The 24 best sights of Antalya – description, photos, map

Antalya

Antalya (Turkey) – the most detailed information about the city with photos. The main sights of Antalya with descriptions, travel guides and maps.

City of Antalya (Turkey).

Antalya – a city in the south of Turkey, the center of the province of the same name and a seaport. Located on the Mediterranean coast and is the capital of the popular resort region Turkish Riviera. Antalya is a colorful city, famous for its turquoise sea and golden sandy beaches, sophisticated Roman architecture and magnificent prehistoric ruins. The labyrinth of the old city is full of atmospheric sites, and there are many ancient monuments in the vicinity. Antalya is an ideal destination for those who love beach vacations and antiquities.

Things to do (Antalya):

Old Antalya - a trip to the past

€150 per excursion

Antalya Old Town – Journey to the Past

Take a walk through the winding streets of the historic city center and see ancient squares, towers and mosques…

Gastronomic secrets of Antalya: get to know and taste!

Gastronomic Secrets of Antalya: see and taste!

Find authentic cafes in the old town and taste 4 traditional Turkish dishes.

Geography and climate

Antalya is located in the southwest of Turkey and is considered to be the center of the Turkish Mediterranean. The topography is hilly and mountainous. The climate is subtropical Mediterranean. Summers are hot and dry. During the three summer months, the rainfall is only 20 mm. Winter is warm and very rainy. The beach season lasts from May to October. The water temperature reaches 20-22° C as early as May. At the height of summer, the sea warms up to 26-28 ° C.

Waterfall on the coast

Waterfall on the coast of Antalya

Tourist information

  1. The population is more than 1.2 million people.
  2. The area is 1,417 square kilometers.
  3. Language: Turkish.
  4. Currency – Turkish Lira.
  5. Visa – for up to 60 days is sufficient to have a passport that is valid for more than four months from the date of entry into Turkey.
  6. Time – UTC +3.
  7. Exporting antiques is strictly forbidden and can cause a lot of problems. It is better not to buy dubious antiquities.

The best time to visit

The best time to visit is from May to September. The most comfortable weather for a beach holiday is in June and September, when it’s not so hot. The sea in June is about 24°C, the average temperature is about 30°C. In September, the sea is a couple of degrees warmer.

History

The area of present day Antalya has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. In ancient times the land belonged to the Hittites, in the Hellenistic period – to Lycia and Pamphylia. In the era of the Pergamian Kingdom in the 2nd century BC, the city of Attalia was founded, which four centuries later was conquered by the Romans. The Roman emperor Hadrian even made it his winter residence.

Port

Port

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Antalya became a Byzantine possession. In the 8th century earthquakes, raids by Arabs and pirates led to the decline of the city and region. Despite the constant threat of conquest by the Seljuks, Antalya belonged to the Byzantine Empire from the 9th century until the early 13th century.

The Old City of Antalya - Kaleici

The Old City of Antalya – Kaleici

In 1423 the city was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. During the Ottoman Empire Antalya was an important trading city and a major port. After World War I the city was occupied for some time by Italy. Antalya is now one of the fastest growing cities in Turkey and the most popular Turkish resorts.

How to get there

Antalya Airport is one of the leaders in Turkey in terms of passenger traffic. It serves many charter flights from most major cities in Europe. It also maintains regular flights to Istanbul and Ankara. The easiest and cheapest way to get to Antalya from the airport is a streetcar that leaves from Terminal 2 and 3 at the station (Otogar). Also about this route is a bus line 600. Antalya has no access to the railroad. The nearest railway station is located 120 km to the north. The main intercity transport is by bus.

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Shopping

Popular souvenirs are kilim carpets, amulets against the evil eye (nazar), leather goods, ceramics and glassware, shoes, aromatic herbs. On the coast there are a lot of stores with replicas of famous brands. When buying in such stores recommend haggling. Bargaining can sometimes reduce the cost of goods by 40-50%. One large modern shopping center TerraCity is on the way to Lara (resort area 10 km to the east of Antalya), another – near the old city (called MarkAntalya).

Antalya

Antalya

The food in Antalya is quite inexpensive and of good quality. Here you can easily have a good meal for about 20-30 Lira per person. There are lots of excellent restaurants with fish and seafood. Among the traditional dishes are various kinds of kebap, köfte, pastry and sweets, and a fish sandwich (balik-ekmek).

Hotel in Antalya

Hotel in Antalya

Attractions

Antalya is an ancient city with a rich history and interesting sights, some of which date back to the ancient period.

Old City

The Old City

The old city of Antalya is called Kaleici. It is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets with perfectly restored Ottoman mansions with red tiled roofs and a combination of Roman and Ottoman architecture.

Hadrian's Gate

Hadrian’s Gate

The main entrance to the old city is the Hadrian’s Gate built in the 2nd century to commemorate the visit of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. The gate is very well preserved and is a magnificent example of Roman architecture. They are impressive marble arches, decorated with carvings and surrounded by towers.

In the eastern part of the old city there are many sections of the old city walls from the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

Clock Tower

The clock tower

On Saat Kulesi Square there is an 18th century Ottoman clock tower and a mosque whose interior is decorated with beautiful tiles.

Yivli Minaret

Yivli Minaret

Not far from the square is the Yivli Minaret, which is one of Antalya’s main attractions. The mosque and minaret were built in the 13th century by the Seljuks. Next to them is an old market building and a ruined gate.

Kesik Minare

Kesik Minare

One of the most interesting sights in Antalya Old City is the ruined Kesik Minare Mosque. Originally a Roman temple was built here in the 2nd century A.D. which was rebuilt into a Christian church during the Byzantine period. The Seljuks turned the building into a mosque. This ancient building was destroyed by fire in 19th century.

Hydyrlyk

Hidirlik

Hıdırlık is a mighty 14-metre high tower at the edge of the old city walls with a picturesque view of the quay and harbour. It was built in the 2nd century BC by the Romans.

No one knows exactly what function it had. Some people think it was a watchtower, others think it was a lighthouse.

Quay

The pier

One of the most fascinating places in Antalya is the harbor in Kaleici. The picturesque harbor is surrounded by city walls built during Roman times. In ancient times it was a port.

Archeology Museum

Antalya Museum

Antalya Archaeological Museum is one of the best museums in Turkey, which is dedicated to the history of the region. It displays remarkable collections of ancient artifacts from the Bronze Age to the Roman and Byzantine periods, which were found during excavations. Some of the most interesting exhibits in the museum are the ancient sculptures of Perge and mosaics of Seleucia.

Konyaalti

Konyaalti

Konyaalti is the western district of Antalya with stunning beaches. Other nearby attractions include the large Aqualand water park, the Migros MMM shopping center, the Antalya Aquarium, the world’s largest aquarium tunnel and the Aktur Lunapark amusement park.

Lara Beaches

The Beaches of Lara

Lara is actually an eastern suburb of Antalya with many beaches and a huge concentration of hotels.

Ancient cities near Antalya

There are several interesting ancient cities with impressive ancient ruins to visit around Antalya.

Aspendos

Aspendos

Aspendos is the jewel of the region and one of the most famous attractions in Turkey. This archaeological site is the ruins of an ancient city founded in the 4th century BC by the Greeks. Most of the ruins are fragments of Roman buildings and structures built between the 2nd and 3rd century AD. One of the symbols of Aspendos is the imposing Roman theater, which has been carefully restored. This ancient structure had a seating capacity of over 15,000 spectators.

Aspendos is 35 kilometers away from Antalya.

Termessos

Termessos

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Termessos is a ruin of an ancient city 34 km north west of Antalya. The city was founded by the Solites in the first millennium BC and was destroyed by a powerful earthquake in 243. The ruins of ancient temples dedicated to Zeus, Artemis and Hera.

The ruins of ancient Termessos are scattered along the slope. Therefore, to visit it you need comfortable shoes with good soles.

Perge

Perge

Perge is an ancient ruins of the capital of ancient Pamphylia. Here you can see the remains of street columns and ancient temples.

Perge is located 17 km east of the center of Antalya, in the northeastern part of the Aksu district.

Chimaera Mountain

Chimaera Mountain

Chimera Mountain is a unique natural site with natural fires burning on its slopes. The reason for this phenomenon is the release of natural gas. In ancient times, the mountain served as a landmark for sailors. A little above the bay was built Lycian city of Olympos, which reached its peak under the Romans. Till our time the remains of fortress walls, colonnade, and the ruins of a small theater have survived.

The site is located 70 km from Antalya, near a small settlement of Cirali.

Phaselis

Fazelis

Faselis is an ancient Lycian port located 16 km from Kemer. It was founded in the 7th century BC. In the 1st century BC it was conquered by the Romans, during which time it reached its heyday. There are ruins of a theater, an aqueduct, temples, a colonnaded street and the Hadrian’s Gate. It is believed that there may be a golden sarcophagus with the ashes of Alexander the Great. A couple of kilometers is a cable car to the mountain Tahtalydag (2275 meters).

The distance to Antalya is 60 km.

Side

Side

Side is an ancient Greek city located 15 km from Manavgat. The ancient historical center is now a popular resort, where modern buildings neighbor with antiquities. There are large-scale Greek and Roman ruins: theater, temple ruins, triumphal arches and fragments of city walls.

The distance to Antalya is 75 km. It is not possible to travel by car in Antalya Side. The exceptions are local cars and those tourists who need to deliver (or pick up) things at the hotel.

Interesting excursions

Mountain Adventures in Turkey: A Trip from Antalya

207 €187 for the tour

Mountain Adventures in Turkey: A Trip from Antalya

Discover beautiful secluded places, learn about the life of mountain villages and ride over the abyss

The Old City of Antalya: From the origins to today

150€135 for the tour

Antalya Old Town: From the origins to today

Take a walk through the colorful Kaleici neighborhood and visit its landmarks with a professional guide.

What to see in Antalya

The Old City - Antalya's main attraction

The best sights in Antalya and its surroundings: what to see on your own or with a tour? Places, distances, how to get by bus or car? And also – where to go and what to do in Antalya with children, prices 2022 – in detailed review Eurotraveler.ru.

Antalya is an unusual resort, and over the years the name itself has become commonplace. A kind of synonym for relaxation at sea! And not a “seal”, but a very rich and interesting, promising to get a lot of new impressions.

Is it any wonder that even in January Antalya and its satellite towns: Belek and Side, Beldibi, Geynyuk, Kemer, Chamyuva, Tekirova, Kas are in considerable demand? And during the season: high and low, it turns into a real vacation Mecca.

What to see in Antalya and its surroundings, near and far? What sights should pay attention to?

Those who set up mainly for a lazy time or on the contrary, extremely inquisitive citizens? Those who like to rent a car and do not sit idle for a minute?

Where to go with children? Yes, so that the interests of adults are not affected, or did it as seamlessly as possible?

And then – whether to deal with the organization of out-of-the-ordinary leisure by yourself? Or is it easier to buy a tour? Which, by the way, and how much they are in Antalya: out of the range or moderate?

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About all this we tell in this material!

E.K.S.K.U.R.S.I.

Around Antalya and surroundings: to the canyons, Termessos, Demre and Mira, Kekova. Boat rides, rafting on the mountain river from € 18 per person. And also: trips to Pamukkale and Lake Salda, a two-day excursion by bus to Cappadocia!

The truncated minaret is a must-see in Antalya

What to see in Antalya

Many guidebooks stir everything noteworthy into a pile. Along with purely urban locations they also mention distinctly suburban locations – why not – after all, it’s all Antalya! If not the city, the province – for sure!

In our article we tried to separate the one from the other.

If only because walking along the streets of Antalya, staying in Konyaalti or even Lara is not a particularly time-consuming business. And because it is not troublesome, everyone can do it.

But to walk to Termessos or Fazelis, to visit the slopes of fire-breathing Yanartas is not for everyone – not near the world.

Kaleici

The old city of Antalya is perfect for peaceful strolls. Cozy streets among the well-kept houses, a beastly hunger for authentic restaurants, the desire to buy a souvenir – you will bring from Turkey gifts to family and friends – galleries and shops.

The landmark places that are guaranteed to catch your eye are:

  • The fluted minaret of Ivli or Great Mosque – the building dates back to the 13th century
  • the faceted clock tower Saat Kulesi, standing on the main square of Kalekapisi; it seems to be XIX century, but it looks very medieval.
  • In the reviews are advised to see the beautifully decorated mosque Tekeli Mehmet Paşa from the inside. But today it seems to be closed for reconstruction.
  • old port – it is supposed to sit here with a cup of Turkish coffee and sweets, to breathe in the sea air and soak up the color. Trying to dive headfirst into the life of the Ottoman Empire
  • the Hadrian’s Gate, which is actually a triumphal arch erected by the Roman emperor himself around 130 AD. The exact address, 36/1 Ataturk Street, is somehow difficult to find on Google Maps. Although this gate is considered the symbol of Antalya.
  • Minaret Kesik or truncated. It means the ruins of the old mosque, which was built on the foundations of the Roman, pagan temple. Corresponding ruins are attached
  • Hıdırlık Roman tower. In 2022 the interior is already allowed, and from the panoramic platform you can enjoy the excellent views.

Hadrian's Gate a Must See in Antalya

What else

We did not mention the modern Kaleici Panoramic Elevator that takes anyone who wants to go directly to the port easily and for free. The upper elevator platform is considered one of the best observation sites here. During the season you can only wait in line for a four-person capacity cab.

Archaeological Museum is another remarkable attraction. Which usually does not leave without attention of the inquisitive tourist: the exposition is significant and mostly unique. There is an audio guide in Russian, which for some reason gives only in exchange for a deposit of documents.

It would be nice to see Karaalioglu Park in Antalya. It is large, green and conveniently sprawling right at the southern borders of Kaleici. The main opportunity which opens to people who visit it: to see the sea and the coastline in all their glory.

Excursions

Most people do not pay attention to the offers of guides who promise to take them to secret places and reveal a lot of secrets. In vain?

It is difficult to say for sure – because to give 120-140 € for an informative tour in our time will not risk everyone – staryiy-gorod-antali.

Where to go with the children

There are a few places, and in general they are all well known. The most famous, though pronounced seasonal (from May to October) – Aqualand Antalya Dolphinland water park, combined with a dolphinarium.

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There are a lot of people in the season, lines on the slides can repulse the very desire to ride. And not everyone in the reviews are satisfied with the state of the water park, judging by the looks of things, requiring a thorough renovation.

But the local oceanarium, located almost opposite on the other side of Dumlupinar Boulevard, is characterized very positively. In fact, it is even more enthusiastic. The underwater tunnel, sunken plane and submarine are of special interest.

The price tag, however, makes you think about the expediency – an adult ticket if purchased online will cost 33 USD. You can buy it at the same ticket office only for cash – take it into account!

Aktur Park is not a bad amusement park with a Ferris wheel. Nothing particularly outstanding, but children will love it.

Adults will love the reasonable prices. And the location is very good – across the street is the Migros shopping center. Not gigantic, but pleasantly filled with a variety of clothing stores.

You can also visit the Antalya Zoo with children. Inexpensive (children under 12 are free), but does not stand out against a similar institution.

It is located in a large green area, you can go inside by car. The majority of people take the express streetcar – get off at the Fatih stop.

Where to go from Antalya

Düden Waterfalls, located within the national park of the same name, are a popular attraction of the resort. It can be easily reached by public transport.

A distinction is made between the Upper Düden – a completely dry waterfall 10 km northeast. And its lower counterpart, which falls majestically right into the Mediterranean Sea.

The second, of course, is more popular. But the first is incredibly beautiful in the fall, when nature around dressed in unimaginably bright colors. So if you’re going to Antalya in November, go visit.

The easiest way to get to the Upper Düden is by bus VF 66. To the lower one we take the KL 08 route connecting Konyaalti and Lara.

The Upper Düden Waterfall is worth a visit in Antalya

The ruins of Perge, an ancient Greek polis that was a major population center at the time of Alexander the Great, are very close to Antalya, near Aksu. But despite this, it is virtually unknown to holidaymakers.

The AntRay express tramway, which goes from Antalya to the EXPO, will take you to Aksu. You get off at the Aksu-1 stop and walk another 2 km.

Aspendos, Side and Termessos

But the huge amphitheater of Aspendos, 50 km to the east, is a must-see. This is probably because it is a Turkish landmark.

You can get there by bus and change in Serik. But by car, obviously, will be easier. Especially if you plan a trip to Turkey in October or even later. In short, when the heat subsides, and the number of tourists, too.

Very nice and incredibly atmospheric is the ancient Termessos, lost in the mountains 25 km northwest of Antalya. Because of the difficulty of access – you have to climb to the top – completely unclaimed by the general tourist masses.

But those who were there were absolutely delighted. For this amphitheater and the ruins must be seen. To understand at least what is the true beauty.

As for Side, you can get to it from Antalya by bus only with the change. First a “shuttle” to Manavgat and only then – by dolmush.

The car covers the distance of ~68 km in a little over an hour. The reward for perseverance – the opportunity to contemplate decently filled with columns and fragments of walls, the ruins of the ancient polis, founded about 7 century BC. Not so little – don’t you agree?!

Tahtali

Equally public transport will not take you to the main local hill. Only by car or with a tour, again, not too cheap.

Get yourself to the elevator in Tahtaly, however, is not difficult. Driving to Kemer, passing it and Chamyuva, turn at the sign, a little serpentine, – voila, you’re there. About 60 km and just an hour on the road.

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The current price of the cable car, however, is horrifying – that’s where the real gold mine is! 33 € round trip ticket for an adult and 16,50 € for a child 7-12 years old.

Fazelis

Nestled right on the beach and usually poorly attended – it’s difficult to get to except by car. Although the distance – 55 km – screams of the desirability of a visit. Especially when you arrive you will find a solid portion of ancient stones, the remains of the walls of buildings, an amphitheater and even a Roman aqueduct.

On the shore, it’s good to think. And if you come to Faselis in the wrong time for the crowds of tourists – closer to the evening – you can immerse yourself in a state, close to nirvana

Olympos and Chimera

One pile of ancient ruins, Olympos, can theoretically be reached by bus. You should head towards Cirali and then walk a little bit by the sea. The distance (105 km) is quite respectable and a full day should be planned.

Access to the remains of the ancient city is paid, but sometimes you can get there without paying (especially in the afternoon in autumn). By the way, the local beach is considered the cleanest on the coast.

Cirali is the gateway to another attraction that should not be missed in Antalya. We are talking about the fiery mountain Yanartas, aka Chimera.

This monster from Greek myths… Kemer, by the way, was named after her.

Demre

Church of St. Nicholas, which once housed (and, according to some, still does) the relics of the saint, the patron saint of sailors and children. The same one that is now celebrated in the Western world as Santa Claus.

Despite the fact that Italian merchants in the 11th century transported the remains of Nicholas of Myra to Bari, the temple in Demre is beloved by pilgrims. And ordinary vacationers, too.

And this, alas, shamelessly exploited. Icons and various other “cult objects” in Demre are sold for fabulous money.

On the northern outskirts of the town are the ruins of Myra, the capital of legendary Lycia. During the season, however, they overflow with sightseers – buses arrive just not in columns.

A must-see in Myra from Antalya with kids

The distance from Antalya is 140 km. If you have no intention to rent a car, an organized tour is the easiest way to see the ancient polis.

Moreover, it is not too expensive – 30-40 € per person. And usually includes a boat trip along the coast of the island.

Kekova

Where you can admire the walls of the now sunken ancient city. And even swim in the open sea.

The distance is 160 kilometers. If we exclude destinations like Pamukkale and Cappadocia, which are over 500 km away from Antalya, the trip to Kekova is the most “long-playing” of the routes in the area.

Lycian Trail.

A specific attraction, which not every vacationer wants to “taste”. And even among those who come here with children, and even very few.

Although more than 500-kilometer seaside hiking route Likia trail, stretching from Fethiye to Antalya, and incredibly beautiful, it is also tedious. And it requires a lot of preparation. Both morally – walking in the mountains even without the heat is tiring – and financially:

The most popular section, which begins in the canyon Geynyuk and descends to the sea in Chirali. On the way you can storm the Tahtali (2,365 m), disregarding the help of an expensive cable car. But you can skip this stage if you have been there before…

Istanbul

Sometimes, that is quite often, tourists dilute beach leisure time and a visit to the main metropolis of Turkey. Consciously ignoring the fact that the distance between Antalya and Istanbul (700 km along the highway) almost eliminates a day trip.

Even if you get up before dawn and rush north by plane! That is possible, of course. But whether you like such a hurry and what you can get out of such a visit is a big question.

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