Alanya Castle overlooking a blue sea in Antalya district, Turkey

Things to do in  Turkish Riviera

Turquoise delights

Ancient cultures and natural wonders meet head-on along Turkey’s southwestern shores. Golden beaches stretch along the coast between the cruise ship ports of Kusadasi, Bodrum, and Marmaris, while eastern Antalya points the way to the ancient Pamphylian cities of Perge, Aspendos, and Side. Beach-hopping and boat cruises top the list of things to do in the Turkish Riviera, but the Turquoise Coast also holds plenty of surprises. Float over a sunken city, visit two Wonders of the Ancient World, or head inland to explore the wild Taurus Mountains.

Top 15 attractions in Turkish Riviera

Kusadasi Castle

Built and extended between the 14th and 18th centuries, picturesque Kusadasi Castle sits on Pigeon Island (Guvercin Adasa), an islet connected to Kusadasi via a causeway. Originally constructed as a military base, the fortress is composed of outer walls that enclose its gardens and an inner castle with a tiny museum.More

Duden Waterfalls (Duden Selalesi)

The Duden Waterfalls sit at the end of the river of the same name, which winds its way through the Taurus Mountains before tumbling from a cliff into a valley next to the Mediterranean. The falls consist of two cascades, and the upper part is nearly 50 feet (15 meters) tall and 65 feet (20 meters) wide.More

Ephesus (Efes)

Ephesus (Efes) is one of the greatest ancient sites in the Mediterranean. During its heyday in the first century BC, it was the second-largest city in the world, with only Rome commanding more power. Many reconstructed structures and ruins, including the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, can be seen here.More

Alanya Castle (Alanya Kalesi)

Standing proud on a rocky outcrop in the heart of the city, medieval Alanya Castle (Alanya Kalesi) is Alanya’s defining landmark. Encircled by 4 miles (6 kilometers) of walls, the Inner Fortress (Iç Kale) houses the remains of an 11th-century church, while the Ehmedek Castle area hosts ruins dating back to ancient Greek times.More

Butterfly Valley (Kelebekler Vadisi)

Butterfly Valley (Kelebekler Vadisi) makes a dramatic first impression with its narrow gorge, steep cliffs, and white sand. Reachable only by boat, the secluded cove gets its name from the many species of butterflies and moths that breed in the valley.More

The Land of Legends Theme Park

With a 5-star hotel, a gigantic water park, a luxurious shopping avenue, and plenty of amusement park rides, the Land of Legends is a one-stop-shop for family entertainment. Open to both day visitors and Land of Legends hotel guests, the theme park is one of the largest of its kind in Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye).More

Damlatas Cave (Damlatas Magarasi)

Adorned with 15,000 years worth of stalactites, the small-yet-perfectly-formed Damlatas Cave is one of Alanya’s signature sights. Discovered in 1948 while the new harbor was being built, the humidity and constant temperature of the cave are said to have therapeutic properties.More

Antalya Old Town (Kaleici)

Antalya’s Old Town (Kaleiçi) remains the heart of this modern Turkish city. Home to a number of historic monuments, it’s also the city’s most atmospheric district—a maze of narrow winding streets dotted with traditional wooden houses, bars, restaurants, and Ottoman-style boutique hotels.More

Cleopatra Beach (Kleopatra Plaji)

Beloved by sun-worshippers the world over, Cleopatra Beach (Kleopatra Plajı is a 1.5-mile (2.5-kilometer expanse of golden sand framed by the blue Mediterranean. With dramatic views of hilltop Alanya Castle, indulgent beach clubs, plus a range of water sports, most travelers consider it Alanya’s best beach.More

Bodrum Peninsula (Bodrum Yarimada)

Jutting into the Aegean Sea from southwest Turkey, the thumb-shaped Bodrum Peninsula (Bodrum Yarimada is named after the city of Bodrum on its southern coast. At the center of what’s dubbed the Turkish Riviera—or Turquoise Coast—it offers lively resorts, sleek marinas, and quiet fishing villages wedged between blue seas and windmill-dotted hills.More

Dalyan River

Ancient ruins, endangered wildlife, thermal springs—a boat cruise along the Dalyan River is full of surprises. Winding its way from Lake Köyceğiz to Dalyan Village before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea, the river follows a scenic route flanked by rocky mountains, pine-clad valleys, and sandy beaches.More

Iztuzu Beach (Turtle Beach)

A narrow spit of sand stretching out into the ocean, Iztuzu Beach (Turtle Beach) takes its name from the loggerhead sea turtles that nest on its shores. Forming a natural barrier between the Dalyan River and the Mediterranean Sea, the protected beach is one of the most important breeding grounds for the endangered creatures in Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye).More

Mount Olympos (Tahtali Dagi)

Reaching a height of 12,500 feet (2,365 meters), Mount Olympos (Tahtali Dagi) is the highest mountain of Beydaglari Coastal National Park. Named after the ancient Lycian city of Olympos—the ruins of which lie along the coast just to the south—the mighty peak is surrounded by a dramatic panorama of mountains, forest, and ocean.More

Perge (Perga)

Just northeast of Antalya lies the region’s most significant Roman ruins. Dating to the Bronze Age, the city of Perge was originally settled by the Hittites, but under Roman occupation grew to become one of the most beautiful and scholarly cities of the ancient world, attracting important thinkers such as physician Asklepiades, philosopher Varius, and Apollonius, a pupil of Archimedes.More

Manavgat Waterfall (Manavgat Selalesi)

The Manavgat River runs down from the Taurus Mountains all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, and it’s most scenic spot is the Manavgat Waterfall (Manavgat Şelalesi). Just outside of Side, the low, wide falls make a stunning backdrop for photos and serve as a popular recreation area, with visitors coming to swim, picnic, or cruise along the river.More

Top activities in Turkish Riviera

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All about Turkish Riviera

When to visit

Crowds, temperatures, and prices all soar along the Turkish Riviera during the peak summer months of July and August, when sunseekers and cruise passengers arrive in droves. The balmy Mediterranean climate makes beach days possible from late April through October, so opt to visit during the (comparatively) quieter shoulder seasons instead, especially if you want to enjoy hiking and outdoor activities in the surrounding mountains.

Getting around

While the regional hubs of Antalya and Bodrum both have international airports nearby, many travelers reach the Turkish Riviera by boat. Kusadasi, Marmaris, Bodrum, and Antalya are all popular ports of call for cruise ships, while ferries, boat tours, and private charters run along the coast and out to the nearby Greek islands. If you’ve got time to spare, buses link all of the coastal resorts and provide the most affordable way to travel.

Traveler tips

Outdoor adventures are just as easy to find along the Turkish Riviera as ancient ruins and beautiful beaches. Challenge yourself to an epic hike along the Lycian Way, go rock climbing at Geyikbayırı, enjoy white-water rafting along the Dalaman or Köprülü rivers, or scuba dive to explore shipwrecks and underwater caves.

Local Currency
Turkish Lira (TRY)
Time Zone
TRT (UTC +2)
Country Code

People Also Ask

What are the most beautiful places on the Turkish Riviera?

Natural wonders abound along the Turkish Riviera. Butterfly Valley is an idyllic mountain gorge filled with thousands of butterflies, the island of Kekova is known for its sunken city, and the Blue Lagoon of Oludeniz is one of Turkey’s most magnificent beaches. Other beautiful beaches include Patara and Iztuzu.

What places are on the Turkish Riviera?

The Turkish Riviera or Turquoise Coast stretches from Kusadasi and Bodrum on the Aegean Sea Coast—both popular cruise ship ports—all the way to Alanya on the Mediterranean Coast. The largest city along the southwest coast is Antalya, but other popular towns include Bodrum, Fethiye, Kas, and Side.

Which coast of Turkey is best?

Turkey has almost 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) of coastline and four seas—Aegean, Mediterranean, Marmara, and Black Sea. The most-visited cruise ports and beaches lie along the Turkish Riviera on the southwest Mediterranean coast, while the northern Black Sea Coast is known for its wild scenery and historic maritime villages.

How far is the Turkish Riviera from Istanbul?

The Turkish Riviera capital of Antalya lies 430 miles (694 kilometers) south of Istanbul, or about an 8-hour drive. The easiest way to reach the Turkish Riviera from Istanbul is to fly to Antalya, a 75-minute journey. Alternatively, multi-day cruise ships set sail from Istanbul towards the Mediterranean Coast.

Is Bodrum or Antalya better?

It depends. Antalya is a big city with a range of hotels and entertainment, a lively atmosphere year-round, and easy access to regional attractions such as Perge, Aspendos, and Koprulu Canyon. Bodrum is a smaller coastal town with a more laid-back vibe, close to attractions such as Pamukkale and Ephesus.

What is the Turkish Riviera best known for?

The Turkish Riviera is home to some of Turkey’s most beautiful coastline and buzzing beach towns. Also known as the Turquoise Coast for its glittering Mediterranean waters, this coastal region is famous for cruise ports such as Kusadasi, Bodrum, Fethiye, and Antalya, and ancient ruins such as Perge and Aspendos.

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