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To say that Turkey is packed with blindingly beautiful beaches would be a major understatement. During the summer months, Turkey sees millions of visitors heading its way, purely for a spot of beach time. When you check out the images, you’ll completely understand why!
The touristic part of the south coast of Turkey stretches from just above Izmir in the west, right over to Antalya. That’s a lot of coastline and many, many beaches. Of course, there are beaches in Istanbul and on the Black Sea Coast too, but the south is certainly where it’s at during summer.
From June to the end of September you’re going to be very unlucky if you experience any rain. A shower in June or the end of September, possibly, but no more than that. July and August are sweltering, and it’s not unusual for temperatures to hit 40 C.
That means jumping in the sea is the single best way to cool down!
Now, everyone loves a beautiful beach, but most people love a beautiful sandy beach over a pebbly beach. This is just my personal opinion, but I much prefer to feel my toes sinking into the sand than having my feet slip over stones as I walk! I’ve broken many a flip flop on pebbly beaches …
So, for me and many others, sand is where it’s at. If you’re keen to get away this summer (and let’s face it, who isn’t), Turkey could be a fantastic option for you. This has taken some serious work, but I’ve managed to narrow it down to 5 of the best sandy beaches along that stunning south coast.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and there are some I’ve missed off that many people will adore, but if listed them all, we’d be here all day!
Cleopatra Island (Sedir Island)
If you love a little history mixed in with your beach time, and you adore a stunning scene, a day trip to Cleopatra Island is for you. This is a beach which you’ll need to take a boat to get to, and you’ll need to pay to get in, but it’s more than worth it!
Day trips are plentiful from anywhere in the Dalaman region, so we’re talking about places like Dalyan, Marmaris, Icmeler, Fethiye, or Olu Deniz. It is closest to Marmaris however; it takes just 20 minutes by car to drive to the boat, and then it’s another 20 minutes over the water. The scenery, though …
Once you arrive, you’ll instantly understand why it’s special. The sand is blindingly white, and the sea is a translucent blue that words don’t describe. The other special thing about this beach is that you’re not allowed to take any of the sand with you – it’s protected!
Legend says that Mark Anthony and Cleopatra used to regularly meet on this island, locally known as Sedir Island and that the sand was ordered from Egypt so that Cleopatra would feel at home!
If you get bored of beach time (trust me, you won’t), then you can wander around the small island and check out the ruins of a small church and several huts. There is a walking path to follow with signs in several languages, telling you about the history of each section. However, do remember to stick to the path as the long grass may hide a few snakes, scorpions, tiny geckos, or the odd stray chicken!
There is a café and shop on site for refreshments, and you can use one of the sunbeds if you fancy a little shade throughout the day.
Another beautiful beach in the Dalaman area is Icmeler Beach, located in Icmeler itself and just a 10-minute drive away from Marmaris. The beach is wide, sandy, and the sea is clear. There are parts that are a little deeper than others, but it’s perfectly safe for children for the main part.
The beach is long and crescent-shaped, and some parts are private to restaurants and hotels. If you want to use those parts, you’ll need to either be a resident of the hotel, or you’ll need to order food or drinks from the restaurant menu. However, that’s no big deal, as everyone needs to stay hydrated in the scorching summer sun! There is a public part of the beach, where you can just lay down your towel and do whatever you want, without having to buy a drink, but there is very little shade in that part!
The plus point about choosing Icmeler beach for a day in the sun is the facilities and how easy it is to reach. The entire resort focuses on the beach, and although there are small roads you can walk around and explore, life is undoubtedly beachside!
Kaputas Beach, Kas, Antalya Region
Antalya is known for its beautiful beaches, but arguably one of the best is Kaputas Beach, located between Kalkan and Kas. The only issue with this beach is that it’s not as easy to get to as some others on the list. To reach Kaputas Beach, you’ll need to drive along the coastal road, park up and then walk down 187 steps to the beach itself. However, the view along the way is nothing short of breath-taking, which kind of makes up for the effort.
The sand is golden, the sea is blindingly blue, and the backdrop is pine forests and high mountains. It’s Insta-gold in so many ways. The other good news is that it’s a very safe beach for families because the water is relatively shallow. Some cafes and restaurants are just off the beach that have arrived over the last few years, ready to serve you throughout your beach day.
You’re unlikely to run into too many crowds on this beach, but during Turkish public holidays, you may find that there are a few more visitors than otherwise. You could call this a semi-hidden gem!
Blue Lagoon, Olu Deniz, Dalaman Region
The Blue Lagoon is a famous beach in Olu Deniz; in fact, it’s one of the most commonly photographed in the whole of Turkey. The water is so blue it’s tough to believe it, and the contrast of the white sand and lush green of the soaring mountains makes for photography gold. This is also the part of Turkey where the Mediterranean and the Aegean meet, so it’s famous in other ways too!
The water here is ideal for families as it’s quite shallow, although there isn’t a huge amount of shade. You’ll have to get there early if you want to bag yourself a parasol.
Look up, and you’ll see people paragliding from the Babadag Mountains; this is one of the premier spots in the whole of Europe for paragliding, and while it might only be for the brave, it’s fantastic to watch others do it.
Cirali Beach, Antalya Region
At just one hour from Antalya by car, Cirali Beach is a hidden gem that has to be seen with your own eyes. This sweeping beach is totally unspoiled from mass tourism, and it’s a prime spot in the center of the Taurus Mountains that helps you to feel like you’re a million miles away from anywhere.
Cirali Beach is an excellent place for bird spotters, but it’s also great for history buffs as you’ll find the Olympos ruins at the far end of the beach. The water is clear as you can imagine, and the shallows are perfect for children to splash and play without any worries.
If you like your beaches chilled out and quiet, this is a good option. There aren’t major restaurants or bars around here, just a few small family-run options and a place where you can take your own picnic and enjoy it.
These five Turkish sandy beaches you just how beautiful the beaches of Turkey are, but believe me, there are countless more we’re yet to share with you!