Blue Flag beaches, endless sunshine and delicious cuisine. Antalya is the ultimate holiday destination and here are your first 15 reasons to visit it!
1. Turquoise coast
The pearl of Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, Antalya is truly stunning. Number one reason to visit? One word: turquoise. Sparkling waters in the only shade of blue you care to see. Beautiful. Stunning. Alluring.
You have to see it to believe it. Pamukkale (Cotton Castle) is one of the most mesmerizing natural sites. If you ever wanted to feel as if walking through white clouds, then this is the place for you – the illusion is created by the terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water of the hot springs here. The result? A World Heritage Site that makes for the most unique experience…
3. Ancient cities galore
This part of Turkey is especially rich in ancient cities so that you can properly get your cultural fix during your holiday. Visit Myra for the Lycian rock tombs, Arykanda for the impressive two-storey baths complex and Letoön – for the remains of the three temples dedicated to Apollo, Artemis and Leto. Then there is Xanthos (the ancient capital of Lycia), a remarkable archaeological complex boasting inscriptions engraved in rock and on huge stone pillars.
4. …and ancient monuments
A triumphal arch based in Antalya, Hadrian’s Gate is a striking site with its impressive three arched gates. Antalya’s Clock Tower is another classic Roman landmark worth a visit. St Nicholas Church (also known as the original Santa Claus) can also be found nearby, boasting stunning Byzantine frescoes and mosaic tile floors.
5. Great museums
It’s not only archaeological sites that you can see here. If you don’t feel like sightseeing in the heat, visit the museums instead to get a full understanding of the region. The Antalya Museum boasts no less than 13 exhibition galleries showcasing around 12,000 archaeological pieces including gods’ statues, mosaics, icons, Sarcophagi, coins and jewellery. Another option is the Atatürk’s House Museum dedicated to the first president of Turkey, Kemal Atatürk.
6. Oludeniz beach and Fethiye
Dreaming of the bluests of blues? The legendary Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz is the one to visit – paraglide over it and truly appreciate it from above, too. Truth is all of Fethiye is ideal for sun-worshippers who are after beach lounging and great water sports!
7. Olympus and Çıralı
The villages of Olympus and Çıralı boast a ridiculously stunning situation: think gorgeous, turquoise coastline and even the ancient ruins of Lycian city nearby. Chill on the beach in Çıralı and party the night away in Olympus. The main attraction though is the chimaera – a naturally occurring eternal flame that flickers out of the rock cliff above!
8. Splendid waterfalls: Düden Waterfalls
A must-see natural sight, absolutely gorgeous and worthy of your precious holiday time: the Düden Waterfalls are all that and so much more! Located only 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) north-east of Antalya, they are a stunning showcase of shimmering cascading blue waters surrounded by lush greenery. Absolutely fascinating.
9. Endless beaches: Konyaaltı Beach
Obviously the beaches here are fantastic – after all this is the famous Turkish Riviera we are talking about. Konyaaltı Beach in particular is definitely a favourite as not only is it based in the heart of the city, but it is also absolutely huge. Enjoy undisturbed relaxation, sun, sands and the sound of the waves splashing on the shores…
10. Amazing water rafting and canoeing
Love water sports? Love Antalya. Forget that lazy lounging about we literally just mentioned and hit the waves instead. Everything from canoeing and rafting in Köprülü Canyon to private boat trips and scuba diving – whatever it is you fancy, Antalya is your place.
11. Karaalioglu Park
Antalya’s main park, Karaalioglu Park is ideal for relaxation in the shades. Escape from the heat and into the refreshing ambiance of that lush city park showcasing marvellous views over the Gulf of Antalya. That is not even the number one attraction here: that would be the ancient fortress tower overlooking the Roman harbour!
12. Gorgeous mountains
What a truly versatile landscape Antalya has! The gorgeous Taurus mountains are truly stunning, snow-capped and alluring. Perfect for hiking, mountain climbing or why not just mountain gazing from afar, they will be the ideal backdrop to anyone’s holiday. Even a beach one.
13. Antalya Marina & picturesque harbours
Visit Antalya’s lively marina and grab a bite at one of the many restaurants scattered around here. The Old Harbour is where you can take a boat trip from, while the modern port is the more commercial bit. Not only do you get to sample the delicious local cuisine but you also benefit from the gorgeous views. Winner.
14. Delicious cuisine
Turkish cuisine is bound to keep you happy throughout your stay. Try out region specific meals such as sac kavurma (diced lamb fried on iron plate) and Tandır kebab – both rich, meaty dishes. You’ll love Lahmacun: a delicious Turkish pizza baked in a stone oven and covered in ground beef, parsley, onion, garlic, black pepper and chipotle! Do not forget to end your meal with plenty of baklava and künefe too!
15. Antalya Old Town (Kaleici)
Truth is, you do not have to venture too far to get your cultural fix when in Antalya… just visit the Antalya Old Town for its narrow picturesque streets, traditional wooden houses and lively restaurants. Sorted!