Antalya is widely popular among travelers and holidaymakers from all around the world because it’s one of the best cities to travel to in Turkey. The city offers its residents and visitors the perfect environmental conditions to live in.
Antalya is located in the southwestern parts of Turkey; right in between the Mediterranean Sea and the mighty Taurus Mountains. Its geographical positioning enables Antalya to have a unique and stunning landscape and warm and sunny weather throughout the year.
In addition to being one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey, Antalya also draws attention with its colorful, lively, and comfortable lifestyle. As one of the largest cities in Turkey, Antalya is a developed and modern city by all means. It hosts countless cultural, social, and sports events throughout the year and welcomes famous actors, singers, artists, and alike.
Is Antalya Worth Visiting?
If you’re coming to Turkey for the first time, you probably have heard of İstanbul and Ankara before you heard of Antalya. So you might ask “Is Antalya worth visiting?”. The answer is yes. Antalya is also one of the first cities in Turkey to visit on your holidays.
In fact, Antalya is considered the tourism capital of Turkey. Many people make changes in their holiday plans after they arrive in Turkey and empty out enough time in their schedule to travel to Antalya as well. Antalya is visited by millions of tourists each year and this number is constantly on the rise. As of 2022, the number of tourists visiting Antalya in a year has exceeded 13 million.
A considerably high percentage of foreigners visiting Antalya return to their home countries with the desire to come back to Antalya once again because there are so many places left to see. For this reason, there are many foreigners who purchase an apartment or villa in Antalya as a holiday home or second residence. As a result of its popularity as a holiday destination, sales of properties in Antalya are ever-increasing.
Best Tourist Places to Visit in Antalya
Since you’ve read this far, you’re probably asking “Which Places Should I Visit in Antalya?”. As we’ve mentioned above, there are many places to visit in Antalya. A considerably high amount of places to visit in Turkey are in Antalya.
We could list more than 100 places if we were to count only must-see places. The coastline of Antalya stretches about 640 km along the Mediterranean Sea. Backed by the mighty Taurus Mountains, the city covers a vast area of 20,874 sqm.
The province of Antalya consists of 5 metropolitan districts and 14 peripheral districts. Although some cities like Alanya and Kaş are more famous as the best cities to visit in Antalya, you can find unique and mesmerizing places in almost all districts and towns in Antalya. Antalya’s unique geography and rich historical background make it one of the top cities in Turkey to visit.
Since there are so many places to see, it would be impossible to visit all in just a few days’ trip. We broke down the best places to visit in Antalya into 4 main categories. If you have limited time to visit Antalya this time, you can choose to visit the places in one category and continue the rest when you come back!
The Coasts of Antalya: Perfect Choice for a Beach Holiday
As we stated in the above section, Antalya has a 640 km long coastline along the Mediterranean Sea and is one of the best beach cities in Turkey. The coasts of Antalya consist of rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and coves. The Taurus Mountains are lined right behind the city, creating a unique and hard-to-forget scenery. Some of the must-visit places on the coasts of Antalya are as follows;
• Lara Beach: This beach is located in the eastern parts of Muratpaşa district and is one of the most popular beaches in the center of Antalya. The kilometers-long beach features fine sand dunes backed by pine groves, camping grounds, and chill-out areas. It is perfect for family vacations.
• Konyaaltı Beach: Konyaaltı beach is the coast of the district of the same name. Located right in the middle of the city center, this pebble beach is backed by numerous cafes, restaurants, pubs, and chill-out areas. The lively promenade of Konyaaltı is not only perfect for swimming but also for socializing and having quality time with your loved ones as well.
• Mermerli Beach: This is a very small beach right below Kaleiçi (Old Town) in the Muratpaşa district. Its central location makes it perfect for everyday swimmers. It’s also widely preferred by tourists who strolled around Kaleiçi, the historic center of the city.
• Cleopatra Beach: This 2 km long beach is located in the famous Alanya district. It is famous for its fine sand and shallow crystal clear waters. Cleopatra Beach is the most popular beach in Alanya and is packed during summer.
• Phaselis Beach: This beach is located in the Tekirova town of the Kemer district. The beach takes its name after the ancient Roman city in the area. It’s famous for its fine sand and shallow turquoise waters. The beach is backed by pine forests, remnants of the ancient city, and mountains; a perfect representation of Antalya.
• Adrasan Beach: This natural port located in the Kumluca district of Antalya is perfect for a peaceful beach holiday. The fine sandy beach is backed is surrounded by maquis shrubs and mountains. The coves of Adrasan are among the top drop-by points of boats and yachts on the Turkish Riviera.
• Olympos Beach: This beach is located on the outskirts of the Kumluca district. Olympos, or Olympus, was a port city in ancient Lycia. The beach is surrounded by a beautiful forest, ruins of the ancient city, and mountains. The facilities and accommodation places around the beach also blend in perfectly with their wooden structure.
• Patara Beach: This beach located in the Kaş district of Antalya is the longest (15 km) and the broadest (800 m) beach in Turkey. The beach is known for its fine golden sand and sand dunes. It’s backed by maquis shrubs, mountains, and the remnants of the ancient Lycian city of Patara. The beach is also one of the nesting areas of Caretta Caretta sea turtles and is under protection.
• Kaputaş Beach: It’s a small beach located in the Kaş district of Antalya. This pristine beach draws attention with its fine sands, crystal clear turquoise waters, and unspoiled nature. It offers a peaceful experience.
Discover the Unique Beauty of the Mediterranean
Mediterranean Region is the vast geographical area surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It spans multiple countries. As a result of their geographical location and climate conditions, these areas have very unique natural features. Regardless of the country, the areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea have attracted immense attention from everyone with their unique landscapes and enviable climates.
Located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, Antalya is no exception either. With its marvelous nature, Antalya is one of the best cities in Turkey in the summer to spend your vacation in. Here are some of the natural wonders you must see in Antalya;
• Düden Waterfalls: This stunning waterfall is only one of the mesmerizing waterfalls in Antalya. The Düden Stream flows from underground in some parts and emerges back onto the surface in some parts and creates waterfalls in several places.
The first part of this group of waterfalls is located in the Kepez district. It’s surrounded by a beautiful park and numerous facilities including restaurants and shops. The second part is located in the famous Lara neighborhood in the Muratpaşa district, where the stream meets with the Mediterranean Sea.
• Yanartaş National Park (Mount Chimaera): This park is located in the Kemer district, near the famous Olympos National Park. The site features dozens of small fires. These fires burn unstopping due to the gas flowing from the vents in the rocks on the mountain.
The mountain takes its name after Iliad by Homer. The legend tells that the source of the fire is the fire-breathing creature Chimera living under the mountain.
• Sapadere Canyon: This canyon is located in the Alanya district of Antalya. This mesmerizing canyon has a stunningly green nature and features steep cliffs and pristine waters flowing through a waterfall. It’s perfect for hiking with your family.
• Köprülü Canyon: Köprülü Canyon is a canyon and a national park in the Manavgat district of Antalya. The Köprü River has a 400 m depth and stretches about 14 km. The park featuring an evergreen forest, steep cliffs, and a voluminous river is perfect for jeep safaris and rafting.
• Damlataş Cave: This cave is one of the must-see places in the Alanya district. The 100 – 200 sqm cave features countless stalactites and stalagmites; creating a striking view. The cave is also known as the “asthma cure cave” due to its air quality and is popular among people with respiratory complaints.
• Olympos Bey Mountains Shore National Park: The borders of this national park start from the Sarısu neighborhood in the Konyaaltı district and spans across Kemer and Kumluca shorelines. The area features limestones, serpentine rocks, and a vast array of plants of around 1000 species including pines and cedars along the coastline. The ancient port cities of Lycia are also on the borders of this park.
• Altınbeşik Cave National Park: This national park is located in the İbradı district of Antalya. The captivating cave features the largest underground lake in Turkey. The lake spans approximately 2200 meters. The cave is closed to visitors during winter and spring due to the rise of the water level.
Peek at the History of Great Civilizations
As we’ve mentioned in the above section, this area has attracted attention throughout history. For this reason, Antalya is one of the oldest cities in the world and Turkey. Many different civilizations have flourished in the region including the Lycians, Greeks, Romans, and Ottoman Empire.
A formidable number of ancient cities in Turkey are now on the borders of Antalya. Millions of people from all around the world come to Antalya to see these archaeological sites and ancient ruins. Here are some of the must-see ones;
• Kaleiçi (Old Town): Kaleiçi is the old city center of Antalya. It’s still considered the center of the Muratpaşa district and Antalya province. The famous Kaleiçi features the remnants of the ancient castle, city walls, Hadrianus Gate, historical marina, several ancient towers, and numerous traditional houses.
The traditional houses are now being used as cafes, restaurants, pubs, shops, and even a museum. It’s the first place you should visit in the center of Antalya.
• Olympos Ancient City: The remnants of this ancient Lycian port city is on the borders of the Kemer district of Antalya, in the Olympos Bey Mountains National Park. The excavated ruins of the theatres, bathhouses, and necropolis shed a light on the history of the region.
• Perge Ancient City: Perge Ancient City is one of the ancient cities located in the center of modern Antalya. The stunning ancient Greek city is one of the most well-preserved ancient cities in Antalya. It’s also much more accessible from the city center. The ancient city located in the Aksu district is only 18 km from Kaleiçi.
• Alanya Castle: This medieval castle is one of the symbols of Alanya. The large castle features 83 towers and 140 bastions to help to keep the city safe from attacks coming from the sea. Today, the castle presents amazing views over the city and the shining Mediterranean Sea.
• Phaselis Ancient City: It’s one of the ancient Greek port cities located on the Lycian Way. Today, the ruins of the ancient city, the surrounding evergreen forest, and the pristine beaches in Phaselis attract thousands of visitors every year.
• Side Ancient City: This ancient city is located in the Manavgat district of Antalya. The history of the city dates back to the 7th century BC under the rules of Lycians, Persians, Romans, Seljuks, and Ottomans. Today, the remnants of an amphitheater, monumental fountain, and temples stand tall across the Mediterranean Sea.
• St. Nicholas Church and Myra Ancient City: This ancient city is located in the Demre district of Antalya and is approximately 140 km from the center of the Antalya province. The ruins of this ancient city are only 2 km from the center of Demre.
One important aspect of this city is that Saint Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus, served as a bishop in the ancient city of Myra. The church he served as a bishop is now known as St. Nicholas Church. It’s located in the center of Demre and is visited by many for pilgrimage.
• Xanthos Ancient City: Xanthos Ancient City is one of the world’s oldest cities. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in the Kaş district of Antalya. It was one of the capital cities of the Lycian Union along with Patara. Some artifacts found with excavations in Xanthos are today being exhibited in the British Museum.
Enjoy the Colorful Lifestyle With Your Family and Friends
Antalya is also one of the best cities in Turkey for families as well as individuals thanks to its developed infrastructure, buoyant economy, lively social life, and colorful lifestyle. Antalya offers all kinds of services and amenities for a comfortable life and there is something for everyone of all ages.
First of all, Antalya is one of the largest cities in Turkey in terms of economy. The metropolitan city has a developed infrastructure and a buoyant market, which makes living in Antalya much more comfortable. You can find everything you need in your daily life within a few steps from your door: supermarkets, stores, banks, schools, hospitals, pharmacies, and more.
Secondly, Antalya’s unique geography and enviable climate have made it one of the top places for outdoor activities and sports. While it’s possible to enjoy all kinds of water sports on the coasts and rivers of Antalya, it’s also possible to enjoy winter sports in the Taurus Mountains in Antalya.
Yachting, scuba diving, jet skiing, parasailing, rafting, and skiing are some of the popular water and winter sports in Antalya. However, Antalya is not all about water or winter sports. It’s also quite popular for golf sport as well.
Some of the best golf courses in Turkey are located in Belek town of Antalya. These courses hold international tournaments every year.
Thirdly, Antalya is one of the most popular tourist cities in Turkey. This popularity has further helped Antalya to become one of the major cultural centers of Turkey. Today, Antalya hosts countless events including exhibitions, contests, theatre, cinema, dance festivals, concerts, and many more.
Antalya Museum, Antalya Aquarium, Aktur Theme Park, Konyaaltı Open Air Theatre, The Land of Legends Theme Park, Toy Museum, Sandland, Saklıkent Ski Center, Olympos Cable Car, and Tünektepe Cable Car are only some of the places you should visit to experience the colorful lifestyle in Antalya.
In other words, it’s simply not possible for someone to get bored while living in this beautiful city. All these aspects of Antalya make it one of the most visited cities in Turkey.