Antalya is the largest city on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey and one of the key centers of the Turkish Riviera. But Antalya got its popularity not thanks to the era of global tourism. Antalya appeared on the world scene 1.5 centuries BC (at that time it was called Attalia after the founder, Attalos II). Since then, it has been visited by many travelers, including the Apostle Paul. Tourism began to be invested here in the 1970s, and today the city welcomes a million visitors a year.
Antalya is now a large and rapidly developing city, located just 12 km from the airport. There is a well-developed network of modern hotels, many restaurants, coffee shops in the national style, all kinds of entertainment centers and discos, countless stores, and water parks. Most visitors see Antalya only during the transfer from the airport to the hotel. Meanwhile, the city, especially its old center, is much more than just a resort. It is worth visiting!
Find the best beach
The coast of Antalya city is famous for its clean water and well-developed infrastructure. Almost everywhere there is regular garbage removal, toilets, showers, and cabins for changing. You can rent umbrellas and sun loungers. Most hotels have their beaches, which have everything you need for guests. Entrance is free, but it is better to take umbrellas and towels to have something to lie on. In the paid area, the price ranges from 5–10 TRY, and in the VIP zone — 10–25 TRY. This amount includes the use of umbrellas and sun loungers. One of the most popular places for young people in Antalya is Beach Park. It stretches 1.5 km along the coast and is made up of a series of small beaches. There are water activities during the day and beach parties at night.
The best beach in Antalya is Topcam in Olympos National Park.
The beach "Lara" is the best for families with children. The rocky coast is covered with fine white sand, the entrance to the water is gentle, and the purity and environmental friendliness awarded the Blue Flag. The entrance is free. Renting umbrellas and sun loungers costs 10 TRY. Konyaalti beach is divided into free and paid zones. The free one is practically not landscaped, but it's quiet and comfortable-the coast is clean, and there are trash cans and changing rooms. In the paid one you can use the shower, toilet, umbrellas, and sun loungers. There is a place to eat and take refreshments. The water comes in rather quickly and suddenly becomes deep, so children need to swim very carefully. The cleanest and the best beach in Antalya — Topcam — is located in the national park "Olympos". It attracts vacationers with its clear water, picturesque views, and silence. There are no bars and clubs, loud music, or extreme water activities. You can enter for free and rent a deck chair. The surface is sandy-pebbly, the entrance to the water is smooth, and it's safe to swim with kids.
Explore the underwater world
There are a lot of dive sites near the coast of Antalya. The choice of dive sites is the best — there are safe ones for beginners and those where experienced divers will not be bored. A permit from the Turkish authorities is required to see the most interesting sites for recreational diving. Without it, diving in the area of the wreck of the French ship "Saint Didier" and the U.S. warplane is prohibited. Near the shore, there are other interesting sites in terms of racket-diving — the antique ship Gelidonya and an especially sunken aircraft of the Turkish Air Force.
There are several diving centers on the territory of the Antalya resorts. Vacationers are offered test dives for beginners, training by international standards, safaris to remote and difficult sites for experienced divers, etc. The cost is from 70 to 120 TRY per dive (depending on experience). For TRY 1,200, you can learn to dive and become a PADI Open Water Diver. The price includes equipment rental. For those who want to see the underwater world but are afraid to scuba dive, there is snorkeling for 45 TRY.
Although prices in Antalya resort have long ago equalized with European ones, there is still bargain shopping in Antalya. To buy clothes, shoes, accessories, cosmetics, and bijouterie at low prices, it is worth visiting the best shopping centers "Dipo," "Ozdilek", "Migros" and others. Popular shopping streets in the center are Gulluk and Isiklar. It sells locally produced goods, but you can also find worthwhile replicas of European brands. Handicraft shops in the old town are a good place to find gifts for friends. In Antalya, there is a large selection of Turkish souvenirs — handmade carpets, painted ceramics, leather and wood products, oriental clothing, and jewelry. Of edible goods: a variety of oriental spices and sweets, olives, and olive oil.
Taste local cuisine
The restaurant list of the resort is varied. In the center of Antalya and on the sea coast, you can find cafes serving Japanese, Chinese, French, Italian, and other cuisines from every corner of the world. Do not ignore the Turkish restaurants — local dishes are famous for their abundance of vegetables and spices, spicy flavor, and aroma. Due to its location on the coast, there is a lot of fish and seafood on the menu, cooked with Turkish herbs. In the mountain areas, trout are in demand. Also worth trying in Antalya are kulakli soup, kabak tatlisi syrup pumpkin, and tkhina salad, which are the most typical dishes of the region.
The prices of food in Antalya city are the best. A filling snack will cost you between 10 and 30 TRY. In the morning, cafes serve a traditional Turkish breakfast with cheese, olives, vegetables, and other snacks with sauces on a large tray. It is the best way to start the day. There are fast food points in every neighborhood, including McDonald's, Burger King, and others. Kebabs, sandwiches, burgers, and shawarma are sold on the streets. These meals cost no more than 10 TRY per person. In mid-range restaurants, you can have a hearty meal for 70-100 TRY for two (soup, salad, main course, and a drink). There is usually no need to order a side dish; the meat dishes are served with baked or fresh vegetables and rice. In expensive seafood restaurants on the coast and fashionable establishments of the Old City, the bill for a dinner for two with alcoholic beverages can go up to 200-450 TRY.
Spend the time with your kids
In Antalya, it is interesting and fun to spend time with children. First of all, the aquarium attracts the attention of the little visitors. There are not many kinds of sea creatures, but it is worth going there. Of particular interest are sharks, rays, turtles, crocodiles, and a tunnel 130m long, which ends the tour. In addition, the interesting interiors of the building itself and the scenery in the aquariums — coral-covered wooden ships and airplanes, ancient statues, and stalactites hanging from the ceiling. After exploring the underwater world, visitors are taken for a walk to the winter village. Snow-covered streets, ice sculptures, and igloos of Eskimos await the children in "Snow World".
Not far from the aquarium is one of the best water parks in the country — Antalya Aqualand. There are eight swimming pools, ten extreme attractions, jacuzzis, bars, and other amenities spread across 36 thousand square meters. In addition, there are several other places where you can go on water slides. It is worth including a trip to "Aktur Park". Its entrance is made in the form of a castle, and on the territory, there are rides for children and adults — from a harmless carousel with horses for kids to huge structures, one look at which takes your breath away.
Enjoy the Antalya view from the mount
While vacationing in Konyaalti, do not miss the opportunity to admire the city from the hight of Mount Tünektepe. You can get there by a rented car or a cab. Just 6.5 km along the steep serpentine and you have a landscape of amazing beauty in front of you. On the left-hand side there is Antalya city, the capital of the Turkish Riviera, and very close to the cargo port with the new road under construction. On the right hand side, there are magnificent mountains, in which 2-3 flickering lights tell you that the peaks seem impregnable at night, and right in front of you, the Mediterranean Sea gradually changes color from azure to deep blue with a deepening depth.
Visit old city Perge
The ancient city of Perge has the most impressive and well-preserved ruins on the Pamphylian coast. Perge is a beautiful monument of Roman and Hellenistic culture, located 17 km east of the center of Antalya, in the region of Aksu. It is the best way to escape the hustle and bustle of Antalya. Archaeologists have no consensus on when Perge was founded. According to some reports, the foundation of Perge dates back to the 7th century BC, the time of the Trojan War. However, the Hittite plate found in the village of Bogaz suggests that the town with the name Parha existed as early as 1000 BC.
The whole complex of archeological structures consists of Roman and Hellenistic gates at Perge, a Roman amphitheater (1st century BC–2nd century AD) for 15 thousand spectators, the largest stadium in Asia Minor (234x34 meters) for 12 thousand people, the ruins of city walls of different epochs, a Roman agora with Byzantine basilica (4th century AD. There are also the Roman Baths (Thermae), the colonnade of the central street with a canal in the middle, stores on the sides, a triumphal fountain, the nymphaeum, the acropolis ruins, palestra, and the cemetery.
The best time to visit Antalya
Antalya owes its climate to the Mediterranean Sea and the Taurus Mountains. The weather is very hot and dry in the summer, with almost no rainfall. The high tourist season lasts from May to November. Those who, for health reasons, can't tolerate the high temperatures had better not plan a trip for midsummer. The ideal time is during the velvet season in late October when the sun is not so hot and the sea has not yet cooled down. The season of rain is from December to April. Winter in Antalya is warm; there is practically no snow and no minus temperatures. Spring and autumn are short and almost imperceptible-after winter are almost immediately followed by summer, and vice versa in autumn.
The best season in Antalya lasts from May to November.