Located on both the Turquoise Coast and the Turkish Riviera, this popular Mediterranean hub has a Roman-Ottoman old quarter and an impressive harbour. This is one of the most popular destinations to jump on a yacht charter. Situated directly on the Gulf of Antalya, the largest Turkish Mediterranean town is both stylishly modern and classically beautiful. In 2011, Antalya was the fourth most visited city in Turkey by a number of international arrivals, with over 10.5 million annual visitors. It is also one of the fastest-growing cities in Turkey as it lays claim to some of Turkey’s finest restaurants, one of its most impressive archaeological museums, and some of its best-preserved Ottoman architecture in southern Turkey.
How to get to Antalya
Antalya Airport is just 10km from the Antalya city centre. From Antalya airport one can catch a taxi, private transfer or Havas shuttle bus into the city centre. Currently, the tramway is being extended eastward from the city centre to also be linked to the airport. The works should be completed in 2016. An alternative method of reaching Antalya is flying into Dalaman airport, approximately 230km away. From Dalaman, a short bus will bring you to Fethiye which is connected by two different routes to Antalya including the coastal route and mountain route. The mountain route is the quickest way to get to Antalya.
As Antalya is a major city in Turkey it is also connected to other destinations in Turkey by overnight bus. Overnight buses from both Istanbul and Cappadocia depart every day.
Where to eat in Antalya
Antalya is a variety of fine dining and cheap eats. Starting at the higher end of the spectrum is Club Arma, one of the most established restaurants in Antalya. This restaurant has wonderful views over the harbour and offers some of the finest seafood and Mediterranean dishes in the region.
Also for some more fine dining pay a visit to Seraser Fine Dining Restaurant. This restaurant is literally located in the historical centre of Antalya in a 300-year-old house. It features a pleasant garden, live piano on most evenings and offers a Turkish and international menu.
For more budget-friendly options dine at Fisilti Café Ev Yemekleri known for home-cooked Turkish food or Zaruri which plays light jazz as you enjoy your meal.
Things to do in Antalya
One of the largest cities on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, Antalya offers plenty of sights, attractions and things to do to for tourists from all around the world. Founded in 150 BC, Antalya once attracted ancient travellers like Paul the Apostle, Ibn Battuta and many others. Filled with beautiful beaches, green mountains and fascinating ancient ruins, the city entertains more than a million visitors each year.
Your journey may start at the historic district of Antalya, called Kaleiçi, which is also known as the old quarter. It has amazing narrow and winding streets which create an ancient magnitude. The quarter is encircled by large city walls which separates it from the busy metropolis. The northern part of Kaleiçi contains many charming tourist shops and restaurants where you may enjoy a lovely Turkish meal. Marking the entrance of the old quarter is the fascinating Hadrianus Gate built by the Roman emperor Hadrianus. Among the most prominent attractions of the old quarter is the Yivli Minare, where you will see a magnificent fluted minaret by a lovely mosque. The clock Tower of Saat Kulesi from the ottoman era is also amazing. You will also find the ruins of an old Roman temple named Kesik Minare also known as Broken Mınaret and now a frequented mosque. All things considered, the old quarter of Antalya is an interesting reminder of the city’s powerful past. Most people spend at least half a day exploring the old town.
Located in the old town is also the main marina filled with yachts, gulets and small fishing vessels. Antalya is a very popular spot to board a private yacht charter travelling to the Kekova region. Cruises in this area travel south and is a combination of sightseeing, relaxing, swimming and eating. For a town that is covered in sunshine around 300 days of the year, it is definitely a great spot to get out on the water.
There is also plenty to see aside from the old quarter. Some magnificent beaches are located in the east and west parts of the town. The Konyaaltı Beach lies in the west of the town and houses some top quality bars, restaurants and cafes. The Lara beach lies in the east and has some spectacular dark sands and the mountains surrounding the beach creates a magnificent atmosphere. The Antalya Zoo and Nature Park lie in the north of the city, located over an area of 400 acres. The zoo houses everything from tigers and hyenas to a grizzly bear!
The Duden Falls are a spectacular site with one located on the upper end of the river and the other falls right off the cliffs of Antalya and into the sea. You can also go see Aspendos which is an ancient Roman theatre that is still surprisingly intact.
Antalya is a great point to visit other nearby towns for day trips and even overnight stays. While on your journey to Antalya, one should also consider visiting Fethiye, Marmaris and Denizli to catch the travertines of Pamukkale.