Everyone can find something to do in Antalya. Aspendos and Antalya’s maze-like core old town are among the greatest sites to visit if you want to get your sightseeing fix, and the city is ideally situated to serve as your base for day trips around the historic tourist monuments dispersed throughout the adjacent hills. In this post we will cover the best things to do in Antalya which you can include in your itinerary for Antalya.
But for many guests, history is barely mentioned. In contrast, Antalya is all about the beaches that border the shore and taking boat tours to see the views of the Mediterranean coastline. Summer in Turkey is a popular time to visit Antalya and many flock to the city to enjoy the sun and sand.
If you are looking to explore more of Turkey, consider adding a visit to Cappadocia to your itinerary. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country and offers a range of unique and exciting things to do.
In addition to exploring Antalya’s rich history and scenic views, it’s also important to be aware of cultural customs and practices, such as tipping. In Turkey, it is a common practice to tip in various service industries such as restaurants, hotels, and taxi services.
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Best Things to do in Antalya Turkey
Explore Antalya’s Old Town
The confusing Kaleiçi district was designed for wandering. The cobblestone lanes are lined with immaculately preserved whitewashed and red-roofed Ottoman houses that are now home to numerous boutique hotels, gift stores, art galleries, and restaurants.
There are several minor tourist attractions for those who want to sightsee, even if it’s more of a spot to just take in the old-world atmosphere.
The 18th-century Tekeli Mehmet Paşa Mosque is worth a look merely for its elaborate interior tile work, and the main square features a fortress gate and a clock tower covered in stone.
You’ll locate the graceful Kesik Minare along Hesapçi Sokak (truncated minaret). This is all that’s left of a structure that was once a Roman temple, a Byzantine church, and then a mosque before it was completely destroyed by fire in the 19th century.
Head onto the Mediterranean from the Old Harbor
Antalya’s historic harbour, located in the northwest corner of the old town, is a lovely cluster of cafés and restaurants with views of gently bobbing yachts getting ready to sail off into the Mediterranean.
It’s hard to think that this area was once Antalya’s primary economic centre given its calm, pleasure-boat vibe, but from the second century until the middle of the 20th century, this served as the city’s principal port, bringing trade and prosperity to the area.
These days, visitors come here to enjoy the seaside sunsets while sipping coffee or to board an excursion boat for a day trip that focuses on sunbathing, admiring the lush coastline scenery, and swimming in the Mediterranean.
Relax on Konyaalti Beach
One of Antalya’s two premier beaches, Konyaalti Beach is located west of the town’s centre and has a gorgeous backdrop of mountains that descend to the sea beyond.
This strip, which is more pebbly than sandy, is quite popular in the summer with both domestic and international tourists, and the abundance of facilities available makes lazy beach days uncomplicated
Rentable sun loungers with umbrellas are available, along with clean restrooms and showers. The palm tree lined promenade behind the beach is dotted with snack bars, cafés, and restaurants in case you become hungry.
Day Trip to Aspendos
History buffs primarily travel to Antalya to take a day excursion to Aspendos, which is located approximately 47 kilometres to the east.
One of Turkey’s biggest tourist destinations, this ancient site is home to a Roman theatre that is reputed to be the best preserved in the entire world.
The 2nd and 3rd centuries, when the majority of the ruins that can be seen today were constructed, were the heyday of this magnificent, historic town.
A large portion of the rest of the site is still in ruins and is likely only fascinating to the most ardent tourists, with the exception of the theatre, which has been completely restored and has a capacity of 15,000 people.
Sunbathe & Swim at Lara Beach
Lara Beach, to the south of Antalya’s city centre, is well-known for its fine, white sand, good family-friendly amenities, and a variety of sports, including stand-up paddleboard and jet-ski rentals for those who want to get out on the water.
For those who only want to relax in the sun, renting sun loungers and umbrellas is a simple option.
Lara Beach is the main draw for travellers coming to Antalya for a vacation that’s all about the sun, sea, and sand because so many of the city’s beach resort hotels are situated here.
Scramble around the Ruins of Termessos
Although Aspendos may enjoy greater tourism fame, Termessos, located 34 kilometres northwest of Antalya, easily outshines it in terms of mood.
The warlike Pisidians, who stubbornly defended their independence from the mountain eyrie of Termessos, were uncontrollable by either the Greeks or the Romans.
This ancient city’s well-preserved ruins are dispersed around a rocky mountainside with breathtaking views of the surroundings.
Visit the Antalya Museum
Don’t miss this amazing museum if you have even the slightest interest in the history of this section of Turkey’s coast during the Classical era.
The eye-catching displays here feature the best discoveries from all the important excavation sites in the nearby region. Even more, the collection is presented superbly, making it simple to comprehend the rich (and sometimes complex) history of this part of the coast.
The extensive archaeological area features exhibits from the Bronze Age to Byzantium, but it is best recognised for its displays of exquisite statues made in ancient cities like Perge, Xanthos, and Patara during the Hellenistic and Roman eras.
Admire the Yivli Minare
The Yivli Minare (fluted minaret), one of Antalya’s most recognisable structures and one of the many historical sites in the old town neighbourhood, was constructed by the Seljuk ruler Alaeddin Keykubad (1219-36).
The minaret, which has an octagonal drum carrying the fluted shaft and a gallery with corbels around the top, is a typical and remarkably well-preserved example of Seljuk architecture. Its square base is topped by this drum.
The adjacent mosque, built in the 14th century, is still in use today. The Kale entrance gate to the old city is located next to the minaret.
Stroll through Hadrian’s Gate
Hadrian’s Gate, which is the major entryway into the eastern part of Antalya’s old town district and is known in Turkish as Uçkaplar, provides the district’s most spectacular entrance.
On the eastern side of the old town area, significant parts of the Hellenistic and Roman town walls have been able to be preserved in fragmentary form, but Hadrian’s Gate is the most remarkable of these sections.
Take in the Views from the Roman Fortress
This diminutive, 14-meter-tall cylindrical tower, which is located on the outskirts of Karaaliolu Park, was constructed in the second century to keep watch over Antalya’s ancient harbour.
Its primary purpose is unclear, but most people assume that it served as a watchtower or lighthouse over the busy harbour below.
Now, it’s a great place to catch the sunset or enjoy a wide-angle perspective of the ancient harbour area.
The park itself is a great place for a picnic and a peaceful, flower-filled retreat from the busy downtown streets.
White Water Raft in Köprülü Canyon National Park
One of the favourite day-trip locations for visitors to the city is the Köprülü Canyon National Park, 90 kilometres northeast of Antalya, for water enthusiasts and anyone seeking an adrenaline rush.
One of Turkey’s most well-liked white water rafting locations is the Köprülü River, whose greenish-blue water snakes through towering, jagged rocks.
The majority of visitors travel here from Antalya for a half-day rafting excursion, but if you want to explore more, the national park also offers a tonne of hiking options and a scattering of historic city ruins to see.
Explore the Vast Ancient City of Perge
The enormous colonnaded agora, half-destroyed temples, and large stadium of Perge all exude an aura of former splendour.
Ancient Pamphylia, which flourished first under Greek and then Roman domination, originally had this as its capital.
The ruins here, which are located about 17 kilometres east of Antalya, are not as well-known as some of the other sites along Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, and as a result, fewer people visit them. This allows visitors to peacefully explore the long colonnaded streets and partially collapsed temples.
Particularly fascinating locations include the Roman Baths, Hellenistic Gate, and the Acropolis region with its expansive vistas of the entire site.
The tram network in Antalya has been extended all the way to Aksu, from whence visitors can walk the final two kilometres to the site’s main gate, making this the most accessible ancient city site for independent travellers from Antalya
Visit Olympos and the Chimaera
About 84 kilometres southwest of Antalya, on a gorgeous stretch of coastline close to the overgrown ruins of the ancient Lycian city of Olympos, are the nearly identical towns of Olympos and irali.
The chimaera, a naturally occuring eternal flame that flickers out of the rocky cliff above, is this location’s most well-known feature in addition to the ruins.
While Irali is more laid-back and focused on relaxing on the beach, Olympos is well-liked among young travellers and is known for being rowdy at night.
Day Trip to a Lesser Seen Ancient Site at Phaselis
Alexander the Great established his winter quarters in 334 BCE at the ancient Lycian harbour of Phaselis, which is located about 60 kilometres southwest of Antalya.
Explore the ruins of the old city’s Hadrian’s Arch gate, which was built in CE 114, as well as an aqueduct, temples, and colonnaded roadway.
The modest museum on-site showcases discovered artefacts, and the ruins’ beachfront location is particularly attractive.
Visit the Antalya Region’s Karst Springs
Karst springs, sinkholes, and waterfalls can be found abundantly in the limestone terrain surrounding Antalya.
Similar to the process that produced Turkey’s renowned Pamukkale terraces, the lime deposits from these springs have accumulated over a period of 1.5 to two million years to form massive travertine terraces.
There are springs and sinkholes to view near Krkgöz and Pnarbas (shortly to the northwest of Antalya), but the Upper Düden waterfalls are the most well-known karst feature in the vicinity.
Things to do in Antalya with Kids
Visit the Antalya Aquarium
Antalya Aquarium is a must-visit destination for families with kids. It is one of the largest aquariums in Turkey and features a wide range of marine life from around the world. The facility is designed to be both educational and interactive, making it a great experience for kids and adults alike.
Visitors can explore over 50 different themed aquariums and witness a diverse array of sea creatures, including sharks, rays, and colorful tropical fish.
The aquarium also features several interactive exhibits, such as a touch tank where visitors can pet some of the animals, and a special tunnel that allows visitors to walk through a large tank filled with exotic fish and sea turtles.
In addition to the aquariums, Antalya Aquarium also offers a range of fun and educational activities for kids, including hands-on workshops and educational shows. The facility is conveniently located in the city center and is easily accessible by public transportation.
A visit to Antalya Aquarium is a great way to spend a few hours and is sure to be a highlight of any family’s trip to Antalya.
Visit the Land of Legends
The Land of Legends is a world-class theme park located near Antalya, Turkey. This large-scale attraction is designed for families with kids and offers a wide range of exciting rides and activities for visitors of all ages.
The park features several themed areas, each with its own unique attractions, such as roller coasters, water rides, and interactive shows. The park is also home to several large-scale water attractions, including several pools and several large water slides.
In addition to the rides, The Land of Legends also features a range of dining and shopping options, making it a great destination for a full day of fun and adventure. The park is conveniently located near Antalya and is easily accessible by car or public transportation.
For families with kids, a visit to The Land of Legends is a must-do activity while in Antalya. With its wide range of thrilling attractions and family-friendly atmosphere, it is sure to be a highlight of any trip to the area.
Visit Sealanya Dolphinpark Seapark
Sealanya Dolphinpark Seapark is a unique and exciting destination located near Antalya, Turkey. This world-class theme park is dedicated to marine life and offers visitors the chance to interact with dolphins and other sea creatures in a safe and controlled environment.
Visitors to Sealanya can participate in a range of interactive experiences, such as swimming with dolphins, snorkeling with exotic fish, and watching trained dolphins perform in shows. The park also features several aquariums and touch tanks, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with a variety of sea creatures.
In addition to the marine life, Sealanya also offers a range of other attractions and activities, such as water slides, a wave pool, and a variety of restaurants and shops. The park is conveniently located near Antalya and is easily accessible by car or public transportation.
For families with kids, a visit to Sealanya Dolphinpark Seapark is a must-do activity while in Antalya. With its wide range of marine-themed attractions and interactive experiences, it is sure to be a highlight of any trip to the area.
Things to do in Antalya for Free
There is a wide variety of free things to do and see in Antalya. Here are some of Antalya’s free attractions:
Those are but a few of the many free activities available in Antalya. Antalya has something to offer everyone, whether they are interested in history, wildlife, or just taking in the local environment.
Where to stay in Antalya Turkey?
Antalya has a variety of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. Some popular areas to consider staying in include:
- Old Town (Kaleici): This historic district is surrounded by ancient city walls and offers a unique experience with its traditional Ottoman houses and narrow streets.
- Lara Beach: This area is known for its long sandy beach and upscale resorts, making it a popular choice for families and those seeking a luxurious vacation.
- Konyaalti Beach: This area is a more budget-friendly option for those seeking a beach holiday, with a mix of small hotels and apartments available.
- Olympos: This is a remote area located in the mountains, offering a more secluded and peaceful experience for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
When choosing where to stay in Antalya, consider your budget, preferred activities, and travel style. Many travelers also find it convenient to book their accommodations through online travel agencies, such as Booking.com, Hotels.com, or Airbnb.
Frequently Asked Question
What is Antalya best known for?
Antalya is best known for its stunning beaches, rich history, and ancient monuments, such as the well-preserved Roman theater of Aspendos and the maze-like old town of Kaleici.
Is Antalya Turkey worth visiting?
Yes, Antalya is worth visiting. With its stunning beaches, rich history, and scenic boat tours, it’s a top tourist destination in Turkey.
Is 3 days enough for Antalya?
Three days in Antalya may not be enough to fully experience everything the city has to offer, but it is possible to see its most popular attractions, including its stunning beaches, historical landmarks, and scenic boat tours. Consider extending your stay to have a more relaxed and comprehensive experience.
What should I be careful of in Antalya?
When visiting Antalya, it is important to take necessary precautions for a safe and enjoyable trip. This includes being aware of pickpocketing and scams in tourist areas, being careful when swimming in the sea, and ensuring you follow local laws and customs. It’s also recommended to purchase travel insurance before your trip and to take steps to protect yourself from the sun, especially during the summer months.
In conclusion, Antalya is a city rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, offering something for everyone. From visiting historic monuments and exploring the old town, to enjoying the beaches and taking boat tours, Antalya is a must-visit destination in Turkey.
Summer is a popular time to visit Antalya, but the city’s warm climate and beautiful scenery make it a desirable destination year-round. When planning your trip, be sure to consider where to stay in Antalya and add a visit to the popular tourist destination, Cappadocia, to your itinerary. With so much to see and do, Antalya is sure to provide you with an unforgettable experience.
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