There are a few holiday types that deserve 'classic' status: the family ski week in the Alps, the road trip, the African safari and the sexy city break to name but four, but I'd like to add another one in to the mix - a week long gulet cruise in Turkey.

gulet boat turkey

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Gulets (pronounced goo-lets) are traditional Turkish sail boats once used to carry cargo, so they are wide-hulled which means plenty of space both below decks and on deck for serious sun worshipping. I've done gulet holidays twice now, once as a 20-something on a cheap and cheerful post-uni trip, and then again last year with a group of frazzled parents enjoying a well-earned week away from their children. The boat on the second trip was a significant upgrade (and priced accordingly), but the end result was pleasingly similar - quite simply one of the most fun ways imaginable to spend a week.

rock carvings turkey

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How so? The location helps. Turkey's Aegean Coast is one of the prettiest parts of the Mediterranean, with crystal clear water and a coastline dotted with beautiful coves hidden from view by dramatic rocky outcrops. In this stunning landscape sit some extraordinary cultural highlights, including intricate tombs carved into the cliffs by the Lycian people and dating from the fourth century, or Roman/Hellenistic era ruins that you can snorkel to.

Aegean Coast

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On the cruise itself, life soon slips into a delicious daily routine as you potter from cove to cove, swimming, rock jumping, snorkelling and paddle boarding (the pricier gulets come with a full portfolio of water toys) and enjoying long lunches in remote beachfront tavernas before working off the excess Efes beer and sensational seafood with walks up hills for fabulous views of the Aegean.

gulet boat turkey

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Another key ingredient is the crew, who always seem to fit the stereotypes - the wise old (chain smoking) skipper who knows every secret cove in which to moor up away from other boats; the chef who is rather too partial to raki but makes a mean menemen (the Turkish tomato dish similar to shakshuka) for breakfast; and the charming cabin boy who steals female passengers hearts by doing nonchalant swallow dives off the stern of the boat.

boat with turkish flag

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You can spend a lot or a little, depending on the quality of the boat itself, but the holiday is always heavenly, and in this post-coronavirus era, a trip that can guarantee being in a bubble in a truly beautiful part of the world becomes even more attractive than normal. The good news? We work with the finest gulet charter set-up in Turkey so can guarantee you the perfect gulet for your trip, be it a family affair, or a group of friends.