Despite their proximity to İstanbul, the shores and hinterland of the Sea of Marmara are neglected by most foreign travellers. While this may not be altogether surprising – Türkiye here is at its most Balkan and, at first glance, least exotic – there are good reasons to visit. While most of the Thracian coast is not as exciting as the Aegean and the Med there ae still a few decent beaches, two bright spots stand out – the beach-and-fortress town of Kıyıköy on the Black Sea, and the Saros Gulf resort of Erikli. To cross the Sea of Marmara, the port of Tekirdağ has potentially useful ferries to the southern shore, whilst Eceabat, on the Gallipoli Peninsula, is linked by car ferry to Çanakkale opposite. It is expected that the world’s longest mid-span suspension bridge across the Dardanelles will be completed in 2022.
Sometimes referred as “The Pearl of Marmara" Tekirdağ boasts a 150km coastline. Worth visiting in the region for its beaches is Şarköy. Şarköy (in Greek known as Peristasi) is a seaside town and district of Tekirdağ Province situated on the north coast of the Marmara Sea in Thrace in Türkiye. Şarköy is 86 km west of the town of Tekirdağ and can be reached either by the inland road or by the winding coast road, which goes on to Gallipoli.
The Bursa province is Türkiye’s latest golden child. Once you look at the reasons, its popularity is easy to understand. Bursa is an all-rounder offering a diversity of landscapes and lifestyles from the historical city centre to Mount Uludağ, the skiing centre, to rural villages and finally, beachside destinations.
Amongst the sea-side resorts in Bursa Province are:
A seaside resort town 25km from Bursa, Mudanya has fine fish restaurants and nightclubs which are popular with the residents of the city.
Gemlik. The Gulf of Gemlik, 29km from Bursa, has wide sandy beaches, of which Kumla is much favoured.
Other places worth checking out are: Karacabey, Iznik Lake and Tirilye.
Balikesir is another tourism centre in the Marmara Region with coasts on both the Aegean and Marmara Seas plus unique beaches, bays, islets, mountains, and thermal springs. Amongst the highlights of the region for beach holidays are:
Ayvalık. Ayvalık is 160 km north of İzmir opposite the Greek Island of Lesbos. It is famous for its diving, beaches, expansive national parks and stunning architecture. After all of your hard work diving, swimming, walking, and soaking up the rays you deserve some delicious, freshly caught fish, locally sourced meze and flowing raki. We recommend enjoying the sunset with good food and lively conversation at one of the many seaside meyhane (taverns) in Ayvalık. It’s famous for its sandy beaches which are golden and inviting.
Cunda Island (Cunda Adası) also known as Ali Bey Island is linked to Ayvalık via a bridge, and is famous for its glorious sunsets, its seafood and animated taverns where conversations invariably continue until the early hours of the morning.
Marmara Island (Marmara Adası) is an island in the Sea of Marmara. With an area of 118 km2 it is the largest island in the Sea of Marmara and is the second largest island of Türkiye after Gökçeada (older name in Turkish: İmroz. It is the centre of the Marmara district in Balıkesir Province. Transportation is possible from İstanbul by ship and ferry, and by motorboat from Tekirdağ and Erdek. Marmara island is full of historical treasures which increase its attractiveness. The town of Marble Beach (Mermer Plaj) takes its name from the marbles for which the town is famous and which give the island and the sea their name.
Other places with beaches worth checking out in the region include: Avşa, Erdek, Edremit, Ören, Altınkum, Akçay and Altınoluk.
Çanakkale is a bridge between Asia Minor (Anatolia) and Europe, the Aegean and the Marmara Sea. It is a meeting point of green and blue, of history and the modern era. Some of the places worth checking out for swimming and beaches include:
Türkiye’s third-largest island at 40 square kilometres, it is in the northeast Aegean Sea, just southwest of the Dardanelles in the district of Çanakkale. It is peaceful and calm in winter, and dynamic and colourful in summer. Bozcaada has 12 bays and is surrounded by 17 small islets. The most famous beach of the island is Ayazma Beach which is known for its snow-white sands and clear waters, but there is a less well-known beach well worth seeking out adjacent to this popular beach. Beylik Cove might just provide you with the peace and seclusion that you are looking for. One of the best things to do on this island is to enjoy swimming in the clear sea and Beylik Cove is one of the best places to do just that. Come here to cool off in the blue waters and relax.
As the largest of the Turkish islands, Gökçeada is ringed with pristine bays. Its hills covered with the green of pine and olive trees are dotted with sacred springs and monasteries. Regular ferry boats make the trip from Çanakkale and Kabatepe possible and in August both islanders and visitors gather for colourful local fairs. If you want to witness a spectacular sunset at the end of the day in Gökçeada, you can climb up to the top of Uğurlu Village and experience the colourful scene as the sun goes down. Do not leave Gökçeada without seeing the Salt Lake, Cheese Rocks and Rock Tombs!
The golden sands and the turquoise sea at the beaches of Assos are well worth seeking out! Assos has gained the reputation of being the centre of the Turkish artistic community with its lively, friendly and bohemian atmosphere – this may well be one of the places you will remember for years to come.
Other notables places around here that have beaches include: Saros, Ezine and Küçükkuyu.
The province of Edirne boasts places to swim at: Erikli, Enez and Uzunkum.
In the Yalova region you can swim at Çınarcık and Armutlu
In the Kocaeli region there good swimming opportunities at: Kandıra, Karamürsel and Kefken.