Istanbul - Swim, chill and barbeque
Thinking of a seaside holiday in Turkey? No need to visit ‘classic’ bathing resorts like Antalya, Bodrum or Side. Istanbul, with its 13 million inhabitants, also has some idyllic islands, wonderful beaches and hip beach clubs, making it the ideal place for those who want to swim, relax and grill (themselves) – without having to choose between a city getaway and a beach vacation.
Knowing where to go: Caddebostan Beach in the Asian district Kadikoy is free and always well frequented. Wonderful Burc Beach (see photo) is about 15 kilometers outside the city center, but reserved for students and graduates of Bogaziçi University and their guests. The bathing resort of Şile, about 70 kilometers from Istanbul, is inviting enough to stay for a whole weekend.
Beaches in and around Istanbul: www.istanbulbeach.com (English)
Hip DJs, hot beats and cool drinks: Even urban partygoers are drawn to the water in the summer months, making the “in” beach clubs an exciting experience. The attractions of True Blue are its excellent restaurant and live concerts with first-rate performers. If you’re feeling active, you can go kiting, windsurfing or jet skiing at Solar Beach. And the Golden Beach Club even has its own boutique hotel featuring bungalows and suites.
True Blue: +90/21 65 50 51 95, Fener Kalamış Cad., Fenerbahçe. www.truebluelive.com (Turkish). Beach: +90/21 22 01 21 01/02, Eski Turban Yolu 4, Kilyos. www.solarbeach.org (Turkish). Golden Beach Club: +90/21 23 25 55 83/84, Marmaracık Koyu, Rumelifeneri. www.goldenbeachclub.net (Turkish)
The Prince Islands
Right at the heart of the city, but in a different world. Time seems to have stood still on the Prince Islands, where horse-drawn vehicles replace cars, and a nostalgic peace and quiet the big-city hustle and bustle. Prosperous Istanbul citizens built their summer houses here in the 19th century, and many Victorian villas date from that period. Even today, the island group is a popular destination for summer excursions.
Many visitors come to Büyük Ada and Heybeliada in particular. Kinalia and Burgaz Adasi are less frequently visited, but just as beautiful.
Prince Islands: Ferry services from several piers in the city area, the voyage takes about one hour
Photos: Corbis, mauritius images, Stumpe/LOOK-foto, Schmid/Agentur Huber