Tourists and holiday homeowners looking for blue flag beaches in Turkey can expect delightful, pristine beaches and clean water. As of 2022, Turkey globally ranked third for the number of blue flag beaches; this should be no surprise. After all, Turkey’s 7000 kilometres of coastline fronts the Marmara, Black, Mediterranean and Aegean seas.
Turkey now has 519 Blue Flag beaches, putting it ahead of other world-famous countries like France and Portugal. Ahead of Turkey are Greece and Spain with the highest number. The steadily increasing number of Blue Flag beaches along Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coastlines promote much of Turkey’s beach package holiday industry. Tourists visiting Turkey care more and more about water quality and eco-friendly beaches, and Blue Flag beaches affect tourist preferences in the country. So, let’s examine the most popular beaches and why they stand out.
Blue Flag Beaches in Turkey
1: What are the Blue Flag Criteria?
To qualify for a Blue Flag certificate, stringent world environmental management, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained. The independent non-profit organisation Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) runs the world Blue Flag Programme in over 50 countries. In Turkey, their liaison member is TURCEV (Foundation for Environmental Education in Turkey.)
They connect visitors with their surroundings and encourage them to learn more about their environment while keeping clean beaches. Hence environmental education activities must be offered and promoted alongside permanent displays of biodiversity, ecosystems and ecological phenomena information. Informing visitors about the beach they are visiting is an essential part of the Blue Flag programme in Turkey.
These special arrangements allow people to quickly navigate and learn about the indigenous flora and fauna. Monitoring involves stringent criteria and regular spot checks to encourage compliance with Blue Flag sites, subject to control visits. Appropriate local organisations in Turkey are selected to implement and enforce necessary criteria to ensure clean beaches, making the Blue Flag award transparent and valuable. Please note that if you want licensed lifeguards or easy access for disabled citizens, please check the official website for the latest status.
2: Gorgeous Beaches in The Antalya Province
It should be no surprise that nearly half the blue flag beaches are in Turkey’s Antalya district. This area of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast promotes crystal clear waters and is Turkey’s top spot for beach holidays, the Turkish riviera, and water sports. Covering a large section of the Mediterranean coast, many beaches in Antalya rank as Turkey’s best on Trip Advisor, whiles others connect to all-inclusive coastline hotels, and famous city centre beaches include Liberty Lara beach, Titanic Marden Palace, and Asteria Kremlin Palace beach.
Alanya: Sitting side by side in Alanya, Cleopatra and Damlatas beaches rank as Blue Flag. The sandy beach gives way to clear seas, with shallow waters making these beaches perfect for families. In some parts, sports fields, parks, hotels, and cafes break up a day sunbathing. Visitors also enjoy water sports like parachutes, jet skis, and sea bicycles. Entrance is free, and sunbeds and umbrellas are available to rent. Additionally, there are numerous outlets for food and refreshments. People love these beaches for the fantastic sunset views.
Kalkan Halk Beach: Although this is a pebble beach, it is possible to swim here for nine months of the year. This small beach offers fantastic sea views and backing refreshment establishments break up swimming and sunbathing.
About Lara and Konyaalti: These two city centre beaches are the most prominent and famous in Antalya city. However, due to their large size, the blue flag certification breaks them down into chunks. Therefore, as we reviewed Turkey’s official Blue Flag website, we were surprised to learn that some sections had their blue flag status cancelled. So, if you want to visit these city centre beaches, check the official website for the latest status as to which sections have maintained their ratings.
3: Blue Flag Beaches in the Mugla Mediterranean Region
Now, we move further around the coastline to where the Aegean and Mediterranean meet. The Mugla region is Turkey’s second most popular beach holiday district and includes prominent places like Fethiye, Marmaris, and the southern Aegean city and peninsula of Bodrum. Additionally, there are eight blue flag beaches in Datca.
Bodrum: For public beaches, head to Gumbet, Golturkbuku, Gundogan, Ortakent, Yaliciftlik, and Yalikavak. British holidaymakers love Gumbet, a small resort next to the main city centre. Meanwhile, Yalikavak has an exceptional main public beach but a state-of-the-art marina and they specialise in sailing. The other resorts mainly attract retired Turks who own holiday homes there, but Turks on holiday from big inland cities.
Fethiye: We were surprised to find only 12 blue flag certification beaches in this area of Turkey. As home to famous spots like the Blue Lagoon and Butterfly Valley, we thought there would be more. Don’t let this put you off though because the striking beauty and clear Mediterranean waters make everyone feel at home. If you don’t want a beach connected to a hotel, head to Belcegiz public beach in Oludeniz or Kumburnu public beach at the edge of the Blue Lagoon, two of the most popular beaches.
Marmaris: Ah, now we arrive at beautiful Icmeler beach, which proudly holds the blue flag certificate. This beach is only tiny, stretching 150 metres and 30 metres wide. Yet we always have a good day out here, and beautiful scenery perfectly portrays the area. In addition, the main Marmaris city beach has a blue flag label.
4: Izmir Beaches
Next up for the most blue flag beaches is the Izmir region of Turkey, which is home to 66. The city doesn’t receive as much foreign tourism as Antalya or Mugla, yet Turks love the area. In addition, the city centre is Turkey’s third largest city, making this westernised gem a destination to take notice of. The Izmir region covers the coastline from Selcuk to Dikili, and famous beaches include….
Cesme: As a prominent area in Izmir, Cesme sits alongside Alacati, a famous beach holiday district. Neighbouring Alacati is Turkey’s top windsurfing district. The most stunning part and public Blue Flag beaches include Tekke, Dalyan Kocakari, and Ilica beach.
Seferihisar: This west region comes to light with 11 blue flag beaches, including Bahadir, Gemisuyu, and Akarca. Seferihisar is a member of the Cittaslow movement that strives to keep communities focused on local food production and values.
5: Other Blue Flag Beaches in Turkey
Although Turkey’s black sea region has one extensive coastline, there are few blue flag beaches, simply because the topography differs from the Aegean and Mediterranean. While beach tourism does happen there, the quality means few places can stand out for blue flag certificates. For example, Ordu has two beaches, Samsin has 14, and Bartin has three. Meanwhile, Balikesir, a northern Aegean city, promotes 31 beaches, and the Aydin region of Kusadasi city and Didim features 36 blue flag beaches. The only one in Eastern Turkey is on Lake Van.
Also About Turkey
Famous Things: To list all the famous things in Turkey would take a complete book. Including history, food, science, production, exports, traditions, and culture, together they display an incredibly diverse country that deserves more praise and recognition. Of course, the best way to get to know Turkey is to visit for yourself. But for an introduction, we list nine famous places and things below to get started.
Regions of Turkey: Alongside learning about the blue flag beaches in Turkey, you might like to know about the seven official regions. Ranging from the black sea to the east, to the Mediterranean and Aegean, each is unique and portrays a different face and culture of Turkey.