Lycian coast (west): Yacht charter bases

There are three bases serving the west part of the Lycian coast, Fethiye, Gocek and Marmaris. In fact there are a couple of bases in Marmaris Bay, and several in Gocek. All three are served by Dalaman Airport with Gocek in particular offering very short transfer times (around 25 minutes).

  • Fethiye
    Fethiye: Looking over the bay and town. The town centre is to the right

    Fethiye: Looking over the bay and town. The town centre is to the right

    This popular tourist town is something of a contrast to the many one restaurant bays in the area. As well as the obligatory souvenir shops, you’ll also find local artists and cartoonists who set up their stalls on the front near the town centre. To sooth your aching muscles, there’s also a Turkish bath.

    Culture vultures will find plenty of evidence of the ancient settlement of Telmessos, including tombs cut in to the cliffs overlooking the town and a scattering of other remains around the area.

    Most of the modern town was flattened in an earthquake in 1958 so it isn’t the prettiest of places, though spared the high rise developments common in most countries. However the narrow streets and alleys of the centre are interesting to explore.

    Fethiye: The tomb of Amyntas from the 4th century BC looks out over Fethiye Bay

    Fethiye: The tomb of Amyntas from the 4th century BC looks out over Fethiye Bay

    Fethiye offers all the facilities you would expect including mini markets, bakeries, butchers, banks with ATM’s, chemists, chandlers, a laundry and a post office. There are a number of restaurants to chose from, and snack bars for those in more of a hurry.

    Saklikent: Enjoy the cool airs. There are many tours from Fethiye from April to September

    Saklikent: Enjoy the cool airs. There are many tours from Fethiye from April to September

    There are a number of travel agents offering jeep safaris, car hire and trips to places like the Saklikent Gorge. (Flotilla clients taking the trip to the carpet factory will often visit Saklikent Gorge en route).

    The Gorge is one of the deepest in the world and offers some superb walks as well as more energetic activities such as rafting. There’s also a restaurant serving fresh trout from the adjacent farm.

    So whether you’re looking for something to eat, souvenirs for home or just passing a few hours, there’s plenty to see and do in this pleasing holiday town.

  • Directions to Fethiye

    From Dalaman Airport to Fethiye

    Fethiye is about 45 miles (70km) from Dalaman Airport. From the airport you’ve a couple of ways to reach Fethiye:

    1. By Taxi – the rank is right outside the arrivals hall. Fares are regulated, in theory, but I suggest you agree the fare in advance. There’s a large board near the rank giving the standard fares, or you can check them on the airport website. The current fare (March 2014) is 80 TL, about £23, about the same as the fare to Gocek, though it’s twice the distance.
    2. By Airport Shuttle Bus  – this leaves from the Domestic Terminal; if you’ve come in to the International Terminal, exit the arrivals hall and turn left. It’s about a 200m walk. The buses, run by Havas, are infrequent – only three or four a day. The fare is 10TL. Check the times on www.havas.net. The bus terminates at the main bus station, which is about a mile and a half from Ece Saray Marina so you’ll probably want to get a cab.
    3. By Public Bus – no public services run from the airport, so you’ll have to take a taxi to Dalaman bus station, on the north side of Dalaman town, about 5 miles from the airport. From there you can get bus direct to Fethiye. From fethiye bus station follow the directions above.

    The usual two alternatives are available – you can book a private transfer online, or there are a couple of car hire companies at the airport. Many yacht suppliers can also arrange private transfers.

  • Mooring: Fethiye

    Write up to follow, meantime, here are some pictures:

    Fethiye: Panorama pt 5, the marina, looking towards the entrance

    Fethiye: Panorama pt 5, the marina, looking towards the entrance

    Fethiye: The marina is a short walk from the town centre

    Fethiye: The marina is a short walk from the town centre

  • Gocek

    Once a small village of no importance, Gocek is now a major hub for sailors thanks to it’s proximity to Dalaman airport, 25 minutes drive away.

    It’s still small, but has a good selection of mini markets around the square and along the main street. Restaurants and bars fill the tree lined esplanade, but you can also find banks with ATM’s, a bakery, a butcher, a Post Office, doctors and dental services, and chandlers. There’s even a Turkish Bath in Club Marina.

    Gocek: Port Gocek marina, with the town quay (Belediye Marina) and village behind

    Gocek: Port Gocek marina, with the town quay (Belediye Marina) and village behind

    Of course there are plenty of souvenir shops too, with a number of pricey boutiques amongst the more traditional carpet and jewellery stores.

    Assorted travel agents offer trips in land if you fancy say a jeep safari or white water rafting. Car hire is also available for those that prefer to make their own plans – driving in Turkey isn’t as bad as you might have heard though it pays to drive defensively.

    Gocek has retained its village feel though now offering facilities more akin to a town. Though there aren’t many tourist attractions beyond the shops, its a good place to while away a few hours, and an excellent place to provision up for your trip, of stock up with souvenirs before you return home.

  • Directions to Gocek

    From Dalaman Airport to Gocek

    Most people come to Gocek via Dalaman Airport, about 20 miles (35km) away. From the airport you’ve a couple of ways to reach Marmaris:

    1. By Taxi – the rank is right outside the arrivals hall. Fares are regulated, in theory, but you might want to agree the price before you set off, if only so the driver knows that you know! There’s a large board near the rank giving the standard fares, or you can check them on the airport website. The current fare (March 2014) is 80 TL, about £23.
    2. By Public Bus – no public services run from the airport, so you’ll have to take a taxi to Dalaman bus station, on the north side of Dalaman town, about 5 miles from the airport. From there you can get bus direct to Gocek, though it will usually drop you on the main road, about 15 minutes walk from town. All in all it’s a lot of trouble to save probably less than £10 for a single traveller, even less if there are more of you.

    The usual two alternatives are available – you can book a private transfer online, or there are a couple of car hire companies at the airport. Many yacht suppliers can also arrange private transfers and one or two include them for free with your yacht booking.

  • Mooring: Gocek
    Gocek: Port Gocek marina, with the town quay (Belediye Marina) and village behind

    Gocek: Port Gocek marina, with the town quay (Belediye Marina) and village behind

  • Marmaris
    Marmaris: The Castle, from the days of Suleyman the Magnificent, now houses a small museum

    Marmaris: The Castle, from the days of Suleyman the Magnificent, now houses a small museum

    Marmaris is a popular holiday destination, for both beach holidays and yacht charter. Arriving by sea the view isn’t promising with high rise hotels lining the beach. Fortunately the town centre and the main marina are at the far end so you need not see any more of the “Costa del” style development for the rest of your stay.

    The town focuses around the harbour front which loops around the small castle. The promenade offers a seemingly endless chain of restaurants, all offering pretty much the same fare, but some with drinks cheaper than the supermarkets!

    Behind the front is the large market, looking a little more like a shopping mall since it’s recent renovation but still a fascinating place, whether you’re looking for clothes, leather, jewellery, souvenirs, or fake just about anything (sometimes proudly advertised as such)!

    Marmaris: The harbour, unsually empty and sea front restaurants. The yachts have just left the fuel quay

    Marmaris: The harbour, unsually empty and sea front restaurants. The yachts have just left the fuel quay

    Don’t be afraid of the market. Some traders may try to tempt you with their wares but a polite no thank you works fine; they’re not as aggressive as in many middle eastern markets and you may still be offered a cup of tea.

    If you are buying, don’t be afraid to haggle, even if the traders tell you they don’t do that any more!

    If you’re not sure what you’re buying do be aware that fake jewellery and clothing isn’t usually declared as such and you will see a lot more brand names on display than true brand goods.

    I’m told by those more clued up than me that there are some jewellery bargains to be had but it’s probably not a good place for the unaware to part with large sums of cash.

    Marmaris: Fishing boats seen from the footbridge in to Netsel Marina. Bar Street is off to the left

    Marmaris: Fishing boats seen from the footbridge in to Netsel Marina. Bar Street is off to the left

    Similarly, there is some good clothing – Turkey is a major manufacturer – but I’ve also had guests surprised that their 3 for £5 brand name T shorts dripped colour the first time they got wet!

    Also behind the front is Bar Street. (There’s a street for everything in Marmaris, tyre street, electronics street etc). Depending on your taste, this is either a great place to party or a source of irritation as the music booms out in to the small hours. They do at least provide some good laser displays to light up the night sky.

    There’s not much you can’t get in Marmaris. A hypermarket in the far side of the town centre supplements many smaller mini markets and the many diverse shops offer all you can imagine – you can even buy individual keys for your mobile phone!

    There’s a good hospital, dentists, doctors, bakeries, butchers, fishmongers, banks, ATM’s, money changers, pharmacies, chemists, Tukish baths, even a Burger King (or is it a McDonalds, I avoid the places) and an Indian restaurant.

    Marmaris: The beach gets packed in high season.

    Marmaris: The beach gets packed in high season.

    If you want to eat with the locals, head behind the town.  Most of the offerings are delicious, though as a treat(?) my hosts once took me for a meal of sheep’s brains and testicles which was perhaps not memorable in the way they intended.

    Marmaris is a marmite town – most people love it or hate it, but for my money, it’s well worth putting up with the noise from the bars for all the other things to see and experience. And if all you or the kids want is to relax on a sandy beach, then there’s several miles of the stuff, though you’ll have to share it with a few thousand others.

  • Directions to Marmaris

    From Dalaman Airport to Marmaris

    Most people come to Marmaris via Dalaman Airport, about 65 miles (110km) away. From the airport you’ve a couple of ways to reach Marmaris:

    1. By Taxi – the rank is right outside the arrivals hall. Fares are regulated, in theory, but you might want to agree the price before you set off, if only so the driver knows that you know! There’s a large board near the rank giving the standard fares, or you can check them on the airport website. The current fare (March 2014) is 140 TL, about £40 to Marmaris, a little more if your charter company is at the far side of the bay towards Yalanci Bogaz.
    2. By Airport Shuttle Bus  – this leaves from the Domestic Terminal; if you’ve come in to the International Terminal, exit the arrivals hall and turn left.  It’s about a 200m walk. Services are operated by Havas. Check the times on www.havas.net. The bus terminates at the main bus station, about 15 minutes walk from Netsel marina and it’s all downhill! Go out of the bus station and turn left – it’s obvious.
    3. By Public Bus – no public services run from the airport, so you’ll have to take a taxi to Dalaman bus station, on the north side of Dalaman town, about 5 miles from the airport. From there you can get bus direct to Marmaris though more usually you have to change at the junction where the Marmaris road leaves the main coastal highway. Expect the second vehicle to be a Dolmus, a local minibus service. Bus staff and fellow travellers are very helpful and will tell you where to change. From Marmaris bus station follow the directions above.

    The usual two alternatives are available – you can book a private transfer on line, or there are a couple of car hire companies at the airport.

    Finally, if you’re planning on grabbing refreshments at Dalaman be aware that it’s expensive, even by airport standards (though a little better now the Turkish Lira is on the slide). A coffee, a coke and two small buns set me back over £20 a couple of  years ago!

    From Rhodes to Marmaris

    There’s a ferry service between Rhodes and Marmaris, with two departures a day in high season, dropping to one a day in mid season. In low season it  doesn’t run every day so check first. The port in Marmaris is right next to Netsel Marina, though annoyingly, you have to walk out of the port past the marina to get in (unless the gate in the wall on your left has been left open)!

    You can book online at rhodes.marmarisinfo.com. The current fare (March 2014) is 40€. You can also buy your ticket at the port – I’ve not done the trip for a couple of years but this used to mean queuing at one window to pay the fare, then at another to pay the port tax. Journey time is about an hour with about another hour for faffing about with customs and tickets.

  • Mooring: Marmaris
    Marmaris: You may spot a submarine as you approach Marmaris

    Marmaris: You may spot a submarine as you approach Marmaris

    Marmaris is easy to find with the coastline funnelling you in towards the entrance to the large bay. If you’re coming from the west there are no real hazards. If heading in from the east keep clear of the submerged rock. This should be marked but it has been known for the can to drift off, though it’s often possible to determine it’s location by the cluster of fishing boats often hovering in the vicinity.

    Be aware too of the submarine base and pass outside of the island – although this technically still leaves you in the restricted zone you will not be troubled. I once had a very nervous few moments in this area as what turned out to be a submarine surfaced only about 100m from us.

    As you head through the gap into Marmaris bay, you will usually find the wind dies on you and you’ll probably need a bit of engine.

    Marmaris: Netsel marina entrance, the green roof of the Sports Hall right, the fuel quay centre left with large motor yacht alongside

    Marmaris: Netsel marina entrance, the green roof of the Sports Hall right, the fuel quay centre left with large motor yacht alongside

    There are several yacht moorings in Marmaris Bay, including Netsel Marina, Albatross Marina, and Marmaris Yacht Marina (known as Yacht Marin).  In days of old, it was also possible in low season to squeeze in to the old harbour next to Netsel, but this is now packed with gulets.

    Of the three marinas, only Netsel welcomes visiting charter yachts, and it’s proximity to town makes it the obvious choice for anyone wanting to explore the place. On entering Marmaris Bay, look to the right side of the town where you will see the bright green roof of the Sports Centre.  Aim for this and the marina will become visible immediately in front of the roof.

    If you are returning your charter yacht, head straight to your company’s quay.  If you are just passing through, you can call the marina on VHF channel 06 or 72 for a berth or just head on in and you will be guide to a spot by one of the staff.

    Marmaris: Netsel Marina, a popular charter base

    Marmaris: Netsel Marina, a popular charter base

    Mooring is stern to with mooring lines and due to the narrow nature of the fairways, I strongly suggest you reverse down between the pontoons. You will often be assisted by one of the marina staff pushing your bows with his dinghy which can be a bit of a surprise as they do tend to over do it, turned a nice controlled manoeuvre in to a slightly chaotic affair!

    The mooring lines are often encrusted with wildlife so it’s worth wearing a pair of gloves if you have some. The lines are very short so you may need to tie it off with the yacht a metre or more further from the quay than you want, then reverse against the mooring line to tighten it.

    Water and electricity are available on the pontoons. For fuel, go alongside the quay just left of the marina entrance. Beware of long queues for fuel on Friday afternoon when the many charter yachts return to their base. If you’re finishing your holiday, you may want to get in to the Bay early, fuel up then head out for your final afternoon

    Marmaris: Netsel Marina is a major yacht charter base with sailing boats of all sizes

    Marmaris: Netsel Marina is a major yacht charter base with sailing boats of all sizes

    The marina boasts a swimming pool as well as some of the best toilets and showers on the coast. There is a supermarket at the entrance to the marina. The town is between 5 and 15 minutes walk away, depending on which side of the marina you get berthed. There are restaurants inside the marina but many more along the front just outside.

    The only real drawback is the noise, particularly in high season, which emanates from the many clubs on bar street, just behind the front. Curfews are strictly enforced but are rather late for many people. Personally, it doesn’t bother me much but the only real way to avoid it is to anchor off and if you’re far enough away to avoid the noise, you will then have the issue of how to get in to town.

    There are numerous anchorages available around the bay. Those wanting to avoid the substantial mooring fees in Netsel can anchor just outside the marina in calm conditions. Those wishing to escape the noise will be better further away on the south or south east sides of the bay.