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How to visit Turkey on a private yacht charter: The complete address book for the Turquoise Coast

By Richard Watkins   4 September 2019

With its countless hidden bays and unspoilt beaches, the so-called Turquoise Coast is primed for private yacht charters, and an increasing number of superyachts are making a beeline to the Byzantine cruising grounds of the Turkish Riviera. Get the low-down on all the best places to eat, drink, swim and sightsee on your next yacht charter vacation in Turkey

Turkey's southwest coastline, known as Turkish Riviera, is easily one of the hidden gems on the Mediterranean yacht charter itinerary. 

The climate is pleasantly warm in September, and even into early October, making this a great time to visit with even fewer visitors cruising the coast than during the summer months.

You'll find plenty of places to anchor your yacht, take a tender to shore and enjoy the tranquility and wild natural beauty.

Once ashore, you can explore the impressive remains of ancient temples, theatres and monuments, unwind in elegant beach clubs and spas and sample the best of contemporary Turkish cuisine in fine dining establishments all along the coast. 

Where to eat:

The Turkish Riviera offers an impressive, and increasing, selection of restaurants where you can enjoy fine dining in often spectacular surroundings.

One unmissable culinary destination is the D Maris Bay hotel, located on the picturesque Datça Peninsula. The venue offers six on-site restaurants to entice its visitors.

Head for elegant Nusr-Et for Turkish steaks under the stars, Asian-inspired Zuma for a taste of contemporary Japanese cuisine, or beach club La Guerite for signature Mediterranean flavours and sharing platters. 

In Bodrum, the Marina Yacht Club's Roof Marine restaurant is a popular choice among those visiting on a yacht charter, with fine views over the harbour to complement the delicious selection of Turkish mezze.

If you're cruising in Kalkan, be sure to call into a boutique resort Hotel Villa Mahal, which boasts a stunning setting that is primed for a romantic dinner at the terraced waterside restaurant. Expect a menu of locally-sourced fish and traditional Turkish dishes.

And if you're visiting Kas, be sure to sample the fresh seafood and rich and hearty Ottoman-style cuisine served at the waterfront Panorama, which overlooks the marina.

Where to drink:

Turkey's stunning coastline is home to some of the eastern Mediterranean's most inviting beach clubs, offering the perfect place to come ashore for a chilled drink or two.

The Bodrum Edition hotel, just 3km from Yalikavak Marina, has its own beach club where you can relax beside the infinity pool with a signature Clara de Bodrum cocktail before taking a stroll on the white sandy beach.

Not far from the Ece Marina in Fethiye, visitors can choose between six different bar areas at Hillside Beach Club, each with its own ambience to suit every type of occasion. 

Settle down in a hammock on the beach at Serenity Bar and enjoy the calming sounds of the sea, take in the views with a glass of champagne at the terraced Blue Bar or dance the night away as the resident DJ mixes the decks at Pasha Bar.

Where to unwind:

With its secluded, pine-fringed beaches, hidden coves and increasing number of luxurious seafront resorts, Turkey's long coastline provides endless opportunities for relaxing amid glorious Mediterranean scenery.

Caresse, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, in Bodrum, is ideal if you're looking to unwind completely during your private yacht charter.

The spa offers an extensive choice of treatments, including soothing massages, body wraps and makeup services, as well as a Jacuzzi and traditional Turkish hammam. Afterward, you can enjoy a gentle swim in the indoor or outdoor pools.

Across the bay from the marina in Marmaris, the private beach at the Elegance Hotel International is an oasis of calm, featuring a wooden pier lined with loungers and a peaceful swimming pool surrounded by palm trees. 

Take advantage of the tailor-made treatments at Bodrum's five-star Mandarin Oriental spa, where the beautiful seafront location helps to create a calm and restful atmosphere. Relax in a cabana with views over the Aegean Sea, take a swim in the pool or tone your muscles in the Pilates or yoga classes.

And for the ultimate wellness experience, the tranquil Six Senses Kaplankaya is the place to go. As well as a hammam, sauna, watsu pool and personalised therapies, the spa also offers multi-day fitness, detoxing, anti-ageing and sleep programmes for those who wish to spend more time at the venue.

Where to swim:

While the ever-popular cruising grounds of the western Mediterranean can get crowded during the summer season, Turkey still sees far fewer visitors-  meaning that there are plenty of secluded beaches and remote stretches of unspoiled coastline to enjoy. What's more, there's also an abundance of alluring anchorages.

The water quality along the coast is generally excellent, making it ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

The 18km-long Patara Beach, on the beautiful Turquoise Coast, is the longest in Turkey, a wild and undeveloped stretch of sand where you're sure to find a private spot to sunbathe and take a dip in the shallow water. The whole beach is a protected area, due to the resident Loggerhead turtles and nearby archaeological remains.

Further along the coast, the wide sandy beach at Butterfly Valley enjoys a spectacular setting, flanked by soaring sea cliffs. It's best reached by tender, and clear, shallow water here makes it a perfect, quiet spot for snorkeling as well as swimming.

But by far the most famous spot along the coast is Oludeniz Beach, which is home to an azure-blue lagoon and long stretch of sandy beach that makes it the subject of numerous postcards. 

Where to shop:

Painted lights hanging from ceiling in bazaar in turkey
Sweet treats piled up at bazaar in Turkey
Spices in stalls at market in Turkey

The towns and cities along the Turkish coast offer numerous shopping opportunities, from traditional street markets and bazaars to cosmopolitan shopping malls and international boutiques.

Leather goods, carpets, textiles and copper-work are popular purchases, with the widest variety to be found in places such as the historic covered bazaar in Antalya, known as the Iki Kapili Han, where you can buy Iznik style ceramic tiles, gold and silver jewellery, handmade metalwork and a colourful array of spices.

In Bodrum, explore the pedestrianized Old Town, which is filled with shops selling locally-made crafts, such as the unique jewellery of Ara Collection, handmade Turkish carpets at Gallery Mustafa, and made-to-measure leather sandals at Güney Sandalet.

A small selection of international designer outlets and jewellery shops can be found in the Milta Bodrum Marina shopping centre.

Where to go sightseeing:

Archaeological museum in Turkey with ancient ruins on the floor
Statues of people in Turkey
Turkish mausoleum

With layers of history stretching back millennia, Turkey has countless archaeological sites, historical monuments, landmarks and museums to explore all along its Mediterranean coastline.

Just a few streets away from the marina in Bodrum you can see the remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the World - the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, while you can learn more about the site, and the city's long history, at the fascinating Museum of Underwater Archaeology, alongside Bodrum's medieval castle overlooking the harbour.

Also worth seeing in Bodrum is the well-preserved ancient theatre, dating from the 4th century BC, and which today hosts summertime concerts, and the 18th century Ottoman Shipyard, near the marina.

Those interested in ancient history will find much to enjoy in the seaside resort of Side, east of Antalya, where they can explore the ruins of ancient Greek temples to Apollo, Athena and Tyche, a large theatre complex, Roman walls and a Byzantine basilica.

Antalya's Archaeolgical Museum - one of the largest in Turkey - holds an outstanding collection of ancient treasures, including numerous Greek and Roman statues, Byzantine mosaics and Ottoman-era textiles and ceramics.

Where to stay:

If you are arriving in Turkey by air, the international airports at Bodrum, Dalaman or Antalya provide convenient gateways to the Mediterranean, and these cities offers an excellent selection of hotels should you wish to stay either before or at the end of your yacht charter.

In Bodrum, the Mandarin Oriental is the perfect choice for spending a couple of days relaxing before you begin your yacht charter, with two private beaches, a luxurious spa and six restaurants offering a variety of cuisines.

For those flying in to, or out of, Dalaman, D-Resort Göcek is hard to beat. Set in a stunning seafront location, it offers a cool and calm atmosphere, with spacious and simply furnished suites, a choice of restaurants and a private beach, with sand specially imported from Egypt.

Kempinski Hotel The Dome provides a sumptuous welcome for guests arriving in nearby Antalya. Designed in grand Seljuk style, it is an impressive desination in itself, offering luxurious self-contained villas for maximum privacy and superb facilities, including access to the two 18-hole courses at the adjacent Antalya Golf Club.

Alternatively, try the Maxx Royal Kemer Resort, south of Antalya, which enjoys a tranquil location, tucked into a remote bay with a striking white sand beach.

The hotel offers a VIP transfer service from the airport, spacious and contemporary suites and private villas, live entertainment and a selection of pools and beaches. There are also tennis courts, watersports and kids' clubs and several restaurants and bars as well as an ice-cream shop, patisserie and a chocolatier.

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