Life’s a beach in Istanbul: exploring the city’s shore
During the summer months Istanbul is a little quieter, as Istanbulites escape the city for Turkey’s south coast, visiting their holiday homes in Bodrum, Fethiye or Antalya. In doing so, they miss out on the rather excellent beaches that are located right on their doorstep.
Whether you live in Istanbul, or you’re one of the millions of tourists who flock to the city each year, the beaches outside the hectic city centre are well worth a visit. We’ve rounded up a list of our favourite beaches that are well worth a day trip on a hot day.
Black Sea beaches
Istanbul’s Northern coastline feels like uncharted territory: it’s full of forests, quiet beaches and small Black Sea villages. Many of the beaches are still unknown to travellers, as they’re not mentioned in the usual guide books.
This two kilometre white sand beach is located on land owned by Bogazici University, and has a number of facilities that make for a really good day: sailing boats, canoes and sailboards for hire, as well bars and restaurants. It’s probably not the best place to go for peace and quiet, as loud music blares each afternoon during the summer months.
Suma Beach Club
This private - and ultra-cool - beach is a small haven. The sandy yellow beach, backed by rolling green hills is located on the Black Sea coast, and has free WiFi, a bar and woodland walking trails. The club caters for those of us who like a dose of action with our leisure time, offering volleyball and beach soccer tournaments, as well as more gentle yoga and pilates classes. There are often outdoor concerts on the beach at night, when the beach transforms from a laidback beach club to an outdoor nightclub.
One of the best known North Sea Beaches - if you’re on the party scene, anyway - is Babylon, where Istanbul youth head to swim and sunbathe during the day and party at night. The city is famed among music lovers as it’s become one of Istanbul’s most popular festival venues, and at weekends it’s packed. Facilities are good, with everything from decent restaurants to traditional street food.
If it’s peace and quiet you’re after on the Black Sea, Uzunya Beach might well be perfect for you. Located in a small bay, it has a family atmosphere and is the ideal place to chill out, although it does get busy during the height of the summer months. You can also rent a spot for your tent.
Istanbul's residents are increasingly looking to the city's Black Sea region for lifestyle properties. Properties in Sariyer region enjoy close proximity to the seaside as well as excellent travel links to the central city.
Property investors are also turning to Sariyer property as a medium to long-term investment which will also net significant rental income. This Sariyer villa is a great example of the higher end properties available in the area. These luxury Sariyer properties are highly sought-after by Istanbul professionals with families looking for homes away from the busy city centre.
Princes' Islands Beaches
Made up of four large islands: Buyukada, Heybeliada, Burgazada and Kinaliada; and five smaller ones, these islands offer a treasure trove of sandy beaches for those willing to go the extra distance to seek them out. There’s no traffic on the island so make sure you take your bicycle - or hire a horse and cart.
On Buyukada, the most popular beaches are Yorukali and Nakibey. You can reach the beach on foot, or by horse and cart, or by one of the free water taxis that leave regularly from the pier. On Heybeliada, you’ll have to pay to visit the beach at Ada Beach Club on Cam Harbor, or the Green Beach.
Property on Princes' Island is vanishingly rare. The occasional property does come up for sale, but it's usually sold by word of mouth and not advertised online, due to the private nature of the properties. Property on Princes' Island is ideal for someone who'd like to escape not only the city, but the world itself. There are no roads on any of the islands, and little to do other than relax and enjoy the natural surroundings.
This tucked-away private villa on Heybeliada, the second largest island, is one such example of a historic Princes' Island property. If you'd like to find out more about property on Heybeliada, Buyukada or any of the other islands, please contact us for the latest information.
Marmara Sea Beaches
Florya and Yesilkoy
Located near Ataturk Airport in Bakirkoy, Florya and Yesilkoy have been holiday destinations for Istanbulites dating back to the city’s Ottoman days. They’ve now been swallowed up by the city, but the beaches are still worth a visit. They’re both run by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, and facilities are good. The water is clean - probably the cleanest you’ll find on any city beach.
Golden Beach in Rumelishisari is located where the Marmara and Black Seas meet. Weekenders can enjoy activities like cycling, hiking, rock climbing and beach volleyball, and if you’re really keen to make a weekend of it you can stay in one of the beach bungalows or suites.
If you'd like to discover Marmara Sea property, your best bet is concentrating on the Basin Ekspres, or Media Highway area, a short journey from the Marmara shore. Discover the five best Media Highway investments currently on the market today, chosen for their location, build quality and the likely return on investment and rental income. This promising new area is the result of a huge government investment, which has seen millions of dollars poured into local infrastructure.
The pictured apartment complex in the heart of Media Highway is a great example of some of the new projects being constructed in the area, connecting residents to the local area - which is one of the city's newest financial districts - and around the wider city.
You have to admit, swimming in the deep, blue Bosphorus is an appealing prospect. You can watch water taxis and other boats sailing by, and indulge in some decent people watching among the crowds strolling the waterfront. The Beykoz Kucuksu Beach reopened in the early 2000s, a new clean, municipality-run beach for city dwellers to enjoy. It’s free to enter the beach, but be warned: the capacity is just 300 people, which means you’ll have competition on a sunny day.
This women-only beach is located on the Bosphorus’s exit, on the Asian side of the strait. Once a typical fishing village, the beach is not large but has good facilities, including loungers and umbrellas, and restaurants and cafes.
If you’d like to hit the beach, bear in mind that most beaches are privately owned, so expect to pay an entrance fee. If you’re in Istanbul in the off-season, be warned: beaches are closed outside of the summer months.