This is a guest post from Lauren DeGarmo
A Blue Cruise on the Mediterranean Sea should be a definite on your Turkey travel itinerary. It’s a perfect way to enjoy the crystal-clear turquoise waters and stunning coastline all while having loads of adventure and enjoying boat life with a great group of people.
Below are the 4 things that made a Blue Cruise one of the greatest experiences I had in Turkey…
Hands down the most thrilling thing I did on my Fethiye to Olympos blue cruise was paragliding over Oludeniz Beach.
Being moderately scared of heights, I really had to talk myself up to this one, and standing on the top of 2,000 meter high Babadag Mountain preparing to take the jump was one of the more challenging things I have pushed myself through as of late.
However, get past all that and you’re flying, baby, and it feels amazing! All fear is erased as you glide seamlessly through the air and your eyes soak in the gorgeous views of Oludeniz and the Blue Lagoon.
Also near Oludeniz is a great spot for cliff jumping (another test of my fear of heights), but I figure if I can jump off of a 2,000 meter mountain, this little rock into water action should be nothing. Well, not exactly.
A lovely Russian lady from the boat offered to video tape my jump. I am ashamed to admit there is a 2 minute video prior to the actual video of my jump where I am just standing looking down into the crystal clear waters questioning how much I truly value my life… but then, deep breath, push off, and I’m dropping into the turquoise of the Blue Lagoon. Truly epic.
Maybe not quite as crazy as the previous two, but I also have to mention hiking in Butterfly Valley. Although it was summer and there weren’t as many butterflies as I’d hoped, albeit there were still quite a few, the hike up to the waterfall was really exhilarating.
I shed my flip flops and took to the rock barefoot getting really connected to the earth. It’s a great little workout heading up to the top and the early afternoon sun created some great lighting through the rocks and water perfect for nature photo ops.
No matter what your idea of adventure is, the blue cruise has something for everyone. Every day we had plenty of opportunities to get out into the beautiful Mediterranean waters for swimming and snorkeling. Thankfully, there were also plenty of activity to help work off the booze and food as continued below…
The awesome people on the boat made for a lot of the great times that we all had, but from meeting lots of people from other boats along the way, it seems that great minds think alike and the cruises just attract super fun people.
For a couple of nights, we just stayed on the boat and danced the night away to some killer beats. We set up a beer pong table at one point and had a pretty epic tournament (my partner and I did not win, unfortunately, but it was great fun). After having our fill of crazy fun times, we all slept it off on the deck under the stars.
One of the best parties was when we anchored down near Gokkaya Bay and hit up a nearby bar called Smuggler’s Inn. There were loads of fellow travelers from other cruise boats and it was a blast meeting new people. Everyone got along really well and we danced and drank the night away under a sky full of stars. A night of so many laughs and good times, I truly could never forget!
Food on a Blue Cruise of Mediterranean Turkey
I never imagined that food would be in my top favorites from this cruise. I mean, we are on a boat, so exactly how delicious can the cooking be in a small boat kitchen?
Really freakin’ delicious, that’s how. I did my Blue Cruise Turkey with Alaturka, and I have to give them major props all around for their crew, itinerary, and especially to the chef.
When we left for the cruise, the crew said they hoped none of us were on a diet because there was no way we were going to lose weight while on this cruise, and they were right. I couldn’t stop eating the spectacular meals the chef whipped up.
Every morning starts with a classic Turkish breakfast which, I have to say, is the greatest thing in the world – why do we not do this in our own countries? I fully plan to adopt this style of brekkie in my own life post-Turkey, that’s for certain.
Lunch is also a delicious sampling of traditional Turkish foods – eggplant and peppers cooked in tomato sauce, yogurt –based dips, locally-sourced fresh veggies served with rice and breads. Yum. Every afternoon there is a cay break with tea and coffee served with some cookies and pastries – a great way to refuel with all the activity of the day.
And, last but certainly not least, is BBQ dinners. The chef grilled up some mouthwatering freshly caught fish, lamb chops, and much more. The dinners were honestly some of the best food I’ve had and that’s saying something because I have eaten a lot of Turkish food in my day.
So yeah, no weight loss happened on the trip…but maybe with all the activities I came out even?
History and Culture
One of the historical highlights of the trip was cruising around the Sunken City, an ancient town that dates back 2,000 years to the Lycian period and was later destroyed by an earthquake. Now a World Heritage site, you can’t swim in the waters there, but cruising over it you still get some pretty cool views. T
he best part was going on land in Kekova and climbing up to Simena Castle, a well-preserved castle built by the Knights of Rhodes. Inside, don’t miss the smallest, cutest amphitheater in the world. The views from the top of the Sunken City, surrounding islands and Lycian tombs to the south were spectacular. Lots of photo ops here.
There are loads of opportunities to take in beautiful Turkish culture while on the cruise, but one of my favorites was when we stopped in Kas, a small fishing village.
I’m not super into shopping, but they had some of the most beautiful handcrafted jewelry here among many other locally made crafts and clothing. It was a surprising treat. Once you’ve shopped until you drop, there are several cute local cafes lining the streets where you can stop in to enjoy a Turkish coffee and some baklava.
St. Nicolas Island was also a great place combining a bit of history with one of the most magical sunsets of the trip. On the island are several churches dating back between 4th and 6th centuries AD, and what archaeologists believe is the location of the original tomb of St. Nicholas.
Mosey on up to the top, enjoying the historical ruins on your way, and find a spot to settle in as the sun paints the sky and sea below and slowly melts into the sloping hills in the background.
Written by Lauren DeGarmo for Alaturka Cruises