Antalya was until recently known as Turkey’s fastest growing city, only to be overtaken by Istanbul. It has been frequently called the ‘Turkish Riviera’ for its gorgeous Mediterranean coastline with long stretches of golden sand and aquamarine waters, upmarket shopping areas, rich history and culture and luxury hotels. Many tourists come from all around the globe to visit the sights of Antalya, so how should you take advantage of your time there?
If you want to see a lot of things and get around easily, the best time of year to visit the region is between March and June or September and November. Due to the Mediterranean climes, the temperatures can soar during the high season of July and August, plus families flock there on summer holidays. The winters are cooler, protected from the chilly weather by the Taurus Mountains, but often are very wet. You’ll also need to base yourself somewhere central in order to be able to reach everything you want to see and do quickly and easily. There are many hotels located in Antalya such as the Adonis Hotel with spectacular views from the cliff edges, or the tiny boutique hotels nestled in amongst the Kaleici old town of Antalya. If you choose to stay here, take some time to wander the maze of streets and pop down to the harbour for a boat trip along the coastline where you’ll explore hidden coves and be offered freshly grilled fish.
Of course you’ll want to spend some time relaxing on the beautiful beaches of the Antalya region, but remember to take some time to visit a few other things that Antalya has to offer. Golf is something that’s very big here with a number of golf courses set against stunning backdrops situated in the area.
The rich history is one of the biggest draws of Antalya. The old town is surrounded by ancient stone walls made up of an old Clock Tower and Hadrian’s Gate, a series of Roman arches. Head a little way out of town to Aspendos, a stunningly well preserved theatre that dates back to Roman times.
If you’re travelling with kids, there are plenty of things to keep them occupied too. When they’ve tired of playing on the beach and taking part in some of the many water sports on offer, take them to Mini-City amusement park. In around 55 acres, it houses miniature models of buildings and architectural structures from all around Turkey, both ancient and modern. Marvel at the amazing replica of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and the Celsus Library of Ephesus.
Don’t forget to sample some of the local cuisine too. Turkey is famous for its mixed pot of tastes from Central Asian flavours to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern. Meze is one of the favourite dishes for tourists because it offers something to everyone’s tastes. But if you’d like to sample a local speciality, find a street vendor selling mussels stuffed with pine nuts or patlican dolmasi, a popular stuffed aubergine dish.