There is no other country quite like Turkey. It is where East meets West — where Europe and Asia collide and mix to form a transcontinental cultural clash. A clash that brought forth a blend of tastes, cultures, histories, and foods makes this country an unforgettable travel destination. Along with vibrant cities, culinary delights, and ancient cities, Turkey is also home to the Turquoise Coast, just as stunning as its name suggests. But what is the Turquoise Coast, and what are some things to do in the Turquoise Coast?
While Greece is a popular beach destination, many travelers don’t realize that the neighboring country of Turkey is just as stunning. Stretching from Fethiye to Antalya, this stretch of coastline contains not only gorgeous beaches but ancient ruins and plenty of opportunities for activities from hiking to diving. In ancient times it was known as Lycia, a region home to an independent people whose most apparent legacy is the distinctive rock tombs that litter the landscape. The best part is that much of the region has been left untouched, with coves and islets inaccessible to vehicles. As a result, the best way to enjoy everything that the Turkish Riviera offers is by boat, private yacht, or gulet charter.
Turkey is a mix of modern and ancient times with a wide variety of things to do for every type of traveler, from haggling in the bazaars to canyoning, all the way to swimming in turquoise-blue waters. Food, culture, and landscapes make this country truly unique and one of the most beautiful vacation destinations. Before we talk all about the best things to do in the Turquoise Coast, let's look at some essential information that you need to know before traveling:
There are flights to Turkey departing from many major American cities that fly to the main airport in Turkey, which is Istanbul Grand Airport. However, the Turquoise Coast is served by two airports, one in Antalya and Dalaman airport. Although Dalaman is much smaller than the Antalya airport, it is closer to Datça, Dalyan, Fethiye, and Kaş. Turkey also has a reliable and inexpensive bus system operating throughout the country. If you’re already in Istanbul and don’t want to take an internal flight, you can reach Fethiye or Antalya by taking a direct overnight bus.
Once you are in the Turquoise Coast, the best way to explore the region, coves, inlets, and surrounding islands are by boat, yacht, or gulet charter.
The best time to visit Turkey is during the shoulder seasons, April-May and September-October. The weather is pleasantly warm during these months, and the days are long. This is the perfect time to visit as there are fewer crowds. However, April can be a little rainy. The shoulder season is also the high season for Istanbul and Cappadocia but is the off-season for the Aegean and Mediterranean beach resorts. Summer starts in June and goes on until September. It is hot in Turkey as temperatures can reach mid-thirties during this time. During this time, most people flock to seaside resorts. Winter is from November through to February, and it can be chilly and rainy.
Turkey is an Islamic country. Therefore it is essential to take note of two critical Islamic holidays that may affect travel plans. Kurban Bayrami and Ramazan's holidays fall on different dates each year, so double-check before booking.
As the main tourist attractions are the beaches and islands on the coast, casual and light clothes are the best option to bring to the Turkish Riviera. It is always good to have something cool to wear when partying and something more formal for a romantic evening in a restaurant. We recommend packing:
Also known as the Turkish Riviera, this region is defined by its deep turquoise-blue waters, pine-fringed coves and bays, white sand beaches, towering cliffs, ancient sites, and beautiful resorts. The Turquoise Coast is located in the southwest part of Turkey and encompasses the provinces of Antalya and Muğla and, to a lesser extent, Aydın, southern İzmir, and western Mersin. The coast, which is made up of six hundred miles of shorelines along the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, is home to many spectacular sights, including two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the ruins of the Mausoleum of Maussollos, and the Temple of Artemis.
Here are a couple of things to do in the Turquoise Coast and some cities and resort towns that you shouldn’t miss.
One of the most beautiful cities in Turkey is also the hub of the Turkish Riviera and is the largest city on the Turkish Mediterranean coast. Antalya is an urban metropolis like Istanbul but has the laid-back charm that only a city with world-renowned beaches can offer. In addition to being a coastal city, it also has a beautiful historical past. The town was founded in 150 BC and was initially named Attalia after King Attalus II of Pergamum, who founded the city. The old town of Kaleiçi still has structures dating back from the Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, Ottoman, and even modern Turkish republican eras. Make sure to walk around the city and visit the city walls, Hadrian's Gate, Iskele Mosque, Kesik Minare Mosque, and the old Roman harbor Yat Limanı. The old town is the perfect mix of old and new and should not be missed — it is also incredibly walkable as it falls within one square kilometer.
Antalya is also home to two beaches, including Lara beach, famous for its soft white sand, cafés, restaurants, and activities (like jet skiing), and Konyaalti Beach, which is easily accessed from town and is hugely popular with both local and foreign visitors.
One of the most beautiful places in Turkey, this seaside town offers a combination of ancient history that traces back to the Lycian kingdom and has many modern leisure activities that you can do around its two harbors. An interesting site in Kas is the Lycian Rock Tombs (Likya Kaya Mezarları), which can also be found in other areas in Turkey. According to Atlas Obscura, the Lycians believed that their dead were carried to the afterlife by magic winged creatures, and thus they placed their honored dead in geographically high places such as the cliffside. Some of these tombs can be found just above the Old Town in Kas, like the King’s Tomb, located at the top of the bazaar street in the heart of the old town.
But the city of Kas is also known for its gorgeous whitewashed houses and cobblestone streets that lead down to its white-sand beaches and turquoise-colored waters. Make sure to visit Kaputaş Beach.
However, the best way to explore the region’s harbor, coves, surrounding islands, and inlets is by boat, like a gulet charter. If you have the chance, make sure to take a trip to Kekova Island. The island was formerly home to the city of Simena but sank beneath the waves in the 2nd century CE. Today it is still possible to see the city ruins underneath the water. Another option is to stop at Kalekoy, a small village on the mainland opposite Kekova island, dating back to the 4th century BC.
While often called the “St. Tropez of Turkey,” this beautiful resort town is much more than just its beaches. Located on a peninsula surrounded by gorgeous sapphire blue waters, Bodrum is located in the Mugla province and is famous because it is home to over 60 beaches. With a unique mix of archeological sites, attractions, nightlife, and culture, Bodrum is an alluring and unforgettable bucket list escape.
If you are a history buff, then one of the city's highlights is the waterfront-located Bodrum Castle. This UNESCO world heritage site is not only beautiful but packs a robust historical punch. Inside the castle, you will find the Underwater Archeology Museum, which features various items found under the sea. Another highlight is the Mausoleum of Mausolus, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Bodrum has long been a magnet for celebrities, and after a long day, these A-listers often head out for some sunset dining and cocktails at their favorite nightclub. A romantic spot to wine and dine is Ayana Mes, where you can enjoy fresh seafood (grilled, baked in salt) set right at the water’s edge.
Patara was the principal port of Lycia, famed for its oracle of Apollo, and as the birthplace in the fourth century AD of St Nicholas, Bishop of Myra (aka Santa Claus). However today it is known for having the most beautiful beaches in all of Turkey. Patara’s fine white-sand beach ranks as one of the longest continuous strands in the Mediterranean: it measures 9km from the access road to the mouth of the Eşen Çayı, and then another 6km to the end.
Fethiye is the Turquoise Coast’s oldest and largest resort town. It is surrounded by heritage sites, archeological wonder, pristine beaches, gorgeous turquoise-blue lagoons, and towering mountains. Fethiye has changed its name a number of times over the years. It was originally named Telmessos after Apollo (the sun god’s) son. The city is particularly famous for its rock tombs that can be found all across the Bay of Fethiye. The most important tomb, the Tomb of Amyntas, is located right over Fethiye. Climb the steps up to it for a great photo opportunity as well as amazing views over the whole of Fethiye.
Some other things that you can do in the region include visiting the Amyntas Rock Tombs, shopping and eating at the local markets, walking around the old town, or visiting the Fethiye Museum. A quick tip: try pide–long pizza made with Middle Eastern flavors.
You can also take a gulet charter to the uninhabited island of Gemiler. Although it is a relatively small island, it does pack quite the historical punch. The island was inhabited in Lycian times and is said to be the resting place of St Nicholas (also known as Santa Clause). Another option is to take a day trip to Ephesus, which is home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Around 10km from Fethiye is Ölüdeniz, which is known all around the world as Turkey's Blue Lagoon because of its perfectly turquoise and aquamarine waters. One of the most popular activities at the Blue Lagoon is obviously to pull up a beach chair and enjoy the sun while taking a fresh dip into the ocean’s calm water. However, if you are a more active traveler, then this beach is one of Turkey’s best spots for paragliding due to the amazing view of the lagoon and surrounding cove.
Only accessible by boat, a charter gulet, or a very difficult trek down from Faralya village, Butterfly Valley is a real hidden gem. It is one of the best off-the-beaten-path experiences in Turkey. The Valley gets its name because it is home to roughly 100 species of butterflies, including the endemic orange, black and white Jersey Tiger. The Turkish government named the valley a preservation area in 1987 to protect the butterflies and local flora. The valley itself is over 86,000sqm and is home to lush greenery, waterfalls, and a beach cove.
Those that do make their way to the beach are often looking to slow down and connect with nature. The beach is home to a campsite with a beach bar that serves beers and grilled fish. This valley is a truly untouched paradise and one of the most beautiful places in Turkey.
One of the main draws of chartering a boat is exploring the beauty of the Aegean coast. We can charter a yacht from Bodrum, Gocek, Fethiye, or Marmaris, depending on your particular needs and wants. Chartering a yacht in Turkey offers a unique off-the-beaten-path type of voyage that allows you to explore peaceful anchorages, historic ruins, fisherman villages, and resort towns that are often hard to get to by other means. Sailing the Aegean sea also means that you can explore the Mediterranean sea, enjoy the beaches, frequent the restaurants, go shopping at all the local bazaars — all while avoiding the hustle and bustle of the peak season crowd.
Chartering a yacht in the Turquoise Coast seems like the obvious choice. No matter where you set sail, you’ll be surrounded by restaurants, historical sites, nature reserves, superb nightlife, and more. Chartering a yacht in the Turquoise Coast is the epitome of luxury and freedom as you get to choose where you’d like to go and what part of this beautiful region you’d like to explore.
The best part? You can unpack your bags once and wake up somewhere new every day. How exciting is that? Is there anything better than waking up every morning at a new location and exploring everything that the Turquoise Coast offers? Chartering a yacht in the Turquoise Coast provides a unique off-the-beaten-path type of voyage that allows you to explore peaceful anchorages, historic ruins, fisherman villages, and resort towns that are often hard to get to by other means.
Many people think that chartering a yacht is out of their price range. However, this is not necessarily true. It all depends on your needs and wants. We have a personal chef that can customize a menu based on your preferences and any food allergies or dietary restrictions that you may have. Many of our yachts are stocked with water toys like stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and a dinghy that can be used for tubing, water skiing, and wakeboarding. We also can include the option to scuba dive from the yacht. Other less common amenities still available on some yachts include an e-foil board, seabob, sea scooters, snuba, and kiteboarding. There is even an option to have a hot tub or jet ski on one of our bigger yachts if you'd like.
If you are interested in learning more about chartering a yacht in the Turquoise Coast let us know your dates, budget, and the number of guests, and we would be happy to walk you through the process. A catamaran that sleeps six people and has a captain can be as low as $10,000 per week. When you add a captain and all meals and drinks to make it all-inclusive, the rates start around 15k then go up to 50k or more depending on the luxury you want.
And that is our list of the best things to do in the Turquoise Coast. Don’t wait to make your dreams come true. Come live the historical experience and heavenly views of Turkey without any worries. Sail the Mediterranean Sea with a yacht and have the time of your life!