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12 Best Beaches near Istanbul

Written by Jess Lee
Jan 7, 2021

Beach time may not be your first thought when you're booking an Istanbul stay, but this megacity, with its center divided by the Bosphorus Strait and suburbs sprawling along the shore of the Marmara Sea, can offer up some sun-and-sea time.

For most Istanbul residents, and travelers to Turkey, proper beach time means a week or two of lazy days at the resorts of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. But when the heat hits in Istanbul on summer weekends, city siders beeline to shores closer to home.

The beaches of the Marmara Sea and Black Sea obviously can't offer up the Mediterranean vibes and stunning coastal panoramas of Turkey's famed coastline farther south. But for a dose of swimming, sea breezes, and sunbathing, they're a welcome day-escape from the city.

When you need a break from the city and sightseeing, plan an excursion with our list of the best beaches near Istanbul.

1. Kilyos Beach

Kilyos Beach

The little village of Kilyos, backing a fringe of sandy shore that laps the Black Sea, is still officially a district of the greater Istanbul metropolitan area despite being 41 kilometers to the north of the central city.

For Istanbul residents, Kilyos is one of the best places to visit for a day trip focused on sun and sea during the summer months. In July and August, try to plan your Kilyos trip for a weekday, rather than a weekend, or prepare for the sand to be packed with fellow beachgoers.

Kilyos Beach is a decently long stretch of yellow sand backed with plenty of cafés and restaurants for dining choices, as well as small hotels and guesthouses if you want to stay the night.

There's an entrance fee for beach access, and good facilities on the shore, including on-duty lifeguards during peak season and sun shades and loungers available for rent.

Public transport here from central Istanbul takes a while but is straightforward. In the northern Istanbul suburb of Hacıosman, you can swap from the metro line to a direct bus to Kilyos.

2. Burç Beach

Hanging chair on Burç Beach

Just a nine-kilometer drive west along the Black Sea coast from central Kilyos, and 42 kilometers north of Istanbul, Burç Beach is a private beach club known for its kite surfing and wide strip of groomed yellow sand.

Due to its excellent facilities and the water sports on offer, it's a great option for both travelers looking for more things to do at the beach than sun slothing and swimming and those seeking a resort-style day on the beach with everything at your fingertips.

The beach club has a range of restaurants and cafés directly backing the sand, plentiful platform and terrace areas set up with beanbags and hammocks, lifeguards on-duty, and a kitesurfing operator where you can learn or rent gear.

During August weekends there's often live music and other entertainment here as well.

Note that the entrance fee for day access here is more expensive than at most other pay-for Black Sea beaches.

3. Burgaz Adası

Madam Marta Cove

Little Burgaz Adası (Burgaz Island) sits between Kinali and Heybeli islands in the Marmara Sea's Princes Islands group. Burgaz is the second island the ferry stops at on the Princes Islands ferry route.

There are small beaches dotted all around the island's coast.

For many Princes Islands beach fans, Burgaz's beaches rate the best out of all this island group's sun-and-sea opportunities thanks to their laid-back vibes.

Two recommended public beaches (no entrance fees) are Burgaz Halk Beach on the eastern shore, just a 500-meter stroll south from the ferry terminal, and quieter Madam Marta Cove near the northwest tip of the island (a 1.5-kilometer walk west from the ferry).

Both have shingle and pebble shores, rather than sand, with sun loungers and shades for rent, as well as cafés and bathrooms on hand.

4. Ağva & Kilimli Cove

Kilimli Cove

The little Black Sea village of Ağva sits 106 kilometers northeast from Istanbul.

It's a favorite destination for nature seekers and hikers, as well as beachgoers, thanks to the tourist attractions of Kilimli Cove, with its dramatic coastal scenery sitting right on the doorstep of town.

Ağva itself is a top choice for a weekend break from the city, and there are plenty of small boutique hotels and guesthouses if you are tempted to stay for more than a day.

The village backs a wide, sandy swoop of public beach with no entrance fee. There's a café-restaurant right on the shore, and loungers and sunshades can be rented.

The sea here is known for strong waves and riptides, so swimmers should always listen to the on-duty lifeguards and only swim where they recommend.

Just to the east, Kilimli Cove is a coastal nature park with camping available on its two beaches, which are connected by a hiking trail over and across the rocky cliffs.

You can get a bus to Ağva from the Istanbul district of Üsküdar but note that this bus is a local service with multiple stops along the way, making for a very long journey.

5. Büyük Ada

Beach on Büyük Ada

Büyük Ada (Büyük Island) is the largest of the Princes Islands and has a few different sandy strips for day trippers to choose from if they've chiefly arrived here to enjoy a day on the beach.

All of the beaches on the island have entrance fees. The main beaches all have shuttle boats, which wait at Büyük Ada's ferry terminal to whizz disembarking beachgoers direct to the sand.

The most popular choice is Nakıbey Beach, which has a narrow strip of yellow sand beside a large sunbathing platform packed with sun loungers and sun shades built on top of the rocks with direct access to the sea.

There's a restaurant and bathrooms on-site, too. The sea at the shore edge is shallow here and great for families with little ones in tow.

This island is the farthest east of the group and the last stop on the Princes Islands ferry route.

6. Caddebostan Beach

Caddebostan Beach

The closest stretch of sand to central Istanbul, Caddebostan Beach rims the shore of the Marmara Sea on the city's Asian coast.

The beach areas are connected, and surrounded, by the long shorefront swath of Dalyan Park, with its cycling and walking trails through the gardens and great kids' playground areas.

There's a fee for entry to the central curvy bay of grey sand, and sun loungers and sun shades are rented at very reasonable rates. A couple of cafés are on-site for snacks, drinks, and lunch.

Don't expect a peaceful beach experience. Caddebostan Beach is a lively place on hot and sunny weekends from June to September, and the holiday vibe continues with Turkish pop music being blasted across the shore.

The water here is shallow, making this a safe choice for families with kids who want a day of splashing around in the sea.

By public transport, there are direct ferries to Bostancı (next to the very eastern edge of the park) from Kabataş and Kadıköy ferry terminals.

7. Heybeli Ada

Beach on Heybeli Ada

Heybeli Ada (Heybeli Island) in the Marmara Sea is the most popular of the Princes Islands to visit on day trips from Istanbul.

In summer, the tiny coves, dotted around the island's shore with their patches of sand, get crammed with sunbathing day-trippers.

Some of the coves are easily accessed by shuttle boats, which transport beachgoers between Heybeli Ada's main ferry port and the beaches. The return boat ride price usually includes entrance to the beach.

There's a few beaches to choose from, but Ada Beach is the most popular patch of sand.

Like all of Heybeli Ada's bays, be aware that the sand area at Ada Beach is tiny (there's more sunbathing space on wooden platforms built along the shore). It's best to avoid heading here on the weekend unless you don't mind the sardine-squeeze of crowds. Facilities at Ada Beach are kept decently clean and well maintained, and there's a restaurant on-site.

Heybeli Ada is the third stop on the Princes Islands ferry route from the central city.

8. Çilingöz Nature Park Beach

Çilingöz Nature Park

This swath of white sand, backed by a rugged, forested coastline and fronted by the Black Sea, is one of the nicest strips of actual sand beach within day-trip driving distance from Istanbul. It's a 118-kilometer drive northwest from the central city.

Çilingöz doesn't have as good a swag of amenities as many other beaches, so it's more suitable for travelers not looking for a full-service beach experience.

There are cafés open during summer, and some basic bathrooms. Your best bet is to bring along all the supplies you're going to need for a day on the beach, including a picnic lunch.

It's a popular spot for overnight camping and stargazing with Istanbul nature lovers who need a break from big city life, and the nature park has walking trails through the forest and across the cliffs for those who want to explore more than the shore.

9. Kınalı Ada

Kınalı Ada

Kınalı Ada (Kınalı Island) is the most northerly of the Marmara Sea's Princes Islands group, and the first stop on the Princes Islands ferry.

It's much less popular as a day trip for foreign visitors than the bigger and more famous islands of Heybeli and Büyük. That doesn't mean this island's beaches will be quieter on summer weekends, though, as plenty of Istanbul locals beeline here for a day of sand and sea.

There are beaches on both the western and eastern shores of the island.

The seabed off Kınalı Ada is very rocky just offshore, so aqua shoes are very useful when wading in to swim. You can buy them at all the beaches here.

On the eastern shore, near the ferry port (350 meters to the south) and facing the hilly coast of Istanbul in the distance, is the narrow shingle strip of Onur Beach. There's an entrance fee for this area, which has sun loungers with shades to rent and a restaurant and bathrooms on-site.

On the island's western coast is the bigger, public (free entry) Kınalı Halk Beach, with its shoreline of shingle and pebble. It's a 1.6-kilometer walk from the ferry, or take the regular shuttle bus, which runs between the ferry terminal and the beach. Sun loungers and sun shades can be rented, and there's a good café backing the beach.

10. Anadolu Feneri Beach

Anadolu Feneri Beach

The little village of Anadolu Feneri sits on the Asian shore, right at the northern end of the Bosphorus, just before the strait meets the Black Sea. It is 50 kilometers north of central Istanbul.

The village is fronted by a narrow strip of shingle and rock public beach from where swimmers cool off in the waters of the Bosphorus. Those with delicate feet may want to bring aqua shoes as it's very stony offshore.

The beach itself isn't set up for sunbathing in comfort. Instead, when you've had your swim and want to chill out, head up the cliff path to one of the fish restaurants and sit outside on their terraces admiring the stunning coastal views while you have a meal or drink.

11. Büyükçekmeçe

Beach at Büyükçekmeçe

Istanbul's suburb of Büyükçekmeçe (40 kilometers west of the central city, on the European side of the shore) wraps around a bay along the Marmara Sea coast.

The yellow-sand beach here is an easygoing option for a day at the seaside, particularly for those with families.

There is a multitude of cafés and restaurants offering up plenty of refreshment opportunities and shady places to sit on the long coastal road that backs the entire beach length.

For when the kids get itchy feet and want some activities, there are boat trips offered, and you can rent bikes to ride along the shore.

The public beach has no entrance fee, but you do need to pay if you want to rent a sun lounger and sun shade.

Getting here from the central historic district of Sultanahmet by public transport requires first taking the tram and then two bus changes, so it's not the most straightforward of routes.

12. Florya Güneş Beach

Florya Beach

This beach rims the Sea of Marmara, in Istanbul's western suburb of Florya, 20 kilometers west of Istanbul's historic central district.

Entrance fees to the sand include use of a sun lounger with sun shade, and there are decent facilities, including lifeguards, bathrooms, and a couple of cafés and restaurants on-site.

Because of the easy access to this beach - you can reach Florya from the center on Istanbul's Marmaray metro line - it's a popular pit-stop if you're desperate for a slice of sand and a swim but can't get out of the city.

Be aware, the water isn't the cleanest here, and the beach area sometimes smells, though on a summer weekend that doesn't seem to dissuade the beachgoers.

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