Antalya, which is also known as the pearl of the Mediterranean region is the second charming city of the country. Once simply considered as the gateway to the Turkish Riviera, Antalya has become one of the most popular destinations in the world. Located on the Gulf of Antalya, it is the largest city on the western shoreline of Turkey which is perfectly classical and stylishly modern.
At its core there is this impeccably preserved old-city district of Kaleici, which offers sophisticated accommodation in finely restored Ottoman houses on its winding lanes. The ancient city wraps around a majestic Roman-era harbor with spectacular clifftop views of hazy-blue Mountains.
Just outside of this old city there are two beaches and one of the finest museums of Turkey. The old city walls can also be seen here, along with their embellished stone gateways. Hadrian`s gate which is also known as Üçkapılar is one of them. The monumental Hadrian`s Gate was erected in130 AD for the purpose of Roman emperor`s visit. The gate is said to be the best way to enter the old town which takes you directly into the charming and vibrant streets of the Kilincarslan district.
Easily accessible through public transport, Antalya Zoo and Nature Park is situated on the north of the city and is spread across 400 acres of land. A perfect spot to have some memorable time with family and children, as the park is a home to some 800 animals that includes cheetahs, zebras, camels, peacocks, African ostriches and pelicans.
Explore several caves and caverns that are located from just a slightly longer distance from the city. Beldibi Cave is also located past the Camdag tunnel at some 40kms distance from the Antalya-Kemer highway. The Beldibi Cave is open to public which includes both locals and international visitors. Although the cave itself has been damaged by extreme weather conditions in recent history, it is still a valuable archaeological site, with artefacts discovered dating back to the Mesolithic Era.
The ancient city of Myra is located about 140km from Antalya. Be sure to visit Roman theatre, built in the second century and believed to have been used for the iconic gladiator battles during the reign of Marcus Aurelius for fights between beasts and between men; the iconic gladiator battles. Visit in June and you might get an amazing opportunity to be a part of the local music festival.
Clock Tower- Situated by the ancient city walls, it was a part of the old city fortifications in the Kalekapisi Square. Out of 80 towers, only the clock tower has survived through the present day among the towers of the castle surrounding the old city of Antalya. The tower is claimed to be a mausoleum or lighthouse, dating back to 2nd century, AD.
Yivili Minaret- A popular landmark of Antalya, the beautifully constructed ‘fluted’ minaret was constructed by Seljuk Sultan Aladdin Keykubad I in the early 13th century. Within the complex, there is a craft center in the restored 13th century Imaret Medressi and two tombs, one from the late 14th century and the other from 1502. The minaret was once erected within the citadel of Antalya and was accompanied by a mosque and a pair of vaulted tombs. The discreet architecture consists of 90 steps and while its roofing shines a bright turquoise when the sun is at its strongest, it changes its color into a deep shade of blue on a cloudy day.
Antalya Museum- Do not miss this comprehensive museum that exhibits everything from the Stone and Bronze Ages to Byzantium. The Hall of Regional Excavations showcases remnants from ancient cities in Lycia (such as Patara and Xanthos) and Phrygia, while the Hall of Gods exhibits gorgeous, beautiful and evocative statues of 15 Olympian gods, many in still brilliant conditions. Most of the statues were found at Perge, including the sublime Three Graces and the towering Dancing Woman dominating the first room.
When it comes to entertainment, you will be spoilt for the choices with our holiday packages for Antalya. The Antalya city offers everything from crazy to educational. The Antalya Museum is a great place to start from, as it exhibits ancient findings dating back to Mesolithic and Paleolithic periods. There are also artefacts from the second century AD, You can also find second century Roman replicas of even earlier Greek statues, as well as original Roman effigies including busts of Trajan and Hadrian.
The city also has a very vibrant nightlife, especially during the summer months June-July-August. The award winning Marina and its surrounding, host a wide variety of bars, discos and pubs which are popular among the tourists and locals. In Antalya marina there are nice places that you can enjoy with life music. If your favorite music is rock, techno or hip hop there are also many opportunities in marina. The night clubs which have dance performances, revue shows are open till morning.
You can find very appealing puns, rock bars and traditional Turkish taverns. Antalya`s night life becomes even more exciting during the International Golden Orange Film Festival. You can head to Ally`s, Inferno and Club 29 to enjoy the city`s scenic nightlife.
Some venues strictly follow a dress code, particularly in terms of modest attire for women. In many places casual dressing is acceptable; there is also a local custom to dress up on evenings out, which you must follow on Antalya holidays.
One can find all the cuisines of the world in Antalya hotels and restaurants. But some of the special foods of the region: sac kavurma (meat), Tandır kebab (meat), Kolle (cooked by mixing different types of corn and fruit sprinkles – sugar added), Tomato cive (cooked with tomato and wheat), Hibes (halvah).
An authentic Turkish breakfast includes cheese, honey, jam, (Antalya is also famous for its jams), black and green olive, salami, egg, butter, tomato and cucumber, bread. You can also supply fresh orange juice, season fruits, yoghurt, bakery, corn flakes from the hotel you are staying at. The indispensable beverage of the Turkish breakfast is well-steeped tea.
Kebab is a dish which is most preferably served for lunch. Kebab is cooked in a way that steak slices aresticked on a skewer and cut into thin slices when it is ready to be served. Kebab can be eaten as fast food as well as in bread or on a plate with rice. Other food includes Meatball, Lahmacun known as Turkish pizza.
The dinner begins with dolma, Esme, haydari, cacik, hibes, humus, imambayildi. You should absolutely taste them. The main course also includes chop-liver, steak, fire bar, kagit kebab and tandoor. Whatever you choose as your main dish, trying several appetizers is worth it.
Turkish is the official language of Antalya and is a local language of Turkey, but you will be able to get quite well without speaking a word of it. However English is generally spoken and understood by the locals and guides. The staff at most of the hotels and restaurants can speak and understand English. The restaurant menu cards and other major essentials are also in English.
The currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira from 100TL notes to 10 kuru coins, but apart from Scottish notes Euros, Sterling and Dollars are accepted in all the major places. Turkish coins cover everything up to 1 TL, with notes starting from 5 TL. Major credit and debit cards are also widely accepted. You can also avoid individual transactional fees by withdrawing cash from an ATM.
Visitors seeking entry to Turkey need to apply for an E-visa which allows staying in the country for three months. Generally there are two types of tourist visas –a single entry and a multiple entry visa which allow single entry and multiple entries to the country. Earlier you could purchase a visa upon your arrival at the Istanbul airport counter by providing all the required documents, but since 2014, visitors need to compulsorily obtain their visa electronically after entering required information and making payment by credit card. After successful application, e-Visa is e-mailed to the applicant.
Antalya generally experiences a hot summers. The summers are dry and hot, a typical Mediterranean type of climate with mild and wet winters. Out of 365, three hundred days of a year are sunny and the city receives approximately three thousand hours of sunlight per year. The gigantic Taurus Mountains shield Antalya from the harsh, cold northerly winds which means you must carry lightweight natural linens that will allow the circulation of air, keeping you cool and comfortable. During December or January, the temperature may dip below the freezing point, thus if you are visiting during Christmas pack woolens.
Being a larger city, it has an airport, the Antalya Airport, which is one of the busiest airports in the country that receives several charter and passenger flights operated by several leading airlines regularly.
Antalya airport is the most suitable airport although it is located about 13 km away from the city. It is served by both international and domestic carriers and therefore is the best option to arrive in the region for those preferring to use airplane. Numerous international airways organize timetable and charter flights from various airports around the world to Antalya airport, and also Turkish airlines have direct domestic flights or connected flights via Izmir, Ankara and Istanbul.
Buses and Taxis are easily available from the airport to take you to the city center. Most of the buses are air-conditioned and also have a mini screens installed for commuters to kill time on their way to the desired destination. However to commute in the city and for travelling to remote locations, you will need to visit the terminus and board a bus to your scheduled destination. Dolmuses are another popular option which is a middle option between a bus and a taxi. They have predefined routes and schedule that they stick to. They stop at specific spots where you can hop off and hop on.
Other Transport Options
The best way to reach Antalya is by air, the city can also be reached by the sea and by road. The Antalya`s bus terminus is situated to almost 6 km north-west of the center of the city. Turkey has an excellent bus system through which you can easily reach cities quickly and comfortably from Antalya. There are many service providers that operate buses for intercity transportation.
Another way to take in the scenic route is by boat, with many travelers crossing the ocean from Rhodes to Marmaris, before hopping on a bus to Antalya.
The Burdur Railway station, located about 122 km from the city is the nearest railway station. However, the Turkish State Railways no more operates direct trains from Istanbul to Burdur.
There are many places to travel around the city. One can choose between bus, taxi, cars or trams to commute within the city. To experience the city like locals, visitors can board a dolmus which is similar to minicab-sized communal buses which follow predefined route and schedules that they strictly follow. You can simply hop on and off from designated spots, just like a bus.
The bus system in Turkey is far more comprehensive than any other local transport. The buses are weather moderated and also have televisions installed to keep the commuters entertained. They are easily available in Antalya and you can board a bus to your scheduled destination from the terminus. The various bus journeys available have a letter prefix, featuring a selection of ten characters from A to V. The character symbolizes the specific destinations. F or instance, you will have to board a bus whose router number beings with ‘A’, if the name of the place that you want to go to begins with ‘A’. Unusually Buses may show both their departure point and their final destination - so a bus marked AF leaves from Aksu and arrives eventually into Tip Fakultesi.
Local train services are not available in Antalya. However, the Heritage Tramway connects the Antalya Museum and Konyaalti Beach to the eastern part of the city. Trams run at a regular interval of thirty minutes from either direction, and a ride for one person will cost about 1.25 TL.
There are several car rental agencies such as Sky Rent A Car, Turtas Rent A Car and Filo Car Rental that provide cars for rent. Depending on your requirements, you can choose from hatchbacks, sedans or SUVs. Most of the operators provide the option of online booking as well.