One of the many wonderful things about Antalya is just how much there is to do close to the city. It’s the perfect base for visiting local attractions and exploring. As those who choose to live there will tell you, you’ll never need to feel bored.
If you have an apartment or villa in Antalya, there are plenty of day trips you can enjoy. You’ll find your own favourites, of course, but we’ve got some suggestions to get you started.
Çiralı & Olympos
Lush forests, a pristine beach and an ancient historic city – set aside a full day, because you’ve plenty to pack in. The mountains make a stunning backdrop to Olympos beach and its crystal-clear waters, and current conservation laws mean this unspoiled area is unlikely to change.
Soak up some sun or, if you’re feeling energetic, rent a canoe and explore from a new perspective. A 15-minute stroll south takes you to the ruins of Olympos itself, a city dating back to at least the Ancient Greeks. It was part of the Lycian League, a group of powerful cities that ruled the area, and you’ll be captivated by its history.
Alternatively, a walk of 20 minutes or so in the other direction takes you to Çiralı, with its casual beachside eateries and untouched beauty. The beach itself is a nesting ground for caretta – loggerhead sea turtles – so be sure to respect their environment.
If you can, come prepared to stay into the evening and hike into the mountains to see the Chimaera – the flaming stones. Called yanartaş, or ‘burning rock’, legend says these natural flames are the breath of a monster – part lion, part goat and part snake. Buy marshmallows to toast while you enjoy this incredible natural phenomenon.
Tahtalı & Ulupınar
To see the Antalya region a different way, take a trip to the top of Tahtalı mountain which rises some 2,365m above sea level.
The Tahtalı cable car is one of the fastest in Europe and the 15-minute journey offers stunning panoramic views. It runs every 15-20 minutes and is open all year round, except in severe weather. On arrival at the summit, observation decks allow you to drink in the spectacular scenery; the peaks are covered in snow except in summer, so you might need a fleece or jumper.
Once you come back down to earth stop off at Ulupınar, with its dense woodland and riverside restaurants. Some have fish farms you can visit, then relax beneath a shady tree and enjoy a meal of freshly caught trout before heading home.
You could combine Tahtalı and Ulupınar with Olympos and Çiralı, as they are close by. If you have time, though, we’d recommend separate trips so you can enjoy each one to the full.
Demre, formerly known as Myra, was the home of St Nicholas – or Santa Claus. Around 150km south west of Antalya, it will take a couple of hours or so to get there.
The Noel Baba Müsesi, or Santa Claus Museum, is housed in an 11th-century church and you can wander at your leisure or take a guided tour. Be sure to explore the ruins of Roman Myra, acclaimed as some of the best-preserved in Turkey, with its impressive rock tombs and a Greco-Roman theatre. For a further history fix, a drive of 5km takes you to Çayağzı, or Andriake as it was known in Roman times. The ruins include a harbour, churches, baths and synagogue, while the Museum of Lycian Civilisations has a 16m-long Roman boat among its displays.
For a well-earned pit stop, you’ll find plenty of charming restaurants and lokantas where you can sit and watch the world go by.
When you’re ready to escape the beach or towns, head to Duden Waterfalls. Just 15km out of Antalya, this natural wonder cascades through a verdant gorge and will take your breath away. As well as plenty of walkways, there’s even a cave so you can watch the torrent of water from behind.
There are some great walks to enjoy, so keen hikers might want to take walking gear and explore properly. It’s also a beautiful picnic spot, so pack your favourite food and enjoy being at the heart of nature.
The Ancient City of Perge
For a peek at city life in ancient times, a trip to Perge should be on your to-do list. Revered as one of the most prosperous cities of its day, Perge dates back to 12BC. Sympathetic restoration means visitors get a real sense of how life might have been.
Enter beneath the arch of the Roman Gate to discover the treasures within, including the amphitheatre, Hellenistic Gate, agora, necropolis, fountains, richly decorated walls and more. Perge holds a special place in Christian history, as it’s known Saint Paul preached here, and it was the start of his journey to spread the gospel.
A true gem in Antalya’s crown, Aspendos lies nestled among the mountains, 50km east of the city. It boasts one of the best-preserved examples of Roman theatre architecture, built during 2AD. In its heyday it would host audiences of between 15,000 and 20,000 people; now, sensitively restored, it is used for music, drama and ballet performances at certain times of the year. If you can, take in a show.
Although the theatre is the main attraction, take time to visit the acropolis, which rises from behind the lower town. You’ll also find the remains of a magnificent aqueduct, the agora, basilica and more.
If you need time out of the sun, or if the weather is less than kind, Antalya Aquarium is a great place for an indoor trip. It boasts the world’s longest tunnel aquarium, at 131m long and 3m wide, and 40 themed sections that are both entertaining and educational.
Time your visit to watch the fish being fed and make real snow balls in the Snow World and Ice Museum. If you need to warm up afterwards, step into the tropical reptile house and discover a host of poisonous, colourful and fascinating creatures. There’s also the Oceanride XD Cinema, which takes you on a cinematic journey of the world’s seas.
Thinking of buying?
If you’re considering moving to the Antalya region or buying a holiday property, take a look at our buyers’ guide. You’ll find lots of helpful advice and information, along with our current portfolio of available properties.