Discover All The Best Things To Do On The Turquoise Coast Of Turkey

Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, also known as the Turkish Riviera (Türk Rivierası), is a gem nestled between the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the rugged Taurus Mountains. Stretching 600 miles from Antalya to Bodrum, this enchanting region boasts a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty.

From ancient ruins and pristine beaches to charming villages and vibrant markets, there’s something to captivate every traveler. Having lived near the Turquoise coast part-time for many years I decided to put together this guide.

So, let’s delve into the best experiences and activities that the Turquoise Coast has to offer!

Explore The Seaside Towns & Cities Of The Turkish Riviera


As the largest city on the Turquoise Coast, Antalya serves as the gateway to the region. Explore the picturesque Old Town (Kaleiçi) with its narrow cobblestone streets, Ottoman-era architecture, and ancient city walls. Don’t miss the Antalya Museum, which houses an impressive collection of artefacts from the region’s rich history and take a ride on the cable car for impressive views over the coastline.


This laid-back coastal town exudes charm with its colorful bougainvillea-covered buildings, boutique shops, and waterfront cafes. Explore the charming streets, dive into crystal-clear waters to discover underwater ruins and vibrant marine life, and take a boat tour to nearby islands and hidden coves.

Discover all the best things to do in Kaş in this guide.


Nestled along a beautiful bay, Fethiye is a bustling town surrounded by stunning natural landscapes. Explore the lively harbour area, stroll along the seaside promenade, and visit the ancient Lycian rock tombs carved into the cliffs overlooking the town. Learn more about what to do in Fethiye in this guide.


Steeped in history, Side boasts a captivating blend of ancient ruins and modern amenities. Explore the well-preserved Roman ruins, including the impressive Temple of Apollo and the ancient theater overlooking the sea. Afterward, wander through the charming streets lined with shops, restaurants, and cafes.


With its picturesque harbour, imposing medieval castle, and vibrant nightlife, Alanya offers a diverse range of attractions for visitors. Explore the ancient Alanya Castle perched high above the town, relax on the sandy beaches, and experience the lively atmosphere of the harbor area with its bustling markets and waterfront cafes.

Alayna made it onto my list of top cities to visit in Turkey. Click here to see what other cities made the list!


Known for its vibrant nightlife, historic sites, and upscale resorts, Bodrum is one of the best beach towns in turkey. Explore the ancient ruins of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, visit the imposing Bodrum Castle, and soak up the lively atmosphere of the town’s bustling streets and waterfront promenade.

Immerse Yourself In Nature

Kayak Over The Sunken City

Kayaking over the Sunken City at Kekova is a must-do for every adventurer visiting Turkey’s Turquoise Coast. Seize the opportunity to glide above ancient ruins submerged beneath the crystal-clear waters that offer a window into a mysterious past.

This remarkable experience combines physical activity with historical exploration and provides splendid photo opportunities that capture the essence of this unique landscape. As you paddle along, the silence around is occasionally punctured by the splash of water against the kayak, enhancing the solitude and immersiveness of this journey through time.

The easiest way to kayak at Kekova is to take an organised trip from Kas which is what Nick and I did on our first visit. This type of tour includes transport, kayaking, lunch and a short hike to Simena Castle.

Hike the Lycian Way

Stepping onto the Lycian Way, one of Turkey’s premier long-distance hiking trails, is akin to wandering through a living museum adorned by nature. Stretching an impressive 540 kilometers along the Turquoise Coast, this ancient pathway offers you sweeping vistas of stark Mediterranean coastline, dense patches of forest, and step after incredible step through millennia of history.

As boots crunch over earth trodden by countless ancestors, you’ll find no better way to intimately connect with the land’s spirited past than this trek. Your journey may lead you through weather-worn ruins that whisper stories of civilizations come and gone. Greet the ancient ghosts of Lycia, crouch through forgotten cities carved from mountains, and pause under the shade of secluded Byzantine olive groves.

For the discerning traveler, this walk isn’t merely a physical endeavor; it’s a feast for the senses and a rejuvenating retreat into the wild. Pack a camera and a spare sense of wonder—you’ll need both as the fiery sunsets paint the vast canvases of sky above you, while the calls of hidden wildlife add a soundtrack to your sprawling Mediterranean adventure.

Some of the most picturesque sections of the trail can be found either side Kas. If you’re only able to walk a small section of the Lycian way I recommend exploring around this area for its combination of Lycian tombs and secluded bays.

Get wet at Saklıkent Gorge

Embark on an adventure to Saklıkent Gorge, a spectacular natural wonder carved into the Taurus Mountains. Hike through the narrow canyon, wade through the icy waters of the rushing river, and marvel at the towering cliffs that rise up to 300 meters above you.

Explore Butterfly Valley

Discover the enchanting beauty of Butterfly Valley, a hidden oasis accessible only by boat or a challenging hike off a spur along the Lycian Way. Named for the butterflies that inhabit the area, this secluded valley is a haven for nature lovers. There is a waterfall to visit, a pristine bay to swim around or simply relax on the sandy beach.

Below you can watch a video of our hike into the Valley or read this guide to visiting Butterfly Valley to learn more.

Göynük Canyon

Explore the breathtaking landscapes of Göynük Canyon, a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Trek through lush forests, swim in natural pools fed by cascading waterfalls, and try your hand at rock climbing and canyoning under the guidance of experienced local guides.

Experience the Chimera Eternal Flames

Immerse yourself in the mystique of the Chimera Eternal Flames in Cirali, where myths breathe through living fire. These natural flames have danced unceasingly across the rocky hillside of Mount Olympos for thousands of years. Locally known as Yanartaş, meaning ‘burning stone,’ these flames provide a fiery spectacle that captures the imagination.

The source of this natural wonder stems from methane gases emitting through cracks in the earth, ignited upon contact with air to form flickering flames against a sturdy mountain backdrop. Such an everlasting fire finds its way into mythology as the breath of the Chimera—a creature with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail.

Visiting the site feels like stepping into a realm where anything feels possible, magical yet tangibly real. The journey includes a delightful trek through the quiet town of Cirali, leading up a nature-packed pathway ideal for those who thrill in floral allure and climactic beauty. Nighttime visits are particularly enthralling, as darkness amplifies the mystic glow of the flames.

Sail the Turquoise Coast

Embarking on a nautical odyssey along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast aboard a traditional gulet sailing vessel reveals stunning vistas at every turn. From the sophistication of Bodrum to the sublime seclusion of Antalya’s coves, the coastline becomes your canvas, painted with desires for solace or celebration.

Setting sail on a gulet, also known as a Blue Cruise or Blue Voyage, offers an immersion into a lifestyle dictated by the rhythm of the sea and the whim of the wind. Stop at airy beaches and quiet bays perfect for swimming or snorkeling in crystalline azure waters. Dive off the side and into the cooling embrace of the Mediterranean.

Each secluded bay brings its own story, from historic ruins echoing a rich past to the songs of cicadas as twilight yields to vibrant nightlife in lively harbour towns. Explore the timeless charm of sleepy fishing villages or indulge in luxurious revelries at resorts catering to mariners.

Voyages depart from Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye and Antalya.

Dive into the Blue Cave

Just off the charming coast of Kalkan lies the Blue Cave, a captivating underwater grotto. This natural wonder, accessible only by sea, offers explorers a rare visual feast—a mesmerizing display of light dancing through clear Mediterranean waters, casting everything in an ethereal blue glow. Sunlight filters through the cave entrance, playing off the limestone walls and creating patterns that flicker and shift, enhanced by the movements of sea life.

Divers and snorkelers can envelop themselves in the cave’s quiet seclusion. The more adventurous may explore deeper, tracing along ancient rock faces and potentially encountering shy marine creatures who call this hidden sanctuary home. Small fish perform their daily ballet, and if fortune favours, you might spot rays or small sharks seeking solitude in the cave’s darker refuge.

Snorkeling gear suffices for those content to float just at the water’s brink, spectators to the natural artistry below. Diving equipment allows for detachment from the surface world, urging deeper exploratory excursions beneath the rippling boundary separating air from the enchanting submarine panorama.

Paraglide over Oludeniz

Imagine stepping off the rugged cliffs of Babadağ Mountain, only to find yourself sweeping through the open air, encompassed by one of Turkey’s most stunning panoramas — the dazzling blue lagoon of Oludeniz. This experience is about the thrill of the flight; it’s an aerial dance that exposes the vast beauty of this region from a perspective few will ever witness. As you sail silently with the birds, each glance offers vistas of pine-forested valleys giving way to the glittering Mediterranean, the juxtaposition crafting a painterly vision that teases the senses with its majesty.

Launching from Babadağ’s impressive heights, paragliders are rewarded by the adrenaline that pulses through twisting thermals, and a view that extends across distant islands, and often, on clear days, to the shores of distant continents. The seaside village of Oludeniz transforms from this vantage point into a neatly tucked jewel amidst the expansive blue, framed by the golden sands and pebbled beaches that beckon from below.

Discover Ancient & Historical Wonders

Marvel at the Mighty Ephesus

Step back in time at the ancient city of Ephesus, one of the best-preserved archaeological sites in the Mediterranean. Marvel at the grandeur of the Library of Celsus, stroll down the marble-paved streets lined with ancient ruins, and explore the magnificent Theater, where performances were once held for thousands of spectators.

As one of Turkey’s best ancient sites and the most thriving city of the Roman empire outside of Rome, Ephesus is not to be missed.

Explore Ancient Phaselis

Nestled where the dense cedar forests spill into the sunlit Mediterranean waters, the ancient city of Phaselis offers a captivating excursion for those venturing along Turkey’s resplendent Turquoise Coast. Once a bustling Roman and Hellenistic port, this archaeological marvel invites you to tread across its mosaic-filled streets, explore its ancient ruins and lose yourself amidst historic splendor.

As you amble along paths richly scented with pine and sea air, you come upon ruins that tell tales of Phaselis’ storied past — the grandeur of three harbors and the agora where merchants once bargained for exotic spices and silks. Wander through what remains of the bathhouses, structures that housed the everyday conversations and communal lives of ancient civilizations.

The beautifully preserved theatre stands as a testament to the cultural sophistication of Phaselis. Here, allow yourself a moment to sit upon age-worn stone seats where once, long ago, patrons gathered under the open sky to revel in dramatic performances.

Become Mesmerised at Pamukkale

At Pamukkale, visitors are greeted with a mesmerizing natural wonder that seems straight out of a fairytale. The main attraction is the otherworldly landscape of travertine terraces, formed by calcium-rich thermal waters cascading down the hillside over thousands of years. These terraces, known as the “Cotton Castle” in Turkish, create a surreal tableau of white, shimmering pools that contrast starkly against the surrounding greenery.

As visitors wander through this ethereal landscape, they can also explore the ancient city of Hierapolis, perched atop the terraces. Hierapolis boasts well-preserved ruins, including a theatre, necropolis, and Roman baths, offering a fascinating glimpse into the region’s rich history.

Discover Xanthos

Delve into the ancient history of Xanthos, an ancient Lycian city that was once a powerful center of culture and commerce. Admire the striking Lycian tombs carved into the rock cliffs and explore the remains of the ancient theater and agora.

Hike Amongst the Ruins of Termessos

Perched magnificently in the Taurus Mountains, the ancient city of Termessos offers an adventurous journey into a locale that has escaped the touch of time. This once stalwart and impenetrable fortress city presents a fascinating tableau of antiquity encased in a breathtaking natural preserve.

The majestic theater of Termessos, ingeniously carved directly out of the mountainside, once hosted audiences captivated by dramatic vistas both onstage and beyond. Imposing and intricately inscribed tombs and sarcophagi scatter across the landscape, placing visitors into the footsteps of those who mourned and commemorated their dead centuries ago.

This journey is as much about the destination as it is the ambient symphony of nature’s undisturbed reign. Flora and fauna flourish with vibrant life around these ancient stones. The air is scented with the spicy fragrance of pine trees, providing a cool, invigorating respite from the Mediterranean sun as your pathway unwinds through verdant woods echoing with the calls of mountain wildlife.

There is something so mystical about Termessos and it’s dramatic location makes this ancient site one my most favourite in Turkey.

Explore the Ghost Village of Kayakoy

Enveloped in a blanket of serene stillness, the Ghost Village of Kayakoy stands as a quiet sentinel to the past, its weathered stones and abandoned paths telling time-worn tales of ancient dwellers and vanished lives. On the southwestern coast of Turkey, nestled against a lush hillside, this desolate village invites the curious and the reflective to step into a world suspended in time.

Once known as Levissi, this village was flourishing with a lively community of around two-thousand Greeks before the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey left it hauntingly empty.  As you walk through the deserted streets of Kayakoy, ivy-clad walls and dilapidated structures form a stark contrast against the vibrant blue skies. Each empty home and desecrated church invites a contemplative silence, prompting visitors to ponder the complex chronicles of human migration and personal loss wrapped within these crumbling walls.

Whether you wander through these spectral avenues during the golden shimmers of dawn or choose the enchanting dusks when shadows make play across the ruins, Kayakoy promises a profound journey through time sealed within an aura of mystical solitude. Enchanting Kayakoy makes it onto my list of the prettiest places in Turkey to visit.

Relax on Pristine Beaches


Relax on the picture-perfect beaches of Ölüdeniz, where the turquoise waters meet the golden sands in a stunning display of natural beauty. Take a dip in the waters of the crystal-clear lagoon, or simply soak up the sun while sipping on refreshing cocktails along Ölüdeniz beach.

Kaputaş Beach

Discover the white sand paradise of Kaputaş Beach, nestled between towering cliffs along the coast near Kas. Accessible via a scenic staircase, this hidden gem boasts azure waters and soft white sands, perfect for a day of swimming and sunbathing.

There is limited parking here so its best to arrive early on busy weekends or consider taking a minibus from the nearby seaside town of Kas.


Retreat to the tranquil shores of Çıralı, a peaceful beachside village surrounded by lush greenery and the imposing Mount Olympos. Relax on the pebbled beach, take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, and don’t miss the opportunity to witness the mesmerizing spectacle of sea turtles nesting on the sands.


With its 18 kilometers of golden sand, this beach is one of the longest in Turkey, offering visitors a place to bask in the sun. Delight in the sensation of soft sands underfoot, bordered intriguingly by ancient Lycian and Roman ruins that stand as gatekeepers to this pristine expanse.

Protected and preserved as a national park, Patara is a haven for sun-seekers and an ecological sanctuary crucial for the survival of the endangered loggerhead turtles. These gentle giants have chosen this idyllic spot to lay their eggs for centuries, an annual spectacle that adds a profound significance to your leisurely stay.

Arrive at Patara Beach expecting serene relaxation and leave with memories steeped in natural wonder and historical marvel, a testament to Turkey’s captivating blend of history and beauty. Whether you spend your time tracing the footsteps between the ancient ruins and curls of seafoam or nestled in a hammock strung between sea-dampened tamarisks, Patara promises a rejuvenating retreat on your Turkish Riviera trip.

Experience Local Culture

Antalya Old Town

Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Antalya’s Old Town, known as Kaleiçi, where narrow cobblestone streets wind past historic Ottoman houses and charming cafes. Explore the ancient city walls, browse the bustling bazaars filled with handicrafts and spices, and savor traditional Turkish cuisine at local eateries.

Fethiye Market

Indulge your senses at the lively Fethiye Market, where vendors peddle a colorful array of fresh produce, spices, textiles, and souvenirs. Wander through the bustling stalls, haggle with friendly merchants, and sample delicious street food favorites like gözleme (stuffed flatbread) and freshly squeezed pomegranate juice.

Turkish Night

Experience the rich cultural heritage of Turkey at a traditional Turkish night, where you can enjoy live music, folk dancing, and dazzling performances showcasing the country’s diverse cultural traditions. Feast on a delicious spread of mezes (appetizers), grilled kebabs, and decadent desserts, accompanied by traditional Turkish tea and coffee.

Final Thoughts On Visiting The Turquoise Coast

The Turquoise Coast of Turkey is a treasure trove of natural beauty, ancient history, and vibrant culture, offering a wealth of experiences for every traveler. Whether you’re exploring ancient ruins, relaxing on beautiful beaches, immersing yourself in nature, or experiencing local culture, the Turkish Riviera promises an unforgettable journey filled with adventure, discovery, and relaxation.

So pack your bags, embark on a voyage of exploration, and discover the wonders of Turkey’s Turquoise Coast for yourself.

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you! This helps cover the cost of running this blog and keep all resources free to access 🙂


Louise is an Adventure Tour Guide, Snowboard Instructor & Mountain Leader from South Wales. Through working as a tour guide and snowboard instructor, she has spent the last 15 years travelling Asia, Africa and the Americas. Louise is a published photographer and currently guides mountain trips in the UK.

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