After an unforgettable few weeks exploring Turkey’s mainland with Neyzen we arrived in Bodrum ready to board our luxury yacht for a week sailing along the Turquoise Coasts of Turkey and Greece! Neyzen Yachting were established in 1987 and are the leading provider of luxury vacations and yacht charters in Turkey. Neyzen specialise in tours with a cultural emphasis that are designed for the discerning traveller and operate an exclusive fleet of four luxury yachts that offer luxury private and cabin charter cruises of the Aegean coastline and Greek Dodecanese Islands. They were the first company in the region to offer high-end cabin charters with all the 5-star comfort and luxury amenities of private charters and we loved every aspect of our cabin charter holiday!
ABOUT OUR LUXURY GULET, M.S. NIKOLA
Our gorgeous boat, the M.S Nikola is a luxury yacht (also called a gulet) that has been handcrafted from exotic mahogany and teak. The beautiful, traditional design is complemented with spacious decks, modern nautical equipment, outdoor dining facilities, lounge areas, sun mattresses, tenting to protect from the sun and many other luxurious, contemporary comforts. The yacht was large enough that everyone had their own space and privacy and not once did it ever feel cramped.
The interior of the yacht is spacious and elegant with air conditioned quarters with high ceilings and wide corridors. The salon had a well stocked bar with cushioned seating and a table for indoor dining if the weather isn’t great (which we didn’t have to worry about as the weather was perfect)! There is also a library of magazines and books in addition to a DVD player with a wide selection of DVD’s and both indoor and outdoor speakers with iPod connections.
Nikola had three cabins with queen sized beds and one master cabin which had a king-sized and single bed. The cabins were all very airy and roomy for yacht cabins with plenty of storage space meaning we could completely unpack for the week. Each room also had a spacious en-suite bathroom with a toilet, shower, marble sink and vanity again with plenty of storage space. Towels, toiletries, hand soap and toilet paper were all provided as well.
Our gulet had three crew which consisted of Ramazan our trusty captain who was amazing, Gültekin our fantastic chef and Aras the very capable and friendly sailor/deckhand. The crew were fantastic and truly went above and beyond at all times to ensure every single person on the boat had an unforgettable week. The service and food were spectacular and there was always someone on hand to ensure all our needs were met. The food on the boat was top notch and Gültekin was an incredibly skilled chef who whipped us up a wide range of meals ranging from haute cuisine to regional specialities all using the highest quality produce and ingredients. Everyone on the boat raved about every single meal and we were blown away by just how amazing, tasty and imaginative each meal was! Water, soft drink, local beer and wines were included in our tour price and Aras was always on hand to serve drinks whenever we wanted one as well as serving each meal.
Whilst relaxation was the number one choice of most of our fellow travellers, there was also plenty of extra activities available on our yacht. Sailing, snorkelling, canoeing, paddleboarding, fishing and wakeboarding are just a few of the additional activities available and we made sure to try them all out during our time onboard.
CABIN CHARTER ROUTE
Our fantastic route along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts gave us an amazing combination of Turkey’s Turquoise Coast and the nearby Greek Dodecanese Islands. The cruise started and ended in Bodrum and saw us set sail across the blue expanse of the Gulf of Gokova for the ancient site of Knidos where the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas meet. Our next port of call was Eski Datca, a quaint town of traditional stone architecture and atmospheric side streets. From there we crossed over to the Greek island of Simi which has a charming, picturesque Neo-classical harbourfront. From Simi we returned to Turkish waters and explored the enchanting Gulf of Hisaronu. On our way back to Bodrum we stopping at Bencik Bay and Mersincik. The itinerary was fantastic and had the perfect combination of swimming, sailing, sightseeing, shopping and exploring countless gorgeous, crystal clear bays!
A TYPICAL DAY ON M.S. NIKOLA
Most days we would wake up bright and early to catch a gorgeous sunrise from the deck which was always a very calm and magical experience and the perfect way to start our day!
After sunrise and plenty of freshly brewed coffee we would have plenty of time to have a swim before breakfast!
Breakfast was served around 8am and consisted of an incredible spread of cheeses, fruit, bread, jams, nutella, cold meats, eggs, fresh juice and tea and coffee.
After breakfast we’d set sail to our first town, island or bay for the day! Whilst Ramazan was sailing we’d spend our morning relaxing and soaking up the sunshine on deck, reading on the lounges or simply enjoying the sunshine!
As soon as we’d anchor up and the engine turned off we would all jump in for a swim in the beautiful water! The beautiful crystal clear, blue water in Turkey was unlike any water we’ve seen during our travels – it was truly majestic and you couldn’t help but want to spend all day long floating, swimming and snorkelling!
After we’d worked up a big appetite from swimming the lunch bell would ring and we’d tuck into an incredible feast! Lunch was different each day and comprised delicious mezzes, salads, pasta or rice, fresh fish or meat and fresh bread, accompanied by wine of course! Mid afternoon we’d also be served up a delicious fruit platter which would keep us going until dinner.
Once lunch was finished we had free time to swim, sunbake, snorkel and try our hand at canoeing or wakeboarding if we wanted to!
Our afternoon sail would normally take a few hours and was the perfect opportunity to relax, read and simply watch the beautiful scenery around us.
Once the anchor was down in our bay for the evening we’d have our final swim and paddle board for the day before getting the plan for the next day from Ramazan. We’d then relax and enjoy a few glasses of wine and beer in the afternoon sunshine before getting ready for dinner.
We’d enjoy a beautiful sunset on deck and then a fantastic dinner cooked by our incredible chef and served by Aras. Every meal on the yacht was amazing and dinner’s were certainly our favourite meal of the day. Every meal was different and included vegetables, salads, rice, pasta and meat which ranged from pork, chicken, fresh seafood, lamb and delicious BBQ’d meat which would be accompanied by wine and finished with dessert. Every dish was cooked to perfection and everyone would be left absolutely stuffed and very happy! The food was without a doubt a highlight of the trip. We’d have a few after dinner drinks, take in the night skies and countless stars for a little while and then everyone would retire to their air-conditioned cabins to sleep before another relaxing day sailing around beautiful Turkey.
HIGHLIGHTS AND OUR FAVOURITE MOMENTS OF THE WEEK
In addition to relaxing on our gorgeous yacht our highlights from the week included swimming, sailing, snorkelling, explore villages and of course incredible ancient sites as well as the incredible food and service we received from our fantastic crew throughout the week. Whilst we loved every moment of our week we wanted to share a few of the highlights and our favourite moments from the week.
On our second day we visited the ancient site of Knidos which is famous in antiquity for the cult of Aphrodite which started there. Situated at the end of the Datca peninsula, this Dorian city was built on terraces rising to the acropolis. Knidos straddled the peninsula with a harbour on either side and flourished during the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods. The city was renowned as one of the most beautiful in ancient Greece and was a fantastic ancient site to explore and only cost 10TL entrance fee.
The beautiful, tiny Greek Island of Simi was one of our favourite places that we visited during the week. Simi is located in the Straight of Marmaris and it directly hugs the Turkish Coast. Simi is gorgeous with a scenic natural landscape that consists of jagged coastline with sheer cliffs, narrow fjords, private coves and high mountains. Simi has elaborate churches, neo-classical homes, elegant boutiques, seafood restaurants and a charming, pastel coloured harbour. Whilst in Simi we also visited the Panormitis Monastery of the Archangel Michael with its incredible Byzantine frescos and the gorgeous Bay of St. George which was one of our favourite swim stops of the week!
SUNSETS & SUNRISES
We love catching both sunsets and sunrises when we travel and there is something magical about watching the sun rise and set from the sea, with nothing but water between you and the sun. We were lucky to witness some beautiful sunsets and sunrises whilst onboard our yacht and this was certainly a highlight of our week.
SNORKELLING & SWIMMING IN BEAUTIFUL BAYS
Turkey’s crystal clear waters are breathtaking and you won’t take any convincing to dive in! The beautiful waters of the Mediterranean are some of the most stunning we’ve seen in all our travels and to be able to swim and snorkel in a number of different bays every single day of our trip was an experience we’ll never forget.
As we’ve mentioned just a few times we loved the food on board our boat. Every meal was created using the freshest and highest quality ingredients and was beautifully presented. There was more than enough food ensuring no one went hungry at any time and there was a great variety of food! We loved one day when Ramazan went spear fishing and came back with a huge octopus and 8 fish for dinner that night which were cooked up on the BBQ! It truly doesn’t get fresher than that!
SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES
We stopped on a number of small islands in gorgeous little towns where we could shop at local markets and pick up fantastic little locally made souvenirs. One of our favourite moments from the week was when we were all relaxing on deck and a local man came up to our yacht in his little boat that was filled with gorgeous Turkish towels and goods! Everyone loves to support local business and we were so impressed with his initiative that we all bought some of his beautiful towels which have made fantastic gifts for people at home!
Our crew were truly fantastic and we could not be anymore grateful to them for ensuring every aspect of our week sailing around Turkey was perfect! It was a week we will never forget and if you book a Neyzen Yachting holiday and sail on Nikola then we promise you will be in great hands!
Our week sailing around Turkey with Neyzen Yachting was without a doubt one of the highlights of our travels to date and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them! Neyzen were one of the most professional, thorough and highest quality companies we’ve ever travelled. They’ve just started a Greek Islands sailing route and we’re trying our hardest to plan a trip back to Europe next summer so we can book a cabin on this exciting new route, and hopefully on Nikola again!
Have we inspired you to visit Turkey or to book a sailing holiday?
Be sure to check our Neyzen Yachting and let us know! x
Want to read more travel posts on Turkey?
Istanbul, Bodrum, Aphrodisias, Ephesus, Hierapolis & Pamukkale, Assos, Troy, Pergamon, Gallipoli.