The Turkish Riviera (also known popularly as the Turquoise Coast) is an area of southwest Turkey encompassing the provinces of Antalya and Muğla, and to a lesser extent Aydın, southern İzmir and western Mersin. The combination of a favorable climate, warm sea, mountainous scenery, fine beaches along more than a thousand kilometers of shoreline along the Aegean and Mediterranean waters, and abundant natural and archeological points of interest makes this stretch of Turkey’s coastline a popular national and international tourist destination.
Among the archaeological points of interest are two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: The ruins of the Mausoleum of Maussollos in Halicarnassus; and the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus.
The Turkish Riviera is also the home for the internationally known Blue Voyage, which allows participants to enjoy a week-long trip on the locally built gulet type schooners to ancient cities, harbors, tombs, mausolea and intimate beaches in the numerous small coves, lush forests and streams that lace the Turquoise Coast.
The coastline is further regarded as a cultural trove that provides a fascinating mixture of factual and mythological individuals, conflicts and events, and has frequently been referred to in the folklore of various cultures throughout history. As such, it is regarded as the home of scholars, saints, warriors, kings, and heroes, as well as the site of numerous well-known myths. Mark Antony of the Roman Empire is said to have picked the Turkish Riviera as the most beautiful wedding gift for his beloved Cleopatra of Egypt. St. Nicholas (who later became the basis of the Santa Claus legend) was born in Patara, a small town close to present-day Demre. Herodotus, regarded as the father of History, was born in Bodrum (ancient Halicarnassus) in c. 484 BC. The volcanic mountains to the west of Antalya, near Dalyan, are believed to have been the inspiration for the mythical Chimera – the fire breathing monster that Bellerophon slew.