10 Amazing Beaches to Take a Dip in Istanbul
With Istanbul surrounded on almost all sides by water and summers in the city scorching hot, there’s bound to be a few good beaches for everyone to enjoy. While the Bosphorus doesn’t have many beaches, in particular, you can visit some of the public beaches that the municipality operates, or pay to enter some of the many good beach clubs that have all day and all-night parties, great music and good facilities.
Turkey has got a great number of beaches, and some are certified Blue Flag too, but if you’ve only ventured to Istanbul in the hotter months, then read on below so you can swim at the many beaches in the city. Alternatively, you can also take a day trip out of the city too!
In the summers, the beaches are extremely busy so it’s best to go early and enjoy the water before the crowds. Most of the beaches are either in the far North on the Black Sea coast or south where the Sea of Marmara is. This is also where you’ll find the rock/pebbled beaches of the Princes’ Islands or Adalar in Turkish, which can be reached via public transportation on Şehir Hatları ferries, run by the Istanbul Municipality. All the islands can easily be reached from Kabataş or Beşiktaş or Kadıköy. There are also no cars allowed on the island, so its either a horse-drawn carriage, walking or a bike that’ll take you places here.
There are a few public beaches in the city such as Menekşe Beach in Küçükçekmece and Güneş Beach in the district of Bakırköy, near the Florya train station. A few are great such as the Caddebostan beach. However, public beaches are a hit and a miss: there can be entrance fees, facilities can be scarce, food and drinks are sometimes not allowed.
Furthermore, there could be high entrance fees (differing fees for weekends and the week) for private beach clubs and enjoying a dip in the sea depends on the availability of lounge chairs and also cleanliness. Also, if there are jellyfish or seaweed, decide for yourself if it’s worth swimming in the Sea of Marmara, especially the Princes’ Islands. Nonetheless, there are a few good beaches in and around the city that you can reach easily with a car or a taxi (or a bus, then a taxi). You can find a list of public beaches in the Istanbul Municipality’s website.
Take your pick and pack your swimsuit, a few snacks and drinks and maybe a portable chair, a parasol, if you please (also a lifejacket for those rough seas and you’re a beginner swimmer – fair warning for riptides and undercurrents in the Black Sea!) Now, let’s check out some of the best beaches Istanbul has to offer.
Kilyos in the far North of Istanbul, also called Kumköy (literally meaning ‘sand village’), is known for its long sandy beaches on the Black Sea coast. During the summer months, the whole area is full of beachgoers taking a dip in the sea and during warmer months, the beaches are packed with Istanbullites escaping the city. The town has several hotels, beach clubs, public beaches and restaurants.
And, why not — it’s a perfect getaway from the city that’s only 25 minutes away by car/taxi from Hacıosman metro station, or approximately 45 minutes to 60 minutes drive from Istanbul city centre.
When you get to the town, you can take a walk and explore the village. There are several beach clubs in the area – Solar Beach, Tiramata and Silver – that you’ll to pay for – either for beach parties, good music or for the facilities. The place also has public beaches where you may pay for a lounge chair or just take a dip and spread out on a beach towel but facilities (toilets, for example) may not be to standard.
ADDRESS: Kumköy, 34450 Sarıyer/İstanbul
take the 151 bus from sariyer or take a dolmuş
Located not far from Kilyos town, Uzunya is in Demirciköy in a beautiful secluded bay surrounded by green hills on both sides. This particular beach charges an entrance fee but there’s a great vibe inside: floor pillows, bean bags on a landscaped green area, a cafeteria and restaurants serving fish and other meals inside. You can also prefer to do some camping or park your caravan.
The village of Demirciköy has camping, rock climbing and motocross facilities not far away from this beach. So if you plan ahead, it could be a great day spent in the outdoors doing other activities other than just a swim.
ADDRESS: Dalyan Mevkii on Kilyos Yolu, Demirciköy, kilyos/Istanbul
take a taxi from kilyos or bus 151 from sariyer that takes you to demirciköy
An hour or so north of Istanbul from Üsküdar, you’ll be at this small town that sees its numbers balloon in the summer months with those escaping the Istanbul heat. There are a few public and private beaches here, restaurants with fresh seafood and a striking lighthouse in town. However, the sea currents here can be rough and for advanced swimmers only.
A few beach clubs are worth checking out: Şile Life Beach and Aqua Beach Club. Also, check out the Ağlayan Beach spot and during the off-season (not summer) it’s a picnic place. Further away, there are camping spots also available such as the Kayıp Ada Camp. From the Harem bus station and board a bus no. 139 or 139A to go here.
ADDRESS: 34980 Şile/İstanbul
take the 139 bus from üsküdar to Şile
Ağva‘s main town is an hour East of Şile and there are few beaches here, a few minutes away from the centre. However, the town is better-known for its riverside board and breakfast hotels and a few camping areas as well. As such, if you plan to spend time here in the summer, then also take advantage of doing both and take a riverside cruise and also spend time in the water. Board bus 139A from Harem station or Üsküdar to get here.
ADDRESS: Ağva Merkez, 34990 Şile/İstanbul
take the 139A bus from üsküdar to Ağva
Caddebostan on the Asian side of the city has three different municipal beaches, a rescue boat and ambulance available as well. There are sunbeds, umbrellas, cabins, a shower and toilers. An entrance fee of 25 TL for adults and 12 TL for students is charged here for a sunbed, an umbrella, a changing room and a shower area usage.
These beaches are very popular during the summer and packed. There are lounge chairs available, a few cafes, parasols, changing rooms and even a lifeguard. After a day spent here, you could explore the coastal parks of the area as well. At night, head to Bagdat Avenue to do some shopping or have a bite to eat, as it’s a few minutes away!
ADDRESS: Caddebostan, Park İçi Yolu, 34728 Kadıköy/İstanbul
take a dolmuş from Kadıköy or get off in erenköy train station and walk down to the beach
The biggest island of Büyükada is the best getaway for Istanbullites throughout the year with its green nature with its national nature park, its hilltop church/monastery and serene waters. However, during the summer months, day-trippers from the mainland populate its beaches and clubs to cool down in waters of the Marmara. The island is also full of beautiful Ottoman-era houses and worth exploring!
There are a lot of beach clubs around the island and one of them is the Blue Beach Club, very close to the port. Most clubs have an entry fee but they also include a sunbed, showering facilities and a parasol. Drinks and food are extra. Some clubs even have wifi such as the Yorükali Hotel Beach. Entrance fees are priced higher for the weekends when there are more crowds as well.
ADDRESS: Büyükada-nizam, Albayrak Sk., 34970 Adalar/İstanbul
ferry: from kadiköy
Heybeliada has a few beach clubs such as the Ada Beach Club surrounded by pine trees (pictured above). In the secluded bay of Pine Harbour, you’ll find Ada Beach club and during the summer, you’ll see lots of yacht and boats anchored out in the bay. On the other hand, German beach in the far west of the island and then there’s the Değirmenburnu beach. Most beaches’ entrance charges on the island include a sunbed, umbrella, shower, toilet and dressing room.
The German beach is one of the most beautiful beaches with no fees. It’s situated in a secluded bay and is quite rocky. There’s a little wood pier jutting out in the sea here and with a stunning view of neighbouring Burgazada and Kınalıada. Be sure to roam the streets of the island to discover beautifully decorated houses in intricate designs, such as the Inönü Museum House, home of the second President of Turkey.
ADDRESS: Heybeliada, 34973 Adalar/İstanbul
Ferry: from kadiköy/Bostancı
Burgazada is one of the most serene islands in the group. If you want to feel that you’re not in Istanbul but somewhere in the Mediterranean, venture out here and rent a bike!
On the island, you’ll find plenty of beaches all within 30 minutes from the ferry port. There are a few beaches such as Mimi Köy, Marta Beach, Çakmakya Family beach, a Burgazada Public beach a mere 5 minutes from the port and Kalpazankaya.
With no entrance fees and a 30 minutes walk from the port in Burgazada, the pebbled beach of Kalpazankaya is tucked away on the far end of the island. The water is serene, but fair warning, it’s a rocky beach with a paved pathway so you’ll have to swim further out to play. There’s also a great seafood restaurant that you can try after a dip by the same name. If museums are your thing, then there’s also a preserved home of celebrated Turkish writer Sait Faik Abasıyanık, where you’ll get to see a historical house, furnishings and remnants of a simple island lifestyle.
ADDRESS: Burgazadası, 34975 Adalar/İstanbul
Ferry: from Bostancı
Kınalıada is one of the smaller islands and better known for its red-hued soil and hence named as such, “henna island”. You’ll probably not find many visitors here. Do plan to come on the weekdays and you’ll be enjoying the beaches much more.
The island has lesser crowds but the beaches and the beach clubs with very few foreigners. This makes it an ideal place to mingle with the locals and grab a bite at the many restaurants associated with the beaches. A few of the beach clubs here are Kamo’s Beach Club around 25 minutes by walking from the port, Onur Beach and Yalı Beach.
After a dip, you can explore the islands many historical houses, Orthodox churches and monasteries scattered around the island.
ADDRESS: Kınalıada, 34977 Adalar/İstanbul
Ferry: from Bostancı
One of the smallest islands, Sedef Island has two beach clubs and one public beach and is a small hidden but charming island. There’s a ferry from Bostancı that you could take in the morning and brings you back in the evening.
There are a few good beaches such as Elio restaurant which has yacht owners also visiting, or you can take a sea taxi with a group of friends and split the cost — this is an expensive beach club, be warned! On the other hand, there’s another alternative called the Liya Beach Club not far away from the port. Here, you can spend the whole day swimming.