Turkey is a country filled with rich history, natural beauty, and the intertwining of European and Asian cultures. Leaving behind the beautiful mosques and bustling markets of Istanbul, when you head down South to the Turkish Riviera, you will find a stunning stretch of charming coastal towns.
Bordering the beautiful Aegean Sea, it is in the ideal location to enjoy the turquoise blue waters and beautiful beaches. But one of the best ways to truly appreciate the Turkish Riviera is through a Blue Cruise.
Below we will discuss all details about Blue Cruising in Turkey and provide you with an honest review of the experience.
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Guest Post by Ryan from WaylessTravelers
What is a Blue Cruise?
Blue Cruise, also known as Blue Voyage, describes the popular activity of sailing and cruising in a traditional Turkish Gullet along the Turkish Riviera. The gullets are large wooden sailing vessels comprising several cabins and a long open deck and are unique to the area of Bodrum and Marmaris.
The term blue in Blue Cruise is used very appropriately to describe the turquoise waters that you will experience on the journey. The Blue cruise commonly sets sail for 4-7 days, allowing you to explore more remote islands and discover the historical ruins that remain in the area.
It is the ideal way to kick back and enjoy the crystal clear waters, and at the same time experience the beauty that the Turkish Riviera has to offer.
Discover more beautiful parts of Turkey in this complete guide!
Why is a Blue Cruise Special?
Blue Cruises are one of the best ways to explore the Turkish Riviera. Not only is it affordable, but it allows you to access many of the more remote sites and islands. On the 12 Islands cruise, you will explore many islands that would otherwise be impossible to reach. On the Bodrum to Fethiye cruise, you can also reach many historical ruins like Cleopatra’s Bath.
Your days are spent relaxing on the turquoise waters, going for a dip, eating, and some hiking. On these cruises, you will also get to enjoy some of the freshest food Turkey has to offer. Fish, caught the same day, are grilled and served with an assortment of salads and vegetables. After the meal, you can admire the sunset while sipping on a cup of Turkish coffee or tea.
Time stands still while on the blue cruise, and all worries melt away. For 4-7 days, the only thing you need to think about is what is the best way to relax: Sitting on the deck? Floating on a paddleboard? Hiking on the island?
The Best Time to Blue Cruise
The best time to do the Blue Cruise is during late spring, summer, or early autumn.
During late spring from May to June, the weather is more comfortable and not too hot, however, the water has not had the chance to fully warm up yet. For that reason, it can be a little chilly to swim, but very comfortable on deck.
In the summer from July to August, it is the peak season. The air temperature rises to 32C and the water will also feel quite warm. This is the busiest season and tends to be more expensive as well.
In Autumn, from September to early October, the water has had the entire summer to heat up so the water temperature is at its warmest. The weather is pleasant like in late spring, and the crowds have started to dissipate.
For that reason, September is often considered the ideal month to go Blue Cruising.
Where Are Blue Cruises Found in Turkey?
The main departure ports of Blue Cruises are Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye, and Antalya.
The departure point will determine what type of Blue Cruise journey you will be taking. Some of the Blue cruises will do a point A to point B journey, whereas others will depart and return to Point A. For example, the 12 islands cruise leaves from Fethiye and returns 4 days later to Fethiye.
If you are curious about point A to point B cruises, there are some from Marmaris to Fethiye, or Fethiye to Gocek, or Antalya to Kekova.
When speaking to the local captains, they recommended a point A to point A cruise instead of a point A to point B cruise since in the latter, you will spend a lot of time at sea driving the vessel instead of enjoying the water.
We did the 12-island cruise leaving from Fethiye (point A to point A) and spent 90% of the day enjoying the water and the surrounding activities. Only about 30 minutes per day was spent driving the boat.
What to Expect Day to Day on The Blue Cruise
When you wake up in the morning, breakfast is prepared for you and you enjoy it on the open deck of the vessel.
Next, you will have free time to enjoy the water. There is usually a paddleboard or kayak available, or you can simply lounge around and read a book on the vessel deck. After a few hours, you will get to enjoy a full lunch.
Normally after lunch, the boat will depart to change islands. The vessel will drive for around 30 minutes before anchoring down in a quiet cove. You will then have a chance for a quick dip before going on land to explore the island. Each island is different but there are usually some ancient ruins for you to discover.
After returning from the hike, you will be happy to go for another swim and maybe snorkel in the area to find fish.
Tired from the afternoon of activity, this is the perfect time to take a nap. Then comes dinner which is usually the biggest meal with fresh fish and meat. Finally, the evening is spent star gazing or getting an early night’s rest.
The subsequent days generally follow a similar schedule, however, each day you will get to enjoy a different cove and explore a new island.
Review of Our Experience on a Blue Cruise
We enjoyed the 4-day / 3-night, 12-island Blue Cruise leaving from Fethiye.
After spending 3 days in Istanbul, and 5 days in Cappadocia, this was the perfect way to relax and unwind. Our experience during those days was incredible. At first, I felt like 4 days of relaxing on a boat might be too long or boring, but in the end, it exceeded all our expectations.
Not only was the natural beauty of the islands and waters unmatched, but our experience onboard was equally amazing. The crew was so welcoming and spent time chatting with us, helping us with anything we needed, and even taught us their local dance.
No matter the time of day, they had the biggest smiles on their faces. All our needs were taken care of by the crew so that we could be completely worry-free.
Each of the meals was so delicious and felt like truly home-cooked meals. With the combination of swimming, hiking, napping, sun tanning, and eating, by the end of the 4 days, I felt like a new person.
If you are looking for a perfect way to unwind and explore the Turkish Riviera without any worries, this is definitely the best choice!
What is The Cost of a Blue Cruise?
The prices tend to range between 400USD-700USD, all-inclusive, depending on the length of the journey and the company.
Our 4-day / 3-night cruise cost around 500€ per person, however, this was on one of the more luxurious gullets. The cost will overall depend on the length of the journey, and also the capacity of the gullet.
Small gullets accommodate 6-10 passengers, medium gullets accommodate 10-20 passengers, and large gullets accommodate over 20 people.
Our Gullet fit a maximum of 12 people which we found was perfect and provided everyone with a lot of free space. Most other companies take on 15-20 guests.
7 days blue cruises tend to be closer to 700 USD.
How to Get to The Blue Cruises
How to get to your Blue Cruise will depend on the port of departure. There are many Blue Cruises that leave from Fethiye so the nearest airport would be Dalaman. From there, you can take a taxi for 1 hour to reach the town of Fethiye.
We arrived at Fethiye by driving from Kas, which is a very charming coastal town. Read more about all the things to do in Kas in this article.
Please verify your port of departure and from there you can easily determine the best airport.
Where to go After a Blue Cruise?
After the Blue Cruise, if it ends in Fethiye, you have several options.
You can explore the nearby town of Oludeniz and maybe try out the famed paragliding.
If you go further East, you can arrive at the charming coastal town of Kas or a little further brings you to the birthplace of Santa Claus, Demre.
Alternatively, if you want to explore a new culture, you can always take a ferry across to one of the islands of Greece (Rhodes).
By heading west, you can discover Marmaris, the beautiful town filled with canals, or the archeological site of Ephesus which is one of the best ancient sites in Turkey.
Final Thoughts About Blue Cruises
Blue Cruising is one of the best ways to unwind and enjoy the Turkish Riviera. There are no words to describe the feeling of freedom while you cruise along the turquoise waters, watching the sunset on the horizon while enjoying a delicious Turkish meal.
Although you can explore the coast by hopping from town to town along the Turkish Coast, there is truly something magical about spending several days floating on the Aegean Sea. Maybe it’s the gentle rocking of the waves, the blissful silence, or the sky full of stars, but all your worries just melt away.
So if you are contemplating doing a Blue Cruise, I would recommend it 100%.
Ryan & Nan are two curious travel storytellers and adventure photographers who started WaylessTravelers to share their passion for travel with the world. Having explored over 23 countries across the globe, they seek to share their passion for travel planning and photography to help others organize their next adventure. Ryan & Nan seek authentic culture, adventure, hiking, and venturing off-the-beaten paths to uncover the true marvels of the world. You can also follow their travels over on Instagram.