Antalya holidays

Experience Antalya

Experience [destination]

Best Places to Visit

The old quarter of Antalya is called Kaleici, and the old city walls can still be seen here, along with their ornate stone gateways. Hadrian's Gate is one of these, and is often said to be the best way to enter the old town, avoiding the more touristy northern section and instead leading you directly into the picturesque and more peaceful winding streets of the Kilincarslan district. Look out for sections of the walls and ruined gates, along with minaret towers in both ruined and still-standing forms. Explorers will enjoy the labyrinthine ancient pathways that seem to shut out the noise of the rest of the city, as well as the passing of the years.

Antalya Zoo and Nature Park is located to the north of the city and covers some 400 acres of land. It's easily accessible using public transport and is the last stop on the tram line, so there should be little risk of missing your moment to get off. An ideal venue for a family day out, its 800 animals include bears, cheetahs, camels, zebras, peacocks and pelicans, along with other birdlife ranging from African ostriches to raptors - not dinosaurs, of course, but birds of prey.

Just a slightly longer distance from the city, you can find several caves and caverns of interest including Beldibi Cave, some 40km from the Antalya-Kemer highway. It's located just past the Camdag tunnel and is open to the public, including locals and international visitors alike. Although the cave itself has been damaged by extreme weather conditions in recent history, it is still a valuable archaeological site, with artefacts discovered dating back to the Mesolithic Era. For further proof that the region was inhabited so long ago, you need only look at the cave's walls, where sketches of deer, mountain goats and human figures can be spotted.

Not quite so far away is the ancient city of Myra, about 140km from Antalya - an interesting historical site to spend a day exploring. Be sure to visit the Roman theatre, dating from the second century and believed to have been used during the reign of Marcus Aurelius for fights between beasts and between men; the iconic gladiator battles. Visit in June and you may get a spine-tingling opportunity to sit in the original intact seats for an operatic performance, as part of the local music festival.

Top Landmarks

The Clock Tower in the old town of Kaleici is one landmark worthy of its own mention, as it stands out even in the picturesque streets of the ancient part of the city. Originally, this part of Antalya would have been flanked by two defensive walls, one protecting it from shoreward attack and one fortifying it against landward incursions. At the entrances to the city—the gateways formed between the adjacent ends of these two ramparts—a pair of towers were constructed, and Antalya's Clock Tower remains standing to this day, accompanied by an equally spectacular minaret that pierces the blue sky on a sunny day.

In Republic Square, you can see the Yivli Minaret, one of the many religious structures in the city which have varying degrees of historical and present-day significance. In this case, the minaret was once located within the castle of Antalya and was accompanied by a mosque and a pair of vaulted tombs. It is uncertain if the minaret was officially part of the mosque, or if it was built separately as a watchtower. Its distinctive flute shape contains 90 steps and its tiling shines a bright turquoise when the sun is at its strongest. Visit on a cloudy day and the same surface is likely to appear a deeper shade of blue. Inside the nearby Yivli Minare Mosque you can find the Antalya Ethnographic Museum, dedicated to exhibiting examples of Turkish culture, both past and present.

Entertainment

You will be spoilt for choice on a package holiday to Antalya. Its rich tapestry of entertainment includes everything from education to relaxation. Antalya National Museum of Archaeology is a good starting point if you want to learn more about the area you’re visiting. The museum can be found in the city itself, around 4km to the west of the centre, on the road from Konyaalti Beach. Some of its exhibits are among the oldest public viewing in the world, dating back to the Mesolithic and Paleolithic periods. There are also artefacts from the second century AD, which was an important time in the area due to the Romans who lived there. You can see second century Roman replicas of even earlier Greek statues, as well as original Roman effigies including busts of Trajan and Hadrian.

If you want a slightly more up-to-date and energetic form of entertainment, wait until the sparkling city comes truly alive after dark, then head out to a local bar or get a taste of familiar surroundings in an Irish themed pub. Some venues operate a dress code, particularly in terms of modest attire for women, but you can steer clear of these if that's a problem. In many establishments casual dress is perfectly acceptable; but remember, there is also a local custom to dress up on evenings out, and you may want to adhere to this to help you and your group get into the true party spirit.

Dining Out

All-inclusive package holidays are widely available in Antalya and can offer great value for money meals at your hotel. However, if you want to try something a bit different why not dine out for one of your meals. Whilst you might usually think of dining out for just your evening meal, it's worth getting a Turkish breakfast on at least one of your days in Antalya. This characteristically Mediterranean meal includes a diverse selection of ingredients, including honey and jam, cheese, bread, olives, eggs, salami and salad vegetables, and of course you are free to pick and choose from amongst these to suit your personal tastes. These are usually served with strong Turkish tea, and together this should be enough to wake you up, fill you up, and give you a healthy supply of energy for whatever activities you have planned for your day.

In terms of evening meals, Antalya combines the Mediterranean diet with Arabic influences too. Kulakli is a soup containing finely diced meat and chickpeas, Tahinli Piyaz is a sesame seasoned dried bean salad, and Kabak Tatlisi is a pumpkin-based dessert, which is often sweetened with some of the jam for which Antalya is renowned. Whatever you choose as your main dish, it is worth trying several appetisers too, as these snacks are often some of the most flavoursome and enjoyable dishes served, and contrast well with the heavier meat-based mains that follow.

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Need to know

Need to know [destination]

Language

English is reasonably well spoken throughout Turkey, but especially in the more popular tourist destinations, including Antalya. This includes items like restaurant menus, for example, and the other essentials that will make your trip more comfortable - and can present a major obstacle if they are not in English. The local language is of course Turkish, but generally you will be able to get by quite well without speaking a word of it.

Currency

Cash in Turkey comes in the form of Turkish Lira, from 100 TL notes down to 10 kuru coins. Like the old UK system before the £2 coin was in common circulation, Turkish coins cover everything up to 1 TL, with notes starting from 5 TL. Major credit and debit cards are widely accepted, but you might get more for your money by using them to withdraw cash from an ATM, and avoid individual transaction fees. English banknotes can be exchanged easily for Turkish lira, but Scottish notes are not accepted, so don't take them with you.

Visas

Entry into Turkey for anywhere up to three months is very easy - you do need a visa, but it's available for a fixed fee of around £10 at the airport on arrival. Join the queue for the visa booth before you go through passport control - generally speaking if you follow everybody else, you'll find yourself there anyway. Don't forget you'll need your passport too, and it's always worth checking the expiration date covers not only your outward journey, but also your return to the UK, plus a few days' contingency in case of severe delays.

Climate

A hot and humid summer climate means you should consider packing more lightweight natural fibres, which will generally allow air to circulate more easily around your body and moisture to evaporate away, carrying heat with it. On the other hand, the winters are cold and may drop below freezing, so if you are going to be in Antalya in the run-up to Christmas or early New Year, pack plenty of warm insulating layers.

Main Airports

As a larger city, Antalya is served by its own airport; however, as is often the case, that still means a medium-distance transfer on arrival.

Flight Options

Antalya Airport is some 10km outside of the city itself, and is served both by international carriers and by domestic routes, with frequent connecting flights to Istanbul. This makes it a perfect option if you want to plan a tour that takes in both destinations, rather than a simple trip to one city and straight back home again. You are likely to need to fly back out one way or the other, as the nearest railway station is in Burdur, 120km away, and rail services even to here may not be operating.

Travel Advice

It's worth familiarising yourself with the etiquette of travelling by dolmus, if you intend to do so. These are minibus-sized vehicles that are like a middle ground option between a bus and a taxi. They follow a predefined route, with specific stopping points where you can flag them down and get aboard. Just like a bus, you may see them filled to capacity, and if you are aboard when an elderly person joins, it is polite to offer your seat to them. You may also see an empty dolmus driving a little more slowly than usual in the hope of picking up its first passenger, although there is officially a timetable and schedule that they try to stick to.

Other Transport Options

While flying is by far the simplest way to reach Antalya, the city can also be reached overland and by sea. The Turkish bus system is incredibly comprehensive, easier to navigate than Turkey’s railways and can get travellers almost anywhere. Another way to take in the scenic route is by boat, with many travellers crossing the ocean from Rhodes to Marmaris, before hopping on a bus to Antalya.

Getting Around

There are many different ways to travel in and out of Antayla, be it by bus, car or trams within the city. For a uniquely Turkish travel experience, tourists can flag down a dolmus, one of the minicab-sized communal buses that make laps along predefined routes around Antalya. These are midway between a taxi and a bus, and people can hop on and off at stops, just like a bus. Take your seat and pass your fare to the front - your change should be handed back to you down the rows of seats, under the traditional way of paying.

Bus

The local bus network is very well organised - rather than having meaningless route numbers, the various bus journeys available have a letter prefix, using a selection of ten characters from A to V. These correspond with specific destinations so, for example, if you want to get to Lara Beach, you need to catch a bus whose route number begins with an L. To travel to Varsak it's a V, and to Aksu, a town located nearby to the east, the route number will have an A prefix. Unusually in such a system, buses may show both their departure point and their final destination - so a bus marked AF leaves from Aksu and arrives eventually into Tip Fakultesi.

Train

The nearest train station to Antalya is Burdur, 122km North. However, there is not a direct route via train to cities such as Istanbul, a combination of bus and train travel is a more likely combination.

MAP

ANTALYA`S WEATHER TODAY

Mostly cloudy °C

AVERAGE TEMPERATURE (°C)

  • 15

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  • 15

    F

  • 18

    M

  • 21

    A

  • 25

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  • 30

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  • 34

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  • 33

    A

  • 31

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  • 26

    O

  • 20

    N

  • 16

    D

MONTHS

AVERAGE RAINFALL (mm)

  • 192

    J

  • 138

    F

  • 99

    M

  • 45

    A

  • 26

    M

  • 9

    J

  • 3

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  • 4

    A

  • 10

    S

  • 73

    O

  • 131

    N

  • 180

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MONTHS

FACTS

  1. Antalya is the largest city on the Mediterranean coastline of Turkey, and is often referred to as being part of the Turkish Riviera, a string of high-profile destinations for tourists in the country.
  2. With high temperatures easily reaching into the low to mid-30s from late May through to September, many people prefer to visit on the edge of this period, and trips during April are popular with some travellers.
  3. Throughout the springtime, the temperature is generally a more comfortable mid-20s, and this is also the case in October and November, remaining in the teens even through the winter months.

FACTS

  1. Antalya is the largest city on the Mediterranean coastline of Turkey, and is often referred to as being part of the Turkish Riviera, a string of high-profile destinations for tourists in the country.
  2. With high temperatures easily reaching into the low to mid-30s from late May through to September, many people prefer to visit on the edge of this period, and trips during April are popular with some travellers.
  3. Throughout the springtime, the temperature is generally a more comfortable mid-20s, and this is also the case in October and November, remaining in the teens even through the winter months.

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