Many people go for the Cultural Triangle when visiting Turkey – this involves a week to 10-day trip to Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus. It is an overwhelming experience of history, culture, city vibes, and natural beauty. And what could be better than finishing this off with an extended stay at one of the beach holiday resorts on the Turkish Riviera?
A stay at the Turkish Riviera is the perfect and relaxing ending to a cultural tour of Turkey’s highlights, and you are guaranteed to fall in love with those turquoise waters, Turkish hospitality, and delicious food. These are my picks of the best beach resorts in Turkey and scenic towns for beach-lovers.
Turkey Beach Resorts Location
Fashionable Bodrum Peninsula
Bodrum is located on Turkey’s southwest coast, on the Aegean Sea. While travelers and booking agents alike often refer to the whole Bodrum peninsula as Bodrum, the resorts on the peninsula each have a unique vibe. Fly from Istanbul to Bodrum for a stay on the Bodrum Peninsula.
Bodrum – the city from which the peninsula got its name – is said to be the Turkish Saint-Tropez. It offers some of the best beach resorts in Turkey.
The many luxury yachts and gullets in the marina that lies in the shadow of the medieval fortress must have something to do with that. In any case, I can honestly say that no matter what type of resort you are looking for, you’re bound to find it on the Bodrum Peninsula, except maybe for the enormous all-inclusive villages for which the Antalya coastline is famous.
Depending on your mood, stay in the buzzing heart of Bodrum city, windmill-dotted Yalıkavak, upscale Türkbükü, bohemian Gümüşlük, beach-oriented Bitez, or party-animal heaven Gümbet. For a dose of nature combined with history, hike up to Pedasa, almost in the heart of the peninsula and admire the view.
The Mediterranean resort of Marmaris is located on the Turquoise Coast and makes for a quintessential Turkey beach holiday. Dalaman is your go-to airport for Marmaris. Beach-lovers are spoiled as Marmaris boasts a long pebbly beach and a seafront promenade.
Apart from its famous nightlife, you’ll find beautiful pine-clad mountains surrounding the city, as well as a large marina, and a quaint old town, dominated by a restored castle.
Adjacent to Marmaris is Içmeler with a long sandy beach. If you are looking for a laid-back vibe, then it is perfect for you. If you’re going to Marmaris, and you’re looking for something different to visit, head over to Nimara Cave on Heaven Island for an out-of-this-world cave scenery.
Fethiye, also on the Turquoise Coast has a stunning natural harbor and bay and is on the list of top Turkey holiday resorts. The port city is still very Turkish, despite a growing amount of holidaymakers. Dalaman is your go-to airport for Fethiye. One of the famous landmarks of Fethiye is the 4th-century B.C. rock tomb of Amyntas. It is carved into the rocks overlooking the bay.
Most tourists visiting Fethiye do not actually stay in the city but go to the neighboring resorts of Çalış or Ölüdeniz, which is famous for its lagoon and paragliding off Mount Babadağ.
Another favorite activity in the area is the 12-islands boat tour or a trip to Butterfly Valley.
Cultural activities in the area include a trip to Tlos, or Unesco World Heritage sites Letoon and Xanthos. For the real activity-seekers, there is an option to hike to these places along the famous Lycian Way, a waymarked footpath that goes from Ölüdeniz to Antalya.
Buzzing Antalya coast
Antalya is a big city, lively, with plenty of shopping malls, a stunning coastline, a charming old town, and a long stretch of designated tourist resorts south of the city. Antalya has its own international airport. The area around Antalya tends to have several hotels with heated and indoor pools that stay open all year.
Turkey beach resorts of Lara, Side, and Belek are famous for their large all-inclusive hotels.
These places are almost small villages on their own, with all the amenities you can think of, going from entertainment, several restaurants, numerous swimming pools, to shopping or hairdressers. Name it, chances are you will find it in those hotels. These places are vacation heaven for some, and a nightmare for others.
But Antalya has more to offer! Kaleiçi or Antalya old town is full of charm, with many boutique style hotels in old Greek houses. Konyaaltı, Antalya’s city beach enjoys the stunning backdrop of Mount Olympos and has some friendly, upscale hotels with beach access.
And for those looking for something a bit different, head to Çıralı, next to the ancient site of Olympos. You’ll find a pristine beach, soaked in history with the eternal flames on the mountain behind you and an excellent choice of tree house hotels, lodges, or other quirky accommodations.
Do remember this is just a small selection of popular and well-established beach resorts in Turkey. If you plan on extending your stay by visiting one of these holiday resorts in Turkey, you will find that domestic flights are cheap and plenty. Bear in mind that the season in most resorts runs from May to the end of October.
If you are looking for more inspiration on things to see and do in Turkey, check out this map search page from Slow Travel Guide. New destinations are added every week.
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This is a guest post by Pascale. Pascale is the heart and soul of Slow Travel Guide. She’s a copywriter, nature lover, blogger, and coffee aficionado. She likes all things slow and immersing herself in travels, stories, and life in general. Follow her adventures and Turkey travel tips on Slow Travel Guide.
Have you visited the Turkish Riviera? Which was your favourite beach town?
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