Turquoise Coast, aka Turkish Riviera, for budget slow travelers

turkiye's southern coast on the mediterranean sea

There are plenty of budget slow travel options on Turkiye’s southern coast on the Mediterranean Sea. From cities to small towns, mountains to beaches, there’s a lot of variety. We checked out three spots, and we liked them all well enough to consider a return one day for a longer stay, someday.

We spent time in Mersin, Alanya, and Antalya. Each place had its own character and charm.

The Turquoise Coast in shoulder season

We went to Turkiye’s Turquoise Coast in October and November. This is a shoulder season with fewer tourists. However, thousands of Russian ‘tourists’ are now residents.

Russians always flocked to Turkiye’s Mediterranean coast on vacation. Then, once Russia went to war with Ukraine, thousands bought up real estate all over the Turkish Riviera – especially in Alanya. Locals say the day after the war started, wealthy Russians bought up almost everything that had been for sale. Families moved in, and never left. Now, they live there.

So shoulder season now is not as empty as in years past.

Turquoise Coast temperatures in October & November

Daytime temperatures were in the mid-70s from mid-to-late October to mid-November; nighttime temps in the low-to-mid 60s, unlike stifling temperatures during the summer months. It rained a couple of days during our stay – but not all day.

Water temperatures were 77 when we started, and 76 when we left. It was perfect!

Prices on Turkiye’s Turquoise Coast

The Turkish lira’s depreciation and high inflation have been boons for American and Russian expats, as the local Turks struggle with less buying power.

The lira fell in value nearly 35 percent from November 2022 to November 2023. And it had fallen even more in the couple of years prior to that. If something cost 200 lira last year, would cost 270 lira this year. But it would have been the equivalent of $9.50 for us Americans both years.


Restaurants always run the gamut depending on your taste. We ate at cheap ‘lokantasi’ places for under $12 for two people. Decent restaurants will cost $25 and up if you want a beer with dinner, and way more if you drink more.

Some restaurants will say their card reader doesn’t work to try to get you to pay cash. The reality is, they don’t want to pay taxes on the sales and hope for an under-the-table cash transaction. We started asking: do you take cards? No card, no customers out of us.


  • 90 cents to $1.20 for 1 liter of low-fat milk (90 cents if you have a store card)
  • $1.20 loaf of sliced oat bran bread
  • $1.95 for 15 eggs
  • under 50 cents for a 5-liter jug of drinking water
  • $1.75 for half a pound of Turkish cheese, similar to mozzarella
  • $1.50 for a 500ml can of carryout beer ($3.50 in a decent restaurant)

Yearly rental examples on the Turquoise Coast

  • $695 1 bedroom apartment 430 square feet in Antalya city center, a 10-minute walk to the beach
  • $400 3 bedroom villa 1,200 square feet in Fethiye a five-minute drive from the beach, three hours from Antalya

Local expats who now call the Turquoise Coast home gave shared their rent costs with me.

In the case of the Fethiye villa (we never got to Fethiye on this trip), the apartment lease was priced in lira, which was the equivalent of $400 in January 2023 when the agreement was signed. By November, because of the falling lira, rent was the equivalent of just $233!

Short-term rentals on Airbnb

We’re on tourist visas and rent short-term on Airbnb. Prices are substantially higher. Often, do we rent by the month for the monthly discount. But in Mersin, Alanya, and Antalya, we only stayed for 10 nights at a time.

Our Airbnb rent averaged $30 a night for basic one-bedroom places a five or ten minute walk to the beach during the autumn shoulder season.

You could certainly rent higher-quality places for more money. But Theo found $30 units that were comfortable and clean.

Related: The ‘zoom’ trick on Airbnb maps to find great rental deals

More about Mersin

Mersin has a miles-long waterfront walkway lined with swings for adults (!), parks, jogging and biking lanes, courts for every imaginable sport.

It reminded me a little bit of Mazatlan, Mexico, because the walkway goes the length of the city and it changes vibes as it goes through neighborhoods. However, Mersin has only a few beach areas. It’s more of a city destination.

Other treasures in Mersin: a colonnaded ancient Roman port, a small but mighty archaeological museum.

More about Alanya

Alanya is a small city in Antalya Province. It’s base population is just 40,000 people – but it swells to more than 1 million in high season! I wouldn’t want to be there then – that’s worse than Varna, Bulgaria!

Alanya has a delightful waterfront walkway and beaches that go for miles. My favorite part of Alanya is the castle grounds. The grounds are free – and I really enjoyed hiking up there under the cable cars. The path is easy – about 50 floors to the top from sea level and the trail is clear.

More about Antalya

Antalya is the fifth-largest city in Turkiye with rock beaches, sand beaches, mountains, and an old-town that is a lot of fun to explore.

Old town is in the city center, and the beaches are to the west and east that stretch out for several miles with easy access.

In a way, Antalya is like Mersin and Alanya combined.

More to explore…

We Americans only get 90 days in Turkiye on tourist visas, so we have barely scratched the surface of the Turquoise Coast, aka Turkish Riviera. I’d really like to check out Fethiye one day, and do some hiking in the Lycia region.

I’ve told spouse Theo I’d like to come back again to the Turquoise Coast — in October and November when there aren’t millions of tourists and oppressive heat.

Thanks for reading, “Turquoise Coast on the Mediterranean Sea, aka the Turkish Riviera.”

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