I recently came back from an incredible 4 months trip in Southeast Asia, one of the happiest times of my life for sure. One of the things I most enjoyed were the fantastic beaches. I thought I would feel totally depressed back in Europe after having really experienced what paradise is. But suprisingly I am not too sad, I am fine. The reason why probably is I now live in Turkey and I love it here too! Turkey is an incredible country and it also has many amazing beaches that could easily compete with most of the ones I visited in Southeast Asia. Today I am going to introduce you to the best beaches in Turkey (in my humble opinion). If you can not afford a ticket to the Philippines, I promise Turkish beaches will do the trick!
01 | Kabak Koyu
I already talked about Kabak in my post Kabak Koyu: a hidden scenic gem in Turkey, so I will not repeat myself. But I leave a couple of pictures that speak for themselves why Kabak is for me one the best beaches in Turkey.
Getting there: the easiest way to reach Kabak is flying to Dalaman airport from Istanbul. In Dalaman you can take the shuttle bus that connects its small airport to Fethiye. Once there, you can take the minibus (dolmuş) from Fethiye to Kabak. The bus will pass through Ölüdeniz and Faralya (Butterfly Valley). In high season, there are hourly services until 7PM or so. The price from Fethiye is 7TL (around 2 €) and 6TL from Ölüdeniz.
02 | Olympos – Cirali
An important Lycian city in the 2nd century BC and famed today for its accommodation in treehouses, Olympos is today one of the best beaches in Turkey and the destination of choice for backpackers. Flanked by two huge mountains, the whole area around this isolated Mediterranean beach is dramatically beautiful, while the village behind offers plenty of simple pensions and restaurants with a hippyish atmosphere.
Olympos preserves the remains of ancient Greek ruins that reveal its glorious past. This makes this place magic for its combination of history and nature.
If you go to Olympos, you can also visit the Eternal Flames of the Chimera (Yanartaş), a magical place where it is believed that Olympic athletes came to light their torches. Myth or not, the flames are quite interesting when you consider that they have been burning for thousands of years.
Some guesthouses in Olympos provide transportation to Mount Olympos at night. Once there, you still need to face a 45 minute hike up to the Eternal Flames of the Chimera. Beware: it is dark and slippery, do not forget a flashlight and be careful!
Getting there: Olympos is about 50-60 km from Antalya. There are direct minibuses from Antalya’s otogar and buses from Antalya to Fethiye which stop at Olympos bus stop (an open air cafe). From Olympos bus stop, you will need to catch a dolmuş to Olympos village (around 10 km down a dirt road).
Where to stay: as mentioned above, there are plenty of backpackers hostels in Olympos Cirali, most of them having rooms and bungalows in treehouses. When I was there, I stayed at Olympos Orange Bungalows (600 metres from the beach). Most backpackers hostels in Olympos include half board (breakfast and dinner). I remember the vegetarian dinner in Olympos Orange Bungalows was delicious!
03 | Kaputaş plaji
Kaputaş beach is a perfect stop between Kalkan and Kaş. Located on an extremely narrow road towered by steep cliffs, this small beach is considered by many one of the best beaches in Turkey, if not the best. Since the beach is protected, there are no facilities (no toilets, no restaurants…) but also not too many tourists! You are welcome.
Be careful: to access the beach, you will have to walk down about 150 steep steps. While this sounds like no fun, it also means that the views that you will get from the top are something out of this world: mountains, islands, crystal clear water…
Getting there: From Kaş, you can get a dolmuş for 5TL and get off at Kaputaş plaji. The trip should take around 20 minutes. The last bus to get back to Kaş pass by at 7PM, don’t miss it!
04 | Faralya – Butterfly Valley
About 15 km South of Ölüdeniz, you will find another highlight along the Lycian way: the Butterfly Valley. Situated below Faralya, the ‘village on the cliffs’, the valley is home to the unique Jersey tiger butterfly, from where it takes its name. While I did not see any when I visited the valley, I spent a great day swimming in one of the best beaches in Turkey.
Getting there: there are two ways to reach Butterfly Valley: via boat from Ölüdeniz or by foot through a very steep path that wends its way down a cliff from the village of Faralya. If you choose to descent by foot, be sure to wear proper shoes. There are fixed ropes along the path in the steepest parts.
05 | Kaş – Liman Ağzı
Pronounced like “cash“, the town of Kaş is an ideal base from where explore the surrounding area and some of the best beaches in Turkey. The town itself does not really have a proper beach but you can easily access Kaputaş or get on a water taxi to go to Liman Ağzı, a string of 3 beaches about 3kms away from Kaş. Return ticket is 12TL. Worth paying considering the 3 beaches of Liman Ağzı have sunbeds, umbrellas and wifi at your disposal.
While visiting Kaş, you can also do a boat trip to Kekova (an ancient sunken city) and Kaleköy (the ancient village of Simena). I did it last summer and really enjoyed it! The boat itself was crowded and a bit of a tourist trap. However, we got to visit lot of places around Kekova that I could have not accessed otherwise. The price was 50TL for a day tour including Turkish lunch. The food was decent and they also served tea and cakes in the afternoon. During the day, we had 5 or 6 opportunities to swim at different locations around the islands.
The sunken city is one of the highlights but what impressed me most was Kaleköy (Simena). The views from the top of its ancient castle are breathtaking!
Getting there: Kaş is about two and a half hours from Fethiye and three and a half hours from Antalya by bus.
Where to stay: if visiting Kaş, I hightly recommend staying at Santosa Pension, just a 3-minute walk from the otogar (bus station), Kaş city center and the Marina. This is a family-run guest house that offers spotless clean rooms and a nice terrace overlooking the city with optional dinners for 25TL that are fantastic.
06 | Ölüdeniz – Blue Lagoon beach
I already talked about Ölüdeniz and its amazing Blue Lagoon Beach in my post about paragliding in Ölüdeniz but I will say it again: this place is stunning! Easily one of the most best beaches in Turkey! The only problem is that, as with most beautiful places, everybody wants to come here and it gets quite busy during peak season. But, even crowded, Ölüdeniz is well worth a visit and, if you dare to try paragliding, there is no better place for that! Ölüdeniz is the Turkish Mecca for this sport.
Getting there: Fly to Dalaman from Istanbul and take the shuttle bus that connects its small airport to Fethiye. Once there, you can take another dolmuş from Fethiye to Ölüdeniz.
Where to stay: there are plenty of hotels in Ölüdeniz, but they are expensive. A clever idea is to stay in the nearby village of Hisarönü, 5 minutes by bus from Ölüdeniz. I can recommend Elze Hotel, probably the best value for money in the area. Hisarönü might not be the best, but the location of this family hotel is ideal to visit the nearby destinations of Ölüdeniz, Fethiye, Kayaköy, the Butterfly Valley and Kabak. The rooms are clean and comfortable and the breakfast is big and fresh. However, the best of this place is the hospitality and kindness of the family running it. When I stayed there, Sinan helped me to arrange tours, recommended me restaurants to eat local and cheap and really went above and beyond to make my stay at his place perfect.
07 | Antalya – Konyaalti Plaji and Lara beach
Antalya is the largest Turkish city on the western Mediterranean coast and the gateway to the Turkish Riviera. While it is probably too touristy for backpackers and independent travelers, it is worth spending a couple of days and visit its Kaleiçi (the wonderfully preserved old city district). It also has some of the best beaches in Turkey. The beach in the pictures is Konyaalti beach, in the heart of the city but framed by mountains that on clear days seem almost near enough to touch.
Another popular beach in Antalya is Lara Beach with about 12 km coastline. In this beach I enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen in Turkey!
08 | Kilyos – Istanbul
I am aware Kilyos probably does not deserve to be in the list of the best beaches in Turkey. Kilyos may seem mediocre if compared to the previous ones. But if you are in Istanbul and just want to cool down from the heat with a dip in the Black Sea, Kilyos is not bad at all!
Getting there: Kilyos is located around 35km from Istanbul centre. The simplest way to get to Kilyos from Taksim is to get any bus going to Sariyer. Once in Sariyer, you can ask anyone where can you get the dolmuş for Kilyos. Kilyos is around 30 minutes dolmuş ride from Sariyer.
Note: Probably some of the best beaches in Turkey are missing in this list (such as Bodrum, Kemer, Alanya, etc.), but I only wanted to include beaches I have been to. For this reason, I reserve the right to update this post very very soon… As always all pictures and opinions are my own.
* Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, if you make a reservation through the links above, I will earn a small percentage. This helps me to keep my website running. I really appreciate your support. Thanks!