The 1,600 km long Mediterranean Coastline of Türkiye is known as the Turkish Riviera or, simply, the Turquoise Coast. It is home to some of the best beaches and resorts in the world. The big resorts are bustling and lively in the high summer season and attract millions of visitors from all around the world. But there are quieter places too, the beach at Çıralı is set in the midst of the Olimpos (Olympus) National Park and is a protected area.
If you’re after something a bit more peaceful you can whole coves to yourself in the spring or autumn or by going to the smaller slightly off-the-beaten track resorts.
Modern and traditional resorts on a beautiful coastline. Ancient cities hidden among forests. A wide variety of sporting activities and many attractions. Antalya is the perfect holiday destination offering something for everyone. Amongst the best spots for beaches and swimming close to the city centre are:
The sandy Lara Beach lies about 12km to the east of the city centre. On the way to Lara Beach, the Lower Düden Waterfall plunges straight into the sea. Lara is a long beach of gentle waves, darkish sand, and some small pebbles. Most parts of the beach are operated by commercial concerns offering beach chairs, parasols, snacks and drinks, showers and perhaps even some entertainment. Hotels, restaurants and other services host visitors who swim mostly from decks and platforms. The real sand beach starts on the east side of this point and extends for several kilometres. The first major location is Lara Public Beach with beach services run by the municipality of Antalya.
Konyaaltı Beach (Turkish: Konyaaltı Plajı) is one of the two main beaches of Antalya. The beach is located on the western side of the city and stretches for 7 km from the cliffs to the Beydağları Mountains. It is bound inwards by the beach park and numerous bars, cafes, nightclubs and hotels.
Resort Towns and Ancient Cities with good beaches further afield from the city centre include:
Olimpos Çıralı Beach
The ancient city of Olympos (Olimpos in Turkish) is located on the seashore, close to Çıralı, on the southern side of the Mount Tahtalı. Olympos, which was a member of the Lycian Union, was a maritime trading city. The area is a National Park nowadays. This pristine pebbly beach with an exceptionally clean sea offers a view of the mountains, the sea and lush forests. You can cool off in the shade of the trees in Olympos Beach after having succumbed to the warm waters of the Mediterranean.
Adrasan, also known as Çavuşköy, is a village in the district of Kumluca. A collection of smaller villages and hamlets, Adrasan extends along a 2.5 km stretch of coast - most of which is sand and shingle beach. The settlements of this coastal section of Adrasan are almost exclusively dedicated to the tourism industry, with a number of pension style hotels, apartments and restaurants.
The surrounding Adrasan Bay is known for its natural environment and is also a common fishing spot among locals. Boat trips are available daily during the summer months, taking tourists along Antalya's mountainous coastal region. Visibility in these waters can reach up to 25 m on a clear day, making it popular with swimmers and snorkellers.
Kemer is a seaside town set in one of the most stunning locations anywhere along the Mediterranean. Its unique geographical beauty makes it a perfect spot for all kinds of outdoor activities, including not only camping and hiking but also mountain biking, cycling, boat racing and motocross to name just some.
Its beaches are famous and if you come at the right time of year, you might see some celebrities mingling with the locals on its beautiful shores.
The Ancient City of Phaselis and Phaselis Beach, one of the best-preserved ancient cities in the Antalya region are located in the same Beydağları National Park as the Ancient City of Olympos. Phaselis boasted not one but three ports and all three have beaches from which you can swim. The ports are the North (Military) Port, the Central Port and the South Port. The North and Central ports are adjacent to each other, whereas the South port is a 10-15-minute walk through the Ancient City. You can cool off under the trees and picnic on the Phaselis beaches whilst you enjoy the sea and the sun all day.
Manavgat is situated to the east of Antalya city. The town occupies both banks and the lower reaches of the Manavgat River. The centre of Manavgat is approximately 3.5 km from the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
The pillars of the magnificent Temple of Apollo in Side on the Mediterranean Coast are one of the most picturesque symbols of Antalya. The Ancient City of Side is located not far from the city centre, of Antalya and it always been a major attraction due to its gorgeous and magnificently preserved ancient structures. After seeing the pillars of the Temple of Apollo, the City Agora, the Vespasianus Monument in the Ancient City you can enjoy a relaxing swim in the Mediterranean Sea and Antalya's year-round sunshine. Side is a superb example of ancient history right on the Mediterranean Sea with sunshine and an inviting sea.
The large and popular resort centre of Alanya lies at one end of a rocky promontory which juts out into the Mediterranean between two long sandy beaches. Its strategic position on a small peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea and just below the Taurus Mountains has endowed Alanya with its historical significance: the city was a stronghold for many Mediterranean-based empires, including the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. The Mediterranean climate, natural attractions, and historical heritage make this city a popular destination. Every year, Alanya hosts w arm-weather sporting events and cultural festivals.
Cleopatra Beach is famous for its golden sands on the eastern coast of Antalya and is named after the legendary queen of the Ancient Egypt, Cleopatra. This roughly 2 km long beach hosted Cleopatra and her lover the Roman General Mark Antony on its unmatched sands. Entrance is free to Cleopatra Beach where you can rent sunbeds and parasols to warm up in the Mediterranean sun and then to cool off in the deep blue sea.
Kaş is the closest part of the Turkish mainland to any of the Greek Islands. From its pretty harbour you can look across the sea all the way to nearby Kastellorizo. It is famous for its narrow-cobbled streets with whitewashed houses, for its charming restaurants and cafés and for colourful bougainvillea climbing up the old buildings. Kaş is a little bit off the beaten track being located towards the western end of Antalya but those that make the effort to come this far are rewarded with a town that is relatively unspoilt and many who do come immediately fall in love with the place! Nearby there are some pretty beaches.
Kaputaş Beach (Plaji)
Kaputaş Beach, located near Kaş and nearer to Kalkan in the most westerly part of Antalya Province, has featured on many tourism posters over the years and is a firm favourite amongst locals and visitors alike. This isn’t a mass tourism region and there are no big resort hotels rather just small friendly boutique hotels. The narrow beach is accessed via stairs down from the main road with tall cliffs rising to both sides of the V-shaped gorge. It’s very picturesque and well worth straying off-the-beaten-track for.
Limanağzı Beach (Plaji)
4 Beach Clubs can be reached by an inexpensive boat service from the Old Harbour. They offer reasonably priced food, drinks, sun loungers and shade. The swimming and snorkelling here are superb!
Other places to swim in Kaş are: Small Pebble Beach (Küçük Çakıl Plaji) right in the town centre, Big Pebble Beach (Büyük Çakıl Plaji) a 15-minute walk east, İnceboğaz Beach (Plaji) on the road out to the peninsula plus Seyrek Çakıl Beach (Plaji) and Akçagerme Beach (Plaji) both a short dolmuş (public minibus service) away.
Demre and Kekova (The Sunken City)
The ancient city of Myra, now called Demre or Kale, is 25km west of Finike. St Nicholas, who was born in Patara, was the bishop of Myra during the fourth century CE and died there in 345. There are good beaches to the south of the town. The island of Kekova, home to the famous Sunken City accessible by boat trip or sea kayak, gives its name to a whole group of picturesque islands, numerous bays and ancient cities.
Mersin, a rising star of world tourism, is set on a long coastline in the eastern part of the Turkish Riviera and boasts the cleanest seawater along this coast. Mersin is a city of long beaches and enchanting inlets with the Taurus Mountains rising immediately behind them. Other places worth exploring for beach and swimming opportunities in the region include: Silifke, Taşucu, Kızlar Hamamı and Anamur.
Kızkalesi, 50 km southwest of Mersin, is a pretty destination with fine sandy beaches, motels and camp sites. It is also home to the ancient city of Korykos. The 12th century castle of Korykos on the shore faces another castle, Kızkalesi (Maiden's Castle), which stands on a tiny island 200m offshore.
Adana's coastline is short, especially when compared with that of other provinces along the Turkish Riviera. However, some of the most beautiful beaches in Türkiye lie along this coastline, where visitors can swim in crystal clear waters and feast their eyes on the riches of local culture, landscape and history. Karataş Beach, just half an hour from Adana, is next to the ruins of the ancient city of Magarsus. Explore the ruins, and after your arduous walk, dive straight into the sea for a refreshing swim – all in one exhilarating day! The exceptionally beautiful beach at Yumurtalık is within striking distance of the ruins at Ayas and the area is home to other fortresses and sites of historical interest.
Çevlik Beach (Samandağ, Hatay 25 km from Antakya, close to the Syrian Border).
The 14 km long Çevlik Beach is one of the longest beaches in Türkiye. Çevlik Beach is famous for its golden sands and shallow waters and it is remarkably close to Titus Tüneli the first man-made tunnel in the world and is a marvel of Roman engineering. The construction of this 130 m long and 15 m wide tunnel was ordered by the Roman Emperor Titus, to transport water from the mountain to the harbour. There are numerous cafés and restaurants around Çevlik Beach where you can dine and have drinks. If you have plenty of time you can go to Çevlik Village to see the ruins of the Ancient City of Piera.