An in-depth guide to exploring the Turkish Riviera

Luxury lovers will be well-versed with the French Riviera, a network of coveted coastal towns such as St. Tropez that attract a star-studded crowd each year. However, you are likely unfamiliar with the Turkish Riviera, a 1,000-kilometre stretch of coastline praised for its climate, picturesque scenery, and notable historical sites. This area is also referred to as the Turquoise Coast because of the alluring colour of the sea against the bright white sand.

There are several hotspots along the coast that are worth adding to your itinerary, whether you want to explore the region’s heritage, indulge in wellness activities, get out into nature, or enjoy nightlife. Get inspired for your next holiday with this in-depth guide to exploring the Turkish Riviera.

Best for history

Running along both the Aegean and Mediterranean Sea, the Turkish Riviera was home to many key settlements during the Ancient Greek and Roman eras. Many sites remain which evidence this and can be explored during your holiday.

Kusadasi on the Aegean coast is one of the best places to visit to discover more about the history of this region. This is due to its proximity to the ancient city of Ephesus where you can find the remnants of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

On the other end of the Turquoise Coast is Side, a small town recognised for its well-preserved ruins. Most notable is the grand Roman amphitheatre and the ancient Temple of Apollo that has stood proud overlooking the ocean for almost 2,000 years.

Fethiya is also a fantastic destination for a history-led holiday on the Turkish Riviera. It is best known for the Lycian Rock Tombs which were carved straight into the side of the mountain during the 4th-century AD. Elaborate facades conceal cool chambers set high in the rock to allow the spirits of the dead easier access to the afterlife.

Best for wellness

The Romans were known for their hygiene rituals, including the use of thermal springs to promote health. Modern-day visitors to this region can reap the benefits of this ancient wellness practice too.

One of the hotspots for wellness activities in the Turkish Riviera is Dalyan. Here the main attraction is the mud baths which are said to help soothe rheumatism and sciatica and prevent against wrinkles. There are several sites you can choose between, with the most popular being in Sultaniye.

Çeşme is another great base for the thermal hot springs. The best spot for a soak is on the east side of the peninsula near Ilica Beach, an extraordinarily long stretch of pure white sand that is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.

Best for nature

While the beaches are the obvious highlight of a holiday on the Turquoise Coast, inland you will find more sensational scenery and a wealth of wildlife.

Kemer is a must-visit for nature-lovers exploring the Turkish Riviera. From here you can access Olympos National Park, a protected reserve celebrated for its geological significance, rare wildlife, and connections to Greek myth.

The natural gas that springs out of the serpentine limestone cliffs was referred to as ‘the fire that never goes out’ in Homer’s Iliad. As well as this awe-inspiring phenomenon, the park also conceals lots of endemic plants and elusive animals such as mountain goats, eagles, and sea turtles.

Best for nightlife

For many, the best holiday destinations balance fun daytime activities with a vibrant nightlife scene. There are plenty of cities along the Turkish Riviera that will keep you dancing until dawn!

Marmaris, with its beautiful marina, is one of the most sought-after locations for those seeking varied nighttime entertainment. Walk the marina in the evening and you will encounter restaurants, bars, and clubs, all backed by a range of luxury resorts offering yet more leisure activities.

Another yachting hub on the Turquoise Coast is Bodrum, a major port city on the edge of the Aegean. Twin bays buzzing with modern-day attractions flank a dramatic medieval fortress crowned by Bodrum Castle that was built with stones taken from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus – one of the original Wonders of the World.

Best for everything

Do you prefer to base yourself in one place rather than plan a multi-stop itinerary? Don’t worry – you do not need to travel from place to place to experience all the Turkish Riviera has to offer. Choose one of the locations that is best for exploring a little bit of everything and has amazing beaches to boot.

Antalya is largest city on the Turquoise Coast, and unsurprisingly therefore has much to offer tourists. You can fly direct to Antalya from key destinations across Europe, and even more conveniently an Antalya airport transfer will bring you to the city centre in less than 30 minutes. The city is one of Turkey’s most important tourist destinations, praised for its stunning beaches, Roman cultural sites, and luxury hotels.

If you are looking for a high-end holiday experience, you could consider Belek, a coastal town just 45 minutes east of Antalya. There are many exceptional beach resorts offering opulence in all aspects, from accommodation and facilities to privacy and cuisine. The area is also adorned with a selection of golf resorts where you can enjoy a relaxed game on the green while taking in the amazing views of Mediterranean coastline.




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