The Turquoise Coast is just as stunning as its name suggests. Luminous blue waves in that signature shade (the word "turquoise" actually comes from the French for "Turkish") lap at isolated coves and some of the country’s most iconic beaches—including Ölüdeniz, Patara, and İztuzu. Inhabited for millennia, spectacular archaeological ruins of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine origin are never far away. Termessos is said to have defied Alexander the Great because he was daunted by its height, and the antique theater in Apsendos rivals the Colosseum in Rome.
In the west is the Datça Peninsula, a Mediterranean landscape of rolling hills and olive trees looking out on a sea dotted with Greek islands. East of Marmaris, a more-touristy town, you’ll find the Lycian coast with its rich mix of ruins and camera-ready beaches. Each Lycian coast destination has a distinct feel: Ölüdeniz, crowded but with a lovely lagoon; laid-back, alternative Kabak; low-key Patara; upscale Kalkan; lively Kaş; and the green and relaxed Olympos area. Antalya, the biggest city on this stretch, has long beaches lined with resorts. The package tourists, though, often skip Old Antalya, which is filled with historic mansions (many now converted into boutique hotels). Antalya also has the coast’s best museum and archaeological sites, Aspendos among them. East of the resort towns of Side and Alanya, the region becomes rugged and tourists rare. Ruins, castles, and beaches remain plentiful; however, the taste of "real Turkey" is more pronounced.