Sailing the Lycian Coast (West)

The Lycian Coast runs from Marmaris to Antalya, but the most popular sailing area the the western part, running from Marmaris to Olu Deniz, just past Gocek and Fethiye Bays

Gemiler: Gulets anchored between the island and the mainland

Gemiler: Gulets anchored between the island and the mainland

Apart from the large holiday resorts of Marmaris and Fethiye, most habitation is on a similar scale to the Carian Coast, with many “one restaurant” bays containing nothing other than a quay to tie to and somewhere to eat.  The scenery is a little greener, though still with many cliffs.

This coast includes Turkey’s main “beginners area”; Gocek Bay.  The bay is only 8 miles from top to bottom and contains a number of anchorages and restaurants with jetties to head for if the winds get too much.  Indeed for the more experienced, the problem is devising a route that builds in sufficient sailing whilst not missing out the many great stops! The wider Fethiye Bay region (of which Gocek Bay forms a part) is only a little less sheltered though Fethiye aside, is also remarkable undeveloped.

Oludeniz: The beach, lagoon and anchorage. Yachts cannot enter the lagoon.

Oludeniz: The beach, lagoon and anchorage. Yachts cannot enter the lagoon.

For those wanting more miles, the sail from Gocek to Marmaris requires some longer trips with limited stopping off points en route and the chance of a few more waves, especially if heading westwards, in to the prevailing winds, but it’s not hard sailing. Those breaking the trip at Ekincik can take a day off and head up the Dalyan River.  You’ll have to use one of the many trip boats as it’s too shallow for yachts but the chance to swim off Turtle Beach, famed breeding ground of the loggerhead turtle, sample a mud bath, and see the pretty town of Dalyan with it’s ancient tombs makes for an interesting diversion.

There are three places to pick up a yacht, the main bases being Marmaris or Gocek with a few yachts also available from Fethiye.  Marmaris and Fethiye are both popular tourist towns with plenty to see and do, especially if you’re looking for shopping opportunities or nightlife.

Fethiye: The sea front by night

Fethiye: The sea front by night

Gocek is a smaller town but has become a major hang out for many private yachts, large and small, thanks to its proximity to Dalaman airport which is about 25 minutes drive away.  It now boasts several marinas and with the exception of Club Marina which is served by a ferry boat from the town, (which can stop annoyingly early in the evening) all the marinas are within walking distance of the town.

All the above bases are best reached via Dalaman Airport served by a number of charter and low cost airline offering flights from a wide range of  UK departure points. Transfers to Fethiye take around an hour with Marmaris about 1.5-2 hours

Cleopatra's Bay: The ruins of Cleopatra's Bath House, a popular anchorage for gulets

Cleopatra’s Bay: The ruins of Cleopatra’s Bath House, a popular anchorage for gulets

Those chartering a Bareboat or taking a skippered charter have a huge range of yachts to chose from with a number of caompies offering one way charters.  There are also a number of Flotillas in the area with departures from all three bases. Some of these offer one way trips, for example starting in Marmaris and finishing in Gocek.

Those wanting a learn to sail course have a choice or RYA sailing schools in Marmaris and Gocek. Cabin charter is also possible though these generally run on demand rather than to a fixed programme.

With many of the small bays in the area having limited or no mains water or electricity supplies, those who like their creature comforts ashore may wish to look elsewhere.  But if you like to get to places that other tourists would struggle to reach and like a bit of variety in your sailing conditions, the western Lycian is a great place to experience the warm welcome that Turkey offers.

More details on the Lycian Coast, including write ups on lots of possible stops and some suggested routes, will be coming soon. Meantime, to get a feel of the area, take a look at the pictures on this page: Lycian Coast West: Gallery