Istanbul gets very hot and humid especially in July and August, which is the peak period of summer. During these times, Istanbulites go on vacation to the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts to cool off. However, even though they are far from the center, there are many places to go swimming in Istanbul as well, and they host beaches full of activity.
Private beaches in some parts of Istanbul, such as Şile, Riva and Kilyos, offer a service well above expectations. The cleanliness, facilities and food service at some of the beaches have reached a level that can compete with the blue flag beaches of Turkey‘s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts.
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Places to Go Swimming in Istanbul 2023
The list of places to go swimming in Istanbul consists of 14 spots. Some of these are quiet places where you can swim with your family, while others are club-style beaches where you can have fun with loud music and participate in activities.
The Bosphorus is a 30-kilometer waterway and divides Istanbul in half. The Bosphorus serves as a gateway between the Marmara Sea in the south and the Black Sea in the north. We can say that the best beaches of Istanbul are mostly on the shores close to the Black Sea.
1. Rumeli Kavagi
Rumeli Kavagi, as one of the most beautiful districts of Sariyer, is a nice option to go swimming. Rumeli Kavagi is located in the northern part of the Bosphorus, close to the Black Sea. It stands out as one of the rare places to go swimming on the European shores of the Bosphorus.
Rumeli Kavagi is famous for its mussels and figs, as well as its scenery and beaches. The best beaches in the area are Altinkum Beach, Elmaskum Beach and Kadinlar Beach. If you are interested in street food in Istanbul, don’t forget to eat mussels at Midyeciler Bazaar in the local market of the district!
Poyrazkoy, located on the spot where Bosphorus meets with the Black Sea, embodies sandy Poyraz Beach. Next to Anadolu Kavagi, Poyrazkoy is one of the villages that is situated in hills of Bosphorus.
Apart from Poyrazkoy Beach which has a small beach and a facility located in the entrance of Poyrazkoy, there are two more public beaches; one for only women.
Poyrazkoy Kule Dibi and Dere Boyu are the two picnic sites that you can visit. You can always find fresh and delicious fish in the restaurants. An observation tower and a castle are one of the places that you can also visit.
Kilyos, located beyond Sariyer district, European Side of Istanbul, includes lots of private and public beaches where concerts and various activities are held at weekends. These beaches reach out from Cape of Kilyos to Gumusdere Beach. Kilyos is also suitable for sea surfing.
Solar Beach Therapy, Burc Beach, Tirmata Beach and Uzunya Beach with its camp site and activities are some of the outstanding private beaches in Kilyos.
Also, Baykus Beach located in Gumusdere village and owned by Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, shines out as one of the best beaches in Istanbul in 2023.
Located in the right across of Old Florya Train Station, 800-meters-long Florya Gunes Beach allows you to rent sunbed and sunshade, play beach volley and park your car. Renting cost is also pretty affordable.
With its sandy and shallow structure, Albatros Beach is one of the best places for you to go swimming in Istanbul. It offers a perfect one-day trip for those who reside in Buyukcekmece and Avcilar. You can rent sunbed and sunshade from various facilities.
Located in the Black Sea coasts of Istanbul, Sile is famous for its wide beaches. Sea is a bit rough in Sile. Buyuk Beach and Iskele Yeri Beach are the most preferred beaches. Akcakese Akkaya Beach stands out as one of the cleanest beaches of Istanbul.
Aglayan Kaya, Kumbaba, Ayazma, Imrenli, Sahilkoy and Kurfalli beaches are some of the calm beaches to go swimming in Sile. There are also caves both on shore and at sea and a lighthouse – the biggest in Turkey, second biggest in the world – that you can visit in Sile.
Some private beaches in Sile’s Aglayan Kaya neighborhood are comparable to the quality beach clubs in Bodrum and Cesme. For this reason, Sile is among the best places to go swimming in Istanbul in 2023.
40 kilometers away from Istanbul, Riva is situated in between Anadolu Feneri (Asian side of the Bosphorus shores) and Sile. If you want to spend time in nature, Riva is a the right place with its wide beach and creek flowing into the sea. You can also rent sunbed and sunshade in Elmasburnu Beach.
In Buyukada, the largest of the so-called Princes Islands, you can go swimming in many private beaches and benefit from the opportunities of their “beach club” status.
Büyükada Aya Nikola Public Beach, Grand Hotel Seferoglu Facilities, Buyukada Halik Bay, Eskibag Picnic Area Beach, Büyükada Water Sport Club and Yorukali Beach are some of the clean beaches according to the analysis carried out by The Health Ministry.
How to go Buyukada (Princes Islands) Beaches?
If you are on the European Side, you can take ferries heading to Buyukada on Kabatas Ferry Station. If you are on the Asian Side, you can take ferries and motorboats heading to Buyukada from Kadikoy, Bostanci and Kartal.
Going to Buyukada from Sultanahmet or Taksim areas (European side) takes around 1,5 hours; half an hour from Asian side. It’s possible to go from Sultanahmet or Taksim to Buyukada for a daily swimming activity.
9. Sedef Island
Sedef Island is a very quiet place compared to other islands because of reduced means of transportation. This place is suitable for those who look for a quiet place to go swimming and rest their heads.
How to go Sedef Island Beach?
To visit Sedef Island, you have to get Buyukada first. There is only one beach in this private property and motorboats departing from Buyukada are the only vehicles to go there.
Sedef Island Beach takes just 5 minutes on foot after getting off the motorboat. You can rent sunbed and sunshade, there is also a buffet that offers snacks such as toast and meatball.
Heybeliada, the second most popular island after Buyukada, has a lot of beaches. Aqua Green Beach, for instance, offers accessibility by organizing motorboat services for free.
Ada Beach Club, located in Çam Limani Koyu (Pine Port Bay), organizes free boat service. Ada Beach Club is located in the beautiful bay in the south of the island and hosts activities as you can see in the picture above.
Covered with pine forest, Degirmenburnu (Nature Park in the north of the island) offers a picnic area under the trees and a quiet beach. Heybeliada Sadikbey Beach and Heybeliada Water Sport Club are some of the clean places that you can go swimming.
If you want to visit Akvaryum Beach which is a bit more secluded compared to other beaches, you need to take Merit Halki Palas way and go down the passing called “Kablo”.
Kalpazankaya and Camakya stand out as the main beaches of Burgazada. You can swim in various spots and also visit the house of Sait Faik Abasiyanik (famous Turkish author) that was turned into a museum.
The smallest island of the Princess Islands, Kinaliada has a beach called Kumluk that has been operating since 1993. You can reach Kumluk Beach on foot or by boat departing from the dock.
Ayazma Kamo’s Beach Club has a small and quiet shore. As an alternative to sea, Ayazma Kamo’s Beach Club offers a swimming pool, and concerts are held there from time to time.
Where to Go Swimming in Istanbul by Serhat Engul