Forming the main bulk of the Turkish Riviera, the Mediterranean coast of Turkey is a delightful collection of small villages, quaint towns and cosmopolitan cities. Backed in parts of the scenic Taurus mountains, the sandy beaches stretching for miles, are some of the most beautiful in the whole country. Indeed, anyone choosing to holiday there, will be pleasantly surprised and instantly recognise why “The Turquoise Coast” is its nickname.
Covering most of the southern side of the country, it provides everything a popular tourist destination should have including a wide range of hotels, beautiful destinations, historical sites, adrenaline sports, cultural influences and delicious food. All this explains, why it is not only a thriving tourism hub but also popular with expats, who choose to spend their days under the Turkish sun. But what do you need to know for a fruitful and smooth trip there?
The best time to go is during the months of May to October. Officially the tourist season has started, and everything opens for business including hotels, bars, restaurant, travel agents and shops. However, the main city centres of Fethiye and Antalya operate all year round. If shopping, nightlife, spa or simply relaxing is on your agenda, you will find everything you need.
The turquoise coast has one of the better weather climates resulting in hot summers and cool winters. Having said that, January and February typically tend to be rainy months. From March, temperatures start to heat up, but it will still be cold at night-time until the beginning of June. The hottest months are July, August and September when temperatures can reach into the mid-forties, so sun cream, lots of water and shade are advisable.
The two main airports are Dalaman in the Mugla region and Antalya in the area of the same name. During summer, both operate international flights from many countries but flight schedules scale down in the winter, in which case, catch a connecting flight from Istanbul.
Alternatively, the cross-country bus system connects the Mediterranean coast of Turkey with the rest of the country. The central stations are Antalya, Fethiye and Mugla and from here, passengers can catch connecting buses to most of the smaller resorts and towns.
Both the airports and many towns across the country, also have car hire offices where you can pick up and drop off in different locations. Once you have got onto the D400 highway running the entire length of the Mediterranean coast, all resorts and towns are well signposted.
Personally, we like road tripping the Mediterranean coast of Turkey because the variety of cities and villages all have distinctive characterises. However, it is possible to stay two weeks or more in a place and still be active every day. Typical tourist resorts include Oludeniz in the Fethiye region or Alanya in the Antalya region. Golfing fans head to Belek, while nearby Side is a quaint town with historic ruins. Read more about the towns, cities and villages here.
Travellers really do have the best pick of accommodation with a wide variety of luxury, budget, B&B, all-inclusive and self-catering options. Prices start from roughly 120 lira a night, and if you are road tripping, book as you go by using websites such as booking.com or Trivago. Hotels rarely turn people away because of full occupancy. However, this might happen during the Turkish festivals of Seker and Kurban Bayram (dates change every year). The Turkish school holidays also run from the end of June to the end of September and during this time, prices may increase.
Within all the coastal resorts, towns and cities, small Turkish buses called Dolmus operate. They are cheap and frequent, and the destination is listed in the front window. To go from one town to another, simply head to the local bus station (otogar) because the D400 highway connects all resorts.
Car and scooter hire is also available, but you should check your licence and the terms and conditions of your insurance policy. Even if you are a confident driver, it may be worth watching the traffic for a day or two because driving rules in Turkey are different and many famous tourist places become congested in the height of summer.
All resorts have yellow taxis typically waiting at designated taxi stops throughout the town. Your hotel can also call one for you. Most run on meters unless you are travelling a short distance in which the taxi driver will set a price.
If you are on a budget, find the Turkish lokantas serving traditional Turkish food, at extremely cheap prices. Also stay away from beach-side establishments because these tend to be more expensive. Otherwise, if money is no object, then knock yourself out because restaurants in all the main tourist districts offer international menus including Chinese, Indian, British and fine dining concepts. During summer, the trend on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey is seaside alfresco dining, where Turkish mezes, fish and Raki are popular choices of Turks.
Whether you travel independently or sign up for tours with local travel agents, a mass of tourist attractions and historical sites awaits you. Some of the most popular attractions include Mount Tahtali in the Antalya region, as well as Saklikent gorge and Kayakoy ghost village in the Fethiye area. We’ve listed all our suggestions in this article about things to do in Mediterranean Turkey.
The crime rate of Mediterranean Turkey is low; however, you should not lay yourself open to opportunist crime so still take the same precautions you would do in your home country. These include only using licensed taxis, don’t leave your drinks unattended, letting someone know where you are, and keeping your handbag or purse close by.
Further Reading: If it is your first visit to Turkey, you might like to read our country guide listing the top attractions, and reasons why foreigners buy property here. Alternatively, Fethiye is a popular area with British holidaymakers, and you can read more about it here.