Gay friendly & other beaches in Istanbul

Istanbul Gay Beach

Istanbul, with its population of around 16 million people, is surrounded by the sea. However, due to pollution, there are very few beach areas suitable for swimming within the city. Most of the cleaner beaches are not located close to the city center. As a result, many Istanbul residents choose to travel to cities and towns in Southern Turkey, such as Bodrum, Antalya, Marmaris, Fethiye, for their summer holidays. Unlike the touristy cities on the southern coast of Turkey, the beach season in Istanbul is relatively short, lasting approximately three months—from mid-June to mid-September.

While there are no specific beaches in Istanbul visibly frequented exclusively by gay people, there are some swimming areas where it’s more likely to come across other gay individuals. These areas provide opportunities for everyone to enjoy the sea, regardless of their background or sexual preferences:

Gay Bar  Unfortunately, gay cruising places including beaches are not as busy as they used to be since the widespread use of the internet and cell phones, especially after gay mobile applications were launched. As in other big cities around the world, cruising areas, especially isolated parks, are where people should be a little cautious with the people they come across. It’s important to take precautions to ensure your safety. We recommend that you do not carry your valuable things on you when you go to outdoor cruising places, just in case.

Cruising Beach Areas in Istanbul

Beach  Prince Islands Beaches
Beaches and rocky coastal sections along the isolated back sides of Istanbul's Prince Islands are known as summer cruising spots, the most popular one being in Kinaliada, which is the first stop of the ferry boats coming from the mainland. After getting off from the ferryboat in Kinaliada, walk to the right hand side along the street by the beach for about 20 minutes until you reach a hard-to-notice pathway going down the hill to the shore. The pathway is somewhere across from the building number 47-49 on Fazıl Ahmet Aytaç street. After walking down to the shore, walk another 10 minutes to your left hand side to reach the cruising section. Do not expect a visible gay scene and stay away from groups of young boys. You will need special slippers while walking along and swimming around this shore, with many small rocks and mussels that may hurt your feet. Rubber sea-slippers are sold in the stores and supermarkets near the ferry station for this purpose.

Beach  Sarayburnu Waterfront
Sarayburnu (Seraglio Point) is a coastal area behind Topkapi Palace with respect to Sultanahmet. It is actually not a beach but a waterfront by the coastal road, covered with big rocks and concrete waterfront. There is no visible gay scene here either. It is not a place recommended for swimming especially. There are singles or groups of guys drinking and young ghetto boys swimming and lying on the rocks in summer time. Some local gay men hang out here frequently in Summer. If your hotel is in Sultanahmet, you can try this place for a couple of hours in the early evenings, at least to get a little sun tan. Do not stay long after dark. When you come from Sultanahmet, walk into Gulhane Park's main gate from the tramcar street, and get out from the gate at the other end of the park. You will be right there.

Beach  Yesilkoy Beaches
There are several beaches around Yesilkoy district on the European side of Istanbul. Ciroz Public Beach in Yesilkoy and public beaches around Menekşe are where some queers hang out to meet young ghetto boys, which may also be problematic, especially when you are not familiar with the local heteroflexible gay culture. You'd better stay away from crowded groups of teenagers. It may be more "prolific" on weekends, especially on Sundays. Again you need to walk to less busy parts of the beaches, to the rocky areas. The beaches are about 15-20 minutes away from Yesilkoy station of the Marmaray subway system . There are also IETT public buses from Taksim and Eminonu going closer into Yesilkoy or passing near these beaches.

Other Regular Beaches in Istanbul

Beach  Adalar (Prince's Islands)

Istanbul Gay Beach

Adalar is the plural for "ada" which means island in Turkish. This a group of small islands in Marmara sea close to the main land on the Asian side. The beaches on these islands seem to be the only swimming option left close to the downtown Istanbul. They consist of 9 islands, 4 of which are considerably popular and inhabited. Private cars and motor vehicles are not allowed on any of the islands. So you need to walk, hire a bicycles or Fayton (a traditional horse-drawn carriage) to get around.

Majority of the native inhabitants of these islands used to be non-Muslim citizens of the Ottoman Empire (Jews, Greeks, Armenians) until the end of 19th century. Now there are mansions and summer houses of rich men of Istanbul. Buyuk Ada (Grand Island) is the biggest one as the name suggests, and it is the most vibrant one. There are public ferry boats to Adalar from Kabatas pier on the European side (closer to Taksim, easily accessible from Sultanahmet by tramcar) and from Kadikoy and Bostanci districts on the Asian side. The journey takes 30-45 minutes by boat from Kabatas. The ferry boat from Kabatas stops on each inhabited island one after the other, in order of Kinaliada, Burgaz, Heybeliada and Buyukada. You can hop-on hop off in this order between the islands by taking the next arriving ferryboat. On return, the ferryboat does not stop on other islands after departing Buyukada. If you are staying around Taksim, you need to take the funicular line (Finukuler) from Taksim subway station to Kabatas first, which takes no more than 5 minutes.

Click here Conventional Ferry Boat Lines to Prince's Islands (recommended option)
Click here for Google map locating Prince's Islands of Istanbul

Beach  Beaches on Asian Side
Several beaches along the Marmara Sea, on the Asian side of Istanbul have been reorganized and vitalized by the local municipalities in 2010's and opened to public service. Caddebostan and Erenköy public beaches are the ones worth visiting, if your expectation is not very high. They will be very busy with families during weekend days.

Beach  Kilyos Beaches
Kilyos is a small fishing village by the Black Sea shore of Istanbul on the European side, which is surrounded by green forests all around it. It has sandy beaches, hotels, pensions, cafe and restaurants. Roughly forty five minutes drive from down town Istanbul, the village is a good option for an escape from big-city life at least for an afternoon. Especially preferred by the local people living on the European part of Istanbul, it is a perfect place for nature lovers who would go there for swimming and picnic. The sea of Kilyos is rather chilly and wavy and there is flow in some parts. It not advised to swim very far from the shore especially in isolated parts of the beaches for this reason. To get to Kilyos by car, you need to pass Buyukdere and Sariyer districts driving through the Belgrade Forest. The road from Buyukdere passes through one of the arches of Egrikemer, the "Bent Aqueduct" built in 1732. If you have time to visit outskirts of Istanbul during your holiday, you can take a public bus to Sariyer first, departing from Taksim and Kabatas. You can find dolmus cabs, public bus or taxi to Kilyos from there. But the most enjoyable journey would be taking the morning Bosphorus cruise (Bogaz turu) of IDO with public ferryboats from Eminonu to Sariyer before getting to Kilyos, some 15 km away. Bogaz turu takes a little over an hour and stops in Besiktas (not far from Taksim, if you want to get on the ferry here) and several other small towns and villages along the Bosphorus. You can use public buses + M2 Metro Line on return. This would be a good and cheaper combination of a Bosphorus cruise and a daily beach adventure. On the way back you can also stop in Sariyer district for a a cup of Turkish tea in a sea-side cafe or eat fish in a small restaurant, to end your day as a life-time memorable one.

Beach  Sile Beaches
This is a lovely resort town on the Black Sea coast on the Asian side, 50 km from Uskudar (a district by the Asian shore of Bosphorus, across from Besiktas). The famous, extensive beaches of Sile are reached partly by a motorway, and partly by a narrow road winding through the forest. The ruins of a Genoese fortress and the lighthouse are also worth seeing in Sile. To the west of the town the beaches extend uninterrupted, and to the east there are a series of small, sandy bays. The summer months are quite crowded and lively. The breakwater of Sile can be cruisy for gay men in the evenings, whereas it is advised to be cautious and make good observation before meeting anyone. It may take more than an hour to get to Sile from European side of Istanbul, so it is recommended only if you have plenty of time to spent in Istanbul. A daily visit is possible in practice, but accommodation is readily available in the numerous hotels and pensions if you have time for an overnight stay or longer. There are public buses (Bus line 139) to Sile from Harem Otogar (intercity bus terminal) on the Asian side. You can go to Harem by ferryboats from Sirkeci ferry pier near Sultanahmet.

"There is an unofficial nudist beach in Sile (Istanbul) Uzunkum vicinity: Uzunkum is long beach. At the beginning there are some clubs. Take sea your left and walk along the beach. Pass small island and keep walking until rocky section. Pass this rocky part. another beach start. at the end of this beach nudity is possible especially weekdays. At weekend you have to keep walk along another rocky section. after rocky section small sandy beach accessing only shore. Its little bit difficult so sea shoes must be worn. At 2014 summer weekend and 2015 summer weekends skinny dipping was possible. You can go there by public transportation departing from Uskudar district."

For public bus and ferryboat schedules please visit official websited of Conventional Ferryboat Lines  and IETT Public Buses

Click here for a more comprehensive travel guide to the beaches in Istanbul

See also
Select Your Language Public transportation in Istanbul
Select Your Language Conventional Ferryboat Lines  
Select Your Language IETT Public Buses



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