Beaches of İstanbul
Beaches of İstanbul do not get the credit that they deserve. Having a one-of-a-kind beauty of nature like Bosporus, having coast to Marmara Sea and Black Sea in both continents and 4 habitable islands, beaches of İstanbul promise the opportunity to its inhabitants and visitors a chance to cool off in hot summer days.
Beaches of Istanbul Under the Prejudice of Pollution
İstanbul, known to be a city of sea does not have a proper reputation with its beaches. Main reason for this is the fact that pollution was one of the major problems of beaches of İstanbul for many years, but not since last decade. İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality has been working to destroy pollution with great effort and still is doing so to prevent any pollution to happen again.
Of course we cannot understand the pollution level of any shore as individuals. There is also a central control mechanism under the body of Ministry Of Health which does routine checks to each and every beach in Turkey, including the beaches of İstanbul. Samples are being taken from each beach and examined in formal laboratories. You can check the pollution level from Ministry Of Health’s formal web-site which is https://yuzme.saglik.gov.tr/ before visiting the beaches of İstanbul just to make sure you are going to be fine.
Beaches of Istanbul As Commercial Institutions
Laws of Turkey dictates that anyone is allowed to access to any shore without any limitation. On the other hand, operators of beaches of İstanbul usually ask for an access fee in the entrance, which is also a common practise all around Turkey. This common practise is usually reasoned as; “the fee is not for the access to the shore itself but for the use of facilities such as shower, toilets, sunbeds, parasols, etc…”, which is understandable. Good news is that most of the beaches of İstanbul neighbours to a vacant public seashore, where you can enjoy Marmara or Black Sea free of charge, of course without the comfort of institutionalised beaches of İstanbul have to offer.
Beaches of Istanbul with Their Proximity to Town Centre
İstanbul is a vast city with more than 16 million living inside, therefore the settlement of the city is also scattered comparing to other metropolitans around the world, therefore the leisure places including beaches are located in various regions.
European Side of İstanbul does not have many beaches because of the nature of its settlement. Over time, settlement between historical semi-island coastline covering Marmara Sea has been separated with filling ground and coastal road which has made the inhabitants of the region gets distant from the sea. Demographics of the region might considered as conservative Muslims with low or middle income status, which has pushed people from other regions away from using the coastal line of this region. Beaches of İstanbul in this side of the city are located in Florya and Yeşilyurt.
Bosporus Lane in European Side does not have any institutionalised beaches from Beşiktaş until Sarıyer, but the filling ground between Arnavutköy to Sarıyer is being used as a public beach of İstanbul inhabitants, mostly by young men. This is not a written rule, but women do not usually prefer to use this region as beaches of İstanbul. On the other hand, north region of Sarıyer facing Karadeniz has a number of beaches; some public some institutionalised. Especially Kilyos Beach hosts youth festivals outside Covid 19 pandemic.
Anatolian Side is far richer in terms of beaches of İstanbul. Northern parts of the region has a number of beach points, especially Riva has a reputation with its fish restaurants. But most popular beaches of İstanbul located in Anatolian side take place in Kadıköy District’s Caddebostan and Suadiye public beaches. These locations are also favoured picnic areas for the white-collar and expat population and it is a common practise for these people to come with their portable chairs and enjoy the day day. Another advantage of these beaches of İstanbul is the fact that there are a number of stores nearby where people can supply their daily needs, as well as public toilets that are being operated by İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality with high-end hygienic conditions.
As the last, but definitely not the least; Prince Islands. All 4 islands have many institutionalised beaches as well as public beaches which locals also use to enjoy the sea on daily basis. Many of these institutionalised baches of İstanbul taking place in Prince Islands have ferry-shuttle service from the ferry piers, free of extra charge, as well, but you can also reach those via buggy-bus or buggy-taxies that have stations very close to ferry piers. Especially public beach of Burgazada is the one closest to the pier and is walking distance to supermarkets and restaurants as well.
Beaches of Istanbul with Their Positioning
As given above, beaches of İstanbul can be facing Marmara Sea’s shore or Black Sea. Regions hosting the beaches of İstanbul facing Blacksea are traditionally fishing villages and have transformed to beach tourism partially. Nevertheless, beaches located in these districts are much bigger than beaches of İstanbul facing Marmara Sea, because they are far from the town centre and urban settlement and have bigger areas. This feature of these beaches of İstanbul gives them the opportunity of hosting festivals and serving their visitors with more entertainment elements, such as DJ or live music. Nevertheless, beaches of İstanbul facing Marmara shores are smaller in size and are more silent entertainment elements, if there are any. Because they are neighbouring urban settlements and there are strict rules and regulations for not disturbing the urban life.
Another big difference between the beaches of İstanbul facing Marmara Sea and Black Sea is that, Marmara Sea is an inland sea and Black Sea is an open sea. Therefore, Black Sea has more and stronger waves and might be a little dangerous for not-so-capable swimmers. Of course, life guards and other precautions are being taken nature can play it rough and every individual must be careful for his or her own well-being.
Egean and Mediterranean shores of Turkey have a rightful reputation but beaches of İstanbul have fun, joy, peace and tranquillity as well to offer, you are welcomed to enjoy them as soon as we get rid of COVID 19 pandemic.