Kemer is a lovely holiday resort town approximately 40 minutes from Antalya city center. This adorable resort town offers all-inclusive resorts, great shopping, nightly entertainment, boat excursions, paragliding, and the beautiful Mediterranean coastline. The town is backed by the pine forests of Olympos Beydağlari National Park. You will definitely find numerous things to do in Kemer.
Our neighbor and dear friends in Antalya, Bugra & Yasmine Berberoğlu, own and operate three resort hotels in Kemer called River Rock Hotels & Resorts. We have become like family since we moved here to Antalya and have enjoyed spending time with their twins, Aishe and Ali. During the recent pandemic of COVID-19, they welcomed us with open arms and offered assistance when we needed it during these unusual times. We were super excited when they invited us to stay at their Olimpos Beach Hotel in Kemer for the weekend.
History of Kemer
When I travel to new cities, I always like to know the history of the area and what made the community prosper. So, one morning after breakfast, I asked Bugra to share with me the history of Kemer and how it became such a popular resort community. Kemer was once an ancient Greek city of Idyros, and during the Ottoman Empire, it changed its name to Eski Köy (meaning old village). This community almost washed away due to the continuous flooding, so in 1916 a long stone wall was built to channel the mountain stream waters to protect the town hence the town name changed again to “Kemer” which refers to those walls.
For many years, Kemer was only accessible by boat. However, in the 1980s this village prospered with infrastructure funded by the World Bank, aimed at developing large tourism industry. Bugra told us stories of traveling from Antalya to Kemer as a small child and how his family was the first to build a resort hotel here. Today, tourists from every corner of the world seek Kemer to enjoy its beautiful beaches with crystal-clear turquoise water and all the water sports such as scuba diving and safaris up the mountains.
Olimpos Beach Hotel
Olimpos Beach Hotel is nestled along the shores of Kemer with approximately 106 rooms. This beautiful All-Inclusive resort hotel has its own private beach and is a short walking distance to Kemer’s lively town center. If you want to do some bar hopping at night, Olimpos Beach Hotel is the ideal place because of its proximity to all the nightly entertainment. The bar is a nice place to take a break with a cold or hot beverage in hand and enjoy the soothing sea-breeze.
The restaurant’s Chef is very talented, and the meals he prepares are made with fresh ingredients and are always mouth-watering delicious. We certainly enjoyed all our meals and found the staff outstandingly friendly and accommodating.
A great number of immaculate beaches hug the coastline of Kemer that is lined with white pebble rocks, but once you are in the water the seafloor is white sand which gives the water a beautiful aqua blue tone. The Marina is centrally located in Kemer to divide the beach into two beach zones. Moonlight Beach located to the west of the marina is another great spot to check out. Public beaches are available in the vicinity of the marina for locals or those on a day trip to visit Kemer.
Although we did not participate in any of the local sports activities, Kemer has a lot to offer from parasailing, jet-skiing, banana boat rides, snorkeling, fishing, scuba diving, and boat tours.
Located directly behind Kemer is the Beydağlari Coastal National Park. Exploring the stunning landscape and natural surroundings is something I really wanted to do while visiting Kemer. Kemer offers 4 x 4 Off-Road Safari and quad & buggy safari. We decided to explore the pine forest on a quad & buggy safari with Burga and his family. We began our adventure from across the street from our hotel and explored the town of Kemer. Then we took our adventure into the piney forest of Beydağlari Coastal National Park. As we climbed the mountainside, we could see the coast from afar while enjoying the refreshing scent of the pine trees. Other great outdoor sports are available such as mountain biking, hiking, climbing, or nature trail walking.
Although we did not have any desire to go to a water park, Kemer offers DoluSu Park, located in Kiris. If traveling with small children you should consider visiting the water park that is full of thrilling water-rides, chutes, and bumper boats.
Evening Stroll through the City Center
Kemer city center offers a great number of restaurants serving all kinds of deliciousness and an impressive number of shopping centers and brand-name stores. After dinner, Yasmine took us on a walking tour of the city during which we watched and listened to live music being performed at various venues. If you want to socialize with friends over a beverage; hot or cold, there are an unlimited number of such spots and if you are with a special someone, several spots offer private cabanas for a romantic evening.
If you are ready to do some exploring outside of Kemer, the options are plenty. Daily tours and excursions are offered, and I am sure your hotel will be happy to assist you.
Göynük (Goynuk) Canyon is a nearby attraction. Here you can hike through the canyons and see some of the most beautiful rock formations that follow water streaming from the mountain tops. You can also experience body surfing. We did and it was very fun and exhilarating.
Olympos Ruins and Beach are worthy of a day-long visit. Start at the ruins and finish the day with a swim at Olympos beach.
If you want to do some hiking, hike up to Chimaera to see the flames coming out of the mountain as this area is on the Lycian Way Trail. (If you want more information about this area read about it here).
Ride the Olympos Cable Car (Teleferik) to the top of Mount Tahtali, the highest mountain closest to the sea. Here you will get a stunning panoramic view of the Anatolian region of Turkey.
Travel back into the 7th century BC to Phaselis, an ancient Lycian city, located in Tekirova which is about 12 km from Kemer. Near these historical ruins is a wonderful beach to enjoy a swim and a picnic.
Kemer is a beautiful and lively resort town loaded with entertainment for all ages and offers many outing activities as well as sandy white beaches along with mountains filled with piney woods. With its 46 km of beautiful crystal-clear waters and the fresh green forests make this resort an ideal destination to enjoy while in Antalya. Kemer is a marvelous destination not to be missed.
Omar and I had such a wonderful time exploring this adorable town and genuinely enjoyed our time with our friends. We feel so blessed to have such kind and loving neighbors. Burga, Yasmine, and their adorable twins are like family to us and most certainly made our transition from the USA to Antalya easy and hassle-free.