Turkey – Ege Denizi, Aegean, Turquoise Coast, western coast of Turkey

The Aegean coast of Turkey is often referred to as the Turquoise coast (although the term primarily refers to the western as opposed to southern portions). The western coast is filled with numerous bays and inlets, a vast portion of which are dotted with ancient ruins dating back to the times of Alexander the Great and earlier. Due to the climate a lot of the ruins are in good condition for their age, most are accessible by foot, bicycle, dolmuş or rental car. Modern harbour facilities ranging from anchorages to fishing harbours to full service marinas dot the coast, providing a large variety of options for the cruising yacht.

Pilot Books

The standard English language reference for the Aegean coast of Turkey (in fact all the Turkish coasts) is:

Turkish Waters and Cyprus Pilot by Rod Heikell (2013) published by Imray

Sailing Conditions

The predominate wind is the Meltemi which runs from north to south along the Turkish coast, reaching its greatest strength during July and August. Strengths are often sufficient to prevent any progress under sail being made in a northerly bearing. This introduces one of the paradoxes of cruising the Turkish coast (at least in a northerly direction) as the obvious thing to do is to head to the islands lying offshore. Use them for wind breaks and to tack against the wind. but unfortunately, with the exception of 2 islands, they are all in the country of Greece. Additionally where the islands are close to the Turkish coast, they channel the wind and increase it strength. As an example, the wind can run northerly up to 30 knots for weeks at a time between the Greek island of Khios and the Ceşme peninsula. Checking in and out of Turkey and Greece is both expensive and time consuming.

Aegean Sea (Ege Denizi) Moorages

We have listed the moorages from northwest to southeast (the same direction as the Meltemei blows…)

Kaleköy harbour (Gökçeada island)
Depth: >2m, minimum of 2.5m at entrance
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage, electricity, waters, fuel (by truck), provisions are about 4km away by dolmuş in centre of island
Description: harbour on north shore, moor alongside with fishing boats and other yachts, water and electricity on quay (may need long hoses and power cords), restaurants and hotels nearby. No ships papers requested.
Problems or Issues:
Anit Limani (Morto Bay) anchorage
Depth: 10m over weed with sandy spots
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage ashore, road leads to nearby town
Description: large bay SW of Turkish war memorial, good in fair weather, can have combination of NE swell from Dardanelles and NW breeze off land that makes anchoring impossible, yet on the Dardanelles at the same time, there was little wind of note.
Problems or Issues: can have contrary swell and breeze, holding can be problematic
Çanakkale marina
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: electricity, water, showers, laundry, fuel, provisioning
Description: a very friendly marina with reasonable prices run by the town; Çanakkale is a port of entry and the marina staff can make the clearance for a yacht (for a reaasonable price). Dolmuş available for Troy (Tuva in Turkish) – leaves from near the public market. Also busses to Gallipoli war memorial.
Problems or Issues:  Meltemi can set right into marina.
Bozcaada town harbour (Bozcaada island)
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage, electricity, rudimentary showers available for boats (shower head in a porta-cabin), fuel (by truck)
Description: The main town of the island of the same name. Old castle above the harbour. A daily tour is available to go to the western extremity to watch the sunset, leaves from outside the harbour road. In 2015 a beached ship was located on the south side of the island.
Problems or Issues: Multiple signs warn against using anchor in harbour due to fouled bottom.
Camlik Burnu anchorage (Bozcaada island)
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: none
Description: Anchorage area near the beached ship on south side of Bozcaada island. According to legend, this is where the attack fleet destined for Troy marshaled and prepared. Well sheltered from meltemi.
Problems or Issues:
Babakale harbour
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage, electricity, water, limited provisioning in town
Description: harbour of refuge with deep water (3-4m) and high breakwaters. Small village above the harbour with 3 mini-markets and a castle offering views out to Bozcaada and Lesvos. Large quay with concrete area has service pods, but trawler fishing boats seem to have priority for these. Although the harbour had been upgraded recently there didn’t seem to be provision of electricity or water – perhaps unfinished?
Problems or Issues:
Sivrice anchorage
Depth: 8-10m over sand with weed
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage and small store ashore
Description: A large sweeping bay east of Babakale and west of Assos. Safe anchorage for predominant northerly wind. Weed and sand bottom.
Problems or Issues: The wind can switch 180 degrees and blow off the sea, leaving the anchorage quite exposed.
Behramkale harbour (Assos ruins)
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: electricity, water, WiFi, a cold shower on the swimming beach, a small mini-market for some foodstuffs
Description: An old (i.e. not modern) harbour built on top of an ancient harbour. Moorage on the starboard side when entering is filled up with local and fishing boats. On the portside the moorage is associated with the various hotels and restaurants. Maringret stayed at the first, operated by Nazlihan hotel. Food is very good, and no charge is made for services if you eat at the hotel. Dolmuş to Assos (which is immediately above the harbour on the cliff top) operates from the tea shop on the road out of the harbour. Dolmuş will take you close to the entrance of the upper ruins (with Temple of Athena), afterwords, walk down the road to the middle ruins (the largest portion), then continue down to the lower ruins where the ampitheatre is located. Either flag down a dolmuş or continue walking downhill to return to the harbour.
Problems or Issues:
Ali Bey harbour
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage, electricity, water, pay toilets, provisioning
Description: first harbour on portside when exiting from Ayvalik entrance channel. Possibility to moor against boats in boat yards, or anchor, or bow to against quay in front of fisherman’s cooperative (leftmost restaurant before ship yard starts). Rather expensive given that only electricity and water are available (pay to use toilets are also available). Ali Bey is also known as Cunda. Bus and dolmuş service into Ayvalik proper.
Problems or Issues:
Ayvalik marina
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: water, electricity, WiFi, showers, garbage, laundry, fuel
Description: €40 per night
A Setur marina with the usual services, a chandlery with limited selection and a Migros food store. The fish market is just past the Migros and the fuel station on the walk into town. Across from the fish mongers is a restaurant which will cook up anything you buy in the market, a menu is also available. Excellent food (unless the waiter is cooking who is the youngest of the men working there). Bus and dolmuş service into Ayvalik. A great place to visit Pergama from, the minibus is hourly and stops right in front of the bus stop outside the Migros food store. Ayvalik tourist office is across the road walking away from town. Market day is Thursday.
Problems or Issues:
Çamlik anchorage
Depth: >2m, rarely over 6m, over mud
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage, bus and dolmuş ashore, Şok food store up right hand road leading away from water
Description: The large anchorage south and then east of the main Ayvalik waterway, city bus and dolmuş service from road at top of bay, across from restaurant and camp ground. Very good all-round shelter.
Problems or Issues:
Kumru Bükü anchorage
Depth: 6-8m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: none
Description: The large anchorage south and then west of the main Ayvalik waterway, road runs around southerly part, and services would requires a longish walk.
Problems or Issues:
Ciplak Adasi anchorage (Ciplak island)
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: none
Description: Ciplak Adasi (Turkish for Naked Island), southernmost island at Ayvalik archipelago entrance, sheltered bay on southern end, very friendly seasonal tea shop ashore. A good place to stop over when crossing between Turkey and Greece.
Problems or Issues:
Bademli anchorage
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: none
Description: Lovely white sands between two islands, approach and anchor from the south. Boats entering from the north may need to pay to be dragged off.
Problems or Issues:  Very shallow at north end
Nergis Limani anchorage
Depth: 10m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: none
Description: A nicely isolated anchorage, surrounded by nature. And fleets of boats from Teos and Alaçati marinas. Most of the boats are day trippers and seem to go home with the sunset. One of few anchorages with protection for southerlies.
Problems or Issues:
Teos Marina
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: water, electricity, WiFi, showers, garbage, provisioning
Description: €62 per night
Modern marina, small village with services outside. Shopping facility attached to marina had 15 or so offerings in 2015 but was empty except for Migros and 2 restaurants in 2016. Most expensive marina for Maringret outside of Istanbul (TL192), were not able to use the WiFi, water and electricity are extra. Ancient Teos ruins described under Teos anchorage.
Problems or Issues:
Teos anchorage
Depth: 8-10m over sand
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage ashore
Description: One of the best anchorages in the Kuşadasi Korfezi (Bay). Boats on bouy and anchor (as well as two sunken boats), protected against waves on all sides, winds will tend to be north or south due to high ridge separating anchorage from open water. Dinghy ashore to walled village where all the main Turkish food stores have an outlet (which are immediately inland from the walled village). Not much else though (not even a hardware store). Ruins of ancient Teos are south from the village by foot. Some restorative and interpretive efforts have been made but much is left as it is, some not excavated. Teos was a harbour town but no effort seems to have been made to recover the harbour – in fact it may be covered by summer houses.
Problems or Issues:  some sunken wrecks
Kuşadasi Marina (more information as a wintering location)
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: water, electricity, WiFi, showers, garbage, provisioning, laundry, chandlery
Description: €48 per night
– Setur marina with usual services, a Migros food store.
Problems or Issues: It was the first Turkish marina where we could not drink the water. It seemed to depend on which tanker truck had most recently filled up the resevoir. Not what one expects for the money the marina charges.
Çukercuk anchorage
Depth: 10m over sand
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage ashore
Description: Good overnight anchorage when moving up and down the coast, close to the coast without going all the way into Didim.
Problems or Issues:
east of Didim Marina anchorage
Depth: 8m over sand
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: none
Description: secure anchorage to the east of the entrance of Didim Marina
Problems or Issues:
Asin Limani anchorage (Iassus ruins)
Depth: 6-7m over sand and mud
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage and mini-market ashore
Description: Harbour layout is as described in Heikell. Differences in May 2016 are: quay is taken up with local yachts, each on their anchor and a pickup line. Spacing prevents anyone going between. W end of quay has very large fish farm boat alongside, undergoing maintenance, grinding in preparation for painting. S wind was blowing steel dust onto quay. Some bouys are strategically placed to foul any anchoring space. Maringret found it preferable (and safer) to anchor on the east side of ruins in 6-7m on sand and mud. Exposed to south but good shelter for other directions. Dinghy ashore to view ruins of Iassus.
Problems or Issues:  The harbour is not inviting while the anchorage to the east has a lot of space.
Gümüslük anchorage (Myndos ruins)
Depth: 15m with problems avoiding mooring buoys
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage and food stores ashore
Description: Shallow head of bay is now peppered with dedicated mooring buoys – making it hard to anchor without going into 15m depths. Boats 10m from each other. Not much left of ancient Myndos, 15m length of old wall up near flagpole was all we found. Pounding music from restaurants turns off at 2 AM so you can sleep after that.
Problems or Issues:
Aspat Köyü anchorage
Depth: 10m with poor holding
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage ashore
Description: North bay now has a day resort at the creek mouth, bouyed off swimming area, permanent dock, water toy rental. And booming sound system.
Problems or Issues: Meltemi was strong enough to start 3m water spouts, holding not so good.
Gumbet anchorage (Bodrum)
Depth: Anchor in 8m over sand & weed with indifferent holding – dragged 15 times
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage and food stores ashore
Description: Dolmuş runs through Gumbet and then after 10 minutes is in Bodrum, terminating at the dolmuş terminal. Walk down the street to the harbour and the excellent Marine Archeological Museum which is located in the castle.
Problems or Issues: Much of the shoreline is bouyed off for swimming areas for the resorts, making it hard to land a dinghy. Lots of noise from nightclubs at night until 4AM, they generate a wall of industrial sound. Every type of water craft, all run by inexperienced people (most worryingly in the case of jet skis).
Bodrum anchorage east of castle
Depth: 8m with intermittent holding
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage and food stores ashore
Description: Probably the loudest anchorage we have encountered. At about midnight they float out the floating disco Club Catamaran and it blasts away until it is time for the first call for prayer. It is so loud you can not yell over top of it.
Note: the the Bodrum Marina is on the other side of the castle and must be at the same volume once the disco starts up.
Problems or Issues: Poof the cat could not get to sleep with the disco Club Catamaran 50m in front of us. She stayed up watching the laser disco balls until they shut down.
Barbaros Bay (unnamed on charts) (36° 59.527’N  27° 30.887’E)
Depth: 8-10m over sand
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage and dolmuş to Bodrum ashore.
Description: This bay seems to have been overlooked by Heikell and consequently has no foreign yachts in it. Excellent holding in sand in 8m. A long beach with Club Med at the east end, some sort of hotel (with a dock) at the west end. This is a busy weekend beach. The Meltemi comes NW down the valley and blows you off the beach but there is no fetch. There are 2 anchorages side by side for shelter from westerly or northlery winds
Problems or Issues:
Note on Navionics charts for Gokeva Korfezi
In 2016 we found the Navionics depths along the north shore of the Gokeva Korfezi to be completely imaginary. Where they marked shallow areas for anchorages there were 40m of water, other places the marked as 50m were less than 10m. The land contours seemed to be accurate (from what we could tell) but the depths were completely wrong in all of the 5 bays we went into.
Ören marina
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: water, electricity, WiFi, showers, garbage
Description: €20 per night
A Migros Jet in the marina. 20 minutes walk into the village gives you BIM, Şok, A-101, Migros – all on the same street. The village is focussed on domestic tourism and although interesting does not offer a lot in the way of variety. Can take dolmuş to Bodrum, Muğla, Marmaris.
Problems or Issues:
Castle Island anchorage
Depth: 6m over mud & sand
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage ashore
Description: filled with day-tripper boats, mostly empty at night, exposed to northerlies
Problems or Issues: can be noisy and hectic when the day-tripper boats descend
English Harbour anchorage
Depth: 12m over sand & mud
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage ashore, limited provisioning at store in restaurants
Description: large open bay south of English Harbour proper
Problems or Issues: rumours abound that this area will be closed for security due to the new Presidential Residence being built.
Mersençik anchorage
Depth: 8m over sand
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: none – there appears to be a village ashore
Description: As described by Heikell, some find it stunningly beautiful with the peaks above, others will find it boring (there weren’t even any lights ashore).
Problems or Issues:
Knidos dock
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage and toilets ashore, water and electricity on the timber dock didn’t work.
Description: 50TL per night
Timber dock for 6 to 8 boats moored alongside present all year – 2 floating extensions are added in the summer to make a ‘T’ shaped dock. Charge of 50TL is made if you don’t eat at the restaurant which had no menu and no price list when Maringret visited.
Problems or Issues: Restaurant manager was awkward to deal with. Next time we will anchor and dinghy ashore.
Knidos anchorage
Depth: 8m over sand, very little weed
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage, toilets ashore
Description: Striking setting for the anchorage, inside what was ancient Knidos, dinghy ashore and enjoy the ruins.
Problems or Issues: wind can shift dramatically in anchorage through the night
Datça anchorage (north bay)
Depth: 10-12m with patches of sand and weed
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage and food stores ashore
Description: Excellent holding in north bay if your anchor touches down on a sand patch. Concrete quay for day boats and small fishing boats offers easy dinghy tie up. BIM, Şok, A-101,Migros are all ashore and located on the (main) street running behind the sea front restaurants. Near the south bay there are 2 yachts agents, Knidos Yachting on the quay will clear you in/out for 300TL. A lovely town focussed on domestic tourism.
Problems or Issues:
Orhaniye anchorage
Depth: 10m sand & mud
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage ashore, pay showers at head of sand spit (where the rent-a-camel is), moderately good provisioning (Migros Jet & A-101 opened up in 2019), intermittent chandlery ashore
Description: hourly (in season) dolmuş to Bozburun and Marmaris, chandlery – open somewhat erratic hours; a variety of restaurants where you can pay to stay on the quay
Problems or Issues:
Bozburun anchorage
Depth: 8m over sand – bottom depth varies greatly
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage ashore, limited provisioning
Description: Bozburun is port of entry, there are agents available
Problems or Issues: erratic bottom depth seems not to be recorded on charts
Turunç buoys
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities:
Description: In a NW wind this is a channel for the wind and solid white caps, we could not enter and so never found out if the mooring buoys described by others were still there.
Problems or Issues:

Marmaris
Marmaris serves as the centre for yachting in Turkey. The greatest selection of chandlers in the closest proximity combined with a variety of marinas and anchorages in a picturesque setting.

One chandler that was especially helpful was Kürşad across from the tennis courts behind Netsel Marina (it has the large selection of anchors, chain and bouys outside and it’s sign actually reads Polisan (the Turkish paint company)).

For those who don’t feel like paying €100 for a boat tour to Caunos and the Lydian Tombs and listening to hit music from the 1980s all day, a dolmuş (TL13 and 90 minutes) runs from Marmaris to Ortaca and then a second dolmuş to Dalyan (TL 3.50 and 20 minutes). In Dalyan the dolmuş stops 50m from the river, walk along the quay packed with daytrip boats to the down river end, where you will find rowing boats to take you across the river (TL5 return). The day Maringret went all the rowers were women. The rowing boats are sponsored by the local Belidiyesi (town council) but are almost pushed out by the commercial daytrip boats. Once across the river follow the laid brick road, past the cemetery, there is an access point for viewing the Lydian Tombs immediately after it. Then continue along the brick road to the ruins of ancient Caunos, you will pass through various organic farm projects, below the Lydian tombs high in the cliff above. There are various stands selling local produce (in season).

When we tried to change our Transit Log, the Marmaris Harbour Master’s office insisted on us using an agent – so we didn’t.

Marmaris – Castle anchorage
Depth: 12-14m over sand
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage ashore, good provisioning
Description: good general shelter
Problems or Issues: Anchor west of the gulets on the town quay; anchorable depths are close in to shore and can be crowded in season; difficult to land dinghy (no dinghy dock); dinghies may be landed at the mouth of the drainage canal on the public beach, local boats are both moored afloat and pulled ashore there. It is right beside the water toys rental outlet.
Note: this anchorage is completely open to southeasterly weather which can be very rough
Marmaris – Joya Marina (formerly Pupa Yat) anchorage
Depth: 12m over sand
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage and dolmuş ashore
Description: good protection for southeasterly weather; dolmuş to Marmaris or Yat Marin marina (chandlery)
alternately anchorage is available west of the Yat Marin entrance
Problems or Issues: anchorable depths are close in to shore; difficult to land dinghy
Kapi Creek docks
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage, toilets, showers ashore
Description: What was once a secluded anchorage is now a packed (30 boats or more) docking exercise for all the charter boats that come in on their 7-day rentals. Be forewarned, your boat may be their next target. One boat had an anchor dragged down it’s topsides while we were there – the skipper was livid and the charter boat simply motored away. We never tried the restaurant as we spent all our time onboard fending off large floating objects with anchors on their bows.
Problems or Issues:
Fethiye anchorage and marinas
Depth: 12m over mud
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage and provisioning ashore
Description: There are some marinas which seemed to be pricey in that they wouldn’t give us prices unless we brought the boat in. The main anchorage is outside the Sahil Güvenlik (coast guard) station. There is place to land a dinghy between the Sahil Güvenlik station and the Yes marina. The only dolmuş passing towards town will take you to the Lydian Tombs. The otogar (bus station) is near the tombs (a couple of blocks) and has dolmuş running to the deserted town of Karaköy. The Tourist Information is a short walk towards town from the marinas.
Problems or Issues:
Kaş marina
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: water, electricty, showers, laundry service, fuel, provisioning, possibly WiFi
Description: €40 per night
very friendly staff
Ali Baba car rental in town
BIM, Şok, A-101,Migros, Carrefours
Problems or Issues:  very short pickup lines
certain winds can set into the bay and bring heavy waves
Kaş anchorage
Depth: 8m, good holding
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage ashore
Description: dinghy ashore to the road running out the peninsula where there are various day boats moored and a number of trails up to the road.
Problems or Issues: certain winds can set into the bay and bring heavy waves

 

Kekova Roads Polemus Bükü anchorage
Depth: 10m over mud
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: none
Description: 2 restaurants with docks at end of bay – neither operating
some gulets and day boats
Problems or Issues:

 

Kekova Roads Uçağiz limani anchorage (west of village docks)
Depth: 10m over mud
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage ashore, limited provisioning
Description:
Problems or Issues:
Kekova Uçağiz limani anchorage (east of village docks)
Depth: 7m over thin mud
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage ashore, limited provisioning
Description: good protection; ruins and castle to view
Problems or Issues:
Kekova Roads Gökaya limani anchorage
Depth: 10m over mud
Air Draft: unlimited on south entrance, >18m on east entrance
Facilities: none
Description: The remains of 2 former restaurants with stone quays; some gulets and day boats. The steel support line from the electrical lines is still in place to the island (spanning the east entrance), very hard to see as the black coated copper wire is long gone. Maringret sailed under it so it is above 18m.
Problems or Issues:  Can get bouncy with SE winds.

© The contents of this site are the copyright property of the authors.  Visitors may read, copy, or print any material for their own use, free of charge.  No material printed or copied from this site, electronically or in any other form, may be sold or included in any work to be sold without explicit permission from the authors.