Located at the heart of Turkey’s Mediterranean Riviera, Antalya is a beautiful city with an ancient history that few other destinations can match. It’s also close to some stunning beaches, and has one of Turkey’s most vibrant cultural scenes.
Every traveler to the city should stroll around the Kaleiçi, Antalya’s old quarter, which is close to the city’s main bazaar where visitors can find every manner of Turkish souvenir. Wander past spell-binding mosques and elegantly restored Ottoman-era mansions before enjoying some locally caught seafood at the Roman harbour.
Antalya also offers more modern attractions as well. Children will adore the delights of Aqualand or the town aquarium, while just to the north of the city lies Turkey’s premier zoo.
The city is also a great destination for ancient history lovers. The Turkish coast was one of the heartlands of Ancient Greece, and sites like Halicarnassus and Ephesos are accessible from Antalya. Even closer, and accessible by bus, travelers can head to the Roman town of Perge or the almost completely intact theatre at Aspendos.
One of the highlights of visiting the city is its abundance of delicious restaurants (and the low price of good food in Antalya). Choose from a bewildering variety of meze or have a meat feast – the service will always be prompt and the quality of the town’s eateries is legendary.
The coast is another great attraction. Around the city, every brand of Mediterranean activity can be indulged in. Whether you adore water-skiing, snorkeling or jet-skiing, you will be able to catch a bus or taxi from Antalya and be at a dive school or idyllic beach in no time. Tours of the islands (and ferries to Greek islands) can also be easily arranged.
Between May and September, the Turkish Mediterranean is bathed in sunshine and the waters warm up quickly from late May, so beach fans should head over around then. For a warm out of season break, April can be an even better option. The ancient sites will be less crowded and restaurants will be delighted to welcome visitors.
Getting around is made much easier by the city’s excellent public transport system. City buses are comfortable and route maps are easy to follow. Getting to more remote archaeological sites and beaches is easily done by regional buses, which are known for their leg room and comfortable seating. Taxis are common as well, but beware that after midnight the fare rises by 50 percent.