Antalya is one of those destinations where you can find something for everyone. This is one of the reasons why my husband and I chose to live here! If you are a nature lover, you will find the Mediterranean Sea to your south and the mountains to the north. If you love historic structures and ancient ruins which can be found throughout Antalya. Finally, if you are a thrill junkie and want to experience snorkeling, hiking, bicycling, paragliding, or paddle boarding, you will have plenty to keep you busy here.
Check out these many options in Antalya:
Most visitors to the city of Antalya head to one of the many beaches to enjoy a nice swim in the crystal clear Mediterranean Sea. You will find various sandy, rocky, or platform beaches along the coastline. Lara Beach is a Blue Flag beach located east of Antalya’s old town and is one of the most popular beaches in the whole province. It is one of the longest golden beaches in Turkey. You will find private beaches (which cost a little more), city beaches (fee is 40tl per person), and free beach access.
Another excellent option for swimming is visiting Konyaalti Beach, west of the city center. The beach is more of a pebble beach covered with gray and white rocks. The water may be a bit choppy than Lara Beach. In addition to the beach, you will find many restaurants and nightly entertainment in Konyaalti Beach Park, which hugs the coast.
Between Lara Beach and Konyaalti Beach are what I call platform beaches. Because this part of Antalya sits on a cliff, the city built platforms with easy access to go for a swim or relax on a lounge chair under an umbrella and enjoy the view. Two of my favorite platform beaches are Muratpasa Belediyesi Inciralti Plaji and Konserve Halk Plaji. Both beaches offer concessions and toilets.
Antalya offers several options for rafting excursions. If you want to stay close to Antalya, check out rafting on the Düden River between the Upper Düden Waterfall and the Lower Düden Waterfall. The 4-kilometer-long rafting route contains several winding and narrow sections.
I believe the best place to enjoy rafting is Köprülü Canyon, Turkey’s largest whitewater rafting center. In addition, there are rafting excursions from all resorts between Kemer and Alanya. It’s possible to book your tour online with a round-trip transfers from your hotel.
My recommendation is to book with Mavi Raft. They offered to pick us up in Antalya, took us rafting and canyoning, fed us lunch, and returned us to the city.
Depending on the provider, you may combine your rafting tour with jeep safari and zip-lining.
Boat tours depart from Antalya Yacht Marina in Kaleiçi that will stop to check out one of the most stunning waterfalls in Turkey, Lower Düden Waterfall. Here you will also see the reflection of the sun’s rays forming a beautiful rainbow! Boat tours to the waterfall cost between $25 – $50 per person. Tours last between 2 – 5 hours, depending on the package.
If you want to explore more remote beaches and spend a full day on the water, you must book your boat trip with Yaren 07. Here you will go to Suluada, one of the best spots to swim with its golden sandy beach and sparkling turquoise water. After that, your boat tour will continue down the coast stopping at a few remote beaches for a swim or snorkel. Make sure to bring your goggles or snorkeling gear, as, in most of these locations, you will see many sea creatures hanging out on natural reefs. A full day on the boat will cost between 4000TL to 8000TL depending on the length of time and season.
Get a panoramic view of the sea and the coast by taking a parasailing flight, solo or tandem. A powerful motorboat pulls the special parasailing parachute across the sea. You will reach heights between 100 -200 meters. Most 4- and 5-star hotels on the beach offer parasailing. If not, ask your front desk at the hotel to direct you to agents that can assist you in booking your excursion.
Glide through the sky paramotoring/paragliding riding tandem with an aviation guide. You and your pilot will soar across the coastal city of Antalya with a bird’s eye view of the gorgeous beaches. Depending on the weather, you will fly for about 1-3 hours. The cost is approximately $150 per person.
Within the Antalya province are many ancient cities to visit and learn more about the culture and people that once roamed these lands.
In the city center of Antalya is Kaleici, which means ‘inner castle’ in Turkish. Within the ancient walls, you will find traditional Turkish dwellings along with impressive Roman structures such as the Hadrian Gate. Another historical site to visit is the Yivli Minare (The Fluted Minaret), a symbol of Antalya. In the old town, you will also find museums, restaurants, and shops where you can spend your day exploring. Not far from Kaleici is the Antalya Archeological Museum. If you want to join a tour and learn more about the history, I suggest you visit here.
Aspendos is a renowned ancient site in the Turkish Mediterranean with a well-preserved amphitheater. Historians have identified the founders of Aspendos as refugees fleeing Troy’s destruction. Many of the ruins at Aspendos reflect the peak of the Roman Empire. Near the amphitheater are the remains of the ancient aqueducts, over 25 kilometers long, that once carried water to the city of Aspendos. Other historic structures you will find here are the basilica, agora, marketplace, and bouleuterion (government center). You will need to rent a car or join a tour to visit the location.
- Hours: Summer 8:00-18:45; Winter 10:00 – 16:00
- Admission: 50TL (tickets can be purchased at the gate)
With so much nature surrounding the city of Antalya, hiking is a must-do activity. One of our favorite hikes is to Termessos in the Güllük-Termessos National Park. As you hike the terrain in the park, you can see one of the most impressive ancient cities with rich flora and fauna atop the mountain. The hike is challenging as you climb up the mountainside, but the park offers benches along the way for a rest stop. To get here, you will need a car or ride the bus. Unfortunately, there aren’t restaurants or cafes on site. However, you can access toilets and a few benches to enjoy a picnic.
I have written about several other great places to hike near the city of Antalya. Check them out!
Shopping the Bazaar
Shopping at the bazaar is a unique experience if you are from the western world. Open all week, and you can find everything your heart desires from souvenirs, leather goods, gifts, spices, clothing, and much more. Of course, all the prices are negotiable, so don’t be afraid to haggle with the dealers over the price.
The Antalya Bazaar is open from 9:00 -19:00 and is more in the center of Antalya. Stroll the alleys next door to the market, where coppersmiths are still producing goods as they did a hundred years ago.
My favorite bazaar to visit is the Saturday Bazaar in Lara. It is open every Saturday, rain or shine. The huge bazaar is made up of flea market type finds and a large area of produce where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables. You will also find dairy and cheese products sold out of refrigerated trucks. You can make this into a full day of shopping as you will find food stalls selling snacks, gözleme, and drinks to keep your energy so you can keep shopping! The bazaar is open from 9:30 – 18:30.
Stroll the Parks
One thing I appreciate about living in Antalya is the number of well-maintained parks. No matter where you are in the city, you can find a neighborhood park to enjoy a picnic or take an evening walk.
One of my favorite parks to walk is Karaalioğlu Park, located near Kaleici right of Isiklar street. The park covers over 140,000 square meters, offering coffee shops, a platform beach, walking paths to enjoy the sea view, and playgrounds for the kids.
Beach Park is located near Konyaalti beach with lovely places to enjoy the sea while eating dinner or sitting by the sea, taking in the fresh air. In addition, Beach Park is a great place to rent a bicycle and ride through the park or visit the skateboard ramps and try your skills at skateboarding.
Near the Lower Duden Waterfall is Düden Park. So many great restaurants to choose from and lush green spaces to enjoy a picnic with a sea view. Great walking paths to take a morning stroll along the sea and many tea and coffee shops to stop for a break.
These are just a few of my favorites, but there are many more to enjoy!
Antalya is a popular destination for tourism, becoming one of the top-visited cities in the world. With that said, Antalya offers a theme park, the Land of Legends in Belek, about a 35-minute drive from city center.
Land of Legends acts like a mini city within itself and contains many resorts, water parks, and shopping venues. Much of the theme park is focused on the family-friendly experience, including dolphin exhibits and marine mammals shows. The park also highlights the shark, tiger, and Humboldt penguin exhibits. The water park features rides like the Wave Pool, Voyager, and Rafting the Rapids. Many brand-name stores line the shopping avenue along with restaurants and coffee shops.
The hotels are unique in décor and design, featuring a deluxe experience for the whole family. Each room includes a balcony, working desk, minibar, safety deposit box, air conditioning, carpeted floor, tea and coffee facilities, walk-in rainfall shower, and high-speed Wi-Fi.
Evening performances such as daring acrobats and contemporary artists perform live on stage. To mark the end of the day, the canal boat parade decorated with lights and music provides a closing ceremony every evening around 11:00 p.m. You will need to rent a car, or you can ride the bus (it will take you about 2 hours by bus.)
With so many fun activities, sightseeing, shopping, and breathtaking scenery, it is understandable why Antalya received over 3 million tourists. Within the first four months of 2022, Antalya has already seen a spike in the foreign tourist that has exceeded their expected numbers.
I encourage you to visit Antalya as I am sure you will find lots to do on your vacation.
Enjoy your travels! Please read my blogs about other exciting places around the world at Traveling Lens Photography.