Unique beaches in southwest Turkey: by foot or by boat

All the way along the Turquoise coast in Turkey are small beach towns, coastal villages and modern cities connected by a winding asphalt road. However, the most beautiful and unique beaches remain isolated from roads and noisy traffic and hidden between sheer cliff faces or rolling hills. The only way to reach these mini paradise is by putting on some sturdy boots and hiking the legendary Lycian Way, by hopping on a taxi boat or, for a little more relaxation, by joining a Blue Cruise Turkey in Fethiye or Demre.

Through the ghost town…

In the mountains behind Fethiye, a busy port and popular holiday town, lies a unique site of 20th century ruins. The Ghost Town of Kayakoy became abandoned in 1923 when the Greek inhabitants were forced to leave their prosperous settlement. Now a way marked trail passes through the 350 derelict houses to the head of the valley and descends to a small pebble beach known as Cold Water Bay. As you may have guessed the water is substantially colder here than it is in the surrounding coves but not due to a lack of sunlight. Here fresh water from the Taurus mountains travels underground and enters the sea at two points. Many years ago sailors on long voyages used to visit this bay to replenish their supply of drinking water. Nowadays it is visited only by daily cruise ships from Oludeniz or adventurous hikers who camp under the surrounding pines.

Beautiful beaches in Turkey

A cliffside trail…

Butterfly Valley is probably the best known beach of the entire Turquoise Coast, daily cruise ships, water taxis, and private gulet boats all make the journey to anchor in the transparent waters, sheltered on either side by jagged cliffs. Passengers can walk onto the stony beach or jump from their boats into the deep turquoise bay. Connect with marvellous nature in this scenic setting or search for butterflies on your way to the waterfall. The nearest road is approximately 400 metres above the sea, where the town of Faralya sits on the edge of the cliffs. A steep and rocky trail connects the two but this trail is certainly not for the fainthearted. Ropes have been secured in the rocks to aid the decent/accent however in wet weather – of if your chosen footwear is flip flops – it’s recommended to journey to the Butterfly Valley by boat.

Past rock cut tombs…

Hundreds of years ago the Turquoise Coast was the territory of fearsome Lycian civilisations who built wealthy cities and elaborate tombs for their royals. Following the waymarked trail to Limanagzi, 8 km from the pretty town of Kas, will take you through dry fields of shrubs, into thicker forest and eventually you will have to side step along a narrow limestone platform, past two of these ancient Lycian tombs before stumbling upon a picturesque cove. In the summer season Limanagzi is set up with sunloungers and umbrellas and a few small beach cafe’s, with a regular water taxi to Kas harbour. This beach is especially good for swimming, with crystal clear tranquil waters, protected from winds by the surrounding hills. Here you are likely to see colourful fish swimming about and keep an eye out for sea turtles.

Best beaches in Turkey

A Secret Paradise beach in Turkey…

Between Kas and Kekova is a small patch of paradise that is known as the Sicak Peninsular in Turkey. On the banks of this long and narrow bay are the ruins of Aperlai, a Lycian City dating back to the 4th/5th century BC, silver coins from this era were found inside the city walls which over the years have slid down the steep hillside towards the bay. Some of the foundations of this lesser known sunken city are completely submerged and unlike its neighbour in the Kekova Region, it is possible to swim over the remains and dive to the sunken sarcophagi. Taxi boats travel to the peninsular from Kas or Ucagiz and Blue Cruise gulets often make a stop. To reach this unique spot over land is a fair challenge, with 23 km of trail through dry scrub to reach the site, however once you get here you’re sure to be rewarded with the breathtaking scenery and you can even grab a bite to eat in the singular cafe and campsite.

Turkey beaches

One of the last stops on a Fethiye to Demre Blue Cruise will be in the environmentally protected Kekova region, where a ruined castle affords spectacular views over Gokkaya Bay and the the famous Sunken City occupies the transparent water in the bay. While these sites can be seen and visited on foot, there are some indescribable locations in the Kekova region that even the Lycian Way doesn’t go to. Yaglica Bay is ideal for spotting varied sea life, while Kocakari is the best place to watch the sunset. Both are secluded locations that even the most adventurous of hikers will struggle to reach and only a boat over the sparkling Mediterranean Sea can take you close enough to the cliffs to jump and swim into a mysterious blue cave.

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