AntalyaCopyright: Boris Stroujko/Shutterstock.com
AntalyaA gem of the Turkish Riviera, Antalya is a vibrant city that doubles as a paradise for vacationing families from all over Europe. The coast is sprinkled with enticing beaches, a myriad of budget-friendly and upscale hotels, and restaurants aplenty. And for those wanting a break from the all-inclusive poolside days, a wealth of intriguing ancient sites awaits nearby.
The CityA 14th-century explorer Ibn Battuta, often dubbed the Muslim Marco Polo, declared Antalya to be one of the most beautiful cities he'd ever seen. Modern day visitors would find it hard to dispute his claim. Nestled on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean, Antalya rests on a fertile plain, framed by towering, often snow-dusted mountains. For those looking to add some cultural depth to their beach holiday, Antalya offers a dive into its ancient history. Just north of the city, the Karain cavern houses remnants of Turkey's oldest known settlement. The city’s diverse past is vividly on display, bearing the marks of the Romans, Byzantines and Seljuks. Present-day Antalya marries the charm of a modern metropolis with the quaint appeal of an old-world town. Wander into Kaleiçi to discover the authentic Antalya — an enchanting blend of petite mosques, and a mishmash of both revamped and time-worn Ottoman wooden houses. The harbour, Yat Liman, is a haven of cosy cafés and bars, where you can unwind while taking in the lively boat life in the nearby bay.
Beach LifeThe best way to navigate between different beaches is by dolmuş — the minibuses run often, stop frequently and are a cheap way to travel. Most beaches in the region are very family friendly and offer sport activities, such as surfing and water skiing.
Do & See
Antalya boasts must-see attractions to cater to every age and taste. History enthusiasts can step back in time with sites like the Hadrianus Triumphal Arch, Hierapolis and Yivli Minareli. Families with children will delight in the thrilling Waterhill, Atlantis, Park Aqua and Dolphinarium, or explore the fascinating marine life at Antalya Aquarium. Don't limit yourself to the city limits — adventurous spots like Side and Belek await outside Antalya. The only task left is picking your favourite attractions.
The Turkish cuisine — a wonderful mixture of simple nomadic foods, Byzantine luxury and fresh raw ingredients — is considered to be one of the best in the world. Turkish speciality is the small starters known as meze, together with grape-distilled rakı. Unlike the stuff you get abroad, a kebab is always meat cut into pieces or minced meat. Another minced meat course is köfte (meatballs) which, just like kebabs, are served in dedicated köfte restaurants. The most popular soup is iskembe. It is made of cow stomach and served with vinegar. Seafood is very popular on the Turkish Riviera, too.
The Turks like to frequent garden cafés, where they drink tea or coffee, spend time together and just relax. Turkish pastries are sweetened with a great amount of honey, which, as a matter of fact, also quenches your thirst. Tea is made of mint, apples and different herbs. Caffeine aficionados will get a chance to taste the rich, dark Turkish coffee. Brewed in a traditional pot known as a 'cezve', it's enjoyed slowly, allowing time for conversation and relaxation, and a game of Tawula (Turkish Backgammon). A symbol of hospitality and friendship, this potent brew often concludes meals and is usually accompanied by a piece of Turkish delight or a square of dark chocolate, creating a perfect harmony of strong and sweet flavours.
Bars & Nightlife
Antalya truly comes alive at night, offering an array of experiences to suit all tastes. From nightclubs featuring thrilling belly dancing performances and local entertainment — commonly housed within the luxury hotels and welcoming to all — to lively city centre bars that transform into pulsating discos, a good time is practically guaranteed. Seek out Hesapçı Sokak, a narrow street brimming with music, restaurants and garden bars serving refreshing beers. You can choose to follow the loudest music for a vibrant evening, or, if you're seeking a more serene night, explore and find a tranquil cafe that keeps its doors open until late. Either way, Antalya's nightlife promises memorable experiences.
Turkey has an old tradition of manufacturing rugs and tapestry. The values of the rugs are decided by the density of the knots: the more knots, the higher the cost. Rugs made of silk are more expensive than cotton rugs. Avoid the big department stores and people who sell to tourists. They usually sell inferior quality at exorbitant prices. The exclusive brand name shopping in Antalya is located along Konyaaltı Caddesi. More everyday ready-made clothing is sold along Atatürk Caddesi and Işıklar Caddesi. In the old district of Kaleiçi, you will find souvenirs, leather products and rugs.