Wednesday, September 10, 2014


As I have come from Greece, a country I know already pretty well, as well as most of the cruising grounds in the Med, probably will be of interest to some cruisers my opinion about Turkey as a cruising ground. It surely would have interested me before I went there to have more information about it and the one I had not always proved correct, at least from my view point.

I have heard that the Marmaris and Bodrum regions were very beautiful, more beautiful than Greece and that the Turks were very nice. I was also worried with that stupid law about black water and grey water (impossible to respect) and the need of emptying the black water tank on special stations on very expensive marinas, instead of emptying it far away from the shore.
Regarding this last concern I have to say that even if I had passed 15 days cruising Turkey and though I had to buy the famous blue card (to register black tanks pumped out) I never went to a pumping station (they are available only in expensive marinas) and I did not have any problem with it, neither was I asked to show it when I checked out, maybe because I did not check out on the Marmaris or Bodrum area.

There is one thing definitively better in Turkey, compared to Greece: the food. Better and less expensive, much less expensive if you go out of the tourism zone and eat with the locals, there a varied delicious meal can cost as little as 5 Euros. Of course you will not drink beer or wine (sometime they don’t have it at all) and drink water or tea (as the locals).
Keçi Buku

On the market the variety of food is also bigger (and cheaper) with some delicious stuff around. The Greek wine is nothing special but it is not expensive and they have good beer (Fix), the Turks have only expensive wines that don’t deserve their price and the best beer is the Tuborg (made in Turkey) . Both things are very expensive in restaurants.
If you do like us and adapt to the local costumes you will find that their tea (sold in 1kg packages) is very strong and tasty as well as inexpensive (sometimes is just offered).
About the cruising grounds the surprise for me was that on the Marmaris and Bodrum zone there are more charters (and a huge number of gullets) compared with the nearby Greek Dodecanese Islands, incomparably more than on the Cyclades and even more than on the Greek Ionian. I don’t know how but in what concerns mass tourism and charters the Turks are clearly beating the Greeks. That was another surprise for me.

They have more and better marinas (more expensive) and less small town ports were you can stay on the quay.

The landscape around Marmaris and Bodrum is magnificent, the number of coves, bays and natural ports is huge (very small distance among them), the wind is less strong than on the Greek Islands and it would be truly perfect if not for the number of boats everywhere.
Don’t make me wrong, it is not like Croatia were sometimes it is very difficult to find a place to anchor, in Turkey they use mostly an anchor and ropes tying the boat transom to land and that allows for many boats using a cove…but I just don’t like it, I mean being surrounded by boats, many of them charters and gullets with a big and noisy bunch of tourists inside.

So if you like solitude and more peaceful ambiances skip the zones near Marmaris and Bodrum.

Kuruca Buku
Datça region, between the two is much better, as beautiful and with a lot less boats. I went up till near Izmir and though the anchorages are more spaced I found some beautiful and lonely ones, sometimes plagued with garbage that no one picks and the Turks that are very nice on the Tourism areas here eye you with a different look, like if you are not really welcomed, you know, you say good day and someone just looks at you with a blank stare, that kind of thing. Also while on the tourism areas almost all women dress occidental clothes and use bikinis, here most are completely hidden up on traditional Muslim vests and went to bath with them.

Turkey is an odd country with two conflicting cultures, an urban one, clearly Occidentalised and a rural one, strongly Muslim, I mean the kind where you see almost everybody praying on their knees facing Meca at the prescribed hours.

To make things even more confusing my departing port was Çesme that I thought it was a small town with a small Marina. Yes it is a small town but a big marina (Camper & Nicholson) with an incredible quantity of high end shops and restaurants.

You would not believe the crowds that gather at night to eat on the many fancy and expensive restaurants and to enjoy the night…and to my surprise they were almost all Turks and of course these ones are not “fundamentalists”.

So, did I prefer Turkey? Yes for the food, no for the rest of it. In Turkey you feel that those tourist places are created expressly for foreigners and very rich Turks while there is a huge difference in income to the average population that would not have the means to frequent them.

Kazikli Limani
Those places, as well as the global architecture and urbanism for  tourists and privileged is way better than in Greece You can also note that those places are maintained very clean by an incredible number of workers that are always on duty. When you go out of those spots the difference is huge and nobody cares about garbage, not the people, not the nearby town, not the state.

Comparing to Turkey I find Greece more interesting and with a less outrageous difference between the privileged and the average.
Even if most of the islands clearly live from tourism, contrary to Turkey the diversity on offer is much bigger and while in Turkey big investment tourism developments is the norm, in Greece it is the family business, on the small restaurants or on the shops that appear a bit everywhere in a very disorganized and free way.

You will find also this difference in what regards the offer of impeccable numerous high-end Turkish marinas (expensive) versus the many town quays available in all Greece (inexpensive but without a shower or WC).

It is all a question of personal taste, in what regards crowded or lonely anchorages, marinas or town quays (a big difference in money too) and in what regards my discomfort facing the luxury type of tourism among much poor populations that live very differently. This discomfort with big cultural and economic asymmetries in the local population is really a very personal thing since that situation is typical in most of the so called tourist paradises all around the world.


  1. Belas fotos. Ótima descrição. Continuação de boa viagem. Beijinhos a ambos

  2. I hadn't heard about the blue cards for black water before. Very interesting to hear about the regulations in that part of the world, especially as it is a place I hope of cruising one day!

  3. with the Med ahead of us (bit of a continent to sail around first), I'm always interested in the perspectives from others of how places compare. thanks for sharing your POV.

    1. If you want to find some more tips similar to the post about Turkey (with photos) you can just look on the blog on the months of August, September and October the post under the name: Alma's log. Alma, that means soul in Portuguese, is the name of my boat.

  4. We plan on cruising Turkey next year so your thoughts are more than welcome. I would like to see some out of the way places but I am worried by the fact that they have no beer!

    1. Out of the way places are many times deserted places and sometimes a bit scary. I stayed one night on a big and deserted deep cove that had only an odd house on it. At the middle of the night I heard an airplane. In the morning a brand new hydroplane was just in front of the odd house. I sailed away when they were taking off. Humm what the hell were they loading...scary

    2. No beer!!! Oh, dear, no idea......


    3. Some confusion here. You can find beer on the Supermarket, you can find beer on the restaurants for tourists. If you go to the restaurants were the Turks eat, you can have great food at incredible prices, kind of 5 times cheaper then on touristic places, but there you will not have beer, but water and tea. They offer that to you, according to their religion given a drink to the ones that are thirsty is an obligation...but not beer that can intoxicate your soul:-)
      Seriously, when I could find one of those local restaurants, I did't care for not having beer, just to enjoy the food and the warm of their welcoming. Didn't see any other "tourist" in any of them, maybe that's why they still are welcoming LOL

  5. It looks gorgeous! Out of interest, how much does it usually cost to stay in a marina, on the quay or just to anchor in the Med? I have heard conflicting stories of what to expect. We hope to buy a boat in the Med and spend some time there before sailing it back to New Zealand.

    1. I would like very much to sail in New Zealand...maybe one day. Regarding the med it is natural that you have heard conflicting stories because it is a big sea with many countries and things are not the same everywhere. I have sailed it extensively so I have a pretty good idea of what you ask but it would take too much time to answer completely so I would just give you a basic idea:
      On the Western Med, that includes Balearic Islands, Sicily, Sardignia, Corsica, Elba and Croatia the prices of marinas are very high. For a 12.5m boat 70 euros a day in the summer is cheap, most of the time goes to 100 and sometimes to 200. There are practically no ports where you could stay, only marinas and the anchorages are many times full (you don't pay for that on most places). On Croatia there are plenty of buoy fields. They take away the garbage and you pay about 25 euros a day. On Greece it is a paradise, specially on the Cyclades. Plenty of ports where you pay around 20 euros, marinas where you pay 35 and lots of anchorages with very few boats. That's windy but you should be used to that and makes the sun less hot. On Turkey plenty of places to anchor, some with many boats but always with a way to find a place, no ports and plenty marinas, less expensive then Western Med but more expensive then in Greece. The restaurants are less expensive though.
      Regarding all that and the boat as well as cheap marinas if you decide to come you can contact me through the email that is on top on the blog and I will see what I can do to help.