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Antalya

What's Popular In Antalya

  • Currency: Turkish lira(TRY)
  • Language: Türkçe

Antalya is a Turkish resort city with a yacht-filled Old Harbor and beaches flanked by large hotels. It's a gateway to Turkey's southern Mediterranean region, known as the Turquoise Coast for its blue waters. Remnants remain from Antalya's time as a major Roman port. These include Hadrian’s Gate, built to honor the Roman emperor’s visit in 130 A.D and 2nd-century Hidirlik Tower, with harbor views.

Best Time to Travel

March to May (Spring) and September to November (Autumn) is the best time to visit Antalya. Owning to its Mediterranean climate, the region has hot, dry summers and wet, humid winters. Hence spring and Autumn months, although the shoulder season, is an ideal time to visit Antalya. 
The average annual temperature is 21 degrees, and the average precipitation in Antalya is about 90mm. The summers last from June to August and July and August are the warmest months of the year. July is also the driest month of the year, with almost negligible rainfall. 

Although the shoulder season is considered as an ideal time, there's a tourist influx in summers which can get overcrowded. The beaches and waterfalls are a great place to be at during summers. The fall and spring see the lowest footfall making accommodations favourable and easily available. Activities like canoeing, trekking and rafting are the most popular during this time. It gets cooler but gradually more humid in the winter months, that last from December through February. January is the wettest month, with maximum precipitation is around 240mm. Hence it's best to avoid winters.

Transportation

Getting around Antalya is relatively easy for visitors once they have adjusted to the area and oriented themselves.

You can get around Antalya by diverse means of transportation. Buses and trams are usually on time and taxis or dolmus are relatively cheap. The public transportation consists of four different options which can be combined to get to all attractions and popular locations.

Buses

The main mode of public transportation is the local bus which gets visitors to nearly every part of the city. One of the best ways to get around Antalya is via buses that have their stations in the heart of Antalya. The bus routes passes by the major destinations and tourist attractions of the city.

Minibuses 

The minibuse is a perfectly legitimate and efficient mode of transportation and visitors are encouraged to try it, not only for the purpose of conveniently getting around Antalya but also for the experience of local travel. Aside from buses, the city also has a minibuse, a local mode of transportation. Payment of the fare is usually done as soon as you sit down and trips within the city may cost cheap.

Trams

The third method of transportation is the tram which goes to a limited number of locations but is useful for visitors because it does hit many major attractions. Tram is inexpensive and convenient for certain destinations. Antalya's tramvay has 10 stops, and provides the simplest way to travel from one end of town to the other.

Taxis

Licensed taxis in Antalya are yellow and have registration numbers on the sides. Taxis are a practical, comfortable, convenient and speedy way to get around Antalya, but distances in the sprawling city can make for fairly high taxi fares. If you have a lot of baggage, a taxi is the way to go.

Attractions

Antalya Museum

If you're at all interested in Turkish history, don't miss this excellent museum. The dazzling exhibits here showcase all the best finds from excavation sites across the Turkish coast. Even better, the collection is displayed in exemplary fashion, making Turkey's rich (and rather complicated) history easy to understand. The large archaeological section offers displays from the Bronze Age to Byzantium, with a particular emphasis on ruins in the nearby area.

Yivli Minare

Antalya's most distinctive landmark is the Yivli Minare (fluted minaret), built by the Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubad (1219-36). The minaret is a typical example of Seljuk architecture, with a square base surmounted by an octagonal drum bearing the fluted shaft, with its corbelled gallery around the top. The attached 14th-century mosque is still in use today. The minaret is right beside the Kale entrance gate into the old city.

Hadrian's Gate

Hadrian's Gate is one of the main (and the most dramatic) entrance gates into the Kaleiçi district. Considerable stretches of the Hellenistic and Roman town walls on the eastern side of the old town have been preserved, and Hadrian's Gate is the most notable of these sections. Erected in honor of the AD 130 visit by Emperor Hadrian himself, this imposing three-arched marble gateway, flanked by imposing towers, is decorated with rich sculptural decorations. As you walk through the arches, look up at the ceiling to view the best preserved carvings.

Roman Fortress (Hidirlik Kalesi)

Built in the 2nd century, this squat 14-meter-high cylindrical tower watches over the old harbor from high above on the edge of Karaalioglu Park. No one is quite sure what its main function was, but most agree it acted as a watchtower or lighthouse over the busy port below. Now it's a fantastic spot to watch the sunset or get that all-important panoramic view over the old harbor area.

The park itself is prime picnicking territory and a tranquil, flower-filled spot to escape the city streets. Do as the locals do and come here at dusk to promenade. Excellent cafés are also nearby if you need to recuperate after sightseeing.

Aspendos

The main reason history buffs visit Antalya is to make the day trip to Aspendos, about 47 kilometers east. This archaeological site is home to a Roman theater commonly thought to be the best preserved in the world and one of the top tourist attractions in Turkey. The glory days of this dazzling, ancient town were during the 2nd and 3rd centuries, when most of the ruins that can be seen today were built.

Olympos and the Chimaera

The near-twin villages of Olympos and Çirali, about 84 kilometers southwest of Antalya, sit on a piece of lovely coastline near the overgrown ruins of the ancient Lycian city of Olympos. As well as the ruins, the famed attraction here is the chimaera, a naturally occurring eternal flame that flickers out of the rocky cliff above. 

Karain Cave

The Karain Cave, about 27 kilometers northwest of Antalya, near Dösemalti, was inhabited by prehistoric man and has yielded finds from both the Lower and Middle Paleolithic eras. Excavated finds here include bones and teeth belonging to Neolithic man. Some of the finds are on show in the small but remarkably comprehensive museum on-site. The wide, arching caverns here are a good opportunity for some easy caving and are very popular with local families having a break from the city.

Köprülü River

If you are looking for things to do around Antalya, the Köprülü Canyon National Park (also easily accessible from Side), with the green-blue water of the Köprülü River snaking through dramatic and craggy high cliffs, is one of Turkey's most popular white water rafting destinations. If you feel like balancing out all the historic ruins of the region with an adrenaline rush, plenty of half-day rafting tours are offered from Antalya.


What to Do

Antalya offers plenty of things to do for everyone. If you want to dose up on sightseeing, you'll find a fascinating line-up of tourist attractions to keep you busy. The labyrinthine old town is full of atmospheric historic sites, while the city is perfectly placed to act as your base for sightseeing around the outlying area, where dozens of grand ruins await. This city is also a great spot for your launch onto the white-sand beaches of Turkey's Turquoise Coast. Beach lovers and history buffs will both leave satisfied.


Tunek Tepe

Towering over the west side of Antalya, Tunek Tepe is a huge hill which offers impressive views over the city, the Gulf of Antalya, and the coastline snaking its way off into the distance. One of the best ways to get to the summit is by cable car up the hillside. At the top, there is a restaurant as well as a nightclub, if you want to dance the night away in a memorable location. If clubbing isn’t your thing, Tunek Tepe is still worth a visit just for the magnificent panoramas that it offers.

Kaleici’s harbor

The most beautiful part of Antalya is Kaleici’s harbor, and the best way to spend a day is to take a boat trip from here. You’ll get to see Antalya’s coastline, swim in pristine coves, and eat freshly caught and grilled fish.

Old city

The most interesting place to explore is the old city, Kaleici. It’s surrounded by ancient stone walls, including a Clock Tower and a Roman arch known as Hadrian’s Gate. You’re guaranteed to get lost in the winding cobblestone streets, but don’t worry, that’s part of the fun, and the locals are used to giving directions. The Kaleici area is the only part of town where you’ll see Ottoman architecture, as both Lara and Konyaalti are full of modern concrete apartment buildings.

Shopping
 
Definitely make a point of visiting the local market in your area. These produce markets take place a different day of the week all over Antalya, so ask your host for the day and location of the one in your neighborhood.

Lara Beach

To the south of Antalya's center, Lara beach is popular for its soft white sand and good family-friendly facilities, backed by cafés and restaurants and with plenty of activities, from jet-ski rentals to stand up paddleboards for those who want to hit the water. Sun loungers and umbrellas can be easily rented for those who want to do nothing more strenuous than soak up the sun. This area is where the vast amount of Antalya's beach resorts are located so do be aware that during the peak summer months, this beach can get crammed.

Konyaalti Beach

East of Antalya's town center, Konyaalti Beach is one of Antalya's two prime sweeps of sand, with a picturesque backing of mountains rolling down to the coastline beyond. During summer, this strip (which is more pebbly than sandy) is hugely popular with both local and foreign visitors, and lazy beach days are made simple with plenty of facilities provided. Sun loungers with umbrellas can be rented, there are good toilet and shower facilities, and the palm tree lined promenade behind the beach is rimmed with snack shops, cafés, and restaurants for when you get peckish.

Old Harbor

Nestled into a recess in the cliffs, Antalya's old harbor is a picturesque huddle of boutiques, pretty cafés, bazaars, and gently bobbing yachts that look out over the shimmering Mediterranean. With its peaceful pleasure-boat atmosphere now, it's difficult to imagine this place was once Antalya's major economic hub, but from the 2nd century up until the mid-20th century, this was the main port, bringing trade and prosperity to the city and surrounding region.

These days, you come here to shop and then watch the sun set over the sea while you sip a coffee, or you can head out onto the Mediterranean on one of the many excursion boats to swim, sightsee, and spread out your towel on an empty beach.