With miles and miles of coastline on the jewel blue Aegean Sea, there is no shortage of beaches in Turkey. The best beaches in Turkey have warm water, soft sand, shallow swimming areas, and stunning views. While it is hard to narrow down, the list of Turkish beaches below will give you a good start when planning your vacation.
Alaçati is a gorgeous port town on the west coast of Turkey, dating back to the 14th century. Its cobbled streets, pink bougainvillea and cosy atmosphere will have you charmed, with the tranquil Aegean Sea nearby. To experience the best sands and waters in the area, it’s worth checking out a few of the beaches on the nearby northern and southern shores.
Ilica Beach is under a 10-minute drive to the north on the Cesme peninsula. The Blue Flag Beach is popular on account of its shallow, crystalline waters that you can walk out in for 100 meters and fine, golden sand beach. There are hot thermal springs on the sea bottom that make the swimming experience akin to floating in a huge thermal pool.
Around a 15-minute drive away on the southern coastline you’ll find Delikli Koy. This is one of the more rugged and untouched Turkish beaches that stands out for its white limestone cliffs. Bring some good shoes to stroll the rocky beach and peruse its rock formations before taking a dip.
Blue Lagoon Ölüdeniz
The Ölüdeniz Blue Lagoon beach tops the list for many as the best beach in Turkey and its natural beauty affirms this credit is well due. The sweeping bay beach is located inside a protected natural park where the Aegean and Mediterranean seas join, backed by the Babadag Mountains.
This is a popular beach without a doubt and it’s well worth a visit to bask in the setting. The water is a constant calm and vivid blue, meeting a coarse sand and pebble beach.
The Turkish beach is well set up for tourism with bars, restaurants and activities. Sit back, rest your feet in the sand and frolic in the shallow warm waters. You can also try paragliding or paddle boarding to explore the scenic spot from above and below.
Another of the best beaches in Turkey is found right in the city centre of Alanya. Legend has it that Queen Cleopatra stopped to swim here and fell so in love with the bay, that she shared her name with it.
Holidaymakers, just like Queen Cleopatra, love this sandy stretch of 2.5 kilometers that’s now lined by a sweep of pretty shops, cafés and restaurants. It’s very easy to spend the whole day here on the sunbeds and there are even childcare services to give parents a breather.
The beach itself is squeaky clean with lovely warm water, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Look up and you’ll see the historic medieval structure, Alanya Castle, on the hillside.
Apart from taking in the beautiful landscape, beachgoers can try water activities like paragliding and surfing.
Cirali is a unique-beach lover’s paradise. The unspoiled shingle beach is just an hour’s drive from Antalya yet feels rural, set in the middle of the Taurus Mountains. This spot is best reached by car and as it’s not the most accessible, crowds are sparse.
Cirali beach fuses nature and history with the ancient ruins of Olympos city on one end of the sand and the mysterious natural flames of Chimaera on the other. Olympos is set just back from the jagged coastline, after walking up you’ll be rewarded with the mystical site set in a dense forest.
In Turkish, Chimaera means Yanartas or ‘Burning Rock’ to describe the spontaneous flames on the slopes of Lycian Olympos, thought to be a result of methane gases. It’s quite a spectacle watching little fires blaze on the mountainside.
Visitors can swim in the quiet, crystal clear waters and there are a few restaurants for dining as well as a picnic area if you prefer to bring your own supplies.
Another of the best beaches in Turkey is in Gelemiş, located near its namesake the ancient Lycian city of Patara.
Patara Beach is, interestingly, reached through the ruins and at 18 kilometers wins the title as the longest beach in the whole of Turkey. The presence of crumbling old temples, streets and arches bestow character and even a romance to the beautiful coastline.
The beach is part of a national park and a protected area for endangered loggerhead turtles to breed. As a result, the beach has not been swarmed by buildings for tourism, leaving the limestone peaks and undulating waves of white dunes to just be.
Patara Beach is great for taking long walks, swimming and snorkeling in the clear waters or finding a private spot to gaze at the waves. After sunset, humans head home and leave this paradise to the turtles.
The best beach in Turkey with a laid-back vibe is found nearby the bohemian village of Kabak, a beloved hub for yogis and nature lovers. The stunning half-moon bay is surrounded by mountains and thick pine forest with hikes and fresh waterfalls to be happened upon.
On the steep trail down to the beach, be sure to stop for a moment and take in the expansive views before descending to a peaceful pebble and white sand beach.
This is a favorite amongst locals and backpackers looking for a quiet few hours in nature. There are a few beach bars but the ambience is decidedly low-key, a wonderful place to share an afternoon with the Mediterranean Sea and native loggerhead turtles.
Kabak beach feels like a secret spot that’s avoided the busy grip of mass tourism and should remain that way – blue sea, green forest and tranquillity.
Perhaps the most unique beach in Turkey is the remarkable Butterfly Valley. The name comes from the hundreds of species of butterflies that settle there each year, although the presence of more humans means less peace and quiet for the butterflies to venture out.
The beach area is tucked into the corner of a protected nature reserve, where two mountain faces merge. Part of the magic of Butterfly Valley is its remoteness and untouched nature that can only be reached by boat.
You’ll find a cafe, restaurant and camping area to set up and stay the night, or maybe even a few, and there are plenty of shady spots to relax amongst the grapevines. The sea, in classic Mediterranean style, is gorgeous.
You can also walk further back into the valley (for a small entrance fee) where there’s a waterfall. The butterflies tend to like this quiet area more so if you’ve come to see them, this is recommended. Remember to respect these delicate creatures as best you can and reduce noise to a minimum.
Beaches in Turkey Conclusion
These 7 beaches in Turkey are just a few of the jewel blue waters you will find when you visit this diverse country. Whether it is your first time to the country or you are heading back because you have fallen in love with the country, I hope you have now put at least a few of these beaches on your list of places to visit in Turkey. It is one of the best places to visit in the Middle East for good reason!
More Turkey Resources
Tips for Shopping in Turkey
Turkey is a relatively cheap country to travel to, when compared to Western Europe and some of its neighbours like Jordan. Istanbul is well known for its Grand Bazaar and its mecca of souvenir shopping.
If you are looking for the best gifts to buy while on holiday in Turkey, check out this post of mine on the best things to buy in Turkey.
What to Pack for Turkey
Turkey has a diverse climate and is a large country. You are going to want to consider the season you plan to travel in and pack your clothes accordingly. If you are planning on traveling to Istanbul in December, you are going to want to pack for winter. Remember that Turkey is a Muslim country and also attracts plenty of Muslim tourists, while bikinis are fine at the beach, ensure your attire is conservative in the cities and small towns.
You are going to want to decide if you want to lug a rolling suitcase on uneven cobblestones and on and off transit. While I personally prefer a suitcase, you may prefer a travel backpack like this one or this one. These are made for light packers, if you need something larger, look at this one!
An inexpensive Universal Travel Adapter is a must for Turkey. You will find an assortment of 220V plugs, from European 2 pin, another style of 2 pin and UK Plugs. While European 2 pin is most common, it is best to carry one of these adapters with you. With a handy USB input, you do not need to bring your plugs from home.
Motion Sickness Pills might be needed if you are prone to motion sickness and plan on traveling by bus or in the back of the car. There are many long bus journeys in the country and if you end up at the back, you will wish you had these. Sea Bands might work for you if you are prone to motion sickness.
Things you are forgetting
There are a few other things to think about when it comes to travel. The first thing is travel insurance. Whether it is an emergency room visit for something as simple as strep throat, or an emergency appendix surgery, or an unfortunate moped incident things do go wrong when people travel everyday.
I highly suggest travel insurance and a good policy. I personally never travel without it, and I even checked into my policy about care for my children if I am ever in an accident or hospitalized. There are just too many things to think about.
You can find out more information and buy your travel insurance here.