Gulet sailing on the Turquoise Coast

The South West of Turkey has a gorgeous coastline and the best way to admire it and truly appreciate it is by spending a few days on a boat. Fortunately Turkish sailing boats, or gulets as the traditional wooden sail boats are called, sail along this coast all the time, so it is easy to join one.

Where do Turkish gulets sail?

Common routes are from Marmaris to Fethiye & from Fethiye to Olympos (although this route actually ends at Demre and involves a bus ride to Olympos). There are also lots of options around the Bodrum peninsular.

Large Turkish gulet sailing boat

What is it like?

I have been lucky enough to go on half a dozen gulet cruises. Each has been slightly different depending on the crowd. There have been huge, riotous party boats and smaller, calmer more relaxing gulets. One of my favourite parts of gulet trips is taking in the scenery as you laze on deck. I also love discovering deserted coves and beaches, being able to just plunge into the sparkling Mediterranean whenever the heat dictates, dinner under the stars and the cool evening air soothing you to sleep out on deck.

Quiet bay near Kekova, Turkey

Secret Cities

The gulets stop in most of the towns along the coast, depending on the schedule and the weather conditions. One of my favourite settlements in Turkey is Simena, which is inbetween Kas and Demre. It is a small settlement with the normal houses and shops, but also featuring the ruins of a castle and some Lycian tombs dotted about, including one in the sea beneath the town. Since it is on an island it is only accessible by boat, making it a great reason in it’s own right to go on a gulet cruise. The view from the castle is spectacular.

Gulets at Simena, Turkey

Each gulet sails with a crew including a captain and a chef. Depending on the size of the boat, there will often be an extra member of crew to help out. Drinking and dining under the stars is a special treat, but even snacks on deck during the day feel like an indulgence.

Jumping into the Mediterranean from a gulet

I can’t recommend gulet-cruising strongly enough. It is a wonderful way to spend a few days and to see and experience all the Turkish coast has to offer.


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