Mid-July to mid-September are the busiest and most expensive months to navigate the Turkish coast. The temperature can exceed 40 degrees centigrade. May and end of September are a bit cooler and cheaper. April and October see some rain, but it is still pleasantly warm. From May to October this area experiences the Meltemi wind. It blows from the N and NW and can make navigating in that direction hard work.
Bodrum, Marmaris and Fethiye are the main yacht charter ports. The following destinations are ordered from north to south.
Iskele is a charming little town on the north Aegean coast, off the Greek island of Lesbos. Many of the old stone houses in the village now serve as inns, pensions and restaurants. A short drive away is Behramkale, although most people still call the city by its old name of Assos. It was founded around 700 BC. C. by settlers from the island of Lesbos. On a nearby hill are the ruins of the Doric-style Temple of Athena (530 BC) surrounded by crumbling city walls and an ancient cemetery. Nearby is the 14th century Ottoman Murad Hüdavendigar Mosque. The hill offers spectacular views of the island of Lesbos and the Aegean Sea.
Ayvalik is a coastal resort in the North Aegean. It is surrounded by olive groves that produce much of the best olive oil in Turkey. Ayvalik has an interesting history, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Ottoman Greeks from Ayvalik moved to Greece and Turkish citizens from Greece moved to Ayvalik. The city has many ancient Greek Ottoman houses and Orthodox churches that have now been converted into mosques. The port has many good restaurants. Ferries run every day in summer between Ayvalik and the Greek island of Lesbos (Mytileni), but the fare is extraordinarily high for the 2-hour trip.
The island of Alibey is located off the coast off Ayvalik. It has good restaurants and taverns by the water.
Izmir, formerly Smyrna, is a major port and commercial center located on a large bay. The city was rebuilt after a fire, during the 1922 War of Independence, destroyed most of ancient Smyrna. Consequently, the city is modern and has little archaeological interest. Perhaps there are other more rewarding places to visit as well if your time in Turkey is limited to a 2 week yacht charter.
Kusadasi is a major Aegean cruise port and tourist city. It also has a full service yacht marina. From here it is possible to visit Ephesus, just 17 kilometers away, one of the best preserved Roman cities in the Mediterranean region. You can also see other ancient cities such as Aphrodisias, Euromos and the Temple of Zeus, Priene, Miletus and Didyma. Kusadasi is popular with tourists from Western Europe; so expect to find the “Red Lion” serving “all day English breakfast” and various Guinness outlets.
Gumusluk has an attractive little harbor with good shelter. There are several good restaurants around the port.
Turgutreis is at the end of the Bodrum Peninsula and yachts can find moorings at the full-service marina, a short drive from town. There are good beaches in Aspat, Akyarlar and Huseyin Feneri
Amazon Creek is a narrow bay lined with pine trees. Nearby is a campsite with a swimming pool and a small supply store.
Bodrum is one of the main yacht charter centers on the Aegean coast of Turkey. Here are the ruins of the original Mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. And one of the most important underwater archeology museums in the world is located in the Castillo de San Pedro, a crusader fortress. The beaches in Bodrum city are small and crowded, and the water isn’t particularly clean either. There are better beaches along the Bodrum peninsula. Bodrum is known for its nightlife with many noisy discos and clubs until the wee hours of the morning. You can take a ferry from here and visit the Greek islands of Kos and Rhodes.
The port of Datca is divided into two halves by a narrow causeway that connects a small island with the mainland. In the summer months, the port gets crowded and it can be difficult to find a place to dock. The city is good for provisioning and has many restaurants to choose from. Nearby are hot and very spicy sulfur springs.
Orhaniye is located at the eastern end of the Gulf of Hisaronu. A modern marina is located about 1.5 miles from the relatively unspoilt town of Orhaniye.
Ekincik can be identified by the light tower on its western promontory. For a day trip, hop on the local boats for a guided tour of the Dalyan River. Be on the lookout for loggerhead turtles that can be seen on the long sandy beach at the mouth of the river. The beach is one of only two Mediterranean hatcheries of this species. The first stop is usually in the caves outside Ekincik. Once you enter the river mouth, travel upstream through reeds and marshes before reaching the impressive ruins of the ancient Caunos. These include Roman baths, amphitheater, library, temple, and a medieval fortress. Continuing upstream to the village of Dalyan, you will pass the Lycian rock tombs set high on the cliff face, and finally reach the Koycegiz Golu lake.
Marmaris is possibly the main place for sailing on the Aegean coast. It has a full service marina or yachts can try to dock in the busy harbor. Take a walk through the walled streets of the old town. Ferries sail to and from the Greek island of Rhodes several times a day during the summer months. It is in the natural harbor of Marmaris where Nelson prepared his fleet in 1798 before the Battle of Abukir that saw the English triumph over the French. There is a museum in his little castle.
Make a stop at Kumlu Buku and explore the ancient ruins of Amos in the northern hills. The hard climb will be rewarded with a beautiful view.
Ciftlik sits in a nice bay and is a good place for basic supplies.
Gocek is located in a wooded bay at the northern tip of Skopea Liman. It is protected from all except the strongest winds from the south and southwest. Skopea Marina is located in the city of Gocek and a second facility; Club Marina is located across the water. There is a regular ferry service between Club Marina and Skopea Marina. Club Marina is located between gardens and pine trees; Facilities include bars, restaurants and playgrounds for children. Gocek offers good shopping and many of the town’s shops are delivered on the ship. The restaurants offer a good selection of local cuisine.
Fethiye sits on a wide Mediterranean bay with some of Turkey’s best beaches close at hand. The Çalis and Ölüdeniz beaches are within a few kilometers. The bay itself is excellent for sailing. On the approach to Fethiye, go through the fairway west of Fethiye Adasi. From here it is possible to see the prominent rock tombs visible on the cliffs above the city. A good day trip inland is a visit to Saklikent Gorge, high in the mountains above Fethiye. For thousands of years, torrents of water have carved a narrow channel through the mountains. This gorge is 300 meters deep and 10 miles long. Because the walls of Saklikent Gorge are so high they cut off most of the sunlight and it is a lovely retreat on hot summer days. Have a picnic or visit one of the rustic restaurants that jut out from the river and sample delicious fresh trout. In the summer months there is a ferry service from Fethiye to the Greek island of Rhodes.
Gemile Island, in Fethiye Bay, has many Byzantine ruins.
Sail south and pass the Siete Cabos. The gusts from the top of these capes can be very strong and yachts are advised to stay about two miles offshore when passing.
Kalkan is a peaceful and charming anchorage. This city is attractive and a good base for exploring the ruins of Letoon, Patara and Xanthos.
Kekova Roads is the water channel that runs between the island of Kekova and the mainland. The trails are 6 miles long and offer many attractive anchorages and interesting ruins to explore.