Bodrum is an important city and popular holiday destination. With its extensive marina facilities, it's also a major gateway to the Carian Coast, some of the best sailing waters in the Mediterranean, providing all the pleasures that come with chartering a boat in Turkey. Bodrum is a lively place to visit with historical interest, and you can easily spend a day there. But once your boat is provisioned you won't want to linger long; the beautiful Gulf of Gokova awaits.
There are several daily flights between Istanbul and Bodrum, making the city on the Gulf of Gokova a most convenient stepping off point for your sailing holiday. The Gulf itself is extensive. But if you have an adventurous crew, before exploring it you may want to consider sailing upwind across the Gulf of Güllük to the historic settlement of Didim (Didyma). This is the Aegean Sea, somewhat more exposed to the Meltemi wind than the rest of the Turquoise Coast.
On this course you will sail close by the Greek islands of Kos and Kalimnos. In fact Kos guards the entrance to the Gulf of Gokova, making a side trip to the Dodecanese (with appropriate formalities done) easy to do, if time allows. An alternative port on the Turkish mainland is Turutreis, which along with nearby bays offers good shelter, the coast here backed by steep mountains.
North to ancient Didyma (optional)
Didum and its surroundings will appeal to those wishing to visit more secluded spots, and if interested in some Greek history. It's a short distance from the marina to the Temple of Apollo, one of the Ancient World's most sacred places. As you sail further into the Gulf, you will come across small towns and villages with sheltered anchorages where life goes on as it has for centuries.
Allow four to five days to Didim and return, longer if sailing via any of the Greek islands. Once back in the Gulf of Gokova, the sailing is smooth and there are numerous lovely bays to visit. Here's where most people on seven-day charter out of Bodrum will spend their holiday.
Sailing in the Gulf of Gokova
On the north side of the Gulf, Orak Island is a popular first port of call, especially for the clear waters and good snorkelling. Further on, the fishing village of Cokertme is worth visiting, at which point you can decide to continue eastwards up the Gulf to the ancient village of Keremos (Oren), seculuded English harbour or fascinating Cleopatra's Island. Or cross directly to the beautiful Seven Islands (Yedi Adalar). There is a wide choice of anchorages among these islets, which lie close to the mainland.
Sailing west now, you are cruising the northern side of the Dacta Peninsular, much of it inaccessible by road. Along here the most convenient places to spend a night may be Kormen, Mersincik and Knidos, all of which have great seafood restaurants. Knidos is on the point of the peninsula, after which it will be back across the Gulf to conclude your charter in Bodrum.
There's a lot more to sailing the Gulf of Gokova, but on your holiday, time will fly by. Back in Bodrum, you will hopefully still have time to see the sights, including the Mausoleum of King Mausolus of Halicarnassus (died 353BCE), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.