Top 7 Cruise Trips in Turkey
Turkey is a top cruise destination and jumping off point for Europe, the Baltics, and further afield. With over 8.000 km of coastline and bounded by 4 seas, Turkey offers an excellent travel experience for cruise lovers. With the Black Sea joining the Marmara Sea, through Istanbul and the Aegean joining the Mediterranean coast to the south. Turkey is surrounded by a variety of coastlines with diverse environments, making it a dream destination for any sea lover. Here are the top Turkish cruise destinations!
Istanbul is a thriving metropolis and a wonderful testament to the history and cultures overlapping the city. The fusion of old and new, east meets west is felt throughout the city in the art, the architecture and the food. First time visitors should make sure to see the old city. Sultanahmet is home to the past splendor of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires and features wonders like the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Basilica Cistern. Or step back in time to the Grand Bazar, where you can haggle over antiques or beautiful jewellery, much like those before us. Venture into the Spice Bazar and sample
Turkish Delight to your heart's content, following up with apple tea or essential oils from the vendors.
Whether you’re looking for kebab, fresh fish or are exploring vegetarian mezes and dishes, Istanbul has something for everyone. The layers of history have created a fun melting pot of flavour in Istanbul, in food and in culture. Visitors will be delighted by the wide variety of cafes, restaurants, lounges and tavernas from which to replenish the mind and body.
Canakkale is a delight for families, with gorgeous, safe beaches; for history buffs, with Troy, Pergamon and Gallipoli close by and for outdoor enthusiasts, with huge swathes of national park close at hand for trekking and cycling.
Canakkale is located on the coast of the Dardanelles Strait. This strait affords beaches for swimming, sailing and paragliding over, forests for trekking in, going camping or cycling. If you're looking for a touch of history, Canakkale is perfectly situation close to Troy and Pergamon. These ancient cities have amazing ruins to explore and informative museums to dive into history. Another interesting spot is Gallipoli, with remnant of trenches, museums and cemeteries to honour the fallen, this location is definitely worth exploring.
Izmir is a frequent summer holiday playground for young and old alike. The city has a rich historical and cultural heritage, founded by the Greeks, before becoming a key Roman city and then being ruled by the Ottomans. There is an astonishing amount of things to see and do when you’re tired of beaches and water sports.
Check out the ancient Roman Agora of Smyrna, now an open air museum, Mount Kadifekale a citadel surrounded by impressive walls and ramparts some of which date back to 300 BC. Izmir also has several water parks, a wildlife park, an archaeological museum, a thriving art and culture scene and is close to Lake Kara for those wanting to get back to nature.
Cesme is another summer city. With long, sandy beaches and crystal-clear water, it can be hard to get out of the waves, but we promise, it’s worth it! Cesme’s old town fronts onto the beach. Cesme Castle sits proudly overlooking the sea. This Genoese built fortress dates back to 1508 and is now the home of the Cesme Archaeology Museum. Due to past Christian influences, there are a number of historical churches in the area to explore.
Nearby Alacati is a charming town with local handmade crafts, a small bazaar and cobblestoned streets perfect for wandering and photographing. The Alacati coastline is famous for windsurfing - it's one of the top windsurfing destinations in Turkey! There are hot springs and some excellent dive sites off shore, all waiting for you to explore.
Though Bodrum town does exist, Bodrum refers to the wider Bodrum peninsula. The peninsula has many distinct towns, each of which has their own individual charm. Bodrum is a summer destination and those who don’t enjoy crowds will have the expansive seaside to themselves in the off-season.
Bodrum Town, where most cruises dock, is a lively town with a central bazaar, local shops full of handmade wares and a lively restaurant and bar scene. Those looking for more will enjoy the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology, a museum dedicated to ship wrecks that have occurred in the area for thousands of years. Other top towns on the peninsula are Turkbuku, with nightly handmade markets, seaside dining and beach clubs. Gumusluk, a small town with a delightfully calm cove and home to the cutest seaside restaurants, all decked out with fairy lights and colourfully painted gourds.
Marmaris is a fantastic destination in and of itself, with a cute, sea fronting old town and nearby coves and inlets that demand exploration. Marmaris Castle was built in 1522 under the direction of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent and was one of the few structures to survive the 1957 earthquake relatively unscathed.
The area is full of stunning natural beauty, with pine forests covering the surrounding hills and mountains, a truly staggering abundance of coves and inlets, best explored by boat. The Nimara cave is another true highlight, located on Heaven Island, the cave dates back somewhere between 3.000 - 12.000 years! Used as a place of worship to ancient gods and goddesses, now the cave is a haven for local flora and fauna.
Antalya is the largest city on the Mediterranean coast. Bordered by the Taurus mountains to the north and the Mediterranean to the South, the city is a renowned summer playground, with beaches, resorts, waterparks, watersports, diving and more. The surrounding area is perfect for trekking, hiking camping, cycling and mountain biking. Lake Salda nearby is also worth the trip. Turquoise waters, white sandy shores and a respite from the crowds offer something a little different for those willing to explore.
For the city dwellers, Antalya has a fascinating history that can be explored no matter the season. First settled around 200 BC by the Attalid Dynasty of Pergamon, the city then passed to Roman rule, before being taken over by the Seljuks and eventually the Ottomans. Such a chequered history means an abundance of historical artefacts, including:
Hadrian's Gate: constructed in the 2nd century by the Romans in honor of the Emperor Hadrian.
Iskele Mosque: A 19th-century Mosque near the marina.
Karatay Medrese: A Medrese (Islamic theological seminary) built in 1250 by Emir Celaleddin Karatay.
Kesik Minare (Broken Minaret) Mosque: Once a Roman temple then converted to a Byzantine Panayia church and finally into a mosque.
Tekeli Mehmet Paşa Mosque: An 18th-century Mosque built in honor of Tekeli Mehmet Paşa.
Yat Limanı: The harbour dating to Roman era.
Yivli Minare (Fluted Minaret) Mosque: The symbol of the city, this minaret was built by the Seljuks and decorated with dark blue and turquoise tiles.
Exploring Turkey by sea or overland has never been so easy! We’re sure you’ll find something in each of these top cruise destinations!