Turkish Gulet Cruise: Best routes to book

Gulet cruises are a fabulous way to see some of the top highlights of Turkey. Full of stunning natural beauty and historical sights, the southern coast of Turkey is not to be missed. Not to mention the quality relaxation time on board while cruising from destination to destination. Many cruises either depart or arrive in the major harbor towns of Fethiye, Marmaris, or Bodrum. Each port has their own unique beauty and can be explored either before or after the following routes. Read more to find out which routes will bring you to the top destinations for swimming, sightseeing, and overall relaxation.

Olympos – Fethiye

Olympos to Fethiye is one of the most popular blue cruise routes, making noteworthy stops at Demre, St Nicholas Island, the Sunken City of Kekova, Simena Castle, Kas, Butterfly Valley, and Oludeniz Blue Lagoon. After a visit to the remains of the ancient city of Olympos, history buffs can finish getting their fill while visiting St Nicholas Island, the Sunken City, and Simena. With a breathtaking view from the castle after a steep descent to the highest point of the small and charming town, Simena is an unforgettable stop along this route. Kas is a picturesque seaside town with approximately 7,000 residents and is the perfect place to explore shops and restaurants along cobblestone streets and a enjoy spectacular sunset over the Mediterranean. Butterfly Valley and Oludeniz are natural wonders and some of the most beautiful in all of Turkey. Clear turquoise waters in both locations provide the perfect surroundings for hours of swimming and soaking in the summer sun.

Fethiye – 12 Islands

This route focuses on the highlights of the Fethiye island region and includes stops at Butterfly Valley, St Nicholas Island, Bedri Rahmi Bay, Cleopatra’s Bay, the Yassica Island, and Tersane Island. Butterfly Valley is an impressive sight with its 2,000 meter high cliffs dipping low into a secluded seaside ravine. Further along, the Byzantine ruins of St Nicholas island can be seen from the sea and the crescent-shaped bay here is perfect for anchoring overnight. There are a few opportunities along this route to trek through the coastal landscape and enjoy some breathtaking views from the highest points. The gulf of Fethiye has much to offer and plenty of opportunities to enjoy both active and relaxing days.

Bodrum – Gokova – Bodrum

Beginning and ending in the culturally and historically rich port city of Bodrum, this route travels east along the coastline, making stops at Orak Island, Cleopatra beach, Seven Islands, Tuzla Bay, and Karacasogut Village. The first stop at Orak Island provides the ideal opportunity to take in the ruins of a nearby Byzantine village. Cruises along this route will then anchor at the serene Cleopatra beach with its crystal clear waters, perfect for an afternoon of swimming. Sailing through the Seven Islands is a unique experience and an exceptional place to spend the night. There are many hidden gems along this route that captains have knowledge of and will share with you along the journey.

Bodrum – North or South Greek Islands

Bodrum also serves as a launching point to the nearby Greek islands. Two route options take passengers either north or south and also make a few stops along the Turkish Aegean coast in this area. This route is perfect for tourist who might be having a hard time deciding which country to visit during their holidays. Enjoy the beauty of both Greece and Turkey with this scenic option. Island visits on these routes include Kos, Rhodes, Symi, Pserimos, Xerakampos, Leros, and many others, all while stopping to swim, eat, and relax in many of the beautiful bays in between.

Marmaris – Fethiye

This route includes both port cities of Marmaris and Fethiye, along with a number of serene seaside getaways that make this option diverse and full of impressive scenery. Stops along this rough include the Dalyan beaches, the Yassica Islands, Tersane Island, and Ekincik. Beaches in Dalyan are known for long sandy stretches and undisturbed surroundings that are well preserved for mating sea turtles. The Yassica Islands remain free from cafes, shops, or any facilities and it is enjoyable to swim from island to island.

These common gulet routes can be explored via scheduled cabin cruise tours or through private yacht charter Turkey.

Top Shore Tours to Take from Gulet Cruises in Turkey

Relaxing and enjoying the natural beauty of the Turkish turquoise coast is the main activity on any blue cruise, however, if you are feeling active and adventurous, there are a variety of shore tour options to fill your time while anchored in pristine bays or docked at any of the charming harbors along the coast.

Not only will your blue cruise gulet experience introduce you to a new level of relaxation, you will also have many options to actively explore the natural historical wonders that surround you. Prepare to be amazed by the scenery and history that this part of Turkey is famous for. Feel free to enjoy any of these activities, as they are all accessible from popular blue cruise routes that run throughout the summer months.

Oludeniz for Paragliding

Oludeniz Blue Lagoon is the most photographed site in all of Turkey. From land, sea, and sky, the view is stunning and should not be missed. This is a popular spot on the Olympos to Fethiye route and your gulet will anchor here for the day for you to enjoy all that Oludeniz has to offer. If you are feeling adventurous, you will have the option to enjoy the many paragliders floating high above in the sky. You will be transported ashore and then travel approximately 2,000 meters up the stunning Babadag mountain. All flights are tandem with a professional pilot who will also help you to take some incredible photos once you having taken off and begin flying through the sky. There is no better way to experience the scenery of Oludeniz.

Parasailing in Marmaris

If paragliding seems too intense for your taste, parasailing could be the happy alternative you are looking for. Parasailing is an exhilarating activity on the water and there are plenty of opportunities if your blue cruise includes in the bustling port city of Marmaris. You will be pulled by a powerful speed boat while a colorful parachute floats behind you and lifts you into the air. Companies will allow you to choose the amount of time you would like to fly.

Fethiye for Fresh Fish

Whether your cruise departs from or makes its final stop in Fethiye, make sure to save enough time to explore the highlights of this fantastic town. In particular, the fish market is always full of activity and provides a unique dining experience. Approach the market stalls and take your pick of the fresh fish on display. Shrimp, mussels, crab, squid, and many types of fish are available for your choosing. Then take your purchase and choose one of the restaurants lining the perimeter of the market. There, they will cook your fish and provide side dishes and drinks to accompany your seafood. Fethiye is known for this experience and it should definitely be an addition to your gulet cruise experience.

Bodrum Castle and the Museum of Underwater Archeology

If you are cruising from Bodrum to the nearby north or south Greek islands, be sure to take some time to learn about the history of this area. Bodrum can easily be explored in a day either before or after your scheduled cruise. Bodrum castle was constructed in the 15th century by the Knights of Rhodes and has incredible view overlooking the harbor. The castle has an interesting story as it has evolved with changes throughout history. In its modern form, it now hosts the museum of underwater archeology and several cultural festivals throughout the year. The museum has 14 departments and holds an impressive collection of artifacts retrieved from shipwrecks over the years.

Trekking at Simena and St Nicholas Island

Another popular shore tour option on our Olympos to Fethiye blue cruises is to stretch your legs and explore some of the natural beauty and history that can be found in Kalekoy village and on St Nicholas island. Simena castle is situated at the highest point in the charming village of Kalekoy. To reach the top is a bit of a climb but the views are spectacular and worth the exertion. St Nicholas island will be an evening stop while en route to Fethiye. Passengers will have to option to go ashore and freely explore church ruins that date back to the 4th and 5th centuries AD before finding the perfect spot to witness an incredible Mediterranean sunset.

Top Sandy Beaches of Turkey

  1. Oludeniz Blue Lagoon

Like many beaches in Turkey, the main stretch of Oludeniz is pebbled and rocky. However, if you continue westward by car or foot, or arrive by Blue Cruise Turkey, you will find that the world famous Blue Lagoon is a pleasant and sandy stretch lined with reclining beach chairs and cheerful beachside cafes. Here you can longue to your heart’s content and watch the paragliders high above until late in the afternoon.

  1. Iztuzu Beach

Iztuzu Beach, located near Dalyan, Turkey, is also a main breeding ground for the endangered Loggerhead sea turtle, making it yet another quiet and development-free destination. Free from homes, shops, and hotels, this 4.5 kilometer stretch was once under serious threat of development with plans for a 1,800 bed hotel, but has managed to maintain its current preservation thanks to the efforts of many international environmentalists. Iztuzu is a magnificent beach cradled by pine tree clad mountains and the Dalyan river delta.

  1. Side (East & West Beaches)

West of Antalya, the 5th most populous city in Turkey, Side is known for its stretches of sandy beach, one to the east and the other to the west of the old city. The safe and shallow west beach is most popular but both sides offer numerous watersport activities such as diving, parasailing, fishing, waterskiing, and boat tours.

  1. Altinkum Beach

This lovely sandy beach on the Aegean Sea is appropriately named “Golden Sand” and features shallow water and a flat promenade perfect for leisurely strolling. Altinkum is clean and well looked after with plenty of amenities for hungry and thirsty tourists. About an hour drive from historical Ephesus, Altinkum provides the perfect retreat after days full of sightseeing. This is the perfect spot for watersports, fishing, and affordable boat trips.

  1. Akyaka Beach

Akyaka Beach is well known for its unique wind patterns as the perfect conditions for kitesurfing. Experienced and beginners alike can be found surfing the shoreline, sprinkling the sky with the colorful arches of different sized kites. Swimming is also possible further down from the kiting, towards the small town of Akyaka, and it is even possible to walk from the beach to the town by foot, enjoy a cold beer or Turkish tea, and wade your way back to resume your kitesurfing lesson.

  1. Alacati

Another ideal spot for kitesurfing and other wind sports, Alacati is known for its fine sandy beaches and mineral hot springs. This is an area with many hidden gems, quiet beaches that feature ample sunbeds and quiet seafront cafes. The small and pleasant town of Alacati can be easily reached from Izmir, only about a 1 hour drive away.

  1. Patara Beach

The longest (18 kilometers) and one of the most well preserved beaches in Turkey, Patara Beach is a major summertime home to mating sea turtles. Tourists can enjoy the unspoiled and natural beauty of Patara during the day but the beach is reserved at night for the turtles. Patara is the longest beach in Turkey and the soft sand and shallow water make it ideal for a day full of sunbathing, swimming, and relaxing walks along the sand. Although the Fethiye to Olympos gulet cruises do not stop at Patara, the gulets do sail by these sands and tourists can take in the surrounding natural beauty.

 

Top 5 Beaches to Visit in Turkey

Many of the incredible natural wonders of Turkey are accessible by vehicle and foot but the most beautiful are most easily approached by boat. Lucky for tourists in Turkey, affordable cruises run throughout the summer, often stopping at the top 5 beaches mentioned below.

  1. Butterfly Valley

Famous for the 2,000 meter high cliffs surrounding this sandy beach, Butterfly Valley is the perfect combination of colors so often pleasing to the human eye. A bleached shoreline and aquamarine waters meet at the shore. The cliffs above are dotted with greenery and are home to over 100 different butterfly species. Inland from the sandy shore, a small amount of land is free from hotels, restaurants, or shops and instead is sprinkled with the colorful nylon tents of brave hikers who successfully descended the steep and extremely dangerous foot path that connects high above to the 500km long Lycian Way.  If attempting the steep descent is not your preference, Blue Voyage Turkey can ease you into the bay, gliding over clear waters as you approach this relaxing destination. Butterfly Valley is the perfect spot to anchor and allow the soft waves to rock you to sleep, eventually giving way to the soft colors of an early morning Mediterranean sunrise.

  1. Kabak Bay

Kabak bay is a secluded beach sandwiched between steep forest and turquoise sea. Accessible by minibus, car, foot, or boat, Kabak is a steep drop from the main road and arriving on foot (and also by vehicle) is recommended only for the most adventurous. However, given its limited accessibility, it makes for a quiet experience, far from the maddening crowd. Above the beach are a number of hideaways of all comfort levels to spend the night and enjoy delicious Turkish cuisine. Kabak is also located along the Lycian Way and avid hikers can enjoy stunning views of the valley from above, as the footpath winds around the mountain ridges and provides a number of opportunities for photos of the shimmering bay far below.

  1. Olympos

Olympos beach is a popular summer destination for Turks and foreigners alike. A single road lined with bungalows, markets, and shaded cafes leads directly to the beach, passing ancient city ruins spread out along the shore and nearby cliffs. The shoreline is stunning, with Mount Olympos in clear view towards the east. Far removed from the seclusion of Kabak and Butterfly Valley, Olympos beach is bustling with food and drink sellers and tourists from all over the world lounging on thick towels spread across the pebbled shore. A large jagged rock juts out from the sea and those with motivation can be seen climbing the rock face and jumping off from the top. Affordable kayak rentals are also popular in Olympos, giving tourists the opportunity to intimately explore the caves and ruins that sprinkle the shoreline. Olympos is also the starting point for the Fethiye Blue Cruise, the perfect way to continue exploring the natural wonders of Turkey’s Turquoise Coast. The blue cruise heads east and passes both Kabak and Butterfly Valleys en route to Fethiye.

  1. Patara Beach

Patara Beach is a magical destination, unspoiled by the eyesores of popular tourism. At 11 miles, it is Turkey’s longest beach and a protected area where sea turtles can lay their eggs. Because of the turtles, development is off limits and tourists can enjoy the sandy stretch during the daytime. From May to October, the beach is off limits at night to allow space for the turtles to breed. Patara is one of the most beautiful beaches in Turkey and its sandy shores are ideal for swimming (in comparison to many of the rocky beaches that are commonly found in Turkey). Even in the height of summer, Patara is never crowded and is perfect for exercising your legs after too many lazy days of sunbathing.

  1. Kaputas Beach

If you blink you might miss it. Kaputas Beach is located directly below the Antalya to Fethiye coastal road. Only 12 miles from the pleasant coastal town of Kas, Kaputas is located at the bottom of another extremely low valley and can be spotted by the congregation of cars parked along the main road. If you are able to find a parking spot, the beach is reachable by close to 200 stairs that make it impossible for the construction of facilities or businesses. The untouched natural beauty makes it yet another popular destination for gulets cruising the coastline.

Things you Should Check out While on a Gulet Cruise in Turkey

Choosing a blue cruise can often be confusing and difficult given all of the incredible places to visit and things to do along each gulet route. Whether you join a standard cabin cruise or choose a more intimate private yacht charter, there is plenty to see and do no matter where your gulet route takes you. These suggested highlights will hopefully make your choice easier as you discover more about the options that best suit your interests. Perhaps you are looking for a more adventurous option that includes diving and paragliding? Or maybe you would really just like to completely unwind and relax on a gulet that offers the best of the Turkish coast and the nearby Greek islands? There is something for everyone and the following are on our list of must-sees while cruising the Turquoise Coast.

Simena and the Sunken City of Kekova

Olympos to Fethiye is a popular gulet route, and rightly so as this part of the coastline is filled with picturesque scenery and historical wonders. On the first day of your Blue Cruise Turkey, your gulet will anchor between Kalekoy village and the sunken city of Kekova. Kalekoy is home to Simena Castle where you are welcome to go ashore and ascend the steep hill for a spectacular view of the surrounding panorama. In the same day, your captain will carefully glide by the underwater ruins of Kekova and because the water is so incredibly clear, you will be able to marvel at this ancient sunken city.

Kas: Exploring the Town and Diving Excursions

Kas is a vibrant but small town with quaint cafes and shops lining cobblestoned streets. It is the perfect place to spend a few morning hours and is also a stop along the Olympos to Fethiye route. You can wander the streets, enjoying the unhurried ambience of this coastal town, and even visit the ancient amphitheater which can be found nearby to the city center. After spending a morning exploring the lovely coastal town of Kas, your gulet will take you to a nearby secluded bay where you will have the option to dive! Kas is one of the best spots along the Mediterranean coastline for diving. You will see fascinating sea life and the area is also known for underwater caves, shipwrecks, and reefs. Being certified is not necessary and diving is open to all levels.

Oludeniz Blue Lagoon

As one of the most photographed sites in all of Turkey, Oludeniz is sure to impress. A day here can be spent relaxing on board or on the shores of the sparkling Blue Lagoon. Options for paragliding can also be taken advantage of for those who are seeking adventure. The beach is lined with cafes where you can enjoy a drink while soaking in the perfect summer weather that this area of Turkey is known for. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the magnificent blue water overshadowed but the stunning Babadag mountain, the launching point for the many paragliders you will see floating high above.

Snorkeling at Orak Island

Orak Island is another popular snorkeling and diving spot and can be reached when traveling the Bodrum to Gokova blue cruise route. As if swimming in a crystal clear aquarium, exploring the waters surrounding this island is like a dream. Reefs and sea creatures will surround you and if you choose to swim ashore, the natural scenery provides the perfect atmosphere for some light trekking.

Greece & Turkey in One Holiday

Whether you opt for a standard cabin cruise or for a private yacht charter Turkey departing from Bodrum, it is possible to explore explore the Turkish coast as well as the nearby Dodecanese islands of Greece. Two routes, one exploring the northern Greek islands and the other which heads south, offer a relaxing journey through Greek culture, history, and stunning island beauty. The islands of Kos, Rhodes, Symi, and Kalimnos (to name only a few) are included on these routes and boast spectacular views as you approach each small harbor.

 

The Most Relaxing Blue Cruise Spots in Turkey

Blue cruising is synonymous with relaxation. However, there are a few spots along the turquoise coast of Turkey that will invite an exceptional level of calm into your life. Far from the maddening crowds, these destinations are sure to having you feeling calm and relaxed after just a few hours on board. All of these locations are reachable by boat and in fact, the most relaxing way to enjoy these places is on board a Turkish gulet. Days can be spent exploring charming villages and pristine beaches while evenings and nights are spent on board with delicious meals and a peaceful night’s sleep gently rocking with the waves.

Butterfly Valley

Butterfly Valley is an incredible canyon that reaches up to almost 2,000 meters above sea level. The cliffs are steep and the beach at the bottom of the canyon is only accessible by boat (or by an incredibly steep foot path), making this one of the most relaxing spots along any Turkish gulet blue cruise route. The valley is home to various species of butterflies, giving it its fitting name. You can easily fill your day here with relaxing time on the boat, a short swim to shore, sunbathing on the beach, and walks around the area to explore the local flora and fauna. The beach is never crowded due to its hard to reach location and the water is typically very calm. Spending the night in this bay is spectacular. Sunset bring cooling colors of purple and blue and sunrise gives way to brilliant oranges, yellows, and reds with the rising morning sun. The stars are also a magnificent sight. A day and night spent at Butterfly Valley is sure to rejuvenate and relax as the sounds of nature and the sea transport you to a secluded and peaceful place, both in mind and body.

Gocek

Surrounded by mountains and stunning scenery, Gocek is yet another beautiful and peaceful destination. Gocek is a uniquely quiet place, relatively untouched by tourism due to the lack of swimmable waterfront. However, when traveling by boat, sunbathing and swimming is always an option on board, allowing passengers to enjoy this bay for everything else it has to offer. Rustic waterside restaurants and a small town with shops and bars will give you plenty of reason to go ashore and explore the waterfront. Gocek is protected from overdevelopment and has managed to remain a tranquil town in a gulf surrounded by mountains, islands, and calm waters.

Kas

This picturesque town provides the perfect opportunity to slowly re-enter civilization after days of solitude in quiet bays along the coast. It is a small town with an unhurried ambiance and is the perfect place to wander cobblestoned streets and stop for a coffee in one of the waterfront cafes. There are some historical sights including an amphitheater and mountainside cliffs toms. Quaint shops with locally made souvenirs, jewelry stores, and art galleries line the small streets and there are plenty of dimly lit bars to enjoy an evening drink after a meal aboard your gulet. Kas has a vibrant but calm atmosphere is a welcoming break from the larger nearby cities of Antalya and Fethiye.

Symi

Symi is a Greek island accessible only by gulet or ferry from other nearby Greek islands. It is known for its striking harbor filled with colorful homes that create the atmosphere of a perfectly painted traditional Greek village. This is a popular stop along gulet routes that begin and end in the port town of Bodrum. Symi is an ideal way to experience Greek culture, history, and food and the peaceful evening atmosphere is a perfect ending to a day spent exploring ruins, cypress forests, and a few of the 120 local wine presses.

Cleopatra’s Bath (Hamam Bay)

If you opt for a Marmaris gulet cruise, be sure that your route makes a stop in this spot where Cleopatra once came to bathe. As legend has it, a Roman bath was constructed in this spot for Cleopatra by Marc Anthony as a wedding present. Remains of an ancient hamam still stand here and are open to visitors to explore. The medicinal water in this bay is infused with the minerals from a nearby thermal spring. This is an extremely quiet and peaceful spot and will prove to be a perfect break, especially after spending time in the bustling harbor town of Marmaris.