Turkey, a land renowned for its vibrant culture, rich history, and stunning landscapes, attracts thousands of British holidaymakers each year. One of the most popular and unique experiences for travellers is gulet sailing holidays along the Turkish coast. Embarking on a gulet adventure perfectly blends relaxation, adventure, and cultural immersion. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what a gulet is, what to expect on a gulet sailing holiday, what clothes to pack, and the best itineraries for a memorable experience.
What is a Gulet?
A gulet is a traditional Turkish wooden sailing vessel handcrafted with two or three masts and designed for coastal cruising. Originating from the fishing and sponge-diving industries, gulets have evolved into comfortable floating hotels, offering a unique and intimate way to explore the Turkish coastline. Gulet sailing holidays focus on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, collectively known as the Turkish Riviera. Gulets are sturdy vessels specifically designed for short coastal cruising along the Turkish Riviera. Gulet owners dock their boats each winter for maintenance and upkeep, ensuring the ship remains in top condition for the sailing season. While yachts are built for long-distance sailing, gulets offer a more authentic and intimate experience for travellers seeking to explore the Turkish coast.
What to Expect on a Gulet Sailing Holiday
Gulet sailing holidays provide a unique opportunity to explore Turkey’s stunning coastline, with numerous activities and experiences available for travellers of all interests. Here’s what to expect on your Gulet adventure:
Accommodation and Amenities
Gulets range in size from 20 to 30 meters and typically have 5 to 8 cabins, each equipped with double or single beds, an en-suite bathroom, and sometimes wardrobes. Most gulets also feature air conditioning, a comfortable lounge/bar area, and a sunbathing area at the front of the boat. Meals are served on deck, and a full crew, including a captain, deckhands, and a cook, cater to your every need.
Activities and Excursions
A gulet sailing holiday is about more than just relaxation and sunbathing. With a variety of activities available both on and off the boat, there’s something for everyone:
- Explore coastal towns: Discover quaint seaside towns along the Turkish Riviera, each with its unique charm and atmosphere.
- Visit uninhabited islands: Accessible only by boat, Turkey’s remote islands offer a fascinating glimpse into the country’s history and natural beauty.
- Sleep on deck: Experience the tranquillity of sleeping under the stars, lulled to sleep by the gentle lapping of the sea.
- Wildlife spotting: Keep an eye out for the endangered Caretta Caretta turtles and other marine life as you cruise the Mediterranean coast.
- Stunning sunsets: Witness vibrant orange sunsets over the horizon, a perfect end to a day at sea.
- Fishing: Try your hand at catching your own dinner, then enjoy it freshly barbecued on board.
- Snorkelling and diving: Take advantage of the onboard snorkelling equipment, or book a scuba diving excursion to explore Turkey’s underwater wonders.
- Water sports: Get your adrenaline pumping with jet skiing or parasailing, available in popular gulet docking spots.
- Visit historical ruins: Explore ancient ruins along the coast, remnants of Turkey’s rich and storied past.
What Clothes to Bring When Sailing on a Gulet
Packing for a gulet sailing holiday requires a balance between comfort and practicality. Here are some essential clothing items to include in your suitcase:
- Swimwear: Bring at least two swimsuits, as you’ll likely spend much of your time in the water.
- Lightweight clothing: Opt for breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen, ideal for hot Turkish summers.
- Cover-ups: Pack a sarong or lightweight cover-up for when you’re not in the water.
- Footwear: Non-slip, comfortable sandals or deck shoes are a must for walking on the boat, and sturdy walking shoes for exploring coastal towns and ruins.
- Sun protection: A wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and plenty of high-factor sunscreen will help protect you from the strong Mediterranean sun.
- A light jacket: Evenings can get cooler, so pack a light jacket or sweater for added warmth.
- Formal attire: While most gulet holidays are casual, some may require slightly dressier attire for dinners or special events.
Best Itinerary for Sailing on Gulets
With so much to see and do along Turkey’s coastline, planning the perfect gulet itinerary can be daunting. Here are some of the most popular routes for a memorable gulet sailing experience:
Fethiye to Olympos
This four-night, five-day sailing adventure takes you along the Mediterranean coast, visiting picturesque coastal towns, uninhabited islands, and ancient ruins. Highlights include the Sunken City of Kekova, the charming town of Kaş, and the ancient Lycian city of Olympos.
Marmaris to Bodrum
Embark on a seven-night journey along the Aegean coast, exploring Turkey’s most famous seaside destinations. Discover the bustling harbour town of Marmaris, the tranquil beauty of Göcek, and the vibrant nightlife of Bodrum.
Greek Island Hopping
Combine Turkish and Greek culture by sailing from the Turkish coast to the Greek Dodecanese Islands. Visit popular destinations such as Kos and Rhodes and lesser-known gems like Symi and Tilos.
Gulet sailing holidays in Turkey offer a unique and unforgettable experience for British holidaymakers seeking to explore the country’s stunning coastline. With various activities, excursions, and itineraries available, there’s truly something for everyone on a gulet adventure. So pack your bags, set sail, and discover the magic of Turkey’s Turkish Riviera.