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Dardanelles to Çeşme (North Aegean Coast)

The Turkish coast north of Çeşme to the Dardanelles has over 200nm of coastline. The northern 60nm is only used by yachts in transit, with regular summer winds blowing quite strongly from the north and limited interest. Baba Burun (the headland north of Lesbos) marks the start of a pleasant linear cruise along the coast, sometimes spectacular, with several attractive anchorages and harbours a short day sail apart and one or two less pleasant industrially developed bays. Çeşme and its nearby sandy bays are busy holiday destinations. 

A popular way to cruise this coast is to travel north through the Greek Islands or along the Turkish coast to Lesbos/Avalik, then return south through the other country (not forgetting a visit to Pergamon in the hills behind Dikili).  Not many charter boats sail here, but it is popular with weekenders from Izmir. There is adequate yacht support and 5 marinas in the area.

Turkey, north of Cesme (N Aegean - "Aeolian" coast)

Harbours and Anchorages

Dardanelles to Baba Burun.

This is strictly a coast of transit. Northerly passages to the Dardanelles are best made in the spring before the NE winds set in.  The only reliable shelter is the main harbour for Bozcaada island.

Bozcaada Limani. A pleasant harbour with a light tourist presence, some good restaurants, and electricity on the quay.

Babakale, 20nm S of Bozcaada on the tip of the headland, is a small village with a useful harbour - well sheltered from regular northerlies,

Bara Burun to the Gulf of Izmir

This coast makes a pleasant one-way cruise with some good stops en route and relatively few other yachts. Only a few of the many anchorages and harbours are listed.

Assos. Remnants of an ancient city sit atop an extinct volcano, with good views over to Lesbos.

Küçükkuyu. Small fishing village

Altinoluk. Small fishing village with nearby holiday developments

Ören. Marina nearby.

Ayvalik. Attractive small town and resort set within a pretty archipelago which has many anchorages. Port of entry. Good marina suitable for wintering ashore or afloat. Accessible to Pergamon

Dikili. Small commercial harbour, port of entry. Frequent dolmus to Pergamon, only 30km.

Çandarli. The small agricultural town, once Greek, complete with castle. Good provisions, some tourism with attendant bars and clubs.

Aliaga. Safe to enter in any weather, but industrial. Avoid if you can.

Yenifoça. A pleasant older town centre, but rather intrusive holiday developments nearby.

Eskifoça. Nice setting with off-lying islands and anchorages. Attractive old town, good shopping. Area scarred by nearby holiday developments.

Izmir Gulf. The Meltemi blows into the gulf strongly in the afternoons. Izmir itself is best avoided due to polluted waters, and the town is an unattractive mess of concrete. Levent marina is available if you have to go. The west coast of the gulf has some dramatic scenery, and several harbours and anchorages, but this isn't enough to persuade me to return. So, from Eskifoça I usually head straight west to miss the gulf.

West of Karaburun to Çeşme

The steep and stark slopes of the Karaburun peninsula have a couple of small anchorages, but little else until the Gulf of Ildir is reached. This gulf is partly enclosed by a chain of islands, and the sheltered coastlines have been comprehensively developed -  a complete contrast to the area to the north. There are many anchorages in the gulf, as well as the smart (but often full) Setur Çeşme Marina with its allied massive hotel complex.  and  Access to Izmir airport is easy from here. Other spots west of the Ildir gulf are:

Dalyanköy. A sheltered inlet lined with rather up market little restaurants.

Çeşme. A busy holiday resort. Port of entry. Ferries to Khios. The full-service high-quality Camper and Nicholson's Çeşme marina, is suitable for layup ashore or afloat.


  • Attractions; Pergamon, the Ayvalik archipelago, not many yachts
  • Snags; areas of unsightly shore developments, Izmir pollution.
  • Ports of Entry; Ayvalik, Dikili, Izmir, Çeşme,
  • Layup or Wintering;  Ayvalik, or Camper and Nicholsons  Çeşme marina. Both offer ashore or afloat wintering
  • Transport. Seasonal flights to UK from Izmir, Bodrum. Year round, Istanbul. For transfers airport to marina, try resorthoppa.com, www.a2btransfers.com, www.unitedblue.com . Ferries Khios/Çeşme, Kuşadası/Samos


Reviewed May 2015


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