The Southwest coastline of turkey, also known as the Turquoise coast, boasts fantastic beaches, idyllic swimming spots and plenty of sunshine.
When you think of Turkey you may have an image in mind of over crowded bazaars, skylines dominated by minarets and chaotic city centre traffic jams. While this is not entirely inaccurate in cities like Istanbul, the southwestern region of Turkey moves at a slightly slower pace and destinations along the Turquoise Coast are idyllic places to plan your seaside vacation. Whether you prefer to stay by the beach or take to the sea for a Blue Cruise Turkey this region is brimming with stunning locations to bask in the sun and bathe in the sea.
On the Beach…
Many of Turkey’s southwestern beaches are mini paradises, with smooth pebbles or white sand, lined with umbrellas and sunbeds and hidden between thickly forested slopes or rocky cliff faces, some can be reached by land while others are only accessible by sea.
Butterfly Valley of one of these secluded beaches, with sheer rock walls surrounding a lush green valley which opens to a small bay of crystal clear water. Being an environmentally protected area means that in this valley you’re not going to find any large whitewash holiday homes of chain stores, in fact the only building is a rustic wooden shack selling drinks and refreshments on the edge of the beach. The water in the bay is so clear that even without a mask you can watch sea life swimming about.
A little less isolated but equally stunning is Patara beach, with soft sand that stretches across the coast for 12 km, framed by a Lycian guard station on the western side and and ancient port city and turtle nesting ground at the eastern side. Be sure to watch out for rare Caretta as you bathe under the sun and search for wildlife in the wetlands behind the beach.
For a little Adventure…
In the hottest part of summer it can even be too hot to lay on the beach and the best thing to do is throw yourself into the azure blue sea. Fortunately there is a place known to locals as Tarzan Bay which is perfect for this. Here a lone tree has grown from between the rocks and a thick branch overhangs the water. When, who and how is still a mystery but at some point a rope appeared dangling from this branch. Too tempting to be left alone visitors line up to swing ‘Tarzan Style’ from the rocky shore and plunge into the refreshingly cool bay, making a wild jungle cry as fly through the air.
Off the Ground….
One of the most loved beach towns of southwestern Turkey is Oludeniz, situated at the foot of the famous Baba Mountain which casts long shadows over the wide beach each morning. The town of Oludeniz is a popular departure point for day cruises to the Butterfly Valley, St Nicholas Island, Blue Cave and Cold Water Bay, it’s also one of the top locations for paragliding in the world. If you’re not afraid of heights then hop in a minivan to the peak at over 2,000 metres and fly above the stunning Blue Lagoon, make 180 degree turns in the air and slowly descend to land on the beachside promenade. Even if you don’t like heights, the gorgeous view may make you forget you fear. If not then you can stop by one of the lively beach bars for cocktails, seafood and live music.
When it’s Party Time…
After the sun has set and you’ve finished swimming you might be wondering what theres is to do in southwest Turkey in the evenings. Well, this region is also known for its buzzing nightlife, the resort towns of Marmaris, Kusadasi and Bodrum are all overrun with bars and clubs. Bodrum is perfect for the party animals, said to have more bars than beds and host of the the largest outdoor nightclub in the mediterranean, Halikarnas, which stays open late enough to see the sunrise.
For a something a quieter, head to the Smugglers Inn. Well known by sailors and locals, but international travelers usually only find there way to this secluded beach bar via a Fethiye to Olympos Cruise on a classic wooden gulet boat.
Dive into the Deep Blue…
Swimming and snorkeling in the Aquarium Bay of the naturally beautiful Kekova Region will bring you pretty close to a wide variety of sea life; clownfish, damselfish, red mullets and eels are all floating about. If you want to delve a little further to search for stingrays and sea urchins or explore the impressive underwater corals and vertical seawalls then head to the modern port town of Kas, where diving boats depart each day to the best spots on the Mediterranean Sea.