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Whether for the bath or beach, towels are traditionally made from cotton. It’s what you’ll see on the labels of towels from Wayfair, Walmart and West Elm, to name a few. It’s also common to come across Turkish cotton or “cotton made in Turkey” on beach towels.
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, which carries Turkish cotton towels, bath mats and more. And yes, this cotton is made only in Turkey, Sun said.
With vaccinations up and restrictions down nationally and internationally, many are planning vacations — whether that means rebooking a once canceled catch-up trip or scheduling a new journey abroad altogether. Those looking to travel this summer are particularly interested in beach towns, from Myrtle Beach to Virginia Beach and Miami Beach, according to a survey from travel agency Booking.com.
Like beach reads and sunscreens, the sight of beach towels is usually a sure sign of summer. As the season is officially here — it arrived June 20 — you might be searching for one ahead of any day or overnight trips or even for a weeks-long break. To help you find the right Turkish towel for you, we gathered Turkish towels to take to the beach based on guidance experts have given us in our guide to the best beach towels.
Turkish cotton vs Egyptian cotton vs Pima cotton
In our guide to the best beach towels, experts recommended finding ones made completely from cotton and with a GSM of 400 (more affordable) to above 500 (“hotel quality,” as Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel’s general manager Mohan Koka said). When it comes to cotton towels, there are three kinds that you’ll generally find: Turkish, Egyptian and Pima.
- Turkish cotton is meant to be lightweight and quick-to-dry — this duality makes it a popular pick for towels, Sun mentioned. Turkish towels 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, similarly, includes extra-long fibers that are thicker and even more absorbent and it’s the climate in Egypt that helps these threads grow, Sun said. They have what she 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 developed in the U.S. back in the early 1900s, she added. This cotton actually was created from a variety of Egyptian cotton — Supima is a trademarked type of Pima cotton.
Best Turkish beach towels of 2021
For your next trip to the beach, these are Turkish towels to consider from Shopping reader favorite retailers like Amazon and Brooklinen.
Best overall Turkish towel: Wetcat
In terms of affordability, absorbency and average star rating, this towel could be worth considering. This towel isn’t just a bestseller for Turkish towels — it’s the No. 1 bestseller on Amazon for beach towels in general. It has earned an average 4.7-star rating with over close to 5,000 reviews. Made from 100 percent Turkish cotton, the towel is designed to be quick-drying and odor-resistant. It currently comes in 32 colors, including Aquamarine and Turquoise.
Best affordable Turkish towel: Destination Summer
This towel is patterned with classic cabana stripes and falls at just under $10. It’s also designed from 100 percent Turkish cotton and meant for low linting. The towel measures 64 inches by 34 inches so you can lay comfortably on the sand or grass. While this towel comes in red, pink and orange stripes, you can also find it in Cool Stripe, which features shades of blue and green.
Best higher-end (and absorbent) Turkish towel: Brooklinen
With a GSM of 600, this beach towel is designed to be absorbent and thicker than the brand’s Classic Towel. It is made mostly from long-staple Turkish cotton (it features a small percentage of other fibers like velour) and measures 34 inches by 50 inches. The towel is part of collaboration with illustrator Isabelle Feliu — there were originally two patterns but only Moonscape is currently in stock.
Best oversized Turkish towel: Parachute
While the size of a standard beach towel can range between retailers, this pick from Parachute is meant to be both a beach blanket and Turkish towel in one, measuring 57 inches by 70 inches. Made from what the brand describes as 100 percent long-staple Turkish cotton, it also features a tasseled trim and a 380 GSM. You can choose between two colorways: White and Clay and Putty and White.
Best sand-resistant Turkish towel: Sand Cloud
Made from 100 percent cotton, this towel is designed to be quick-drying without leaving an odor and sand-resistant. It can be used for many different functions, including as a sarong, throw or shower towel, according to the brand. The towel measures 38 inches by 64 inches. Since it features a tie-dye design, keep in mind that there could be some variations in the color and pattern of this towel.
Best monogrammed Turkish towel: Mark & Graham
Mark & Graham is known for its monogramming and you can choose to personalize this towel for an additional fee — picking out the font, font color and text. The towel is made from 100 percent Turkish cotton and features a reversible, striped design with a fringed border. It currently comes in six colorways including Orchid-Coral and Sky Blue-Yellow. This towel measures 38 inches by 75 inches.;
Best handwoven Turkish towel: House No. 23
From House No.23, which was founded by two sisters whose family have been in the Turkish textile business for generations, this towel can be draped over a couch or used at the beach. Made from 100 percent cotton from Turkey, it features stripes and fringed edges. There are nine shades to choose including Checkered Oat and Checkered Lavender and these hues range in sizes from 36 inches by 74 inches to 40 inches by 77 inches.