The Aegean coast of Turkey stretches from the North near Istanbul, down the coastline to the boundaries of Marmaris. Also known as the west coast, the attractive small resorts dotted along the coastline, were previously fishing villages, and now are popular tourist destinations. They are ideal for independent travel, although due to mass tourism in the area, there are many cheap holiday packages available from travel agents.
Airports serving the Region
Izmir and Bodrum airports are the two main hubs of the Aegean coast because they have a high frequency of international flights during summer. Mugla airport can also be used however, the transfer time is longer. During winter, expats living in the area will catch a connecting flight from Istanbul.
Holiday Resorts of the Aegean coast of Turkey
Many holiday resorts are dotted along the coastline and anyone considering a road trip of the area will certainly need at least a month to see them all briefly.
The Izmir peninsula serves two purposes, first as an ideal city break due the enter being the third largest city in Turkey. Smaller surrounding resorts each have their own appeal including…
- Alacati is great for windsurfers especially when they hold their annual surfing festival
- Bergama is close to the ancient ruins of Pergamon
- Foca is a popular destination for Turks who own second holiday homes in the region
- Sefirhisar is part of the Cittaslow movement that aims to preserve traditional aspects of life in villages throughout the world
The Bodrum Peninsula is the favoured destination for budget travellers and jet setting celebrities both Turkish and foreign. It is also a haven for creative artists who thrive on the laid back and simplistic lifestyle. Resorts to stay in include…
- The town centre is perfect for anyone who wants to party hard while on holiday
- Gumbet has a reputation as a British resort with an emphasis on beach life & water sports
- Turgutreis, although influenced by foreign presence, still maintains a Turkish identity
- Yalikavak is known for its windmills and is popular with expats who have bought homes in the area.
Other places to stay
- Kusadasi is not a pretty resort but hotels are of good standard and it has the added advantage of being close to many attractions
- Altinkum is a popular destination for British expats and although it has received negative press in the past due to its “British Identity,” it does prove popular with many repeat visitors.
- The Northern Aegean although not widely sold in mass holiday packages to foreigners is extremely popular with Turks. Independent travellers will enjoy exploring this area. The Datca Peninsula is a collection of small villages, perfect for holidaymakers wanting a quiet destination.
Things to do on the Aegean coast of Turkey
The Bodrum Peninsula is well known for vibrant sunsets during the height of summer. Things to do in this area include…
- Visit the Castle of Saint Peter and the Under Water museum of Archaeology
- Go swimming in the beautiful blue cove of Bardakci
- Visit the relatively unknown ruins of Pedusa
- Eat a traditional Aegean cuisine meal of fresh fish in Gumusluk
- Go shopping in Oasis Centre
- Keep an eye out for the windmills in Yalikavak
- Join water-sport activities in the small resort of Gumbet
- Sign up for a four-night gulet trip of the Turkish Riviera.
- Party addicts will love bar street and the large open air nightclub of Halicarnassus
- Scuba diving is popular in all the smaller resorts of the peninsula.
Things to do on the Izmir Peninsula include…
- Visit Cesme Castle and caravansary
- Families will love Izmir Zoo and Wildlife Park
- Kadifekale is a large hill in the city centre with an ancient castle and a great view over the city.
- At the bottom of Kadifekale, the ruins of Smyrna agora are located
- On the outskirts are the ruins of Pergamon including the Red Basilica, a famed temple built to dedicate the Egyptian gods
- Konak square is home to the city’s famous landmark of the clock tower
- Get the insiders look into Turkey by visiting the local race course
Kusadasi may not be a pretty resort on its own however; it does have the benefit of being close to all major attractions to see. Well-known landmarks within the boundaries include the long sandy Ladies Beach and the castle on Pigeon Island. Other attractions on the outskirts include…
- The ancient ruins of Ephesus and the house of the Virgin Mary
- Dilek national park is perfect for lovers of the great outdoors. Go trekking, bird watching or brush up on those photography skills. It also has four beaches and tour companies sell boat trips and scuba diving lessons.
- The Greek wine making village of Sirince is in the hills of nearby Selcuk.
- The resort has two major water-parks that thrill and delight families
- Selcuk town is also host to the Ephesus museum and Saint John of Basilica.
- History lovers should hire a car and visit the ruins of Miletus, Priene and the temple of Apollo in Didim
- Daily boat trips leave from the harbour and take passengers around the coastline for refreshing swimming breaks and a cooked BBQ lunch.
- Wednesday is main market day and a great introduction into Turkish bargaining skills
- New Doganbey on the outskirts is famous for the fish restaurants
- Old Doganbey is a Greek village on the boundaries of Dilek national park, with a museum dedicated to wildlife of the area.
- Turkish night is held regularly during the summer in the historic Caravansary building near the marina.
- Bafa lake is a popular destination for lakeside traditional Turkish breakfasts
- During the months of January to March, camel wrestling is a traditional sport
Although it is not a coastal resort, the UNESCO world heritage sites of Pamukkale and Hierapolis are major attractions of the Aegean coast. They can be reached from all the coastal resorts and is roughly a three-hour drive from the resort of Kusadasi. Ideally plan an overnight trip if you plan to visit.
Aegean Coast Weather
The touristic season lasts from May to October due to the best weather conditions. July to September are generally the hottest months and this is when the beaches usually became packed as many Turks also flock from the big cities to the coastal resorts.
If you plan to explore and spend a lot of time walking around, May and October are the best months to do this when the weather is cooler. From November to April, many restaurants and hotels in resorts will close down because the weather does get cold, with the rainy season generally lasting from December to February.