Without a doubt, Turkey is blessed with some of the most picturesque, scenic and postcard-worthy beaches in the world. Whether you’re after some romantic, secluded spots, never-ending beach parties or crystal clear aqua waters and sugar-soft sand, Turkey is a paradise waiting to be discovered.
On the southern coast of Turkey is Patara, a 20km stretch of soft golden sands. Often voted as one of the best in the country, Patara is perfect for families and children, with warm shallow waters and gentle waves ideal for a bit of body-surfing.
Also known as the Blue Lagoon, Oludeniz is one of Turkey’s most photographed holiday hotspots. The long stretch of sand curves around to a point, where the waters are an incredible shade of azure blue. Squeeze into a spot with a sun lounger and watch the hundreds of paragliders glide down from the cliffs over the iconic peninsula… or better yet, join them for a jump that will literally take your breath away!
Iztuzu Beach is home to some rather unusual residents – it’s one of the few Mediterranean beaches where tiny loggerhead turtles come to nest. In order to protect this endangered species, a turtle centre has been set up where can volunteers monitor their breeding and look after any injured ones. The beach itself is 4.5km long and just 13km south of Dalyan.
For some of the best sand in the world, take a day trip out on a traditional Turkish gulet to Sedir Island, just off the coast from Ula. Made out of seashells, each grain of sand has been perfectly formed over thousands of years. Legend has it that the sand was actually imported from the Red Sea by Mark Antony, especially for Cleopatra.
Popular with backpackers and those looking to get away from the tourist trap, Olympos is a secluded village and beach around 1.5 hours from Antalya. Here, you’ll be free to do whatever you want – kayaking, swimming, sunbathing, white-water rafting, and even trekking some of the 300-mile Lycian Way, a long-distance walking track that curves around the Turquoise Coast.
The ancient town of Fethiye with its 2400-year-old rock tombs hides a little slice of paradise known as Calis Beach. Only a short drive from the town, Calis is a nice beachside break from the hustle and bustle of nearby Fethiye. It’s a lovely romantic spot, where you can watch the sun drop into the sea with your special someone.
VIP travellers should head to Lara Beach in Antalya. Dubbed the Las Vegas of Turkey, you’ll find luxury villas and 5-star hotels, casinos and clubs, and even the odd celebrity soaking up the sun on the 8km beach. Don some oversized sunnies and you’ll blend right in.
The hip area of Bodrum has no shortage of spectacular beaches, however Gumbet definitely stands out. The sand is fine and golden, and there are a huge variety of watersports for active sun-seekers. Scuba diving and snorkelling are particularly popular here, with a whole undersea world awaiting swimmers in the warm, transparent waters.
Want some unusual holiday snaps? Head to Kargi Bay in Bodrum where you can ride a camel across the sandy shores down to the glistening ocean. Boat is the best way to get to Kargi, and many tours will also include a stop at Turgutreis, a large marina town famous for its shopping where you’ll be able to pick up Turkish trinkets and souvenirs.
As the main beach in the party town of Alanya, you won’t get much rest around here. The waterfront bars have tourists drinking and dancing until the sun comes up, when the parties spill over on to the sand. Expect fire shows, laser lights and DJs playing until dawn.
So what about you? Is your favourite Turkish beach on our list? If not, please tell us what we’re missing out on!