Antalya, Paradise on Earth
In the morning you can skiing on the white snow and swim in the beautiful Mediterranean 50 minutes later in the afternoon.
Antalya is the largest city on the Mediterranean with its charming harbour. Antalya with a history dating back to 133 BC and a name meaning “Home of Attalos” referring to the founder of the city Attalos, is a peaceful city situated at the slopes of the Taurus Mountains rich in scenic beauties and historical monuments. Antalya which can be visited any season, is an indispensable touristic destination particularly during the summer. This “blue” city enchants its guests with its beautiful beaches and has the longest coastline in Turkey.
The most striking feature of Antalya are the terrific palm trees of the city which cool you with their shade and accompany you with their breeze on your way. Common in Antalya and adorning the city, palm trees are a sign of the mild Mediterranean climate of the city. Hot and dry during the summer and mild and rainy during the winter the city always gives the feeling of a warm home. Known as “paradise on earth,” you will get carried a way by the splendor of the stage of Aspenodos, the oldest antique theater of Africa and Asia, and behold the glorious stream of the world famous Manavgat waterfall. The clean and beautiful beaches of Antalya, where natures colours blue and green unite, is what makes the areas beaches blue flag. Besides all these natural beauties, Belek, with it’s International standard Golf courses is well on the way in becoming Europe’s biggest golf centre. The magnificent facilities in the city offer opportunities for many sports. Golf being one of the most popular sports activities in the city, many hotels with golf facilities welcome their guests who want to relax and play golf on large and well equipped golf courses. In the morning you can skiing on the white snow and swim in the beautiful Mediterranean 50 minutes later in the afternoon. Saklıkent, 50 km from Antalya is an ideal and easily reached winter sports centre situated on the northern slopes of the mountains.
Antalya has a large number of five star hotels, many of which have meetings facilities, and this, together with the Pyramid Congress Centre which can hold up to 3000 delegates make it a popular venue for conferences. The holiday villages surrounded by forests have been planned accordingly respecting nature and it’s environ. The three harbours of ancient Phaselis, situated 15 km south of Kemer at the foot of Mt Tahtalı was once a major commercial centre. Every year millions of tourists from all over the world visiting Antalya for its beauty also benefit from the Antalya Airport with its modern building, latest technology and service provided. Antalya, with its faultless beautiful beaches is and their main attraction by the millions of tourists that visit every year. Antalya, one of the leading tourism destinations of Turkey, with its ever growing potential and excellent nature invites its guests for an unforgettable holiday.
Located in the south, Antalya is Turkey’s most popular tourist area. Bordering the Mediterranean Sea, this coastal city offers many transportation options to reach the city. You may reach the city by arriving at Antalya Airport near to the city center. The shuttles and vehicles of transfer services stationed outside of the exit gates provide convenient service and easy transportation to your holiday destination. Alternatively, you may reach your holiday destination by taking one of the public buses leaving from the airport to the central bus station. Moreover, the taxis waiting at the airport are always ready to drive you to your destination. Located at the junction of main roads the city can be reached after a beautiful and pleasant drive along the coast.
If you’ve come to Antalya, it means that you will have the opportunity to take part in many activities. Offered a variety of tourism alternatives, you can enjoy every day a different type of holiday. The beauty of nature should be mentioned first. You may choose to swim in the blue sea stretching along the coast of blue flagged beaches under the warm sun or join a boat tour to explore the magnificently unique bays. The world famous shores of Antalya; namely Aspendos, Olympos and Kas (Kaş) are available for both climbing enthusiasts and for those who want to enjoy the sun and the beach. These amazing corners of paradise are the first choice of vacationers who want to relax or have fun.
You can explore the several thousand year old history of the city by taking a tour at the Antalya Archeological Museum. In the meantime, the Termessos spas will share the secrets of relaxation and rejuvenation with you. While natural rock formations and caves will invite you to embark on exiting adventures, various locations offering opportunities for outdoor sports such as rafting, diving, windsurfing and fishing will boost your adrenaline rush. Welcoming guests throughout the year, Antalya with its Saklikent (Saklıkent) Ski Resort and Alanya Akdag Winter Sports Tourism Center expects also ski enthusiasts during the winter.
Antalya is one of the best representatives of the Turkish cuisine. It is highly recommended that you try particularly the bitter orange marmalade which is a local recipe of the region. You will not forget the taste of this delicious marmalade. After a breakfast of delicious cheese, homemade jams and organic tomatoes you will feel energetic throughout the day. Local specialties of the Mediterranean cuisine such as stuffed zucchini flowers, toros salad and bean salad are awaiting you in Antalya.
Antalya stands out in the international arena for its major organizations taking place at different times of the year. Among the city’s most important festivals, the International Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival offers screenings of worldwide renowned films to cinema enthusiasts for more than 50 years. Attended by many artists and directors, the festival awards the “Golden Orange” prize to winners of the film competitions. The Antalya International Theater Festival held in May hosts theater groups from many countries around the world while National High School Theater Festival welcomes young talents from around the country. The International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival of Antalya brings together the works of notable artists from Turkey and around the world since 1993. The International Sand Sculpture Festival in Antalya showcases amazing sand sculptures, made within a time span of 20 days, by notable international artists from more than 10 countries. Antalya has a very colorful night life. Especially, during the summer months, the award-winner marina and its surrounding host a rich variety of discos, bars and pubs all of which are very popular among both the locals and tourists.
There’s something for everyone with a holiday to Antalya, from the triple-arched Hadrian’s Gate, to fish restaurants around the natural yacht harbour, and energetic watersports on sun-drenched beaches. It’s also a handy base to see the Roman sites of Aspendos and Termessos.
Four National Parks and one Natural Park serve on a 79,366 hectare field in Antalya borders. The working area of Antalya National Park Department contains geomorphologic and geologic features along with many matchless beauties, including archaeological and aesthetical characteristics; unique rich plantation cover and animal group, where the most intense tourism activities are carried out in Turkey.
Old Town of Antalya (Kaleiçi)
The maze-like Kaleiçi neighbourhood was made for strolling. Perfectly restored whitewashed and red-roofed Ottoman mansions line the cobblestone streets, now home to a plethora of boutique hotels, souvenir shops, art galleries and restaurants. Although it’s more a place to simply breathe in the old world ambiance, there are also plenty of small tourist attractions for those who want to sight-see. The main square (Kale Kapısı) has a fortress gate and stone-clad clock tower, while the 18th century Tekeli Mehmet Paşa Mosque is worth a look just for its stunning interior tile work. Along Hesapçı Sokak you’ll find the graceful Kesik Minare (truncated minaret). Destroyed by fire in the 19th century, this is all that is left of a building that started its life as a Roman temple, was converted into a Byzantine church and finally became a mosque.
Old Harbour of Antalya
Nestled into a recess in the cliffs, Antalya’s old harbour is a picturesque huddle of boutiques, pretty cafes, bazaars and gently bobbing yachts that look out over a 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 sunset over the sea while you sip a coffee. Or, head out onto the Mediterranean on one of the many excursion boats before spreading out your towel on an empty beach.
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. If you’re short on time make a beeline for the galleries containing the mosaics from Seleukeia, the silver display from Aspendos, and divinity statues from Perge.
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 Selçuk architecture with a square base surmounted by an octagonal drum bearing the fluted shaft with its corbelled gallery round the top. The attached 14th century mosque is still in use today.
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 honour 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 (Hıdırlık Kalesi)
This squat 14 m high cylindrical tower watches over the old harbour from high above on the edge of Karaalioǧlu Park. Built in the 2nd century 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 sunset or get that all-important panoramic view over the old harbour area. The park itself is a tranquil, flower-filled spot to escape the city streets and prime picnicking territory.
The main reason history-buffs visit Antalya is to make the day trip to Aspendos. This archaeological site is home to a Roman theatre commonly thought to be the best preserved in the world and one of Turkey’s top tourist attractions. The glory days of this dazzling ancient town were during the 2nd and 3rd centuries when most of the ruins seen today were built. Apart from the theatre, which has been fully restored and can seat 15,000, much of the rest of the site still lies in ruins and is probably only interesting to the most enthusiastic sightseer. Location 47 km east of Antalya.
Neither the Greeks nor the Romans managed to tame the war-like Pisidians who fiercely protected their independence from the mountain eyrie of Termessos. The well-preserved remains of this ancient city are scattered along a rugged hillside with jaw-dropping views across the surrounding countryside. Wear sturdy shoes and take plenty of water if you want to fully explore this site. The colonnaded street and upper agora are particularly impressive, but don’t miss the theatre where the vistas across the peaks of the Taurus Mountains are surreal and beautiful. Location 34 km northwest of Antalya.
Perge’s vast and rubble-filled stadium, half destroyed temples and huge colonnaded agora are imbued with an atmosphere of past glory. This was once the capital of ancient Pamphylia, which blossomed first under Greek and then Roman rule. The ruins here are not as well preserved as other tourist attractions on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, but this also means it attracts fewer crowds, leaving visitors able to explore the long colonnaded streets and half-collapsed temples in peace. The Roman baths, Hellenistic Gate and Acropolis are all particularly interesting. Location 17 km east of Antalya.
Olympos was once among the most celebrated cities of the Lycian League. During the Roman period Olympos was widely known as a cult site dedicated to the fire god Hephaistos (with a grand temple built in his honour at the site of the Chimaera). There are also references in Plutarch to ritual feasts taking place here in honour of Mithras, the Persian god of light. The city began to slip into decline due to constant raiding by pirates who plagued the town even after the successful campaign waged against them by the Romans in 78 BC. Today, although the ancient Olympos ruins are badly overgrown and in a severe state of dilapidation, the site is incredibly picturesque, standing in a valley near the sea with the forest densely packed around it. The remains include a Roman theatre, Byzantine basilica, temple, bridge, defensive walls and chamber tombs.
One of nature’s great curiosities, the eternal flame of the Chimaera (the fire-breathing monster of Greek mythology) is a phenomenon first mentioned in AD 300 by the Byzantine Bishop Methodius. Natural gas escaping from eighteen or so holes and crevices in the rock has burned here since ancient times. Although barely discernible in daylight the flames are said to be visible far out to sea at night. The gases are still to be properly analyzed but are known to include methane. This is a tourist attraction that many people prefer to visit at night. You can walk from Çıralı along the marked path to the site. Once you’ve reached the car park there is a 150 m ascent to the top of the hill. From Olympos the Chimaera site is 7 km away.
The limestone countryside around Antalya is rich in karst springs, sinkholes and waterfalls. Lime deposits from these springs have built up over a period of 1.5 to 2 million years into vast travertine terraces similar to those at Pamukkale. Kirkgöz and Pınarbası (located just to the northwest of Antalya) have springs and sinkholes while at Düdenbaşı a cascade of waterfalls tumble down a narrow gorge. There are both upper falls (Düdenbaşı Şelalesi) and lower falls (Düden Çayı) to see.
The Karain Cave, near Dösemaltı, was inhabited by prehistoric man and has yielded discoveries from both the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic eras. Excavated finds here include bones and teeth belonging to Neolithic man. Some of the artifacts are on show in the small, but remarkably comprehensive, on site museum. Location: 27 km northwest of Antalya
The old Lydian port of Phaselis is where Alexander the Great set up his winter quarters in 334 BC. There are remains of a theatre, aqueduct, temples, and a Hadrian’s Arch Gate, erected in AD 114. There is a museum on site displaying excavated finds.
The Kocain Magarası sits hidden deep within the karst mountains of the region. The 600 m long cave was first investigated by K Kökten, whose finds prove that it was inhabited in prehistoric times. At the entrance is a huge cistern as well as traces of a very early settlement. Visitors can head inside the cave system to view some colossal stalagmites. Location: 45 km north of Antalya
Lara – Konyaaltı Beaches
The natural beauty Lara beach which is approximately 10 km north of Antalya city centre and Konyaaltı beach which is on the west coast of city centre are the best coasts of the city.
Another must see for any summer traveler to Turkey is Patara Beach. Located in Antalya, the Patara is one of the Mediterranean’s longest beaches at 18km in length, and under protection by the Turkish government for nesting sea turtles. Curvy, sweeping sand dunes, surrounded by ancient ruins along with stiff coastal breezes for excellent wind surfing takes Patara Beach to the top of lists of World’s Best Beaches for both natural beauty and great value.
Belek is Turkey’s premier golf resort with its spectacular long, golden sandy beaches, and a backdrop of mountains. Belek has won awards for environmentally friendly development and there are many rare species of plant and wildlife indigenous to the area. Accommodation is mostly of the five star variety with all facilities laid on including sporting and other activities, spa treatments and entertainment. Many of the hotels are also set up to cater for children with kids clubs and other facilities.
Kemer is one of Turkey’s first multipurpose resorts, carefully planned to blend in with the surrounding scenery. At its heart is the attractive marina, a stopping off point for gulets on the blue cruise. Around it are sophisticated shops, bars and restaurants catering for the resort’s well-heeled clientele. Kemer has a clean pebble beach, but the main resort areas are on the beaches located a little further out, namely Kiziltepe, Goynuk, Beldibi, Camyuva and Tekirova. Surrounded by pine forests, they offer a range of accommodation including five star hotels, all designed to blend in to the natural environment.
Alanya is a modern resort, famed for its beautiful sandy beaches. Its harbour is dominated by the Red Tower, which protected the dockyards in Selçuk times, the remains of which can still be seen in the waters. High on a promontory is the old fortress with its well preserved walls, towers and Byzantine church. It takes about an hour to walk up but it is well worth it for the views alone. Alanya itself has lots of blue flag beaches and has a full range of accommodation with plenty of good shops and restaurants, together with lively nightlife.
The old town of Side is set on a peninsula with sandy beaches to either side, surrounded still by the ancient city walls. It boasts an impressive ancient Hellenistic theatre, the largest in the area, with seating for 17.000, overlooking the sea; a charming museum and the stunning Temple of Apollo, a romantic spot at sunset. Side has something for everyone: great beaches, history, an abundance of shops, lively nightlife and a good choice of restaurants.
Local Foods: The husbandry and the products provided from wheat determine the base of nutrition style of Yoruks. Although raw vegetables are produced leastwise in coastal line wheat and dry vegetables gain importance in the inner regions. It is possible to find all of the world cuisine in touristic hotels and restaurants. However local meals special to the region are saç kavurması (dried lamb fried on iron plate), Tandır kebabı (Tandoor kebab), Kölle (stewed wheat, bean, pea and horsebean), Domates Cilvesi (meal with tomato), Hibeş (spread of tahin, cumin, red pepper flakes and lemon juice), Arapaşı.
Climate: In Antalya prevailing Mediterranean climate, winters are temperate and rainy, summers hot and dry.
Transportation: provided by highways, airline and maritime line. Antalya airport is open to international air traffic.
Olympos Bey Mountains Coast National Park
Gulluk Mountain Termessos National Park
Koprulu Canyon National Park
Blue Flag Beaches
National Parks, Nature Parks, Nature Reserve Areas And Wildlife Reserve Areas Near Antalya
Maps of Antalya