Turkey, the name conjures up images of stately palaces, grand mosques, exquisitely woven carpets, hamams or Turkish baths where you are pampered with aromatic oils and scents and exotic belly dancers. Beaches are usually the last things on your mind when on a visit to Turkey. For the uninitiated, Turkey, being surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the south, the Black Sea on the north and the Aegean Sea in the west, happens to be dotted with breathtakingly beautiful beaches. Beaches in Turkey tend to be underrated. But given the beach activities available, the picturesque beauty, the historical treasure troves that they are and the wide ranging accommodation packages, the Turkish Beaches can give any Acapulco or South Beach, a run for their money.
Patara Beach: Rated as the best beach in the world by The Sunday Times. With all due respect to a great newspaper, Pah! Patara may be the best in the Mediterranean but it can't compare with tropical beaches. However it is 14.2 kms/9miles long [the longest beach in the Mediterranean] of child-friendly shore - medium grain brown sand - backed only by ancient ruins and swooping dunes - with no buildings visible save a small café at one end. Loungers and umbrellas available for rent but no watersports or camping. The area is inexpensive and there's a limited selection of low-key accommodation in nearby Patara town, with beach commuter transport or a longish walk. Alternatively day trip in from Kalkan/Kas. 50 miles from Fethiye.
Oludeniz: Olu Deniz is a picturesque resort area, especially the main hillside town of Belcekiz, which has crystal clear water, and a long shingle beach curving away from the town promenade along to a calm blue lagoon. In addition to good value hotels - usually with pools - in Olu Deniz town, there are some popular resort villages nearby, such as Ovacik and Hisaronu [10 mins], which means that the beach can get overcrowded. The promenade by the town has plenty of bars, restaurants and cafés and there are loads of umbrellas and loungers for hire, and a wide range of water sports available. Paragliding and Hangliding, solo or tandem, off adjacent Babadag mountain and landing on the beach are extremely popular, as is scuba diving. Locals claim the season is all year round. Summer temperature averages 32C, winter 20C. 1hr 45 mins from Dalaman Airport.
Olimpos Beach: In the southern part of the country, 79 km southwest of Antalya lies the most eclectic of all Turkish beaches, Olimpos. The Olimpos beach, apart from the sun and the sands, is also a witness to history and novelty like the pine forest situated at the back of the beach, which houses the ruins of ancient marble temples. This forest sports both a primeval look with Chimera, a natural fire that has been burning incessantly for centuries and a quirky look with hotels mounted on treetops. The lovely Olimpos beach is definitely not short on character and when visiting the place, staying in a tree-house camp should definitely be on the cards. There are various types of such aerial homes, offering different levels of comfort and luxury. However, the best accommodation in these parts is the Olimpos Lodge.
Alanya (Cleopatra Beach): Alanya is one of the Turkey's largest resorts, with two good beaches, an historical site [old fortress], and great facilities. Cleopatra's Beach, on the western side of the peninsula, is one of the best known beaches. It's sandy, pleasant and more secluded than the other town beach on the eastern side. It is likely to be crowded with German and Scandinavian beer bellies in high summer. 2 hrs from Antalya Airport
To learn about the other beaches of Turkey visit these sites: