Turkey’s blue and turquoise coast is a glistening stretch of turquoise water, small inlets and hidden ruins. Although you can travel the blue coast on land, the experience is much better by sea. After all, who doesn’t love to be lulled to sleep by the waves?
We booked a cruise from Fethiye –Olympos (you can also book in reverse) on a gullet, or a traditional wooden sailing boat. Between sleeping on board and sailing from beautiful turquoise lagoon to beautiful turquoise lagoon it was a lovely vacation to travel – but it came with plenty of warnings. Like everything on the road, tourist adventures are a little bit of buyer beware. We stocked up on plenty of information before arriving in Fethiye on tour companies, boats, things to look out for and warnings about short-cuts that some operators take. Armed with that information we had an amazing experience along Turkey’s blue coast and so can you. Here’s what we learned:
- Get recommendations from others who have taken cruises recently. Captains and tour operators can change ownership quickly so it’s best to have a recent recommendation.
- Don’t go with the cheapest operator! We learned this the world over, but the cheapest operator often skimps on something- food, water or maybe even a crew that doesn’t speak English! Be prepared to pay a fair price for your cruise, if someone is 50% cheaper, trust us, you’ll know why within the first 24 hours onboard.
- Ask about what is included, and get it in writing. Many Turkish blue cruise prices do not include alcohol – if this is important to you do some quick calculations before you get on board.
Like anything in tourism, going in with the right information can make the difference between having an amazing, once in the lifetime experience and an experience that could have been better. Although many tour operators will sell Turkey blue coast cruises from Istanbul, it is best to wait until you are at the coast to book your tour (if you can wait!) as you’ll be able to check out the outfitter and ask questions yourself.
IF YOU GO: Turkey’s blue coast is incredibly popular with tourists, but that doesn’t mean it is overcrowded. We found that the beaches and lagoons were not crowded with boats, most of the cruise we were the only boat in a harbor. There’s also a beautiful hiking trail, called the Lycian Way that follows the coast to Anatalya if you get a little sea sick. Don’t miss a chance to explore the various Lycian ruins along the coast. From sarcophagi near Fethiye to the ancient city of Olympos and the mythical flames of the chimera, the area is rich with cultural heritage sites that are well worth the visit.