Most people visiting Turkey travel to Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus or Pamukkale. This is because not everybody knows that Turkey is also home to the Turquoise coast. Most people ignore Turkey as an incredible beach destination. Sharing the same pristine waters with Greece, it is hard to believe that Turkish beaches have been underestimated for so long. Today we will travel to the best beaches in Turkey; ten fantastic beaches that should definitely be on your summer bucket list.
Did you know the word ‘turquoise’ comes from the French for ‘Turkish’? My favorite color name is based on the gem of the same color that was originally imported from Turkey. Turquoise is also the name of one of the best coastlines in the world that stretches all the way from the Aegean Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. The Turquoise coast, also known as the Turkish Riviera, has over a thousand kilometers of shoreline and is home to the best beaches in Turkey, and possibly in Europe. Come and discover these amazing beaches and enjoy the turquoise waters, untapped nature, sunken cities, historical ruins, mythology, and caves.
01 | Kaputaş Beach
Kaputaş Beach is the most iconic image of the Turquoise Coast and a must-visit in Kaş. Located on an extremely narrow road towered by steep cliffs, this small beach is considered by many as one of the best beaches in Turkey, if not the best. Since the beach is public and protected, there are no resorts or restaurants on the Kaputaş Beach. There is only one government bar that offers drinks and fast food at popular prices. You can also rent hammocks and parasols (10TRY per person).
In order to access the beach, you will have to walk down over 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: To go to Kaş you can fly to Dalaman or Antalya, but both airports are far away. Dalaman is a little bit closer (two hours by car) so I recommend flying to its new and modern airport.
To get to Kaputaş from Kaş, you can get a dolmuş (minibus) in the otogar. The trip should take around 20 minutes. Note that to return from Kaputaş to Kaş, the last minibuses pass at 18:35, 19:40 and 22:10.
Where to stay in Kaş:
02 | Kabak Koyu
I already talked about Kabak, so I will simply show you some pictures that truly showcase the utter beauty of Kabak. Kabak is one of the best beaches in Turkey, perfect for nature lovers and those seeking to seclude themselves in a secret paradise.
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 dolmuş (minibus) from Fethiye to Kabak. The bus will pass through Ölüdeniz and Faralya (Butterfly Valley).
Where to stay in Kabak:
03 | Datça
Datça has pristine waters and the most beautiful shades of blue I have ever seen in Turkey. The small town and its waters are so gorgeous that Ancient Greeks believed it was created personally by Zeus. In the meeting point of the Aegean and the Mediterranean, Datça is for sure one of the best beaches in Turkey. If you visit Datça, don’t miss the ancient ruins of Knidos for an incredible mixture of history, sea, and nature.
Getting there: Datça is located between Bodrum to the north, and Marmaris to the south. The bad road access and its distance from airports have left Datça relatively unspoiled. The easiest ways to reach Datça are by bus from Marmaris Otogar (approx. 1 hour 15 mins) or by ferry from Bodrum (2,5 hours).
Where to stay in Datça:
04 | Cleopatra island – Marmaris
There has to be something with the sea in Turkey when Cleopatra herself chose one of the Turkish islands (Sedir Adasi) as her private and secluded paradise to meet with her lover, Marc Anthony. According to the legend, Cleopatra did not like the sand that was on the beach and special sands were brought for her from Egypt. Whether this is true or fiction, the fine white sand on the beach today is truly unique and one of the reasons to visit Turkey.
Getting there: Sedir island is located 18 km North of Marmaris. There are boat services from Marmaris, Akyaka and Camli Port.
Where to stay in Marmaris:
05 | Olympos – Cirali
Olympos was an important Lycian city in the 2nd century BC. Today it is famed for its accommodation in treehouses and for being the destination of choice for backpackers. Flanked by two huge mountains, the whole area around is dramatically beautiful, while the village behind offers plenty of pensions and restaurants with a hippyish atmosphere.
Olympos preserves the remains of ancient Greek ruins, combining history and nature perfectly.
If you go to Olympos, you should not miss the Eternal Flames of the Chimera (Yanartaş). This is 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 minibusses from Antalya’s otogar. From Olympos bus stop, you will need to catch a dolmuş to Olympos village (around 10 km down a dirt road).
Where to stay in Olympos:
06 | Bodrum
Bodrum means “basement” in Turkish. Honestly, not the name you would expect for this fancy coastal town that is the top summer destination for the Turkish upper class.
The elegant town of Bodrum is completely white. But there are two more colors that make this city exceptionally beautiful – pink and turquoise. The soft pink color comes from its bougainvillea flowers that decorate every street and its turquoise color comes from the fantastic sea. With packed boutique hotels, trendy restaurants, and nightclubs, Bodrum has something for everybody!
Getting there: There are daily flights from Istanbul to Bodrum. Once in Bodrum airport, take the Havaş bus to reach the city center.
Where to stay in Bodrum:
07 | Kaş – Liman Ağzı
Pronounced like “cash“, the town of Kaş is an ideal base to explore some of the best beaches in Turkey. The town itself does not really have the best beaches but you can easily access Kaputaş Beach or get on a water taxi to go to Liman Ağzı, a string of 4 beaches about 3kms away from Kaş.
Getting there: Take one of the taxi boats in the port of Kaş to go to the beaches of Liman Ağzı. Limanağzı has four beaches: Nuri Beach, Bilal Beach, La Moda Beach and Delos Beach. Taxi boats from Kaş operate from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and the round-trip ticket costs 20TRY.
Where to stay in Liman Ağzı:
08 | 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! Without any doubt, one of the best beaches in Turkey. The only problem is that, as with most beautiful places, everybody wants to come here and it gets crowded during peak season. But, even when packed, 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 in Ölüdeniz:
09 | 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 may be too touristy for backpackers and independent travelers, it is worth spending a couple of days and visiting 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 of coastline. In this beach, I enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen in Turkey!
Where to stay in Antalya:
10 | Kilyos – Istanbul
I am aware Kilyos probably does not deserve to be on the list of the top best beaches in Turkey. Kilyos may seem mediocre if compared to the previous ones. But if you visit Istanbul and just want to cool down from the heat with a dip in the Black Sea, Kilyos is your best bet.
Getting there: Located around 35km from Taksim, Kilyos is perfect for a day trip from Istanbul. The easiest way to get to Kilyos from Taksim is to take any bus going to Sariyer. Once in Sariyer, you can ask anyone where can you find the dolmuş for Kilyos. Kilyos is about a 30-minute dolmuş ride from Sariyer.
Where to stay in Kilyos:
Note: Probably some of the best beaches in Turkey are missing from this list, but I only wanted to include beaches I have been to. For this reason, I reserve the right to update this post every summer 🙂 As always all the pictures and opinions are my own.
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