Some of Turkey's best beaches are within an hour of Istanbul on the Black Sea coast, with massive expanses of sandy beaches and tourquise waters backed by forests.
It is relatively undeveloped because Turks generally prefer the warmer and calmer seas of the Aegean and Mediterranean.
Be careful about currents, but unless it is very windy the sea is safe to swim in.
The beaches may get crowded on summer weekends as the residents flock to the seaside, but otherwise there is plenty of room.
The best beaches can be found at Sile and Agva, about 40-50 miles north-east of Istanbul; closer to the city centre is Kılyos, with Solar Beach www.solarbeach.net/default.asp?lng=tr&id=67 and Burç Beach offering beach clubs and activities.
To reach Sile and Agva, take the number 130 and 139 municipal busses from Harem or Üsküdar on the Asian side. Kılyos, on the European side, is closer, but involves taking two minibuses (one from Beşiktaş to Sariyer, and another from Sariyer to Kılyos). Slightly further afield on the European side, Kiyiköy (about three hours’ bus trip) is a good getaway for a weekend; the hotel Endorfina www.hotelendorfina.com/index.htm is a boutique hotel, and at prices of £20 per person per night is much better value for money than the overpriced (and generally full) hotels in Sile and Agva.
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