Originally Published on The Traveling Jar
Turkey – a far away land, not generally understood by the average traveler. Mostly, Istanbul comes to mind. It is a first-class city being torn from tradition, with “red alerts” issued by the government as “unsafe” to travel to. Don’t be afraid of what your government may say about it, go if your heart desires and live your life without regrets!
I digress, and back to the Turquoise Coast, folks. The Turkish coastline that sits across from Greece, bordering the Aegean sea and Mediterranean, is regarded as a cultural treasure trove that provides travelers with a fascinating mix of history, a mythological, ancient past, and beautiful scenery, with great food and a nightlife to boot.
I was too tired from my action packed days to do much at night other than a glass of wine (Turkish wine is actually quite good), but if you’re looking for nightlife, head to the city of Bodrum. You can also find many options in the city of Antalya, one of Turkey’s largest resort cities and most populace.
Our trip took us aboard a gulet – a traditional Turkish fishing boat. We sailed the turquoise seas with a group of people. We went Oversea Adventure, so there was a captain, crew, and handful of travelers along with us.
We sailed down the coastline through the teeny islands covered in vegetation, poking out of misty sea salty waters, unlike anything I had ever seen.
We swam in the crystal clear waters, snorkeled to catch our nightly meal (fresh fish or octopus), hiked into ancient cities, sunned on the deck of our gulet, uncovered pristine coves, and tiny villages with the friendliest people you could imagine, and explored half-submerged ancient cities.
It was an experience I will never forget.
Beyond fun in the sun, there is some serious history on the turquoise coast. Nerd it up! Make sure to stop at Ephesus or as the Turks call it Efes (yes, like the Turkish beer). If there’s one ancient city you need to see, it’s this! Efes is the best-preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean.
You can spend an entire day here if you’re a real ruin buff, but if your interest is slight then a few hours will suffice.
In addition to Efes, there are dozens more ancient ruins to see. We visited Myra, which was incredibly beautiful. It was a leading city of the Lycian Union and in early Byzantine times.
Pictured above are ruins that I saw while we were in the Gulf of Fethiye traveling through by boat. Fethiye is a great option if you’re interested in seeing ruins because you are able to see the ruins from the city center while traveling by foot, car, or boat. Many travelers opt to do cruises so that you’re able to combine the ruins with nature. The city of Fethiye is also home to the ancient city of Telmessos. Telmessos was the most important city of Lycia, with a recorded history starting in 5th Century B.C., and its ruins, the Hellenistic theater as well as many rock cut ruins, can be seen in the city of Fethiye.
Remember to challenge yourself daily while you’re living it up on the Turkish coast. Do something outside of your comfort zone, whether that’s diving for an octopus, bartering for a scarf, or trying a Turkish food that you have never eaten before. Do what makes you happy, be safe, and enjoy the many jewels along the turquoise coast!