The Aegean Coast spans from the western outskirts of Istanbul to the borders of Marmaris in the south while the famously named Turquoise Coast continues from Marmaris eastward to the modern city of Antalya on the Mediterranean sea. Both coastlines offer great opportunities for sailing and yachting, adventure sports, sightseeing, shopping and sunbathing. With excellent transport connections between all cities and major towns and abundant travel agencies to help you find the perfect accommodation options, blue cruises, and Ephesus or Pamukkale Tours.

The Aegean Coast

Izmir

Izmir is Turkey’s third largest city, less visited than other spots throughout the country, it is historically and culturally rich with urban artifacts dating back thousands of years, Izmir was once the richest city in the Ottoman Empire. Today the modern city has a reputation for being open minded and liberal. Within the city centre you can visit the ruins of Smyrna, one of the Seven churches of Revelation, the ancient Agora, funded by Alexander the Great and the famous clock tower in Konak which is a popular coffee spot and great for people watching. Shopaholics are in for a treat as Izmir offers visitors a choice of 15 stylish malls as well as the historic shopping district, Kemeralti, which hosts the Kizlaragasi Han Bazaar and sells anything from souvenirs to Turkish Delight to handmade textiles. Meanwhile Alsancak, Konak and Karsiyaka neighbourhood offer fine restaurants and lively nightlife.

A short bus ride from the centre can take you to some of the pristine beaches in the Cesme Peninsular, extending west from the city centre with rolling hills and impressive mountains as a backdrop. A popular beach is in the bohemian town of Alacati, good for swimming and windsurfing and located close to the more upmarket town of Cesme.

Dilek National Park

Dilek is a 68,000 hectare National Park and protected green area. With impeccable beaches and lush hills filled with diverse flora and fauna the park is popular with outdoors lovers, photographers, wildlife watchers, swimmers and sunbathers. Made up of four beaches which can be visited by a boat tour or you could take advantage of the many hiking trails that run through the forest and try to spot a one of the wild boars. A highlight of the park is the Cave of Zeus, from the entrance of the cave follow a path leads down to a freshwater pool and swim in the dark sacred waters. Another point of interest close to the park is Svegi Plaje (Love Beach), a wide sandy beach favoured in the summer by Turks from the city. Dilek national park sits on the Aegean coast with Kusadasi holiday resort and the Greek village of Doganbey nearby, in Old Doganbey you can visit a museum dedicated to local wildlife and eat in one of the famous fish restaurants.

Pamukkale and Ephesus

A mix of ancient history and natural phenomena can be found in these two UNESCO world heritage sites. At Pamukkale you can bathe in pools of mineral rich thermal water, famous for their curative powers. The ivory travertine pools of Turkey’s Cotton Castle sit majestically on the side of a steep valley overlooking the ruined spa city of Hierapolis (Holy City). Here you can visit the museum and swim in the sacred pool with the artifacts, earthquakes have caused some of the great pillars to sink into the pool and they now lay beneath the thermal water.

Ephesus, located a little further south, was once a capital city of Roman Asia and the second largest ancient city in the world. The remains of a 25,000 seat amphitheater have been largely restored while 2000 year old mosaics and marble temples are also well preserved. The Ephesus site is just 3 kilometers from traditional Selcuk village, here you can find the Ephesus Museum as well as a range of hotels, guesthouses and local restaurants. A bustling market is held every Wednesday which draws locals from surrounding villages and tourists from their seaside resort towns.

If you have some time you may want to visit some of the other historical sites in the area; the Virgin Mary’s house and Temple of Artemis are close by and a short drive can take you to the Temple of Apollo and the ruins of Miletus and Priene. If you’re looking for a more cultural experience you could make a trip into the hills near Selcuk to visit the Sirince, a Greek wine making village.


The Turquoise Coast

Adrasan

A chilled out beach town between Fethiye and Antalya, the main attraction of Adrasan is the beach, one of the few sandy beaches in the area, as well as the riverside restaurants with their dining areas just inches above the water. Adrasan is popular weekend getaway spot, the usually quiet town fills up from Friday to Sunday and bars stay open to the early hours of the morning, most accommodation is available in small guesthouses, campsites and trendy bungalows. From Adrasan it is possible to hike to small coves and castle ruins, good trails also go to Gelidonya Lighthouse, with stunning views over the 5 islands, or to Olympos and Cirali, home to impressive Lycian ruins, natural everburning fires and a Caretta turtle nesting area.

Kas

Kas is a modern fishing village built upon the Greek city of Antiphellos, little remains of the ancient city except a well preserved amphitheatre 5 minutes walk from the town centre. Kas is a common docking point on for gulet cruises and the picturesque harbour caters for its guests with a many welcoming eateries, seaview hotels/guesthouses and a busy shopping street. Many day trips can be made from Kas to points of interest along the coast, a short hike can take you to quiet beaches, good for swimming and snorkeling, while a one day boat cruise can take you to the Greek island of Meis or the the Sunken Lycian City of Kekova and Simena Castle for dazzling views over Kekova bay.

Fethiye

Located in the center of of the Turquoise coast, Fethiye is a popular departure point for multi day Gulet and Blue Cruises, taking you to exquisite bays, secluded beaches and ancient Lycian sites. There are exceptional public transport links to quaint towns and rural villages throughout the region. An international airport is just 45 minutes away at Dalaman and if you are coming from northern Turkey there are regular buses or tours from Ephesus to Pamukkale and Fethiye.

Fethiye is most well known for its harbour, lined with chic restaurants and a small park frequented by joggers and dog walkers, and its Paspatur (Old Town) which is a hosts a variety of souvenir, boutique clothing and handmade craft shops. Both locals and foreigners meet for Turkish tea and tasty food in the grape vine covered streets before heading to the nearby fish and fresh produce market. Above the centre you can find two Lycian rock-cut tombs and a Hellenistic castle, while opposite the port entrance is a well restored Roman Amphitheatre.

The area around Fethiye is great for exploring; from the village of Ovacik is the starting point of a 500 Kilometer hiking trail towards Antalya; Oludeniz, the gorgeous Blue Lagoon, offers a fine beach and access to a superb paragliding from the top of Baba Mountain. Kayakoy, the Ghost Town, is just 6 kilometers from Fethiye harbour, you could take a regular bus or you could choose to walk the marked trail over the valley and down to the abandoned Greek settlement.