Sailing the Ionian Coast (Turkey)

The Ionian Coast runs from Izmir to the Bodrum peninsula. A glance at the map suggests it would be an attractive and popular cruising ground, with the impressive ruins of Ephesus, near Kusadasi at it’s centre and the Greek island of Samos a stones throw away.

In fact, the northern half of the area attracts very few charterers. The main bases for the area are at Port Alacati and Teos, both south of Cesme. North of Cesme, Izmir is a commercial port of little atttraction to tourists, and the bays to the south down to Kusadasi are often occupied by fish farms.. This is a shame as there are some pretty spots.

So most people stick to the more manifold attractions of the southern part; the Gulf of Gulluck, south of Altinkum (Didim), or head in to the Dodecanese. Around the Bodrum area, there is more development than along the Carian and Lycian coasts, with many hillsides dotted with white painted low rise holiday accommodation. However, the development has been tastefully managed and does mean you get more facilities ashore, rather than the one restaurant bays that predominate elsewhere on the Turkish coast.

The Gulf of Gulluck is much less developed and better suited to those that want to get away from the crowds. There are some tourist towns but also a number of small fishing villages. The scenery isn’t always as dramatic as the Carian and Lycian areas with some more low lying areas but it isn’t by any means flat in the Norfolk sense; there are still plenty of pine clad slopes. It’s also probably the quietest of the main Turkish sailing areas.

For those wanting to explore the northern parts around Kusuadasi, the nearest airport for the northern bases is Izmir. Those preferring to focus on the Gulf of Gulluck and the Bodrum peninsula, will find a far greater choice of yachts from Bodrum.

Although you’ll see many suppliers offering yachts from Bodrum, there are in fact three marinas. Bodrum Milta Marina is in the main town, within sight of the castle, though a little walk from the town centre. Turgutreis Marina is on the west end of the peninsula, about 12 miles from Bodrum itself, though as a resort town you will find plenty of facilities and no need to make the journey into Bodrum unless you particularly want to. Yalikavak Marina is on the north side of the pensinsula, a similar distance from Bodrum town and is another resort town.

For all three marinas, the nearest airport is Bodrum. There is no particular advantage of one marina over another regarding travel times to Bodrum airport which is sited about 25 miles out of Bodrum town. There are Saturday flights from Glasgow, Manchester, Gatwick and Stansted, with other departure airports operating on other days.

As well as lots of yachts for bareboat and skippered charter, there are several flotillas operating in the area. Those seeking RYA courses will need to head for Gocek or Marmaris on the Lycian Coast. Those seeking yacht based cabin charter should also head for Marmaris.

More details on Turkey’s Ionian Coast, including write ups on lots of possible stops and some suggested routes, will be coming in due course. Meantime, to get a feel of the area, take a look at the pictures on this page: Ionian Coast (Turkey): Gallery