10 Best Beaches in Izmir
While the city of Izmir itself doesn't have much happening when it comes to beach time, the surrounding Aegean Sea coastline has plenty of sandy shores within day-tripping distance of town.
The most famous beach in Izmir province is the Çeşme Peninsula. Both Çeşme Town and Alaçatı on the peninsula are major summer vacation hot spots, particularly beloved for their boutique hotel scene.
The Çeşme Peninsula is also Turkey's main windsurfing and kitesurfing destination, so it's the place to beeline to if you're into these water sports or want to learn.
Away from Çeşme, many of the beaches in Izmir province see far fewer foreign visitors than resort towns farther south along the Aegean coast in the Bodrum and Marmaris area and along Turkey's Mediterranean, around Antalya.
Instead, this region has a booming domestic tourism scene, with the shores packed with city slickers from Izmir, Istanbul, and inland centers throughout July and August.
To discover this coastal region, use our list of the best beaches in Izmir.
Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.
1. Ilıca Beach
This long strip of soft white sand rims the town of Alaçatı on the Çeşme Peninsula, 79 kilometers west from central Izmir.
It's one of the most popular beach destinations in Izmir province and a favored summer vacationing hot spot for local tourists from Istanbul, who arrive in Alaçatı in their droves during July and August, attracted as much by the chichi boutique hotels and dining scene, set in restored stone-cut Greek-Ottoman buildings, as the sun and sand.
The beach is a great choice for families, as the water stays shallow for a good 100 meters offshore, making it safe for little ones to splash about in.
Facilities are excellent, with plenty of sun loungers and shades to rent, bathrooms and freshwater showers close by, and plentiful café and restaurant choices just a short hop from the sand.
There are private sections of the beach with entrance fees, as well as large, free entry public sections.
Ilıca Beach is well known as a world-class windsurfing destination, and you'll find several water sports operators here dedicated to offering both windsurfing lessons and multi-day lesson packages and equipment rental.
2. Pamucak Beach
Renowned for being one of the best wild beaches in Izmir Province, Pamucak is a long, wide sweep of golden sand backed by olive groves and scrubland.
Right at the southern end of the beach are resort hotels, plus there is a beach café, but the rest of the vast expanse of sand stretching north to the estuary of the Küçük Menderes River is undeveloped.
You'll find sun shades and loungers to rent at the beach café, but most people who come here, head north along the beach to pick their own private spot and bring along their own beach chairs, or simply throw down a towel.
The beach is very popular from late afternoon onwards, with sunset quad bike tours and horse riding tours from Kuşadası, so that's when the sand is at its busiest. Otherwise, this is one of the top spots on the Aegean Coast to get away from the crowds.
The waves can be quite big here, so if you have young children with you, or you're not a confident swimmer, take extra care when in the water.
Pamucak is nine kilometers west from Selçuk (home to Izmir province's most famous tourist attraction — the mighty ruins of Ephesus) and 70 kilometers south of central Izmir, right at the southern point of Izmir Province.
3. Altınkum Beach
The low-key vibe of Altınkum Beach garners it many fans, who proclaim it the best strip of sand on the Çeşme Peninsula.
The white sand here, rimmed by a low hill of coastal scrub, laps shallow, crystal-clear, turquoise-hued water.
There are a couple of private beach clubs with entrance fees that have cafés, as well as sun loungers and shade areas both on the sand and on the grassy bank beyond.
The rest of the beach is a free public beach with basic facilities of public bathrooms. Bring your towel to throw down on the sand (or purchase a cheap beach chair and shade), and pack a picnic lunch.
Swimmers should be aware that the water here is noted as being much colder (even in July and August) than other beaches on the peninsula, which — depending on your outlook — is either rejuvenating or a bit of a shock to the system.
Altınkum Beach is on the south shore of the western headland of the Çeşme Peninsula, 9.5 kilometers southwest of central Çeşme Town and 95 kilometers west of Izmir.
4. Mordoğan Beaches
The village of Mordoğan, on the east coast of the Karaburun Peninsula, is rimmed by several stretches of beach.
At the northern end of town is the wide, golden sand and shingle strip of the free public Ardıç Beach, the largest beach in town.
The municipality operates a café and beach facilities, with freshwater showers and bathrooms here. They also hire out sun loungers and shades at very reasonable fees, and they've set up public-use sunshades in some areas of the beach for those who want to throw their towel down on the sand for free.
The water is very shallow for a long way out, and the seabed is sandy underfoot, providing safe and easy access for unconfident swimmers and small children.
Right in the center of Mordoğan just north of the marina, lining the palm-tree-rimmed waterfront promenade district, is the narrow sandy strip of Kocakum Beach.
This beach has been recently improved by the local municipality, with areas set up with sun loungers and shades for rent and more free sunshades for public use. There is plenty of café and restaurant choice just a hop from the sand back on the promenade.
Just south of Mordoğan is Alifendere Bay, a small cove with a short length of shingle and sand beach that curves around to dramatic white rock cliffs. It's accessed by a dirt road and is a favorite spot for wild campers to set up their tents and anyone else who enjoys a nature beach.
Mordoğan is 87 kilometers northwest from Izmir.
5. Pırlanta Beach
Also known as Diamond Beach, Pırlanta is on the western headland of the Çeşme Peninsula, nine kilometers west of Çeşme town and 94 kilometers west of central Izmir.
The fine grey sand here stretches for about 600 meters, with the shoreline backed by shady trees. Most of it is a completely free public beach, though one area is private, with an entrance fee for access.
The water here is noted for its exceptional clarity, and it is shallow for a decent length offshore, so it's a good beach for families.
Sun beds and shades are available for rent from the scatter of cafés dotted along the beach length, which also offer refreshments and simple meals. But many locals, here for the day, bring their own chairs and shades.
Thanks to the near-constant winds offshore, Pırlanta Beach is known as a major kitesurfing destination, and there are kitesurfing operators on the sand who offer lessons, as well as equipment rental.
6. Mimoza Beach
This small, pretty cove, surrounded by rolling coastal hills and fronted by incredibly calm and shallow aquamarine sea, sits on the northern point of the Karaburun Peninsula.
The beach itself is a very narrow strip of pebble and shingle shore, which, unsurprisingly with this lack of space, gets absolutely crammed in high summer with sun loungers and shades for rent from the various cafés, restaurants, and boutique hotels that directly front the strip.
Extra sunbathing room is available from the pontoons and piers, owned by the various businesses, which jut out into the bay.
Due to the lack of waves and sheltered shallow waters, it's a hugely popular spot for pedal boats, kayaking, and row boats (available to rent from many of the shorefront businesses).
Mimoza Bay is in the settlement of Iskele, which is 103 kilometers northwest from central Izmir and 92 kilometers northeast from Çeşme Town.
7. Manal Cove
One of the Karaburun Peninsula's most picturesque bays, Manal Cove may only have a thin sliver of pebble shore to soak up the sun on, but most people are here to swim in the still and crystal-clear water and then simply enjoy the views of pine- and fir-tree-studded slopes wrapping around the turquoise Aegean Sea.
There are few facilities here – just a café selling refreshments and simple meals, which also rents out sun loungers and shades.
On a summer weekend, if you don't get here early, expect all the sun loungers to be taken and the limited shore space to be completely packed.
Outside of weekends, particularly if you're here in the morning, it's a tranquil idyll with hardly anyone else here.
Manal Cove is eight kilometers south of Mordoğan and 80 kilometers west of central Izmir.
On the northwestern coast of the Karaburun Peninsula is a beach that many in-the-know locals proclaim to be among the best in the Izmir region.
Badembükü is a secluded strip of sand, accessed by a twisting road through citrus orchards.
The well-off-the-main-road location keeps the vast amount of the peninsula's beachgoers away, which makes this a great, uncrowded spot even in the height of summer.
The wide, golden-sand and shingle beach sweeps for a decent length down the shore, hugged by coastal hills.
Facilities (including bathrooms, freshwater showers, and rental of sun loungers and shades) are provided by the bay's one café, which is open for business from approximately May to September.
The sea is nearly always wavy here, as there's a constant offshore breeze, and the water is also much deeper here than at the beaches along the peninsula's eastern coast. Parents with small children and unconfident swimmers should stay close to shore.
9. Boyabağı Cove
Just outside the village of Inecik on the east coast of the Karaburun Peninsula, Boyabağı Cove is a horseshoe-shaped bay with a scoop of beach at its center, sided by low cliffs.
Come in spring, when the bay is backdropped by wildflowers, to see the cove at its most colorful.
At all times of year, though, the narrow thread of shingle shore leads out to the calm light blue-green waters of the bay, which are shallow for a good few meters offshore and incredibly clear.
The only facility on the beach is a café at one end, with a great outdoor terrace overlooking the sea.
The beach gets busy on summer weekends, but on weekdays is still quiet, and if you come on a weekday outside of the peak summer months of July and August, you may even be lucky enough to get the entire place to yourself.
Boyabağı Cove is eight kilometers north of Mordoğan and 93 kilometers northwest of Izmir.
10. Eski Foça
The little town of Eski Foça (Old Foça; once Ancient Phocaea) hugs a rocky bay, 63 kilometers north from central Izmir.
Although there is a narrow strip of sand on the seafront, slap in the middle of the old town near the marina and the castle, the better beaches are speckled across the cliffs of the bay.
Çanak Koyu is a little cove backed by low cliffs with a sandy shoreline in the south of Eski Foça's bay, just a two-kilometer walk from the center of town.
The bay has been kept natural, with no facilities on the shore, though there are bathrooms nearby for beachgoers, and it's only a short hop to the nearest shop if you need refreshments and snacks.
The seafloor here is very stony, so wading shoes can be a useful purchase for paddlers with soft feet.
For more beaches, head northeast along the rocky coastline, which runs northeast from Eski Foça to Yeni Foça. This is a major beach resort destination for Turkish summer vacationers, and although many of the strips of sand here are privately divided up by the beachfront hotels, you'll find small coves and bays for dips in the sea.