Turkey flotilla holidays – an introduction
Turkey flotilla holidays are for those who dream of sailing in to a bay with nothing more than a single restaurant and a wooden jetty. There’s great sailing on offer with a wind pattern that gives you some control over the strengths you’ll experience.
Sailing between the one restaurant bays, you’ll call somewhere a little bigger every few days. But essentially it’s back to basics, with simple and wholesome food, great sailing and the chance to meet some of the most hospitable people on the planet.
There are Flotillas in Turkey for everyone from beginners to old hands with the chance to mix long and short sails on some routes.
The scenery is dramatic but although it does change a little along the coast, for each person that says the west end is better than the east, someone else will say the reverse. To me it’s all beautiful and apart from the developments near the large resorts of Fethiye, Marmaris and Bodrum, it is remarkably undeveloped, a tribute to tight planning regulation.
The wind pattern is typically light or non existent in the morning, rising in early afternoon, then dropping away, often suddenly, in late afternoon. So if you want an easy day leave early, if you want more excitement, stay out later. Prevailing winds follow the land from west to east.
The sailing conditions vary depending where you are in each area, rather than differing by area. So there is easier and harder sailing in both the Carian and Lycian areas, though even the hardest flotillas are not particularly difficult.
As most of the sailing is coastal, rather than island hopping, some Turkey flotilla holidays start and finish in different places. For those taking flight inclusive packages, the start and finish points are of little matter as transfers are included. Most flotillas use flights in to Dalaman, though some are within reach of Bodrum airport too.
Carian flotillas offer contrasting scenery, from the lush greens of the Gokova Gulf to the more arid southern area. The area is bounded by two large resorts in Bodrum and Marmaris, but most stops are one restaurant bays or villages, with just a couple of towns in the area for provisioning.
There are beaches ranging from sand to pebble, a significant archaeological site at Knidos and plenty of traditional cultural attractions such as carpet making and boat building.
There are a good number of flotillas covering this area. The Flotilla routes on offer varying from week to week so you may need some flexibility with your travel dates if you’ve a particular itinerary in mind. The area can be divided in to three:
- The Gokova Gulf, the area south of the Bodrum Peninsula and north of the next large peninsula, the Datca Peninsula
- The Hisaronu Gulf, south of the Datca Pensinsula and stretch up to Orhaniye
- The south coast, running east to Marmaris
Most flotillas take in at least two of these areas. Many start from Orhaniye, giving a few days in the sheltered Hisaronu before heading either for the south coast or west towards the end of the Datca Peninsula. A few then head around the end of this Peninsula in to the Gokova Gulf.
There are also one way flotillas running to/from English Harbour, Marmaris and Fethiye.
Most of the sailing is easy. Around the peninsula headlands seas can be a little confused but you’ll soon be through. Heading to the west you’ll quite often find winds on the nose, so I generally rate flotillas with more westward sailing as moderate, the rest as easy.
Whichever route you pick I’m sure you’ll be happy. I was once thanked by a guest for taking them to such nice places but in truth it’s hard not to.
The Lycian flotillas are centred around Gocek Bay and adjacent Fethiye Bay. This compact sailing area is ideal for newly qualified skippers or less experienced crews.
Gocek Bay is just 8 miles from top to bottom and is lined with coves and inlets, each with their own restaurant, along the west and south sides. It’s only 12 miles from here to the east side of Fethiye Bay with a couple more small bays just a few miles further east towards Olu Deniz.
With so many places to visit in such a small area, each tries hard to come up with a unique attraction. Some are naturally lucky, with an abandoned village near Cold Water Bay, rock tombs at Tomb Bay, and ruins at Tersane, at Gemiler near Karacaoren and opposite Wall Bay. Others lay on traditional barbers or offer a food speciality.
The sailing area is close to Dalaman airport so is popular with those that don’t like the longer transfers to the Carian coast. The only real drawback is with so many places to visit in such a small area, you can feel like you’re sailing backwards and forwards across the bays to generate some mileage.
For this reason, many Flotillas centred around Gocek /Fethiye Bay include a leg or two outside of the bay, often west to Ekincik. From here you can take a pleasant day trip in a small boat up the Dalyan River. However, if you want to feel you’ve really gone somewhere, there are also one way flotillas to/from Marmaris and Orhaniye.
Wherever you chose you can be assured of a warm welcome from the locals for whom nothing is too much trouble. Turkey has got busier in recent years and the number of marinas is on the increase. Do get there as soon as you can, just in case it gets overwhelmed.
You can read more about the different areas in the Sailing in Turkey section.