One of the most historically rich sailing routes along the Eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey, is the Lycian coast. You are bound to find more archaeological sites and ancient coastal settlements in and around the Mugla and Antalya provinces than anywhere else on the southern coast. The Lycian civilization goes as far back as the Bronze Age and known to records in history since ancient Egypt. All throughout the turquoise coast of Turkey, travelers will find ruins from Lycia scattered both inland and along the beautiful shores of the Mediterranean. It’s amazing how much territory the Lycians occupied. Our journey begins in the charming town of Gocek.
After breakfast, we will sail over to Oludeniz, described often as paradise of the Turkish Coast. The beautiful blue lagoon covered with white sand, the lush pine forests extending to the coast, Oludeniz is a breathtaking sight to take in, both from on the water and above: paragliding from atop the 1,975 meter high Babadag is a popular activity here, for the adrenaline and extreme sports enthusiasts.
After lunch, we will cruise over to the Gemiler Island. According to archaeologists, it is believed to be the place of St. Nicholas’ tomb – when later his remains were taken to the ancient town of Myra. Travelers will see ruins from the Byzantine period of five churches, which were built around 4th – 5th A.D. In addition, there are approximately fifty Christian tombs and 40 other religious buildings. The bay offers clean and clear waters and it is a very quiet place for swimming and snorkeling. We will anchor here overnight.
Mythology records that Apollo was born at Patara, a principal harbor of ancient Lycia, south of Letoon and Xanthos. The ruins are numerous and fascinating. Its twenty-two kilometers of pure white sand stretch as far as the eye can see. We will be sailing early in the morning to sail by Patara, you should not miss this sight as we will not be able to anchor nearby due to lack of sheltered coves.
After our morning cruise, we will arrive in the town of Kas in Antalya province. It is a tourist destination, yet unspoiled and well preserved by natural surroundings and beautiful Mediterranean waters. The town sits on a slope which leads to the sea offering stunning panoramic views of the whole region. The hillsides produce local pine honey and almonds – a great fresh treat to take with you to try during your delicious Turkish breakfasts. Kas, known also as the Teke peninsula, was discovered by the Lycians.
Once an important site, the region offers the richest Lycian necropolis. Occupied since the stone age, Kas region has seen many other civilizations in its time. From the Romans and Byzantines, to the Ottomans and Greeks. Nowadays the Greek architecture is seen from when the Greeks had left Kas.
Before breakfast, we will cruise over to Kekova – “the home of the sun” for some, “the island of the partridges” for others: an island, as well as the name of a whole ensemble of picturesque islands, numerous bays and ancient cities. These bays provide natural harbors in all seasons, and yachtsmen particularly enjoy exploring the unspoiled landscapes. Along the northern shore of Kekova Island, earthquakes have disturbed the land causing some of the ancient houses to sink under the clear water, creating a sunken city. Kalekoy Castle (ancient Simena) offers a bird’s-eye view of the bays, inlets, islands and colorful yachts, sailing peacefully on the glassy water. Kekova provides an incredible setting with blue skies, orange sunsets, starry nights, playful dolphins, mythological mysteries, and the sparkling sea, all set in peace and tranquility.
Located inland is the Church of St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) in the Lycian town of Myra (today’s Demre). Christian pilgrims popularly visit the tomb of St. Nicholas. Demre is situated on the coast of the Teke peninsula with the magnificent backdrop of the famous Taurus Mountains. Other than the historical church, Demre offers local handcrafts such as rugs, as well as the annual Camel Wrestling Festival.
The largest bay in the Kekova region is the Gokkaya Bay. It is a quiet and popular place of relaxation during a luxury gulet cruise holiday with three entrances into the bay. Gokkaya Bay is beautiful place for swimming and snorkeling and known to be a convenient shelter harbor during rough seas.
After breakfast, it is time to set sail to the town of Kalkan. Kalkan is truly an exquisite town boasting with impressive scenery and atmosphere. The influence of Greek Ottoman architecture is seen in the whitewashed houses decorated with bougainvillea. There are shops and lovely restaurants and cafes to enjoy the local cuisine. Kalkan’s place in Lycian history was considered as a hiding place during times when pirates anticipated attacks on merchant ships passing by. It was and still is, a great sheltered harbor for boats during times of rough seas. Nearby Kalkan an inland excursion to the ancient site of Arycanda is a must: a very unique Lycian city and known to be the oldest. Feature sites to see while there is the largest bath complex, the agora, amphitheater, the Odeon, the Stadium, Necropolises with monumental and temple tombs and sarcophagi; and Bouleuterion – the meeting place of the council.
Early in the morning, we will set sail west, heading back towards Gocek. We will anchor in Butterfly Valley for lunch and a swim. This stunning valley is only accessible by boat or through the village of Faralya located on the cliffs looking down to this valley. There’s a waterfall in the bottom of the valley; in the springtime, the valley is full of nearly extinct Tiger butterflies. The valley is under protection since 1995, building is not permitted but camping and bungalows are available on the mouth of the valley. We will enjoy the crystal clear waters, afterwards take a hike to the waterfalls.
In the afternoon, we will set sail to Gocek Island for a sunset break and then our boat will cruise into the Gocek Port for last evening’s dinner and overnight stay. The town of Gocek is a cool, truly sailors’ town that you can walk around to visit its little shops, restaurants and bars for a stroll.