It’s time to explore all the top beach cities in Turkey! After you have read this guide, you will be ready to choose the best beach in Turkey for holidays that suit you.
We know the choice is not easy; after all, the Turkish Riviera is blessed with kilometers of crystal-clear waters offering something for nature lovers, history buffs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site or two, and water sports galore.
With 8,333km of Turkish coastline, you would expect Turkey to have some pretty impressive beaches. Well, you’d be right – there are stunning beaches everywhere.
Lapped by the Mediterranean Coast, Marmara, Black & Aegean Sea, you’re looking at beach time in abundance. You’ll find it all, from pebbly to shingle, rocky to golden sand, with plenty of white sand thrown in for good measure.
But you have to choose the right spot to go to; otherwise, you might not enjoy your beach time quite enough. After all, facilities can make or break your time, and you want to be sure that if you get bored of the beach (possibly at some point), you can get up and wander around and see something unique. Of course, you also want to eat some fantastic food and haggle for souvenirs to take home.
The great news is that Turkey understands tourism, and it combines blindingly beautiful nature with everything you need for a mighty fine holiday.
So, if you’re keen to enjoy some of those thousands of kilometers of Turkish coastline, you’ll need to know where to go. Handily for you, we’ve compiled a list of the very best coastal towns in Turkey.
Here is our list of places to relax and unwind on your beach holiday in Turkey.
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1. Olu Deniz
Let’s start with one of the most beautiful spots in Turkey and one of the most famous. If you’ve ever seen an aerial photograph of a Turkish beach, it’s likely to have been Olu Deniz’s blue lagoon, and this is also a famous spot for paragliding.
Around 15 minutes from Fethiye, the vibe here is chilled out, calm, and a little more upmarket than other Turkish seaside resorts. Yet, there’s still lively nightlife, especially if you take a taxi ten minutes away (up the hill) to Hisaronu.
Not to be confused with Antalya, Alanya is a beautiful beach town with some of the most stunning sunsets. You can also head up to Alanya Castle via the cable car and take some truly stunning pictures.
Of course, it’s all about the beach, and in that case, you’ve got Cleopatra’s stamp of approval – Cleopatra Beach is reputed to be one of the Egyptian Queen’s favorite spots and is still pretty beautiful today.
Dalyan is much more chilled out than some of its neighboring towns, and that’s not bad! It’s also a place for history and natural beauty. On your way to Turtle Beach, a breeding ground for loggerhead turtles, you can head down the Dalyan River and check out the King’s Tombs carved into the rock side.
There are several natural spa hotels and some seriously delicious restaurants to try local cuisine.
Marmaris has everything you could want from a beach holiday, and it’s a large and thriving one at that. Surrounded by fragrant pine forests, the blue of the sea looks fantastic in photographs. Marmaris has a vibrant nightlife, great shopping, delicious cuisine, and plenty of opportunities to kick back and relax on the beach.
Oh, and you can even get a ferry from here to go to Rhodes for the day!
Upmarket and sophisticated, Bodrum is one of the more expensive but also one of the best beach towns in Turkey, but if you want a magical spot, you’ll find it here. There are many diving opportunities around the Bodrum coastline, and you should undoubtedly head to the castle, which is home to the Museum of Underwater Archaeology.
As for cuisine, this is where some of the most famous chefs decide to open their restaurants. Be sure to try local seafood – it’s something extraordinary indeed.
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In Aydin Province, you’ll find Didim, a small beach town a short distance away from Bodrum. Known for the ancient ruins of Didyma and the Temple of Apollo, you’ll find plenty of history around here, but it’s known for having the most beautiful beaches, with golden sand and impossibly blue sea.
Nightlife in Didim is very varied, so you’ll find whatever you want and some private beach clubs between here and Bodrum. There are a few great spas locally, and it’s an excellent spot for families, with a range of outdoor activities to enjoy.
If you want to venture away from mass tourism, you could head to Ayvalik on the West Coast, which offers a more authentic way of life. This is a fishing town, so seafood is excellent here. Also, be sure to try Ayvalik toast, a local delicacy, while enjoying the crystal clear waters of the Aegean.
You’ll undoubtedly be able to try out a more traditional way of life here, and if you want to venture further, you can head to Assos, which is a very short distance away. This is a quiet fishing village which has some fantastic local restaurants.
Around an hour from Izmir, you’ll find Cesme, one of the quaint coastal areas in Turkey with a chilled-out vibe. Again, this is a pricier resort, but you get what you pay for here. You’ll find a lot of large five-star resorts to spend your time in, although there are plenty of boutique choices, too.
The beach here is white sand and an impossibly blue sea, making beach days a total must.
A very short distance away from Cesme, you’ll find pretty Alacati, a flower-filled, fragrant town with a chilled-out yet upmarket vibe. You can wander the white-washed streets filled with cafes and then chill out on Ilica Plaj, where the blue waters are deliciously warm, thanks to the nearby hot springs.
You’ll find the glittering coastal city of Kusadasi a short distance from Izmir Airport. Nothing is quiet about this town, as you’ll see from the huge letters spelling the town’s name on the hillside!
Izmir is packed with the best beaches in Turkey, fantastic nightlife, great shopping, and even an old castle that juts out into the sea and is a must-visit for anyone heading here.
The Old Town is great for wandering through cobbled streets and getting a little lost, while the Old Bazaar is the place for haggling. And if you want to go further afield, you can take the ferry to Samos!
Around 20 minutes by road from Marmaris, you’ll come to Akyaka, one of the best seaside towns in Turkey.
It’s very authentic and has a slow pace, which is ideal if you’ve been in a busy resort and you need a break. The mountains soar high in the background, and the sea is always a little wavy, thanks to the cooling breeze. No wonder it’s a top spot for kite surfing!
The Azmak River runs through the town on one side, with constantly freezing but calm waters and delicious seafood restaurants on its shady banks.
About a minute’s drive up the mountain road from Marmaris, you’ll reach one the most frequented beach destinations in Turkey – Icmeler.
It’s a slightly slower pace of life here than in Marmaris, but it’s still one of the best spots for a holiday. It’s not particularly authentic and primarily geared towards British tourists, but it has a beautiful beach, a pretty Old Village, and some fantastic restaurants to try.
There are also some tremendous beachfront hotels here, and you can take boat tours and jeep safaris to give you a different view of the local area.
Just around the peninsula from Icmeler, you’ll find Turunc. You can get a taxi boat from Icmeler or Marmaris to here and find a chilled-out vibe. There isn’t much to do here except chill on the beach and enjoy the seafood restaurants that line the small marina, but it’s enough to sit and admire the scenery all around you.
Canakkale is a short distance from Istanbul on the country’s western coast, and it’s home to a lot of history and some fantastic beaches. This is the site of the battle of Troy, and there’s a horse on display in the main town, which came from the movie adaptation starring Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, and Brad Pitt.
The Gallipoli Peninsula is ideal for beach days, and you can enjoy a slower pace of life here. Most locals enjoy the summer sun, giving you a more authentic experience, with many local restaurants to check out.
Bozcaada is an island in the Aegean, and it’s one of the best places to head if you want to get away from it all. You can take many hiking trails with stunning views to check out and olive groves and fig trees along the way. Local wine here is delicious; you can sit and enjoy raki, fish, and plenty of meze.
As far as beaches go, this is an idyllic spot with clear sea and golden sand. What more could you want?
On the way to Fethiye, you’ll find Gocek, home to some of the area’s most beautiful coves and beaches. The waterfront is quite sophisticated, with palm trees along its length and huge yachts and private boats. It’s very upmarket!
Shopping here is pretty high-end, but once you get past that, you’ll find a laid-back vibe with boutique hotels and gorgeous beaches. Diving is exceptional around this area, and the beaches never feel too busy.
Heading towards the Antalya Province in Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, you’ll find Kalkan, a fantastic beach resort that is known for its colorful and fragrant bougainvillea flowers and the Old Town.
The tiny marine is packed with expensive-looking boats, and you can see fisherman coming in from their boat trips with their daily catch. The pebbly beach is large, and the waters are clear, ideal for chilling out during the day. And if you want to be more energetic, you can hike the nearby Lycian Way!
Antalya is an enormous but also a beach city, famous for its huge, soaring mountains, often capped with snow during winter and spring. Konyaalti Beach is the main spot to head for splashing and sunbathing, close to the city’s historic center and the huge castle overlooking the proceedings.
The sea is crystal clear, and the sand is golden. There is also plenty of history to check out around the area, as well as countless restaurants and great nightlife.
If you’re looking for top-class hotels with five stars and up (if that’s possible), then Kemer is for you. Just past Antalya city, you’ll find this upmarket spot with some of the best all-inclusive around and a blinding blue sea to match.
However, the downside of Kemer is that it is mainly about the huge hotels and not really about the authenticity of the town itself. Having said that, the marina is an excellent spot for walking and enjoying the sunsets, and here are some nightclubs if you want to get out of the hotel for a change.
Close to Cesme, you’ll find Foça, a small yet very picturesque beach town. Quite close to Izmir, you can head here for a day trip or stay for a few days.
The waterfront area is packed with cafes, restaurants, and bars, and you’ll find costly-looking boats bobbing in the water! The beach is broad and sweeping, with a very clear sea and golden sand.
Izmir is one of the country’s largest and most cosmopolitan cities and an excellent beach spot. Being a large university city, it’s very vibrant, with nightlife, cafes, and gastronomy to keep you more than occupied. The beaches are clean and golden, although relatively narrow. However, Cesme is less than one hour away.
You can also venture further afield and check out Ephesus, one of the best open-air museums you’ll ever see in your life.
Around 50 minutes from Marmaris, you’ll find Datca, a small town as close to Greece as it’s possible to be from Turkey! You can even see Symi Island on a clear day.
Datca is very quiet and chilled out, and it’s quite authentic as a result. You can sit at a restaurant on the beachfront and enjoy seafood and local cuisine with the sound of the waves gently lapping at the shore. However, that doesn’t mean nightlife is dull; as the evening falls, you’ll find plenty of bars to keep you busy!
Fethiye is a city but is also home to countless beaches and nearby Olu Deniz. You won’t find a beach in the middle of the town, but Calis Beach is a short distance, and you can quickly get there via bus or taxi. This is also one of the most picturesque beaches in the area.
Fethiye’s harbor area is ideal for sunset walks, catching a boat trip, seafood, and generally enjoying the laid-back vibe. Nightlife is vibrant and varied, and you’ll notice a very international feel to the town.
Kas may be small, but it’s also home to one of the most beautiful (albeit) small beaches in the entire country – Kaputas Beach. Blinding blue sea and white sand, what more could you want?
The harbor is chilled out and great for walking, and it’s pretty laid-back and has that bohemian feel about it. You can also take a ferry to nearby Greek islands, and many diving and sailing opportunities are available.
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Side is famous for the old ruins that sit on the beachside and are illuminated daily by the epic sunset. It’s a spot you have to visit, if only for that!
The resort has sandy beaches and blue sea, with plenty of amenities to make your holiday go without a hitch. The harbor area is beautiful, and West Beach is one of the best in the area.
Side’s nightlife is a bit more chilled out than some other local resorts, but that’s ideal if you don’t particularly want to party the night away!
Along with Kemer, this is another spot in the Antalya region that has some huge hotels and resorts. But it does have a little more than that. Belek is a famous area for hot springs and thermal pools. It’s also home to the nearby Kursunlu Waterfall and some fantastic beaches along its coastline.
If you stay in one of the huge resorts, make sure you get out and explore this town, as there are some amazing spots just a stone’s throw away.
Around 40 minutes away from Marmaris, on the way to Datca, you’ll find Selimye, a tiny, picturesque village that is ideal for people who want to chill the hell out! It’s home to many upmarket boutique hotels, and the sea here is as straightforward as you’ll see anywhere else.
The pace of life here is so slow it almost feels like it’s stopped, but that’s not a bad thing! The handful of restaurants on the main road offer fantastic gastronomy, and it’s another spot for great seafood.
We’ve focused on the south and west coasts, but Amasra is the jewel in the Black Sea coast. In the north of Turkey, you’ll find this delightful yet small town, which is often frequented by people looking to escape Istanbul for the weekend.
Amasra is a port town with some fantastic beachfront hotels in a very natural setting. It doesn’t have the mass tourism feel that many towns on the south coast do, but that gives it a more local feel, which is very enjoyable.
Trabzon is a large city on the Black Sea coast and offers some great beaches to enjoy. There are plenty of large hotels and resorts here, and again, it’s popular with locals and those escaping nearby cities for a beach break, including Istanbul and Ankara.
Be sure to head to Camburnu Plaj and check out the authentic food in the city center. You’ll never want to eat anything else!
So, now that you know about the top beach towns to visit along the turquoise waters of Turkey, you have to decide where to go first.