Antalya: Turkish Riveria Town


Antalya is one of the oldest but most modern cities in Turkey. It is located in the southwest region and is surrounded by the Taurus Mountains. Antalya is famous as a Turkish resort city because it is home to many stunning beaches surrounded by large and luxurious Las Vegas-style resorts. It is as popular with couples looking for a romantic getaway as it is with families looking for an unforgettable trip.

Antalya was founded in 150 BC and was initially named Atalia in honor of its founder Atlos II. Since it was part of the Ottoman, Byzantine, Greek, and Roman empires, the city is home to many historical architectural attractions. Most of these mosques, mosques, Turkish baths, and mausoleums are concentrated in Kalei, the old center of Antalya. Interestingly, Kaleiçi is also home to a number of hotels, bars, clubs, and shopping centers, which have retained their historical character.
Kamhuriat Square is the main center of Antalya and a popular destination for tourists. There are two famous beaches on either side of the city, Konyalti Beach in the west and Lara Beach in the east.

Antalya is popular for its many beaches and historical sites apart from its vibrant nightlife. The city comes alive at night with beautiful views, romantic dinner cruises, and bustling bars. However, to feel the true essence of Turkey, visit foreign markets buzzing with vendors and locals. With a beautiful climate and a friendly ambiance, Antalya is one of those cities in all.

What is the best time to visit Antalya?

April to mid-June (spring) and September to mid-October (autumn) are the best times to visit Antalya when you can escape the wet winters and hot summers. Activities like canoeing, trekking, and rafting are most popular during this time. The average annual temperature is 21 °C, and the average rainfall in Antalya is about 90 mm. Summers last from June to August, and July to August are the hottest. July is the driest month of the year with almost negligible rainfall.

Although the shoulder season is considered an ideal time, summers see an influx of tourists which can be overcrowded. It gets colder but gradually more humid in winter, which lasts from December to February. January is the wettest month with maximum rainfall of around 240 mm. So it is better to avoid winter.

Places To Visit In Antalya

  1. Kaleici

Kaleici is the oldest historical city in Antalya and has quickly become an important city center and one of Turkey’s most popular tourist destinations. It is home to the 130 AD Hadrian Gate dedicated to Emperor Hadrian, the 14-meter-high Hidirlik Tower from the 17th century, and the Suna-Inan Kirak Kaleisi Museum preserving Antalya’s traditional architectural and cultural objects.

Kaleici is perfect for visiting in the summer months. Ottoman-era restored homes surround the entire neighborhood with cobblestone streets and small souvenir shops, which come alive in the summer due to an influx of tourists from around the world. Behind the Kaleici Marina is a small beach, Mermerli Beach, which has an observation deck atop a hill, and offers a panoramic view of the city and the Mediterranean Sea. The marina itself adopts several yachts and yachts, and tourists can also board a submarine for a private tour. In addition, there is an observation terrace with a glass balcony that offers picturesque views of the marina. It is adjacent to Casey Park, where small cafes and wooden sculptures make the perfect backdrop for watching the sunset. Built-in 100 BC, Kaleisi is lined with hotels and tourist attractions.

  1. Aspendos

Located close to Turkey’s Antalya province, Aspendos is a famous historical attraction that was once a Greco-Roman city in Pamphylia. It is divided into lower and upper cities and is famous for its splendid architecture of antiquity. The most famous attraction here is the Roman Theater which is one of the best-preserved ones in the world. Aspendos mostly go on tour from Antalya and Side.

Enough to seat around 15,000 – 20,000 people, the Aspendos Theater was built under the rule of Marcus Aurelius in the 2nd century CE and is one of the largest Roman theaters in Asia Minor. It is semicircular in shape and is divided into 20 seating tiers. There is a two-story platform wall with double columns with Ionic and Corinthian columns. It has since been restored and is known for hosting music and dance festivals. Most notable is the annual Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival held in the spring and early summer months. Some of the other attractions in Aspendos include the remains of a basilica, a Roman aqueduct, Roman Eurymedon Bridge, agora, baths, nymphaeum, and more.

  1. Antalya Cable Car

The Antalya Cable Car, also known as Tuncatape Teleferik, is one of the best ways to see the natural landscape. It starts from Sarosu Station on Konyalti Beach. Tunektepe is more than 605m above sea level and, at its summit, has restaurants, a playground for children, a club, and several telescopes to take in the spectacular surrounding views. The cable car takes about 9 minutes to travel 1,706 meters to the top. It has 36 cabins and can accommodate 8 people each.

The cable car takes people to the top of the hill amidst the smell of pine trees, fresh air, and spectacular views. Also, since the restaurants above are connected to Antalya Nagar, the prices are cheap, especially since outside food is not allowed. The Bey Mountains, the Mediterranean Sea, the harbor, and the city skyline are all visible from the convenient height of Tunektepe hill, and while riding on the cable cars.

  1. Duden Waterfalls

The Duden Waterfalls are located 12 km northeast of Antalya and meet the sea on the southeast coast of the city. It is made from recycled station water. It includes the Upper Duden Waterfalls in a nature park and the Lower Duden Waterfalls in the suburb of Lara, east of the Old Town.

The Lower Duden Waterfalls offer a spectacular waterfall as the Duden River juts out from the 40-meter-high cliff of the city of Antalya. You can enjoy the spectacular waterfalls ending in the Mediterranean Sea and the mesmerizing view of the city, mountains, hills, and forest by the Antalya shores. Private boat tours are also available. The Upper Duden Waterfalls are a series of smaller waterfalls in a quiet municipal park.

Don’t forget to visit the Cave of Desires nearby. It provides a natural window to the waterfalls and can be accessed by climbing a spiral staircase. It is believed that Alexander the Great came to this spring and gave water to his horses, thus known as the Alexander Falls. Using Antalyakart, take the MK80 dolmas (minibus) straight from the city center to the upper waterfall near the Ismetpasa tram stop. The bus runs every 20 minutes and costs just 5.20 TRY.

  1. Termessos

Termesos is a mountain town and one of the best-preserved ancient places in Turkey, famous for the remains of old structures. It is located in the Guluk Dagi National Park in the northwest of Antalya, divided into Upper City and Lower City. Also called the Eagles Nest, it is visited for its natural and architectural splendor. Termesos have ruins of temples, cemeteries with rock-cut mausoleums, houses, statues, etc.

A dilapidated structure that serves as a bathhouse and gymnasium is right in front of the entrance and has a courtyard and several vaulted rooms inside. There is an agora, an open-air marketplace, and a typical Roman theater nearby. Next to it is an odeon or a small theatre. It overlooks the stunning Pamphylia region and the Taurus Mountains and is excellent for photography. There is also a cafe and a small museum near its entrance. It is accessible via car or taxi from Antalya and is about an hour’s walk from the car park. The best way to explore the city is on foot, and it is recommended to go early in the morning.

  1. Hadrian’s Gate

Hadrian’s Gate is a triumphal arch and a historical ruin located on Ataturk Boulevard in Antalya. It is the only remaining gateway into the walls around the city and the harbor. It is named the Triple Gate because of the three arches standing valiantly on four large vertical pillars. It is also the gateway to the beautiful historic quarter of the congregation, filled with homes, restaurants, and shopping outlets.

Established in 130 A.D., Hadrian’s Gate was built in honor of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and was rediscovered by Francis Beaufort in 1817. It is believed that the Queen of Sheba passed through the middle arch on her way to Aspendos and spent a pleasant night with King Salomon. The monumental architecture resembles a two-story building with Pentelic marble and granite pillars. Two towers on each side of the Triple Gate have been built at different times.

The northern minaret was constructed much later in the 13th century AD with inscribed Arabic scriptures, and the southern pillar, also known as the Tower of Julia Sancta, was installed in the Roman era. The typical Roman triumphal arch displays intricate floral motifs and rosettes. In addition, it has barrel vaults on its arches, a cornice representing the heads of lions, and an entrance at the top of the gate. Visitors can spend some peaceful time on the park benches outside, under the architectural splendor of Hadrian’s Gate. It can be reached on foot or by tram. The tram line, called the Nostalgia Tramway, runs right next to the monument, and the stop is appropriately called Hadrid.

  1. Roman Harbour

The Roman Harbour, commonly known as the Old Tower, is located at the end of the historic town of Calici. The port is now home to a number of yachts and other vessels that are open to the public for short cruises. It is lined with restaurants and cafes, which in the evenings are packed with customers flocking from nearby Kesili Park or Antalya Bazaar to watch the sunset and spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea with a cup of coffee.

It is best to visit Roman Harbor during the summer months as it gives an opportunity to take a dip in the sea waters that surround the port. One of the ancient port cities of the country. Antalya was actually discovered a long time ago because of this port. Soon after its discovery, the place became one of the most important places for trade by the Romans. It is now a very popular tourist place to visit in Antalya.

  1. Antalya Museum

One of the largest archaeological museums in the city, the Antalya Museum is located just 3 km west of Kalekapisi in Konyalty. It has 13 large exhibition halls and an open-air exhibition. Ancient sculptures of Greek gods and goddesses, Hercules marble statues, pottery, sarcophagi, and the Ottoman collection of weapons, costumes, and artifacts from the Old Stone Age are displayed here.

Covering an area of ​​30,000 square feet over two floors, the museum houses more than 5000 works of art, and approximately 25,000-50,000 artifacts are stored inside it. The huge halls of the Antalya Museum include Prehistoric Hall, Icon Hall, Regional Excavation Hall, Roman Imperial Sculptures, Mosaic Hall, etc. History buffs will fall in love with the Hall of Sacrophagy showcasing the excavations of the Purge Necropolis. Don’t miss the spectacular displays of philosophers and dancing women and the mosaics of Emperor Hadrianus. The museum has a small gift shop and a cafe.

  1. Yivli Minare

The Yivli Minaret Mosque, Aladdin Mosque or Ulu Mosque, is a 13th-century historic mosque located in the center of the old town of Kaleisi. It is one of the first Islamic buildings built in Antalya and one of the oldest structures exhibiting multi-dome architecture with its 6 domes. It is part of a complex structure called the Kuliye and is 38 meters tall. It also houses a museum that displays the lifestyle and standard of living of the ancient people of Antalya.

Built on the highest point of the city, it is one of the most famous attractions in the area. Its fluted minaret, the ‘Yivli Minar’, is decorated with dark blue tiles and is made of unique cylindrical projections. Built during the rule of the Seljuk Sultan Aladdin Kaiqubad I, it displays many elements of the Seljuk period such as geometric designs and calligraphic inscriptions.

Other buildings that are part of the complex include the Gyaseddin Kihusarev Madrasa and the Mevlevihane Museum, which includes the Mevlevihane, Hamam, Zinkikiran Mehmet Bay, and the Nigar Hatun tombs. It is forbidden to come in the time of Salah which takes place 5 times a day. Visitors are required to dress properly and take off their shoes at the entrance.

  1. Kursunlu Waterfalls

Kursunlu Waterfall is a breathtaking and serene waterfall located 19km northwest of Antalya along the Antalya-Serik-Alanya Highway. It is a tributary of the Aksu River and forms a natural pool where the water falls from about 18 meters. It is a great place to take a walk or take a walk in nature surrounded by pine trees. There are many picnic spots and a very small cafe around the area.

The best time to visit Kursunlu Falls is during the fall or spring, especially in May, as the fall is relatively short in the summer months. You will be able to really appreciate the beauty when the flowers bloom during the spring months, and the entire area looks nothing less than a heavenly abode with sparkling waters on sunny days. The stone paths leading to the waterfall can be a bit rocky, so it is advisable to wear comfortable footwear.

  1. Karaalioglu Park

Karalioglu Park is an urban park that offers picturesque views of the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains. It is located in Kilikarslan district, Antalya. More than a hundred meters tall, this Central Park is home to many exotic plants and trees as well as fountains. It is ideal for nature lovers and offers many beautiful photographic locations.

The Hidirlic Tower on the western side of the park was built by the Romans in the 2nd century BC. Today it offers spectacular views of the sea and the surrounding landscape. In addition, the park is also filled with sculptures, some of which include the Don Quixote statue, frog and hand sculptures, and a monument dedicated to Nazim Hikmat, a famous poet. Near the entrance to the park, there are a few places for snacks, beverages, and coffee. You can also walk directly from the park to the port.

  1. Perge

An ancient city located between the Cataract and Cestrus rivers in the east of the province of Antalya in Turkey, Perg dates back to the Bronze Age. It is famous for its magnificent architecture dating back to the Hellenistic period and is home to many impressive structures. The main attractions of Perge are the Stadium of Perge and a Greco-Roman theatre. Another popular attraction is Hadrian’s Gate, a three-arched marble gateway with intricate carvings.

The entrance to the city is through a massive Hellenistic gate with a circular tower and four arches on each side. Just before the gate is the southern nymphaeum and to the left and to the right are some well-preserved bathhouses (featuring beautiful marble) with square-shaped agoras. The former theater could seat about 12,000 people, while the latter, with its marble reliefs, could seat about 15,000 people. A key feature of the Perge is its colonnaded street which was used for socializing. There were many shops along the street and a water canal ran through the middle. Perge is a great location for photography.

  1. Karain Cave

The Kairain Cave is an archaeological site of the Palaeolithic period, located in the village of Yaska in the northwest of Antalya. Part of a one-day excursion from Antalya and often a trek to nearby Termesos, it is primarily visited for its historical significance. The Kairain Cave is also the oldest human habitation in the province and the largest populated cave in Turkey.

Situated on the eastern slope of Mount Katran at an altitude of 430 meters above sea level, it is a complex of caves on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The complex has three main chambers separated by passages, calcite walls, and narrow curves, while its halls and galleries have speleothems. Its Palaeolithic and Neolithic artifacts such as arrowheads, scrapes, flint, bone sculptures, etc. are now on display in the Antalya Museum at the foot of the mountain. There is also a small cafe and shop on site. Known for its slightly eerie vibes, it’s hard to go deep into the cave, especially because it only has a few rooms. Also, reaching the cave is not easy as one has to climb around 400 steps to reach its mouth. Therefore, it is not suitable for people who have difficulty walking.

  1. Karst Springs

Antalya Province in Turkey is known for a rural limestone area or limestone farm which is home to several karst springs with waterfalls and sinkholes. These springs have given rise to lime deposits over millions of years and have resulted in the formation of travertine patios. Pinarbas and Kirkgöz, which are located northwest of Antalya, have some karst springs and sinkholes, but the most impressive waterfall is in the Dudenbas which falls down a narrow gorge.

This waterfall is divided into upper fall which is Dudenbasi Selalsee and lower fall which is Duden. The waterfalls and surrounding greenery are a treat for nature lovers as the limestone farm is a great place to relax and take pictures. The best way to explore the area is to walk or hike.

  1. Antalya Aquarium

Antalya Aquarium is the largest tunnel aquarium located in the city center of Antalya. In addition to the main tank, which runs 131 meters in length, there are about 40 thematic sections showcasing the different seas and oceans of the world. The famous Snow World Ice Museum is home to an indoor igloo, a house of St. Nicholas, and a small cafe serving Turkish cuisine.

It is built in the shape of a mountain hut and is open for events. A once-in-a-lifetime tropical adventure awaits you at Wild Park where exclusive species from all over the world can be seen. From octopuses, sharks, and giant morays to live corals and seahorses, you’ll see all kinds of underwater creatures. There are regular shark, koi, and stingray feeding sessions that cannot be missed! The Face2Face Wax Museum gives you the opportunity to click pictures with some of the known characters from the underwater world, including Captain Jack Sparrow, while Captain Barbosa will take you on an 8-minute ocean ride on the rooftop floor. The Sea Gift Shop has an excellent souvenir section with ocean and underwater-themed items suitable for all age groups.

  1. Olympos

Olympos or Olympus is located along the Mediterranean coast in the Antalya province of Turkey and is a tropical village that is perfect for a relaxing holiday. It is known for its Roman theatre, bridge, temple, Byzantine basilica, chamber tombs, and defensive walls, all of which are in ruins. This ancient city is also located on the way to Olympos Beach which is ideal for swimming, relaxing, watching the Caretta caretta (sea turtle), and watching the sunset.

A destination that is also historically significant, it is home to the ancient city of Olympos which was part of the Lycian civilization and was used as a cult site. Olympos is also famous for the eternal flames of the chimera which keep burning automatically due to natural gas leaks. The region is famous for its topography and proximity to water for activities such as canoeing, boating (including moonlight boat tours), diving, trekking, hiking, rock climbing, biking, etc. Plus, Olympos is synonymous with backpacker guesthouses, especially decorated treehouse-style bungalows!

  1. Kaputas Beach

Kaputas beach in southwestern Turkey is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the country for its clear turquoise Mediterranean waters, golden, fine sand, and one-meter-high cliff. The beach has a breathtaking landscape, making it a perfect destination for people who love swimming and sunbathing. Umbrellas and sunbeds are usually available for a fee. Also to be found at the hotel are showers, toiletries, changing room with a snack bar.

Kaputas Beach is famous among locals for its surrounding cliffs and the forests that connect to the seashore. Located between Kas and Kalkan, you can also go on a yacht or cruise to the beach. The beach is also home to about 250 endangered plants, of which a yellow flowering plant named Kaputus inula blooms from June to August on the rocky cliffs near the beach.

  1. Sapadere Kanyonu

Sapdere Valley is a rugged valley known for its waterfalls and clear pools and is a popular picnic spot. It is situated in the middle of the majestic Vrishabha mountain in the village of Sapdere. The water flowing into the pool from the mountains is very cold and oxygen-rich and it is often a pleasure and a challenge to swim in it. One has to walk 30 minutes on wooden trails to reach the valley.

There are many small waterfalls spread throughout the area with rich flora and fauna in ponds surrounded by rocks and trees. There is a small parking lot at the entrance and a local restaurant, which serves regional cuisine amidst the sounds of nature. Buying the right souvenirs at a small souvenir shop is a great way to end a trip.

  1. Phaselis

The ancient city of Phaselis was a Roman and Greek settlement. Its ruins are found today in Tekirova, Kemar in Antalya Province. Situated between the beautiful Bay Mountains and Olympos National Park, it is surrounded by three bays and harbors. The city’s 24-meter-wide main street still exists and is flanked by ruins of shops and shops.

Ruins of public spaces, such as the large and small Roman baths, the tetragonal agora, and the Domitianus agora, are also seen along the main road. The Gate of Hadrian is complex with patterns and inscriptions, while the theater and its seating arrangement and stage are relatively well preserved. The north and south harbors and the water canals that cut across the city are other reminders of the past. There are also a number of sarcophagi or funeral boxes that can be found in Faecalis. One can visit the beaches at the northern and southern ports, although there are no facilities such as showers or changing rooms. There is also a museum building inside the Olympos National Park that can be visited during the quest for Phyllis.

  1. Hidirlik Tower

Hidirlik Tower, one of the oldest surviving monuments in Antalya, is an ancient monumental building located in Hesapsi Sock in the Old Town district. This 46-foot Roman tower dates back 2000 years and provides a spectacular view of the garden area, bushes, and blue fringe. However, this tower is not open to the public. Instead, visitors can stroll around the landmark and enjoy the view.

The foundation structure of the Hidirlic Tower was commissioned during the Roman era. At the same time, the upper walls took shape during the Seljuk and Ottoman eras, showcasing historical designs related to the Antalya region. The base of this church is square, while the top is cylindrical and built of yellowish brown stone blocks. It is believed to have been used earlier as a tomb and a church during Roman rule, while later it was used as a lighthouse and a defense fortress. Also known as Hirdirlik Kulesi, the entrance, on the eastern side of the tower, is carved in the style of an axe.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Antalya

Q. Why is Antalya famous?

A – Antalya is the largest international sea resort in Turkey, located on the Turkish Riviera. Large-scale development and government funding have given a boost to tourism. A record 13.6 million tourists passed through the city in 2019.

Q. Is Antalya worth seeing?

A – Antalya is a resort town with beautiful beaches, impressive hotels, historical sites, and an old Roman port full of yachts. All the reasons that make it a destination worth visiting.

Q. Which is cheaper Antalya or Istanbul?

A – The average daily cost (per person) in Antalya is $25, while the average daily cost in Istanbul is $44.

Q. Is Antalya part of Europe or Asia?

A – The entire Anatolian part of Antalya and Turkey is officially Asia! It is only considered part of Europe by a lot of tour operators and holiday insurance companies, so the same goes for TA listings.

Q. How many days do you need in Antalya?

A – There are many options for spending time in the water, hiking, or for adventure seekers, paragliding, or parasailing. If this is one of your stops in your Antalya itinerary while you are in Turkey, we recommend 2 – 4 days, depending on how much time you have that you want to do while you are here want.

Q. How far is Antalya from the airport?

A – Antalya Airport is located approximately 25 kilometers from Antalya city center. You can get a bus to the city center with line 442. It is also possible to take a taxi for 49 TL (48,50 €).

Q. Do they speak English in Antalya?

A – English is widely spoken in Turkish tourist cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya and Musala. Most educated youth speak English to some extent because English lessons are integrated into the Turkish education system.

Q. Bodrum is better or Antalya?

A – Several waterparks and theme parks also make Antalya a great family destination. Compared to the beach between Bodrum and Antalya, Antalya is the winner. While Bodrum has many wondrous beaches, Antalya has some excellent public beaches within the city.

Q. Which is better Antalya or Cappadocia?

A – People go to Antalya to swim and visit Roman sites, Cappadocia’s rock formations, underground cities, and balloons. It’s impossible to say which one you might like. (Many more people visit Antalya.) However, Cappadocia is fine to visit year-round, while Antalya is best from April to October.

Q. Is Antalya closer to Ukraine?

A – Yes, the driving distance between Ukraine to Antalya is 2254 kms. It takes about 28h 33m to drive from Ukraine to Antalya.

Q. Is it easy to get around in Antalya?

A – Once they adjust to the area and orient themselves, it is relatively easy for visitors to get around in Antalya. Many visitors opt to rent a car upon arrival at Antalya International Airport.

Q. Is Antalya good for nightlife?

A – Antalya is one of the more lively regions of Turkey when it comes to nightlife. When I live in Antalya I have never had to search for all-night parties, dances, great shows, performances, or a great atmosphere. You are definitely having a wonderful time.

Q. Do I need cash in Antalya?

A – Credit and debit (bank) cards such as Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in Antalya’s restaurants, bars, cafes, markets and shops. Contactless cards are also widely used in the Antalya region and many businesses accept them as payment up to a small limit per transaction for security reasons.

Q. Is Antalya a family destination?

A – A paradise for vacationers, with historical ruins, beautiful exteriors and gorgeous beaches all in close proximity, Antalya is also family-friendly. Apart from the kids activities at the best resorts in Antalya, the city also has a lot of other things to do for the little ones.

Q. How long does it take to get from the airport to Antalya?

A – Yes, the driving distance between Antalya to Antalya Airport (AYT) is 16 km. It takes about 14 minutes to drive from Antalya to Antalya Airport (AYT).

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