Of course it is no secret Turkey has many fascinating features involving culinary treats, cultural insights and historical riches, however the alluring nature is something of a specialty here. After embarking on a blue cruise Turkey with Alaturka Cruises, from one of the many ports in Turkey, be prepared to explore the flowering forests, untouched mountains and azure blue waters that envelope this beautiful country.
Babadag (Father Mountain) in Fethiye
The most the intense way of discovering the surrounding area of Fethiye is by paragliding from the top of Babadag. As you coast in the gentle summer breeze, the views of Oludeniz and the Blue Lagoon are breathtaking. Oludeniz is one of the most photographed stretches of beach in the world, and you will understand why from high above the land.
If extreme sports aren’t on your cruise itinerary, then head up to the peak and grab a cold beer at Zirve Café. The view is just as spectacular and a perfect place to watch the sunset over the Aegean Sea.
Kelebekler Vadisi (Butterfly Valley) in Fethiye
Refresh your tired body in the ice cold water of the falls, or relax at the restaurant with friends. Located at the base of Babadag, this valley is known as one of the most eco-friendly areas in Turkey. Since the valley became a nature preserve in 1995, there has been no construction, with accommodation being wooden huts and tents only. Many hippies and nature lovers from around the world flock here in the summer to snorkel, swim or hike the canyon looking for, yes, butterflies. Over 105 species of the winged beauties have been recorded, and many can be seen from June to September.
The accommodation, restaurant and bar are basic, but welcoming to all who want to delve into nature at its finest. After a long day of trekking, sunbathing on the beach or photographing the abundant flora and fauna, there are BBQs and bonfires on the beach every night.
Orak Island in the Gulf of Gokova
About one and a half hours from the bustling city of Bodrum is a slice of paradise, especially for divers and snorkelers. The only inhabitants are groves of olive trees and other blue cruise travelers.
Your blue cruise gulet will anchor in a small cove where you have free reign to sunbathe on the deck, float in the aquamarine sea, or dive within the unique underwater topography of this area. The marine surroundings are somewhat of an aquarium with the crystal clear waters. Divers can explore the prolific marine life along cliff walls and search for lobster, sea bass and the occasional passing thornback ray. Snorkelers can also discover most of these creatures without the heavy equipment.
Karasogut Village near Marmaris
This typically Turkish village is close enough to civilization so that you don’t feel lost, however far enough that you can feel at peace. Mass tourism has yet to reach this darling burgh, so make this a stop if you want to enjoy Turkish hospitality and mingle with locals at the markets selling local produce, a variety of cheese, and everything olive and olive oil related.
The most important aspect of this small village is the fountain where Piri Reis retrieved fresh spring water. An Ottoman Naval Commander, Piri Reis was a geographer and cartographer during the 16th century. His first world map, drafted in 1513, is the oldest known Turkish atlas still surviving today.
Nearly Everything in Olympos
The small town where Fethiye to Olympos blue cruise stops, which is one of the best cruise route in Europe. Olympos is a popular party destination, but also offers some of the most splendid natural surroundings on the Mediterranean coast. A stop along the Lycian way, this ancient port city is an excellent place to hike through forests scattered with ancient relics, tombs and remains of antique structures. The smell of flowering oleander awakens your senses if the freezing cold stream water doesn’t. If you are staying in the area and enjoying cooking, then pluck a few fresh bay leaves from one of the numerous trees.
For a stunning view from a mountain top, take the cable car up to the peak of Beydaglari National Park. Cable cars have a capacity of 80 passengers, so don’t be surprised if you’re surrounded by many of your closest German, Russian and American friends. The 360? views from the peak allow you to see an 189km stretch of Mediterranean coast from Side to Finike.
Pack a picnic basket of cold beer, bread, and cheese and traverse the rocky path up the hill to view the eternally burning fires of Yanartas. Legend has it the Greek mythological fire-breathing creature Chimaera ended his days here, which explains the small fires that have been burning among the rocks for at least 2500 years (aside from geological explanations of course). The fires are best seen at night and are most intense in winter months, however they are worth the trip day or night, spring or summer.
There are infinite encounters with nature when traveling on a blue cruise, so don’t worry if you can’t see them all!
Written by Amy Hume for Alaturka Cruises