Where should I holiday on Turkey’s south coast? 

12 Apr 2023 By Matt French

Also known as the Turkish Riviera, the southern coast of Turkey is a wonderful place for holidays, whether you’re a couple, family or group of friends. The coastline stretches for an impressive 220km, taking in beach towns Antalya, Marmaris, Bodrum and Kusadasi – each offering their own unique charm and personality. 

There’s a holiday here for everyone, whether you’re a family seeking fun aqua parks and safe, shallow beaches, or a couple after an adults-only escape. You’ll find some of Europe’s best golfing here, too, making this part of Turkey ideal for friends who like to hit the fairway on holiday.  

Then of course, there are ancient temples, thrilling water sports, and a vibrant night scene at many of the beach resorts along the coast. Plus, with sizzling hot temperatures from May to October, the Turkish Riviera is made for serious sun-lovers – time for that golden tan! Read on to discover the perfect place for your holiday on Turkey’s south coast, with hotels for every budget. 

Not much time? Skip ahead by clicking on the links below

Best for adults only holidays

Best for families with young kids 

Best for families with older kids and teens 

Best for golfing holidays 

Best for nightlife 

Best for beaches 

Best for budget accommodation 

Best for luxury 5 star stays 

Best for the Blue Lagoon 

Best for amazing history 

Good to know 

Where to stay for an adults only escape

Boats in Side Harbour Turkey

There’s no beating Side when it comes to adults only hotels. You’ll find a wide choice of kid-free places to stay at this beautiful beach town, home to the harbourside Temple of Athena and an amphitheatre from the 2nd century. Enjoy al-fresco dining right by the seafront, and romantic sunset walks on the beach. For a money-saving stay with upmarket facilities, Alba Royal Hotel comes with a premium spa circuit, a Blue Flag-awarded beach, and ultra all inclusive dining.  

Best area for families with young kids

Lara Beach near Antalya Turkey

If you’re travelling with tots in tow, look no further than Lara Beach, an 8km-long stretch of soft sand in Antalya with calm, shallow waters that are perfect for a paddle. Little ones can look forward to outdoor playgrounds by the sand and boat trips to see dolphins, while grown-ups have the amazing Lower Duden Waterfalls on their doorstep. You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to family-friendly hotels by Lara Beach, but our pick goes to Lara Family Club, a value-for-money 5 star property with a kids’ pool and slides.

For families with older kids and teens

People swimming in the sea in Kusadasi Turkey at sunset

At Maxx Royal Hotel in Belek, Antalya, older children and teens are royally looked after. From tackling the adrenaline-inducing rides at the hotel’s very own water park, to games of laser tag and DJ lessons, this sprawling 5 star resort is nothing short of paradise for kids. For a more budget-friendly (but no less fun) stay, check out Aqua Fantasy Aquapark Hotel & Spa in Kusadasi. Along with a boomerang slide, wave pool, and lazy river, the hotel features a jacuzzi just for adults and ultra all inclusive dining for the whole family. 

Best area for golfing holidays

Golf course in Belek Turkey

A short trip from the airport, Belek in Antalya is the only place to be for golfing holidays in Turkey. Home to 16 championship-level courses, avid golfers get to play through forests of pine and eucalyptus with the stunning Taurus Mountains in the background. Notable courses include the fully-lit Carya Golf Course, the Colin Montgomerie-designed Maxx Royal, and the Cornelia Diamond in collaboration with Nick Faldo. To help you choose where to stay, see our companion blog on the best hotels in Antalya for golfing holidays

Which resort town has the best nightlife? 

Marmaris Turkey at sunset

With over 9km of beaches, turquoise-tinted waters and a host of fun water sports to try out, Marmaris is the beach resort that has it all. You’ll find a heady nightlife with a fantastic mix of Turkish entertainment and international bars for laid-back evenings or full-on party nights. Marmaris also has the best range of hotels for all budgets – everything from highly rated apartment stays with pools to 5 star gems by the sea.  

The best area in southern Turkey for beaches 

Bitez Beach in Bodrum Turkey

Beautiful beaches abound all along the coast of southern Turkey, but if we had to choose one area for sea and sand, Bodrum would edge ahead of the pack. Along with a picturesque town beach to enjoy, Bodrum boasts the popular stretch at Bitez, and the see-through clear waters of Camel Beach. The town offers a variety of hotel types for every budget – for mid-range, we recommend Labranda tmt Bodrum, a sleek 5 star hotel with indoor and outdoor pools.  

Best for budget accommodation  

Beach in Marmaris Turkey

Making the second appearance on our list, Marmaris wins top stop for budget-friendly accommodation. Highly rated and right on the beach, Sunrise Hotel boasts modern rooms, an outdoor pool with separate children’s pool, a spa, and even an English pub with a large screen for sports. If you prefer things adults only, check out Elite World Hotel Marmaris, home to a gym, spa, large outdoor pool, and stylish accommodation. 

Where is the best place for 5 star luxury hotels?

Outdoor swimming pool at luxury resort in Turkey

Just 30 minutes from Antalya, golfer’s paradise Belek comes with a host of larger-than-life luxury hotels offering multiple pools and round-the-clock dining. For family holidays, take a look at Papillon Ayscha, a 5 star complex with an aquapark, exclusive beach area, and kids’ clubs. If you’re after a hotel geared towards grown-ups, Voyage Belek Golf & Spa has an adults only area on the beach, a traditional hammam, 6 a la carte restaurants, and no fewer than 10 bars. 

Where should I stay for the Blue Lagoon? 

Blue Lagoon Olu Deniz Turkey

Near the resort town of Olu Deniz, you’ll find the Blue Lagoon, Turkey’s most photographed beach. Free from motorised water sports, this is a place to grab a snorkel and explore the mesmerising bright blue waters, or just lay back on the sand and take it all in. There are plenty of options for hotels within walking distance of the beach, including the delightful Hotel Symbola, and the oceanfront Liberty Lykia.  

Best area for amazing history

Hadrians Gate Antalya Turkey

Gateway to the Turkish Riviera, the seaside town of Antalya features some truly stunning historical sites. From the impressive Roman amphitheatre at Perge Ancient City, to the 2,000 year-old Hadrian’s Gate, you’ll find fascinating history everywhere you look. For a stay in one of the area’s best locations, Akra Hotel has what you’re looking for, with exceptional views, a premium spa, outdoor pools and tennis courts – just 10 minutes from Antalya’s historic Old Town, and a short drive to the ancient sights at Perge. 

Good to know 

View over beach in Antalya Turkey

Visa-free: UK citizens do not need a visa for tourist stays in Turkey of up to 90 days 

Flight times: Your flight time will be around 4hrs 20 minutes from the UK 

Weather: If travelling in July and August, temperatures can reach 33°C and higher – make sure you have access to shade when out during the day 

Electronics: We recommend bringing a universal travel adapter – your hotel may not have USB outlets 

Safety: The Turkish Riviera is a safe place to travel. As with anywhere, it’s best to keep your belongings secure at your hotel whenever possible 

Money: For up-to-date exchange rates, click here

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