The Turquoise coast of Turkey is nothing but admirable, scenic and of stunning beauty that will impress even the most hard core cynics of the country. Known as the long, jugged coastline that stretches between the rustic peninsula of Datca and the cosmopolitan region of Antalya, it also belongs to the Turkish Riviera that does not receive as much fame as its counterpart of France but is equally important, for it is the centre of a multi-millionaire industry of sailing enthusiasts and Blue voyage cruises. Its amazing backdrop is the Baba, Akdağ and Bey mountains; in ancient times it was known as Lycia, the region was home to craftsmen who left behind their work as shown by the distinctive rock tombs that are dotted throughout the landscape. The Turquoise coast has seen much development over the years nevertheless, many of its pretty coves and islets remain inaccessible to cars and therefore Yachting and Gulet trips are immensely popular and are a wonderful way of seeing this coast at its best. Despite this area been very popular with tourists and holiday home buyers construction in the area is minimal and there is a special protection for all of the archaeological sites and the wildlife here, thus most of this area has retained its natural charm and is unspoilt.
Blue Voyage Cruise of the Turquoise Coast
1n 1925, Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı, a Turkish writer was exiled to the coastal resort of Bodrum for an unethical style of writing towards politics and issues of the day. Distraught at first, his exile turned into a blessing of disguise as he set to work exploring the coastline by hiring small fishing boats. Nearly 50 years later, his explorations had been documented and his name was famous throughout Turkey for introducing the concept of the Turkish Riviera and Blue Voyage sailing routes. The sailing routes visited small unknown villages of which some at that time were inaccessible by road. Also highlighted were historical sites and sandy beaches as well as water activities like scuba diving. These days, one of the most popular Blue voyage routes is the four-day cruise from Fethiye to Olympos. Passengers board a traditional Gulet boat that is crafted by hand by craftsmen in small resorts like Bozburun. From there, life is pretty much about sailing, swimming, dinner on board and nights of sleeping under the stars.
Prominent Places of the Turquoise Coast
At the far west of the coast is Dalyan it is an attractive small unspoilt resort that’s also noted for its languid river, sandy beach, its sea-turtle nesting ground and the magnificent ruins of Kaunos are located east of here. Gocek is known as a yachter’s mecca located on the tip of the bay with plenty of secluded coves and small islands which are covered with pine forests.
The broad and diverse centre of Fethiye has a knack of attracting all types of holiday-makers and expats. From the budget backpackers who drift there for a four day shared cabin cruise of the Turquoise coast, to the luxury holidaymakers who prefer the five-star hotels and private yacht rentals. Fethiye is the Turquoise Coast’s oldest resort and largest town; along with Ölüdeniz lagoon. Calis is a middle market resort and attracts mainly British clientele, who like the vibes and atmosphere of their home country that restaurants, bars and hotels have provided in order to attract more holidaymakers. This is a perfect area to explore the majestic sited Lycian ruins such as Oenoanda, Kadyanda and Tlos, in spectacular mountainous locations.
The region has established a firm reputation as a centre of excellence for sailing in Turkey, but it has boasted of many other attributes including its close distance to significant historical landmarks and its natural beauty landscapes like Saklikent Gorge. Patara is one of Turkey’s most beautiful beaches and from this area, you can visit cultural locations such as the nearby Letoön sanctuary, Pınara, Sidyma and Xanthos ensuring you get both a beach holiday and plenty of sightseeing thrown in.
Although smaller than Fethiye, the upmarket resorts of Kalkan and Kas are much admired and respected from many nationalities. Despite being popular tourist hubs, their village appearance and ambiance is particularly appealing and it is highly commended by many for its hassle-free attitude towards holidaymakers, a concept that has earned other touristic places in Turkey, a bad name. Locals and expats enjoy a variety of attributes including the daytime ferry to the Greek island of Meis, scuba diving, paragliding and simply pure, Mediterranean cuisine at its best including fresh fish and seafood delicacies. The restaurants here are classy and the beautiful people visit this area of Turkey preferring a quiet area to relax and enjoy their days in the sun.
Further on from the yacht-harbour town of Finike, east of Demre, the landscape becomes more dramatic as you enter pine forests on the slopes of Tahtalı Dağ which is a delightful national park, before passing ancient Olympos. More excellent beaches are found at Adrasan and ancient Phaselis. Thereafter you are approaching cosmopolitan Antalya and all that this large sprawling city has to offer. This fabulous city is a haven for sun-loving tourists and is ranked within the top world most visited cities by tourists and holidaymakers. It boasts the title of being Turkey’s largest international sea resort. Its impressive coastline which is no less than 657 km (408 miles) with sun-kissed beaches, ports and historic ancient cities is a firm favourite with international and local visitors. With over 300 days of sunshine and hot dry summers with temperatures averaging 34°C in the peak season plus mild cool winters make tourists flock there for their holidays. There is the ultimate in shopping with trendy, designer boutiques, leather goods and exquisite jewellery on offer. Historical sites galore, museums, art and culture, festivals and events, and mouth-watering traditional Turkish cuisine to international favourites ensures Antalya is on everyone’s radar to visit.
This region has not only established itself in terms of tourism and expat living but also as a major centre of business and transport, but the smaller surrounding resorts are preferred for their beaches, laidback village style of life and specific themes such as Belek, that has become the golfing mecca of Turkey with Championship golf courses in abundance. Belek is the hot spot for avid golfers who own holiday homes here and retired expats who love to spend their days on the numerous courses.
This coast is best served by Dalaman airport; it’s a busy airport with direct international flights most of the year, as well as domestic flights. The further south-east you head to you need to use Antalya international airport if any of these airports don’t operate all year round direct flights you can easily fly into Istanbul and fly into Dalaman or Antalya from there. Antalya airport was previously named the best in Europe and annually it serves more than 25 million people and the airport is a mere 13 km from the city centre.
The Turquoise coast is indeed one of the most beautiful in the world, from Fethiye you can catch the ferry across to visit the Greek Island of Rhodes and from Kas you can visit Kastellorizo (known as Meis in Turkish). Each resort along this coastline has something for everyone from laid back and peaceful settings to more vibrant which is ideal for the younger holidaymaker. Families, friends and couples will love to explore this coastline for perfect beaches and sightseeing one of the many attractions here.