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Sailing East of Antalya

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.

Lycian Coast; Marmaris to Antalya

The Lycian (Mediterranean) coast, in our definition includes Marmaris eastwards to Antalya (about 180 miles).  Sometimes called the Turquoise Coast, the western half is a favourite for flotillas and charter boats; the eastern half beyond Kalkan much quieter.  The coastline throughout is backed by pine-clad mountains, with many attractive harbours and anchorages.  5 marinas and 2 airports add to the convenience of the Göçek area, which is now sadly overcrowded.  Antalya is a major tourist resort, rather less pushy than those further West , with a well-restored Ottoman district overlooking the old harbour.

Carian Coast; Bodrum Peninsula to Marmaris Bay

The SW corner (the Carian coast), includes both Bodrum (a most attractive town) and Marmaris, two major charter centres for all types of yachts. Although these towns are only 40nm apart, there is nearly 200nm of coastline between them, deeply indented with gulfs and headlands. Yes, there is villa sprawl, noise and dense tourism around the Bodrum peninsula, but there are quiet anchorages to be found, especially in the gulf of Hisaronü. Yacht support is superb, best value in the Mediterranean, with some six marinas to choose from.  Marmaris bay, although tourist developed on the western side, is otherwise set among beautiful pine forested hillsides.

Ionian Coast; Çeşme to Bodrum Peninsula

The Ionian coast (Aegean) from Çeşme to Gümüslük includes about 110 nm of coastline. The whole coast 30nm north of Kuşadası has been comprehensively developed with holiday villages. Kuşadası itself is an unrepentantly brash tourist resort, served by cruise ships bringing visitors to Ephesus, just 10nm north east. But don't miss Ephesus - these are probably the most impressive ruins in Turkey. Away from the biggest developments there are quieter anchorages. The Gulf of Güllük (south) offers a maze of choice, but you will competing for space with charter boats and fish farms.

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.

Sea of Marmara & Istanbul Marinas

You wish to sail to Istanbul, and stay in a nearby marina? This is the page for you!

Most cruisers enter the narrow Dardanelles, pushing against wind and current, and avoiding large ships, in order to visit the superb city of Istanbul. Once in the Sea of Marmara (marble) it's best to keep south, sheltered from the usual headwinds. This offers a quiet and attractive cruising route with plenty of harbours and anchorages, soft, rolling landscapes, and marble quarries.

Until near Istanbul, there are no concessions to tourism, and few yachts.  The built up area around Istanbul has very good yacht support, with several marinas, shore hards and shipyards. Allow a  week for a slow potter upwind along the south coast. Stay as many days as you can afford near the fascinating city of Istanbul. Then run back in the stronger winds along the rather bare north coast over a couple of days.

Sailing in Turkey

A short general description of sailing in Turkey and exploring by boat, briefly listing the main differences between the cruising regions as you journey south and east from Istanbul to Syria. Turkey, outside the EU, is surprisingly green and fertile after Greece. Magnificent mountains back most of the coastline. Byzantine, Roman, Greek and even pre-Hellenic ruins are everywhere. Sophisticated marinas and world class hotels (with world class prices!) sit close to dirt roads, hamlets, and herds of goats. Everywhere, slender minarets call the faithful to prayer - a sharp wake-up at 0500.  In quieter spots, food is good value, beautifully presented by courteous owners. With these attractions, major tourist destinations have been developed. Night long noise in a few bays are some of the symptoms. Pestering salesmanship (and some very subtle carpet salesmanship!) are others. Sections of the south west coast have been badly scarred with large quadrilaterals of dense, low rise house developments. The good news is that Turkey has adapted to make its visitors comfortable - and uses Latin script.

North Aegean; Evia, Sporades and Halkidiki

Apart from the N Sporades, frequented by charter yachts and flotillas, this area, including the passage inside Evia, is a quiet cruising ground. Some restaurants and cafés only open for the peak season, July and August, when the population of Thessalonika comes out to play on the beaches. N Greece otherwise sees mainly local boats cruising around the three peninsulae of  Khalkidiki, plus a few foreign flag yachts in transit to and from Turkey or the Dodecanese. These seem bent on avoiding the stronger winds of the S Aegean, although the meltemi blows strongly through the spaced out islands of the East Sporades.

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