The Turquoise Coast is the Yachting Playground You’ve Been Searching For
Turkey’s Turquoise Coast is literally named, thanks to the vibrantly blue stretch of sea where the Aegean meets the Mediterranean. The region has inspired all who encounter it for millennia. From the ancient Lycians to modern holidayers in the know, the Turkish Riviera enchants travelers with profound historical importance, legends and myths, and shorelines ideal for water sports and all other manner of sun-soaked pursuits. From these shorelines, paths and heritages unveil pivotal civilizations and sites from the past – a kind of all-roads-lead-to-the beginning spirit of the place.
And while the Turquoise Coast has been the favored holiday getaway for local residents of Istanbul for some time, its yacht-laden harbors in hidden lagoons and picturesque bays make it an idyllic spot for seaborne wanderers, too. In fact, most destinations along the Turkish Riviera are not accessible to many larger ships, which is why Crystal Esprit is the ideal choice for anyone wanting to explore the region’s past and present. Here’s what’s on deck along the southwestern coast of Turkey.
This is the place to dive in, hike up, paddle on and soar over. A charming harbor town with welcoming, walkable promenades and traditional architecture, Kaş is an excellent starting point for outdoor pursuits, surrounded by bays perfect for ship-wreck diving. The stunning Taurus Mountains and ancient ruins add some intrigue to the adventure, including vestiges of Antiphellos, the original Lycian town that settled here. The city still enjoys under-the-radar charm, with great seafood restaurants and historic old squares. The downtown is photo-ready, draped in bougainvillea on ivory buildings and artisanal shops with hand-crafted wares. Stroll through town, then on to Antiphellos Theatre – an ancient amphitheater that has been restored and provides sweeping sunset views over the sea.
Fun Fact: Novelist Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı described the “Blue Voyage” from Bodrum to Kas, stating, “The sea and the sky cannot be more blue than they are in Bodrum.”
As the largest city on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, Antalya boasts a modern style that blends beautifully with it Roman and Ottoman roots. Adjectives defy description of this ancient harbor town, surrounded by cliffs, beautiful beaches and waters in every hue of turquoise and blue. See Hadrian’s Gate, the triumphal arch honoring the Roman emperor, and the historic Kizil Kule “red” tower, symbol of a city rich in beautiful landscapes of both mountain and sea. The central district of Kaleiçi is beautifully preserved, sporting meandering lanes and Ottoman structures.
Here, turquoise reaches new heights in what is possibly the region’s most perfect bay. On the Turkish Mediterranean, this high-end resort town with a Greek fishing heritage has retained its Ottoman-era character, beauty and charm, while also catering to modern travelers with lavish villas and attractions popping up.
Founded by the Phoenicians and a major trading hub under Persian rule, Finike’s history reflects empires ranging from Alexander’s to the Ottomans. Beyond the wide sandy beach, orange groves take travelers throgh ancient ruins in Lymira, where the necropolis of Pericles overlooks his former kingdom, as well as Arykanda, built upon five large terraces with magnificent views.
Kuşadasi is the gateway to Ephesus – the UNESCO-listed, 4,000 year old city – as well as the Temple of Artemis (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), Basilica of St. John, and House of the Virgin Mary. It also happens to be a haven for revelers who love a lively nightlife scene set against dramatic sea views. By day, the town is famous for sparkling waters, sandy beaches and enticing shops filled with designer clothing and hand-woven carpets and leather goods.
Fun Fact: A playground for the region’s elite yachting lifestyle, the of coast stretch between Bodrum and Marmaris is overlooked by ruins of Caunos and the rock tombs carved into Dalyan cliffs.
From day to night, Marmaris is alive with activity. Shops, restaurants and a bustling waterfront dock sparkle under sun and stars alike. Ferries to nearby Greece and east toward Fethiye – a laidback yachting playground – are part of the spirit of exploration here. Beyond the buzz lie historical sites and natural landscapes characteristic of this pivotally positioned locale, including Caunos archaeological site and lovely Isztuzu Beach, where sea turtles can be spotted sunning themselves.
First mentioned by Homer in The Odyssey and used by Alexander the Great as successful port for trade, Bodrum has evolved over the centuries. It’s present-day Old Town is alive with contemporary shops and traditional bazaars that teem with locals and visitors, surrounded by lively cafés. Still, it’s the history here that draws travelers and avid researchers with its Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. Dating back to 350 B.C., the 140-foot white marble structure still captivates even the savviest scientists, ranking as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Crystal invites travelers to plan a journey to the Turkish Riviera with added peace of mind and flexibility as we look ahead to sailing together again.