6 beaches near Istanbul: Where to go for sun, sand, and surf

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Beaches near Istanbul

While it might not be your first inclination when you’re planning your trip to Istanbul, taking a trip to the beach is an awesome way to spend an afternoon or even a full weekend getaway. Located along the Bosphorus Strait between the European and Asian continents, Istanbul is surrounded by water. The Black Sea Coast to the north and the gorgeous Marmara Sea to the south all make Istanbul a beach-lovers dream. 

Planning a trip to the beach requires a bit of homework, arranging transportation, luggage storage back in Istanbul, booking accommodations, and figuring out your itinerary are all ways of making sure you have the best possible time. But step one is finding out which beach best fits your needs. Here are the best beaches near Istanbul:

Best beaches near Istanbul

Burc Beach

Burc Beach is a popular beach in Izmir province on the western coast of Turkey. It’s known for its crystal-clear water, making it ideal for swimming and snorkeling. This is what the Turks call a “true blue beach” that has been awarded a Blue Flag, which is an international certification that recognizes its cleanliness and environmental management. Burc Beach is located in a beautiful bay surrounded by rocky cliffs and hills covered in olive trees. The scenery is stunning and provides a picturesque backdrop for sunbathing and swimming and incredible pictures for Instagram.  

Travel distance from Istanbul

The distance between Istanbul and Burch Beach takes approximately an hour and a half to drive. The public transport is dodgy out to this beach, so you're best to take a car.

Activity recommendations

The clear waters at the Burc Beach Club are ideal for snorkeling and diving. You can see a variety of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and even octopuses. It’s also popular for windsurfing, kitesurfing, and stand-up paddleboarding. The wind and waves are usually ideal for these activities, especially in the afternoons.

With supremely nice weather year-round, you can be confident that a trip to Burc Beach will be pleasant basically any month. 

Caddebostan Beach near Istanbul

Caddebostan Beach

Caddebostan Beach is one of the best beaches near Istanbul, with a long stretch of sandy coastline and clear blue waters. It is one of the most popular and well-known beaches on the Asian side of Istanbul, attracting both locals and tourists alike. The beach is also known for its family-friendly atmosphere, with plenty of amenities and facilities available, including restaurants, cafes, changing rooms, showers, and sports facilities. Additionally, the beach hosts several events and concerts throughout the year, making it a popular destination for entertainment and leisure activities.

Travel distance from Istanbul

Caddebostan Beach is located on the Asian side of Istanbul and is 9 miles away from the city center. The travel time from central Istanbul to Caddebostan Beach can vary depending on traffic and the mode of transportation. By car or taxi, it can take around 30-40 minutes to reach the beach, while using public transportation such as a bus or metro can take around 45 minutes to an hour to get to this sandy beach. 

Activity recommendations

The beach club has a jogging and cycling path, as well as beach volleyball and basketball courts. For families, there is a playground for children to play and have fun (when they’re not splashing away in the beautiful water). There are many restaurants and cafes near the beach that serve traditional Turkish cuisine and refreshing drinks. Of course, there are plenty of shops and boutiques around the beach where visitors can buy souvenirs, clothes, and beach accessories as well.

The best time to visit Caddebostan Beach is during the summer months, from June to September, when the weather is warm and sunny, and the water is perfect for swimming. During this time, the beach and town will be crowded, especially on weekends, so it's best to arrive early to secure a good spot. If you prefer a quieter atmosphere, you can also visit the beach in the shoulder seasons of May and October when the weather is still warm but the crowds are thinner. 

Kilyos Beach near Istanbul

Kilyos Beach

Located just north of Istanbul, Kilyos is one of the most popular Istanbul beaches. This long stretch of sand is perfect for sunbathing and swimming. It's also a popular spot for surfing, with some of the best waves in the region.

Kilyos is actually a collection of several beaches, each with its own unique character. Some of the beaches are more developed, like Solar Beach, with amenities like restaurants, cafes, and showers. Others are more secluded and peaceful, which translates well for romantic getaways.  

Travel distance from Istanbul

Kilyos Beach and Solar Beach are located 25 miles north. You should be able to drive there within 45 minutes to an hour. There are also public transportation options, with buses that run regularly from Istanbul city center to Kilyos.

Activity recommendations

Kilyos Beach is surrounded by beautiful lush forests and hills, providing opportunities for hiking and mountain biking. There are several trails that lead through the forest, offering stunning views of the Black Sea and Solar Beach. 

Kilyos Beach is a particularly popular destination for young travelers looking for nightlife, with several beach clubs and bars that offer music and entertainment until late at night. Many of these venues have a relaxed and bohemian atmosphere, making them popular with influencers. There are a few restaurants and cafes that offer superb seafood and traditional Turkish cuisine. You can enjoy a meal with a view of the sea. 

With strong winds creating the largest waves of any Turkish beach, Kilyos is a surfer’s dream. There are many small businesses offering rentals and lessons for both surfers and kiteboarding. The strong surf and undertows do make Kilyos less ideal for swimming, especially for beginners and children. 

Like all the best beaches, Kilyos is most popular during the summer. This means there will be crowds. The main advantage of visiting Kilyos is how close it is to Istanbul. During the off-season, you can wait for unseasonably nice weather to take a quick trip to this sandy beach. 

Princes' Island ferry

The Princes' Islands

The Princes' Islands in Turkey have many beautiful beaches that are popular with locals and tourists alike. The islands are located in the Marmara Sea, just a short ferry ride from Istanbul. There are a few to choose from:

Büyükada is the largest of the Princes' Islands and has several beaches. The most popular one is the main beach located near the Princes' Islands ferry terminal. It's a sandy shore with crystal clear waters and offers a range of water sports activities.

Burgazada Beach: Burgazada is the third largest island and has a beautiful pebble beach called Kızıl Adalar Beach, which is surrounded by pine trees and has crystal clear waters, making it an ideal spot for swimming and sunbathing. There are other islands with beaches, but these are the easiest to get to and the most popular. 

Travel distance from Istanbul

The Princes' Islands Ferry departs regularly from several ferry ports in Istanbul, including Kabataş, Beşiktaş, and Kadıköy. The ferry ride takes around one to two hours, depending on which island you're going to. Also to consider, the ferry terminal is about an hour by public transportation from popular tourist areas like Taksim Square.

Activity recommendations

The islands are known for their seafood, and there are many restaurants and cafes where you can try delicious hyper-local dishes that you won’t find outside of the Princes' Islands. Some of the most popular dishes include fish and meze (Turkish appetizers).

The islands have several historical sites, including churches, monasteries, and old mansions that are worth visiting. Some of the most popular sites are the Aya Yorgi Monastery on Heybeliada Island and the Prinkipo Greek Orphanage on Büyükada Island. Boat tours are available basically all around the islands, which offer stunning views of the islands and the sea. You can also take a fishing tour or a sunset cruise. The town near the Princes' Island Ferry will have plenty of these businesses. 

Princes' Islands are worth visiting year-round, but the islands also host several cultural events throughout the year, including music festivals, theater performances, and art exhibitions, so check with the tourist office to see what's on when you're there.

Agva Beach near Istanbul

Şile and Agva Beach

Located about 50 miles east of Istanbul, Şile Beach is one of the most popular Black Sea Beaches for locals, and international tourists have begun to take notice as well. The beach is surrounded by brilliant greenery and has crystal-clear water, making it picture-perfect for swimming and sunbathing.

Travel distance from Istanbul

The drive from Istanbul to Şile Beach takes around 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on traffic. There are public transportation options available, including buses and dolmuş (which are shared taxis ideal for cost-conscious travelers), which will be the most affordable way to reach the beach. Additionally, many visitors, especially older tourists, choose to join organized tours to Şile Beach, which can provide a convenient and stress-free way to reach the beach while also offering the opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of the region.

Activity recommendations

Şile Beach Club has crystal clear waters and is ideal for swimming. The water is usually cool and refreshing, which is especially nice on hot summer days when you can take advantage of their beach umbrellas. It’s a long shore with a golden beach, making it perfect for sunbathing. Şile Beach is a great place to try out some water sports. You can rent equipment for kayaking, paddle boarding, and windsurfing. For some recreation on land, the surrounding area is full of forests, cliffs, and waterfalls. 

The Şile Lighthouse, which has been guiding ships along the coast for over a century, is also worth a visit. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants along the beach that serve local Turkish cuisine and drinks. Try some fresh seafood, Turkish tea, or a refreshing ayran (a yogurt-based drink). 

Şile Beach is usually quite crowded during the peak summer months, especially on weekends and public holidays. If you prefer a quieter and more peaceful experience, you may want to visit during the shoulder season (May or October) when the weather is still pleasant, but the crowds are more manageable.

Nice beaches close to Istanbul

Suma Beach

Suma Beach is a popular destination located very close to Istanbul. It's known for its laid-back atmosphere and beautiful setting on the shores of the Marmara Sea. It’s near Kilyos, so you can visit both of these beaches in a single afternoon, especially if you have a car. 

Travel distance from Istanbul

Travel times to Suma Beach from Istanbul can vary depending on your location within the city and the mode of transportation you choose. By car, the drive from central Istanbul to Suma Beach takes approximately 45 minutes to one hour. You can take public transportation, with the bus ride lasting between 60 and 90 minutes. 

Activity recommendations

Suma Beach is great for water sports like windsurfing, kitesurfing, and stand-up paddleboarding (which is all the rage these days). The beach has ideal conditions for these sports, with steady winds and calm waters.

Suma Beach is probably most famous for its rowdy nightlife, with several private beach clubs and bars that stay open very late. The beach has a beautiful backdrop of green hills and trees, with lots of walking and hiking trails nearby that offer stunning views of the sea and surrounding landscape.

The best time to head to Suma Beach is during the summer months, from June to September, when the weather is warm and sunny. That’s also when the clubs and bars are most crowded, which can be a plus or minus, depending on your perspective.

Conclusion

Your trip to Istanbul should certainly not revolve entirely around hitting the best beaches in Turkey, but getting out of the city for an afternoon or weekend trip is a great way to experience the local culture and take a breather from the bustling metropolis. Plus, when visiting Istanbul on a budget, beaches are great ways to save money. Luckily, Turkey has some of the best beaches in the world, and many of them are just a short drive or ferry ride from the city center or even Istanbul Airport. You might feel like you’ll miss out on something in the city while you’re on your way out of town, but as soon as your feet feel the sand and you see the gorgeous Marmara Sea, you’ll know you made the right decision. 

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