Booking a bareboat sailing holiday in Fethiye is easy, but coming up with the best sailing itinerary and choosing where to visit along the coast can be far more difficult.
The waters around Fethiye offer some of the best cruising in Turkey. Chances are, on a 7 or 14 day sailing holiday you will want to experience as much as possible and see all the local highlights – especially if it’s your first time exploring the area. For that reason we have developed an interactive map with photos and co-ordinates to help you find and discover the coastline (add link). But to start you off, here’s our pick of a few of the best bays in Fethiye.
Accessed only by boat, Butterfly Valley is one of the prettiest and most popular bays in Fethiye. Tucked into a deep valley with 350m high cliff-walls and a small waterfall at the rear, it is a stunning natural location with the wild flowers attracting many rare butterflies which led to its name. On shore you will find a beach, restaurant and bar with basic tree house/camping accommodation appealing to travellers during the summer months. Butterfly Valley is a great place to visit, especially early morning or later afternoon if you wish to avoid the day-trippers. Do, however, keep in mind that the bay faces West and into prevailing winds making it unsuitable for overnight layovers.
GEMILER ISLAND (ST. NICHOLAS ISLAND)
A narrow channel acting as a safe harbour separates Gemiler Island from the mainland. This relatively small island measuring just 1000m x 400m is a real highlight of the local coast and boasts a fascinating history. Throw anchor in front of the island and take a trip across to find the ruins of buildings and churches dating back to the 5th century. Unfortunately, many of the old houses are hard to distinguish and lie in ruins or semi-submerged. You can, however, see the arches, dome and apse of 2 of the churches still in reasonable condition and a closer inspection will reveal frescos and mosaics some of which suggest the second church was dedicated to St. Nicholas, better known to us today as Santa Claus.
CLEOPATRA BAY (RUIN/HAMAM BAY)
What we tend to call “Cleopatra Bay” goes under a number of names locally including “Ruin Bay” and “Hamam Bay”. Located in the South West corner of Monastir Bay, legend would suggest it was visited, or even gifted, to Cleopatra during her honeymoon to Marc Antony. The Queen is said to have bathed in its warm natural spring waters and soaked in the magnesium and calcium goodness to ease her aches and pains. The fine sand on the small beach in the bay is also said to have been shipped from Egypt to replace the shingle most commonly found along this stretch of coast. Aside from the stories that do attract daily boat trips and yachts-a-plenty, another striking feature on arrival is the semi-submerged ruins of an ancient Greek monastery – a great place to explore and snorkel.
Situated 2 miles North East of Tomb Bay is Boynuz Buku. This bay is one of the most picturesque in the area with the shores surrounded by rare sweet gum trees, the sap said to help all sorts of skin conditions and ailments. The warm waters of the bay are more green than blue and the area is popular with yachts many of which choose to stay for a couple of days or more. There is a beach and a nice local restaurant on site with good facilities. Take a walk through the trees on shore and watch the sunset or tuck into a BBQ and meze spread – Boynuz Buku is a highlight of the Skopea Limani and great place to visit on your voyage.
COLD WATER BAY
Cold Water Bay is aptly named. It’s a popular bay situated between Fethiye and Oludeniz with a natural cold water spring rising from its depths and making for a refreshing and frosty swim stop – especially in the height of summer. Although many sailing guides suggest there are only a handful of anchorages, the owner of the small restaurant on site is skilled at positioning yachts making it possible to moor up to around 12. From Cold Water Bay it is possible to trek overland to the former Greek ‘Ghost Town’ of Kayakoy, a fascinating village with a phenomenal history that now lies in roofless ruins following a population exchange in 1923.
Undoubtedly, one of the most idyllic anchorages in Skopea Limani is Wall Bay found not far from Monastir Bay. The bay is shaped like a horse shoe and named after the high defensive Roman wall now lying in ruins and almost meeting the shoreline. There is a large restaurant (ideal to hold functions) on the North side of the bay with pontoon-style jetties and space for around 30 yachts. Toilets and showers are available.
Hopefully, this has given you a few pointers. To find out more about the best bays in Fethiye, please see the Sail Med Map
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