22/07/2024

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10 Best Beaches in Istanbul (+ Nearby)

17 min read
10 Best Beaches in Istanbul (+ Nearby)

You probably already know that Istanbul is a huge city with so much to see and do. What you might not realize is that it’s also home to some fantastic beach spots to enjoy in the summer months too; even I was surprised to learn this. But, the best beaches in Istanbul for swimming and sunbathing are scattered all around the city, so, you need to have an idea of where to head.

The first time I visited Istanbul, I thought it was all sightseeing and food, and I was totally up for both of those things. Then, my husband suggested we go to the beach; I remember staring at him like he was crazy—beaches in Istanbul? But it turns out he wasn’t losing his mind after all, and there are many beautiful beach spots to enjoy if you feel like a change from sightseeing.

Choosing the best Istanbul beach for you is about pre-planning, like most things in this city. You won’t find swimming spots in the center of Istanbul but venture just a small distance out, and you’ll notice a totally different vibe. Now, heading for a beach day is one of my favorite things to do in the city, and it’s a wonderful way to wind down after all the sightseeing and craziness.

10 Best Beaches in Istanbul

If you want to find the best beaches in Istanbul, you’ll need some prior knowledge; these aren’t places you’ll find advertised in regular tourist information. But that’s where I come in! I’ve put together this list of 10 fantastic beaches in, and very close to, Istanbul, giving you all the information you need to find the best spot for your day’s R&R. From party beaches to nature and chill-out spots, we’ve got a bit of everything.

1. Caddebostan Plajı (Best Location)

Aerial Drone View of Caddebostan / Istanbul Seaside

Caddebostan Plajı is one of the best beaches close to Istanbul; in fact, it’s the closest to the main sights. Located just a few minutes away from downtown Kadiköy, you can walk along the coastal promenade or take a taxi. Once there, the waters are calm, and there are plenty of facilities for a great day on the sand.

This is the first beach I ever went to in Istanbul, and I had a great time. It’s fun to sit on the sand and watch the ferries head out to the Princes Islands as you enjoy the sun. I think this is also possibly the cleanest beach in Istanbul, and if not, it certainly rivals any others. It’s a great spot for families, but it can get very busy during the weekends and school holidays.

There are plenty of cafes and restaurants around the beach if you want some refreshments and showers and changing rooms that are free to use. There are a few sun-loungers and parasols, but they’re taken quickly, so either get there early or simply find a free spot to lay down your towel.

  • Location: Caddebostan, Park İçi Yolu, 34728 Kadıköy/İstanbul
  • How to Get There: It is a 20-30 minute walk from central Kadiköy, or you can take a taxi in about five minutes, depending upon traffic.
  • Best For: Families, close proximity to the city.
  • Amenities: Changing rooms, showers, restaurants, and cafes close by.
  • Best Tours: Before or after you’ve enjoyed your beach time, how about a walking tour of the Asian side? I’ve done this tour before you get to see so much. Click here for more details.
  • Where to Eat: I seriously enjoyed my meal at Artois Cadde. I had the tastiest pasta here – they also do amazing noodles, so be sure to try those.

2. Anadolufeneri Plajı (Best for History)

A tiny tent and tourists enjoying the sun on the beach, as well as a four-boat park near the beach. A gorgeous, clear sea with a rocky peak on the horizon.

If you’re looking for sandy beaches in Istanbul, Anadolufeneri is a great choice, but I especially recommend it as a must-visit for anyone into history. Here you’ll find Anadolu Feneri Lighthouse constructed in 1856, and hiking up there will reward you with the most stunning views. This beach is also situated next to Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, which offers great photo opportunities.

But of course, we’re talking about beaches in Istanbul. The beach itself is a small cove; it’s tucked away from everything which gives it a really chilled-out vibe. I really liked the traditional fish restaurants around the beach, which made for a nice end to a perfectly chilled-out day.

There aren’t any facilities on the beach so make sure you take everything you need, however, you can buy drinks and snacks from the nearby shops. It never gets particularly crowded, which is a plus point, but you’ll probably only spend a couple of hours here before wanting to explore the area around the beach.

  • Location: Anadolufeneri, Beykoz Cd., 34829 Beykoz/İstanbul
  • How to Get There: A ferry leaves Beşiktaş several times per day, and the journey takes around 1.5 hours.
  • Best For: History, views, relaxation.
  • Amenities: There are cafes close by for refreshments, but no amenities on the beach itself.
  • Where to Eat: Captain’s Restaurant is close to Anadolufeneri and serves the most delicious, fresh seafood. The calamari here was some of the best I’ve had in Istanbul, and that’s saying something. You should also try the grilled seabass and salad.

3. Babylon Beach (Best for Atmosphere)

An umbrella and beach chair at the shore. white sand and clean water.

There are some fantastic private beaches down in the Sariyer area of Istanbul and Babylon Beach, Kilyos, is one of my favorites. This is a great beach for families, water-sports lovers, and anyone seeking an upbeat, summertime fun feel to their beach days. I think this is the best beach in Istanbul for swimming because the waters are calm and there are lifeguards on duty during the summer months.

I loved the vibe at this beach, and there are so many sporting activities you can do, including volleyball and soccer. Of course, you’ll probably just want to chill out and enjoy the sun, and there are lots of sun-loungers and parasols to do just that. You pay an entrance fee to go in, which is around 100 lira, and then pay extra for any food and drink you purchase from the restaurant, or several street food carts on the beach itself.

In the summer there are DJ parties in the evenings. I went to an event in July, and it was like being on a castaway beach with a tropical vibe. The drink prices were also really reasonable, with a cocktail costing around $7.

  • Location: Demirciköy Mevki Kilyos Yolu, 34450 Sarıyer/İstanbul
  • How to Get There: You can take a taxi from Taksim or Sultanahmet and reach Babylon Beach in around half an hour, depending on traffic. Alternatively, you can take the Metro to Haciosman and then a taxi the rest of the way. Click here for Metro details.
  • Best For: Water sports, beach parties, music, atmosphere, food.
  • Amenities: Sun-loungers and parasols, changing rooms, showers, lifeguards, and restaurants on-site.
  • Where to Eat: There are restaurants and street food carts inside the beach which you pay extra for. The grilled fish from here is delicious, but you can also find many international options, such as burgers and pizza.

4. True Blue Beach (Best for Entertainment)

A day picture of a clean beach, white sand, clear water green mountain at the far sight.

True Blue Beach is another popular beach in Istanbul on the Asian side, around 30 minutes away from central Kadiköy. I went to this beach for my birthday and had a fantastic time; it’s a really vibrant place, and as a private beach club, you have everything you need for a dreamy day in the sun.

This beach is popular with groups of friends who want to enjoy themselves, and there’s music and general merriment all day long. During the summer months, there are often beach parties and DJ performances at night. In addition to the beach itself, there’s also a large swimming pool and a top-class restaurant serving delicious Mediterranean meals.

The sunset from here is truly something else, with nothing but sea and ferries in the distance. It’s not the most relaxing place as there’s so much going on, but if you’re after a vibrant and fun day, I highly recommend heading here. Keep in mind that during the peak summer months of July and August, it’s a good idea to get there as early as you can to bag the best spot.

  • Location: Fenerbahçe, Atlıhan Sk. No:30, 34726 Kadıköy/İstanbul
  • How to Get There: The number FB1 bus runs from Kadiköy to Fenerbahçe Park regularly throughout the day, and the beach is just a couple of minutes walk away from the bus stop. Click here for bus information.
  • Best For: Parties, entertainment, facilities, music.
  • Amenities: Sun-loungers and parasols, changing facilities, toilets, showers, lifeguards, and restaurants.
  • Where to Eat: Khalkedon Fenerbahçe is an upmarket place for a meal after a day on the beach. The range of meze here is mind-blowing, and the grilled meat is so delicious.

5. Ormanli Plajı (Best for Getting Away from the City)

A top view of the beach and landscape, with a green mountain in the distance.

About one hour away from the main hustle and bustles of the city you’ll find one of the best beaches near Istanbul: Ormanli Plajı. The drive to this beach is almost as good as the actual beach itself, with winding roads shaded by trees; it’s difficult to imagine that you’re so close to such a massive city. I should say from the start that this is a pebbly beach, but the water is deliciously clear and calm.

Many people choose to wild camp around this beach as it’s so naturally beautiful, but it’s also ideal for a laid-back beach day. You’ll need to take towels with you as there aren’t any sun-loungers, but there are showers and changing facilities just off the beach. You’ll find markets and cafes here for any refreshments you may need throughout the day.

During the summer weekends and school holidays, this beach can get pretty crowded as it’s a low-cost option for people living in Istanbul. Getting there early should address that issue, or simply avoid the weekend altogether.

  • Location: Ormanlı, 34540 Çatalca/İstanbul
  • How to Get There: There are Metro links, but they go the long way around and take too long; it’s a much better idea to hire a car or get a taxi. The journey will take just over an hour.
  • Best For: Families, nature, getting away from the city, camping.
  • Amenities: There are changing rooms and showers but no other amenities at this beach.
  • Where to Eat: Son Fasıl Restaurant is a few minutes away from the beach and serves delicious grilled meat and salads. The outdoor seating area is perfect for watching the sunset while you eat.

6. Uzunya Beach (Best for Families)

A beach club by the sea with many umbrellas surrounded by green land and mountains.

Demircikoy is located around an hour from the center of Istanbul, and it’s home to the best beach in Istanbul for families. Uzunya Beach is sandy and quiet, the water is shallow, and there’s plenty of space to roam. There aren’t a huge amount of facilities, but I think that’s what gives it its charm in many ways; it has an authentic, build sandcastles and splash the sea kind of vibe.

There are hiking trails around the area and some great restaurants, including Uzunya Beach Restaurant which is famous for its extremely fresh seafood dishes. If you get to the beach early enough, you may be able to find a sun-lounger and parasol, which extend onto the sand and the grassed area, but there’s plenty of space for towels if you don’t.

I think this is one of the best beaches in Istanbul for natural beauty and getting away from it all.

  • Location: Demirci, 34450 Sarıyer/İstanbul
  • How to Get There: Driving or taking a taxi is probably the easiest way to get to this beach, which should take around half an hour, depending on traffic. Alternatively, you could take the Metro as far as Haciosman and then get a taxi for the rest of the way. Click here for Metro details.
  • Best For: Families, chilling out, nature.
  • Amenities: A few sun-loungers and parasols are available if you get there early enough. There’s a restaurant just off the beach itself.
  • Where to Eat: Uzunya Beach Restaurant is the closest spot to the beach and offers snacks all day long.

7. Kisirkaya Plaji (Best for Photo Opportunities)

Sandy beach and a blue clear sea in the background.

Kisirkaya Beach is probably the most beautiful beach in Istanbul; in fact, for me, it is. If you love to take photographs to fill up your Instagram reel, this is the place to go. It’s got that wild vibe about it, but the sand is so soft; spending time here is just a joy. This is one of the Black Sea beaches in Istanbul, and while it can get a little windy around this spot, whipping up some waves, it only adds to the beauty.

I should point out that those waves can be quite dangerous from time to time, so make sure you pay attention to lifeguard flags telling you not to swim or go past a certain point. There are a few facilities at this beach, including changing rooms and showers, but you won’t find sun loungers or beach bars; again, it just adds to the charm.

I spent a day at this beach, and while I didn’t go in the water, I really enjoyed just sitting and letting the wind blow away the busyness of Istanbul.

  • Location: Kısırkaya, 34450 Sarıyer/İstanbul
  • How to Get There: Self-drive or a taxi is the best way to get here. The journey will take around 40 minutes, traffic depending. However, you can cut down on some of the road time by taking the Metro to Haciosman and then getting a taxi for the remaining 20 minutes. Click here for Metro details.
  • Best For: Nature, relaxation, photography.
  • Amenities: There are lifeguards on duty during the summer months and some changing facilities and showers.
  • Where to Eat: I had a delicious Turkish breakfast at Landscape Cafe, and the view really makes the meals here. I can imagine the sunset during an evening dinner would be pretty epic too.

8. Burç Beach (Best for Water Sports)

Aerial view of the island with green trees and a big boat parked near shore and blue sea. An old castle on the top of the hill.

Burç Beach is one of the best private beaches in Istanbul for anyone who loves water sports, and it’s often packed with visitors during the summer months. The vibe at this beach is upbeat and vibrant, so while it’s probably not somewhere to go to get away from it all, it’s definitely somewhere to enjoy some summer fun.

You can try your hand at windsurfing, volleyball, kiteboarding, sailing, and even surfing, thanks to the large waves that often frequent this beach. Despite that, the soft sand and shallow waters are very inviting; just make sure you pay attention to lifeguard instructions about the waves on any given day.

This is one of the best beaches in Istanbul for a student vibe as it belongs to the Boğaziçi University, and as such, you’ll see crowds of students at the weekends. It definitely adds to the fun atmosphere around the beach, but it’s best to arrive early if you want a good spot.

  • Location: Gümüşdere, Sarıtepe Kampüsü, 34470 Sarıyer/İstanbul
  • How to Get There: You can drive from the center of Istanbul or take a taxi in around 40 minutes, but this depends on traffic. Alternatively, the Metro will take you as far as Haciosman, and you can take a taxi from there. Click here for Metro information.
  • Best For: Water sports, activities, fun atmosphere.
  • Amenities: Lifeguards, sun-loungers, parasols, beach bars, restaurants, changing rooms, and showers.
  • Where to Eat: The beach bar itself offers snacks all day long that are surprisingly good. I had a chicken baguette, and it was fresh and tasty. They also sell all kinds of drinks, including alcoholic beverages.

9. Solar Beach (Best for Parties)

A beach umbrella made of dried coconut leaves and a beach chair

Solar Beach is the picture you have in your mind when you think about crazy beach parties and summer fun. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll find it every day between May and September. This beach is also very large so you’re never going to battle for space, and it’s packed with extra things to do, such as a health club, spa, and aromatherapy center.

As one of the best beaches around Istanbul for party people, you can also try different water sports here, or you can wait until the sun goes down and the DJ starts spinning the decks. The party here goes on until the early hours and then starts again when the sun comes up.

There are several long rows of sun-loungers and parasols lining the beach, so if you want to relax, you absolutely can, but if you’re all about the music and fun, head back toward the bar area and the swimming pool. While the party side of it might put some people off, I didn’t find it overwhelming, and I had a great day here.

  • Location: Kumköy, Kilyos Cd. No:32 D:34, 34450 Sarıyer/İstanbul
  • How to Get There: Driving or taking a taxi will get you to this beach in about 45 minutes, traffic depending. However, you can take the Metro to Haciosman, and during the summer, there is a shuttle bus that runs to the beach from outside the Ziraat Bank. Click here for Metro details.
  • Best For: Beach and pool parties, DJs, music, water sports.
  • Amenities: There are sun-loungers and parasols, changing facilities, showers, beach bars, and a restaurant. You’ll also find wellness facilities at this beach.
  • Where to Eat: If you have a craving for Italian food, which I often do, then head to Brio Italian Restaurant close to Solar Beach. I highly recommend you try the mixed pizza here.

10. Golden Beach (Best for Couples)

A clear sea, golden sand, and a green mountain in the distance.

There aren’t many places you can go in Istanbul to really get away from it all; it’s just such a busy place that it’s difficult to escape the hustle and bustle. Most of the time you won’t want to, but if you’re traveling as a couple and you want somewhere that gives a relaxing and romantic vibe, it has to be Golden Beach. It’s the best beach for couples in Istanbul because it’s surrounded by stylish boutique hotels, the sunsets are amazing, and you can chill out in a beachside cabana.

The sea here is shallow and clear and the sand golden, with plenty of sun-loungers and parasols on offer. There’s also a beachside restaurant and bar for all your refreshment needs. While this is a popular beach, it’s quite large and sweeping, so it’s never crowded, and it’s easy to soak up the beach vibe.

I think this is the best beach for a honeymoon in Istanbul; who wouldn’t want to chill out in a beach cabana and be waited on hand and foot? There are also some great bars and restaurants close by, giving you everything you need for a romantic time with your special someone.

  • Location: Rumelifeneri Mahallesi, İskele Cd. No:6, 34450 Sarıyer/İstanbul
  • How to Get There: Depending on traffic, you can drive or take a taxi in about 40 minutes, however, the Metro to Haciosman will save you some road time. You can then take a taxi for the remaining 20 minutes. Click here for Metro details.
  • Best For: Soft sand, relaxation, beach cabanas, couples.
  • Amenities: There are sun-loungers and parasols on the beach, as well as changing rooms and showers. You can also rent a cabana.
  • Where to Eat: Fener Cafe Restaurant is a great all-rounder restaurant, offering local cuisine and international choices. I went for their seafood pasta and it was so flavorsome.

Beaches in Istanbul: FAQs

Now you know the best beaches in Istanbul, you might still have a few lingering questions; it’s quite likely—beaches and Istanbul aren’t two things you’d naturally put together. So, let me answer your lingering queries.

What is the best beach in Istanbul?

Many people consider the best beach in Istanbul to be Caddebostan Plajı, simply because of its close proximity to the city itself. You can easily venture over to Kadiköy for the day and walk around to the beach, before returning a few hours later. However, some of the beaches down in Sariyer are also fantastic options.

What are the best beaches in Istanbul for partying?

Solar Beach and True Blue Beach are two private beaches that are known to be very vibrant and ideal for beach parties. You’ll find a fun vibe no matter what the time of day, and events that run late into the evening.

What is the best beach in Istanbul for families?

Uzunya Beach is a great choice for families, thanks to the calm waters and facilities on site. This beach is also set in a quieter area, so there aren’t any busy roads close by to disrupt the seaside vibe.

What is the best beach in Istanbul for couples?

Golden Beach is a good option for couples thanks to the romantic vibe and amazing sunsets. There are some great restaurants around this beach too, which provide the best ambiance for a special meal for two.

What is the best off-track beach in Istanbul?

While there are regular ferry links to the Princes Islands, some of the best beaches are away from the main transport links. However, they’re truly stunning. If you want something a little easier to find that still falls into the ‘off track’ category, Ormanli Plajı will give you that feeling of being away from the city.

What is the best time to visit Istanbul for sunbathing?

Istanbul’s weather can be changeable no matter what the month, but between May and September you’ll find the best of the weather. July and August are the hottest months, but it can rain at any time. Despite that, downpours do tend to be quite short-lived.

What part of Istanbul has the best beaches?

There are several public beaches in Istanbul, including over in Kadiköy, but the Sariyer area is where you’ll find the cleanest sand and best beach vibes. Many of these beaches are private beaches and often have fees to enter, but they provide all the facilities you need for a great day on the sand.

What beach in Istanbul has the clearest water?

Uzunya Beach is as close to Mediterranean-style conditions as you’re likely to get in this part of the country. The sea here is clear and, if you’re lucky, you might see the odd dolphin.

Are the beaches in Istanbul safe for swimming?

Yes, the designated beach areas in Istanbul are safe for swimming and one of the best ways to cool down in the summer heat. Some beaches are a little windier than others which makes for waves, but overall, Istanbul’s beaches are ideal for swimming and sunbathing.

What’s the safest beach in Istanbul?

The private beach areas around Sariyer are patrolled by lifeguards, which makes them safe for swimming and water sports.

Are there sharks in Istanbul?

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll see a shark in Istanbul. While there are some species of shark in the deeper waters, they’re not likely to come close to shore and attack humans.

What is the closest beach to Istanbul?

The closest beach to Istanbul is Caddesbostan Plajı, which is just around the coastal path from Kadiköy. You can walk in around 20-30 minutes, or you can take the bus or a taxi.

In Conclusion

I won’t blame you if you originally thought Istanbul was in no way a beach destination, but now you know all the best beaches in Istanbul, I hope you’ve changed your mind. Sightseeing in Istanbul is always a treat; I’ve been so many times, but it never gets old or boring. Having the option to chill out in the arms of Mother Nature on a beautiful beach just adds another dimension of fun.

Whether you choose to head to a private, sheltered beach for some total peace and quiet or opt for a fun-filled public beach with music and parties, there’s something for everyone. The coastline around Istanbul is breathtakingly beautiful with rugged cliffs and blue waters; it would be a shame not to spend a day there lapping it all up.

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