Along the coast of Turkey resides the picturesque Turkish Riviera. This area comprises 600 miles of beautiful sandy beaches like Konyaalti Beach and lovely welcoming beach towns such as Kas and Kalkan.
This beautiful coastline also referred to as the Turquoise Coast, is home to 500 beaches, myths, legends, and two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (Temple of Artemis and the Mausoleum of Mausolus ruins). The Turkish Riviera remains a unique and culturally rich area to explore.
Each town and community that spans this stretch of land offers beautiful sandy beaches, archeological ruins, diverse landscapes, and hidden gems frequented by the locals and visitors who are lucky enough to stumble upon them.
With stunning turquoise waters (hence the nickname) and lovely towns, it’s easy to see why the Turkish Riviera is one of the most stunning places in the world. Its beauty is so apparent that it is said Mark Antony gifted the Turkish Riviera to Cleopatra, his bride.
Below, you’ll find a guide to the Turkey Turquoise Coast, from places to eat to spots to visit, activities, accommodations, and more.
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Table of Contents
Where Is the Turkish Riviera?
The Turkish Riviera stretches alongside the southern coast and southwest Turkey coast from Antalya to Bodrum. This coastline is primarily in the Mediterranean, with a smaller section in the Aegean coastal regions, which help provide the area with its turquoise waters.
Even though the Turkish Riviera is not overcrowded, it remains a popular area for families to visit in Turkey. This is especially true because of the warm weather and charming towns/communities.
Best Towns on the Turkish Riviera
Spending time in any of the lovely areas of the Turkish Riviera is a treat. If you can only stay on the Turkey Turquoise Coast for a short time, you’ll want to consider visiting and staying in the below locations.
While the Turquoise Coast is generally known for its beaches, Alanya is particularly revered for its beach options. It’s also full of ancient sites like the medieval Alanya Castle. Head here for relaxation, history, and a stay at one of the many resorts available.
Side is a charming city in Turkey, the perfect mixture of modern amenities and historic ruins. Explore such sites as the Temple of Apollo, the Temple of Athena, and the ancient theater while in Side.
Belek is a town in Antalya that is considered a tourist hub. It’s loaded with four- and five-star hotels that offer you luxe all-inclusive stays during your travels. This town is also famous for its mineral waters and spa, supplied by seven springs.
Antalya is the gateway to the Turkish Riviera and provides visitors with beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea and plenty of activities. This city is well-known for its breathtaking nature scenes and plentiful historic sites. It’s also home to the longest hiking trail in Turkey (Lycian Way).
See our guide for what to do in Antalya with kids.
Kas is another charming town in the Antalya province that features lively nightlife options and many restaurants to visit. Alongside its cobblestone streets lies live music venues, cafes, restaurants, and bars that provide a peek into life for the Turkish locals. Kas pronounced Kash also features some of the most beautiful beaches in the Turkish Riviera (and Turkey).
Fethiye is where you’ll find the perfect home base for visiting heritage sites, historic ruins, majestic mountains, lovely beaches, Butterfly Valley, and stunning lagoons. It’s also the home base for many of the blue cruises that run along the Turkish Riviera.
Marmaris is known as the party city of the Turkish Riviera. Many people travel to this city from Greece or other parts of Turkey to enjoy the energetic nightlife scene in the summer. It’s also loved for its natural beauty, including lush forests and picturesque coastlines.
Bodrum is an easily accessible city (due to its proximity to the local airport), making it an excellent destination for visitors. This city is also known for its nightlife which can be accessed by visiting Bar Street, lined with bars and live music venues. Bodrum also offers stunning coastline views and a mixture of luxury 5-star hotels and backpacker-friendly options.
Have More FUN on Your Visit
to the Turquoise Coast!
What to Do on the Turquoise Coast
There is much to do in the Turkish Riviera ranging from relaxing at the many available beaches to heart-pumping activities and taking day trips to nearby towns. Whether you’re visiting for a few days or a longer period, you’ll find plenty of activities to keep you and your family occupied on the Turquoise Coast.
Choose a few of the below activities or include as many as possible depending on your length of stay.
Beaches on the Turkish Riviera
There are 500 beaches to choose from spread throughout the region. The Turkish Riviera is known for its “empty” beaches. Regardless of which beach you spend time at, you won’t have to worry too much about overcrowding.
Some of the most popular (and well-known) beaches include Ölüdeniz, İztuzu, and Patara. Though, any beach you find in this region will be pleasant and picture ready.
Blue Cruise on the Turkish Riviera
A Turkish blue cruise, blue voyage, or blue tour involves taking a boat and cruising around the Turkish Riviera. On each boat trip, you’ll find various activities that range from island hopping to snorkeling and exploring historical sites. Typically, these blue cruises last a few days and include a ride on a gulet – a traditional wooden motor yacht.
These cruises are ideal for solo travelers, couples, families, and friend groups. An experienced group of crew members leads each cruise. The idea behind blue cruises is a relaxed getaway enjoying the local area and food caught and cooked by the crew (like fresh fish). This voyage is not meant to be a port hopping experience.
Hiking the Turquoise Coast
Hiking is an excellent way to see the Turquoise Coast and its many nature offerings. Depending on the town or community you’re visiting, you can expect to find trails that lead along mountains, waterfalls, caves, and many beaches.
In particular, Antalya is known for its beautiful hiking areas alongside the Taurus Mountain Range, which offers views of prancing wild horses.
Hiking and cruising are not the only ways to explore the Turkish Riviera. There are many adventurous activities that you can take advantage of as well. Below are some more popular ways to enjoy the region from a different perspective.
Paragliding allows travelers to see the sparkling turquoise waters from above. This activity is popular in the Turkish Riviera as it simultaneously provides views of stunning nature scenes and historic sites.
Two of the most popular paragliding sites include Ölüdeniz and Kas. They are great paragliding spots for viewing stunning nature scenes and the Mediterranean Sea.
While there are multiple locations where you can kayak, the primary kayak location is Kas and the area around the Kekova Islands. This option is great for kayakers of all skill levels with the option of joining a tour or renting a kayak.
Take your kayak to see the famous underwater Sunken City ruins nearby, and then explore the Ancient Simena ruins in Kaleköy.
Diving on the Turkish Riviera
Diving is another excellent way to explore the Turkish Riviera. Bodrum and Kas are some of the top areas to start your scuba diving excursion, though there are locations around the region that offer excursions.
The best way to indulge in a scuba exploration is by choosing a day-long blue cruise that offers scuba diving. Many people who go scuba diving in the Turkish Riviera do so from a gulet.
The vast number of canyons available in Antalya offers many opportunities for people to go canyoneering and clamber over rocks. Kıbrıs or Hacıoğlan Canyons are only a few of the available options to pursue this activity. While children can participate in this activity, it’s generally not safe (or allowed) for those under 12.
Rafting is another adventurous activity that visitors try while in Antalya. Koprulugu National Park is a top spot for those interested in rafting. Here, a guide will teach you the ropes before you splash through gorges and float between Cyprus Trees.
Day Trips on the Turquoise Coast
If you have an extra day or two, you can take a road trip to one of the smaller beach towns. Driving to these towns offers you an opportunity to view the historical sites nestled along the coast. Below are a few historical sites that you should aim to see during a day trip.
This archaeological site was once a Greek and Roman city that sat alongside Lycia. Now, it holds some of the most impressive ruins, monuments, and artifacts. Phaselis is well-known for its lovely beach and picnic areas, so you can kill two birds with one stone by visiting this location.
Cirali is a charming town that features stunning beaches, historic sites, and unique attractions. This town is home to the Chimera, aka the eternal flames. These mysterious flames have been burning for years due to methane gas deposits.
This town also holds the ancient city of Olympos, which sits right on the beach. A small fee takes you into the forest, where you can spot various ruins (like a Roman temple) along the path.
Kalkan, a fishing town, has many offerings regarding food and rooftop restaurants that allow you to see the pristine beaches and water while enjoying a meal. It features impressive Greek Ottoman buildings and Xanthos, one of the best-preserved archaeological sites. Xanthos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the former capital of Lycia and now consists of ruins like an amphitheater and tombs.
Datca is a lovely town filled with relaxing beaches and coves to explore. Inland, you’ll find almond trees and olive farms that you can explore. This tranquil getaway leads to Old Datca, a stunning area with historic Mediterranean stone houses.
Nearby, Knidos, an ancient Hellenic city, is waiting to be traversed. It is said that a nude, lifelike statue of Aphrodite once resided in Knidos, drawing visitors from all over the world.
How to Get to the Turkish Coast
Flying is your best bet as a transport option to reach the Turkish Riviera, especially if you’re traveling abroad. There are a few major airport hubs that you can fly into, with additional options for reaching your destination.
The three main airport hubs that lie on the coast include the Antalya Airport, Dalaman Airport, and Bodrum Airport. If you’re planning to spend most of your time near Antalya visiting locations like Fethiye, the Antalya Airport is the best option.
The Dalaman Airport lies between Antalya and Bodrum, making it the best choice for exploring the middle of the Turquoise Coast. Of course, the Bodrum Airport will take you directly to Bodrum.
All three are international airports, so it’s best to base your chosen airport on where you plan to spend most of your trip.
Once you arrive in the Turkish Riviera, you’ll need to use a private transfer to move from the airport to your accommodations. Turkey, as a whole, is known for its public transport and many bus routes available. Taking the bus will allow you to reach your final destination easily, though you will likely have some walking required.
Otherwise, renting a car is another alternative to make traveling to your accommodations easy. A car rental is also ideal if you plan any road trips or day trips while visiting the Turkey Turquoise Coast.
Where to Stay on the Turkish Riviera
Since there are many towns and cities on the Turkish Riviera, there are quite a few accommodation options that range from luxury 5-star hotels to budget stays and villas. If you’re hunting for places to stay during your trip, try one of the below options.
Villas in Kas
You can rent a villa on the Kas peninsula with stunning views of the Mediterranean and surrounding islands. Most villas have infinity pools, luxury amenities and options for a professional chef and tours. You can look for villas through Airbnb or local real estate agents. During high season, rates are around $900+ per night, while in the off-season, you can find great places for around $300 per night.
Luxury Resorts & Hotels
Ela Quality Resort (Belek)
Ela Excellence Resort in Belek is a wonderful family-friendly option if you’re looking for all-inclusive luxury accommodations on the Turkish Riviera. From watersports, outdoor sports, and multiple pools there are many options for guests to have a lavish stay without ever leaving the property.
Akra Hotel (Antalya)
The Akra Hotel is a beachfront property in Antalya that provides guests with a balcony view of the Mediterranean Sea or the stunning Taurus Mountains. The hotel is in the heart of Antalya, offering guests easy access to local attractions.
This hotel features various restaurants and bars with cuisine ranging from authentic Turkish to global dishes. This 5-star hotel also has a wellness center with four pools and a spa. Akra Hotel is a great spot for couples or friend groups. Prices start at $291 per night.
Marmaris Bay Resort (Marmaris)
The Marmaris Bay Resort is a luxe family resort with accommodations like a large pool, playground, and lovely garden to spend time in. Tennis, ping pong, and darts are a few of the activities available at this resort.
Enjoy a continental breakfast before your daily excursions here. The Dalaman Airport is the closest airport to this resort. It’s also close to the marine and the market in Marmaris. This resort is slightly less than the Akra Hotel, at $229 per night.
El Vino Hotel & Suites (Bodrum)
El Vino Hotel & Suites provides a stunning view of Bodrum Castle as you relax under the gazebo at the pool. Each room comes with a balcony for a panoramic view of the area. The lovely rooftop restaurant offers organic seafood dishes and locally sourced wine.
This hotel is only a few minutes away from The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and Myndus Gate by foot.
Roas Hotel (Bodrum)
This hotel is right outside Bodrum city in Bitez. While technically not on the Turkish Riviera, it’s a short drive from the hotel to local attractions. The Roas Hotel provides guests with complimentary breakfast and is only a few steps from the beach.
An outdoor swimming pool, bar, garden, and restaurant are available at the Roas Hotel. Rates start at around $142 for this accommodation.
White Garden Hotel (Antalya)
Couples and friend groups will enjoy visiting the White Garden Hotel as it has an adults-only policy. This pension has stunning Kaleiçi-style architecture, a pool, a rooftop terrace, and epic views of the Mediterranean Sea and the Taurus Mountains.
The Antalya airport is less than eight miles away, making the White Garden Hotel convenient for those who want to explore the city. It’s also very close to Mermerli Beach.
Seven Hotel Pension (Bodrum)
The Seven Hotel Pension is an even more affordable stay with a starting price of $43 per room. This hotel is in the center of Bodrum City, so the Bodrum Castle, beach, and Bodrum Airport are only a short distance from this accommodation.
There’s a lovely garden where you can enjoy meals or a drink in the shade of the grapevines. Seven Hotel Pension is family-friendly and a great spot for an affordable stay.
Mulberry Suit Apart (Kalkan)
This mid-budget villa in Kas offers guests minimalistic rooms with lovely Sea views. Each room includes a full kitchen with a dishwasher and a fireplace to relax next to. The Mulberry Suit Apart is nearby the Kalkan Public Beach and Dalaman Airport.
Doganın Ruhu Hotel & Bungalow (Kas)
This hotel offers a budget-friendly stay with a breakfast buffet and a pool to lounge by. There’s a garden and a playground, making it an excellent stay for the whole family. The Dogann Ruhu Hotel & Bungalow is near Kas Hellenistic Theatre and the Kas Yacht Marina.
Rooms start at $50 for this villa.
What to Eat on the Turkish Riviera
Turkey has much to offer regarding food. The Aegean and Mediterranean regions particularly thrive on various fish dishes due to the proximity to the sea, along with olives, wine, and fresh produce. Below are a few foods and drinks that you must try while staying on the Turkish coast.
Small & Large Fish
Fish is a standard entrée on the Turkish coast for lunch and dinner. It’s typically eaten very simply – grilled or fried with a small squeeze of lemon. Fresh vegetables like arugula are also included on the side.
Turkey is number four in the world for top producers of wine grapes. Because of this, there are quite a few wineries on the Turkish Riviera where you can enjoy tastings. It’s also common to see many tourists in this area drinking a glass of wine with their meal.
Pamukkale Anfora Kalecik Karası and Paşaeli Yapıncak are both varieties from the Aegean area. The legal drinking age in Turkey is 18 years old, so if you’re traveling with college-aged children, they are able to have a glass of wine with you.
Olives are a staple in Turkish food. You’ll find that olives appear in every meal (including breakfast) in Turkey. The main olive growing areas lie next to Turkey’s coastline, making the Aegean a large part of olive production.
The Domat and Memecik varieties are from the Aegean region, and you’ll likely see these on your plate in some form here. If you’re not eating whole or sliced olives, you’ll certainly be consuming olive oil in a majority of the dishes.
Like olives, salads are a major part of Turkish cuisine. They’re served at every meal and even for dinner parties. Salads are so popular that salad varieties arise from different cities or towns, like the Antalya Bean Salad.
Don’t be surprised if you see a small salad bowl drizzled with olive oil during mealtime.
Throughout the year, the available produce changes, so you’ll be offered different fruit depending on when you visit. Oranges are considered a winter fruit on the Turquoise Coast. Finike oranges are popular in the area; they hail from Antalya.
Lemons are a spring fruit grown on the Turkish Riviera. This fruit is one of the most exported Turkish fruits.
Figs are a summer fruit that is typically ready for harvest in June. The most well-known variety is the Aydin Figs which are ready to pick at the same time as apricots, nectarines, and plums.
More information is available about food to try while in Turkey in our Turkish Food Guide.
How Many Days on the Turkish Riviera
Since there are so many towns, cities, and communities available to explore in the Turkish Riviera, one week is the recommended time to spend in the area. If possible, an extended trip of 10 days to two weeks is even more ideal. This length will allow you to try the various restaurants, explore the area, see the historic sites, and take part in a blue cruise.
You can certainly travel to the Turquoise Coast for a shorter time of about 3-4 days. However, you’ll want only to choose one beach town to visit, so you’re not jam-packing your trip with an overabundance of activities. The Turkish Riviera is best visited in a relaxed manner that aligns with the vibes of the region.
Final Thoughts on the Turquoise Coast
The Turquoise Coast is one of the most idyllic places in Turkey. It’s home to many historical sites, beautiful sandy and pebble beaches, and some of the most charming beach towns and cities. While many cities have resorts and luxury stays, there is still a bounty of budget-friendly options. Travel to the Turkish Riviera for a fun-filled, adventurous trip with your family.
Some links on this page are affiliate links—that means that at no extra cost to you, I earn a small commission if you purchase items through these links, and that helps me keep this blog running. Enjoy!