If you’ve ever wondered what it felt like to sail the sea on a proper sailing boat, the type you’ve only seen in historical movies complete with masts and sails, then you don’t really have to look too far. No, we haven’t managed to build a time travelling machine (yet), but we can suggest something that will make you feel like you’ve travelled in one. Enter the traditional Turkish Gulet.
source: Çağan Yachting
The Gulet is a two-masted or sometimes three-masted wooden sailing vessel hailing from the south west of Turkey. Today, they’re found scattered around almost every port, from Beirut to Andalucía and they have become favourites with tourists as they ferry them around iconic seascapes in the Mediterranean basin. We will, however, be focusing on one area, and where better to describe, than the home of the Gulet itself? The south-western coast of Turkey has been touted as a worthy rival to any other Riviera around the world. This is probably due to the unique fact that it embraces elements from completely different worlds. It hugs the Mediterranean and is, therefore, bursting with the usual climate-dependant typography. But venture further in, and you will find lagoons that rival any found in the more exotic reaches of the world. It is why the Turquoise Coast as it is amiably known, is a favourite with sailors. It promises adventure, discoveries and scenes that take your breath away.
We start close to Antalya, where the rugged Tahtali mountains peak right next to the sea and where the occasional sandy beaches provide a break in the landscape. The sea is the colour of its namesake and the underdeveloped areas make for the perfect relaxing retreat, away from the busy pace of large resorts and the more traditional touristic destinations. Head over to land and visit the ruins of ancient Olympos, once the thriving city of Lycia for an even larger dose of history. You will be forgiven for feeling that your Gulet might have actually taken you back in time… Head towards Kas and leap forwards by a couple of centuries in time to behold the Simena Crusader Castle. Nestled beneath it is the village of Kale Koyu, a simple place with not much to do but to soak in the sun. The island of Kekova just opposite is surrounded by sea the colour of a sapphire gemstone. Dive in and experience the true meaning of the Turquoise Coast.
Kas and Kalkan, Turkey
source: Antalya Homes
Visit Kas and Kalkan, where more upmarket resorts grace the coast and offer a more luxurious stay for anyone who would like to spend the night ashore. The red-topped villas are reminiscent of a Tuscan bay, the white houses turning gold in the setting sun. On to Ölüdeniz, where a tough walk along the cliffs is rewarded with one of the most spectacular sights in the Med: thick shrubbery covers every inch of land as it seeps forward on to the aquamarine lagoon like fingers stretching out. Anchor your Gulet here if you wish to avoid the walk and bathe in the sheltered lagoons. This silence which envelopes you can only emphasize the feeling that you may really have crossed some kind of border into a different place, far gone in time. Away from civilization, this is your little secret, the place you visit to escape a life that made you believe these beautiful spots only belonged in dreams.
The Gulet is the perfect, charter vessel for a trip that is a little out of the ordinary, for those in search of romance and a heightened sense of adventure. Taking the Gulet around the Turquoise Coast is a little like asking a king to show you around his castle; there is no better way to see it. So climb aboard and let it sweep you off into an adventure that transcends both time and space.