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If Greece is home to the magic islands of the Mediterranean, then Turkey is the storehouse of it’s romantic past. In addition to the magnificent scenery, probably the most striking characteristics of Turkey is the friendliness and honesty of its people. Wherever you sail in Turkish waters, particularly along the southern coast, there will always be something exciting to discover. The legacies of ancient civilisations abound, making irresistible attractions.

Amphitheatres, sunken villages and rock tombs wait to get discovered and marvelled at. Turkey is actually the meeting host to the East and West. Since the days when Istanbul was Constantinople, Turkey is a country astride two cultures, European and Eastern.

Turkey is the home of such unlikely historical and mythological companions as the town of Troy, Noah’s ark and Santa Claus. The country is really a fortuitous combination of cultures, combined with a wealthy history which comes alive in the too-numerous-to-count archaeological sites. The jewel of Turkey’s southern coast is Marmaris, a clean, modern town using a festive promenade over the wharf beneath a 16th century citadel. Despite rampant development, Marmaris remains a charming town while supplying the best facilities accessible to the cruising yachtsman.

A brief sail in almost any direction from Marmaris as well as the modern marinas and high rise hotels give method to a peasant Turkey with impromptu restaurants set against ancient ruins in secluded bays. Here a 3-course meal will probably set you back the cost of a mixed drink and also the warmth, colour and frankness in the local people provide truly memorable evenings.

The nearby fishing village of Datca furnishes the area with the freshest seafood imaginable, and dining at even the tiniest café is a culinary treat. Shops offer good buys on carpets, brass, silver and leather goods. The site of ancient Knidos – where just about the most beautiful sculptures of antiquity resides, the Venus of Praxiteles – is at the tip of the Peninsula of Marmaris.

South of Marmaris, the tiny fishing village of Dalyan will be the starting point of river trips towards the ancient ruins at Caunus. Along the way, boats pass centuries-old Lycean tombs carved to the rocky cliffs from the river banks. At Caunus ancient remains incorporate a well-preserved 15,000 seat theatre.

South of Dalyan – inside the eastern gulf of Fethiye – is definitely the town of Fethiye, built on the 400 BC ruins of Telmessos. It is an part of great archaeological fascination: the ruins of 19 ancient cities are littered inside the surrounding countryside. One of many nearby spots most interesting to charterers is Ruin Bay. Running from your shoreline for the crystal clear bay are ancient foundations; by simply donning a mask and snorkel, visitors can float above the long-forgotten village, accessible only by yacht.

East of Fethiye is legendary Antalya with its Roman lighthouse overlooking the harbour. This coastal area is known for its many beautiful waterfalls cascading into the sea. The epicentre in the famed Turquoise Coast, it has some of the best beaches and swimming anywhere.

Aside from the bareboat option, Turkey offers a range of fully crewed charter yachts with Marmaris the crewed charter capital from the eastern Mediterranean. Europe’s finest vessels up 200ft line the quay making a French Riviera display of teak decks and polished brass. Charter World’s Brook Felsenthal says that the crewed charter alternatives are becoming very popular with Australians, particularly the Gulets and Caiques.

These vessels are really roomy with up to six double staterooms all with ensuites. The wide beams create excellent deck space while here are carpeted mahogany interiors, efficient showers and toilets, lockers fimcji of snorkelling masks, windsurfers and backgammon sets. Even so, you can still make the discernable outline of the boat that might have carried sponges or oranges in days of yore.

Travelling overland through Turkey is part of the adventure and romance of this interesting country. Local buses leave for anywhere almost hourly with places like Gallipoli, Capridoccia, Pamukkale and Ephesus to go to; you can easily spend the best part of a week ashore. A trip to Turkey is definitely an enlightening journey as anyone who has experienced it will testify. It thoroughly deserves its reputation to be among the finest cruising spots on earth.