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8 Turkish cotton towels to bring to the beach, park and more

Experts explain what to look for when shopping for Turkish towels and highlight the difference between Turkish, Egyptian and Pima cotton.
Illustration of Turkish Towels
Experts said Turkish towels feature fibers that are usually stronger and smoother than other types of cotton.Sand Cloud ; House No. 23 ; Crane and Canopy

While shopping for beach towels, you may come across some made with Turkish cotton or have “cotton made in Turkey” printed on the tag. These so-called Turkish towels, also known as fouta or peshtemal towels, feature fibers that “are typically a little smoother and stronger than many other types of cotton,” explained Karin Sun, founder of bedding and bath brand Crane & Canopy. And yes, this cotton is only made in Turkey, she added.

SKIP AHEAD The difference between Turkish, Egyptian and Pima cotton

Turkish towels are made from Turkish cotton, a fabric that’s absorbent yet quick-drying, experts told us. These are qualities many people look for in a beach towel specifically — you want something that can dry you off and doesn't stay damp for too long so you can quickly use it again. To help you find the right Turkish beach towel for your needs, we talked to experts about how to shop for them and rounded up a handful you may want to consider.

Best Turkish beach towels to consider

When shopping for Turkish beach towels, experts told us to look for ones made entirely from Turkish cotton. Experts also recommended paying attention to grams per square meter (GSM) while shopping for any type of towel — this measures the weight of the fabric and impacts the towel’s overall feel. In our guide to beach towels, experts said higher GSM makes for a thicker, more plush towel while a lower GSM makes for a more lightweight towel. Since Turkish cotton is a more lightweight fabric, it typically has a lower GSM. (For reference, 300 is a pretty low GSM.)

For each Turkish towel below, we included information about the GSM if the brand listed it online and noted the dimensions of each to help you get a feel for its size. Some towels are available in multiple colors and patterns, which we noted as well.

West Elm Organic Turkish Tassel Towel

Size: 54 inches by 28 inches

GSM: 300

West Elm’s Turkish towels are constructed with 100% organic Turkish cotton. The brand says the towels are machine-washable and get softer with every wash, but they shouldn’t lose their absorbency over time. The Turkish towels come with tasseled edges and are available in five colors: black, Marina Blue, Dark Olive, Copper and Sand.

Parachute Oversized Beach Towel

Size: 70 inches by 57 inches

GSM: 380

Parachute says this beach towel is meant to double as a blanket due to its larger size. It’s designed with 100% long-staple Turkish cotton and can be cleaned in the washing machine, the brand says. The towel has a tasseled trim and comes in three colors: Bone, Amber and Putty and White (currently sold out).

Lands’ End Turkish Cotton Beach Towel

Size: 78 inches by 39 inches

Lands’ End Turkish towels are made from 100% Turkish cotton and have fringed edges. They’re machine-washable, the brand says, and come in three striped shades: Soft Tea Rose Stripe, Light Blue Radiance Strip and Chicory Blue Stripe.

Wetcat Turkish Beach Blanket Towel

Size: 71 inches by 38 inches

Made from 100% Turkish cotton, this towel is designed to be quick-drying and odor-resistant, according to the brand. It comes pre-washed so you can use it right away, and it’s machine-washable for easy clean-up. The Wetcat Turkish Beach Blanket Towel is currently available in 33 colors — including Aquamarine, Light Pink, Yellow and more — and it has white tassels along the border.

Crane & Canopy Fouta Bath Sheet

Size: 70 inches by 40 inches

Crane & Canopy’s machine-washable Fouta Bath Sheet is made from 100% Turkish cotton and the brand says it’s quick-drying, lightweight and absorbent. It’s designed with a fringe border and a loop you can use to hang the towel up after use. The Fouta Bath Sheet comes in striped or dot patterns and you can purchase it in coral, blue or yellow.

Sand Cloud Towel

Size: Ranges per towel, options available in standard and XL sizes

Sand Cloud’s towels are made from 100% Turkish cotton and are sand-resistant and machine-washable, according to the brand. They come in a variety of styles, from tie dye prints to boho patterns, and some have tasseled borders.

Mark & Graham Striped Turkish Lightweight Towel

Size: 75 inches by 38 inches

Mark & Graham’s Turkish towel is made from 100% Turkish cotton and has a reversible, striped design with a fringed border. Towels come in six striped styles: Navy-Sky Blue, Orchid-Coral, Sky Blue-Yellow, Blue, Taupe and Yellow. You can add a monogram to the towel for an additional fee.

House No. 23 Kupa Towel

Size: 76 inches by 40 inches

House No. 23’s machine-washable Kupa Towel is made from 100% hand-loomed raw Turkish cotton. The brand says it’s soft, durable and lightweight. The towel has a striped pattern and fringed border and it’s available in shades of blue, beige and more.

What is the difference between Turkish, Egyptian and Pima cotton?

When it comes to shopping for towels, there are three kinds of cotton you’ll generally find: Turkish, Egyptian and Pima. Below, we broke down the three fabrics so you can compare them to one another while deciding which kind of towel to purchase.

Turkish cotton is meant to be lightweight and quick-drying — this duality makes it a popular pick for towels, Sun said. Turkish towels usually feature tightly woven cotton on one side and plush terry on the other — the combination of the two means they’re soft, absorbent and lightweight, according to Sun.

Egyptian cotton, similar to Turkish cotton, has extra-long fibers, but they are thicker and even more absorbent. They have what Sun described as a “plush hand feel” and are known for being durable and high-quality.

Pima cotton can be considered like a “sister to Egyptian cotton,” Sun explained. It generally refers to a generic label given to extra-long staple cotton (just like Egyptian cotton) that was developed in the U.S. back in the early 1900s, she said. This cotton actually was created from a variety of Egyptian cottonSupima is a trademarked type of Pima cotton.

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