Turkey is a land of diverse blooms, redefining the meaning of beauty. While its capital’s history and architecture are of major interest to tourists, its coastal islands in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas are nothing short of a paradise escape, making life a unforgettable experience. Whether you’re looking for a vacation by the sea or a historical and cultural adventure around the sights and skyscrapers of Istanbul, Turkey offers destinations to suit every vacationer.
A short ferry ride from the city, one can discover the most magnificent islands, offering incredible views, sublime nature and beautiful landscapes. Here are 10 gorgeous islands in Turkey for stunning views.
ten Princes’ Islands or Heybeliada
Istanbul residents board a ferry from Istanbul to visit the Princes’ Islands. Located in the Sea of Marmara, Heybeliada is a short day trip from city life. Known as the second largest island in this group, it is best explored by bike or on foot as no cars are allowed in the area. Tourists wander the streets of the island lined with wooden villas and seek out panoramic views perfect for pondering the sea.
9 Kekova Island
The beautiful island of Kekova, known as an underwater wonderland, is mostly explored for its charismatic and fascinating character, which makes it a great attraction for tourists. Aiming for new experiences, people take a boat trip around the island to see historic aircraft and ruins preserved in the water after an earthquake destroyed and sank the city in the 2nd century. Kekova Island can be accessed from tours departing from Kas or the nearby port village of Üçağız.
8 Nicholas Island
Also called Gemiler Island, St. Nicholas Island’s English name comes from the historian’s belief that this is where St. Nicholas (aka Santa Claus) was buried. People head for a popular trip from Fethiye to see the charming little rocky island of St. Nicholas. The island features well-preserved Byzantine churches, ruins, tombs and remains of buildings. It is recommended to rent a small motorboat or a kayak at Gemiler Beach, just in front of the island. Boat trips are also available from the resort town of Ölüdeniz and Fethiye and include beach activities along the coast.
seven Island of Gocek
Gocek Island, located in Fethiye region, has great beaches such as Help Beach and SeaMe Beach and a natural harbor with yachts and fishing boats. Fethiye is also home to many attractions, such as the daily market, where one can buy local products, such as dairy products, Turkish coffee and fruits. Visitors also visit the fish market to dine at some of the most popular restaurants and savor seafood dishes. A trip to Fethiye is never complete without exploring the breathtaking views of Oludeniz beaches, with the famous blue lagoon which is one of the most captured beaches in the world.
6 Island of Sedir
Located in Alanya, Sedir Island, also known as Cleopatra Island, is a beautiful island perfect for tourists looking for day trips and relaxing weekends. People enjoy peace of mind looking at its exotic nature, plants and old ruins and enjoying a quiet day on the golden sand beaches which legend has it was brought from Egypt. People come to swim in the clear blue water where Cleopatra and Antony swam.
5 Pigeon Island
Pigeon Island, also called Bird Island, is where birds migrate during specific seasons and is the symbol of Kusadasi. The island was also used to protect the shores of Kusadasi Castle from pirate attacks from the sea. Tourists visit the island to take in the stunning views of the picturesque town and enjoy a sunset drink. It is recommended to visit the Byzantine castle and try the water activities along the Mediterranean coast.
4 Kizkalesi Island
Kizkalesi is a town in Mersin named “Maiden Castle” after the ancient castle built on a small island facing the town. Visitors love to visit the Byzantine castle and admire its history, ruins and defensive walls. The castle is best explored on a private tour and accessed by boat, canoe or pedal boat trips from the shores.
3 Bozcaada Island
Bozcaada Island is an ideal destination for people wishing to enjoy some quiet time by the sea. As one of the largest islands in Turkey, this little pearl offers stunning coastlines and covered walkways of vines. Named Tenedos in Greek, it offers a peaceful getaway, a rustic atmosphere, natural landscapes, adventurous experiences and affordable beaches for tourists.
2 Akdamar Island
Akdamar Island, known as the Island of Tolerance and located on Lake Van, is famous for its religious and historical monument, the ancient Church of the Holy Cross, built by the Armenian King Dagik Artzruni. The majestic facade and interior of the church are well preserved and mark the surviving legacy of Armenian art. The exterior walls also feature stones with paintings depicting scenes from the Old Testament. The island is perfect for swimming and spending time in its nature. It is also accessible by boats departing from the port of Akdamar.
1 The Greek island of Kastellorizo
Kastellorizo Island is one of the most beautiful islands to explore in Turkey and the best for honeymooners due to its romantic vibe. Named Meis in Greek, it is one of the two Greek islands in Turkey and is visited by many tourists who board a boat to discover the Blue Grotto and swim along the coast of the island. The island also offers spectacular views and historic ruins and churches.