A lot of first-time visitors to Istanbul are surprised to discover just how naturally beautiful this gem in Turkey really is.
One of the most important cities in the Mediterranean (as well as one the oldest), Istanbul offers a ton of outdoor adventure opportunities – even if your idea of an outdoor adventure while vacationing in Istanbul only involves relaxing on the beach!
Below we share our picks for the very best beaches in Istanbul Turkey, the kinds of beaches you absolutely MUST make a priority on your itinerary the next time that you visit.
Let’s jump right in.
Check out our post on 10 Best Beaches in Jeddah.
The Best Beaches in Istanbul Turkey
While this beautiful beach is located about 41 km north of the Istanbul city proper it is still technically located in the “Greater Istanbul Metro Area” – and just might be our pick for the very best of the best beaches in is stand ball Turkey.
A small seaside village with a beautiful, sandy beaches that the Black Sea pushes onto, if you’re looking for the perfect beach trip while staying in Istanbul (or anywhere in the area, for that matter) this has to be at the top or near the top of your list.
While there is a small entry fee charged to gain access to the beach here, you aren’t just going to be renting a patch of sand to do some sunbathing on or a bit of surf to go swimming in.
The Kilyos village has incredible cafés and restaurants, gorgeous hotels and boutiques, and a whole host of other amenities for you to enjoy as well. You’ll love the time you spend here!
Just a bit west from the beach we mentioned above is Burc Beach, another gorgeous semi private beach that has a near legendary reputation for the kite surfing it offers.
This beach also sits on the Black Sea and is made up of beautiful, soft to the touch and always well groomed yellow sand.
A lot of regular visitors to withstand bowl consider this beach to be the most well-equipped as far as outdoor amenities and facilities (especially those geared around watersports) are concerned.
If you want to do a lot of swimming, water skiing, kite surfing, and the like this is a cool, chilled out, laid-back kind of beach excursion for sure.
Şile and Ağva
Situated along the eastern border of Istanbul are two Black Sea villages situated directly on a stretch of pretty rugged coastline that is filled to the brim with beautiful, golden sand beaches to enjoy.
These two “twin towns” are at the same time relics to a much earlier time. Featuring a lot of mid 18th and mid 19th century architecture, including 1/19 century lighthouse, you’ll feel like you have been transported back in time while you are walking along the beach or through the villages.
The harbor spot is somewhere you’ll want to visit at least once. It’s a hustling and bustling part of these communities, and many of the best dining options available are going to be located just a few steps away.
If you really want to liven up your beach experience here consider going for a boat ride (out into the Black Sea or up the nearby river). Make sure you bring your camera!
Çilingoz Nature Park
North of the city of Istanbul you’ll find a beautiful beach worth exploring in one of the city’s largest nature parks.
Those that adventure out to this beach are going to want to be well aware of just how rustic the accommodations here are.
Unlike the beach options we highlighted above (seaside villages and towns built to accommodate beach going tourists), this community is a lot more rugged. You’ll find a lot of camping opportunities, cabins and bungalows for rent, and all kinds of outdoor activities on top of everything you can do at the beach.
A 45 acre nature park is located very close to the beaches here, opening up an opportunity for you to explore beautiful lakes and rivers, waterfalls and caves, and some of the most beautiful natural forests in this part of the world.
True Blue Beach
Many of the best beaches in Istanbul Turkey have a “cover charge” associated with them – but not the True Blue Beach.
This beautiful, massive, relatively centrally located sandy beach in Istanbul is one of the most popular hotspots for natives and vacationers to come and congregate together. There’s a very lively atmosphere here, a real energy and buzz, and it’s more an outdoor meeting place and party spot than anything else.
On top of the beautiful beach amenities you’ll find here there’s also a gorgeous swimming pool, a world-class Mediterranean restaurant, and one of the best bars in the city for you to take advantage of at True Blue Beach, too.
If you’re going to plan your vacation around this hotspot, though, try to make sure that your visit to Istanbul happens between May and June. Those are the best months to really soak in all the flavor and atmosphere this hotspot has to offer.
Dalia Beach Club
Pretty much the exact opposite of the True Blue Beach in Istanbul, the Dalia Beach Club is a much more laid-back, much more slow-paced, and considerably more intimate beach experience.
The location is very relaxed and very tranquil, away from the normal hustle and bustle that a lot of the best beaches in Istanbul Turkey are known for.
There’s kind of a little cove that even makes the waves along this beach considerably more relaxed than they are elsewhere.
A lot of people looking to sort of slow down their trip and unwind like to spend at least a couple of hours in the sun on this beach. The Turkish food available from the beachside café (especially the seafood) is a highlight.
About as close to the geographical center of the city of Istanbul as you can get (as far as the beaches of this city are concerned, anyway), this beach hugs the Marmara Sea on the “Asian Coast” of Istanbul.
One of the most unique beaches in Istanbul for sure, this is really a series of beaches that are interconnected with one another by a lot of shorefront parks, walkways, and bicycle pathways as well.
You will have to pay a small entry fee to gain access to this beach, but that entitles you to the entire outdoor experience here. You’ll be able to grab sun loungers, sunshades, a spot on the sand and plenty of time in the surf for almost nothing.
Don’t expect this to be a lazy day at the beach, though.
Because this is located so close to the center of Istanbul there’s always a ton of people here. There’s a buzz and an energy for sure. It’s not a place to grab a midday nap!
Maybe the most popular of all the Princes Islands, there are a number of small little each coves found all around this island that you can explore.
While a lot of these sandy beaches are pretty packed in the summer months, some of them are only ever accessible by shuttle boats or charter boats – and that means there’s a lot more room to stretch out and relax.
The coolest thing about these boat rides is that they include the fee for admission in your shuttle journey. You won’t have to worry about double dipping into your budget when you plan a beach trip out here.
The beaches of Istanbul are quite a bit different than beaches you’ll find anywhere else on the planet.
We’re not just talking about the golden sand that many of these beaches are made up of, either.
There’s something about the atmosphere and the vibe you pick up on the moment you step foot on these Mediterranean beaches is concerned. Sometimes it amps you up and gets you ready to do some watersports adventures, other times it shows you out and lets you relax and unwind – and sometimes it’s a combination of the two.
At the end of the day, though, you can’t go wrong visiting any of the best beaches in Istanbul Turkey. Especially if you start with the options we highlighted above!
Have a look at our other article on Top 10 Best Beaches In Kuwait.
What are the best Istanbul beaches for a nice relaxing day trip?
If you really want to relax and kind of unwind at the beach in Istanbul, try to find one of the shuttle boat beaches and coves in the Princes Islands.
What are the best beaches for watersports and exploring?
As far as watersports and exploring/adventuring are concerned, both of the Kilyos and Burc beaches belong in the top spots of your search.
Are all beaches in Istanbul publicly accessible?
One thing you do want to remember when you are exploring and enjoying the beaches in Istanbul is that many of them are not available totally free of charge. Sure, there are some beaches in Istanbul that you can just sort of walk on and enjoy for the entire day – but many of the best beaches are going to have at least a small fee you have to pay for access.
Top Istanbul Beaches