Looking for a nice, uncrowded beach with clean, warm water and good facilities within a short ride of Istanbul?
Sure. So are most of the city's other 18 million residents, so beaches near Istanbul are apt to be crowded on any warm summer day.
Here's are Istanbul's beaches, from nearest to farthest:
Here's a way to cool off and have fun easily: Efendi Travel operates reasonably-priced full-day tours to the Aquapark. You are picked up at your hotel after breakfast, driven in an air-conditioned vehicle to the Aquapark (a one-hour ride), and returned to your hotel in time for dinner. Admission to the Aquapark, lunch, and a dolphin show are included in the tour fee. More...
There are a few tiny beaches on the Princes' Islands, and people with boats row away from the shore and swim there, but these places are really mostly for people who know how and when to go to them. Still, if you're going to the islands—especially for overnight—take your swim things. More...
Şile & Ağva
Şile (that's SHEE-leh) and Ağva (AH-vah) are nice long, wide beaches on the Black Sea coast 72 km (45 miles) northeast of Üsküdar. Take IETT City Bus 139 (Şile) or139A (Şile & Ağva) from the Harem Otogar. There may also be more comfortable private bus services during the busy summer months.
The trip takes about 1.5 hours.
In summer there are about 27 buses per day in each direction (Harem-Şile and Şile-Harem) on the 139 route starting at 06:30 am, with the last bus returning from Şile to Istanbul at 24:00 (12 midnight).
Bus 139A, Harem-Şile-Ağva, has 15 trips daily in each direction, from 06:00 am to 20:30 (8:30 pm).
Here are schedules on the Şile Belediyesi (Şile Municipality) website. Here are the terms you need to know to read the schedules:
Kış Tarifesi = Winter Schedule (16 September - 14 June)
Yaz Tarifesi = Summer Schedule (15 June - 15 September)
Saat = Hour (departure time)
Yol = Route
Sahilden = By the shore road
Otobandan = By the expressway
Son Durak = Last Stop
Other beaches, such as those near Tekirdağ west of Istanbul, the islands such as Marmara and Avşa in the Sea of Marmara, the Gallipoli peninsula and the northern Aegean coast, are really beyond a day-trip from Istanbul.
—by Tom Brosnahan