Turkey has just received two new UNESCO designations in the last month that will bring the current total to 13, making it one of the richest countries in the world in terms of ancient places for people to explore. And while it's undoubtedly good news for the industry, it's already sparked something of a debate. While the designation will no doubt help raise awareness about the protection and preservation efforts required to ensure the survival of ancient places, more tourists will be flocking to them than ever.
The news comes at a time when visitor figures to Turkey are at an all-time high, with particularly strong figures for June standing at 4.2 million, compared to 3.9 million last year. With all this in mind, you might be wondering how you could possibly sample this stunning country in peace.
Never fear – one of the easiest ways to make sure you get an unspoilt view of this incredible place is to opt for one of Seafarer's cruises. Travelling aboard your own traditional Turkish gulet, you can expect all the comfort of a five-star hotel – and only seven other cabins to share it with. Here are our top favourite spots in Turkey where you can escape your fellow tourists.
Nestled among the carved choppy mountains that frame the skyline in a dramatic fashion, Selimiye Cove is a place where nature reigns supreme. An expansive lake reflects the sun-filled sky, while emerald trees cover the landscape like a carpet. If you're exploring on your own two feet, it's easy to feel as though you're the only person for miles around. It's particularly worth wandering up the hill for a view at sunset.
By contrast, it's impossible to feel alone in Bodrum, since this bustling market town is full of thousands of people going about their daily business. While it's a hotspot for international visitors, it's easy to find yourself far from the tourist crowd if you know where to look. Work your way through the central labyrinth of narrow alleyways and roads, seeking those little cafes frequented only by the locals. You'll find charm aplenty here, and adventure as well.
Also known as the Seven Islands, this little peninsula is an idyllic place to spend some time. There is an abundance of water activities in engage in, with snorkelling among the spectacular reefs being an absolute must. One advantage to this activity, of course, is that you can feel utterly isolated from every other living human as you play with the fishes. It is for this reason that we say Yedi Adalar feels like one of the most isolated spots in all of Turkey.
The fascinating coastline of Gocek Bay snakes the land, wrapped around a semi-circular disc of water that is peppered with little coves and beaches. Beautiful scenery and a lonely feel that will prompt comparisons to a world untouched by human hands, this is truly a magical place. The nearby islands of Yassica, Batik Hamam, Domuz, and more, are well worth exploring.
Another spot Seafarer holidaymakers are able to visit is the incredible Cennet Island, which allows visits by Jeep to places such as Orhaniye, with its beautiful sandy beach and the stunning waterfall at Turgut. There is even the opportunity to visit a traditional Turkish village where you end the excursion with a Turkish bath. You simply can't get anything more authentic than this.
Youi can either charter an entire porfessionally crewed Gulet for your party for the ultimate in privacy and freedom, or you can book by the cabin on regular weekly departures from marmaris or Bodrum. Click here for more info.