Resting on Turkey’s famous Turquoise Coast, Antalya is an outstanding resort that mixes Mediterranean fishing villages with natural wonders. With year-round sunshine and warm waters, holidays in Antalya don’t come any better than this. Temperatures soar up to 44°C during the summer months, so you will have plenty of time to top up your tan and cool off in the sea.
Known as the ‘gateway to the Turkish Riviera’, Antalya is characterised by its sandy sweeps of shore that are embraced by a coastline touched by jade waters. Overlooked by the Bey Mountains on three sides and the beautiful Aegean Sea on the other, you are bound to want to explore every inch of this resort.
With its rich history involving the Lycian’s, ancient Greeks, the Ottoman Empire and the Romans, it’s easy to see why these people chose to conquer and settle in Antalya. You’ll be able to witness the region’s past first hand from the architectural delights in the Roman - Ottoman quarter of Kaleiçi, to the ancient statues of the Greek gods in the Antalya museum.
For the ultimate views of this stunning region, head up to the Taurus Mountains. Here you will discover the ancient cities of Xanthos, Arykanda and Tlos perched precariously atop hills. Followng the 500 kilometre Lycian Way, hike among ruins, olive and avocado farms and luscious fauna whilst you take in the rich scenery.
For the shopaholic in you, take a trip to Mahmutlar’s Tuesday market for your share of clothes, bags and other local produce. Or visit the bazaar which is held twice a week and is the place to buy fresh produce directly from the local farmers. The Grand Bazaar in Kumkoy is also a great spot for shopping, offering traditional clothing, precious stones, jewellery, carpets, ceramics and textiles all in a labyrinth of stalls.
Top hotels in Antalya
Nashira Resort Hotel & SPA
Grand Prestige Hotel and SPA
Side Premium Hotel
Diamond Hill Resort Hotel
Limak Lara Deluxe Hotel & Resort
Lara Beach, Antalya
Ramada Resort Hotel
Lara Beach, Antalya
Eftalia Village Hotel
WOW Kremlin Palace
Lara Beach, Antalya
At a glance
- Language: Turkish
- Time Zone: GMT +3
- Average flight time: 4h 15m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
Bathed in sun and drenched in history, Antalya has an abundance of ancient attractions for sightseers to enjoy. For a taste of days gone by, visit the small Hellenistic Antiphellos Theatre. Seating 4000 spectators, the theatre was damaged by an earthwork but is still in a good condition today. Another great architectural ruin is the Temple of Athena on Side’s water front.
Within Antalya is the well-preserved old town of Kaleici, where cobbled meandering streets sit above the glimmering waters of the marina. A tram coasts along seafront, past the Antalya museum, which is home to Greek and Roman relics.
If its natural wonders that you’re after, then take a trip to Manavgat. Starting at the Selale Falls on the Manavgat River, known as the ‘Little Falls’, the trip follows the fast-flowing waters that collide and crash down a ridge. Further downstream are the Manavgat Waterfalls which are few metres high with a wide riverbed with thundering white falls. From the viewing area, you can get your feet wet on the edge of the fall in a safe, small pond which is enclosed by a fence. During the evening the waterfall is illuminated and free to enter.
Wine and Dine
As you would expect, the kebab is popular in Turkey and Antalya is no exception. The staple of most daily diets, the kebab is best enjoyed with a pint or two of Efes. Head to an open air restaurants to enjoy some traditional grilled meats and mezes for an authentic taste of Turkey.
Aside from traditional Turkish cuisine, you can enjoy a fusion of Mediterranean and Arabic dishes, due to the proximity of both areas. Particular specialities include the Tahinli Piyaz, a salad of dried beans seasoned with crushed sesame seeds and the Kulakli Soup with ingredients of chickpeas and diced meat.
The most popular drink is raki which is usually mixed with water. Despite the hot temperatures of Antalya, tea is consumed in order to refresh, whilst after meals most locals drink Turkish coffee.
Family holidays are made in Antalya. From theme parks, beach trips and days out, there is something for every age.
In the centre of the town is Antalya Aquapark which has all the usual water slides, as well as a pool bar and Jacuzzi bar for the adults.
Another great water park in the area is Troy Aqua Park. It’s got all water slides covered, and as its name suggests, has a theme of ancient Troy which is evident all around the park, from the enormous wooden Trojan horse that gazes over the slides to the mock stone ruins adorning the swimming pools. Next door to the water park is the Troy Dolphinarium.
The nearby low-key resort of Kizilot is also home to a water park Water Planet. There’s a great selection of high-speed flumes and slides, as well as gentle rafting rides to suit everyone.
For a memorable day out, take a Pirate Cruise in the Mediterranean with the children. Your captain will take you to the best swimming spots in the area whilst the kids enjoy some pirate-themed games with the on-board reps.
Action and Adventure
Antalya is home to many adventure and outdoor activities. From the depths of the warm sea waters to the heights of the Taurus Mountains, there is something for everyone.
Nestled in the mountains is the unique Gold Cable Park, offering wake boarding on a calm lake. The Cable Park pulls boarders using overhead cables from a winch. The Park has background of music to put all boarders in an energetic mood, as well as a jumping pillow to catch the fall of the more adventurous wake boarders. On site there is a restaurant, as well as a children’s playground and a swimming pool.
If you’d prefer to stay dry, then the nearby pine forests at the foot of the Taurus Mountains are good walking areas. The massive collection of mountains begin in Mahmutlar and end up into Georgia. Bring your hiking boots because the highest peak Karaçalı is 2339 metres and is a challenging spot for mountain trekking.
If you can get a licence there are good fishing areas in the Mediterranean. Calamari and octopus are frequent catches and popular with the locals, however a typical catch is; Levrek (sea-trout), Çupra (sea-bass) and Mercan (red coral fish). Meanwhile, in the Köprüçay River swims the Alabalık (trout) which is best enjoyed on the barbecue.
Life's a Beach
Antalya’s beaches offer much more than a place to sunbathe. From boat trips to turtle spotting, you will get the chance to discover all the sights the Mediterranean Sea has to offer.
Antalya beach has a 22 kilometre stretch of sand so you have a great chance to lay your towel. If you’re visiting the area during the summer months make sure you visit Kizilot to watch sea turtles laying their eggs.
The busy white sands of Side beach are worth the crowds as there are lots of lively seafront bars and restaurants on the promenade.
The award-winning Lara Beach has the best of the Mediterranean sun, with a wealth of golden sand and a lively promenade for those who want to stay sand free. For activities, the main strip offers water sports like parasailing and jet skiing.
Water sport enthusiasts should also visit Turban beach which is ideal for swimming and snorkelling. Burc Beach is home to surfing and windsurfing competitions and more extreme water sports including scuba diving, canoeing and Jet Ski rentals.
Due to Antalya’s thriving tourist scene, most of the night life starts at the hotels where a full line-up of entertainment including discos and shows occur.
The award winning marina is surrounded by a host of discos, bars and pubs all of which are very popular among both the locals and tourists. Nestled in a cliff, overlooking the dazzling marina, the Club Arma is a popular venue.
You’ll feel at home on the streets of Kaleici in one of the English pubs, or if you’d prefer something more authentic, spend the night at a folksong bar or traditional Turkish tavern.
On Side’s beach you’ll discover a collection of bars and restaurants like Lighthouse, Apollo and Oxyd which are open-air clubs.
For the ultimate romantic getaway, choose Antalya. From stunning beaches, impressive peaks to magical ruins, this resort has some hidden gems to make you fall in love again.
Enjoy an unforgettable night of classical music, ballet or opera at the Antalya Cultural Centre. Or go along to the annual film and piano festivals that will capture your heart, especially as they are held outdoors.
In the prettiest area of the Turkish Riviera, the small town of Mahmutlar sits between the Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. There is a five kilometre long sandy beach, as well as charming beach bars that offer barbecues in the evenings. It’s a great place to escape as there are not many hotels here, making it relaxed and peaceful.
With centuries of history, Antalya is full of cultural and historical sights. Starting with Hadrian's Gate, the entrance to the Kaleiçi district, which is made up of well-preserved Hellenistic and Roman town walls. As you walk through the arches don’t forget to look up at the ceiling to see the best preserved carvings.
The nearby town of Kumkoy is a sightseer’s paradise as it is home to various interesting structures and parks. Sadberk Hanim Museum showcases a private collection of antiquities and Ottoman heirlooms from Sadberk Hanim, whilst the Ataturk Arboretum is a living tree museum inside the Belgrade Forest, featuring exogenous trees and non-native trees. There’s also the Byzantine ruined Yoros Castle to discover.
The ancient city of Naula sits in the centre of Mahmutlar, surrounded by high-rise buildings. Naula is home to the ruins of four early Christian churches, which are unnamed. The city walls were built from slate, stones and bricks and feature a watchtower that is two stories high. These days the ancient city is not fenced off so you will get the chance to look around.