Being one of the most visited Turkish cities for years; this place is so magnificent and attractive to tourists just because it is in the middle of the great beaches, has luxury hotels that offer you everything you want, and due to the many historical landmarks. You definitely need to have this city in your “places to visit list” when planning your next trip. Antalya is the capital of its eponymous province, the eighth most populous city in the country (with over 1,000,000 residents in its metropolitan area) and the largest Turkish coastal town on the Mediterranean coast.
The city is located on a cliff in the southern part of the Anatolian peninsula, and its name means shining star of the Mediterranean Sea. In the hinterland of Antalya are Taurus Mountains, all covered with beautiful old pine forests.
Antalya is a city with over 300 sunny days a year and historical sites, modern buildings, rich nightlife and beautiful nature, makes it an ideal tourist destination. So, if you have not visited Antalya so far, we recommend you to do it as soon as possible, especially during the summer period. And, now, let’s go on reading to find out more about this coastal city and what enjoyments it provides.
A brief overview of the city
The town consists of two centers:
– Modern part – with attractive boulevards, numerous shopping centers, rich night life, promenade under palm trees;
– And the old town Kaleici (built around the old port) – with unique narrow cobbled streets and old wooden houses bordered by the city walls.
This picturesque town is surrounded by forests, mountains, Mediterranean Sea and the many ancient ruins. Also, it is a town in which are mixed history and culture. Many consider Antalya as the capital of Turkish tourism, which represents a very tempting coastal destination both for foreign and local Turkish tourists. The city has hosted a record 12,500,000 tourists in 2014. Turkey’s modernization and industrialization have seen a revival of Antalya’s political and socioeconomic landscape. Today, Antalya is experiencing a golden age because it was transformed into a cultural and historical center with the themed hotels that “represent” Venice or the cathedral in Moscow.
What to see in Antalya
There are hundreds of beautiful things to see in Antalya, but unfortunately it’s impossible to see all the city landmarks during a single visit. We suggest you to visit at least some of these sights:
- Kaleici (Kaleiçi) – The historic old city center of Antalya, with narrow streets and historic Ottoman era houses. All historic Turkish and Greek houses in Kaleici are under protection. This is definitely the most popular part of Antalya where you can see many traces of Byzantine and Romanesque architecture culture.
- Konyaaltı Beach (West of town) – Magnificent beach with: Aqualand (large complex of beach park and water park), Migros MMM (a huge shopping center), Antalya Aquarium (the largest tunnel aquarium in the world) and Lunapark Antalya.
- Lara Beach (East of town) – It is a 8 km long beach, with many luxury hotels, located only 10 km from the airport in Antalya.
- Antalya Zoo and Nature Park (North of city) – 400 acres of Zoo. It is accessible by taking the tram – to the last stop.
- Perge ruins – Roman city ruins, with a theatre and hippodrome, still intact.
- Aspendos – a fantastic intact theatre, dating from the Roman time.
- Other historical places to see: Antalya’s Archaeological Museum, Termessos, Phaselis, Olympos, Cirali, Side, Kemer, Belek and many others. (Kursunlu, Manavgat and Düden Waterfalls, Karain and Beldibi Caves) For sure, all of these are the subjects of other posts with detailed information.
Also, there are a number of churches, mosques, madrasahs (old religious schools which are not legal and functional now, just to see), museums, hamams (Turkish bath) and hans (caravanserai) in the city. Yes, that really makes a whole summertime vacation to see all of these.
What to buy
The usual souvenirs in this city are kilims (carpets), blue (evil) eyes, aromatic herbs, fake designer shoes and clothing, water pipes (bongs/shisha/hookah) and more. You’ll probably want to buy some souvenir that will remind you on your visit in Antalya. Especially, when you visit Kaleiçi, you will be able to find all kinds of authentic stuff.
However, if you want to visit a modern shopping center, we recommend Terracity Mall (on the way to Lara), which has all of the international designer shops for you. Other well-known shopping malls are Özdilek, 5M Migros and Deepo Outlet Center. There are also a modern supermarkets and power boat dealers.
Nightlife in Antalya
Supposing that there is a lot of nightlife lovers among our readers, we need to say that this city provides many night time entertainments. Antalya has a very active nightlife with its numerous night clubs, discos, bars and cafes. The promenade in the harbor is full of tourists (as well as local residents), especially during the summer months (June-September).
There are also places with live music in Antalya. If you like rock, techno or hip-hop, the possibilities are endless for you. Kaleici Street offers a variety of entertainment for all tastes – English pubs, taverns and traditional music. And another point that should be expressed here is: nightlife is so attractive during, before and after the famous International Golden Orange film festival time.
Nightclubs organize crazy theme parties and various dance performances, and they are open until the early morning hours. You will have a wide selection of choices – you may prefer a peaceful place where you can drink your beer in a pleasant atmosphere or a vast open air discotheques.
There are so many different night clubs and other nightlife places, but the most popular ones are:
- Ally’s – There is no better place for dancing in the whole of Antalya. Prepare to wait in line outside the club, especially on Fridays and Saturdays. It is desirable to be attractively dressed for this club!
- Inferno – A modern place, mostly for trendy people. This place is very crowded after midnight, and as time goes by – music gets better.
- Club 29 – The biggest club in the city with a capacity of 2000 people. Also, it has the most beautiful view of the harbor. This area combines a restaurant, club and bar, so you can start your evening with dinner, then go on to drink and finally – dance until the early hours of the morning.
- Jolly Joker Bars – If you are a fan of rock music this is right place for you. The concept of the Jolly Joker clubs and bars all around the country is mainly playing rock music.
And during the summer time, there are numerous live concerts of most popular Turkish musicians in Antalya that you might want to enjoy inside a cheerful Turkish crowd.
So, if you decide to be one that millions of people who visit Antalya, you can be sure that you will enjoy a real good summertime vacation.