Looking for the best place to spend great time with your family during the school holidays? Would you fancy to enjoy plenty of sunshine, swim in warm seas, have incredible time in unique and exotic places in a brand new country? Then, you should really consider visiting Turkey. There are many destinations for family vacations in Turkey with wonderful natural beauties, great cities and unbelievable resorts. One thing is for sure, you would have a blast with your family in this beautiful country.
Click for my blog post: 20 Reasons Why You Should Visit Turkey
As a Turkish travel blogger and a mom, I’ve listed the best destinations for family vacations in Turkey below. Also, I want to add that these are not some random places I found in the web and thus made a summary. This is a list of the most beautiful places to visit in Turkey that I personally have visited all of them with my family and had amazing vacations in each of them over the years.
Click for my blog post: The best family resorts in Turkey, by a local mom
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Which part is best for family vacations in Turkey?
There are great places to visit all around Turkey. But speaking of family vacations in Turkey, I would suggest, the best areas are on the western and the southern parts of the country. Istanbul, coasts of Mediterranean and Aegean Sea are all in this region. In addition, central Turkey is also worth visiting since incredible natural beauty of Cappadocia is located there.
Is Turkey good for family vacation?
Turkey is surrounded with beautiful seas in all three sides of the country. It has plenty of options for family resort hotels and the good news is they are much affordable compared to the other European countries.
You can experience once in a life time experiences in Turkey, that both the kids and the parents will love. For example hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, paragliding in Oludeniz, a blue cruise in turquoise seas sounds amazing, right? Also there are many theme parks, aquariums, the great Turkish cuisine, countless ancient sites, plenty of natural beauties and so much more. Definitely, Turkey is a great place for a family vacation.
What is the best month to visit Turkey?
For a pleasant summer family vacation with warm sea water and plenty of sunny days the best time is from May to October. Especially, June, July and August are peak season with very hot temperatures at upper 30C even 40C (100F – 110F). The temperatures are high but you don’t feel it very much during beach vacations since you are in the sea or pool most of the time. Definitely you feel the hot weather in Turkey more when you are in the cities.
In the southern regions of Turkey, there are mild temperatures during spring and fall even in winter, it can be rainy though. Maybe it is not the best time to swim in the sea but you can still enjoy the many amenities of the resort hotels and can have some great sunny days.
Where to go when visiting Turkey for the first time?
Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus are the three main destinations that many tourists visit at their first trip to Turkey. Istanbul, a complex, cosmopolitan city where you would experience both the urban and historical side of Turkey, is the place where your plane would land. Cappadocia is a natural beauty with unique stone formations and fairytale like atmosphere. And Ephesus is an Ancient Greek site with well preserved ruins and an important place as an Christian pilgrimage site.
However, for first family vacations in Turkey, I suggest visiting first Istanbul, then coastal towns of Antalya or Bodrum and finally Cappadocia.
How many days for a family vacation in Turkey is enough?
Turkey is a huge country and there are plenty of things to do to get a taste of it. I would say, the minimum time to experience the basics is about two weeks. But with the limited school holidays, I know that not always we can spare that long time. So, I would suggest for the family destinations I mentioned above, at least three days in Istanbul, five days in a beach town and two or three days in Cappadocia would be enough for a unique and great family vacation in Turkey.
The best destinations for family vacations in Turkey
I have visited all the destinations I listed below with my family for vacations. The order of the places is based on their popularity among the tourists visiting Turkey. Since I made the list for family vacations in Turkey, the destinations are mostly coastal towns. Some of them are well known places, others are less known but equally worth visiting to experience a different vibe of Turkey.
A great starting city to get a taste of Turkish culture
Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey (not the capital city though). It is a vibrant city embedded with a lot of history and so much to explore. Being the capital city of three great empires in the history (The Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire and The Ottoman Empire), there are abundance of historical palaces, mosques, churches, old bazaars, cobbled streets, underground cisterns and many more.
In addition, Istanbul is a city located in the connecting point of Europe and Asia. By boarding on a delightful family boat tour in the Bosphorus, you can easily cross from Europe to Asia, which would be so cool for the little ones I suppose.
Moreover, you can explore deeply the delicious Turkish cuisine when you are in Istanbul. Yummy pastries, baklavas, Turkish delights, koftas, kebabs and a lot more would inspire even the most picky eaters in the family.
The most visited city for family vacations in Turkey
Antalya is kind of the resort capital in Turkey. It is located in southern Turkey on the Mediterranean coast. Having hot summers and mild temperatures even in winter time makes Antalya a great destination for family vacations in Turkey.
When talking about a vacation in Antalya, actually it is meant the whole region, not only the main city area. The central city of Antalya has a lovely old town and some great restaurants. Yet, for most people visiting Antalya, the main attractions are the beach resorts scattered on the coasts on the east and the west of Antalya.
There are hundreds of hotels and resorts on Antalya coastline. Trying to choose among of the abundance of choices of family resort hotels in Antalya is not an easy task. If you need some inspiration and recommendations, you can read my blog post “The best family resort hotels in Turkey, by a local mom”
Closest airport to Antalya
The closest airport to Antalya is Antalya International Airport (airport code AYT) and is about 10 to 70 km away depending which beach town you go.
Resort towns in East Antalya
This is the region where you can find the most luxurious all inclusive resort hotels in Antalya. There are miles of beaches with beautiful Mediterranean Sea throughout the coast. Beaches are mostly fine pebbled and sandy. Resort towns of Lara, Belek, Side, Manavgat, Alanya are located on the east of Antalya. Some of the best and highly rated resort hotels in this region are:
- Lara Barut Collection Ultra All Inclusive: A highly rated family resort hotel very close to Antalya Airport.
- Voyage Belek Golf Hotel & SPA: An exceptional family resort hotel in Belek Antalya
- The Land of Legends Kingdom Hotel: a kids’ heaven hotel in a massive theme park with lots of rides, water slides and entertainment.
- Rixos Premium Belek: A wonderful resort for family vacations with lots of amenities, also provides access to The Land of Legends theme park
Resort towns in West Antalya
On the west coasts of Antalya there are some of the best beaches with clearest waters. The beaches are mostly pebbled or sandy on the beach but coarse pebbled in sea which also helps to sea water look so crystal clear. Kemer and Tekirova resort towns are at this region. Some of the best resorts in this area are:
- Rixos Premium Tekirova: A wonderful family friendly hotel that is located on one of the best coves in Antalya. Indeed, it is one of our favorites for a family vacation with little kids.
- Maxx Royal Kemer Resort: One of the most luxurious resort hotels in Kemer area.
Why we choose Antalya for family vacations:
- Wonderful all inclusive family resort hotels in Antalya: Kids love all the pools, waterslides, food and snacks in resort hotels. Also it is a relaxing family holiday option for the parents.
- Abundant of choice of family resort hotels to choose from.
- Some of our favorite beaches in Turkey like Tekirova and Cirali beach are located in Antalya.
- Sea sometimes can be choppy in Antalya region but that doesn’t keep us from choosing this destination as a family holiday. Since the resort hotels have huge pools, where kids love to spend time (honestly even more than the sea), it doesn’t bother us at all. But still, it is good to have a beach by the side.
A must visit place!
Cappadocia is so unique, it is so unworldly! Over the course of thousands of years, fantastic rock formations, called fairy chimneys, have been shaped throughout the region. Fairy chimneys are not just a few, there are hundreds, thousands of them spread at the area for miles. What’s more, people have been living in those chimneys for centuries. They even formed underground cities by carving tunnels through these soft rocks.
Cappadocia is such a magical region that you can stay in a cave hotel, you can visit underground cities and a cherry on top to all of these you can ride a hot air balloon over the fairy chimneys. We rode at a hot air balloon as a family in Cappadocia and I can say it’s unbelievable! There are hundreds of fairy chimneys under your feet. Sometimes you get closer that you can touch the top of the rocks. Other times you go so high that you can take in the view of all of the region. It’s such a unique experience that should be done once in a lifetime!
Closest airport to Cappadocia
The closest airport to Cappadocia is Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport (airport code NAV) and is about 40 km away.
Where to stay in Cappadocia
We’ve stayed in Cappadocia towns of Goreme, Uchisar and Urgup and all of them were exceptional to stay. Honestly, if you are with a car all the region is so wonderful, just stay at the best choice of accommodation for yor budget. If you want to take in the incredible nature more, you can opt in for a stay in a cave hotel. Staying in a stone built historical mansion is another great choice. Certainly, an accommodation with a view of fairy chimneys and the hot air balloons riding around them would be unforgettable!
There are lots of boutique hotels in Cappadocia from the family run ones to award winning luxury ones. Some of the best choices are:
- Argos in Cappadocia: Once a monastery, an award winning hotel for unique and exceptional stays in Cappadocia. (Located in Uchisar)
- Museum Hotel: Not a cheap option but one of the best hotels in Cappadocia. (Located in Uchisar)
- Fresco Cave Suits Cappadocia: A restored hotel offering cave rooms and historic mansion rooms. We had a family stay here and loved it. (Located in Urgup)
- Sultan Cave Suites: A hotel with great fairy chimneys and hot air balloons views. A kind of place that you see in Cappadocia photos that you have a meal in terrace with great scenery. (Located in Goreme)
- Zara Cave Hotel: A highly rated cave hotel with amazing views in Goreme.
A delightful peninsula for the best family vacations in Turkey
Bodrum is the destination where lots of local families prefer to go for summer beach vacation. It is a peninsula in the Aegean Sea with great beach towns and some amazing coves with awesome beaches. In fact, Bodrum is a perfect place where you can experience more Turkish vacation vibe culture.
The famous city of Bodrum is famed mostly with its nightlife but it is a great family friendly city as well. You can visit the beautiful Bodrum Castle and the Museum of Underground Archeology in the castle. Strolling through the vibrant Main Street is another great thing to do to take in the vibe of Bodrum. Perhaps, you can opt in for a delightful gulet boat (a kind of boat typical for this region) trip and explore the turquoise coves of Bodrum peninsula.
Closest airport to Bodrum
The closest airport to Bodrum city is Milas Bodrum Airport (airport code BJV) and is about 35 km away.
Bodrum peninsula beach towns
Bodrum is a great vacation town but it would be a great mistake if you just limit your family vacation to central Bodrum. Actually, you are on a peninsula with awesome places and beaches all around. We especially like Bodrum beaches in Ortakent Yahsi, Akyarlar, Karaincir, Turkbuku, Yaliciftlik and Bitez beach towns. In addition, there is Yalikavak where you can find cute Aegean town vibes and a beach together. As a reminder, the sea water of Bodrum is quite cool during summer, which is very refreshing with the burning sun.
Turkbuku and Yalikavak are the fanciest beach towns in Bodrum with high class restaurants and clubs. The sea and the beach in Turkbuku is wonderful, but Yalikavak’s sea is not as good. On the other hand Yalikavak has more beach town vibes with a marina, boutique shopping and many restaurants. I would say, if you have the budget, definitely choose Turkbuku for the best family beach vacation in Bodrum. For more moderate options for families, our favorite beach towns are the ones on the southern coast like Ortakent Yahsi and Bitez. Moreover, the sea in that area is among the best on the peninsula.
Where to stay in Bodrum?
There are both resort hotels and small boutique hotels in Bodrum. For the beach towns I mentioned above the accommodation options mostly are small and boutique hotels. The resort hotels in Bodrum are usually located at the starting stretches of the peninsula like in the beach towns of Torba and Guvercinlik or Yaliciftlik. Also there are some resorts on the western coasts of Bodrum in Turgutreis and on one of the best destinations for wonderful sea on south west in Akyarlar.
A region with the most turquoise waters
A picture of Blue Lagoon (Oludeniz), the green forests surrounding it and the turquoise sea behind is the most used scenery to advertise the Turkish Riviera. Oludeniz Blue Lagoon and a lot of more coves with the most turquoise sea are located in Fethiye. This beautiful region is so blessed that you can find green forests and blue sea side by side or visit some spectacular, only reachable by boat, beaches surrounded with rugged cliffs, even hike in deep canyons. Obviously, these natural beauties plus warm weather attract many tourists. So that, Fethiye is a kind of an area where you would find foreign tourists more than local ones.
Ölüdeniz Blue Lagoon, paragliding over Ölüdeniz, a boat trip to Butterfly Valley (Kelebekler Vadisi), Kabak Cove, Faralya, Saklikent Canyon, beach clubs like Sea Me Beach and Help Beach are some of the popular attractions in Fethiye. Moreover, you can sail to a multi day blue cruise boat trip from Gocek, enjoy the most turquoise seas and explore some wonderful beaches only reachable by sea.
Closest airport to Fethiye
The closest airport to Fethiye is Dalaman Airport (airport code DLM) and is about 40 km away.
Where to stay in Fethiye?
Fethiye is not a region full with resort hotels everywhere but some of the best resorts in Turkey are located on the beautiful Fethiye coast. Hillside Beach Club and D Resort Gocek hotels are the ones that offer the most exquisite vacations in Turkey.
Oludeniz town, the one next to the Blue Lagoon, is the coastal town that comes first to mind when searching where to stay in Fethiye. There are lots of hotels to stay in Oludeniz. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many high class deluxe or boutique hotels to stay in this town. Some of the best choices close to the beach and offering family rooms are:
- Tonoz Beach Hotel (Booking.com score 8.8 of more than 550 reviews)
- Kassandra Boutique Hotel (Booking.com score 8.9 of more than 450 reviews)
For accommodations more immersed in nature there is Faralia and Kabak Bay area. There are some family friendly accommodations in this region (like the Sea Valley Bungalows with a booking.com score 8.9 of more than 400 reviews) but most of the jaw dropping boutique hotels are unfortunately adults only. Actually, this area is known mostly as the honeymoon destination in Turkey.
For the ones who love beach towns with amazing sea
Marmaris is a peninsula where Aegean Sea ends and Mediterranean starts. It is such a beautiful place that the navy blue sea is accompanied by pine forests and mountains. In addition, delightful, little seaside villages are scattered all around the peninsula. Unfortunately, the wild fires in recent years destroyed so much of its pristine forests but nevertheless Marmaris peninsula is still a very pretty place for a family vacation in Turkey.
Marmaris seaside towns and villages
There are so many locations to stay in Marmaris for different preferences. The main city Marmaris is situated in the starting point of the peninsula. It is a bustling city, with energetic night life options, however wouldn’t be my first suggestion for a family vacation.
Icmeler and Turunc are seaside towns not very far from Marmaris. Both of them are great for family vacations. Between the two of them Icmeler is a more crowded version but easier to travel. On the other hand Turunc (pronounced as too-roo-nch) is a little more further but for me a better option for a little seaside town with great beach and sea vibes.
On the west shores of the peninsula there are Hisaronu, Selimiye, Bozburun and Sogut villages. All of them are great for low key, relaxing vacations. Especially Selimiye is a rising star seaside village in last decades with high class boutique hotels with great views.
Where to stay in Marmaris?
The family resort hotels in Marmaris are mostly located around Icmeler. They are not like the most luxurious resorts in Turkey but are a good option for more affordable all inclusive resort hotel accommodation.
The places to stay in most parts of Marmaris peninsula are generally small or medium sized hotels or boutique hotels. Turunc hotels are good option for family accommodations. Some highly rated hotels in Turunc are Dores Residence (booking.com score 9.1), Pilos Deluxe (booking.com score 9.4) and a little hotel just on the beach Hotel Turunc – Malmen (booking.com score 9.6).
Ferries to Greek Rhodes island from Marmaris
You can easily add a trip to Rhodes Island to your Marmaris vacation. There are ferries departing from Marmaris to Rhodes and it is only one hour ferry ride to reach the island.
Closest airport to Marmaris
Closest airport to Marmaris city center is Dalaman Airport (airport code DLM) and is 95 km away. It takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes to get to Marmaris city center. For the other seaside town and villages on Marmaris peninsula it takes from 10 to 60 minutes more depending where you go on the peninsula.
Cute village vibes and awesome sea
Kaş (pronounced as Kash) is a charming Mediterranean seaside village that all the travelers fall in love! It is kind of place definitely would be the highlight after your trip to the Turquoise Coast. Both tourists and domestic vacationists love this little village so much that they end up coming back year after year.
Well, what makes Kas so special? I would say, the lively vibe of the village, its beautiful maze of small walking streets, its crystal clear pristine sea and the wonderful beaches.
Honestly, although Kas is so beautiful and is admired by so many people, we didn’t choose to visit it for family vacations in Turkey with our little kids over the years. The main reason was its rocky shores, pebbled beaches and deep seawaters that are not very suitable with toddlers and little kids.
Definitely, there are some family friendly beaches, but they are not in the center of Kas and you need to go and find them by car or with boat travel. If you don’t mind a little beach hopping, it is great of course. Obviously, it isn’t a kind of place with sandy beach and city center in walking distance to each other. Said that, it is a perfect place with bigger kids and teenagers! Thanks to some really cool attractions to do in Kas, it would turn out to be a summer vacation of the unforgettable kind.
Best attractions in Kas
- Visit the wonderful beaches: Kaputas Beach (considered as one of the best beaches in Turkey by many people is for sure one of the prettiest and most instagrammable one), Seyrek Çakil (literally means less pebbled) beach, Patara beach (a long and wide sandy beach), Akcagerme beach (a popular family friendly beach), Kucuk and Buyuk Chakil (literally means little and big pebble) beaches and many more
- A full day Kekova and Sunken City boat tour: It is a must do! A unique and unforgettable experience. Sail along the Turkish coastline, see the Lycian ruins of the Sunken City in the sea, and visit Simena, a quaint village only can be visited from sea.
- A day trip to Greece: Just a 20 minute boat trip gets you to Greek island Kastellorizo, known as Meis in Turkey. Don’t forget your passports since you would cross to a new country.
Where to stay in Kas?
To be able to experience the lively seaside town vibes of Kas, it is the best to stay in the town center. Places to stay in Kas are generally small or boutique hotels with quite a high standard. Luff Suites (booking.com score 9.4 for more than 500 reviews) is a very central accommodation with spacious rooms. Derya Beach Apartment (booking.com score 9.6 for more than 170 reviews) can be another choice for families with some awesome sea views.
Closest airport to Kas
It is not easy to get to Kas. Although the roads and highways are in good condition, airports to get there are not very close. There are two airports to go to Kas: Dalaman and Antalya airports, and both of them are quite far away. The closest one is Dalaman Airport (airport code DLM) and it takes 2 hr 15 min to get from there. On the other hand, Antalya Airport (airport code AYT) is about 3 hours drive away.
A paradise for nature lovers
Çıralı (pronounced as Chah-ruh-lah) is one of our favorite beach towns for family vacations in Turkey. It is such an unspoiled place on the Mediterranean coast with an amazing sea, a great beach (a mixture of pebbles and sand) and surrounded with amazing nature of orange orchards and pine forests all around.
Since Cirali is a small seaside village in the middle of the protected Olympos national park and natural reserve, constructions are not allowed in this beautiful cove. The only accommodation options are bungalows in the middle of orange orchards. Thus, this little piece of paradise, unspoiled by the effects of mass tourism, have been around for decades to come.
Cirali shares the same beach with Olympos village, that is a more hippie bohemian place, renown for its treehouse vacations. I can say that Olympos is more college youth place, whereas Cirali is the more family friendly village option.
Cirali is a kind of a place to take it easy and relax in the nature. You can walk or ride your bike to the beach. After some leisurely hours in the clear sea and on the beach, you can walk back to your bungalow through amazing smelling orange orchards. Following a laid back afternoon at your veranda, accompanied by a symphony of crickets, it is time for a stroll to the center of the village, where you can find many restaurants to dine in. If those sound good and relaxing to you, go directly to places to stay in Cirali and book a place, you won’t be disappointed!
For the ones who fancy a little more exploration around, there is Chimaera, a mountain top rock with flames coming out from its holes on it because of natural gas. Olympos ancient ruins are a short walk away through the end of the beach. A boat trip to Suluada, renown as Maldives in Turkey, would be a great place for snorkeling. And many more…
For more about Cirali, click at my post: “8 reasons why I chose Cirali Turkey for vacation“
Where to stay in Cirali?
We have spent many family vacations in Cirali with our kids. My top picks for the best places to stay in Cirali are:
- Kimera Lounge Boutique Hotel: A high class hotel with exceptional bungalow rooms very close to the beach (booking.com score 9.2 for more than 180 reviews)
- Azur Hotel: A delightful place with wooden bungalows within a lush garden very close to the beach. (booking.com score 9.4 for more than 40 reviews)
- Olympos Lodge: Pricey but a gorgeous place for exceptional and unique stays in Cirali beach. (booking.com score 9.1 for more than 30 reviews)
Closest airport to Cirali
Closest airport to Cirali is Antalya International Airport (airport code AYT) and is about 90 km away. It takes about 1 hour and a half to get to Cirali from Antalya airport.
In minutes from the airport into the sea
Sarigerme beach is a destination where you can get literally in a few minutes from the airport into the sea. Its so close proximity to the airport makes this little resort town a great choice for a hassle free family vacation in Turkey. Moreover, the airport by the side of this resort town is Dalaman International Airport, meaning you can high chance, directly fly there from your home country.
Where to stay in Sarigerme?
There are some great choices for family resort hotels in Sarigerme Dalaman. The one we like the most and have vacationed so many times at is Hilton Dalaman Sarigerme Resort & Spa. We have been impressed with the high quality food, drinks and kids entertainment each time we visited the resort. Not to mention, the huge pools all around the hotel.
Closest airport to Sarigerme
Closest airport to Sarigerme is Dalaman Airport (airport code DLM) and is only 20 minutes away.
Dalyan, Iztuzu beach
Amazing canals, lagoon and great beach
Dalyan is a seaside town on the Mediterranean coast renown for its canals in the lagoon, dramatic Lycian tombs overlooking the town, nearby mud baths and the beautiful Iztuzu beach which is also nesting ground of loggerhead (Caretta Caretta) turtles. For a start, I would suggest you to google “Dalyan lagoon” and have a peek at the birds view images of the unbelievable beautiful maze of canals in this amazing delta. Dalyan is such a unique natural beauty that there are only a few places like this in the world.
Iztuzu beach, located at the end of Dalyan delta, has been selected as one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in Europe. In fact, this sandy beach can be choppy and windy most of the time but for sure is a unique place with salty sea water and fresh water lagoon side by side. Moreover, you can visit a Caretta Caretta hospital at the edge of the beach and learn a bit more about this magnificent sea creatures.
Things to do in Dalyan
Although all the attractions in Dalyan are immersed in nature, I would say with bigger kids and teenagers they can be enjoyed better.
- A boat tour through the canals of the delta is a must while you are in Dalyan. You can even ride a boat to Iztuzu beach. Actually, you can check out all the popular things to do in Dalyan with a whole day boat tour.
- Enjoy the beautiful Iztuzu beach and visit the Caretta Caretta hospital at the end of the beach.
- Visit Sultaniye hot springs and turn into a statue with a fun mud bath.
- Rent a cano at Kargicak Bay and enjoy the pristine coves and caves around.
- Hike or have 4×4 drive to Chandir viewpoint or Radar hill for the best views.
- Have a refreshing drink in town center with a view of ancient Lycian tombs.
Where to stay in Dalyan?
Accommodation options in Dalyan are generally small hotels, pensions or villas to rent. Midas Pension, Arp Dalyan and Hotel Happy Caretta are highly rated places to stay in Dalyan (all three of them have a booking.com score 9.3) located by the river and have some great views.
For more options for places to stay in Dalyan, please click here.
Closest airport to Dalyan
Closest airport to Dalyan is Dalaman Airport (airport code DLM) and is about 30 km away.
Great architecture and relaxing nature
Akyaka is a destination in southern Aegean Sea that I personally love a lot. It is a place where we had so many vacations especially when my kids were little babies and toddlers. The reasons I chose Akyaka for a holiday with little kids were its refreshing nature, sandy beach, calm and shallow sea. Also Akyaka has easy to walk around and kind of a countryside vibe that adds a lot to a relaxing vacation with kids.
What makes Akyaka special?
Akyaka has distinctive characteristics that distinguish it from other coastal towns around. First, it has its authentic architecture of traditional white houses with wooden decorations all around that make the town so charming to eyes. Then, it has the Azmak river, which is a deep, short stream with incredible fauna and freezing cold water even in summer. Dining in one of the great restaurants along the Azmak with your feet dipped in water or just sitting and watching the boats riding through is a great experience.
Also, Akyaka is located on the edge of Gulf of Gokova, making it a great port for daily boat tours departing to explore the crystal clean, turquoise beaches in Gokova. Some of them like Cleopatra Island or Incekum literally look like some postcards from Bahamas with their white sands and blue seas. In addition, Akyaka is a popular kite surfing destination with its perfect location on the Gulf of Gokova.
Said these, I must remind that Akyaka became a very popular destination in recent years. Its beach can be overcrowded and the sea in the town can look a little muddy (because it has sandy base in the sea too) with so many people around. I would suggest, try to avoid going to Akyaka beach at the weekends and try to go earlier in the morning.
Where to stay in Akyaka?
We have stayed so many times in Akyaka for both short and weeks long family vacations. Generally, there are two options to stay in Akyaka: in the center of the town or by the Azmak river which is about 10 minutes walk to the center and the beach. After experiencing staying in both options I can say we like accommodations by the river more. Especially if you opt in for a place with Azmak river view, you would enjoy the beautiful nature and river views with sailing boats on it. Moreover, there are lots of good restaurants by Azmak river where you can have great meal after a long day at the beach or exploring around.
Hotels in Akyaka are generally small hotels or self catered accommodations. Places to stay with a kitchenette were life saving when my kids were little and Akyaka have plenty options of them. Tomsan Villas Akyaka is a place we enjoyed staying with my little kids (about ten years ago). It is still a popular accommodation (booking.com score 9.1) in Akyaka with options to stay in one, two or three bedroom villa flats or in a separate private villa. Villa Vali (booking.com score 9.0) is another option with traditional architecture and close proximity to Azmak river and restaurants.
Closest airport to Akyaka
Closest airport to Akyaka is Dalaman Airport (airport code DLM) and is about 70 km away.
Best place for tranquility seekers
Datça (pronounced as dut-chuh) is a peninsula located among Bodrum and Marmaris peninsulas. It is a place exactly where Aegean Sea meets Mediterranean Sea.
Datca is a kind of place far from the eyes though having an amazing nature and sea. The reason why this beauty is not as popular as its neighboring vacation destinations is that it is very far away from the big cities like Istanbul and Ankara and there is not a very close airport to fly there. In other words, it is a challenging place that can be enjoyed by only the ones who give the effort to reach there. Without a doubt, the award for the long journey and the windy roads is the breath taking Datca…
Why to choose Datca for a vacation?
Datca is famous for its peaceful, tranquil atmosphere, refreshing breezy dry weather, almond trees and for sure, for its amazing blue coves with beautiful beaches. There aren’t any resort hotels in Datca which adds up to its tranquility. Accommodations on this peninsula are mostly small and boutique hotels. On the other hand, I must say that, although Datca is not as crowded as its neighboring cities like Bodrum and Marmaris, it is far from being secluded. It is a beloved destination especially by the domestic tourists who prefer a peaceful vacation by the sea to the resorts.
Closest airport to Datca
Dalaman Airport is 160 km and Bodrum Airport is 200 km to Datca city center. However, when you fly to Bodrum Airport (airport code BJV) , you can catch a ferry from Bodrum city to Datca. Thus you can reach to Datca in just 80 km.
Where to stay in Datca?
Areas to stay in Datca vary according different preferences. Datca city center is a place with small town vibes where there are lots of restaurants, cafes and a calm sandy beach in the center. However, there are lots of pristine beaches in the peninsula to explore. You can base yourself in the city center and go and discover the beaches as day trips. Bedemli Konak Otel (booking.com score 9.1) is a very charming hotel with a stone building which is conveniently set in the center of Datca.
For a more authentic vacation there is Datca old town, known as Eski Datca in Turkish. In Eski Datca neighborhood, there are mostly traditional stone houses, cute village vibes with bougainvillea framed cobblestone streets, refreshing cafes, good restaurants and boutique hotels all around. Zeyt Inn Hotel is a highly rated (booking.com score 9.7) boutique hotel in a beautiful stone building surrounded by olive trees with a great view in Eski Datca.
Datca coves to stay
On the other hand, you can opt in to stay in an accommodation by the beach. There are cute coves like Hayitbuku, Ovabuku, Kizilbuk and Palamutbuku which are located in Mesudiye area. Those are little villages by the sea with crystal clear waters and very peaceful atmosphere.
Hayitbuku and Kizilbuk are little coves in same bay. Hayitbuku is little more lively with some cafes and restaurants by the beach. Next village is Ovabuku with slightly more longish beach. Palmutbuku is most popular among all with a few more options for accommodation. We’ve stayed in a hotel in Kizilbuk before and it was one of the most tranquil vacations we’ve ever had.
Datca Masal Gibi plaj & restaurant provides accommodations (booking.com score 9.3) in little, quirky wooden houses a stone throw from the beach of Haytibuku. It is a good choice for a relaxing holiday.
Charming town with Southern France vibes
Alaçatı (pronounced uh-luh-chuh-tah) is a picture-perfect town in the middle of the Aegean coast. Although it is one of the best and most charming places to visit in Turkey, it is mostly left off the Turkey itineraries. Don’t do the same mistake; don’t skip this adorable place!
Alacati is cool, Alacati is hip and classy… It is a well preserved and renovated town full of Greek style stone buildings and architecture. Cobblestone streets framed with flowers, cute cafes, best restaurants, boutique hotels: Alacati is full of charm. Despite the town has a delightful Greek island vibe, to me it resembles more the chic artistic villages in southern France like Eze or Saint Paul de Vence. Wandering around the streets, taking in the atmosphere is a joy in Alacati.
Alacati town is not by the sea but just a few miles away you can find some wonderful beaches, some of them among the best beaches in Turkey. However, seawater can be on the cool side, especially in early summer. Deliklikoy, Kleopatra beach, Alacati public beach and Ilica beach are just a few of the beaches close to Alacati. Chark Beach is popular with its surf schools and windsurfing. There are also so many beach clubs in the area.
Closest airport to Alacati
The closest airport to Alacati is Izmir Adnan Menderes International airport (airport code ADB) and is about 80km away.
Where to stay in Alacati
Accommodations in Alacati are mostly exquisite boutique hotels located in traditional stone buildings. Since all the Alacati is explored on foot, try to pick one not very far to the town center. Moreover, the hotels mostly offer a delicious breakfast which is a great way to start discovering the Aegean cuisine. For families though, unfortunately most of the unique boutique hotels are adults only or accepting only 12+ aged kids.
Oberj d’Azur Alacati (booking.com score 9.4 for 220 reviews) is a good option for families in the town center with exceptional breakfast. Sakin Ev is another highly rated hotel by families (booking.com score 9.5 for 39 reviews) located in a traditional stone house in the center of Alacati.
Greek island vibes in northern Aegean Sea
Bozcaada is a little, charming island in the northern Aegean Sea with cute Greek island atmosphere. Other than its delightful cobbled streets with traditional houses, Bozcaada offers vast vineyards and good wine, and naturally crystal clear sea with sandy beaches (sea water can be quite cool though).
We’ve visited Bozcaada in early 2000s for the first time, and with every visit since then we observed how popular the island became year after year. However, I must say, this popularity added a lot to the island’s charm. Lots of good restaurants, cafes with street arts, boutique hotels in well restored Greek houses, grape harvest festivals, even more wine producers were added to the attractions of the island.
Since Bozcaada is not a very big island, you can explore the city center on foot. Its bakery, patisserie, tea garden cafe, castle, many fish and mezze restaurants by the sea are all in walking distance. However, Bozcaada beaches, Polente sunset point and obviously the vineyards are a few miles out of the city center.
Where to stay in Bozcaada
There are lots of charming boutique hotels in Bozcaada. They are great to experience the island’s culture, architecture and with their delicious breakfasts to sense the islands cuisine. You can opt in to stay in the center of Bozcaada, or in a vineyard farmhouse out of the center. We have stayed in Kaikias Hotel in the center and Aral Tatil Ciftligi (booking.com 9.1) out of the center and both of them were delightful stays. Nevertheless, either of them or any other place you would choose to stay in Bozcaada would be a joy and add a lot to your Turkiye experience.
Do you want a glimpse of even more hidden gems in Turkey? Click at my blog post “The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Turkey“. Also, you can find more photos of the places I mentioned above at my blog post here.
Road trips along Turkish Riviera
If you are planning to have a vacation in a certain place, I added the closest airports to fly into in order to visit each location I mentioned above. On the other hand, if you want to explore multiple coastal towns, here are some road trip ideas to visit and experience many places in one go. Moreover, this would give you an idea about the location of each town and proximity to each other.
Road trip from Dalaman to Antalya airport
On this route, you would have a chance to visit the most picturesque coves and beaches and some cute seaside towns. My suggested route through this road trip is:
Dalaman Airport – Fethiye and around – Kas – Demre – Adrasan – Cirali – Phaselis – Kemer – Antalya
It takes about 400 km to finish this route.
Road trip from Dalaman to Marmaris
On this route, you would have a chance to visit some cute seaside towns immersed in great nature. My suggested route through this road trip is:
Dalaman Airport – Dalyan – Yuvarlakcay – Ekincik – Akyaka – Marmaris – İçmeler – Turunc – Kumlubuk
This route is about 225 km one way.
Road trip from Bodrum to Datca
On this route, you would have a chance to enjoy the southernmost shores of the Aegean Sea and you would go around the Gulf of Gokova. My suggested route through this road trip is:
Bodrum Airport – Bodrum and around – ferry to Datca – southern Datca coves of Ovabuku, Hayitbuku, Palamutbuku – Knidos – Bordubet – Marmaris – Akyaka – Oren – Cokertme – Bodrum Airport
It takes about 370 km to finish this route.
Road trip from Dalaman to explore the Marmaris peninsula
On this route, you would have a chance to visit some cute seaside towns in the beautiful Marmaris peninsula. My suggested route through this road trip is:
Dalaman Airport – Marmaris – İçmeler – Turunc – Kumlubuk – Bayir – Sogut – Bozburun – Selimiye – Orhaniye – Hisarönü – Marmaris – Dalaman Airport
This route takes about 300 km round trip.
Northern Aegean road trip
We Turks love vacationing in the cute towns in the northern Aegean region. It is such a great mixture of great nature, Greek style of architecture, the best culinary experiences and delightful sea. My suggested route through this road trip is:
Istanbul – Canakkale – Site of Troy – Bozcaada – Assos – Adatepe – Kazdağları – Ayvalik – Cunda – Foca – Alacati – Ephesus – Sirince – Izmir Airport
This route is around 1000 km one way.
Oh my, I sat down to write about a few of my favorite destinations for inspiration on family vacations in Turkey; I don’t know how I ended up writing quite a booklet for the places to vacation in Turkish Riviera and around.
If you liked my work, please consider supporting it by making your holiday bookings through my link of booking.com (with no additional cost to you). Thus, you would inspire me to keep going and write many more posts like this.
Have you been to Turkey before? Do you have other recommendations? If you have any questions please ask at the comment section below.
Have a great holiday in my home country!