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By Beth Doane, Features Editor & Sarah Zimmerman, Contributing Writer

In our new series of top destinations for 2016 we are highlighting the best places to stay and explore across Turkey. We spoke with Turkish native and travel expert Sirma Gulgul, who founded elite travel agency Credo Tours. Credo has arranged individualized travel itineraries for thousands of visitors to Turkey in the past twenty-two years, including Oprah’s time in Turkey, so Sirma’s perspective is invaluable in evaluating Turkey for a well-deserved holiday this year. Here Sirma shares the best way to see the coast of Turkey – on your own private gulet, which is a traditional Turkish yacht that you can hire to take you on a private adventure with family and friends along the ancient coastline.DSC_1625

The Best Way To Explore the Turkish Coast: Southern Cross Blue Cruise

The Turkish coast is stunning. Crystal clear blue seas, ancient ruins and small rural villages make it one of the most sought after experiences for 2016. When you cruise the coast, you begin your days with a locally sourced Mediterranean breakfast. Fresh fruit, olives, local feta and kasar cheeses, pine honey, sour cherry jam, and organic eggs prepared to order are offered. You can spend your days swimming, exploring local culture, hiking, or learning to cook local Turkish food. Sirma recommends cruising with Southern Cross Blue Cruising, a highly regarded Australian/Turkish/American-owned gulet charter company based in Bodrum, Turkey. We love that they let you be part of charting your own itinerary and with over 17 years of yachting and charter experience combined with local Turkish knowledge and resources, they are a truly committed, hands-on team dedicated to consistently delivering the perfect yacht-charter experience. “Blue Cruising’ portrays the Turkish boating heritage with wooden yachts and abundant local cuisine. Rental prices include a captain, chef, and first mate and Credo can arrange everything for you from start to finish.TURKISH_CRUISES