Located on the coast of southwestern Türkiye, Antalya is a popular holiday destination, renowned for its marvelous beaches, rich culture, and warm hotspitality. It is actually the top spot in Türkiye for beach holidays and the second most popular tourist destination after Istanbul.
In this guide, we’ll talk about what makes Antalya such a beloved city, what to expect once you get there, and what you should include in your itinerary.
Antalya is home to stunning beaches and long stretches of sandy beaches. It has even been named the Turquoise Coast due to its glistening blue waters. Most notably, the region has the largest number of blue-flag beaches in the whole of the country, totaling 213.
The top beaches to visit include the likes of Lara Beach, Konyaalti Beach, and the impressively pristine Cirali Beach. You’ll find that various water sports are available as well, including snorkeling and diving.
Historical landmarks and attractions
Antalya boasts a rich history and visitors are free to explore fascinating archaeological sites like Hadrian’s Gate, the ancient city of Perge, and the Aspendos Theatre.
The latter hosts the annual Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival.
Slightly more off-the-beaten-track is Termessos, one of Türkiye’s best-preserved locations, set 1000 meters above sea level. Scattered across a pine tree forest, you’ll find ancient facilities including a gymnasium, theatre, necropolis, and city walls.
There are also the Myra Ancient ruins, which sit in the Demre area. The Lycian tombs here are a focal point, positioned at a specific angle for easier access to the afterlife. It’s also worth visiting the St. Nicholas church whilst you’re there. He may be Myra’s most well-known bishop but he’s also more commonly referred to as Santa Claus.
Stunning places to stay
Antalya has a mix of places to stay to suit all types of individuals, from converted boutique hotels to all-inclusive beachfront resorts.
If it’s your first time traveling to the city, the best area to stay would be in the Old Town, due to everything being directly on your doorstep. Bars, shops, and landmarks are all just a short walk away and there is a marina should you decide to go on a boat trip.
Konyaalti Beach is another great area that is tailored for families. Not far from the Old Town, you’ll find lots of safe beaches and activities for young children, including Aqualand & Dolphinland, and the Antalya Aquarium.
If luxury is what you seek, look no further than Lara Beach. It is the epitome of class, with a range of upscale beachfront apartments and hotels. The region also has a great selection of beach clubs and bars, as well as a barbecue area along the promenade.
Getting to your accommodation is also relatively easy, with an Antalya airport transfer typically taking around 25 minutes to reach the Old Town.
This ensures you arrive without the hassle of public transport in a foreign country, and you can even book a private taxi should you wish to turn up in style.
The Old Town
Visiting Antalya’s charming Old Town (Kaleiçi) is a must for visitors. Amidst narrow streets and Ottoman-era houses, you’ll find a wide selection of cozy cafés and vibrant markets. It’s a pleasant escape from the busy city due to the absence of cars and is fairly small, so getting around is easy.
You’ll know once you’ve made it to the main square when you see the statue of King Attalus II of Pergamon, the man who founded the city of Attali. From here, you’re able to make it to the Old Town by walking into Uzun Çarşı Sokak, which is opposite the clock tower.
If you’re looking for a spot for lunch with a view, why not head over to Kaleiçi Harbour? The view is particularly stunning during the evening once the sun sets. If you decide to visit Vista restaurant, you can even climb up a set of stairs within the ancient city walls of Kaleiçi that takes you to the top of the wall for an even better view!
Indulge in retail bliss
It’s at the local markets where you’ll put your bargaining skills to good use. Discover small shops and local boutiques that sell some of the best jewelry, leather handbags, and souvenirs that Türkiye has to offer. It’s highly recommended that you take a Turkish carpet back home from one of the stalls in the Old Town as a memoir of your travels.
There are also shopping malls if you’re looking for modern brand names and luxurious items. Marinas in Antalya is one of the largest shopping centers in the Mediterranean and features some of the top high-end designers in the whole of the world. There is also an 11-screen cinema complex that can fit up to 2,200 film fanatics.
In conclusion, Antalya is an ideal destination for travelers. From its beaches, archaeological sites, and diverse accommodations, to its shopping opportunities and family-friendly attractions, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Whether you’re looking for a beach holiday, a chance to explore local culture and history, or a shopping experience, Antalya is a great place to explore. Enjoy!