Or why go to Turkey’s main yacht city — Bodrum
If you have never thought of Turkey as a possible yachting destination, I have already talked about why it is worth doing it.
If the Turkish coast has been calling you for a long time, and you do not know where to start, start in Bodrum! Today, I will tell you about this wonderful town on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and I hope you will love it as I did five years ago, when I first tried yachting in Turkey.
Bodrum and Marmaris compete for the status of the main yachting center in Turkey. But for me, there is not even a question about which one to choose. Bodrum, of course! The fact is that Marmaris, although it has long been a favorite spot for yachtsmen from all over the world, is in itself an unremarkable town. There are many hotels, restaurants, and discos, typical tourist flavor: crowded and noisy.
Bodrum is different! The Turks have a famous song: «Bodrum, Bodrum! I need a little sea, a little peace! », And the name of this city is usually pronounced like that — with a dreamy breath. And there are reasons for that — Bodrum combines the charm of cozy historical buildings (white walls, blue shutters, narrow streets, greenery, and begonias on every window) with a dynamic vibe of super-modern and expensive restaurants. During the summer season, Bodrum is a place where all the Turkish elite and expats come. This is the most fashionable and, of course, the most expensive place on the Mediterranean coast, surprisingly, nevertheless, it retains its soulfulness and intimacy. In general, if for you Turkey used to be limited only to Antalya or Istanbul, here you will see its completely different side.
How to get there?
The two main airports in the region are Milas and Dalaman. Milas is closer to Bodrum, they are separated by only 60 kilometers and an hour’s drive. Dalaman is more convenient for trips to Marmaris and Fethiye. But sometimes people go to Bodrum from there.
There are no direct flights between Russia and Milas or Dalaman, so you need to fly to Istanbul, and then change to local airlines. The flight takes an hour.
In both Milas and Dalaman, there are many regular buses (Havaş) and private transfers to key yacht locations.
Which marina to choose in Bodrum?
If you want to start your yachting trip from Bodrum, I recommend paying attention to two: the Milta Marina right in the center of the city and the huge D-Marine Turgutreis a little further outside the city.
The advantages of the first are obvious: it is a rather large (450 places) marina in the very center of Bodrum. Here, you can quickly solve all yachting issues and stay in the center of city life.
But Turgutreis is a whole separate town near Bodrum, entirely dedicated to yachting. There are a lot of hotels, restaurants, several shopping centers, luxury brand shops, markets, and duty-free shops (many people go to Greece from here). And, of course, all the infrastructure for yachting.
There is a direct connection between Milas airport and Turgutreis: this marina is very popular. But even if you plan to start your journey here, I sincerely advise you to stay for a day in Bodrum — take a walk in the center, drink raki with meze in a traditional meykhana, and hang out in a trendy bar or club in the evening. And in the morning, go to Turgutreis.
How not to get confused with the islands?
The result of the complex geopolitical relations between Turkey and Greece was, among other things, the fact that almost all of the islands very close to the Turkish coast in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, are Greek. Slightly lower, opposite Izmir, there is Chios, opposite Kusadasi — Samos, opposite Bodrum — Kos. Near Kos, there are lots of smaller islands — for example, Kalymnos and Leros. Further to the East, right next to the Datca Peninsula, the little Symi is located — the most insidious of the Greek islands, because it is so close to Turkish soil that it is often mistaken for Turkish territory.
If you have a Schengen visa, then this is not a problem — you can maneuver between the Greek islands and the Turkish coast. But if there is no Schengen visa, then you will either have to get a special island visa to Greece on the spot (it costs 80 euros, it is done immediately, but has very limited functionality), or sail only along the coast of Turkey, not too far away from it.
Possible routes starting from Bodrum
In general, Bodrum is a gateway to the very picturesque Gulf of Gökova, which cuts into the land 45 miles to the east. This is one of the most beautiful locations in Turkey — turquoise water, pine forests on the shore, quiet coves with white beaches ... If you do not want to make long transitions, then, based in Bodrum, you can enjoy all the bays and islands of the bay (including the small island of Sedir, known as the «Island of Cleopatra» — it is believed that the Egyptian queen and Mark Antony dated here).
If you do not have a Schengen visa or just want to explore the Turkish coast, then the optimal route is from Bodrum to the Datca peninsula, from there — to Marmaris, and then back. In detail, it looks like this:
Bodrum — Knidos — Bozukkale — Marmaris — Chiftlik — Bozburun — Palamut — Bodrum. I will write about it separately in another article.
You can sail the opposite direction from Bodrum and go to explore the western coast of Turkey along the Aegean Sea. This route is ideal for those who, in addition to nature, are fond of ancient history and want to see many ancient cities — the famous Ionian cities of Asia Minor are one after another along this coast. By the way, Bodrum itself is nothing more than the ancient Halicarnassus, the one that had a key role in the Greek-Persian wars, and known for its Mausoleum, which was one of the wonders of the world. In addition to Bodrum, the possible stops could be Didim (from here you can visit the famous Temple of Apollo, as well as the ruins of the cities of Miletus and Priene), Kusadasi (from here it is easy to get to Ephesus), Izmir and its surroundings (Olympos, for example). And then you can sail back, and see the Greek islands.
The Greek islands are the third route option if you have a visa. From Bodrum it is only half an hour to the island of Kos, where you can spend the whole day, next to it, there are the little islands of Kalymnos and Leros, where you can enjoy the charm of the Greek wilderness, further, there is the birthplace of the philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras — Samos and, finally, Chios, famous for its heroic history and vineyards. You can go further west, to islands such as Mykonos and Santorini, but then it will be strange to start the route in Bodrum.
In general, Bodrum is a beautiful city with its own atmosphere, mixed from the historical flair of the antiquity, the intimate atmosphere of a Mediterranean cozy town, and the energy of the modern world. The perfect starting point for a yachting adventure and more.