Looking to escape to the Mediterranean on a luxury yacht charter? As you browse options, you’ll notice some common types of charter yachts for hire. Motor yachts, sailing yachts, and catamarans are all popular yacht choices in the Mediterranean.
Yet, one type of yacht that’s native to the Eastern Mediterranean is the gulet.
What exactly is a gulet, you might be wondering? In short, the gulet is a type of Turkish-built wooden schooner that has a long history in the region. Originally a popular fishing vessel, the gulet is now popular in Turkey, Croatia and the Greek Islands for luxury yacht charters.
If you’re consider a sailing vacation in Turkey or Croatia, gulet charters are one of the most popular choices. These boats have tons of classic style, they’re open and spacious, and as a motorsailer, they offer the convenience of motoryachting and the exhilaration of sailing.
We wanted to give charter guests some insights on the gulet – highlighting its origins, how it differs from other types of charter yachts, and what you can expect on a gulet charter in Croatia or Turkey.
What is a Gulet?
The gulet is a classic wooden yacht that’s been traditionally built in the Bodrum and Marmaris regions of Turkey. The classic gulet resembles a schooner, with a rounded stern, and typically has two or three masts. (Although some only have a single mast and other may not have any sails at all.)
These ships have a classic, low-profile hull, especially compared to modern sailing and motor yachts, and they sit closer to the water. That gives the gulet a distinctive Old-World look.
Modern gulets are still traditionally built with wood – teak or mahogany are popular choices – although now contemporary materials including steel or fiberglass are being used. And they range in size from 15 to 55 meters. Typically, the gulet accommodates up to 12-15 guests, with some superyacht gulets accommodating up to 20 or more. These yachts have all the amenities you’d find on-board a modern sailing or motor yachts including:
- Spacious interiors and main salons
- Al fresco dining areas
- Aft sundecks and lounges
- Beach clubs with water toys
- Master staterooms and double cabins
- Sundeck Jacuzzis or bars
Ultimately, many charter guests appreciate this type of yacht for its classic profile and its motor-sailing abilities. The onboard amenities vary by boat. Yet, the most luxurious gulets compete with sailing and motor yachts in terms of amenities and features.
Is Gulet a Sailing Yacht?
At first glance, gulets appear to be sailing vessels, and that’s party true. Yet, there’s more to the picture than meets the eye. Technically, gulets are motorsailers. That means they’re capable of both motor-yachting and sailing.
Originally, all gulets were sailing vessels, but in the 1970s, when motor yachting took off, the gulet became primarily a diesel-powered motor yacht. As such, today’s gulets are much heavier than traditional sailing boats, and that makes sailing a bit of a challenge.
Today, whether a gulet is equipped for sailing depends on the boat. All gulets have motor-yachting capabilities, and many are rigged with sails. Yet, only some are actual sailing yachts.
Some gulets are rigged just for show. Others are rigged but their crews prefer not to sail. And finally, some are completely sail-ready, and if there’s wind, they use the wind as their main power source. Yet, there has to be a lot more wind. Guests who have been on a sailing vacation might be accustomed to sailing in light wind. That’s possible because sailboats are much lighter (they’re built with fiberglass and have smaller motors). The gulets, on the other hand, are heavier (as they’re built with wood and have a complete diesel motor system). That means gulets typically need a lot more wind to sail reliably.
Ultimately, if you want to sail in the Mediterranean on a gulet, make sure you’re hiring a yacht that’s capable. Just ask your charter broker for the best gulets available for sailing. We know which gulets are motor yachts primarily and which are true motorsailers.
Gulet Charters in Turkey
Since the 1920s and 1930s, gulet charters have been popular along Turkey’s southwestern coast, the so-called Turkish Riviera.
A charter in southern Turkey is an absolutely delightful experience. The region’s crystal-blue and sapphire waters (it’s often called the Turquoise Coast), along with quiet, upscale resort towns and historic Ottoman Empire sites make the Turkey a yachter’s haven. Around each corner and in every port of call, yacht guests can find new shops, historic sites, restaurants, beaches and natural landmarks to explore. A sample itinerary takes guests along all of the Aegean Coast hotspots, including:
- Bodrum – A beautiful, historic village
- Symi – A colorful Greek island
- Marmaris – Turkey’s yachting capital
- Gulf of Fethiye – A historic Roman port
There are numerous destinations along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, which is nearly 1000 miles of stunning coast. A few of the top attractions include: the region’s 40 national parks, white-sand beaches, classic cities, Roman ruins, and delicious Ottoman cuisine.
Croatian Gulet Charters
Croatia continues to be one of the fastest growing yacht charter destinations, and in terms of gulets, it’s second to only Turkey in the diversity of classic yachts for hire. The Croatian coast, especially the Dalmatian region in the south, offers numerous cultural sites, beaches, and historic cities to explore.
In fact, Croatia is home to nearly 1300 islands and islets, including 40+ uninhabited islands. The coast is home to some of the highest concentration of UNESCO sites anywhere in the world, making this a wonderful historic destination. Plus, the Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and wine (the Dalmatian region is a popular wine-making area) are well-worth the trip. A classic itinerary in Croatia might include stops include:
- Dubrovnik – The classic walled city in southern Croatia
- Vis – An island with many natural wonders
- Hvar – A stunning island with plenty to do
- Split – The happening beach resort town
- Mljet – A quiet, beautifully green island
Many charters in the region also start in Montenegro and follow the coast up to Split.
Book a Gulet Yacht Charter with Worldwide Boat
Chartering a gulet offers the best of both worlds: The convenience of motoryachting and the exhilaration of sailing. Let us help you plan a gulet vacation you’ll remember for a lifetime. Worldwide Boat’s brokers have the inside scoop on the region’s best gulet yachts, and the most inspiring itineraries in Turkey and Croatia.