Before we arrived at Turkey’s Turquoise Coast the region was a bit of a mystery. The pictures we had seen looked idyllic but we knew little about the places we might visit. Nominally we had a choice of where we would go as we had chartered a gulet. We could decide our direction of travel; we could choose where we stopped. But it is hard to make a selection with limited information. So without so much as a heated agreement, we agreed to take the southern route from Fethiye towards Kekova. . This route was a safe bet; it mirrored a standard-package cabin-charter itinerary for a cruise offered by V-Go our rental agency.
After a hectic and trying journey we finally reached our boat, the Mavi Boncuk at it’s mooring in Fethiye in the evening. Following a brief discussion with the captain, the gulet’s ropes were stowed and we headed out of the harbor. The three of us were scattered amongst the boat’s eight cabins. Our charter arrangement had an advantage—we had the Mavi Boncuk to ourselves. The three of us were living in a space that could hold sixteen.
Soon after departing Fethiye the Mavi Boncuk reached a small sheltered cove where we anchored for the evening. Our daily pattern began with dinner. Each day we’d receive three fresh cooked Turkish-style meals and an afternoon tea. (The food was included in the charter price but the drinks were not, a quirky arrangement used to make the price the boat hire more tempting.) The food on the boat was surprisingly appealing. Each meal had a collection of vegetarian mezes, typically accompanied by a protein, and always served with tomatoes and cucumbers. It was a healthy and refreshing diet, something we usually don’t find while traveling.
During the day we cruised along the coast stopping to see the historic ruins, walk the quaint small towns, swim in quiet blue water coves, and of course eat. Though we can’t know whether our route choice was best, it certainly was enjoyable. Along the way we learned a little about ancient Lycia.
Lycia, according to the historic records, existed between 1250 and 546 BC (at the least). It was situated in present-day southern Turkey at the crossroads between the Greek and Persian empires. In ancient times it was said that the cities of Lycia are “interesting more for their history than for their monuments, since they have retained none of their former splendor.” Nevertheless many relics of Lycia remain visible today. Numerous outdoor amphitheaters attract modern tourists. Particularly distinctive are the rock-cut tombs in the sides of cliffs and the freestanding stone mausoleums. The final resting places for ancient Lycia’s dead are a major attraction today.
This region of Turkey is known as the Turquoise Coast, a name derived from the color of the water. Indeed, the impossibly clear blue-green waters along the coast are spectacular; it is worth the trip just to experience the color of the seawater.
The Turquoise Coast has a wonderful combination of beautiful scenery and rich history. Visiting by gulet is slow paced, sun-drenched, and relaxing. It is a vacation from traveling for travelers.