The Turkish Mediterranean Coast covers most of the southern side of the country. Starting from the bustling city resort of Marmaris and heading eastwards to the Antalya region, potential holidaymakers have a variety of destinations and places to choose from. The holiday towns of Mediterranean Turkey lure many nationalities including Brits, East Europeans, Middle Easterners and Russians, hence it is extremely popular for tourism.
Serviced by Dalaman and Antalya airport, it has all the typical Mediterranean vibes and much more including beautiful weather, scenic landscapes, historical sites of interest, and a laid-back lifestyle. Holidaymakers also tap into the best of the best for accommodation because a wide range of bed and breakfast, all-inclusive and self-catering accommodation is available at either budget or luxury prices.
Starting at the eastern end of Mediterranean Turkey, Alanya holds the crown as one of the busiest resorts. Its well-deserved reputation stems from its gorgeous beaches, the extensive range of budget and luxury hotels as well as a vibrant nightlife scene. (More about Alanya)
Side has grown from a small seaside fishing village into an attractive destination, especially popular with families, especially because of all-inclusive hotels on the outskirts. The historical ruins in the heart of the old town and the Apollo Temple, where Cleopatra famously met with Marc Anthony are what it is mostly known for. (More about Side.)
Belek has earned an esteemed reputation as the golfing capital of Turkey, having grown from a small man-made holiday resort to hosting some of the best luxury spa hotels and professional golf courses in the country. (Read more about Belek here.)
Couples particularly like this area, because of the old town called Kaleici, that is home to quaint boutique hotels and fine dining restaurants portraying everything romantic about Mediterranean Turkey. The Konyaalti Beach neighbourhood is where much of the action happens for holidaymakers, while the Lara Beach district is known for its themed all-inclusive hotels such as the Titanic.
As another man-made holiday resort with all-inclusive hotels, life in Kemer tends to focus around the beachfront, but head away from the coastline to find the places of natural beauty and more discreet locations for people who don’t like crowds.
The one street village of Cirali will delight people who like hiking and the great outdoors. Rent a bicycle to get around and at night, walk up to the burning flames of Chimaera, a natural scientific event, although steeped in mythology. Olympus that shares a long pebbly beach with Cirali attracts the young, backpacker generation, because of its unique themed budget accommodation of hostel tree houses.
This small village hasn’t lost its traditional vibes despite being a popular tourist destination. Most hotels are bed and breakfast, but the holiday resort is an all-rounder, pleasing families, couples and groups of friends. A frequent bus service connects it with other holiday towns of Mediterranean Turkey via the D400 coastal highway.
Neighbouring Kalkan promotes an upmarket appeal mainly because of the many luxury villas for rent. The hilly landscapes mean you must be nifty on your feet, but this geographical characteristic also lends weight to fantastic sea views from most hotels and properties. Prices in restaurants and hotels tend to be more expensive than other holiday towns, but for large families or groups of friends, renting one of the luxury villas is cost effective. (More about Kalkan)
When tourism first came to Turkey, Patara was a popular destination for travel agents bused in people by the hundreds. The internet and independent travel have lessened its popularity but if you are looking to get away from mainstream tourism as well as the advantage of being close to Turkey’s longest beach, its ideal.
British families adore Oludeniz, Hisaronu and Ovacik that all sit close together. Oludeniz is home to the Blue Lagoon, one of the most photographed beaches in Turkey. Hisaronu and Ovacik are set back from the coastline but easily reached within 20 minutes on public transport.
Choices of hotels in this area include bed and breakfast, all-inclusive or self-catering and frequent bus services connect all these places with the main city centre of Fethiye. Although Hisaronu and Ovacik are smaller holiday towns of Mediterranean Turkey, they have both attracted large expat communities because of the low price of property.
Fethiye is a bustling hub of tourism and business, having grown into a fully-fledged city, but it still maintains a laidback atmosphere, probably because of its esteemed status on the Turkish Riviera. Nearby attractions like Saklikent Gorge and the Kayakoy Ghost Village make it a great holiday place for families. Fethiye town is another area that has attracted a large British expat community. Read more here.
Although Dalyan’s nightlife scene is quiet compared to other holiday towns, the unique daytime activities can’t be found anywhere else in Turkey. People travel there from miles around to sail the reed-lined river and see the Lycian rock tombs before diving into the natural mud baths.
Iztuzu Beach gained fame in the 1980s when David Bellamy joined a protest to prevent the construction of hotels nearby, therefore preserving the nesting grounds of the Caretta turtle. Nearby Sarigerme is a late starter onto the tourism scene of Turkey yet quickly gained popularity with British holidaymakers because large holiday companies such as TUI invested in all-inclusive hotels in the resort.
Marmaris is one of the bigger holiday towns of Mediterranean Turkey. It is a long-established favourite and will particularly suit those who love beaches and a vibrant nightlife scene. Icmeler, the neighbour of Marmaris, is smaller and quieter, although it has just the same delightful landscapes. Teenagers will enjoy the beachfront where water sports such as jet skis are available for rent.
A 30-minute frequent bus service connects Marmaris and Icmeler, so you can easily travel between the two. This is where the Mediterranean ends but you may also be interested in reading about the best holiday towns on the Aegean coast of Turkey.