferry port at Tasucu. Mersin, a big commercial harbour with a corner for visitors. Further east, yachts are rare, and you must take your chances among the trawlers at Iskenderun.
Weather. The weather is hot and dry in the summer months with predominantly light to variable winds, the meltemi having largely fizzled out this far east. What wind there is will tend to blow from the west. Winds are better heading south to Cyprus or Syria.
Yacht Services. Fuel is available from tanker in Alanya, but only if there is enough demand from a number of boats. Diesel can be collected by jerry can at Mersin (and probably Tasucu – check your pilot book). There are no other easily obtained supplies until Syria or Cyprus.
Alanya. The old harbour accepts yachts, but is crowded with fishing and day tripper boats. The town is around the huge promontory from the old harbour. Alanya marina is about 3 miles NW of the town centre by road. This marina is good value for wintering, but distant from Antalya airport. There is one small chandlery, a marina mini-market, cafe/bar and car hire outlet. Dolmus buses run past the marina entrance, and the marina operates some courtesy services. Alanya town is likeable, busy and crowded with tourists, particularly Scandinavian. It’s well worth a visit, particularly the stunning walled fortress high on the promontory.
Gazipasa is a small fishing harbour with good shelter, but limited jetty space. Try for a place alongside a fishing boat, or alternatively anchor in the harbour. There are no facilities here: the town is about 2km walk away.
Bozyasi harbour is well sheltered, with plenty of alongside space, or anchor. A charge may be levied by the local fishing cooperative for berthing, including water and/or electricity. A telephone number is posted for taxis to take you into town for restaurants/shops or to visit the impressive castle, but bread may be bought at a roadside stall on the main road. The local coastguard has a base here.
Cape Anamur is the southern most point of Turkey, only 50 miles or so to Northern Cyprus. Anamur comes from the Greek animus, meaning wind. Just to the east of the cape there are extensive Byzantine ruins easily visible from the sea.
Aydincik. Founded by the Phoenicians, Aydincik was considered one of the best harbours of this coast in ancient times. It is a small town and pleasant harbour crowded with mainly fishing and local boats, with room to squeeze in end on. It’s shallow but good holding in a blow. The harbourmaster is very friendly and helpful and speaks good French – he will levy a small charge, but water and electricity are available. This is a good place to enjoy a day or two, just walk, chat to locals and replenish supplies. There is a splendid new Mosque and an impressive mosaic discovered in 1992.
Eastwards the coast is indented with opportunities for anchoring at Ovacik and Narlikuyu. Some bays are suitable for sheltered weather only. Turtles abound along this coast.
Tasucu. This busy ferry port has a wider range of facilities and services. Eastwards the coast bends north towards Mersin and countryside flattens out significantly, rather un-interesting with much coastal development.
KumKuyu. Kumkuyu has a new marina structure with an effective breakwater and concrete pontoons but no other facilities (or charges). There's a nearby fish restaurant with a resident pair of storks.
Mersin Marina. newMersin marina is now operational, a very welcome addition to cruising in eastern Turkish waters. Mersin itself has a huge commercial harbour, with a fishing harbour in the north west corner which yachts have used in the past. In the fishing harbour (if they still permit its use) find a place on a small visitor’s jetty among the huge trawlers and myriad small local fishing boats. Secure your boat against petty theft, particularly if you are the only yacht here, which is quite likely. No charge is made. Fuel can be obtained by jerry can. If heading south it is worth noting that potable water cannot be obtained in Lattakia harbour (Syria) or Girne (Northern Cyprus). Mersin is a good place to “sign out” of Turkey if heading the 90 miles south to Lattakia in Syria and beyond.
Mersin City is a big Turkish working city with no foreign tourists. Local shops and plentiful markets are worth exploring, and the pleasant waterfront has parks and cafés. Locals are mostly friendly and very helpful. Most things can be found, but you may have to look. Within minutes walk of the harbour is an air conditioned shopping centre with a well stocked supermarket in the basement and a McDonalds on the top floor, surprisingly worth a visit for a milkshake (and burger if that’s your thing) and the stupendous view of the harbour and sea from the terrace.