Turkey and the Dodecannese

Marmaris, Kas, Bozborun, Fetiye, Bodrum, Serçe Limani, Gerbekse Bay

Turkey imposed itself as a premier charter destination investing hugely in fleet, marinas and transport. And the sailor will be rewarded with wonderful bays, warm waters, calm seas and welcoming people.

Our top 3 SAILPRO anchorages

1. Gerbekse Bay

2. Serçe Limani

3. Kastellorizo

Our Sailing notes

Weather and anchorages: one might experience strong Meltemi in August along the coast between Bodrum and Marmaris, but after that it's mostly calm in all seasons. Hot in summer, sometimes too much. Best season is September. The coast is blessed by a generous geography of deep inlets and sheltered anchorages, and one can sail weeks without using marinas. Most anchorages are quite deep and it's highly recommended to lay out lines to the trees ashore.

Gourmet: Turkey is as far from nouvelle Cuisine as you can imagine, but they certainly know their way about their excellend ingredients. There is a strong inluence of middle eastern cuisine, and very good fish, even if not so varied in choice. You can find a good barbecue going almost anywhere. 

Do not forget you are in a muslim country, so no pork. But somewhere they make spectacular beef and mutton casseroles. 

Wines: turkey is working on its wines but the result is a little too expensive for the quality. Too hot anyway for reds, I'd stay with the omnipresent Efes pilsen...


Lorima - Buzuk Kale, Sailor House 

Our itinerary

We start geographically from Bodrum, the high end marina and town of the Turkish coast. Do not be surprised to find so many superyachts, Prada boutiques and expensive restaurants. Meltemi blows strongly at times but it's a quick dash downwind (or alas a painful tacking upwind) before you pass the end of Datca peninsula and its many shelters. In this area you'll frequently hop between Greece and Turkey so best to watch the paperwork.

Symi is one of the jewels of the Dodecannese. Busy, needless to say, so get there early, because its liveliness and Venetian style deserve a stop. The main drags are 'Vapori' for aperitifs, and Tolos for dinner (ask of Mrs Haroula). 

For a swin head W to Thessalona and / or e to Aghio Emiliano ad Est.

From Symy you can either sail deep into the Datca inlet, full of bays and small ports, or head towards Bozborun, probably Turkey's best port of entry.The bay is well sheltered, the port is good, and try the local Manti in any of the restaurants. Manti is the name of ravioli from Turket eastwards.

A stop in Lorima - Buzuk Kale is good plan on the to/from Marmaris. Selami's Sailor House is excellent and do not try to play backgammon with him if you do not want to feel a useless human being. The damn-fast-dice-thrower pirate built a free dock for his guests, offers excellent seafood with several eastern dishes, and you'll feel in a diffenet space-time cone of the universe. 

There are many coves SW of Marmaris, like Gerbekse Bay a wonderful and well sheltered bay where you'll very likely to be alone, and the deep inlet of Serçe Limani, a bit more crowded but indeed very nice. Here there is a honest tavern with mooring buoys and genial hospitality. 

Marmaris is not our favourite spot but it's a very good marina. It's like to be in England, only hotter. British young crowds and pubs, superyachts and fortunately not meny shouting minarets.

The list of coves between Marmaris and Fetiye is endless. Many are real natural harbours with pine trees and one thinks to arrive in a Swiss lake. Get lost south of Gocek for a taste of it, letting go coves like Atbükü, Boynuz Bükü, Bedri Rahmi, Siralibük, Sarsala, Manastir, Göbün Coves and Göcek, Yassicalar, Tersane and Domuz Islands.

Ekincik is a nice and slightly overestimated marina where you get free moring using the restaurant, but reports suggest to pay the mooring and avoid the painful dinner. From here you can rent a car and visit the ruins of Kaunos and Dalyan. 

Fetiye is a city we did not like much, but you have shops, services and Turkish baths if you are into it. 

Not many sailors push east of Fetiye. We suggest to do so and arrive in Kastellorizo, a real pearl of a place.  Gemiler Adasi is a good place in between on the way there, with a rickety tavern and some ruins close by. Other place are Yesilkoy Limanı, Kekova Roads and Ağa Limani. The coast is usually rugged, red and steep, with frequent turquoise bays and plenty of places to stop for a swim.

Kastellorizo is our favourite island in the east. Even if you did not see the Oscar winning movie Mediterraneo, you'll fall in love with the perfect village, the tranquil pace, the transpatent waters of the port, and the many nice tavernas where to enjoy grilled squid and lamb barbecue. 

Kalkan is another place if you are into ruins, because from here you can visit Xanthos and Patara renting a small van. The port is a bit busy though...

For more info download the .pdf

Turkey and the Dodecannese :: leave here your cruise review