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BLOG 6 of the Best Natural Attractions in Antalya

11 May 2021 / Travel



Antalya is famed as one of Turkey’s most popular holiday destinations. Its beautiful beaches, excellent accommodation and outstanding hospitality are just a few reasons visitors return year after year.

With more than 200 Blue Flag beaches along its coastline, Antalya is a firm favourite with sun worshippers. For many, lying on golden sand and sipping a cocktail to the sound of waves lapping at the shore is what dreams are made of.

Others, though, prefer to get back to nature – and Antalya delivers on that front, too. There are many places where you can discover the local flora and fauna, and marvel at the wonders of the natural world.

Altınbeşik Cave National Park

Home to the world’s third-largest underground water cave, Altınbeşik Cave National Park (pronounced Al-tun-besh-ik) is near the town of Ibradı (Ee-bra-duh), around 40km inland from Side. The cave was first discovered in 1966, during preparatory research for the Oymapinar Dam, and the area was declared a national park in 1994. The cave is around 2,500m long, and the highest entrance point 101m. There are several levels within, the lowest of which is always submerged.

The park itself is a beautiful place to explore. There are numerous species of trees and flowers, and you might also spot wild boar, foxes and even wolves.

Düden Waterfalls

Travel just 12km or so out of Antalya itself, and you’ll find Düden Waterfalls. The falls sit at the end of a river which starts in the Taurus mountains, tumbling over and underground until it flows into the Mediterranean Sea.

The upper falls are around 15m high and 20m wide, and there’s a pathway that takes you right behind the curtain of water. There are plenty of walkways and a bridge over the rapids offers an ideal spot from which to take photographs. The lower falls, further along the coastline, cascade into the sea from cliffs that are some 40m high, making for a breath-taking sight.

The surrounding parkland offers plenty of picturesque spots to picnic and relax, as well as a number of excellent walks for those who want to swap flip flops for stout shoes and explore properly.

Patara

A genuinely unspoiled natural beauty, Patara is around a 20-minute journey from the exclusive resort of Kalkan and is famous for its 12km stretch of golden sand. It’s the second-largest nesting ground for the endangered caretta caretta – loggerhead sea turtle – and as such has protected status. There are some visitor facilities at one end the beach, but the rest of the area is as close to natural paradise as you could wish.

Explore the rolling spread of dunes and, if you enjoy history, you can also visit the nearby ancient ruins – it’s believed the lighthouse, built in 60AD, could be the oldest in the world. Excavations continue to this day, unearthing new discoveries about life in Patara’s heyday as Lycia’s primary seaport.

Köprülü Canyon National Park

A must-visit for anyone who loves the natural world, Köprülü Canyon National Park (pronounced Kurp-roo-loo), in the Manavgat area, offers breath-taking scenery and a wealth of activities for visitors.

The canyon itself is around 14km long, tracking the Köprüçay River (Kurp-roo-chai), with a maximum depth of 400m. There is an abundance of flora and fauna to enjoy and numerous excellent hiking trails. Mountain climbers can tackle the challenging rock faces, while adrenaline junkies will enjoy white-water rafting along the rapids. There are several Roman bridges worth seeing as outstanding examples of engineering in a bygone era, while the ancient city of Selge (Sell-geh) is also located in the national park.

Kurşunlu

Against lush, verdant surroundings, Kurşunlu Waterfall (Kur-shun-loo) connects seven pools as it drops 18m. While not one of Antalya’s biggest or best-known falls, it’s worth seeing – especially as the area is so beautiful.

Located some 20km or so outside Antalya, in the Aksu area, the cool pine forests provide welcome shade from the summer sun. There is rich variety of plant and animal life to see, and visitors can explore the canyon that shapes the falls. In the waters, you can look for freshwater turtles, crabs and fish.

Tahtalı

For a unique perspective of Antalya, take a 15-minute cable car journey to the top of Tahtalı Dağı (Tah-tar-luh Da-a-uh), also known as Lycian Olympus. The cable car is one of the fastest in Europe and the panoramic views as you ascend to the 2,365m peak will take your breath away.

Remember to take a fleece or jumper as the summit is usually covered in snow from around November to May, and often into June. It often has a reddish-brown colour due to dust blown in by winds from the Sahara.

Take your time to enjoy the spectacular scenery before descending, then maybe stop off in the nearby village of Ulupınar to relax at a riverside restaurant.

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