Mediterranean Turkey, a large gathering of holiday resorts, cities and towns covers the southern Turquoise Coast of the country. Anyone choosing to holiday there will not be disappointed for many reasons. It has some of the best beaches, an ideal weather climate and a mass range of things to do, places to see and tourist attractions to explore.
The laidback lifestyle appeals to the older generations while younger people prefer to cash in on the party hotspots and nightlife. Restaurants delight food lovers with a wide range of Turkish and international cuisines like the good old-fashioned English breakfast or elegant French dining concepts. Indeed, it is an all-rounder, but one of the major lures is the vast range of activities for everyone.
Every day during summer, novice and beginner paragliders soar through the air for an amazing bird’s eye view of the coastline. As well as being popular expat and holiday resorts, Oludeniz and Kas are centres of excellence for this sport, where wannabe flyers sign up for a tandem paraglide with an experienced pilot, who takes away the hassle of navigating.
In Oludeniz, the take off point is Babadag Mountain, and flyers eventually come to land on a designated area on the beach. While in Kas, the landing point is the harbour but while in the air, you’ll also see a distant view of the Greek island of Meis.
Running from the Antalya region of Mediterranean Turkey to the Fethiye district, the Lycian way is a 509-kilometre trek covering some of the most iconic historical ruins and landmarks. This stretch of coastline was previously home to the Lycian Empire, and civilisation and includes remain of their dwellings such as Xanthos and Letton.
Hikers also get to visit sites of natural beauty such as Butterfly Valley. To hike the route in one go would take 3 months by following the marked path and using campsites or hotels along the way. However, many trekkers complete it in part of over many repeat visits.
Staying on the theme of being active, the small manmade resort of Belek has achieved international fame as the golfing capital of Turkey. More than 20 professional courses, have hosted famous players like Tiger Woods and are now worthy opponents to golfing hotspots in Portugal and Spain.
Investors with a passion for the sport have purchased property for buy-to-let income, so if you don’t want to stay in luxury hotels, rent a villa, of which many have modern cons, swimming pools and the latest décor and design. (Read more about the attractions of Belek here.)
Turkey’s stretch of Riviera is unlike its French counterpart because as well as catering for rich and wealthy travellers, budget travellers can also afford it. A traditional route is cabin charter from Fethiye to Antalya or vice versa. Travelling with strangers is sometimes a remarkable opportunity to make new friends, and you do get your own private cabin for privacy.
The cost includes food and along the way, as well as swimming and relaxing, you stop at well-known resorts such as Kas and Kalkan. During summer, there is nothing quite as memorable as sleeping on deck while anchored in at Gemiler Island, a beautiful destination with vibrant sunsets. Many other routes are available, including ones to the Greek islands.
If sailing the seas, is not your idea of fun but you still want to explore, then road tripping Mediterranean Turkey should be first on your list. It's incredibly easy thanks to the coastal D400 highway running alongside all the key attractions.
Although petrol is expensive in Turkey, diesel cars are available, and most major towns, as well as the airports of Antalya and Dalaman, have car rental companies operating in their arrival halls. Stop off at lesser known places such as the small coastal villages of Cirali or Adransan. While you are road tripping, also visit the major attractions like Mount Tahtali, Kayakoy Ghost Village, and Saklikent Gorge.
Out of all the things to do in Mediterranean Turkey, you must see the beaches. Even if you don’t like the concept of sun, sea and sand, the scenic view is hard to ignore. Patara, the longest beach in the country and a popular destination for horse riding, also houses the endangered Caretta Caretta turtle that nests eggs in the sand.
One of the most photographed though is the Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz that adorns most travel posters and books about the Fethiye region. Cirali and Olympos share a long pebbly beach with a beautiful background of the Taurus mountains, while most expats and locals of the Antalya region always make a point of stopping by Kaputas beach.
The small village of Ucagiz presents a fabulous opportunity to sea kayak in this peninsula. Sold to novice or experienced kayakers, groups set off with an instructor and safety boat to the nearby sunken ruins of Kekova. After this, get the oars into action for a trip across the waters to Simena, a traditional stopping point for yachts sailing the Turkish Riviera.
The small village, renowned for its rustic atmosphere is home to an impressive Byzantine castle from which fantastic panoramic views of the peninsula are available. After all the hard work of kayaking though, most people tuck into delicious home-made ice-cream that the locals are famous for.
All coastal resorts of Mediterranean Turkey, but particularly Kas are famous for scuba diving. Water conditions, as well as a vast range of underwater sea life and shipwrecks, have attracted divers from all over the world.
Experience isn’t needed because all scuba diving establishments are PADI qualified, and offer beginner courses and lessons, either in swimming pools, or shallow areas of the beach. Experienced divers can opt for the cave or night-time dives, and many also offer to option for long term training to become PADI qualified yourself.
More Things to Do in Mediterranean Turkey
We’ve mentioned many of the main attractions and sites above, but if you still have time to spare, the ruins of Myra and Church of Saint Nicholas, who is more well known as Santa Claus might interest you. Saint Nicholas was born in the Patara district, and become a bishop in the Demre area, before his reputation of good will spread worldwide.
Dalyan mud baths are also a strange, unique experience in Turkey. Sailing up the reed-lined river in a small boat, passengers first pass under the iconic Lycian rock tombs before heading further inland to the mud baths of which local legends say is nature's method of anti-aging treatment. While you are in this area, also see the Iztuzu beach, a protected reserve for the Caretta Caretta turtle.
Antalya is the second most visited tourist destination in Turkey, and the city centre is easy access to places like Kaleici (old town) with its landmarks Hadrian’s Gate and old Ottoman houses. Housing one of the best archaeological museums in the world, it is also home to natural sites of beauty such as Duden waterfalls. (More about the Antalya region)
Note: Most suggestions are suitable for the tourism season only which runs from May to November. You may also like to read our Mediterranean coast area guide.