With the mighty Bosphorus always a few steps away, it’s no surprise that swimming in or near Istanbul in summer is a favourite activity among the locals. Even though there are no beaches directly in the city, there are plenty of great spots just a ride away.
The Princes Islands are definitely some of the most popular destinations to go swimming in summer. Surrounded by the island’s almost untouched natural landscape and the endless expanse of the sea before you, taking the 45-minute ferry ride to the islands is definitely worth it, especially since cars are not allowed on these islands and bike rentals are everywhere. Check out the secluded coves on Burgazada, the many beach clubs on Büyükada or the very chic Ada Beach Club on Heybeliada for a fabulous day in the sun.
Even though Sedef Adası is also one of Istanbul’s islands, it’s often not mentioned in the archipelago of the Princes Islands. It’s probably because there is only one ferry that takes off from Bostancı (on the Asian side) towards there and it’s, therefore, a little bit harder to reach. On the island, you’ll find Elio Sedef, a very trendy restaurant and beach club that is also preferred for celebrations. If you’re a big group, it’s much cheaper to rent a deniz taxi (sea taxi).
The small village of Kilyos is located on the Black Sea’s coast about an hour’s drive from the city and it’s where you’ll find Istanbul’s coolest beach clubs that are only open in summer. If you’re a fan of DJ music, then head to Suma Beach, which turns into an open-air club in the evening, after a day spent on the beach. Burç Beach is the place for water sports fans because here is where you’ll find plenty of opportunities to go kite surfing and water skiing. You can also play volleyball on this beach.
About 70 km outside of Istanbul, Şile is one of the best weekend trips you can take if you’re looking to spend some time by the Black Sea. If you don’t have a car, bus 139 also drives all the way to Şile. The bus ride takes around two hours. Once there, take your pick among one of the many beaches and definitely stop by one of the numerous fish restaurants to feast on some fresh grilled local fish. If you want to spend the night, there are lots of affordable pensions and campsites.