My latest adventure took me to the beautiful bays, quaint towns and picturesque beaches of Turkey.
Heading off on a week-long sailing tour with MedSailors, I knew I was in for a treat. The 20-35 year old sailing tours are right up my alley, with exciting stops and incredible experiences the whole way.
Here is a journal of my first ever sailing week with MedSailors Turkey…
Day One: Fethiye
Awaking in the charming and modern seaside town of Fethiye, I must admit it felt surreal that a country riddled with political turmoil seemed so at peace and utterly serene. The bustling central bazaar, the harbour full of swaying sail boats and the burning sun in the bright blue sky- I instantly felt safe and at ease. With check-in at 3pm, I had ample time to stroll around the market and get my bearings.
Following the main promenade along the foreshore, you will easily find the bazaar, supermarkets, cafes and restaurants, but be sure to also pick up a locally made Turkish towel for your sail week!
It was then time to check into my MedSailors boat for the week and meet my fellow sailors. Docked at the ECE Marina, I was thrilled to find out I was boarding a premium catamaran! I would highly recommend opting for the catamaran option if you suffer sea-sickness, or hate confined spaces. All of the yachts are top notch, but having the extra space and our own bathrooms, toilets and two lounging areas was a huge plus.
I was introduced to my awesome skipper, Sergei, who was by far one of the most knowledgeable sailors I have ever met, along with my insanely hilarious, funny and beautiful fellow six travellers. I knew right away that the next week would be a blast. We set sail a few hours later en route to our first rustic stop, Turtle Bay.
Cruising into the crystal clear waters, with the sun setting over the horizon was simply surreal- but what topped off the day was the small cliff side taverna that we ate, played ping pong, drank and danced the night away.
My top tips pre-sail:
– Make sure you get there at least a day earlier, and stay a day after too.
– Opt to stay next to the ECE marina.
– Buy yourself a cute Turkish towel before boarding.
– MedSailors allows you to BYO on board, so get duty free alcohol as alcohol can be very expensive in Turkey!
– If you have any allergies, pick up some food before your trip.
– Get yourself a medium level SPF, so around level 15/20.
– Buy some fun inflatables pool toys for some extra fun morning swims.
Day Two: Fethiye to Kaş
Waking up with the hope of seeing turtles, we pulled out the paddle boards and washed away our hangovers with a quick dip and yummy breakfast, before setting off on the biggest leg of the trip, to the southern-most point of our sail, Kaş.
The smell of the ocean, the salty hair and the banter on board was the perfect way to wind down until pulling into the adorable little marina of Kaş.
Kaş is an incredible little town full of narrow cobbled streets, pretty boutiques and funky rooftop bars, so be sure to head in for dinner and find somewhere to settle in for a few drinks or a decent meal.
Tips for Kaş:
– Head to the Queen Rooftop Terrace bar for some beautiful marina and town views.
– For a special dinner try the Hideaway Cafe.
– Take your seasickness tablets BEFORE you leave each day, especially on the long hauls.
Day Three: Kalkan and Saklikent Gorge
After our morning swim, we took the short route to Kalkan for a day of hiking, waterfall chasing and rapid tubing.
The hike was something extra special, for only about $30 each, we were transported to the gorge, where we trekked through icy rapids, over rocky outcrops and stumbled our way through the passage. 100% must do for all adventurous types!
Next up, we made our way to the epic Patara Beach, an 18km stretch of fine white sand to watch the burning sunset. Good friends, beautiful sights and a day that went down in history.
Kalkan also was my favourite village stop, with beautiful boutiques, cafes and restaurants dotted all over the town. Flowers and lanterns cover every shop front, it really is magical.
Tips for Kalkan:
– Make sure you do the half day trip to Saklikent Gorge
– Patara Beach is a must-do.
– Try not to be too hungover for this day!
– Make sure your camera is fully charged and bring a portable charger.
Day Four: Kalkan to Coldwater Bay
After a much deserved sleep in, we sailed to the incredible Butterfly Valley for a paddleboard stopover and swim, while soaking up sunshine and the clear blue water below.
Today was the perfect day to just chill, absorb the incredible coastal views and learn some sailing skills. The best part? We saw turtles!
Docking in the picturesque and aptly named Coldwater Bay, which has natural cold water springs running below surface, we ate and yarned the night away on a beautiful taverna, overlooking the whole bay.
Day Five: Gocek
Waking up to another fresh dip, we once again heading through the turquoise waters in search of our next adventure. Passing through the Skopea Limani Bays, we stopped at the eerie Gemiler Island, dotted with the ruins of an ancient village. We rambled up the steep terrain to the summit, which was simply incredible.
Heading into our final town stop for the week, we cracked open a few beers, pumped up the music and celebrated being young and free.
Arriving in Gocek, our northern-most point of the week, we ate till we could no longer at the famous Kebab Hospital, followed by some delicious cocktails and pool at a local bar.
Tips for Gocek:
– eat at the Kebab Hospital for delicious local food
– Check out the towns waterfront restaurants
– Opt to go paragliding if the weather permits!
Day Six: Gocek to 22 Fathom Cove
Our final full day of sailing was simply magical. The bays and incredibly clear water that we passed through were something I will never forget. After almost a week out to sea, it was one of those days that everything just feels right. You have your sea legs, you have new friends and the true appreciation for the beautiful coastline if adamant.
After a few stops, including a snorkel stop featuring underwater ruins (magical!) we drifted into the secluded 22 Fathom Cove, our final pit stop before heading back to Fethiye. The appropriately named ‘Amigos’ restaurant is the sole resident on the island, with some of the best customer service and food we had the whole trip. Our final night was spent laughing, drinking and fare-welling a fantastic week.
Tips for Fathom Cove:
– make sure you bring an underwater camera for the ruins
– hike up to the top of the hill behind the restaurant for my favourite view in the whole trip!
– if it is on the menu, get the wild bore!
Day Seven: Fethiye
Our final day!
Making our way back to my favourite town, we travelled through the sea with the sails billowing and a fresh outlook on this incredible country. Upon docking (around 3pm), the girls and I decided it was the perfect chance to take a Hamman Bath (authentic Turkish spa experience), before saying goodbye to our new friends. With the tour ending here, it is completely up to you what to do next, but be sure to spend at least one day and night in Fethiye.
– listen to your skippers advice, they know what you should and shouldn’t be spending your time doing!
– take the time to learn the ropes, literally.
– get to know the people on other boats, the more the merrier!
– For those with a few more days here, make sure you check out the Car Cemetery Bar, where you can grab a cheap shisha and cocktail while listening to live music, or even go to the famous Old Turkish Bath located just next door.
-If you are staying a day or two before and after, head to the Hamman, you won’t regret the exfoliating scrub and massage. It is the PERFECT way to scrub off the dead salt before flying home!
See more over on instagram:
A huge thank you goes needs to go out to Sergei, our insanely patient and amazing Skipper. I was a guest of MedSailors, however all opinions, as always, are my own.