The Ultimate Guide to Holidays in Turkish Riviera

The Turkish Riviera is a coastal region in the province of Antalya.

It is the most visited tourist destination on Turkey’s south coast, with flat sandy beaches, 300 days of sunshine per year and well-rated all-inclusive hotels.

Here we have collected all the useful information for a trip to the Turkish Riviera, including a summary of ​​the seaside resorts, good hotels to stay in, how to get there, the most beautiful sights and insider tips.

Introduction to the Turkish Riviera

Tour operators and Turkey demarcate the Turkish Riviera differently. For the Turks, this means the entire south coast. The tour operators refer mainly to the coast to the east of the province of Antalya.

We like to think that the Turkish Riviera begins with Kemer in the west and ends with Alanya in the east. Why? Because this is a contiguous region with similar beach areas.

West of Kemer, the Lycian coast begins with the eco-tourism village of Cirali. Compared to the Turkish Riviera, there are almost no all-inclusive hotels from Cirali to Ölüdeniz, which is 200km further away on the Turkish Aegean coast. Some still count Cape Anamur in the far east of the province of Antalya as part of the region.

From a European point of view, the center of the Turkish Riviera is clearly the region between Antalya and Alanya with Side as the center.

Next, we describe the individual beach towns on the Turkish Riviera with their peculiarities.

Temple of Apollo in Side, one of the symbols of the Turkish Riviera

2. Beach Destinations on the Turkish Riviera

The Turkish Riviera can be divided into five regions based on the counties along the coast. The links to the individual bathing resorts contain a detailed description with recommended hotels, things to do, restaurants, pictures, etc.

  • Antalya-Lara – long sandy beach in the east of the provincial capital, 5 star hotels with good ratings and a short transfer time from Antalya airport.
  • Belek – the most exclusive seaside resort on the Turkish Riviera with high-class luxury hotels, golf resorts and family resorts.
  • Side – together with the seaside resorts of Kumköy, Colakli, Evrenseki, Titreyengöl and Manavgat , is the stronghold of German package holidaymakers in Turkey. The hotel selection is huge in Side with 5-star high-class hotels as well as inexpensive family hotels.
  • Alanya – in the county town of Alanya there are rather small hotels in the city center with good connections to nightlife and city life. In Konakli, Türkler, Avsallar, Mahmutlar and Okurcalar there are large all-inclusive hotels directly on the gently sloping sandy beach of the easternmost Turkish Riviera. Alanya is also the easternmost seaside resort on the Riviera.
  • Kemer – The region also includes the seaside resorts of Beldibi, Göynük, Camyuva and Tekirova. The hotels are located directly in the city center of Kemer on a pebble beach. The hotels in the other seaside resorts are all on a sandy beach.
Koyaalti Beach against the backdrop of the Taurus mountains in Antalya

3. Airports on the Turkish Riviera and How to Reach

  • Antalya Airport is the largest airport on the southern coast of Turkey with international flights to all major European cities. More than 95% of all holidaymakers arrive at Antalya Airport.
  • Alanya-Gazipasa Airport is a regional airport 140km east of Antalya, with few international flights. You can land here with one change in Istanbul or Ankara. Gazipasa is just a good alternative for a trip to Alanya. The price of flights to Alanya is on average the same or slightly more expensive than flights to Antalya.

3.1 Flights to the Turkish Riviera

You can reach the Turkish Riviera directly all year round from all major European cities. In summer, the airlines also have a large number of flight connections from small towns in Europe.

A return flight to Antalya costs between €120 and €350, depending on the season. Flights are most expensive in summer. There is a discount during the early booking campaigns of the airlines in winter. As a result, you can usually find flights under €250 if you book early.

The Turkish Riviera is also a typical package holiday destination. Booking the hotel and flight together is therefore almost always cheaper.

Harbor in the old town of Antalya

3.2 Airport Transfers in Turkish Riviera

The seaside resorts on the Turkish Riviera are between 10 km and 140 km from Antalya Airport. The nearest seaside town is Antalya. Alanya is the furthest away from Antalya, but has its own airport in the neighboring town of Gazipasa, 40km away.

  • Airport transfer: works 99% of the time on the Turkish Riviera with a shared bus or a private transfer from Antalya or Alanya-Gazipasa airport. The transfer is usually included in the price of package holidays. If you are looking for a transfer yourself, you will find a collective bus and a private transfer with Getyourguide.com. With three or more people in the car, a private transfer costs about the same as a seat on the collective bus.
  • Public Transport: Antalya Airport is connected to the city center by tram. With another change you reach the bus station (Otogar) Antalya. From there buses go to all seaside resorts and cities in Turkey. The journey to the hotel takes 1-2 hours longer with the public buses (Dolmus) than with a collective bus and costs only a few euros less.
  • Rental Cars: There are eight rental car companies at the airport. In winter, booking is also possible with a short-term reservation. In summer, the offer is sometimes tight at the last moment. The D400 expressway leads directly from the airport to all the surrounding seaside resorts.
Taxi at the airport in Antalya

4. Best Hotels in Turkish Riviera & Travel Tips

All seaside resorts on the Turkish Riviera have 4 and 5 star all-inclusive family hotels. Here i a quick summary of hotel types and categories in the different towns along the coast.

  • Antalya (Lara): all-inclusive family hotels and high-class resorts on Lara Beach and good boutique hotels in the old town of Kaleici.
  • Belek: all-inclusive high-class resorts, golf resorts and family hotels right on the beach.
  • Side Region: all-inclusive family hotels, high-class resorts and partly very inexpensive 4-star all-inclusive hotels.
  • Alanya: 3 and 4 star downtown hotels with half board or all inclusive, 4 and 5 star all inclusive family hotels and beach resorts between Okurcalar and Konakli.
  • Kemer: all inclusive family hotels

Side has some of the best rated 5 star hotels in Turkey and there are also budget hotels.

In a price comparison, Side always scores excellently compared to all other seaside resorts on the Mediterranean because of the large selection of hotels there. The cheaper hotels in Side are also good, which you can quickly see from the reviews.

Cleopatra beach in Alanya

4.1 Holiday Packages to Turkish Riviera

For a package holiday on the Turkish Riviera, we recommend the early bird offers from tour operators. The discount is a small percentage of the normal price.

Last minute booking still works to a certain extent in Turkey. The choice of hotels is of course smaller at the last minute. If you want to book a specific hotel with a special room category, we definitely recommend the early bird offers. Last minute works if you are flexible.

Ruins of Phaselis with the Tahtali Dagi (Olympos) in the background

5. Interesting places, sights and destinations on the Turkish Riviera

Here is a quick list of the most visited attractions on the Turkish Riviera. You can find more places to visit in our list of 70 sights in the province of Antalya.

  • Antalya’s old town Kaleici: Roman ruins, 300-year-old Ottoman houses, a beautiful marina and more can be found in the center of the port city, which was founded 2,200 years ago. These include shopping centers and the 50m high Düden waterfall on the cliffs of Antalya.
  • Side’s old town: ruins of the port city founded more than 3,000 years ago, shopping and restaurants.
  • Alanya’s Castle Hill (Korakesion): Fortified city founded by the ancient Greeks, pirate quarters and winter residence of the Rum Seljuk sultans.
  • Aspendos: the best preserved Roman theater.
  • Perge: city founded 7,000 years ago north of Antalya.
  • Manavgat Bazaar: the largest market on Turkey’s south coast.
  • Pamukkale: natural pools formed from thermal water within the UNESCO World Heritage-listed ruins of the Roman city of Hierapolis.
  • Jeep safaris: drive an off-road jeep through the Taurus Mountains and discover small villages and hidden places.
  • Blue Voyage: cruise along the coast to secluded bays in a Turkish gulet motorsailer, all inclusive with food and drinks.
  • Myra: Excursion to the hometown of Nicholas of Myra (Saint Nicholas), his Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and 2,300 year old Lycian Rock Stands. This usually includes a boat trip near the submerged town of Simena on the coast of Kekova Island.
  • Tahtali Dagi cable car: Sea To Sky is the motto of the cable car on the 2,366m high Tahtali Dagi (Olympos) in Kemer, which is located directly on the sea. Most of the time you will also visit the ancient port city of Phaselis, where you can swim in the city port, and the Yanartas-Chimaira gas field from Greek mythology in Cirali, which has been burning for at least 2,700 years

Tip: State-run attractions only accept Turkish Lira at the entrance. This includes all ancient archaeological sites and almost all museums on the Turkish Riviera.

View of the Cleopatra Beach from Alanya Castle Hill

6. Most Beautiful Beaches on the Turkish Riviera

Almost the entire coast of the Turkish Riviera consists of a gently sloping, continuous sandy beach. The only exception is the pebble beach in downtown Kemer and the Konyaalti sandy-pebble beach in downtown Antalya.

Beach resorts line the 140km long coastline between Antalya and Alanya. In between there are always a few lonely bays. I have described them in more detail in my individual guidebooks to the bathing resorts.

There are also beach resorts along the coast between Antalya and Kemer. Here is a quick list of the most famous beaches on the Turkish Riviera. However, keep in mind that many beaches do not have their own name because they simply form the shoreline of the bathing resorts. This is the case, for example, in Belek and Side.

  • Cleopatra Beach: long sandy beach below the Castle Hill of Alanya.
  • Konyaalti Beach: miles of sand and pebble beach between the old town of Antalya and the Taurus Mountains, without hotels directly on the beach.
  • Antalya-Lara: long sandy beach in the east of Antalya with good 5 star hotels.
  • Mermerli Beach: very small beach next to Antalya Marina in Kaleici old town.
  • Olympos Beach: Sand and pebble beach in the protected Olympos-Beydaglari National Park in Cirali.
  • Phaselis: swim in the ancient city port of the Roman city.
  • Incekum: translated as “fine sand”, this is a very shallow sandy beach in Alanya county with good family hotels.
Weather in Side in Spring (March)

7. Activities on the Turkish Riviera

The Turkish Riviera has a lot up its sleeve for the nature lovers among you. The dramatic mountain ranges of the Taurus Mountains offer excellent opportunities for exciting hikes. Enchanting landscapes, impressive views and lovely mountain villages will accompany you on your trips inland. Immerse yourself in Turkish culture and visit remote villages, explore the Oymapinar Reservoir area and take a boat tour of the Green Canyon.

Would you also like an adrenaline kick? Then make your way to Köprülü Canyon National Park and book a rafting tour down the Köprüçay River. This will be unforgettable!

Rafting in Köprüçay

The little ones in the family will definitely have fun in the many theme parks along the coast. With over 20 water slides, shopping malls and cinemas, the Land of Legends in Belek is one of the most famous parks where you can experience an action-packed day.

Furthermore, of course, a visit to one of the colorful and bustling bazaars in Turkey is a must! Here you have to get used to the fact that haggling over prices is totally normal and an expected ritual. So get involved and grab a bargain or two.

In contrast, the Turkish baths called Hammam, offer you a nice change. Try the original wellness methods and enjoy the traditional cleaning ritual of the Orient!

8. Best Time to Travel to Turkish Riviera

MonthAir TemperatureSea Water TemperatureNo. of rainy days
JAN6-14°C17°C12-15
FEB7-15°C17°C9-12
MAR8-20°C18°C7-9
APR12-25°C20°C4-7
MAY15-30°C22°C3-5
JUN18-32°C23°C0-3
JUL23-33°C25°C0-1
AUG23-34°C27°C0-1
SEPT21-31°C26°C0-1
OCT13-25°C22°C4-7
NOV9-20°C20°C7-11
DEC7-15°C17°C10-14

The climate on the Turkish Riviera is Mediterranean between Kemer and Side and subtropical in the district of Alanya. On average, the sun shines more than 300 days a year on the Turkish Riviera.

  • Summer: between June and September the sun shines continuously, temperatures exceed 30°C, rain falls on average less than one day per month and the sea reaches 26°C. Summer is therefore clearly the main travel season on the Turkish Riviera.
  • Spring: the season starts at the beginning of April with +20°C and still a few days with an hour of rain. The weather is improving rapidly as the end of the month and May approaches. The sea reaches 22 to 24°C and daily temperatures rise to 30°C.
  • Autumn: October is the most underrated month on the Turkish Riviera. Temperatures are higher than in the spring pre-season, the sea is warmer and there is less rain. Most of the time it is 30°C warm until the end of October.
  • Winter: from mid-November, the daily temperature drops to 20°C and finds its minimum on isolated days with 10 to 15°C in January. Snow last fell on the coast in the 1980s. A few rainy days are part of winter on the Turkish south coast. The pleasant Mediterranean climate attracts many long-term vacationers and emigrants to the Turkish Riviera every year.
Pebbly beach on the coast of downtown Kemer

9. How much does a holiday on the Turkish Riviera cost?

The price of a trip differs greatly depending on the hotel category. That’s why we have summarized below the typical prices across seasons, accommodations, food and transportation.

Package tour with all-inclusive 1 week per person in a double room

  • from 300€ in the off-season
  • from €400 in high season
  • more than 500€ in the high season in a 4 star hotel
  • more than 700€ in a 5 star hotel

Hotel/Accommodation only:

  • Budget hotel with breakfast: 20 to 30€ per day
  • Mid-range hotel with all inclusive: 30 to 60€ per day
  • High-end hotel with all inclusive: more than 80€ per day
  • Hostel: 10 to 20€
  • AirBnB: private room from €10

Transport:

  • Return flight to Antalya: 120 to 350€ depending on season and airline
  • Single journey by bus: 0.50 to 1€
  • Airport transfer in the collective bus: 5 to 15 €, depending on the airport and the seaside resort.
  • Taxi to the airport: private transfer for 60€ to all seaside resorts, a taxi is more expensive.
  • Day trip, for example Pamukkale: between 40 and 70€ including entrance fee and food, depending on the season

Food, drinks and misc.:

  • Restaurant in tourist area, main course: 7 to 20€
  • Restaurant locals, main course: 4 to 10€
  • Street food: Simit 30 cents, doner kebab 1€, corn on the cob 40 cents,
  • Glass of wine in the restaurant: 2€
  • Glass of beer: 2€
  • Cocktails: from €7
  • Coffee: 2€
  • Bottle of water in the shop (1.5L): 30 cents
  • Groceries in stores: around 40% cheaper than in Germany
  • Food at the bazaar: fruit and vegetables are 70% cheaper than in Germany
  • Entrance tickets: ancient ruins 20 to 40TL, museums 5 to 10TL

Total budget:

  • Budget: 30 to 50€ per day
  • Mid-range: €60 to €90 per day
  • High-end: from €90 per day, more likely €130 per day on average

The prices in the table are average values. There are 5 star hotels where standard rooms cost more than 200€ per day (Maxx Royal in Belek) and 5 star hotels with all inclusive in the pre-season with a price of 30€ per day (Fame Residence).

10. Useful addresses and phone numbers

  • Emergency doctor Turkey: Tel. 112
  • Fire brigade Turkey: Tel. 110
  • Antalya Tourist Police: Tel. +90-242-243-0486 (English speaking staff who can help in case of emergency.)
  • Police Turkey: Tel. 155 / 153
Düden Waterfall in Antalya-Lara

11. Summary on holidays in the Turkish Riviera

The Turkish Riviera is the most popular of the three holiday regions on the southern coast of Turkey.

Compared to the Turkish Aegean and Lycian coast, there are significantly more offers for package holidaymakers and direct flights from across Europe.

Due to the large offer, there is also a good selection of inexpensive beach hotels and excellent high-class hotels.

The excellent beach weather and the short journey time also make the Turkish Riviera interesting as a travel destination in summer. The ancient ruins, the Taurus Mountains and the Turkish inner cities are also interesting sights.

For a package holiday in Turkey, we do not hesitate to highly recommend the Turkish Riviera.

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