Antalya – lively hub of the Turkish Riviera
Adorned by sea, forest and mountains, Antalya is seen as the hub of the region known as the Turkish Riviera. Wend your way through the narrow cobbled streets of Kaleiçi, the restored historical city centre, graced by Turkish and Greek houses. Kaleiçi also boasts an enclosed harbour and a host of hotels, gift shops, bars, clubs and restaurants. Mosques and exquisite minarets punctuate the city, while monuments like Hadrian’s Gate give a hint of its Roman past. The best beaches for swimming are Lara beach to the east and the Konyaalti beach to the west of the city. For family fun head to the water parks. On the outskirts of Antalya you’ll discover the cascading waterfalls of Durlen and Kursunlu, the winter ski resort of Saklikent, Gulluk Mountain National Park and Aspendos’ Theatre, the best-preserved Roman theatre in the world.
Go for the outstanding natural beauty, the beaches, forests and tumbling waterfalls. Go for the historic landmarks and award-winning archaeology museum. Go for the film and music festivals in September and October, the summer nightlife, the potent local ‘raki’ and the food – it’s delicious, plentiful and cheap!
When to Go?
Turkey enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and cool winters. The best times to visit Antalya are during the spring (May–June) and autumn (Sep-Oct) if you want to avoid the crowds and intense heat of summer. Cruises and tourist attractions tend to be cheaper at these times. It’s worth remembering that Ramadan lasts for a month and may disrupt travel plans so check dates – they change every year.
How to get there?
Direct flights to Antalya are available from all major UK airports. Antalya Airport is 10km from the city and the journey to Antalya will take approximately 20 minutes. You can travel around by bus, taxi or dolmus (municipal minibus). Antalya also has a tramway which runs every 30 minutes, connecting the western Konyaalti Beach to the eastern part of the city centre.
Don’t leave Antalya without a stop-off at Döner Gazino on the hilltop of Tünek Tepe. It’s a hotel, nightclub and rotating restaurant with panoramic views of Antalya. The nightclub is available for private parties. Also worthwhile is a short Mediterranean cruise from the harbour. Morning cruises tend to be calmer than afternoon cruises and you can usually haggle the boat-owners down to half the starting price.