The Blue Cruise along the Turquoise Coast is on most people’s must-do Turkish itinerary. Ian Knight and Jessica Sunter caught their boat in Demre, first stopping for a couple of nights at the former hippie hangout of Olympos.
We took an overnight bus from Cappadocia to Antalya and the trip was a little crazy because it is very mountainous and the bus kept going around and around in circles. It was hard to sleep. Then we caught a bus to Olympos, which is probably best known for the so-called tree houses where people stay. They’re like little cabins. We liked the place, probably because we had no expectations.
Most people staying there seem to be backpackers. Some go to rock-climb, others rent bikes or do yoga. We just hung out. There is this main drag where the cabins are and if you keep walking down the road you’re at a beach with ancient ruins. The beach is pebbly, not sandy, and not at all crowded. The ruins are interesting and you’re able to just walk around and explore them on your own. It’s known for its turtles. We just walked up a hill and there was an enormous turtle just sitting on top of this ancient wall.
It is quite inexpensive to stay there and the atmosphere is good. Dinner was provided at our guesthouse and at 8:00pm each evening they would ring the dinner bell and we would all find a place at a picnic table or on a traditional Turkish sofa. After dinner a big bonfire was built and everyone would hang out around it.
The term Blue Cruise is used generally to describe sailing excursions along the Turkish Riviera. Our cruise started in Demre, which an hour or so drive from Olympos. It is probably a short distance ‘as the crow flies’, but in Turkey you always seem to be scaling mountains and that takes time. The drive is beautiful though.
Our cruise was for four days and each day we would stop somewhere along the coast and then at night would anchor in a calm harbour where we could swim. There were 10 guests on our boat, four Australians, four Canadians, one guy from France, and a young American from Texas. There was quite a variation in age. We had our own room and bathroom. During the day we all hung out on the deck. There were four crew and they usually stayed below deck.
You can’t see a lot from the boat, mostly just hills and bushes. The sunken city of Kekova was to be a highlight but there is nothing to see because the city is under the water. You can’t even swim or scuba dive there. So you just stay in the boat and are told that what you have come to see you can’t see!
We had a good time shopping in the fishing village of Kas though and visiting ruins along the coast.
We really enjoyed Butterfly Valley. It’s this tiny cove with mountains on both sides and a beautiful beach. In fact, it is one of the few sandy beaches that we saw. It’s named after the butterflies that are there at certain times of the year. There is no road in so you either have to climb a mountain or take a boat to get there. People stay in tents. We arrived really early in the morning and had enough time to have a swim and hike up to the waterfalls before day-trippers from nearby resorts started coming over in boats with music blasting. Suddenly it seemed like we were in Cancun. We could have spent more time there.
That was our last excursion and the cruise ended at Fethiye Harbour.
- Riding a hot-air balloon over Cappadocia, Turkey
- Olympos and the Mediterranean coast, Turkey
- Turkey from Fethiye to Istanbul
This interview with Ian Knight and Jessica Sunter has been edited and condensed
Photo credits Ian Knight and Jessica Sunter
© Riding the buses 2013