Fabulous beaches, warm seas . . . No wonder Turkey’s mediterranean coast is so hot!
TURKEY’S Mediterranean coast is home to some of the finest beaches in the Mediterranean – if not the world.
Little wonder it’s earned the title the Turquoise Coast.
Beautiful, clear waters; safe, sandy beaches, a fabulous warm climate and some of the best accommodation the country has to offer – it’s no wonder this area has become the number one target for British holidaymakers visiting Turkey.
Here are selection of the best and most popular places to head for – all within easy reach of either Bodrum, Dalaman or Antalya airports.
Bodrum – often referred to as the St Tropez of Turkey – is the coast’s happening resort – lively, entertaining, and full of things to do. Two bays wrap around the town’s impressive Castle of St Peter which dominates the landscape. The best beaches are scattered around the Bodrum peninsula – at places like Gumbet and Bitez – rather than Bodrum itself, but the town’s small, pebbly beach is ample for chilling out from the night before!
Bodrum Amphitheatre is located on the hillside overlooking the resort, offering fantastic views over the castle and harbour.
Turkey’s top yachting port and the perfect place to take a cruise along the coast.
A ‘Blue Cruise’ – sailing along the coastline on a beautifully crafted Turkish gulet – is an essential part of a Turquoise Coast holiday. The longer cruises even take you round nearby Greek islands.
Located 17 miles west of Dalaman airport, Dalyan is quite different from other resort towns on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.
Dalyan is a largely undeveloped, tranquil village offering a significant number of natural and historical attractions, as well as classic Turkish friendliness and hospitality. Due to the fact that nearby Iztuzu beach is one of the world’s few remaining breeding grounds for Loggerhead (Caretta Caretta) turtles, an effort has been made to conserve the area’s astounding natural beauty.
Nearby thermal springs at Sultaniye, and the Dalyan mud baths are also not to be missed and make for an out of the ordinary holiday experience.
The Gulf of Gocek and its friendly marina is one of the best sailing spots on the Mediterranean. Dotted with islands and sculpted by many coves, its land and seascapes are irresistible. The ruins of Arymaxa, an ancient city at the southern tip of the gulf, lie at the edge of the water.
Fethiye boasts a large marina at the head of a beautiful bay strewn with islands. A hill crowned by the ruins of the crusader fortress built by the Knights of Rhodes overlooks the little port. Swimmers prefer to head for the popular Calis Beach, a few miles west of the town, or to Sovalye Island, opposite the harbour, which blazes with flowers in the spring.
This is many people’s choice as Turkey’s best beach. Oludeniz translates as Blue Lagoon and offers a wide range of facilities for swimming, bathing and watersports. If you want an alternative to a beach-based holiday you can rent a cottage in the mountains just east of Oludeniz Beach in the midst of a Turkish farming community for a off the beaten track location.
The promenade by the town has plenty of bars, restaurants and cafés. Paragliding and hang gliding, solo or tandem, off nearby Babadag mountain and landing on the beach are extremely popular.
Patara Beach is a fabulous fine sandy beach which stretches for nine miles. Part of a national park, it is a key biodiversity area, rich in birdlife and the breeding ground of the endangered loggerhead turtle. The beach is closed off at night from May to October to allow the turtles undisturbed access to their nesting sites. It is said St Nicholas, who went on to become Father Christmas, was born here.
Cirali is a small rural village with a beautiful two-mile secluded beach. Cirali is the site of the ruins of Olympus, now a national park, as well as being another WWF-protected area for nesting loggerhead turtles.
Antalya is one of the coast’s largest cities and is rich in history and art. Most of Antalya’s historic buildings can be found along the narrow, winding streets of Kaleiçi, the old quarter. It also offers great scuba diving off the coast with old wrecks littering the Mediterranean floor for divers to explore. Widely regarded as the capital of the Turquoise coast.
A blend of historical sites, sun kissed beaches and world-class golf courses make Belek attractive to the young and the old alike. Belek has one of the finest beaches on the Turkish coast, 10 miles of pristine, fine white sand fringed by shady pines gently sloping down to limpid turquoise waters. The beach is public but is treated as private by the resorts that line up behind the dunes. Most of them offer a range of watersports from pedalos to dinghy sailing and parasailing for guests.
Alanya is a real beach-lover’s paradise. The peninsula splits the town’s beaches in two. The western beach – also known as the Cleopatra Beach – is said to be Alanya’s best. The sand is finer and there are not many rocks or stones but the water does deepen more quickly than at the eastern beach. The two-mile long Cleopatra Beach is also known as Damlatas beach because of the Damlatas dripstone cave on the western side of the peninsula discovered in 1948. Today the cave is one of Alanya’s many tourist attractions.