Turkey is known world over for its spectacularly beautiful cruising grounds, but there are a number of hidden paradises in its turquoise waters that remain under the radar. If you want to escape the crowds, head to one of these lesser-known islands on your Turkish superyacht vacation.
Stunning with its sheer diversity, Turkey is a fascinating fusion of cultures, cuisines and landscapes. But its Aegean and Mediterranean coastlines are where Turkey is at its most irresistible, especially for yacht-goers after a truly magnificent charter experience.
Golden beaches lapped by sparkling waters and backed by forest-blanketed slopes are settings for ancient ruins and many an outdoor activity, while hidden island gems offer no-end of idyllic exploration. Here is a round-up of six secret spots to visit on a luxury charter.
Tersane is one of a dozen islands strung out like a necklace across the mouth of Göcek Bay, a lively yachting hub along the Turquoise Coast. Its location, as well as its protected natural harbour, makes this often overlooked island ideal to visit when on a luxury yacht charter in the area.
Gulet yachts were once built here which explains where Tersane – translated as boat yard – gets its name from. Sunken ships and remnants of ancient walls shimmer below the water’s surface while, on land, scores of houses remain in ruins alongside overgrown fruit orchids and descendant goat herds.
Guarded by Turkey’s best-preserved castle, Bozcaada is a little-known Aegean outpost offering 15 square miles of solitude. White sand beaches ablaze with wild flowers ribbon the coast and Ottoman-Greek whitewashed houses cluster around the harbour with hardly a tourist in sight.
The highlight, however, has to be the island’s 2,000-year-old wine-making tradition, which is currently experiencing a renaissance. Don’t leave Bozcaada without a highly sought-after bottle from the Corvus Vineyard, renowned for its sweet reds with strong notes of cherry and plum.
Kekova was a bustling Roman port until it plunged into the ocean during an earthquake in AD 240. Found not far from Kaş, the island is uninhabited today but the sunken tombs and ancient villas are all perfectly preserved under a metre of crystal clear sea.
Swimming around the fragments of the partly submerged buildings is now banned, but the site is still possible to explore by kayak or paddleboard. Anchor nearby overnight for the enchanting sight of the moon’s reflection slowly tracing its way across the Kekova Sound.
St Nicholas Island
It couldn’t be further from the cold, winter days of December but St Nicholas himself was originally buried in the rock-hewn church on this rural island which, known to locals as Gemiler Island, lies off the Lycian coast between Fethiye and Oludeniz Beach.
Among the feral and fragrant wilderness of carob trees, sticky figs and almond blossom are half-ruined Byzantine churches with haunting frescoes and faded mosaics. These 1,500-year-old ruins can be wondered at will, while secluded rocky bays invite relaxation and snorkelling.
Bestowed with blissful landscapes of olive groves, perfumed pine forests, sacred springs and unspoilt stretches of sandy shore, it’s hard to understand why Gökçeada, Turkey’s largest island, has remained a secret for so long.
Located at the entrance to the Dardanelles, Gökçeada’s pristine Aegean waters are ideal for swimming and windsurfing, and scuba divers will enjoy exploring the spectacular stone formations of Turkey’s only underwater national park.
Hidden island gems offer no-end of idyllic exploration on your Turkish superyacht vacation