In the summer months, Istanbul becomes a slightly quieter with fewer crowds as many Istanbulites go on vacation to Turkey's south coast. For tourists, the smaller crowd in Turkey's busiest city makes this the best time to visit Istanbul's historical sites and enjoy a peaceful day on a public beach or at local beach clubs. For those who would like to take a break from the extreme heat, the northern parts of Istanbul offer shade from the sun with dense forests, beaches and small, quiet villages. The peninsula on the Black Sea offers long, sandy beaches and is a well-kept secret that tourists won't find in conventional travel guides. We have rounded up a list of the best Istanbul beaches all with sparkling clear waters and plenty of sand to put your feet in.
At the heart of Istanbul
Spanning an area of 23,000 square meters, Suma Beach Club is a popular swimming destination near Kilyos and a short one-hour drive from the city center. This beach brings a wide range of concepts together including sunbathing, night clubs, sports, art studios and camping, all in a refreshing environment which are indescribably unique. The club organizes volleyball tournaments as well as beach soccer in a casual atmosphere geared toward young life, with the club hosting outdoor concerts on the beach at night. Guests can join pilates and yoga sessions on the beach or simply relax and enjoy swimming in the refreshing waters. Suma Beach is also home to the Surf School - a surfing course for both amateurs and professionals.
Where: Kilyos coast
High Club Beach
For years, Solar Beach has been home to concerts and live performances and continues offering great services under its new name, High Club Beach. Boasting a private beach that spans 1 kilometer and a guest capacity of 2,000, this place has a dynamic atmosphere and is swarming with people each summer. Hovercraft, bungee jumping, go-karts, skateboarding, ATV, skimboarding, beach soccer and rugby are some of the sports activities offered, along with basic facilities that include restaurants and a workshop center. High Club Beach has a shuttle service from Istanbul's transportation hubs directly to the venue. Where: Kumköy, Sarıyer
Burç Beach, an enterprise of Boğaziçi University in Kilyos, is often busy seven days a week. Ideal for windsurfing and kite surfing, Burç Beach operates two sports centers - Kite-Turkey and Kiteboard Istanbul, the two main centers where visitors can sharpen their kitesurfing skills with an advanced class taught by Turkish and foreign instructors. In the evenings, DJ performances enliven beachgoers and locals living in the district. The water can be chilly but it's refreshing on a hot day.
Where: Kilyos coast (Kilyos is accessible by city bus, minibus, fast ferry or traditional ferry and minibus.)
Blue Flag beaches
In Istanbul, three beaches - Uzunkum Beach, Ağlayankaya Beach and the Şile Resort Hotel's private beach are the city's Blue Flag beaches compatible with the standards of Blue Flag, an exclusive eco-label awarded by the Copenhagen-based Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) to beaches and marinas which meet a specific set of criteria including water quality and safety. Situated in the Şile district, Uzunkum Beach, stretching10 kilometers, leaves behind the two others with its sanity and silent atmosphere. This year, Turkey holds on to its world ranking, home to the second highest number of Blue Flag beaches after Spain, which has 588 Blue Flag beaches. Turkey has 444 Blue Flag beaches, ranking second among 50 countries. Where: Along the Şile coast
Head to the Princes' Islands
Büyükada (the Big Island), is the largest of the Princes' Islands and is home to a few beaches where you can take a dip in chilly waters. The island is least crowded in the mornings on weekdays. On Büyükada, there are four beaches - Kumsal Beach, Nakibey Beach, Princess Beach and Yörük Ali Beach - which is the most popular of all spots on the island. There are many restaurants, cafeterias and shops situated around the pier.
For Heybeliada, the second largest Princes' Island, all beaches including the Ada Beach Club on Çam Limanı Bay and Green Beach have entrance fees ranging between TL 20 and TL 30. The island's watersports facility is worth trying. Those heading to Burgazada will find public beaches that are open to all. A small beach known as Kalpazankaya is also popular. Sedef Island is the smallest of the Princes' Islands and is mostly covered with pine forests and private property. Club Ada Sedef and Elio Beach offer peace and quiet away from the crowds as well as tasteful food and service.
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