Numerous travel agencies in Fethiye’s harbour and on Calis Beach’s promenade offer boat trips around nearby bays and islands. Boat trips usually cost between TL20 and TL40 pp, start at 11am and finish at 4-5 pm, most of them have lunch included, and transport to and from the starting point.
One of the most popular trips is ‘12 islands’ which stops at a few pretty islands (not 12!)scattered on the sea in Fethiye area. Every single travel agency on Calis Beach promenade was offering this trip, therefore I imagine that all of the islands and bays they visit must be very crowded, and somehow lack the idyllic holiday feel.
Oludeniz Boat trip
Bought from ‘Bloody Gorgeous’ on Calis Beach promenade
Cost: TL30 pp
Included: Meal and one way transfer from hotel to Oludeniz beach, the starting point for the trip
The boat trip that we took was called ‘Oludeniz boat trip’ and we bought it for TL30 pp from a travel agency with a peculiar name ‘Bloody Gorgeous’. We bought it on Calis Beach promenade, and the reason we decided to go for this specific one was because it seemed to offer a more varied programme than just visiting bays and islands. Oludeniz Boat trip anchored at Butterfly Valley, St Nicholas Island, Blue Cave, Cold Water Bay and Camel Bay. Included in the price was lunch and transport to Oludeniz Beach, where the trip started.
When we were looking around to buy a boat trip we had in mind a smallish boat with not too many people, and certainly no music on. Just the wind, the sea, and the views. Travel rep from Bloody Gorgeous assured us that the boat we were going for is small, there will be maximum 30 people on board, and there will be no music. This was not the case. Maybe the boat was not that crowded as some others that we saw, but after 30 mins of sailing a group of Turkish tourists put loud and nasty music on which stopped only when the boat stopped for sightseeing. When the boat took off again to a different place, the music was back on again!
Disappointing was also lunch. You had a choice of grilled fish or chicken, both served with rice or couscous (can’t remember exactly what it was!), and small salad on side. While the fish was just ok, the chicken was a few bones with hardly any meat on them, and it all looked under cooked. You had to pay for your own drinks as well, and a bottle of Efes beer was TL5.
On a positive side, the boat visited really nice places – each time the boat anchored in a bay you had some time to swim, snorkel or walk around the area. Usually the organizers gave enough time to enjoy a place to the full, but in Butterfly Valley and on St Nicholas Island we only had 1,5hrs and 2hrs to explore, which was not enough and meant we had to rush to make sure the boat did not leave without us. Majority of tourists stayed in the boat or went swimming, not interested in exploring these places; hence I believe the time slots were tailored really to their needs.
In summary, if you’re thinking about a boat trip in Fethiye, consider the following:
– find out how big the boat is, and how many people will be on board – the less of them the better, unless you want a crowded boat party with awful dance music on
– find out if there is shower on board – it sounds like a bit of a luxury, but Mediterranean Sea is very salty on Turkish coast, and if you have been swimming in it you want to give your skin a rinse before exposing it to sun
– find out what’s included in the price – in majority of cases lunch should be included, as well as transport to and from the point of departure. In our case, we only had one way transport included, which we did not realize until we had to organize journey back from Oludeniz to Calis Beach after eventful and, after all, tiring day on the boat
– if I was to go for a boat trip once again I’d probably head to Fethiye’s harbour and shop around there for something more cameral and quieter from what I had from Bloody Gorgeous. Reading online forums and checking out travel guides is also useful when finding desired travel agency
– bearing in mind all of the above, you might want to consider spending a tad bit more on your boat trip and buying it from a reliable travel agent recommended by other travellers or in travel guides. That’s at least what I would do next time.
Blue Cave – very shallow cave with a small beach inside; the boat anchored in a small cove and people could swim into the cave and walk on the beach. As seen on the picture below, the water was perfectly blue, and very warm as well
Butterfly Valley – the second stop was Butterfly Valley, where we had 1,5hrs to explore the route from the beach, where the boat anchored, to massive waterfalls falling from high mountains. Butterfly Valley is a natural reserve and to be able to walk to the waterfalls we had to pay TL5 for an entry.
St Nicholas Island (Gemiler Island) – magical place which is believed to be the location where St Nicholas (Santa Clause!) was buried. Santa Clause was a Bishop and came from Lycia, which nowadays embraces the Fethiye area. According to Wikipedia: “Modern archaeologists believe that the island may be the location of St. Nicholas’ original tomb. The traditional Turkish name for the island is Gemiler Adası, meaning “Island of Boats”, with St. Nicholas being the patron saint of sailors; the island was also referred to as St. Nicholas Island by seafarers in the medieval period. Archaeologists believe he was interred in the rock hewn church following his death in 326. They remained there until the 650s when the island was abandoned as it was threatened by an Arab fleet. The remains were taken to the town of Myra some 25 miles (40 km) to the east”.
We had 2 hrs to explore the island, which was far too short, and we ended running down from the top of the island to make it for the departure time.
Bloody Cold Water Bay – a bay where sea currents or underground water springs make the water absolutely freezing! It’s just a patch in the bay’s area, where the rest of the water is of normal temperature and only this small strap is freezing cold! We had about 30mins for a swim in Cold Water Bay, but not that many were keen on that!
Camel Bay – the last stop in Oludeniz Boat trip, which is just a busy bay with pretty rocks coming out of sea.