Turkey's Mediterranean shore,
called the Turquoise Coast, is
nearly 1600 km (994 miles) long, scattered
with fine-sand beaches and
sprinkled abundantly with classical
cities turned to picturesque ruins.
The Turquoise Coast is the
first place to think of when you're
considering a seaside vacation in Turkey.
It has more and better beaches and
resorts than does the Aegean
coast, and warmer, saltier water
than the Black
The Taurus (Toros) Mountains form
a dramatic backdrop along much of the
coast, often dropping steeply right
into the sea, but in some places rivers
have washed down enough sediment over
the ages to form beaches backed
by fertile alluvial plains good for
growing cotton, vegetables, and even
tropical fruits like bananas.
Click on a city name to jump
to it, or scroll down to review
all the cities along the coast from
west (Bodrum) to east (Antakya).
Here they are from west to east
Whether you consider Bodrum the
south end of the Aegean or
the west end of the Mediterranean,
it is still Turkey's foremost chic seaside resort,
with two perfect bays framing a noble crusader
castle, and the flashiest discos in the
"Green Marmaris" is Turkey's most active yachting
port, and a likely departure point for your Blue
Voyage yacht cruise.
Peaceful and quiet, this traditional town sits on
the shore of large, placid Köyceğiz
Lake connected to the Mediterranean by
the reedy Dalyan River. Hot
springs are nearby.
This river town in the shadow of dramatic rock
tombs cut into a sheer cliff is near the
ruins of ancient Caunos and wide İztuzu
Beach, both reached by riverboat.
Not much of a place to visit on its own, Dalaman
is home to the western Med coast's largest airport,
with regular service from Istanbul and Ankara,
and several international flights.
Small, pristine and charming, this is primarily a
nice port of call for yachters,
but you can stop and enjoy it even if you're only
the captain of a Toyota.
Built on the ruins of an ancient city, Fethiye has
age-old stone sarcophagi in its streets
and gardens, rock-hewn tombs in a cliff above the
town, an active yacht harbor,
a vast bay dotted with islands, and all
Over the mountains south of Fethiye, this is perhaps Turkey's
most beautiful beach,
and also its most popular.
St Nicholas ("Santa Claus") was
born here, but visitors now come for the spacious,
very long, very uncrowded beach as
well as the sand-covered ruins of St Nick's Roman town.
A tiny charming fishing village has become
a yacht port with
nice little restaurants.
A lazy pace governs this nice little resort town
far enough from the airports to
preserve a lot of its charm.
Close to Kas, Üçagiz is a tiny village
on a cove with a sunken Roman city
and an island (Kekova) with a Byzantine one.
Dramatic cliff tombs loom
above a huge Roman theater,
and vegetables grow everywhere in
the rich alluvial soil. This is where St
Nicholas did his good works,
and where he is buried. Stop and
say "Hi!" to Santa!
Once called Phoenicus, Finike is
now a sleepy fishing town with a long pebble
scattered in a pine forest, a secluded beach,
fertile fields, and the Chimaera,
the world's oldest and best-known
natural "eternal flame," make
Olimpos and Çirali great
places to spend a few days.
Once a thriving port shipping timber and rose oil,
Phaselis is now a beatiful park backing
its three perfect little bays good for a swim.
Built as a modern Mediterranean-style resort in
the 1980s, Kemer is filled with group tours.
it boasts all sorts of hotels and restaurants, a
beach, yacht marina,
and a park with a Yörük (Turkoman
The coast north of Kemer is
lined with posh self-contained resort complexes.
The "capital" of the Turquoise
Coast, Antalya has a charming old
quarter surrounding its Roman harbor,
though most of the sprawling city is modern. Most
importantly, it's the coast's transportation hub, with
a huge, busy bus terminal and a
large, modern international airport.
This planned resort district
36 km (22 miles) east of Antalya is
still under development and will be
for years to come, though some of its
sprawling resort hotels are finished,
complete with golf courses. If you
like large resort hotels with many
activities, this may be the place for
Imagine a traditional Turkish village scattered
among the extensive ruins of a Hellenistic-Roman city:
that's Side (SEE-deh), and it has
a kilometer of fine sand beach on
either side. Neighboring Manavgat has a nice waterfall and
more practical shopping.
Once a small, quiet town favored by Seljuk
Turkish sultans on vacation, it's now a large
and fast-growing resort for package-tour beach-goers.
The promontory at its center is topped by a dramatic Seljuk
fortress. Its beaches go
on for miles.
A craggy fortress with one foot
in the sea guards a spooky Byzantine ghost
town in this undiscovered beachfront town.
Ancient Seleukia is a thriving market
town with a few interesting old ruins. Just south, Taşucu is
the port for fast ferries to Turkish Cyprus.
A simple seaside village has grown into a resort
town mostly because of two medieval
fortresses, a fine small beach, and interesting
ancient ruins in the hills inland.
A modern commercial port city, Mersin has ferries to Turkish
The birthplace of St Paul is mostly modern,
but you can visit the ancient well said
to be St Paul's, and a Roman gate named for Cleopatra.
Turkey's fourth largest city is fast-growing because
of the local agriculture (think
cotton) and light industry, but not all that interesting
Formerly Alexandretta, this mostly modern port
town has a few interesting sights on its
Set back from the coast, this ancient city has Roman remains,
particularly its incomparable mosaics,
as well as a cave said to be the oldest
Christian church. There's a beach and more
ancient relics at Samandağ.
—by Tom Brosnahan