With its glorious sandy beaches, rich history and diverse culture, Antalya is a real Turkish delight and it’s no wonder it’s one of the country’s prime tourism destinations. From soaking up the sun to discovering beautiful national parks, ancient cities and museums to sampling unique Turkish cuisine, Antalya is a city of endless possibilities and offers something to cater to just about any interest. Make the most of your Turkish getaway and follow our top tips to discover six unique places of interest in Antalya.
The Old Town
One of the best ways to explore Antalya is to ditch the map and let your feet guide you through the ancient Old Town. From the clock-tower gate in the bustling main square and its neighbouring Tekeli Mehmet Pasha Mosque to the Kesik Minaret and Seljuk Karatay Mosque, there’s plenty to discover as you wander along the narrow, bazaar-lined roads.
Antalya boasts a rich and vibrant history with myriad influences, and you can still see a significant portion of the Roman and Hellenistic town in the old city. As the name would have you believe, the gate was built in honour of Emperor Hadrian’s stopover visit in AD 130 and showcases an impressive marble doorway, rich sculptural embellishment and two huge towers adjoining its three arcs.
Since the renovation of the attractive quarter beneath the fortress, the Old Harbor has become something of a bustling tourist mecca. There are plenty of hotels, boutiques, restaurants and bazaars scattered nearby, and it’s the perfect place to soak up some sun and views. The castle overlooking the port has also been renovated recently.
Just north of the ancient harbour, you’ll find Antalya’s most prominent landmark – the Yivli Minaret. Reaching 125ft high, this beautiful octagonal barrel is built upon a rectangular base and boasts an impressive grooved channel with a corbelled portico around the top. The minaret completes the adjoining mosque which was transformed from an earlier Byzantine structure by Alaeddin Keykubad in the thirteenth century.
Antalya Archaeological Museum
Showcasing a range of artefacts and relics discovered in Antalya with some dating from pre-historic times, Antalya Archaeological Museum is a must for any history-buff. Displays are organised in chronological order and you can see a whole host of exciting exhibitions including the Hall of Gods, Hall of Coins and Hall of Tomb Cultures. There’s even a dedicated children’s section! For people taking advantage of special cruise offers around Turkey, this is a must-see.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the Antalya and take a day trip to Termessos and the beautiful Güllük Dagi National Park. Surrounded by pinewoods and an abundance of rare flora, the ancient Psidian city is built on a mountain platform and also happens to be one of the best preserved historical sites in Turkey. Its isolated location makes it the perfect place to escape to some calm and tranquillity.