Many of the incredible natural wonders of Turkey are accessible by vehicle and foot but the most beautiful are most easily approached by boat. Lucky for tourists in Turkey, affordable cruises run throughout the summer, often stopping at the top 5 beaches mentioned below.
- Butterfly Valley
Famous for the 2,000 meter high cliffs surrounding this sandy beach, Butterfly Valley is the perfect combination of colors so often pleasing to the human eye. A bleached shoreline and aquamarine waters meet at the shore. The cliffs above are dotted with greenery and are home to over 100 different butterfly species. Inland from the sandy shore, a small amount of land is free from hotels, restaurants, or shops and instead is sprinkled with the colorful nylon tents of brave hikers who successfully descended the steep and extremely dangerous foot path that connects high above to the 500km long Lycian Way. If attempting the steep descent is not your preference, Blue Voyage Turkey can ease you into the bay, gliding over clear waters as you approach this relaxing destination. Butterfly Valley is the perfect spot to anchor and allow the soft waves to rock you to sleep, eventually giving way to the soft colors of an early morning Mediterranean sunrise.
- Kabak Bay
Kabak bay is a secluded beach sandwiched between steep forest and turquoise sea. Accessible by minibus, car, foot, or boat, Kabak is a steep drop from the main road and arriving on foot (and also by vehicle) is recommended only for the most adventurous. However, given its limited accessibility, it makes for a quiet experience, far from the maddening crowd. Above the beach are a number of hideaways of all comfort levels to spend the night and enjoy delicious Turkish cuisine. Kabak is also located along the Lycian Way and avid hikers can enjoy stunning views of the valley from above, as the footpath winds around the mountain ridges and provides a number of opportunities for photos of the shimmering bay far below.
Olympos beach is a popular summer destination for Turks and foreigners alike. A single road lined with bungalows, markets, and shaded cafes leads directly to the beach, passing ancient city ruins spread out along the shore and nearby cliffs. The shoreline is stunning, with Mount Olympos in clear view towards the east. Far removed from the seclusion of Kabak and Butterfly Valley, Olympos beach is bustling with food and drink sellers and tourists from all over the world lounging on thick towels spread across the pebbled shore. A large jagged rock juts out from the sea and those with motivation can be seen climbing the rock face and jumping off from the top. Affordable kayak rentals are also popular in Olympos, giving tourists the opportunity to intimately explore the caves and ruins that sprinkle the shoreline. Olympos is also the starting point for the Fethiye Blue Cruise, the perfect way to continue exploring the natural wonders of Turkey’s Turquoise Coast. The blue cruise heads east and passes both Kabak and Butterfly Valleys en route to Fethiye.
- Patara Beach
Patara Beach is a magical destination, unspoiled by the eyesores of popular tourism. At 11 miles, it is Turkey’s longest beach and a protected area where sea turtles can lay their eggs. Because of the turtles, development is off limits and tourists can enjoy the sandy stretch during the daytime. From May to October, the beach is off limits at night to allow space for the turtles to breed. Patara is one of the most beautiful beaches in Turkey and its sandy shores are ideal for swimming (in comparison to many of the rocky beaches that are commonly found in Turkey). Even in the height of summer, Patara is never crowded and is perfect for exercising your legs after too many lazy days of sunbathing.
- Kaputas Beach
If you blink you might miss it. Kaputas Beach is located directly below the Antalya to Fethiye coastal road. Only 12 miles from the pleasant coastal town of Kas, Kaputas is located at the bottom of another extremely low valley and can be spotted by the congregation of cars parked along the main road. If you are able to find a parking spot, the beach is reachable by close to 200 stairs that make it impossible for the construction of facilities or businesses. The untouched natural beauty makes it yet another popular destination for gulets cruising the coastline.
Turkey is famous for having some of the best Mediterranean beaches in the world. From the months of May until September, the coastline of Turkey comes alive, and the best beaches in Europe in terms of cleanliness, diversity and variety are full of sun-loving people. The best Mediterranean islands for cruising with your friends and family can be found here, and incredible Itineraries can take you to discover fantastic historic sites that are scattered along the Greek and Turkish coasts. No need to go the beach towns of Spain or Italy, Turkey has all you need and more, and you will realize the abundance of nature and life in this part of the world.