Magical Turkey

Magical Turkey

FAST FACTS:

  • Nationality & Language: Turkish
  • Currency: Turkish Lira (5 ZAR = 1 TRY)
  • When to go: April – September (Summer months)

 

DAY-TO-DAY TIPS:

  • Haggling is expected at market stalls – only say the prices that you are wiling to pay.
  • Make sure taxis turn on their meter at the beginning of a ride for a fair price.
  • Always accept tea and coffee when offered. Leave your cup half full if you don’t want more.

 

DELICACIES TO TRY:

  • Stuffed grape leaves
  • Kebabs
  • Köfte meatballs
  • Lahmacun
  • Baklava
  • Turkish Coffee

 

As the old Turkish saying goes, “A cup of coffee commits one to 40 years of friendship” – and that is precisely how one feels when immersed in this colorful country. Turkey is filled with an exotic and rustic Eastern feel topped off with a healthy dose of European charm.

 

Having spent many months travelling and living along the coast of Turkey, I can safely say that a bittersweet sense of longing and fulfillment are what one feels when saying goodbye to this colourful country. This land is colourful in many senses: not only is its landscape rich in beauty and colour, but so is its incredibly fabled heritage, its bountiful markets and its character-filled people.

 

This is without a doubt, one of my favourite sailing holiday destinations for many reasons. Firstly, it has more coastline than any other Mediterranean country, which means there are more beaches and hidden bays to explore.  Secondly, its warm waters are an immaculate turquoise and it is dotted with some of the most pristine beaches imaginable – you may even come across a few hidden waterfalls along your way. Thirdly, the scuba diving and snorkeling here is among the absolute best in the Mediterranean. Not only that, but you can take your pick with regards to the type of yacht you are looking for: Monohull, catamaran or gulet of varying sizes and prices – you name it, its there.

 

Most yacht charters begin in Bodrum, Marmaris, or Gocek and from there you can explore the coast from either side.  Passages between anchorages are generally short, meaning you will have plenty of time to relax and time in the scenery. Just a few of the many highlights include:

 

Gocek: This quaint little town has a great range of busy cafes and restaurants with lots going on. It is the ideal place to get your provisions before your charter. In the evening, sit back, relax and enjoy a cocktail on the waterside at the beginning of your charter and get into the holiday mood.

 

Fethiye: This town, which is Turkey’s oldest resort, is a great combination of ancient heritage with a modern twist. You will be able to explore the old ruins, before stopping in at the lively market, where you will definitely find a treasure or two. Be sure to head to the central market where the fresh fish and meat stalls are. There are also plenty of live music bars along the old bazaar.

 

Butterfly Valley: Be sure to stop off at Butterfly Valley, which has its name due to the large number of butterfly and flora species found there. This tiny barely noticeable valley, sheltered by steep cliffs, is hidden around the corner from Fethiye and is only accessible by boat. There is also a short walk that takes you to a refreshingly cold waterfall hidden in the deepest part of the valley. The best time is in the late afternoon or evening to avoid other visitors and to properly take in the serenity and sunset (it is also really romantic in the evening).

 

Oludeniz: This is a MUST. Just 15 km south of Fethiye, this incredible sheltered lagoon sits right beside a lush natural park, which is sealed off with a long string of sandy beach. You will definitely recognize this beach from numerous photos. This is also a the perfect destination for those daring enough to try a tandem paraglide.

 

Whilst your days will be packed with sailing, swimming, snorkeling, exploring and sun bathing in these stunning places, your evenings will be equally magical.

 

Take a stroll down the bustling streets and mosey around the festive markets, boasting everything from vibrant kilims (flat weave rugs), to fresh produce and just-caught seafood. This country is overflowing with aromatic fragrances, with kebab stalls dotting the towns. Enjoy a kebab with an ice cold Efes beer and finish off your meal with a sticky sweet baklava. Don’t forget that eating in Turkey is known as deepening your understanding of the country. So don’t hold back!

 

This month, Turkey is at the top of our Rand-friendly ‘to-visit’ list! Why? Well, not only has it been severely dominated by Croatia as a sailing holiday destination this year, meaning that there is still ample supply of yachts and gulets and prices are still considerably cheaper, but with the Rand not being in our good books at the moment, the 5 ZAR to 1 Turkish Lira exchange rate is much more comforting prospect (especially compared to the 18 ZAR to 1 EUR) when it comes to taking a trip abroad.

 

Although you will spend a fair bit on your charter of the yacht, you can save by taking care in choosing your extras and doing your food shopping yourself (on the Lira) at the local supermarkets and fresh-produce markets, instead of pre-arranging it through your supplier (on the Euro or Dollar).  Not only that, but flights are a bargain at the moment, with flights departing from Johannesburg to Istanbul starting at R7,000 return for July 2016.

 

For more information on chartering in this incredible country, get in touch with us at tori@yachtcharteroptions.co.za or come visit our office at the Marina Centre in the V&A Waterfront.