The 5 best things about sailing the Turkish islands with Contiki
Of the hundreds of Contiki trips, there was one that caught my eye every time I opened the Europe brochure: Turkish Sailing. Not only was it super cheap, but it also included all meals and explored islands I’d never even thought to travel to. I loved travelling around Greece and Croatia on previous trips, so I was dying to know what was happening in the untapped Turkish Islands. I finally got the chance to do it this year and here are five things I loved about the Turkish Sailing trip.
1. It is the perfect way to unwind
If your idea of relaxation is sitting on the deck of a boat with the wind in your hair, the sun shining down on you a world away from work and drama, then this is THE trip for you. There was no rushing, no morning alarms and the hardest decision we had to make was whether we’d nap first or swim first. There’s also no phone reception in the middle of the ocean so no one was sitting on social media, we were forced to chill and get to know one another (important when you’re travelling with complete strangers). Besides connecting with each other, I found I was connecting with myself more. The boat’s electricity comes from a generator and that means it can’t be wasted on hair straighteners, so for eight beautiful days I embraced myself; makeup-free and curly hair. That may not sound like a big deal to you, but trust me, it’s a really special feeling to just be yourself with no expectations (from yourself or anyone else).
2. Sleeping under the stars is magical
Looking up at the stars as I fell asleep each night and waking with the sunrise was something I had always wanted to do and the Turkish Sailing trip gave me that. Most people slept on the deck every night on daybeds and hearing the water lapping the sides of the boat was like a comforting lullaby sending us to sleep. Sure you could sleep in your room, but no one else is, it’s hot below deck and it’s just better up top. One night we even got to see an INSANE blood moon that was huge and red, and it felt like there was nothing but the ocean between us and the moon. Magical AF (to say the least).
3. Amazing food can be cooked in the tiny boat kitchen
Move over Jamie Oliver! Prepare yourself to be absolutely wowed by what the crew can cook up in a small galley kitchen. Firstly, all meals are included on this trip. That’s breakfast, lunch, dinner and a cheeky afternoon tea that quickly became the highlight of everyone’s day (Turkish coffee and cookies is a time, my friends). The food was always fresh and so delicious. From fish fresh out of the ocean to stuffed peppers (seriously, it’s amazing what the crew was able to whip up on a boat with no oven), the food was out of this world. Below is a photo of our faces every time we heard the food was ready.
4. The scenery is just as good as in Greece and Croatia
The Greek islands and the coast of Croatia are both stunning, I won’t deny that, but the Turkish islands are also worth your time (and money). They’re in the same corner of the world (i.e. the Mediterranean) and also boast beautiful, clear turquoise waters that are just waiting for you to dive in. The islands themselves vary from quaint villages to thriving cities with clubs on the mainland, but all are amazing. My personal highlight was Cleopatra Island which had the most amazing water, ancient ruins ready to explore and a sandy beach that’s roped off and as the legend goes, each grain of sand come straight from Egypt and were imported there at old Queen Cleo’s request because she missed home.
5. A cold treat tastes best after a swim in the ocean
Pack your inflatables in your suitcase because on the Turkey Sailing trip you’ll be in the water a lot. It’s just too easy to jump in and out all day long. And on that note, while you’re out of the water, all you’ll feel like is a cold treat. Whether you’re a beer fiend or more of an ice cream fan, you’re in luck. The boat stocks ice cold beers and there’s a freakin’ ice cream boat that drives around the area to sell you the goods. We’re not joking. There’s a guy who has a fully stocked boat full of frozen treats. You don’t need much cash at all on this trip (since everything is included) but have some smaller change for ice cream (they’re around 2 euros each), you won’t regret it.