Turkish Riviera Travel Guide to the Best Places and Attractions
Any Turkish Riviera travel guide should start by saying that if you think the French Riviera is the go-to place for yachting and sailing enthusiasts, you have seen nothing yet. While the French version caters only for rich and celebrities or international figures, the Turkish Riviera stretching for more than a 1000 kilometres supports everyone including budget and luxury travellers and property investors.
Through beautiful coastal resorts, masses of historical ruins, ultramodern marinas and harbours, and stunning landscapes, its diversity is hard to ignore. Stretching from the Northern Aegean coastline and finishing in the cosmopolitan hub of Antalya, the Riviera promotes healthy eating, gorgeous summer weather, beach-side swimming, a laid-back lifestyle and secret islands, rarely featured in mainstream travel books. Once you’ve seen it for yourself, you’ll be hooked and making plans to come back.
Turkish Riviera Travel Guide
Nostalgic Beginnings in Bodrum
Credit for the Riviera goes to Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli, a literary man and eager explorer. Nicknamed the fisherman of Halicarnassus, in 1925, he was exiled to Bodrum because his published work upset influential politicians of that time.
Intially distraught and unhappy with his new home, he explored local coastlines by hiring small sponge diving boats. His daily journeys lifted his spirits and his bohemian friends living in diverse destinations like Athens or Istanbul, arrived in Bodrum, eager to find out what Cevat was so excited about. They likewise fell in love with the area.
To accommodate passengers, fishers converted boats into floating hotels, and the Riviera was born when Cevat and his friends published details of their voyages in the mainstream press. Fast forward to present day and the multi-millionaire industry comprises of traditional gulet boats, luxury yachts and famous routes called Blue Voyage cruises.
Best Places, Towns and Resorts on the Turkish Riviera
Bodrum: With the typical Aegean view of white sugar cubed houses scattered over the hillside, Bodrum promotes an ideal Riviera lifestyle. Much of daily life focuses on coastline activities, marinas, and harbours, through lazy day boat cruises, four night blue voyages, and a glitzy lifestyle.
From harbour fronts, anglers selling their daily catch become colourful characters while in restaurants luxury and fine dining restaurants attract upper-class levels of societies, during cool summer evenings.
The town centre belongs to the larger Bodrum peninsula that also includes smaller coastal resorts like Turkbuku, a favourite haunt for Turkish celebrities and Turgutreis, a favourite retirement place for British expats. Most towns and coastal villages also have marinas, encouraging sailors to explore and absorb vibes of each destination, rather than rushing through.
One Bodrum marina that made world news is Yalikavak Palmarina, an establishment that only grants entrance should your bank balances have six figures or more. Read our Bodrum guide for more about coastal resorts at the forefront of the sailing scene.
Fethiye: Bodrum caters for the rich and famous, but Fethiye, another major hub captured its market by catering for budget travellers. A popular tour is the three night, 4-day cruise from Fethiye to Antalya where people with limited budgets enjoy a luxury lifestyle at low prices.
Breakfast on the boat and sleeping on deck are memorable experiences as is seeing endangered Caretta turtles swimming in various spots. Such is Fethiye’s popularity, it grew from an average town, much like others into a cosmopolitan city, and smaller coastline resorts like Calis and Hisaronu attracted expats through low property prices.
Fethiye’s Mediterranean lifestyle thrives and coupled with an ideal summer climate, it is hard to resist its lure. Our Fethiye Guide explores areas and neighbourhoods in-depth, as well as highlighting the shopping, nightlife and sightseeing scenes.
Antalya, Alanya and Belek: Golfing Holidays and Luxury Hotels
As the second most popular touristic destination in Turkey, the Antalya region boasts of world championship golf courses, all-inclusive hotels, historical ruins, exciting shopping and nightlife scenes and a hospitality industry that is the best in Turkey.
As the starting point of the famous Lycian way and boasting of an ultramodern airport, travellers and property buyers have a huge choice of destinations including the city centre, and smaller coastal resorts to choose from. The main city centre also has the best beaches in Turkey.
Alanya, backed by a scenic view of the Taurus Mountains has a large population and international fans who return year after year for holidays. Well known for its red castle and close distance to protected areas of nature, eastern Europeans and Russians prefer it to the Aegean.
Further down the coastline, the small fishing village of Side built around ancient Roman and Ottoman ruins boasts about its star attraction, the Temple of Apollo, a location for a secret meeting between the two lovers, Marc Anthony and Cleopatra.
Kemer is a beach resort comprising all-inclusive hotels, while the smaller village of Belek attracted attention from the international community when it became the golfing capital of Turkey and a new trend for golfing property was born. More about beaches, shopping, things to do and small resorts in our Antalya guide.
Must-See Historical Attractions
Many empires have ruled Turkey over the centuries and most left traces of their existence in scattered ruins from east to west. Easy to get to historical attractions sitting coast side include Xanthos and Letoon, two UNESCO World heritage sites on the Mediterranean coast.
The intact Aspendos theatre in Antalya always mesmerises visitors whether they like history or not, while the ancient city of Phaselis which fell to pirates is just a short drive away. Fethiye offers a splattering of historical ruins all of which have a unique story to tell including the old churches of Gemiler Island and Kayakoy Ghost Village.
Heading around to the Aegean coast, one city not to be missed is Ephesus. Also a UNESCO Heritage site, it’s the top visited attraction in Turkey and a marvellous into what was a city to rival Rome itself. Landmark buildings to see include the Celsius library, Roman houses, and a large theatre. While there, also visit the Virgin Mary house and Sirince wine village.
Turkish Riviera Real Estate and Property for Sale
Tolga Ertukel, owner of Turkey Homes, says “Many foreigners buying property in Turkey opt for a home on the Riviera because the lifestyle and close distance to beaches are a big lure. Having said this, each region has a distinctive style and character.
Small villages like Gumusluk, Cirali and Faralya keep a low-key reputation, and traditional lifestyle, while the more encompassing hubs of Fethiye, Bodrum and Antalya enjoy fame at the forefront of the travel market and real estate industry.
Use our area guides to find out more or contact us with your questions about areas to buy property in. Alternatively, browse our portfolio of seafront and marina property for sale in Turkey and use the enquiry form to find out more.”
More reading about the Turkish Riviera Travel Guide: From Fethiye to Olympus: A popular Blue voyage cruise route, for budget travellers, is this three-night, four-day cruise that takes in famous places like Kas, Butterfly Valley, Demre and the 12 islands.