Straddling Europe and Asia, modern Turkey is built on a complex history that continues today. Join us to explore beautiful scenery, enjoy fabulous rowing, indulge in wonderful food and accommodation and also gain insight into the past and present of this intriguing country. Experience three different aspects of this fascinating country on this Turkey rowing trip. We begin in Bodrum, famous for its history and as one of Turkey’s most chic resort towns. The second part of our Turkey rowing tour places us on a more remote peninsula of the south Aegean coastline, where villages retain their fishing and sponge-diving character. We end in Istanbul, rowing the Golden Horn, one of Istanbul’s defining features. Three experiences combined into one tour.
Successive waves of civilizations have crashed and clashed on these rugged shores: Greek, Roman, Crusaders, Seljuk, Byzantium, Ottoman. One might argue that the most recent wave to descend are hoards of tourists, seeking sun, resorts and nightlife. We will have a chance to sample the best of all of these influences, both ancient and modern. In Istanbul we will row in sight of some of the city’s most famous sites and myths. On the Aegean coast we will be in coastal boats. The coastline is stunning – hills plunge into water at times blue, at times green, with beaches regularly punctuating the rocky shore. Fingers of peninsulas reaching across the water to Greek islands. One of our rows takes us to an archeological site – perfectly connecting our favourite sport with Turkey’s heritage.
The focus is on the rowing, but we will have ample time to immerse ourselves in the history and culture of Turkey. Our guides will make historical sites come alive. And then there is the food. Our guide describes himself as “foody, very very foody” and this is good news. Check out some of Alper’s favourite food. Think markets, mezze and meyhanes – the latter are like a tavern where raki is enjoyed with good friends. We might sample kebabs, Turkish sweets, and all the Aegean delights. To drink, of course Turkish coffee, but also tea and excellent red and white wines including some grape variety unique to Turkey. Only the best on this Turkey rowing tour!
Enjoy this excellent post by Alper Ertubey, telling the story of our Blue Voyage with stunning photos and videos.
Photos courtesy of Alper Ertubey.
|Extra night in Bodrum (per room)||$150||$195||€140|
|Istanbul tour (per person)||$175||$225||€165|
|Daily Distances||Boats||Max Group Size|
|8-21 km/day||Coxed coastal quads and double||14 rowing guests|
!Important!: this trip is coastal rowing. We will be rowing on the open Aegean Sea, where wind and waves can be a factor, especially in the afternoon. While we do not ask for prior coastal rowing experience, good level of rowing skill, strength and fitness is required for this trip.
Plans could change. In particular, sea and weather conditions will be an important consideration – safety is a priority. Thus, on some days, the actual program may vary from this description.
Arrival in Bodrum. Meet the group early afternoon for a briefing, followed by a walking tour of Mausoleum, the Castle and Underwater Museum. This is the best underwater archaeology museum in the world, with earliest ship wrecks ever found. The Castle of St. Peter was built beginning in 1402 by the Knights of St. John, the material was recycled from the Mausoleum, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Enjoy the welcome dinner and settle in our first hotel.
In the morning we will go to Halikarnas Rowing Club a gear check and then rowing! We will row from a bay past Bodrum Castle. We will be joined by local rowers. Midway, we will raft up and coffee will be served on the open sea! Lunch on the beach and then row back to the club. In the afternoon, we will have time to see more of Bodrum.
We leave Bodrum to take the ferry to Datça. It is a 2 hour journey with views of the Greek island of Kos. A shorter drive takes us to Datça where our boats will be waiting. We will rig and launch from there and row to Kargi, where we will leave the boats and return to spend the night in our beautiful hotel overlooking the bay. Datça is a charming town which attracts retired Turkish intellectuals. It is a port of entry to Turkey and has a small marina. Datça is the modern Knidos and famous for the best almonds in the world, great honey and olive oil. If we want more kilometers of rowing today, the Aegean is ready for us.
From the beach at Kargi Cove the first section is an 10 km row around a point to Pigs Bay. Inaccessible by road, the beach will be perfect for a rest stop. Then 7 more km to Hayıtbükü and our next beach hotel. It is quite remote, with hidden rocky inlets, trees on hills plunging into the water and more beaches. A perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of the city and resort town.
Our exploration of the coast continues as we continue to row westwards along the narrow Datça Peninsula. Our destination, 13 km away, is Palamutbükü, where we will spend two nights. Along the way we will stop at Ovabükü beach. The beach at Palamutbükü is called a golden shingle, a stunning contrast with the crystal blue water. Development is slower here, and almond and olive trees still dot the hillsides. This is where we kick back and relax in a tranquil setting. Our beach hotel is just perfect for this. Ah, that feels good. And for the energetic, we can organize hiking in the hills behind the village.
When was the last time that you rowed to an archeological site? Knidos was established by the Greeks at the tip of the peninsula, where a double natural harbour made for a perfect port town and safe haven. Apparently St Paul, en route to Rome for trial in AD 50 or 60, was one of many maritime passengers forced to wait out a storm here. We will take our time to immerse ourselves in the history and landscape. Before our guided visit to the extensive ruins, we will load the trailer and bid farewell to our Bodrum support crew. Then time to return to our beach hotel, anticipating a beautiful sunset to round out the day.
After a leisurely breakfast we will make our way to Dalaman airport – the drive will give us a chance to see more of the Turkish landscape. An early afternoon flight takes us to Istanbul.
We will row on the Golden Horn with local rowers. The Golden Horn is one of Istanbul’s defining features. Approximately eight kilometres in length, the Haliç is an inlet of the Bosphorus dividing the European side of the city. We can see the city walls, towering Ottoman mosques, 19th century churches and the iconic Galata Tower. We do some sightseeing in the neighbourhood around the boat club, before some afternoon free time to explore Istanbul. In the late afternoon we will board a private boat for a stunning cruise up the Bosporus, before travelling to our farewell dinner location with a view of the last bridge before the Black Sea.
All good things come to an end. We hope you will have enjoyed a wonderful Turkey rowing tour!
Consider adding an extra day in Istanbul and enjoy Alper’s classic Old City walking tour, including the Roman Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace. Lunch, licensed guide and transportation included. You will need to book an extra night in Istanbul.