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Exploring Turkey

South-West Coast

Choosing your favourite of Turkey’s beautiful beaches

Turkey is home to many stunning beaches, but it is on the south-west coast in particular that you’ll find our favourite, and the most mesmerising. It’s easy to see why the stretch between Dalyan and Antalya is known as the ‘Turkish Riviera’ and you might also see it referred to as the Turquoise Coast.

Where to stay?

For the nature lovers

Take a water taxi through Dalyan‘s pretty reedbeds to Iztuzu beach, a 4km stretch of golden sand renowned for being home to the Caretta Caretta sea turtle. Although it does get busy with visitors in the summer months, the beach is protected and there is a marked zone where the turtles nest and sunbathing is not allowed. There is also the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre which is well worth a visit.

For the adrenalin seekers

Turkey’s most famous beach is Ölüdeniz in Fethiye, meaning ‘dead sea’ in Turkish as it always remains so calm..  This magnificent beach sweeps around and at its tip is the blue lagoon, an absolutely gorgeous sandy bay surrounded by crystal-clear waters. For obvious reasons, this beach is incredibly popular, and not just with sun worshippers – there are also plenty of water sports and gulet trips on offer. Ölüdeniz is also renowned for paragliding, although not for the faint-hearted, paragliding off the top of Mount Babadag (a whopping 6500 ft high!) offers incredible views over the lagoon, pine-clad mountains and sparkling Mediterranean.

For added luxury

Travelling an hour south takes you to beautiful Kalkan. Despite only having a small pebble beach, it has become a popular seaside town and has many beach clubs.  Bathing platforms have been built into the hillside and you can easily access the warm, clear waters by ladder.  Most beach clubs also have a restaurant on site so you can make a day of it and combine soaking up some rays with a long lazy lunch. For the more active, an array of water sports are also on offer.

The 20km long beach at Patara is a mere 20 minutes drive from Kalkan. Here you can explore the surrounding sand dunes, enjoy a swim and also visit the ancient amphitheatre and Lycian ruins.

Between Kalkan and the neighbouring town of Kas is the remarkable Kaputas Beach. This is one of Turkey’s most photographed beaches due to its golden sand and crystalline waters. It’s definitely worth stopping by for a photo opportunity!

For a secluded retreat

In Kas, you will find the aptly named Little Pebble Beach and Big Pebble Beach. Both of which are very pretty and our favourite snorkelling opportunity on the coast.

Choosing your favourite of Turkey’s beautiful beaches

Turkey is home to many stunning beaches, but it is on the south-west coast in particular that you’ll find our favourite, and the most mesmerising. It’s easy to see why the stretch between Dalyan and Antalya is known as the ‘Turkish Riviera’ and you might also see it referred to as the Turquoise Coast.

Where to stay?

For the nature lovers

Take a water taxi through Dalyan‘s pretty reedbeds to Iztuzu beach, a 4km stretch of golden sand renowned for being home to the Caretta Caretta sea turtle. Although it does get busy with visitors in the summer months, the beach is protected and there is a marked zone where the turtles nest and sunbathing is not allowed. There is also the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre which is well worth a visit.

For the adrenalin seekers

Turkey’s most famous beach is Ölüdeniz in Fethiye, meaning ‘dead sea’ in Turkish as it always remains so calm..  This magnificent beach sweeps around and at its tip is the blue lagoon, an absolutely gorgeous sandy bay surrounded by crystal-clear waters. For obvious reasons, this beach is incredibly popular, and not just with sun worshippers – there are also plenty of water sports and gulet trips on offer. Ölüdeniz is also renowned for paragliding, although not for the faint-hearted, paragliding off the top of Mount Babadag (a whopping 6500 ft high!) offers incredible views over the lagoon, pine-clad mountains and sparkling Mediterranean.

For added luxury

Travelling an hour south takes you to beautiful Kalkan. Despite only having a small pebble beach, it has become a popular seaside town and has many beach clubs.  Bathing platforms have been built into the hillside and you can easily access the warm, clear waters by ladder.  Most beach clubs also have a restaurant on site so you can make a day of it and combine soaking up some rays with a long lazy lunch. For the more active, an array of water sports are also on offer.

The 20km long beach at Patara is a mere 20 minutes drive from Kalkan. Here you can explore the surrounding sand dunes, enjoy a swim and also visit the ancient amphitheatre and Lycian ruins.

Between Kalkan and the neighbouring town of Kas is the remarkable Kaputas Beach. This is one of Turkey’s most photographed beaches due to its golden sand and crystalline waters. It’s definitely worth stopping by for a photo opportunity!

For a secluded retreat

In Kas, you will find the aptly named Little Pebble Beach and Big Pebble Beach. Both of which are very pretty and our favourite snorkelling opportunity on the coast.

Explore the beaches

Istanbul
An intoxicating city and the only one in the world to sit across 2 continents. Enjoy breakfast in Europe and lunch in Asia, then back again for the evening.

Most of the popular sights, history and activity are centred on the European side in an area called Sultanahmet. But we recommend you explore further - taking in the Bazaars, cruising along the Bosphorous, and visiting the rooftop bars of Sultanahmet.
Cappadocia
The unique natural caves and ‘fairy chimneys’ in Cappadocia would be beautiful on their own, but they’ve been rendered even more interesting by their history as a refuge for Christians looking to escape Islamic armies. The result is fascinating carvings, frescoes and churches deep in caves.It’s easy to see why drifting over this region on a hot air balloon has become popular.

It’s probably the best region for serious hikers as well, offering challenging mountains and valleys for those who seek them, with rich scenic rewards.
Kalkan
Kalkan is, without a doubt, one of the prettiest holiday beach towns along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast. It calls visitors back again and again.

The charming cobbled-stone town is packed with excellent restaurants, and sits staggered down the hillside to the ocean, with dramatic mountains in the backdrop.
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Thrace Wine Region
A beautiful region producing wine since ancient times. Guided tours of vineyards are open from April to the October harvest.
Fethiye
The Fethiye region is beautiful, with its verdant valleys and dramatic mountains covered in sweet-scented pine forests, ancient tombs carved into the rock faces and simply magnificent beaches. The most famous are the blue lagoon at Ölüdeniz, and the neighbouring Butterfly Valley, aptly named due to the diverse species of butterflies that have made it their home.

For history and nature lovers this region ticks all the boxes, with its many ancient sites to visit including the ruined temples of Tlos Letoon, and the derelict old Greek houses in the ‘ghost village’ of Kaya Valley. Spring is a wonderful time to visit; with its unique flora and fauna, it is simply bursting with rare wild flowers.
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Göcek
Göcek, in the Fethiye region, is a chic, harbour-side town surrounded by 12 islands – stunning just to look at, and even more spectacular to explore onboard a gulet. More
Datça & Bozburun Peninsulas
For a real taste of unspoilt Turkey, visit the gorgeous peninsulas of Datça and Bozburun with their mountain hamlets, forests of pine and a myriad of fishing villages, beaches and secluded coves, just waiting to be discovered.

The southernmost of the two peninsulas is Bozburun, where the main village is renowned for building traditional gulets, splendid wooden Turkish yachts that are seen along the whole coastline.

The Datça Peninsula is home to ancient Knidos which lies at its tip, where the remains of this Dorian port city overlook 2 stunning bays.
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Bodrum Peninsula
Despite Bodrum being a bustling, cosmopolitan town, the old part is incredibly pretty and has remained unchanged for many years, with old white and blue stone houses in the backstreets covered in colourful Mediterranean flowers.

The area is also packed with ancient history. You can see Bodrum Castle from pretty much everywhere, and the Mausoleum at Halicarnussus (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) is tucked away here too.
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