Mediterranean Turkey seems to be specially designed for perfect yachting holidays. Superyachts of Hollywood stars, members of royal families, famous politicians and Russian oligarchs come here regularly. For example, here you can see the famous Maltese Falcon yacht, owned by the successful Greek financier Elena Ambrosiad, Flyingfox yacht (owner Amazon Jeff Bezos) and even one of the most expensive and largest megayachts in the world — Roman Abramovich’s Eclipse.
But you don’t have to be a millionaire to rent a yacht in Turkey. Here you have plenty of sailboats, luxury motor yachts and comfortable VIP-gulets to choose from. You can rent both sailing yachts and catamarans, with or without crew.
Features of sailing in Turkey
Turkish coasts, densely overgrown with pine forests, olive groves and southern flowers attract sailors from all over the world. Here you can go on the famous “Blue cruise” on the bright bays and islands of Fethiye, Gokova, Yesilova and Hisaronu. Nature is intact in these places, and ancient cities still hide their ancient secrets beneath.
A clean and predictable sea is the first reason to rent a sailboat in Turkey. Besides, it remains warm from the end of spring until late autumn, when the season in Montenegro or Croatia comes to an end too. In 2019, 463 beaches and 22 marinas were awarded the Blue Flag, a prestigious international environmental award. Turkey is on the 3rd place in the world by the number of clean beaches. More have only Spain and Greece.
The visa application for Turkey is absent or simplified for most countries. You can get visa at the airport or pre-arrange it online. Rent a yacht in the evening and fly by plane to the warm shores in the morning. Get to such popular yacht regions as Marmaris, Fethiye, Bodrum with many low-cost flight variants.
Many people note the responsiveness and eastern hospitality of the locals. Turkish people adore children, gladly meet foreigners, communicate happily in different languages, including Russian and English, help to moor and solve any problems you have. Service in restaurants, hotels, marinas and shops leaves a pleasant impression.
Turkish cuisine is recognized as one of the leading in the world. Natural fresh products usage turns your yacht natural into a gastronomic trip. Moreover, both vegetarians and meat-eaters remain satisfied.
Turkey is a perfect country for beginners who want to rent a catamaran or yacht on their own, as well as families with children. Natural relief protects coves from the storms, the distance between the parking places is small, and you can avoid tedious long passages, including the night ones. For captains, standard international Bareboat Skipper license will be enough.
In Turkey, vacation with a luxury yacht charter will cost less than anywhere else in Europe.
The most popular yacht rental locations in Turkey
It is considered to be one of the most prestigious and expensive resorts, and the moorings and restaurants cost more here. Turkish elite and Hollywood stars like to have a rest here. Here, many expensive hotels concentrate, some of them “adults only”. There are several yacht marinas on the Bodrum Peninsula, including Yalikavak Bodrum, which was recognized as the best marina for superyachts in 2018−2019. Most of Bodrum’s areas are densely built up with similar expensive villas, which sometimes spoils the view.
Nevertheless, Bodrum has a large selection of expensive and luxury yachts for rent. These are sailing catamarans, motor VIP yachts and luxurious gulets.
The centre of Bodrum is 40 km from Milas International Airport and 200 km from Dalaman Airport. The peninsula is washed by the Aegean Sea, which is cleaner but colder than the Mediterranean, especially during the off-season.
This city, loved by many sailors, is a great sailing centre without exaggeration. Sailing yacht charter is a common thing in Marmaris. There is no shortage of skippers either.
There are several modern, spacious marinas: Netsel, located in the very centre of resort life, Yat Marina, remote from the city and most suitable for large motor yachts, and the farthest, new club marina Adakoy.
Marmaris combines the picturesque quiet bays and noisy nightlife in the city. Not far from Netsel Marina, the famous Bar Street proposes bars and discos to tourists and sailors, open for everyone till the morning.
In October, the Marmaris International Race Week, which is the largest regatta in the region, takes place in Marmaris. From here, you can travel in many astonishing directions, including the neighbouring Greek islands.
Dalaman Airport is 90 km from Marmaris, Milas Airport in 130 km.
Perhaps the calmest, sincerest but, at the same time, stylish yacht resort. There are no tourist crowds, huge hotels and discos here. In 15 years, the former fishing village turned into an elite place with expensive villas, restaurants and wealthy citizens, but has retained its simple way of life. Locals always greet strangers, homes hide in the greenery of gardens, and one can accidentally meet chickens and geese right in the alley. Göcek's peculiarity is in its untouched nature. It strikes you when you look at the village from the sea and see the endless green hills.
Despite its compact size and small population (about 15,000 inhabitants), Göcek accommodates two municipal and four private marinas: Club Marina, Marinaturk Village Port, Skopea marina and one of the most luxurious in Turkey — D Marin Göcek. It is convenient to travel around the village on foot or by bicycle, and most markets offer free delivery to your boat.
Yacht charter in Göcek is in high demand, although the choice is not as wide as in neighbouring Marmaris. From here, you can easily reach many interesting places by boat. Göcek is the closest to Dalaman Airport of all resorts — only 20 km.
It is the largest city on this part of the coast, where exciteful streets and shops assortment do not depend on the time of year. Fethiye is densely built up, but all buildings are five floors high maximum, forests grow around, and there are many beautiful wild coves nearby.
The city looks much prettier from the sea, but the experienced sailors do not like it. The bay here is a closed place, and you won’t find perfectly clean and transparent water here. Otherwise, you can head towards Oludeniz, to the island of St. Nicholas (Gemiler) or Marmaris. Even one week is enough to have a pleasant time on the sailboat here.
Fethiye has two main marinas: Ece Marina and Yes Marina. Also, you can find berths for overnight at the Marina boutique and Yacht Classic boutique hotels, where agent 007 Daniel Craig has been staying during the Skyfall movie filming. All the marinas are concentrated in Karagezler district, where you can walk to the old city part, visit the fish market, walk along the quay and do the shopping.
Dalaman Airport is 46 km away.
Transport in Turkey: how to get to marina
When renting a yacht in Turkey, you want to reach it as quickly as possible. Plenty of marinas lie near popular yacht resorts, not far from international airports. If you plan to rent a boat in Marmaris, Fethiye or Göcek, Dalaman airport is the closest to them. You can fly from here with plenty of direct charter flights, local airlines races inside or outside Turkey.
If you seek boat charter in Bodrum, fly to Milas International Airport. German Hahn Air airlines, Azerbaijan Azur Air, Ukrainian UTair and other airlines offer direct flights here. Prices are quite affordable, especially if you book in advance. A round-trip ticket will cost about 200 euros.
You can get to the desired marina from Bodrum and Dalaman airports without traffic jams by taxi, private transfer or special public bus — Muttaş or Havaş, which are usually waiting for tourists right at the airport. The last option is the cheapest. A ticket costs from 3 euros (about 20 Turkish liras), and such shuttles run regularly from early morning until late evening every half an hour mostly. Buses arrive at the city bus station. Take a minibus or a taxi from there to get to the desired marina.
The schedule can be viewed on the official sites:
But if you want to drive in comfort or you come with a big company, book a private transfer. The only minus: higher prices. For example, the trip from Dalaman to Göcek will cost you from 45 euros.
The best time for yacht hire in Turkey
The tourist season lasts from mid-April to the end of October when there is stable weather on the Mediterranean and Aegean shores, and the probability of rains and storms is minimal. The resorts are full, and the restaurants and clubs work all days long. But your best sailing period description depends on your goals and preferences.
Do you wish to swim in a warm sea under a burning sun in a summer atmosphere? Search for a yacht or catamaran charter in Fethiye, Göcek, Marmaris or Bodrum from July to August. Please note: this is usually the most expensive season, and even the wildest cays and bays may be crowded. Book in advance the best sailboats for these dates, sometimes even at the beginning of winter, when you can catch the best deals and get a discount for early booking.
April and May have excellent winds, which is important for sailing enthusiasts. Prices for bareboat charter in Turkey are very attractive during this period, but the sea remains cold after the winter. Air temperature in the afternoon reaches +25, so you will have time to sunburn.
The velvet season in Turkey is considered to be September-October. The exhausting heat drops and evenings are refreshingly cool, but you have steady sunny weather at noon, and the sea is warm and gentle. It is the regattas and flotillas time in Turkey. In mid-October, the Marmaris International Race Week gathers more than 100 boats and 1,000 yachtsmen from around the world. In November, the yachting season closes with the traditional Gocek Yacht Week regatta, which is held in Göcek by the local yacht club.
You can catch warm sunny days even in winter on the Mediterranean Turkey shores. Sometimes there happen small regattas for New Year’s Eve celebrations, and a series of weekend races, the Marmaris Winter Trophy, take place all winter in Marmaris. Some schools also offer skipper training in winter, after which you will have the ability to rent bareboat in Turkey with no crew.