10 EPIC Turkish Riviera Towns & Cities That Locals Want All To Themselves!

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Last updated on March 3, 2023 by Wandering our World

The Turkish Riviera is a true paradise on Earth that should be on every traveller’s bucket list! Why? Well, this stunning stretch of coastline is located in the southwestern part of Turkey and offers visitors turquoise waters, beautiful beaches, ancient ruins, breathtaking natural beauty, and incredibly charming towns and cities.

But if you’re new to the region, it’s sometimes difficult to work out exactly which towns in the Turkish Riviera you should stick on your itinery.

But that’s where we can help!

Right here we will guide you through each of our top ten towns, highlighting what makes each unique and worth visiting. From the stunning beaches of Antalya to the picturesque streets of Kas, we believe there’s at least one town or city on this coastline that will be perfect for you.

You’ll discover the fascinating history, architecture, and culture of each town, as well as the best places to see and visit.

So, get ready to be amazed by the stunning scenery, immerse yourself in the rich culture, and indulge in the delicious local cuisine – let’s start exploring!

Bodrum street view in Turkey

The 10 Best Turkish Riviera Towns & Cities For A Holiday Of A Lifetime

1. Antalya

Antalya, known as the capital and gateway to the Turkish Riviera, is a must-visit city for travellers seeking the perfect blend of history, culture and nature. It’s famous for its old town, historic sites, and stunning beaches.

History and culture lovers in particular will have a great time in Antalya.

Also known as Kaleici, the Old Town is a maze of narrow streets, lined with Ottoman-era buildings, and colourful shops, cafes and restaurants. Take a walking tour of the city and explore the winding alleys and historic architecture. 

Antalya has many ruins too, notably the ancient city of Perge. This incredible archaeological site includes the well-preserved Roman Theater of Aspendos, a stadium, a bathhouse, and the magnificent Perge Roman Gate.

Snd for a proper dose of history, visit the Antalya Museum, which is one of Turkey’s largest museums. It displays exhibits on the civilizations that lived in Antalya.

Nature lovers will also find plenty to explore. Take a boat tour to the Duden Waterfalls, a popular attraction in Antalya, or hike along the trails. While beach bums can find plenty of stunning beaches to sunbathe or swim, or enjoy water sports like jet skiing.

And if you’re up for some adventure, you can head over to Mount Tahtali and take a cable car to the top. The panoramic views of the mountains and surrounding landscapes will be worth it!

Harbor in Antalya old town or Kaleici in Turkey. High quality photo
iStock.com/Aleh Varanishcha

2. Alanya

Looking for white sandy beaches and lively nightlife, with a touch of history and culture? Well, look no further than Alanya!

This resort town on the Turkish Riviera offers a one-of-a-kind experience for travellers. The combination of rich history, natural scenery and a vibrant nightlife is what sets Alanya apart from other towns in the region.

Sitting atop a rocky peninsula, the towering Alanya Castle is a popular historical attraction. This castle offers stunning views of the city and the coastline. You can take a guided tour or explore the fortress on your own.

Another iconic structure in Alanya is the Red Tower. Located in the heart of the town, the tower dates back to the 13th century, when it was used as a watchtower. Climb up the spiral staircase to the top of the tower and admire the panoramic views.

Don’t forget to check out the small museum inside the tower. And speaking of museums, the Alanya Archaeological Museum is worth visiting too!

Apart from the historical sites, Alanya is also home to some beautiful beaches. Take a walk along the Cleopatra Beach, or just relax and soak up the sun. With fine white sands and crystal clear waters, these beaches are perfect to spend the day.

Then at night, you can have a relaxed evening or a wild party with friends, because Alanya has a lively nightlife that can cater to all tastes. The town has an impressive range of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants where you can enjoy great food and drinks.

Adventure-seekers, there’s something for you too, as Alanya offers a number of fun activities and sports.

Take a jeep safari to explore the Taurus Mountains, go paragliding, or even take a boat tour to explore the coastline. You can also visit the Damlatas Cave and marvel at the impressive natural formations inside it.

Panoramic view of the harbor of Alanya on a beautiful summer day with the castle and castle walls visible. Alanya, Turkey .
iStock.com/Aleh Varanishcha

3. Kas

Kas is a small fishing village that retains its traditional charm and laid-back atmosphere. It has become a popular destination for tourists, particularly for the stunning views of the Mediterranean it offers and the plenty of outdoor activities it promises.

Kas also has a touch of history that will be intriguing for you to discover.

In fact what makes Kas stand out from other Turkish Riviera towns is its stunning coastline. Take a boat tour and explore the turquoise waters, hidden coves and nearby islands. On top of that, the town’s secluded beaches, like Kaputas Beach, are perfect spots for relaxing, sunbathing and swimming. 

But if you love water sports, Kas also offers diving and snorkelling where you can explore a variety of underwater sites including caves, reefs and shipwrecks. In fact Kas is one of the leading spots for scuba diving in Turkey.

Water sports are not the only adventure you can have in Kas. Go on a hike on the Lycian Way, a scenic trail that takes you through mountains and winds along the coast. Or go paragliding from the mountains and experience the stunning views of the coast from above.

Some of the historical sites within Kas include the town’s old quarter that has traditional architecture and narrow streets lined with cafes and shops. Perfect for a leisurely walk!

On the other hand, the ancient city of Antiphellos is a must-visit. The well-preserved ruins of the city feature a Roman theatre, a Hellenistic sarcophagus, and the Lycian Rock Tombs, which are ancient tombs carved into the cliffs that overlook Kas. 

Girl on a kayak explores an ancient Lycian tomb sticking out of the water in the middle of a flooded city after a major earthquake near Kekova Island and Kas in Turkey.

4. Kemer

Located between Antalya and the Taurus Mountains, Kemer is known for its natural scenery, beautiful beaches, upscale resorts, and a wide range of activities. This is easily one of the best towns on the Turkish Riviera if you’re looking for a bit of everything.

But one of the things that really sets Kemer apart from other Turkish Riviera towns is its natural beauty. Surrounded by pine forests and towering mountains, the town offers breathtaking views at every turn.

Places like the Olympos National Park offer several activities, like hiking and camping. But for some amazing bird’s eye views of the Mediterranean and surrounding mountains, take one of the cable cars up to Tahtali Mountain.

The Goynuk Canyon is another stunning natural wonder that offers hiking trails, waterfalls, and beautiful scenery. Alternatively, you can go for a jeep safari or quad bike tour and explore the Taurus Mountains. Simply put, Kemer is packed with so many fun things to do!

The beautiful beaches around Kemer, with crystal-clear waters and pristine sandy beaches, also have many opportunities for sunbathing and swimming. And if you crave adventure, you can go scuba diving, snorkelling, and even parasailing and jet-skiing.

Kemer has many luxury beach resorts too, with loads of amenities and services, making it one of the most sought after vacation towns on the Turkish Riviera.

As with all towns on the Turkish Riviera, Kemer doesn’t shy away from its history. Some of the most popular historical sites are the ruins of Phaselis and Olympos, and the Chimera Flames. The ruins of these ancient sites include theatres, temples, bathhouses, and a Roman aqueduct. 

The flames of Chimera which burn on the mountainsides in Kemer are both curious and enchanting – they’re caused by natural gas vents, and they have been burning for thousands of years! Don’t miss them!

Beautiful beach with green trees in Kemer, Turkey. Summer landscape, travel and vacation

5. Side

Tucked between Antalya and Alanya on the Turkish Riviera, Side is a picturesque city with a rich history.

Side is not only a popular resort with beautiful sandy beaches, but also the site of the preserved ruins of a great ancient city. With this unusual mix of old and new – its old town and ruins vs its elegant beach resorts – this town is an interesting and very unique place to visit.

The ancient city of Side is brimming with history and its influences. One of the most striking ruins is the Roman amphitheatre, dating back to the 2nd century. This well-preserved amphitheatre was once used for gladiator games and public events.

Or better yet, watch the sunset from the ancient temple – that beautiful sight will forever live in your memories.

Other must-visit sites are the Temple of Apollo, the ancient harbour and the old town.

Only the remains of the columns and walls of the once impressive Temple of Apollo are still standing. However the old city walls are well-preserved, as is the charming old town.

Walk through the narrow streets, along cafes and shops, and feel like being transported back in time. For a peek into the town’s cultural and historical heritage, visit the Archaeological Museum of Side, which houses a collection of artefacts and a range of exhibits. 

Side is not all about history though. The town is also known for being a family-friendly holiday destination. The sandy beaches are long and wide, with shallow, calm waters, and plenty of activities that are perfect for families with children.

Swim at the beaches, go on boat tours to explore the coastline, or just relax and enjoy the cool Mediterranean waters – whatever you do, you will remember Side long after you’ve left!

Aerial view of the amphitheater in the ancient Side town, Antalya Province, Turkey. High quality photo
iStock.com/Aleh Varanishcha

6. Fethiye 

Calling all adventure-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts – we have the perfect destination for you to visit: Fethiye!

Located on the site of the ancient city of Telmessos on the Turkish Riviera, Fethiye is home to some stunning natural scenery and is a hub for outdoor activities. Above the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean and below, this is easily one of the most fun Turkish Riviera towns and cities.

Fethiye sits on the edge of a vast bay and is surrounded by imposing mountains. The stunning coastline beckons you, and soon you’ll find yourself on a boat tour exploring hidden coves and nearby islands.

The 12 Islands Tour will take you on a cruise around these islands with plenty of swim stops, while the Blue Cruise is a popular yachting trip.

The town is also located near Oludeniz Beach (see photo below), which is famous for being one of the most photographed and most visited beaches in the Mediterranean. Also known as the “Blue Lagoon”, the beach is picture-perfect with its spectacular scenery and turquoise waters.

Moreover, it is popular among adrenaline lovers who paraglide above the region to get a thrilling bird’s eye view of the gorgeous coastline below

Fethiye is home to several natural attractions that offer a wide range of activities too.

For example, you can go hiking in the mountains on the popular Lycian Way Trail that also runs along the coast.

The Lycian Rock Tombs, ancient tombs carved into the rocky faces, are a striking scene you can visit when in Fethiye. Then there is the stunning Saklikent Gorge, where it’s sometimes possible to swim in the natural pools or go rafting through the rapids. 

Amazing aerial view of Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz, Turkey. Summer landscape with sea spit, boats and yachts, green trees, azure water, sandy beach in sunny day. Travel. Top view of national park. Nature

7. Bodrum

What do you get when you combine mesmerising beaches, vibrant nightlife and significant ancient history? You get Bodrum, that’s what!

Located on the southwestern coast of Turkey, the town of Bodrum is small, yet touristy, and renowned for its lively nightlife activities and luxurious accommodations.

The golden sand beaches and crystal clear beaches here won’t keep beach bums away for long. Bodrum’s beaches are some of the best in Turkey, especially the popular Bodrum Beach, where you can relax and soak up the sun.

Stunning views of the Aegean Sea and nearby islands are guaranteed, where you can also take boat tours to explore secluded bays and coves.

Bodrum’s famous nightlife is an experience to remember too, and there is a reason why this town is sometimes labelled a party town. After all, there is a wide range of entertainment options that include live music, dance parties, clubs and bars.

Bodrum Bar Street is a good place to start. This mile-long street is thriving with beachfront bars and clubs. Another great spot is Bodrum Marina Yacht Club, which is one of the best venues to eat, drink and party. Bodrum also has an outdoor cinema, which screens a variety of movies under the sky.

The most iconic structure in Bodrum is the magnificent Bodrum Castle, originally built in the 15th century. An impressive example of mediaeval architecture, the fortress today is home to the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology, which showcases the maritime history of the Aegean Sea. 

Another important site is the well-preserved ruins of the ancient city of Halicarnassus, including the famous Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

View of the marina of Bodrum, in the center is the castle of the hospitallers. Evening sky. Sunset.
iStock.com/Sergey Varfolomeev

8. Marmaris

Marmaris is a popular resort town on the Turkish Riviera.

One of the reasons that Marmaris is unique is its location at the intersection of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, giving it a rich maritime history. Another reason is the town’s stunning natural beauty, with its pine-decked hills, sandy beaches and beautiful marina.

That landscape makes it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Visit Marmaris National Park, and go on a hike along scenic trails in the hills and pine forests. The Marmaris Safari is also a fun way to explore the region by horseback riding. Or you can take part in various water sports at the Marmaris Atlantis Waterpark.

The coastline and turquoise waters of Marmaris also offers plenty of fun activities, such as jet skiing, parasailing, and scuba diving.

When you’re done, you can always relax on one of the gorgeous beaches, such as Turunc, Icmeler, and Incekum. These beaches have wonderful facilities and have lovely blue waters, fine sands and pine trees.

Marmaris also has a rich cultural heritage that is evident in its historic sites and local handicrafts. Marmaris Castle, built by the Ottomans in the 16th century, is a major attraction in the town. You can explore the castle’s museum and learn about the region’s fascinating history and culture. 

Additionally, Marmaris is known for its traditional Turkish handicrafts, such as leather goods, ceramics, pottery and pashminas. Make a stop at the Grand Bazaar and shop to your heart’s content!

Turunc Bays in Marmaris with small boats moored on the sea with mountains in background

9. Dalyan

With its picturesque river delta, nearby ancient Lycian tombs, and famous Iztuzu Beach, Dalyan is a great destination for both nature lovers and history buffs.

Situated alongside the Dalyan River, a few hours from Marmaris and Fethiye, this town has slowly grown from an agricultural hub to a favourite tourist spot – but it still remains relatively undiscovered amongst towns in the Turkish Riviera. 

One of the most famous historical attractions in Dalyan is Kaunos City.

This ancient city is an archaeological site dating back to the 10th century BC and history lovers will enjoy exploring the ruins, which include a theatre, a Roman bathhouse, and a temple. Kaunos is easily accessible by car or ferry ride from Dalyan, and makes for a fun day trip.

Once you’re done, you can head over to the impressive Lycian Rock tombs (photo below). These tombs were carved into the cliffs and date back to the 4th century BC.

Nature lovers should take a boat tour around the Dalyan River too. There are stops to see the Iztuzu Beach and the Dalyan Mud Baths.

Iztuzu Beach is a beautiful sandy beach famous for being a nesting site for the loggerhead sea turtles. You can enjoy sunbathing and swimming here, but be careful not to disturb the turtles!

While the Dalyan Mud Baths are a popular attraction near Dalyan. These mud baths are natural spa sites that are believed to be therapeutic, with hot springs that are supposed to have healing properties.

Mud baths are exactly what they sound like – they involve smudging yourself with mud, letting it dry, and then washing it off with a sulphur bath. Pretty rad, right? And certainly a unique vacation memory.

Lycian rock tombs carved out on the cliff at Dalyan, Turkey

10. Belek

Belek is a one-of-a-kind dream destination. With every shade of green and blue possible in its scenery, the town is aptly known as “the Paradise on Earth”.

But in particular, Belek offers a luxurious vacation and is a popular destination for golfers due to its world-class golf courses and upscale beach resorts.

Those golf courses are challenging and offer stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Golfers can be seen all year round in Belek, and it has become a premier golf centre in Turkey catering to all levels of players.

Apart from golf, Belek has a lot to offer if you’re looking to relax and unwind as the town also boasts some of the best beaches on the Turkish Riviera, with white sand and crystal-clear waters.

Beaches like Belek Public Beach and Kadriye Beach are perfect for swimming and sunbathing.

You can also explore the nearby Kursunlu Waterfall, a beautiful natural attraction with cascading waterfalls. Or if you want to try an authentic Turkish spa experience, then be sure to check out the Belek Osmanli Hamam.

Belek also offers a range of activities to explore the stunning natural surroundings. Take a jeep safari to explore the nearby Taurus Mountains, go on a boat tour to see the coastline and nearby islands, or simply relax at one of the town’s luxurious spas and wellness centres.

The Koprulu Canyon is another nearby place which you can visit for thrilling sports like white-water rafting, zip lining and canyoning.

For history buffs, there are a number of archaeological sites near Belek. For example, head over to the well-preserved ruins of the ancient city of Perge and explore the site which includes a Roman theatre, stadium, and bathhouse.

Additionally, the Aspendos Theater, an ancient Roman theatre near Belek, is still used today for concerts and performances, and is a must-visit attraction.


  • Wandering our World

    Hi and welcome to Wandering our World! This article was written by one of the Wandering our World team - a team of travel enthusiasts who live around the globe.