Sailing between Greece & Turkey

When sailing in the east Aegean – preferably two or three weeks – it is worthwhile to combine the Turquoise coasts of Turkey with the Dodecanese of Greece.

Visiting Turkey

Please note that following info is given in good faith according to the regulations found at the time these were issued. Any information/regulation/law/political situation may change without a notice and is subject to the disclaimer.

It is strongly recommended to contact one of the reliable charter companies well in advance in case you wish to visit Turkey and to use the services of an agent to carry out all the formalities for entering and exiting Greece and Turkey, so that you will not have to waste any of your precious sailing time on ponderous bureaucracy.
Ask your charter company for their list of formality agents or e-mail me for my current list, and also a sailing season after Covid-19 still means travel restrictions across the border.

Since a decade it has become possible – and popular – to cross the border by simply changing the courtesy flag half-way while avoiding the bigger ports (i.e. start and finish in a small port or bay). This illegal practice is now widely condoned: all the customs appearantly will do is send the yacht back when caught. In fact, officially the Turkish transit log for a yacht out of Greece will only be valid for one day now It is however strongly recommended to use a yacht with holds the necessary papers!

Ports of entry east Greek Aegean

Changing the Greek flag for the Turkish flag
while sailing from from Symi to Bozburun.

Ports of entry Turquoise coasts

Ionian coast
Ayvalık / Dikili
Didim /Altınkum
Carian coast
Lycian coast
Setur / Antalya

In case that you wish to do the formalities by yourself you will have to go through the following steps:
Once still in Greece you will have to go through Customs & Passport Control. All passports of the crew members and yacht documents must be presented to the relative Greek Customs and Passport Control Office. Then they will provide you with the Port Police authorisation for departure. After that you are ready to depart for Turkey.

Do not forget to raise the Turkish flag when entering Turkish waters.

The precise position of the border is at various places disputed by the two countries. A good estimate with borderline coordinates can found just below the charts of Samos, Leros & Kalymnos and Kos.


As soon as you arrive in Turkey, you must report at once at the Port Authorities, having all the necessary documents with you (passports, yacht documents and certificates).

You will then possibly be asked to pay a the Visa charge per person depending on your nationality.

Citizens of almost all countries can obtain Tourist Visa without difficulty on entry to Turkey at Ports of Entry or airports, see Visa policy of Turkey

Transit log Turkey

Yachts entering or leaving Turkey must make their entry or departure only at designated Customs entry and exit points. They must obtain or surrender (as appropriate) a Transit Log, referred to in some official documents as the “Yacht Registration Certificate”.

The current Turkish Law seems to allow yachtspersons to enter Turkey without paying a Transit log for their yacht if they visit only one major Turkish entry-exit port. In case that you wish to visit more than one Turkish port then you will have to pay the Transit log at the Port Police authorities. The transit log costs around 150 Euros always depending on the registered gross tonnage of your (charter) yacht.

Re-entering Greece

You are now ready to re-enter Greece and hoist the Greek courtesy flag again. As mentioned before you must exit Turkey and enter Greece from one of the above designated ports. Every movement of your vessel from or to Greece and Turkey must be reported and therefore authorised by the relative authorities.

Once you arrive back in Greece you will have to report immediately to Customs and Passport Control, and after that to the local Port Police station. Besides logical items like fire arms, also check for more surprising items like codeine medication which are illegal in Greece.

As mentioned before it is strongly adviced to use the services of an agent to carry out the formalities. Besides ease of mind, bureaucracy in Greece and Turkey (utterly mind blowing to visitors from north-west Europe) may require you to wait for a long time until you get your job done. The costs of the transit log and Visa will not be included in the agent fees.

Further reading

Formalities & customs
Noonsite – Greece and Noonsite – Turkey
Guide to yacht charters
Download “Visiting Turkey from Greece” – PDF
For a current formalities agents list you can e-mail me