Are Turkish Beach Towels Good?

Turkish cotton beach towels, sometimes called peshtemal or fouta towels, have become quite popular in recent years.

Are Turkish Beach Towels Good

Their unique flat woven construction using long-staple Turkish cotton makes these towels lightweight, compact, absorbent, and fast-drying.

hese properties make Turkish beach towels ideal for packing in your beach bag and using throughout a day of swimming and lounging seaside.

A Brief History of Turkish Beach Towels

Turkish towels originated in the Turkish city of Bursa and were used for centuries in the bathing and cleansing rituals at Turkish bath houses known as hammams. These lightweight cotton towels were perfectly suited for drying off after a good soak and scrub.

Eventually Mediterranean coastal cultures discovered the versatility of the quick-drying Turkish towel for beach and sailing use. And from there, the traditionally-striped Turkish beach towel gradually gained popularity around the world for its practicality and style.

Key Benefits of Turkish Beach Towels

There are several reasons why Turkish towels have become go-to’s for many beachgoers and pool lounge lizards. Here are some of the top benefits that set them apart.

Highly Absorbent

The most critical function of any beach or pool towel is its ability to absorb moisture. You want your towel to efficiently soak up all that water so you can quickly dry off and get on with swimming and tanning.

The long cotton fibers used in weaving Turkish towels gives them incredible absorbency. In fact, they can be even more absorbent than some fluffier, thicker traditional towels. The flat woven technique creates a fabric with high surface area contact for water molecules to bind with the cotton.

So don’t be put off by the thinner pile of a Turkish towel. They are extremely effective at absorbing all the water on your skin and wet swimsuit.

Key Takeaway: Despite their thinner size, Turkish towels are just as absorbent as regular beach towels.

Quick Dry Time

After a dip in the pool or ocean, you need your towel to dry off quickly so you can use it again and again throughout the day. Sitting in the sun with a perpetually damp, heavy towel is no fun.

The lightweight nature and tight weave of Turkish cotton allows the towels to dry in a flash under the sun at the beach or pool. The quick dry functionality also makes them ideal for throwing in the beach bag without worrying about them still being wet when it’s time to head home.

Many Turkish towel companies even boast how fast their towels dry compared to regular terry cloth beach towels. So break out your stopwatch next time you head to the beach and time how fast your Turkish towel dries vs. other towels you bring along.

Sand Resistant

One of the biggest annoyances of beach towels is how sand sticks in between all those plush terry cloth loops and gets transported back home. No matter how hard you shake out a regular beach towel, hidden sand always remains.

With the flat, smooth weave of Turkish towels, it’s much harder for sand granules to embed themselves. A quick snap of the towel is usually all it takes to rid it of sand and debris.

So if keeping sand away from your beach blanket and out of your beach bag is a priority, a Turkish towel is your best bet. Your car interior and washing machine will thank you!

Lightweight & Compact

Trying to jam an unwieldy, bulky beach towel into your tote bag is never easy. And then it takes up so much room you can barely fit anything else. The lightweight and thinner pile of Turkish towels makes them much easier to transport.

When shopping for Turkish beach towels, look for ones with a lower fabric weight, usually around 300-400 GSM. This indicates a lighter, thinner towel that compresses down well.

For comparison, a regular cotton bath towel is typically at least twice as heavy at 700-900 GSM. So your Turkish beach towel will take up just half the space in your bag.

Soft & Comfortable

Who doesn’t love wrapping up in a soft, cushy towel after swimming? The long fibers of Turkish cotton make these beach towels soft and soothing against skin without being overly fluffy.

Many brands note that their towels even get softer over time and with more use. As you wash the towels, the cotton fibers relax and open up, increasing softness.

So while they may not be quite as pillowy as some terry cloth towels right out of the package, Turkish towels still offer pleasant comfort.

Stylish & Decorative

Another perk of Turkish beach towels is how nice they look. The colors and patterns of traditional Turkish towels and blankets bring a stylish, bohemian vibe to the pool or beach.

When not in use for drying off, they make beautiful blankets for enjoying a picnic or gazing up at the stars after an evening swim.

There are endless ways to utilize your decorative Turkish beach towel as home decor too – from beachy table runners to sofa throws to wall hangings.

Durable & Long Lasting

The final benefit that makes Turkish towels a wise investment is their durability. The long staple Turkish cotton and quality construction means they are built to last through countless beach and pool adventures.

With proper care like washing in cold water and line drying, your Turkish towels should maintain their integrity and appearance for many seasons. And some brands even boast that their towels get better over time.

While cheaper terry cloth towels tend to get scratchy, thin out, and develop holes rather quickly, you’ll find yourself using a good Turkish towel for years.

Potential Drawbacks of Turkish Beach Towels

While there are certainly a lot of advantages to Turkish beach towels, they also come with a few potential drawbacks to consider depending on your needs and preferences.

Can Be More Expensive

The biggest downside is that Turkish cotton towels tend to cost more than traditional towels. Part of the reason is that high quality, long-staple Turkish cotton itself demands a higher price.

These towels are also often still hand woven in smaller batches by artisans, rather than mass produced. So you end up paying a bit more for the quality construction and materials.

But devotees of the Turkish beach towel say the superior performance and longevity is worth the extra investment. Over the long run, a good Turkish towel should significantly outlast cheaper beach towels.

Less Plush Than Terry Cloth

Some beachgoers are after that indulgent, plush terry cloth feeling when they wrap up in a towel. The thinner flat weave of Turkish towels can’t provide quite the same degree of fluffy softness.

However, many brands are now making Turkish towel hybrids with looped terry cotton on one side or two-ply fabrics for added plushness. So if you love super thick, cushy towels you can likely still find a Turkish style that satisfies.

Can Shrink Slightly

Turkish cotton towels are prone to a bit of shrinkage, especially if you wash them in warm or hot water and tumble dry on high heat against manufacturer recommendations. To avoid shrinkage, pay close attention to the care instructions.

Many brands actually pre-wash the towels for you to minimize shrinking. Washing in cold and line drying is best. And in some cases, minor shrinkage may be inevitable and won’t drastically impact use of the towel.

Fringe Not for Everyone

A traditional detail of Turkish towels is a decorative woven or knotted fringe along the edges. But some people find the fringe gets tangled or collects lint in the wash.

Fringe lovers will appreciate the artisanal detail. But if you know fringe will bug you, look for Turkish towels with hemmed edges or cut the fringe off.

Require Special Care

To keep Turkish beach towels looking their best, you do need to take a little extra care. As mentioned above, hot water, harsh detergents, and high heat drying can damage the fibers.

You’ll also want to avoid using fabric softener, which leaves an adhesive residue that diminishes the towel’s absorbency over time.

How to Shop for the Best Turkish Beach Towels

Now that you know the pros and cons of Turkish beach towels, here are some top tips for picking out the best towels to meet your needs:

  • Look for 100% Turkish cotton, not just “made with” Turkish cotton, for the highest quality.
  • Check that it’s tightly woven with a smooth flat surface, not loose waves.
  • Lower gram weights, around 300-400 GSM, mean a lightweight, thinner towel.
  • Oversized dimensions give you more room to spread out and wrap up.
  • Pre-washed towels won’t shrink as much when you launder them.
  • Carefully follow washing instructions – cold water wash, low heat dryer or line dry only.
  • Make sure you love the style, pattern and fringe or lack of fringe.
  • Read reviews to hear first-hand about quality, softness, absorbency, and more.
  • Consider a higher price point for durability, longevity, and performance.

Turkish Cotton vs. Other Fabrics

Another question that often comes up is how Turkish cotton compares to other popular towel fabrics, like Egyptian cotton and microfiber. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Turkish cotton – Very absorbent, soft, quick-drying, durable
  • Egyptian cotton – Extremely absorbent and soft but takes longer to dry
  • Microfiber – Lightweight and super compact but less absorbent

So if your top priority is a towel that dries fast and resists sand, Turkish cotton is likely the best match. But if you want indulgent softness and plushness, Egyptian cotton may be preferable.

Are Turkish Beach Towels Worth It?

At the end of the day, are Turkish beach towels really worth the investment? For most beach lovers, the answer is a resounding yes!

The unique absorbency, dry time, sand resistance, style, and durability of Turkish cotton make these towels well suited for days at the beach, pool, or any outdoor adventure.

For the qualities most critical in an ideal beach towel, Turkish towels deliver. And their versatile functionality also enables you to get good use out of them at home as decorative throws and blankets.

While the price may be higher than traditional terry cloth towels, a good Turkish towel should last you many seasons of beach and pool fun. Their lightweight nature and stylish look also makes them extra appealing to take on vacation.

If you’re tired of bulky, sandy, slow-drying beach towels, it’s definitely worth trying out a high quality Turkish cotton towel this summer. Just be sure to take care washing and drying to help maintain the integrity of the cotton fibers.


Are Turkish towels good for the beach?

Yes, Turkish towels are excellent for the beach. The flat woven cotton construction causes sand to easily shake off rather than getting lodged in the pile. Turkish towels are also highly absorbent, yet quick to dry even in beach humidity.

Why are Turkish cotton towels better?

The extra long fibers of Turkish cotton create a strong, durable, yet soft fabric. Turkish towels get even softer and more absorbent over time after repeated washing. And they dry faster than many towel fabrics like Egyptian cotton.

How do you wash Turkish beach towels?

It’s best to wash Turkish towels in cold water on a gentle cycle, and tumble dry at low heat. Avoid using fabric softeners or dryer sheets. Line drying is ideal if possible to maximize longevity of the cotton fibers.

Should you pre-wash Turkish towels?

Pre-washing isn’t mandatory, but it can help soften fibers and remove excess dye. It also minimizes shrinking when you launder the towels yourself later. If your Turkish towel didn’t come pre-washed, soaking it in water before first use can achieve similar results.

Are Turkish towels worth the money?

Turkish towels tend to be pricier than traditional cotton towels, but most users feel the price is justified by their excellence at drying, resisting sand, quick drying, and durability. Investing a bit more upfront in a high quality Turkish towel means it should withstand many years of use.

Do Turkish towels work for bath towels?

Yes, Turkish towels can make great bath towels, though they lack the plushness of terry cloth. Their incredible absorbency and quicker dry time makes them a practical choice. But those seeking softness may prefer Turkish towel hybrids with a looped cotton side.


Turkish cotton towels are among the best options for beach and pool use.

Their unique properties allow them to outperform regular cotton terry towels when it comes to keeping sand away, drying you off quickly, and drying rapidly after use.

Emma Kellam
Emma Kellam

I'm Emma, and I run Towels Edition, a website for fellow home goods enthusiasts who, like me, are passionate about textiles. After working in high-end retail, I was amazed by how little most people (myself included!) know about all the towel options out there.

I research and write all the content myself. Whether it's specialized towels like bar mops, Turkish cotton production methods, or comparing hair towel absorbency, I cover it. My goal is to share my knowledge and enthusiasm to help others.

Running Towels Edition allows me to constantly expand my own expertise too. I love learning about innovations in bamboo fabric or ideal bath towels. It's so rewarding to receive emails thanking me for recommendations that improved my readers' routines.

I want Towels Edition to be the ultimate online towel resource, making this overlooked necessity far more fascinating. My aim is to open people's eyes to how specialty towels can thoroughly enhance hygiene, cleaning, recreation and self-care.