Relaxation at the top of your holiday agenda? With beautiful beaches, restaurants galore and fascinating culture to boot, it’s hard to beat Turkey for a peaceful break in the sun. Along the country’s Mediterranean coastline you’ll find laid-back resorts where unwinding is the order of the day. Fall into the slow rhythm of life and soak up the sunshine – it’s pure bliss.
Get clued up before you jet off with our insider’s guide to some of the most beautiful beaches in Turkey.
Say hello to the dreamy Turkish Riviera, also known as the Turquoise Coast. Mother Nature lent extra sparkle to this pocket of the country, where soft sand is fringed by aquamarine waters.
The beautiful region of Antalya is at its heart, the ideal spot to spend a few days in the sun – here stunning mountain ranges provide the perfect backdrop to some of the best beaches in Turkey.
Konyaalti Beach is an ideal spot, stretching for more than four miles along the western side of the resort. If you like to break up your sun worshipping with some thrills and spills, or if you need something to keep the kids entertained, this is the place to do it. Try your hand at water sports such as banana boat rides or take a trip to the water slide park at the beach’s western tip.
Livelier still is the dazzling Lara Beach, where some of the area’s top hotels add a splash of glamour to proceedings. Thanks to its shallow waters, this is a great one for kids, while there’s no shortage of sun loungers and parasols for hire, either. When the sun goes down, you won’t have far to go to enjoy some of the resort’s best restaurants, nightclubs and bars.
Over in upmarket Belek, rub shoulders with the jet set on nearly 10 miles of gorgeous Blue Flag sands. The striking beaches here are perfect for both families and couples, thanks to the alluring waterfront.
After a dose of sunshine, head for a night on the town – there are plenty of top quality restaurants to choose from. Feast on succulent steak and garlicky prawns as you enjoy sunset views.
A bit further afield, pristine Patara Beach offers something altogether different. At this unspoilt spot, things run at a much slower place and it’s often possible to find a spot all to yourself on the 11-mile stretch of golden sand.
Chosen as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches in a Sunday Times poll, it’s one of the best places in the country to take in bracing mountain views. Patara is also home to endangered loggerhead turtles, who breed on this golden slice of sand.
Situated on the glorious Aegean coastline, Bodrum is a magnet for sun-seekers from all over the globe thanks to its collection of beautiful bays.
Besides beaches, this sunbaked destination also offers the chance to soak up traditional Turkish culture. Sample delicious grub at a waterside restaurant and gaze at the monumental St Peter’s Castle in between sunbathing sessions.
Once they’ve settled in, most sun-worshippers make a beeline for Gumbet’s beach. One of the more developed spots in the resort, this location boasts a decent line-up of excellent bars and cafés nearby. Popular with swimmers in particular, the clear water allows you to see right down to the seabed. There are also plenty of sunbeds available on land to keep you comfortable.
For a total contrast, head to Kargi in the south of the resort. Surrounded by traditional, all-white villas and restaurants, it’s even more chilled out than Gumbet, with its gently sloping shoreline making it a good swimming spot for children. Once you’ve worked up an appetite from all the sunbathing, take your pick from any of the top eateries nearby, where, unsurprisingly, delicious seafood is high up on the menu.
Between the two sunbathing bastions of Bodrum and Antalya, Dalaman has more than enough top beaches, fine restaurants and culture to give its neighbours a run for their money.
Olu Deniz Beach
Olu Deniz is one of the most popular spots in the region – and for good reason. The picture-perfect waters of the Blue Lagoon call to you from the sparkling sands, just as long as you can drag yourself away from your sunbed long enough to take a dip. In the background, you’ll find an array of shops, bars and restaurants, so you won’t be stuck if you leave your sun cream in your suitcase.
Another great beach lies just outside of town in Sarigerme. Away from the main tourist centre, it’s somewhat of an undiscovered gem, with gentle waves lapping the pristine white shore. Dotted with parasols and sunbeds for hire, you’re sure to find plenty of room to stretch out. What’s more, the beach is a protected area, meaning the only thing you’ll find on these sands will be your own footprints after walking up from the sea.
For its pure popularity, you just have to see what the fuss is about in Marmaris. This resort is beloved by many for its open-air clubs, great restaurants and thriving markets. By day, enjoy the balmy weather at Marmaris’ beachfront that stretch for six miles along the coast to Icmeler. And by night, join the other revellers for post-sunbathing party along Bar Street.
Posted: 4th Aug 2020. Updated: 26th Apr 2023.