A Classic Blue Cruise Itinerary Along Turkey's Historic Lycian Coast
Paralleling the coast of Turkey between Göcek / Fethiye and Demre, this route provides a fabulous blend of gorgeous scenery, historic sites, cultural experiences, and a touch of adventure. Whether you're a first-time visitor to Turkey or have spent lots of time in the area, you'll always make new discoveries on this route.
(This page describes a hypothetical cruise with Arkadaslik Yachting. If you'd like more information about each destination, please visit its individual Destination page.)
At a Glance: The Classic Kekova Cruise
- Depart from Göcek harbour around 2:00PM
- Overnight at Gemiler Island
- Early moring start and 5 hour cruise to Kalkan. Spend the day anchored at a bay outside of town.
- Head to Kaş. We'll anchor at a bay outside of town, but guests can be shuttled into town by water taxi or dinghy if they'd like to visit.
- Return to Kalkan. We'll anchor somewhere outside of town, but can shuttle guests into town by water taxi or dinghy if they'd like to visit.
- Return to Göcek harbour after breakfast, around 10:30AM
A More Detailed Look at a Kekova Cruise with Arkadaslik Yachting
Day 1 – Göcek to Gemiler Island
Welcome on-board Arkadaslik! Once you've taken some time to settle into your cabin, we'll lift anchor and head out of the harbour.
Sue and the sailor will start making their rounds – offering refreshments and making sure you're comfortably settled for the journey.
We'll only go a short way from the harbour before Captain Oktay drops anchor somewhere in the Göcek Islands region for your first swim of the cruise. After you've had the chance for a refreshing dip in the sea, we'll continue onwards.
Today's destination is Gemiler Island, a small island about 3-½ hours from Göcek. The island is home to the ruins of 4 churches built to honour St. Nicholas of Myra and is a popular site for watching the sun set over the Mediterranean.
Once we're anchored, the day is yours to do with as you please. Snorkel over the remains of the island's ancient marina, hike around the island, or settle in with a cold drink for a relaxing first day at sea.
As you relax and enjoy the ambience of life at sea, the crew will commence preparations for your first dinner of the trip. The chef typically prepares the mezes, salads, and desserts, Captain Oktay oversees the barbecue, and Sue and the sailor are responsible for setting the table and guest service.
Dinner is a relaxed affair, served "family style" on the big table on the back deck. Help yourself from the platters of hot and cold mezes, salads and bread, plus the main course. Once the meal is complete, the crew will clear everything away and re-set the table for the fruit plate.
You are welcome to linger at the table as long as you like, but the crew will head to bed around midnight. (There is a long open-water crossing on Day 2 of this route, necessitating an early start to ensure the smoothest possible passage.)
When you get sleepy, head to bed in your cabin or stake out one of the sun beds on the mid-deck with your pillow and blanket. Fall asleep to the gentle rocking of the boat.
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Day 2 – Gemiler Island to Kalkan
You'll wake to the sound of the anchor being raised before 5AM. (Yes, you read that correctly – 5 o'clock in the morning!) Don't worry, you're welcome to stay in bed for the journey. Coffee and tea are available for anyone who joins the crew on deck as we embark on the 5-hour journey to Kalkan.
Why the early start? This leg of the cruise crosses open water, so we head out before the local winds pick up to ensure you experience the smoothest possible ride.
It's fairly common to see dolphins as we cruise past Patara Beach (the longest sand beach in Turkey and the birthplace of St. Nicholas), so we encourage you to keep your camera close at hand if you're on deck.
If the weather is good and the water is smooth, we'll serve breakfast en route. Otherwise, we'll wait until we anchor at Firnaz Bay near Kalkan.
We'll spend the rest of the day in the Kalkan area. If you'd like, we can shuttle you into town, giving you the chance to explore and shop for souvenirs at the charming seaside resort village.
Don't be surprised if Captain Oktay disappears for a few hours in the afternoon – he's simply napping to recover from the early morning start. The chef will keep busy in the galley – preparing for the evening's feast, and Sue and the Sailor will keep you supplied with refreshments throughout the day and evening.
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Day 3 – Kalkan to Kekova
Sometime around Day 3, you'll start to lose track of time as each day blends into the next. Mornings will usually start with a leisurely Turkish Breakfast, followed by some cruising, then a stop for a swim. Lunches are laid-back affairs, followed by time for swimming, napping or catching some rays, before we lift anchor and head to the next idyllic spot for more swimming, snorkelling and sectioning.
Between stops, sit on the front deck and sip a cool drink as we cruise along the Lycian Coast, some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. Relax on the shaded back deck with a good book. Or stretch out on the mid-deck to work on your suntan under the warm Mediterranean sun.
Around 4:30 each afternoon, the Chef will prepare a treat for "afternoon tea". This civilized practice whets your appetite for the feast being served a few hours later. You'll continue to be amazed by the dinners prepared by the team, each one more delicious than the last.
Evenings are filled with laughter, good conversation and fun. Listen to your favourite music on the boat-wide sound system. Enjoy a midnight swim. Sit on the foredeck and watch the stars. Play cards or board games with your travelling companions. Your imagination is the only limit to things you can do on-board!
On Day 3, we'll make our way eastwards, passing the Greek Island of Meis (Kastellorizo) and stopping in an area near Kaş filled with rocky outcroppings for lunch and a swim. If you're interested in scuba sectioning, this is the place to do it!
We'd be happy to introduce you to a reputable scuba business that can provide everything from "intro to scuba" sessions for complete beginners to "wreck sectiones" for already-certified sectioners. Whether you take advantage of their services, or simply want to snorkel amongst the Five Islands on your own, we're sure you'll be awed by the clearness of the water in this area.
Mid-afternoon, we'll lift anchor again and continue our journey for another 2 hours towards the Kekova region.
This environmentally protected region is home to several rich historical sites – including Sunken City and Simena (also called Kaleköy or Castle Village). We'll cruise over Sunken City (environmental laws prohibit us from stopping), then head across the channel and anchor near the impressive Byzantine castle at Simena.
You're welcome to explore the village and surrounding area, visit the castle ruins (a nominal admission is required), or enjoy some of the best homemade ice cream we've tasted along the Turquoise Coast. The area abounds with Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta) and we've also spotted the occasional family of dolphins swimming alongside boats in the Kekova channel.
If the weather is good, we'll stay anchored here until morning, allowing you to appreciate the beauty of the ancient castle by night. Otherwise, we'll cruise a bit farther along the channel to Gökkaya and spend the night in a more protected anchorage.
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Day 4 – Kekova, Demre, and Furunoz Bay
After a hearty Turkish breakfast, we will lift anchor and head to Demre for the day, stopping for a quick peek at a cave reputed to have been used for storing pirate booty in days gone by.
Demre is the mid-point in the week's journey. Guests usually opt for a land excursion while we're here – touring the historic sites of Myra, the St. Nicholas Church, and Andriake while the crew takes the opportunity to fill Arkadaslik's fresh-water tanks and re-stock with fresh bread, fruits and vegetables as necessary.
Once the boat is re-provisioned and everyone is back on-board, we'll leave the tiny Andriake harbour and head to Furunoz Bay on the south side of Kekova Island for the evening.
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Day 5 – Furunoz Bay to Kaş
Start the day in Furunoz Bay with a refreshing swim, and then enjoy breakfast surrounded by nothing but water, pine trees and the occasional bleating goat.
Once the crew cleans up from breakfast and you've had the chance for another swim, we'll head out of the bay, cruising about 1-½ hours towards Kılıçlı Bay. The trip will take us through Akar Boğaz, a narrow strait between the mainland and a small island populated by thousands of seabirds.
We'll anchor at Kılıçlı Bay for a few hours of lunch and lounging. (Hint: If you're a hiking or climbing enthusiast, Sue can easily be convinced to accompany you on a hike along some of the trails in the area, including a fairly easy trail between Aperlai Bay and Kılıçlı Bay.)
The afternoon leg of the cruise takes another 2 hours as we return to a small bay near the picturesque Kaş region.
If interested, you can head to the upscale resort town for a few hours of exploration and shopping, before we anchor at Bayındır Bay for the night. The relatively quite town of Kaş is a guest favourite – with none of the pushy vendors that are common in some other touristy spots along the coast.
If you've changed your mind and want to give scuba sectioning a try, or want to sectione again, we'll contact the sectione company and they'll meet Arkadaslik to take you to your sectione spot. A downed Dakota airplane wreck is located less than 200 meters from our anchorage at Bayındır Bay!
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Day 6 – Kaş to Kalkan
On Day 6, we continue our westward journey towards Kalkan. There's an option of visiting the Greek island of Meis located just a few kilometers off the Turkish coast at Kaş. (If we visit the island, you are responsible for paying the fee assessed by Greek authorities for passport formalities – generally in the range of 30 to 40 Euro per person.)
The day's journey is only about 2-½ hours long, and positions us perfectly for Day 7 of the trip.
We'll spend the evening at a protected bay outside of Kalkan harbour. While you are welcome to party into the wee hours of the morning, the crew will have an early evening in preparation for the next day's long trip.
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Day 7 – Kalkan, Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz and Gemiler Island
Like Day 2 of this route, Day 7 requires an early morning start to take advantage of smooth seas across the open water. We'll lift anchor between 5 and 6AM, cruising for about 4 hours to Butterfly Valley for breakfast, hiking, and swimming.
Weather permitting, Captain Oktay will raise the sails along this long stretch of coastline so you can experience the exhilaration of sailing on the open sea.
After breakfast at Butterfly Valley, we'll continue north for another hour to the popular resort town of Ölüdeniz, where we can arrange a paragliding adventure for our thrill-seeking guests. We'll anchor near Ölüdeniz's oft-photographed Blue Lagoon for lunch and a relaxing swim, while watching paragliders leap off nearby Babadağ Mountain.
After lunch, we'll head to Gemiler Island, stopping at Cold Water Bay for a quick swim in the bracing mountain stream. Once we're anchored at Gemiler, you'll have the rest of the day to swim, relax, and explore the mysterious island.
If you want to climb to the island's peak to watch the sun set on the final day of your cruise, we'll even prepare a bag of "refreshments" (wine, beer, soft drinks, etc.) for your off-boat island adventure.
Your last night on Arkadaslik will be bittersweet, knowing you'll return to life on land in the morning.
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Day 8 – Gemiler Island to Göcek
Enjoy an early breakfast before we make our way back to harbour. We'll arrive in Göcek around 10:30AM to say our goodbyes. Until next time… Güle güle!
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