The Turquoise Coast: Places to Explore

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  • Adana

    Adana is Turkey's fourth-largest city after Istanbul, Ankara, and İzmir. Being a commercial and industrial center, it is the least known to tourists; however, there are a few worthwhile attractions.

  • Alanya

    Alanya is Turkey's hottest resort town—literally. Temperatures here are higher than almost anywhere else in Turkey, averaging 106°F (27°C) in July and August; the waves lapping the long...

  • Anamur

    Anamur is an uninspiring agricultural town, known throughout Turkey for its bananas. The ruins of ancient Anemurium and the dramatic Marmure Castle, however, give you a reason to stop. The roads...

  • Antakya (Antioch)

    Antakya—perhaps better known by its old name, Antioch—was founded in about 300 BC and quickly grew, thanks to its strategic location on the trade routes. Under the Romans, it became the...

  • Antalya

    Sophisticated Antalya is a definite tourist hub, and with a population approaching the 1-million mark, it’s among Turkey's fastest growing cities. These days the international terminals of...

  • Dalyan

    Dalyan is a lovely place for a three-day break, especially if you prefer a quiet destination that's been developed in a way that is sensitive to the natural surroundings and the native flora and...

  • Datça Peninsula

    If you make it all the way to the Datça Peninsula, you may never want to leave. It's a landscape of olives tree, pine forests in sheltered hollows, and stunning blue water. Until about 20 years...

  • Demre (Kale)

    Demre is where Saint Nicholas, who later became known as Father Christmas, made his reputation as bishop of the Greco-Roman diocese of Myra in the first half of the 4th century. Among his good...

  • Eski Datça and Reshadiye

    Turkish satirical poet and polemical left-wing social critic Can Yücel retired to a modest old stone house in Eski Datça, setting an artistic tone for this pretty backwater spot and for nearby...

  • Fethiye

    This busy port city is a good base for exploring the ruins of ancient Lycia in the mountains that rise to the east. Fethiye was known in antiquity as Telmessus (not to be confused with Termessos,...

  • Finike and Arycanda

    Finike is a good lunch stop or jumping-off point for Arycanda and the series of less glamorous Lycian sites that dot the citrus- and vegetable-growing coastal plain. This small port town is less...

  • Göcek

    A 20-minute drive over the mountains from Dalaman Airport, Göcek is perfect for visitors who want to sample the grandeur of the Turquoise Coast but have little time to spare. This tranquil resort...

  • Kabak

    If you like your beaches in deep coves, framed by towering cliffs and pine forests, without a deck chair or beach umbrella in sight, then you'll love Kabak. For years it was one of Turkey's...

  • Kalkan

    Kalkan has two distinct sides: on one hand it has fine restaurants and excellent hotels to match its superb, steep views of the Mediterranean Sea. But it's also a bit overpriced, and regulars...

  • Kaş

    In the 1980s, Kaş, with its beautiful wide, island-filled bay, was the main tourist destination on the Lycian coast. But it fell by the wayside because it lacked a real beach and A-list...

  • Kaya

    The valley behind Fethiye promises a cooler climate and evocative ruins that are decidedly different from their ancient counterparts on the Mediterranean coast. Kaya was a thriving Greek community...

  • Kız Kalesı

    This small town is easily the best place to stop on the long drive east of Alanya. Although a bit scruffy, it has a nice stretch of beach and a picture-perfect castle sitting just off the shore.

  • Knidos

    Windswept Knidos sits on a headland at the very end of the Datça Peninsula, at the point where the Aegean meets the Mediterranean. A primitive archaeological site, its ruins are scattered amid...

  • Marmaris

    This big, brash resort city has two faces, and they're hard to reconcile. From the sea, a line of hotels stretches around the northern edge of a great bay, the whole encircled by a magical...

  • Ölüdeniz

    Little wonder Ölüdeniz appears on so many Turkish promotional posters. With a photogenic mountain and a fringe of fragrant evergreens behind it, this oh-so-blue, beach-rimmed lagoon really is...

  • Olympos and Çiralı

    Olympos and its "sister" towns, Çiralı and Adrasan, are places unique on the Turquoise Coast for their natural beauty, ancient ruins, low-rise development, and easygoing culture that embraces...

  • Patara

    Patara was once Lycia's principal port. Cosmopolitan in its heyday—Hannibal, St. Paul, and the emperor Hadrian all visited, and St. Nicholas, the man who would be Santa Claus, is said to have...

  • Phaselis

    Majestically located at the edge of three small bays, the ruins of the ancient port city of Phaselis make an atmospheric stop along the Lycian coast.

  • Side

    Charter-tour hotels crowded along this stretch of coast threaten to overshadow Side, but the city remains a delightful mix of ancient ruins and modern amenities. Sandy beaches border it on each...

  • Silifke

    Lively, non-touristy Silifke is a small agricultural town beside the Göksu River that’s dominated by a Byzantine castle. Traces of its long history are evident in the cave-church home of St....

  • Simena and Kekova Sound

    Simena (known in Turkish as Kaleköy), Kekova Island, and its surrounding coastline are among the most enchanting spots in Turkey—especially when the reflection of the full moon slowly traces...

  • Tarsus

    The dusty, provincial town of Tarsus is known as the place where St. Paul was born some 2,000 years ago. It has a broad range of Roman, Byzantine, and Turkish remains, and effort is now being put...

  • Termessos

    Writers in antiquity referred to Termessos as the Eagle's Nest, and when you visit the 4,500-foot high site, you'll understand why. Seemingly impregnable, Termessos remained autonomous for much of...

  • Tlos

    A day expedition to Tlos, a spectacular ancient Lycian city high above the valley of the Xanthos River, can be arranged from any town on the coast from Göcek to Kaş.

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