Cyclades & Dodecanese From Bodrum
In many ways, Bodrum is the gateway to the Greek Aegean Islands. The nearby Gulf of Gokova is wonderful sailing, as is the Gulf of Hisonaru. In addition, Kos lies just a short distance due east of Bodrum. The crystal-clear seas are stunning and with days of sun throughout a yachting season, all the ingredients are in place for a lovely yacht charter holiday. If you add the lovely coves, great cuisine and hospitable locals, a real experience awaits
The Dodecanese Island of Kos has become one of the most popular islands in the region, arguably second behind only Rhodes. Its rich history includes the impressive fortress, the Castle of the Knights of Saint John close to the Town harbor, the ancient plane tree under which Hippocrates taught students and the Asklepion (his ancient sanatorium). Old Corinthian columns still gather weeds by the roadside. The purpose- built marina is just a short distance south of the ferry port. Kos Town has numerous restaurants, tavernas, cafes and shops and ‘’night owls’’ will find things stay open until late.
Pserimos lies between Kos and Kalymnos, just a few nautical miles north of Kos near to the Turkish Coast. It is small, only about 15sq kms and only 100 people live there full-time. Fishing is still important but increasingly tourism is a major contributor to the local economy. Visitors are often day trippers from Kos or Kalymnos. There are daily trips throughout the holiday season. Pserimos provides a chance to get away from organized beaches for a day, something that yacht charters can do every day of course. It can get busy but the beach is wide and deep, with plenty of sand and shallow warm waters. It is also a well sheltered spot. Beachside tavernas and cafes provide plenty of refreshment opportunities for those at the beach for a few hours. The harbour is small but it provides berths for yachts. There is little in the way of attractions to see but there are some interesting walks along treeless trails to other small coves on the island.
Lakki is a large port on the Island of Leros. There is plenty of neo-classical architecture alongside the white-washed houses. Wide streets are lined with palm trees and restaurants and bars near the port offer tempting menus. While in Lakki, it is worth visiting the interesting war museum.
Lipsi in the Dodecanese has yet to get much tourism, and what there is often comes from nearby Leros. The result is a real feel of Greece. It is a relaxing place, fairly quiet and with beautiful beaches and clear waters. Lipsi has some tavernas and shops but it is not really a place for stocking up.
Known as the Jerusalem of the Aegean, Patmos island is an island in the Dodecanese that has become holy to Christians to the extent it is known in some circles as the Jerusalem of the Aegean. This is because the Apocalypse of St. John was written here. Many of the visitors today come to Patmos because of its religious significance, yet just as many seek its lovely beaches, the tranquility and overall character of the island and the locals. Patmos is not an island offering a lively scene after sunset but there are lovely restaurants offering fine Greek cuisine. It is busy by day with boats arriving regularly however. Patmos has great beaches and an interesting landscape, which has resulted in a steady growth in tourist numbers. The Greek Orthodox Easter celebrations are an annual occasion where you will have the chance to see Christ's Last Supper being enacted. It is also a pleasure to stroll through the narrow streets of Chora by night after watching the sunset from Kastelli Hill.
Vathi stretches from the port area up the hills behind. A traditional small fishing port, the colourful boats dock in the harbor when not at sea and there are also boats available for day trips out into the Aegean. The region is fairly dry and vegetation limited but the cuisine, often with fresh fish, is wonderful. Tourists will find tavernas and shops in the village.
The small volcanic island of Gyali is situated halfway between the southern coast of Kos and Nisyros Island. Its South West area is thick layers of pumice-stone, while the North East region is obsidian currents and perlite. The two parts are joined by a narrow isthmus and beach made of reef sediments. A pumice-stone mining plant makes use of this natural resource. Aghios Antonios islet is close by and there is a beautiful beach to enjoy.
Nissiros is a small island in the centre of the Dodecanes. It has much to recommend it, ranging from its natural beauty to the rich cultural heritage which has survived until the current day. Nissiros is volcanic and that is its major natural feature; it was created by eruptions. The volcano of Nissiros island is still said to be active and with the craters easily accessible, many tourists and scientists from all over the world visit annually. The volcano is the main attractions but visitors will feel the serenity of the lovely villages on the island. Nissiros is rich in fauna and flora that specialists pronounce as unique.
Tilos in the Dodecanese is located between Kos and Rhodes with mass tourism not really a factor. You can visit on a yacht charter and you will find nice beaches and small settlements. Livadia is the island’s port but the place to visit while there is Mikro Chorio, an abandoned village, now a ‘’ghost town’’. On an island with few visitors, the beaches are quiet with no real facilities.
Rhodes, with its Old Town a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the largest of the Dodecanese and offers everything a tourist would want. There is a 200 kilometre coastline, a fascinating interior, good nightlife and plenty of history. It has been home to several ‘’civilisations’’ in its history and also to a former Ancient Wonder of the World though the Colossus was destroyed by an earthquake many centuries ago. The narrow streets of this walled Old Town can be crowded at times but worth visiting with the Palace of the Grand Master and the architecture of the Knights of St. John notable features.
Symi, off the Datca Peninsula of Turkey is another relaxing island. It is fairly small but offers plenty of chance to explore. The landscape is lovely and once back in Ano Symi there are bars and tavernas offering delicious Greek cuisine which you should try with the local wine.
Datca is a town on the southern shore of the Peninsula of the same name in South West Turkey. It is around 75 kms west of Marmaris and has become a popular spot for yachts heading south down the Aegean and then turning east, or vice versa. There are many small coves on the Peninsula, small farming and fishing communities as well as beaches. It is famous for its tomatoes and olives and despite not having the greenery of some other parts of the Turquoise Coast, it is extremely fertile.
Palamutbuku is regarded as having the best beaches in the whole of Datca Peninsula in South West Turkey. The beaches are small but very nice, with the mountains behind. Gardens are colorful and the whole setting is calm and tranquil. It is a great place to get away from crowds and relax. Palamutbuku is at the end of the Peninsula, close to the ruins of the historic city of Knidos; it is just 12 kms away. The warm clear waters are full of fish and you can expect to be able to sample the day’s catch for dinner in the restaurants. It is said that you can see a shiny object on the sea bed it is so clear. There is no need to do anything other than relax and the pace of life is slow. The locals are very hospitable and help make your time in the area even more memorable. It has been described as paradise and it is certainly a place where many yachts sailing in the Dodecanese stop for a while.
Knidos is at the extreme South West tip of Turkey on the Datca Peninsula. It is commonly regarded as one of the most impressive ancient city ruins in the whole of what was Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey. There is an ancient harbour with a theatre close by. There are two churches just a short walk away. They were built in the Byzantine period and there are extensive excavations that have been going on since 1960. The Statue of Demeter was one of the best discoveries while the lion statues which stood protecting the harbour are in the British Museum in London. The Temple of Aphrodite is a major attraction for visitors as is the necropolis. While Knidos is remote, it is a place that all yacht charters are easily able to visit.
Divers, experienced or fairly novice, will enjoy Poyraz Bay where there are not only interesting rock formations just below the surface but a variety of marine life as well, including octopus, moray eels, starfish and several species of small fish. There are also fragments of ancient amphorae to be seen.
Pabuc Burnu is a nose-shaped place just a short distance from Bodrum. It is a good place for yachts to anchor in the beautifully coloured waters. Yachts can shelter here quite comfortably close to land that is covered by shrub vegetation.
At the end of a charter holiday, and following a hearty breakfast, guests leave their charter yacht with wonderful memories of their time at sea. If they have yet to see what Bodrum has to offer, they should certainly do so before returning home. There is a well-developed tourist infrastructure with plenty of nice restaurants, bars and lively nightlife. By day, Bodrum Castle and the adjoining Museum of Archaeology is certainly the main attraction though the inland part of the peninsula has many things to see and do.