Tourist Guide to the Turkish Gulet Sailing Experience
By: Tiasha Chatterjee
Want to experience something that is ten times better than any spa vacation? Want to take a break from the boring old Internet addiction and simply just relax? Well, we have the perfect solution for you - A five-day sailing trip from Fethiye to Olympus along the Mediterranean coast.
However, there is a common misconception about gulet sailing holidays in Turkey which is that you will be sitting all day, every day on the boat, getting bored out of your mind - but it is about so much more than that! But before we go into that, if you are new to gulet cruising, it is important to grasp the gulet's history for starters, its basic idea, and what sets them apart from other sailing vessels.
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What is a Gulet sailing vacation?
When you book gulet sailing vacations in Turkey, you are participating in a centuries-old nautical tradition. Gulets are classic wooden boats with two or three masts that are constructed.
Although gulets are used in other nations such as Italy, Montenegro, and Croatia, Turkey has a long history of producing gulet boats, particularly in Bodrum and Bozburun, two coastal centres on the west and southwest coasts.
Their primary purpose was sponge diving and fishing, but the concept has expanded into overnight floating hotels over time. Each gulet boat is meticulously handcrafted with a distinctive design and décor by renowned craftsmen.
Is it possible to sail in a gulet?
Yes, these boats are quite tough, and the owners dock in the shipyards every year throughout the winter for maintenance and upkeep. Gulets are a type of vessel that is distinct from a yacht. In yacht construction, the most up-to-date materials and techniques are used. As a result, the business is constantly changing because the major goal is to sail large distances, even around the world. Gulet boats, on the other hand, are meant for brief, coastal sailing.
What are Gulet Boat Blue Cruises?
Gulet sailing holidays in Turkey concentrate on the Turkish Riviera's Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. Captains follow predetermined Blue Cruise routes around this lengthy stretch of coastline, each with its own set of attractions and activities. One of the most popular routes is from Fethiye to Olympus, although tourists can also sail to the Greek Islands and back.
Budget travellers can arrange cabin charter on one of the various Blue Cruise itineraries, or large groups and families can book their own private gulet sailing holiday and tailor-make a specific blue cruise route with the skipper. Are you still unsure whether or not blue cruises are right for you? Well, then we will suggest you go and experience it for yourself!
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How Does It Feel to Stay on a Gulet Boat?
The majority of gulet boats are between 20 and 30 metres long and have 5 to 8 cabins. There are double or single beds, an en-suite bathroom, and sometimes wardrobes in these cabins. Although the humidity is lower at sea than on land, most gulets feature air conditioning, which is rarely used, especially when sailing.
You can eat your meals on the deck, and the captain, deckhands, and cook are on hand to assist you. Gulet boats may either cruise with the wind or use the motor for a speedier ride. A gulet can be inexpensive and basic, or opulent, with larger cabins and fine furnishings and décor, as with any vacation concept. The front of the boat has a sunbathing space, and there is a separate seating & bar section inside.
Gulet Sailing Holidays in Turkey: Where to Book?
The Turkish Riviera is known for its seaside lifestyle, while other areas are known for their gulet sailing expertise. Many gulet boats leave the ports of these regions every day to transport people on 3 to 8-day cruises. Among them are the following -
Bodrum - Since the 1980s, Bodrum, a popular holiday resort for both British and Turkish visitors, has spearheaded Turkey's tourism effort. It not only sells low-cost vacations but also provides exquisite experiences, making it a popular destination for celebrities.
Marmaris - yet another popular British resort, the harbour and marina area is a bustle of all things nautical. There is not much to do in the town itself, but the surrounding countryside is breathtakingly beautiful, which explains why it's such a popular sailing destination.
Fethiye - Backpackers on a round-the-world trip buy affordable cabin charter Blue cruise lines to Olympus from Fethiye, however, the town also provides luxury sailing at a premium price.
Gulet Sailing Holidays in Turkey- What to Do In Turkey's Fethiye?
As previously said, while the title "sailing holidays" implies that it is all about being at sea, gulet cruising is about much more, especially the variety of activities available. So keep reading to find out what you can expect!
Visit the little seaside towns
The Turkish Riviera is home to a number of small seaside communities, each with its own distinct personality. Gulets dock for the night or the day, offering you the opportunity to wander and explore. Kas, on Turkey's Mediterranean coast, is an excellent example of how, despite embracing modern living, it has maintained its original character, making it one of the country's most charming towns.
Explore interior sites that can only be accessed by boat
Many deserted islands surround Turkey, and some, like Gemiler, near Fethiye, are worth visiting. Ruined Christian structures and a spectacular vista make it a popular nighttime anchoring spot for yachts. The sunken remains of Kekova are another spot that is best explored by boat for the finest view.
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Sleeping on the deck
Once you sleep on the deck, you will never go back to sleeping in your cabin on your next blue cruise. Rather than liking the front deck of the boat, we thoroughly appreciated sleeping under the stars. There is something soothing about falling asleep to the sounds of nature, and despite how cosy and quiet your cabin is, we are sure you will prefer to sleep on the balcony every time.
Witness the stunning sunsets
Because we are not talking about typical sunsets here, watching a Turkish sunset dip over the horizon is one of our favourite evening activities. The Mediterranean and Aegean shores are known for their brilliant orange sunsets, which draw tourists who can not resist pulling their cameras out to capture the scene.
Go and catch your own meal
Of course, if you do not like fish or seafood, the chef may prepare a variety of other dishes, but for fish enthusiasts, part of the fun is catching and grilling their dinner. In less than 20 minutes, you can go from sea to plate. It doesn't get any more natural than that!
Participate in scuba diving and snorkelling
When they stop for swimming breaks, most gulet boats have snorkelling equipment on board, which you are welcome to use. Turkey, on the other hand, is a scuba diving paradise with numerous undersea wrecks and marine life. If you spend half a day in a scuba diving town, your boat captain can schedule instruction for you, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned diver.
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Enjoy fresh deliveries of ice cream!
Floating ice-cream boats are available in various locations along the coast where boats dock for swimming or overnight stops. It is a unique notion of waiter service, pulling alongside the gulet and boarding with a variety of options.
Parasailing and jet skis
Jet skis are also available for hire anywhere boats congregate, and passengers can parasail behind a speedboat. Adrenaline enthusiasts flock to jet skiing, while paragliding offers a different perspective on the beautiful scenery.
Visit ancient civilizations' historical ruins
Many Blue Cruise routes around the Aegean and Mediterranean shores include stops at historical ruins along the shoreline, of which Turkey possesses hundreds. The Lycians lived along the Mediterranean coast, leaving behind magnificent cities such as Patara and Olympus, which were surrounded by lush forests. Their historic cities have also generated an official trekking trail, which is one of the world's longest and can take up to three months to complete. If you are a history buff or simply a lover of marvellous ancient architecture, this one is for you!
Visit the Dodecanese Islands in Greece
Although the Turkish Riviera is the most popular destination for gulet sailing holidays in Turkey, combine your vacation with a trip to Greece, particularly the Dodecanese Islands. 150 of them are in the southern Aegean Sea, not far from Turkey. The most well-known are Kos and Rhodes, but smaller islands like Simi are great for getting away from it all.
Now that you know what to expect from your five-day sailing trip from Fethiye to Olympus along the Mediterranean coast, why wait anymore? Pack your bags and get sailing!
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