Turkey is one of our favourite destinations for lashings of sun, sea and sand, served up with a liberal sprinkling of ancient sites, historic towns, natural springs and gorgeous landscapes. Whether you’re looking to party or prefer to chill, travelling with the kids, a group of friends, or your partner, we’ve got all the best beaches in Turkey covered in this essential guide!
Best for party people
Antalya is unquestionably the biggest party destination on Turkey’s southern coast. Bars, clubs, belly-dancing, drag shows – you name it, and Antalya has it. It’s rivalled by Bodrum, which has an equally intense nightlife scene: in fact, there are so many bars on Cumhuriyet Street that it’s better known as ‘Bar Street’, but you also shouldn’t miss some of the resort’s fabulous open-air nightclubs. Then there’s Marmaris, which appeals to everyone from families to couples, but also has enough clubs and bars to keep you going all night every night!
Best for families
Icmeler is an ideal choice for a family holiday in the sun. A former fishing village, it has preserved much of its original charm and the gorgeous beach spreads around a sheltered bay. The shallow waters and low-key atmosphere have made it a firm favourite with families. Kids will also love a visit to Izututu – better known as ‘Turtle Beach’ which is a nesting site for the endangered loggerhead turtles. Olu Deniz is another fantastic choice for families, a big resort with lots of facilities, which is home to the famous Blue Lagoon. The lagoon’s quiet waters are perfect for the youngest kids, while older children will enjoy the boat trip to Butterfly Valley. This stunning canyon, home to myriad butterfly species, opens out onto a quiet, sandy bay, perfect for swimming or snorkelling. The quaint little town of Kalkan is another great bet, handy for Patara Beach – one of Turkey’s longest and most beautiful strands – and family-friendly attractions such as the Tlos Yaka Forest Park.
Best for couples
Kalkan may have grown into a popular resort, but it retains plenty of authentic charm. This pretty little Turkish port town is ideal for a romantic break, with wonderful beaches, atmospheric taverns, and a sprinkling of shops and nightlife. Side, another delightful harbour town, makes for an idyllic holiday, with its breathtaking beaches and fascinating Greco-Roman ruins, which provide the perfect backdrop for romance.
Best for water sports
Turkey is a spectacular destination for all kinds of water sports. Alcati beach in Cesme is a mecca for wind-surfing and kite-surfing, one of the best places for the sport found anywhere in the world. Pirlanta beach, also in Cesme, and Kadikalesi beach in Bodrum are also great. For diving, head to Kas, which offers superb diving, and has several outstanding dive sites within easy reach. Bodrum and Antalya are also excellent bases if you want to do some diving. From Bodrum, you can reach Orak Island, fantastic for snorkelling, or go scuba diving around the Kargi and Kocek islands or the wonderfully named Big Bango and Small Bango.