A guide to the best beaches in Antalya

The Antalya region is known as the Turkish Riviera, so it’ll come as no surprise that the beaches here are gorgeous. From buzzingly popular to surprisingly secluded, these sandy slopes come in all shapes and sizes. And they don’t just attract your average Joe scouting out cheap holidays to Turkey – they’ve also been known to reel in some pretty famous faces down the decades, so you never know who you’ll run into while sunbathing on these shores.

West Beach, Side

The blonde sands of West Beach are the more popular of Side‘s two main beaches, lined with cafes and restaurants, as well as sun loungers and umbrellas. The water is warm and generally shallow, making it especially popular with families. It’s also the site of an endless array of watersports, ranging from snorkelling to water skiing and parasailing.

Another perk to Side’s beaches is that wherever you go, you’re never very far from the town’s smattering of Roman ruins. The beaches are backed with pine trees filled with ruins, while along the harbour are the crumbling pillars of the Temple of Apollo.

Olympos Beach, Antalya

Former beach to the ancient city of Lycia, Olympos can be a little tricky to get to – the town is most popular among backpackers – but the payoff is well worth it. The water here is amazingly clear, fringed by chipped green hills that hide ancient ruins in their midst. The beach is also broken by a freshwater stream that cuts through a gorge, offering a cool respite from the salty sea.

Lara Beach

The Blue Flag award-winning Lara Beach is a top spot for the well-rounded Antalya holidaymaker – it comes ready with miles and miles of blonde sands, watersports equipment and boat rentals, a lively promenade and more beach clubs than you’ll know what to do with. Many of the luxury hotels stationed along the coast lay claim to parts of the beaches, but you’ll still have access to plenty of public patches for optimal lounging.

Patara Beach, Gelemi

With 11 continuous miles of sand under its belt, Patara Beach is the longest in Turkey. It’s also touted as being one of the most beautiful in the world, with white sands that stretch all the way to the Lycian mountains. It’s rarely overly crowded, simply because the shore is incredibly wide.

Patara Beach is a protected spot because of the loggerhead turtles that claim these sands as their own come nesting time, so it’s closed after sunset from May to October. It’s also rumoured to be the birthplace of St. Nicholas, who we fondly refer to nowadays as Father Christmas.

Alanya Damlatas Beach, Alanya

This stretch of Blue Flag award-winning beach is renowned for its clear waters that hide – perhaps not completely – flurries of colourful sea life. It’s also the access point for Damlatas Cave, home to 15,000 years’ worth of stalactites and stalagmites. There’s a staircase that will take you into its craggy depths.

Alanya Damlatas Beach is also where you’ll find a little cove known as Cleopatra – a name it picked up as it’s rumoured to be the point at which Cleopatra docked when travelling to this slice of Turkey for a holiday of her own.

Kaputas Beach, between Kas and Kalkan

Kaputas Beach is a tiny spot of paradise framed by towering cliffs – the water is so blue, it’ll have you pinching yourself to make sure it’s real. It’s only accessed via a steep staircase down to the sand, so there aren’t any facilities on the beach aside from a big cluster of sunloungers and the occasional pop-up beach bar. The water can get pretty deep close to the shore, and often has strong wave – so it might not be the best choice if you’re travelling with little holidaymakers.