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If you feel the need to shake off the city bustle and spend a few days chilling out, sailing peacefully around the stunning Turkish coast could be just the trip for you. These cruises are ideal for singles and adventurers looking for a different experience and can be just as short as 3 nights/4 days.
As they are priced per person, not per cabin, this makes them surprisingly affordable, so you don't need to feel you are squandering those hard-earned tax breaks. On the other hand, it does leave you with plenty of pocket money to splurge on a couple of add-ons, if you fancy them.
As well as swimming and snorkelling from the boat there are opportunities to hike to ancient monuments for a stunning sunset, visit the Sunken City, go paragliding, diving and enjoy some serious partying with new friends.
One great adventure at the end of the cruise is to stay a couple of nights in a treehouse – a genuine wooden chalet built in the treetops at Olympos. It makes a fantastic base for some additional sightseeing and activities such as white water rafting or hot air ballooning. Interested? Here's the lowdown!
Located in the Antalya Province of Southern Turkey there are several companies that offer Mediterranean cruises with a difference. Forget the floating hotel cruise ships that clutter the glitzy Mediterranean ports; these cruises are aboard elegant twin-masted Turkish-built gulets which can sneak into scenic coves and deserted bays that larger boats simply cannot reach.
With just 12 to 20 other guests, these cruises are fun and friendly. Accommodation is in shared cabins for 2-4 persons, each with a private bathroom, or for a supplement you can have a private single cabin. Best of all, the surprisingly affordable price (under €260 for 4 days/3 nights) includes all meals, afternoon refreshments, port fees, snorkelling equipment and crew services. Drinks can be purchased onboard, including water. Pack your towel, toothbrush and some beachwear and you'll be all set up for a great trip.
Most cruises depart from Fethiye, Olympos, Kas or Marmaris and last for up to 8 days. Get a cheap flight to Fethiye, book a night in a hotel and the cruise company will pick you up and transfer you by bus to your awaiting adventure.
Itineraries vary but cruises around the Dodecanese Islands include stunning bays, ancient archaeological sites, quaint harbour villages, churches and monasteries as well as bars and nightlife. Many of these amazing sailing cruises include visiting places that can only be accessed from the sea. Swim and snorkel at places such as Oludinez Beach, said to be the most beautiful beach in Europe, and visit Butterfly Valley where you can hike to a waterfall. If you want to paraglide, this is the way to do it, for sure.
Sail to the Sunken City at Kekova Island where you can snorkel and swim in the turquoise waters. The ruins of this 2nd century city destroyed by an earthquake, the unique Lycian rock tombs and amphitheater at Myra and the church of Santa Claus are just some of the treats that will have you reaching for your camera.
Snorkel in the warm clear waters of the appropriately named Aquarium Bay or step ashore and go shopping on local markets for handmade jewellery, bottles of "raki" and souvenirs. The great thing about this trip is that you leave the crowds behind, even in August, and have charming ports and sandy coves pretty much to yourself. If you hanker for company, some evenings the boats are moored in harbours where you can go ashore and party in local tavernas or simply relax onboard and count the stars.
Add on a couple of days at the beginning or end of your cruise for some more unique experiences. Drift across the stunning rock formations and landscapes of Cappadocia on a hot air balloon flight or ride the Aerial Tram to the peak of Mount Olympos for stunning views of the remarkable Turkish landscape. Now's your chance to sleep in a tree-house, go rock jumping, kayak to hidden caves, hike the ancient Lycian Trail and pay homage to the Chimera flames on Olympos Mountains.Enjoy days of activity from your eco-friendly treehouse and socialize after dark with like-minded strangers around the campfire. Surrounded by ancient history and so much natural beauty, you can still stay in touch with the "real world" through the internet. Some treehouses have computers which are ideal for sending photos home to family, friends and workmates if only to make them green with envy!
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