Antalya is a popular holiday destination and since it is a portal to the Turkish Riviera, it’s not hard to see why. Whether you have visited the country before or not, a holiday to Antalya will leave you feeling sun-kissed, relaxed, and enlightened about the city's past. The contrast between the natural mountain backdrop and modern city buildings is what makes this metropolis so mesmerising. Nicknamed the ‘Turquoise Coast’, this tourist playground is an ideal base for venturing to other parts of the Mediterranean region.
You will be enclosed by the Taurus Mountains when on holiday in Antalya since this Turkish haven boasts a prime position spread out along the Mediterranean coastline. As the capital of the Turkish Mediterranean coast, there are enough attractions to satisfy holidaymakers from all corners of the globe. From the art and museum lovers to the families in search of Blue Flag beaches, you won't have trouble filling your travel itinerary with fun days out during your holiday in Antalya.
At a glance
- Currency: Turkey Lira
- Language: Turkish
- Time Zone: GMT +3
- Average flight time: 4h 45m
When to go
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Home to Hadrian's Gate, Konyaalti Beach, and the Perge ancient cities of Aspendos and Termessos, Antalya is certainly a destination in its own right. Described as the ‘Gateway to the Turkish Riviera’, the stunning capital boasts a prime position on the Turkish Mediterranean coast. Due to its privileged position close to the ocean and the Taurus Mountains, there are heaps of activities for you to enjoy when on holiday in Antalya.
A day spent uncovering landmarks, a Roman harbour, and well-preserved buildings at the Old City of Kaleiçi is a must. All day, every day, the Burning Flames of Chimera stay alight. Marvel at this mysterious wonder and when you feel like learning more about it, browse the exhibitions inside Kaleiçi Museum. Some top sights in this Turkish resort city include the 13th-century Yivliminare Mosque and Antalya Museum.
Wine and Dine
Your holiday to Antalya is sure to bring out the food connoisseur within, what with Turkey boasting such a broad range of gastronomic delights. During your stay, tuck into ground lamb or beef (köfte), enjoy slow-roasted lamb and yoghurt (Kuzu Tandır), and satisfy a sweet tooth with pistachio-topped pastries known as Baklava. Some other specialties worth tasting include Lokum (Turkish delight) and apricots filled with nuts and cream (Kayısı Tatlısı). Treat your taste buds at Seraser Fine Dining Restaurant, 7 Mehmet, or Club Arma Restaurant on the waterfront.
When it comes to wining and dining, you’ll be pleased to discover that Turkey is a big wine-producing country. Perhaps the most potent Turkish wine is made from Boğazkere grapes. Although Antalya is not home to the country's largest winery (visit Kavaklidere if you're in search of this), the Antalya Province does produce its very own type of wine, called Likya. Sample the award-winning wine at Karaf Bistro WineHouse or Nar Beach & Bistro.
Families can peruse quirky toys dating back to the 1860's inside Antalya Toy Museum, which displays over 1,500 toys. Aqualand Antalya Dolphinland is also a big hit with families. This water park and theme park entertains visitors with its swimming pools, slides, and daily dolphin shows. The tawny stone Hıdırlık Tower is a timeworn building based very close to Karaalioglu Park. Family days out can be enjoyed here or at Aktur Lunapark. Watch the faces of your family members light up as they catch sight of the sand sculpture exhibitions at Sandland. Consider visiting Sandland at night time, when the sculptures are illuminated with special lighting.
Action and Adventure
If you are feeling up to the challenge, take on the ‘Wonder Walk’. This trekking trail extends for 320 miles from Antalya to Fethiye, making it perfect for keen hikers or those in search of a scenic walk. Expect to pass numerous villages as you wander amid the wilderness. A trek around the Düden Waterfalls will be equally as satisfying. This group of waterfalls can be found northeast of Antalya and can be accessed by bus. A day spent at the Köprülü Canyon will be a day to remember since the outdoor paradise is perfect for canyoning, white water rafting, and hiking through the National Park.
Life's a Beach
With its Blue Flag beaches, it’s no surprise that holidays to Antalya are so popular among lovers of sun, sea, and sand. Sinop, Kusadasi, Konyaalti, and Lara are four of the most well known beaches, with Lara proving the most popular with families in search of Blue Flag bays. Olimpos is an interesting beach with a relaxed vibe. Positioned southwest of Antalya, it feels somewhat isolated. The sand is backed by dense jungle, which conceals the remnants of Roman buildings. Visit the peaceful village of Side for long stretches of sand and minimal crowds.
Expect to hear chart hits, old school music, and plenty of Turkish hip hop when you’re experiencing nightlife on holiday in Antalya. Club 29 is the go to place for a big party. Boasting a capacity of 2,000, it sits on the seafront and offers spectacular views of the marina and ancient city buildings. Inferno is another popular party place and it tends to get pretty busy, just like Ally's. Open air discos can be found around the province, as well as belly dancing entertainment from the beautiful local Turkish women.
It will be hard to wipe the smile off both your faces after spending a romantic holiday in Antalya. Most of the family friendly attractions also appeal to couples, with the Old Town being a preferred place for a leisurely stroll amid Roman temples and a Byzantine church-turned-mosque. Reach Karaalioglu Park by tram, or on foot and sit beside the exotic plants for a picnic with your partner. Get your photograph taken near the distinctive Yivliminare Mosque, which stands tall opposite a 14th-century clock tower. Sunrise paddle boarding sessions, sunset strolls on the beach, and a kiss beneath Hadrian's Gate will add an element of romance to your Antalya holiday.
Did you know that the cultures of Central Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean have influenced Turkey's vibrant culture as we know it to be today? Most Turks follow in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad, what with Islam being the main religion. You will notice the local people gathering inside churches to pray at various times throughout the day.
Getting your etiquette on point prior to your holiday in Antalya will be worthwhile. A firm handshake is the standard way to meet and greet someone. If you are invited to a Turkish friend's home for dinner, show your gratitude by presenting the host with a gift, such as an ornament, a box of pastries, or a bottle of alcohol. Keep in mind that some Muslims refrain from drinking, so make an effort to get to know your host before bestowing an alcoholic gift upon them.