If you’re used to swimming lengths at your local pool, the idea of covering several kilometres a day at sea might seem “daunting”. But on one of SwimTrek’s guided group trips on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, chances are you’ll not only manage it, but enjoy it too, The week-long itinerary shadows the Lycian Way, a coastal walking trail that connects several former strongholds of the ancient Lycian civilisation, including the village of Kas, where SwimTrek’s guests stay in a pleasant hotel. The sea is wonderful – a “vivid blue-green that sparkles invitingly beyond pale shores”, and still balmy in the spring and autumn, when the trips run. Swimmers are divided by speed into groups, each with its own safety boat, so that everyone can go at their own pace.
Swims begin and end on the group’s main boat, a traditional gulet with “top-notch” catering, including plenty of Turkish mezze. There are generally two each day – morning and afternoon – totalling 3km or 6km, depending on the trip chosen. One route passes over the city of Aperlai, which was founded in the third century BC and later abandoned, then pushed beneath the waves by a series of earthquakes. Floating over its ruins, you feel like “a mermaid who has stumbled on Atlantis”, and afterwards, you can explore parts of the city that remain on land, scattered across a hillside. The swims get more challenging as the week goes on, culminating in a 3km crossing to the Greek island of Kastellorizo. The trip is “innately social”, with optional dinners out a nice way to get to know your fellow swimmers. There is no attempt to foster a competitive spirit; everyone celebrates each other’s achievements. And swimming with a group is curiously uplifting; as your mind “switches off” and time “flutters away”, you get some inkling of how dolphins might feel in their pods. Six nights half-board from £1,160pp, based on two sharing (swimtrek.com).