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10 cheap beach holidays in Turkey

Turkey is perfect for a low-cost beach holiday: a beer in the clubland resort of Marmaris will set you back just £2.27*, and a bottle of water is just 45p. There’s plenty of cheap accommodation, too: a three-star hotel in the same resort can cost as little as £45 per night. We’ve put together a guide to ten of the best beach resorts in Turkey, from hidden coves to party havens, along with the best places to stay.

1. Patara, nearest airport Dalaman

Patara is Turkey’s longest and possibly most unspoiled beach. As a nesting ground for the endangered loggerhead turtle, the 18-kilometre beach has protected status, and the only man-made structure to be found is a small beach café run by the local authority – profits from which are ploughed back into the community. To get to the beach, you have to pass through ancient Lycian ruins, which include temples, bathhouses and a theatre that are more than 2,000 years old.

Where to stay

The nearest town to the beach is Gelemiş, which has a few, mostly family-run, pensions and hotels. Rose Pension is a charming, family-friendly, 12-room Art Deco building with an outdoor pool and complimentary breakfast.

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Patara

2. Bodrum Peninsula, nearest airport Bodrum

Bodrum is almost the polar opposite of Patara: millions of tourists flock to this upmarket and trendy resort every year. Thankfully, the town still retains its charm despite heavy tourism development, as strict planning laws on building heights mean there are no looming apartment blocks. Among the whitewashed buildings and winding alleyways you can find Orfoz, one of the country’s best seafood restaurants, and the fifteenth-century castle provides excellent views of the bay. Some of the many beautiful beaches along the peninsula include the 500-metre-long Karaincir Beach, one of the best in the area, and Turkbuku Beach, a wonderfully quiet getaway.

Where to stay

The five-star Doria Hotel has an indoor pool with a poolside bar, in addition to a spa that offers body scrubs, aromatherapy and massages. It even has a pillow menu!

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Bodrum

3. Dalyan, nearest airport Dalaman

The beautiful Iztuzu Beach is located around 10 kilometres from Dalyan and, like Patara, it enjoys protected status as a nesting ground for loggerhead turtles. Wooden posts mark parts of the beach that are off limits, and there’s a strict 8pm curfew, but the protection measures mean that there’s very little tourist development to interrupt the stunning views along this 4.5 kilometre swathe of sand. Dalyan itself is packed with excellent restaurants and bars, including the riverside Casa Nova restaurant serving Modern Turkish cuisine, and the well-preserved ruins of the ninth-century BC city of Kaunos are just a short boat ride across the river.

Where to stay

Club Alla Turca is in a great location in the centre of Dalyan, and has an outdoor pool and spa tub, as well as complimentary breakfast.

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Iztuzu beach

4. Alanya, nearest airport Gazipasa

If you like nightlife, then Alanya is the place to come. The harbour front is packed with restaurants and clubs, including the famous Robin Hood Club, which features four floors, each playing a different kind of music. Outside the razzmatazz of the waterfront, Alanya is surprisingly tranquil and beautiful: the castle ruins that loom above the town provide an excellent viewpoint to admire the surrounding mountains, and there are all sorts of interesting streets to follow among the pretty red-roofed houses. Kleopatra Beach is the place to head to for sun and fun, thanks to its excellent sand and a panoply of water sports to enjoy.

Where to stay

The four-star Sifalar Apart Hotel offers two-bedroom family apartments in addition to one-bedroom apartments, and each comes with a kitchen and large balcony as standard.

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Alanya

5. Ölüdeniz, nearest airport Dalaman

Ölüdeniz is synonymous with its famous ‘Blue Lagoon’, a calm bay of stunning turquoise waters. You may well have seen it before – it’s one of the most photographed on the Mediterranean, and regularly features on Turkish tourist literature. The beach that runs in front of Ölüdeniz village is a pebble one, but it’s wonderfully clean, being regularly awarded the coveted Blue Flag award. But Ölüdeniz’s beauty comes at a price – it can get packed at peak season, so plan your trip outside high summer if possible. In terms of great eats, İnci Restaurant (60 Oludeniz Street) offers Turkish cuisine at reasonable prices in an authentic setting.

Where to stay

The curiously named Greenland Hotel is perfect if you’re travelling with the family: its free kids’ club will ensure the wee ones are entertained while you lounge by the pool.

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Oludeniz

6. Antalya, nearest airport Antalya

If you like to have a few more things to do on your holiday other than lounge by the beach, then Antalya is a good pick. This huge city (the fifth biggest in Turkey, with a population of 1.2 million) has plenty of diversions on offer, including an annual film festival and a bustling old town (Kaleiçi). There are tonnes of excellent restaurants to be found in Kaleiçi, including Seraser, home of international cuisine served under chandeliers to the sound of regular live jazz bands. If you’re looking for somewhere to lay down your towel and snooze after a good feed, Konyaalti beach stretches for miles, so you’re bound to find a quiet spot.

Where to stay

Situated right near the beach, Aspen Hotel has a rooftop terrace that’s perfect for watching the sunset, and it offers complimentary breakfast as well as an outdoor pool and sauna.

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Antalya

7. Marmaris, nearest airport Dalaman

The club scene in Marmaris easily rivals that of Alanya – it’s the place to come if you like your holidays loud, sweaty and beset by hazy memories of what you actually did. Head to Bar Street and you’ll be hit by a wall of sound, with a veritable smorgasbord of clubbing options laid out before you: Back Garden Club is one of the best. If you need somewhere to sleep off your hangover, head to Icmeler Beach, a short bus or taxi ride from the town. It’s small but well looked after, and it has idyllic views of the surrounding mountains and islands.

Where to stay

Cettia Beach Resort promises exotic cocktails and swanky rooms, some with unrestricted sea views. And there’s always the spa if the cocktails prove too punishing.

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Marmaris

8. Fethiye, nearest airport Dalaman

Fethiye’s most recent brush with stardom was a cameo role in the James Bond movie Skyfall. After the film’s bombastic opening in Istanbul, James finds himself propping up a bar on Calis Beach, just outside Fetihye. Obviously no one has told him that the sun loungers are free if you buy a drink… But Fethiye also has a much older claim to fame: the astonishing Lycian rock tombs that pepper the hills around the city. The tombs date back to around the fourth century, and some of the more elaborate ones feature huge columns carved out of solid rock. As well as boasting some decent beaches of its own, Fethiye makes an excellent base for exploring nearby Ölüdeniz, and boat cruises regularly depart from the city, bound for nearby islands and hidden coves.

Where to stay

The Blueberry Boutique Hotel is helpfully near to the beach and water park, and has a spa, fitness centre and pool.

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Fethiye

9. Cirali, nearest airport Antalya

There’s something decidedly mystical about Cirali. Hidden away at the foot of Mt Olympos, it’s a tiny town off the beaten track, with an absolutely gorgeous two-kilometre beach ringed by forests. But despite its sublime location, the beach has seen very little unwelcome development thanks to its status as a nesting ground for loggerhead turtles. It’s a small miracle that somewhere so idyllic remains so pristine. But the real mystery of the place lies on Mt Olympos itself, where clusters of flames called Chimaera spring right out of the ground. This bizarre phenomenon is caused by gases escaping from the mountain and igniting when they hit the air, and the best time to see it is at dusk – but remember to take a torch.

Where to stay

Dionysos Lodge is a beautiful stone and wood building surrounded by trees and mountains. You can eat dinner under the leaves on the canopied patio, then head for a relaxing massage to end your day. Bliss.

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Cirali

10. Side, nearest airport Antalya

Side is the perfect place if you want a serving of history with your sun and sand. The town is encrusted with well-preserved Greek and Roman ruins, including a Roman temple dedicated to Apollo, and a huge amphitheatre built onto a hillside – which is still occasionally used for performances such as concerts. Side Museum (itself housed in a fifth-century bathhouse) has more ancient relics to discover, including statues and coins (entry ₺10, open 8am to 5pm). If it’s the beach you’re after though, you have a choice: the West Beach has gloriously fine sand but gets regularly packed with holidaymakers, whereas the East Beach has pebbles but is generally much quieter, mostly attracting locals.

Where to stay

Dosi Hotel has two outdoor pools – including a water slide – and offers massages on site. There’s a kids’ club, too, so you can get some relaxation in while the children are busy having fun.

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Side Amphitheatre

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*Published May 2017. Prices correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change and/or availability

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