from Greece to Turkey (Leros to Keci Buku)
is an example of a typical itinerary on our
two week Greece to Turkey trips. However, no
two trips are ever exactly the same; one of
the greatest things about being on a sailboat
is the flexibility to change our minds and our
route to suit personal preferences, prevailing
wind conditions, etc. The start and finish points
are fixed, of course - but all else is changeable
according to the whims of the wind gods and
those on board
Your yacht will be awaiting you at 11am in Lakki,
the main harbour on the west coast of Leros. We'll
have drinks, boat chat and show you the ropes - time
to settle in before we sail for our first destination.
Dependent on the winds - our first port of call is
usually Lipsos - the island of the 42 blue-domed churches.
It's a quiet, very untouristy island; the harbour
is a typical, whitewashed little Greek town; a photographers'
dream in the village! To cool off, there is a lovely
little sandy beach, just over the hill from where
we moor the boats, and a great hike along a little
goat track to the point, with amazing views to the
other islands. Sail time, approx 3-4hrs
Given calm conditions, we may be able to stop for
a late breakfast at Macronisi - a collection of
stunning rocks and cliff faces, just outside the
entrance to Lipsos harbour. The water is a bright
turquoise, perfect for snorkelling; and for the
brave, there is an underwater cave swim-through!
Duly refreshed, we'll set sail for Marathi. - If
you could paint a picture of the perfect, idyllic
island retreat, Marathi would be it - a tiny island
with a sandy, horseshoe-shaped beach, and more beautiful
water to swim and snorkel in. There are just two
families living here; wonderfully friendly and hospitable
people. The food is incredible too !! This place
is a magical balm for the stressed-out city-living
soul...so much so that it's often been hard to persuade
people that, really, we should leave, there are
other islands to visit ! Sail time, approx 3hrs.
Sail to Patmos - a short hop of only a couple of
hours. This is the famous monastery island - in
fact is supposedly the second most important religious
centre for Greek Orthodoxy in the world! This is
where St John (as of Apostle fame) was inspired
by visions to write the Book of Revelations; where
the 10th century monastery (built by Crusader Knights)
reigns over the island, still an active training
centre for novice monks. The village that lies at
the foot of the monastery is everyone's romantic
image of what a Greek village should be like; incredibly
narrow, winding alleyways, cats sunning themselves
on whitewashed streets, old ladies in black collecting
fresh bread from the bakery in the morning. Despite
all the visitors they now get, these villagers have
remained wonderfully friendly; particularly if you
go up there in the early morning hours; the old
ladies will look at you in faint amazement that
a foreigner should find their way up there at such
an hour; if you can remember enough of our Greek
lessons to say "kalimera!" (good morning),
they'll give you a huge smile and a "kalimera-sas"
back (good morning to you too) !
We'll spend most of the day in Patmos.... there's
so much to do and see here, we could spend a week
and still not be bored ! It's a great place to rent
little 50cc scooters and explore; or mountain bikes
for the more energetic; or join us for a hike to
a really cool, sandy "clothing-optional"
beach which even has surf at times! For those who
love a little nightlife, the more modern port of
Skala offers plenty of choices; tavernas, bars and
chance to dance the night away for those so inclined
late afternoon for Arki - another relatively short
hop. Arki is another of our real tiny, traditional
islands... there is a total population of 37 here...
not counting the goats ! Dinner at Manoli's - another
of our very colourful island friends. Many an evening
has been spent up at his cottage on the hill; dancing
the night away under the stars (he and all his nephews
& nieces are amazing dancers!); or maybe just
sitting and sipping an ouzo, doing some quiet star-gazing.
Morning sail for Pandeli, a pretty and lively little
village on the east side of Leros. Traditional blue-and-white
houses lie scattered down the hillside, around the
little horseshoe-shaped bay. Our favourite beach
tavernas are conveniently just a 2 min swim from
where we anchor the boats in the middle of the bay
- a real picture-postcard scene! For those with
plenty of night-owl energy, there is the infamous
Savana Bar - a very idiosyncratic little local hangout,
where we often end up dancing the night away! Leros
is also a great island to rent little 50cc scooters
or a jeep, and go explore the dozens of bays &
backroads, other little villages - and most of all,
the 11th century fortress which towers over the
bay (both sunrise and sunset are totally spectacular
from up here).
Leave Pandeli around midday, giving us the morning
to make the most of our time on Leros. Then we'll
sail for Vathi on the island of Kalymnos another
3 hr sailand spend the late afternoon/evening
is a dramatic little spot; a well-hidden and very
narrow fjord-like entrance, opening up into a tiny
fishing village at the head of the bay. It boasts
one main street and a collection of houses scattered
into the valley; an unexpected patch of lush vegetation
on an otherwise very dry and arid-looking island.
Vathi is the only place on the entire island that
is lucky enough to have it's own spring water supply,
and they use it carefully to cultivate citrus fruits,
figs, grapes and anything else that can be persuaded
also the home of Poppy's, where momma makes
the best homemade dolmades (stuffed grapeleaves)
you'll ever taste in your life, and the swordfish
steaks are out of this world!!
OK, so here is the "adventure" part of
the tripwe'll be sailing early for Kosyes,
we're talking sunrise here!! It's amazingly beautiful
on the water - if you've never experienced this
before, it's well worth getting dragging yourself
out of bed for. This is going to be the long day's
sail, as we need to clear out of Greece, then into
Turkey. So, we'll arrive in Kos around 10am, and
get customs paperwork cleared as fast as possible.
We'll have a couple of hours in Kosplenty
to go see the castle and the famous plane tree where
Hippocrates supposedly taught (for the more culturally-inclined);
or enjoy a great chocolate milkshake on the busy
waterfront for others!
duly stamped, we will set sail for Bodrum; a lovely
beam reach for a couple of hours, where it will
be Welcome to Turkey ! Or at least, modern-day Turkey;
Bodrum is quite the busy, bustling metropolis. Winding
street bazaars criss-cross the town, beautiful old
wooden gulets line the waterfront, as do hundreds
of little bars and restaurants. The fortress of
St John is still incredibly intact, and has a fascinating
museum inside. And for those who love their nightlife,
Bodrum claims the largest outdoor disco - "Halicarnassos"
- in Europe ! It's also THE place for those Born
to Shop; great bargains to be had in all sorts of
leather goods, silver jewellery and semi-precious
stones; and of course, the ubiquitous Turkish carpets.
We'll spend most of the morning in Bodrum, leaving
around lunchtime for Knidos - about a 3hr sail.
Once upon a time, Knidos was a key city/harbour
in the ancient world, home to many thousands of
people. Now it is just a tranquil and well-sheltered
bay - but the remains of these former civilizations
still lie scattered around the hills, surrounding
the bay on all three sides. There are amphitheatres,
stone pillars and carvings, temple remains - all
incredibly intact. It is really a time warp experience
to wander around these hills and try to imagine
the way of life all those thousands of years ago.
Sail to Ova Buku - a fairly short, and most likely
downside sail - lovely! We should be at our destination
in time for lunch; and time to explore the tiny
village of Ova Buku. Our favourite taverna - Ogun's
Place - has the best home-cooked Turkish food imaginable,
not at all the usual tourist fare; and our young
host - Ogun himself - always has lively (and often
unexpected!) additions for our evening's entertainment
! The village itself has a great little bay for
cooling off; for those looking for a little more
privacy, a short hike away is a lovely long and
isolated beach; a perfect afternoon retreat.
Sail to Datca - a very lively little town! The waterfront
is lined little bars and tavernas; one street behind
are several interesting craft & jewellery shops.
Walking towards the beach, there is a tiny lake,
with a surprisingly powerful "mini-waterfall"
as it runs into the ocean; a great and very cooling
massage experience !! For those wanting to dance
the night away, Datca has several lively bars and
nightspots - and a "hamam" (Turkish baths)
, to ease any aching muscles the next morning !
Nestled up in the hills is a fascinating old Greek
town, which is now being repopulated. And if anyone
has a hankering to buy a Turkish carpet, some of
our best local connections are here.
Sail to Bozburun; a small, very traditional Turkish
town; full of gulets (wooden motor sailors), but
not many yachts, and certainly not many tourists.
We dock just outside the town, on a wooden jetty
outside a little family-run pension/restaurant right
on the waterfront. It is a shady, tranquil little
spot to hang out in - and we even get to borrow
their fun kayaks plus a windsurfer or two to go
explore the bay in! Most importantly of all is the
evening's entertainment - for our groups, they will
invite along local friends who play traditional
Turkish music - and even a belly-dancer to teach
us all how it is done !
is also a chance to take a minibus trip inland to
see some of the local villages, climb a little waterfall
to cool off! - and visit a carpet-making cooperative,
to see firsthand how it is all done.
A gentle run to Dirsek, a secluded little bay about
2 hours sail away. A little taverna lies nestled
in one corner, a blaze of brightly-coloured bougainvillea
and other greenery. Wonderful place to swim and
generally veg out.A family of young brothers run
the taverna in this tiny, tranquil spot - who given
half a chance, will crank up the dancing music after
dinner - an unlikely-seeming but great little create-your-own
party spot !
Sail to Keci Buku. A well-sheltered hideout described
as a "gem" in the Turkish Waters Pilot
- and it truly is. A wide, sweeping bay surrounded
by pine forests, with a fascinating old fortress
perched on the top of an island guarding the entrance
- a view which is well worth the scramble up! It's
a little-known sailor's hidey-hole, perfectly sheltered,
and only 30mins drive over the peninsula to the
hustle-and-bustle of "tourist town" Marmaris.
is the easiest connection back to the "real
world" of modern-day Turkey, where you can
shop-till-you-drop in Marmaris's fun bazaars, and
experience the bright lights of a busy and brimming
Turkish seaport. For one day/night, Marmaris is
an interesting and fun contrast to the places where
we will have been sailing; (though one always feels
a little sorry for the "package tourists",
for whom this is the only aspect of Turkey which
they see !)
Disembark 9am in Keci Buku.
connection info: We can help arrange transportation
from Keci Buku to Marmaris, or directly to the airport
at Dalaman, for those who need to catch a flight
right away. Dalaman is the closest airport, being
90mins from Keci Buku, or 1hr from Marmaris. Ferries
run from Marmaris-Rhodes (Greece) twice a day; approx
9am and 3.30pm; take approx 1hr.