Is Antalya Worth Visiting?
Visiting Antalya on the Mediterranean coast is just one of many destinations holidaymakers to Turkey can choose from. A wide choice of sandy coastal resorts, historical sites, and ancient cities dotted around the country makes it hard to decide where to go, so potential first-time visitors may ask themselves if Antalya is worth visiting?
Does it have many things to do?
Where are the best places to go?
What’s the weather like?
Without a doubt, we say that Antalya is worth visiting, but you don’t just have to take our word for it.
How Many People Visit Antalya?
In 2017, 10.5 million tourists arrived in Antalya, making it the second most visited destination in Turkey after Istanbul. Out of all Turkey’s tourists in 2017, nearly 30% specifically chose Antalya, and adhering to time honoured traditions, many were also repeat visitors, having already become die-hard fans previously.
Top visiting nationalities include Russians, Germans and Brits but it is an all-rounder attracting Middle Eastern, Asian and other European holidaymakers as well. TURSAB, (Turkish Association of Travel Agents) also says early bookings show Antalya will host even more visitors this year.
So, the proof is in the numbers but why has it become the second most popular destination in Turkey?
7 Reasons Why Antalya is Worth Visiting
1: Year-Round Flights into a State-of-the-Art Airport
Most tourists to Antalya arrive via the three-terminal, ultramodern airport that is the 13th busiest in Europe and holds several awards to boast about. With a 30-minutes transfer time to the city centre or 90 minutes to resorts on the outskirts, travelling has never been so easy. Getting through Antalya airport is also swift and easy with pre-flight services designed to reduce waiting times and while you are waiting to board, an impressive choice of shops and restaurants ensures time goes quickly.
2: Gorgeous Mediterranean Climate All Year Round
Antalya is at a distinct advantage because in winter, while temperatures drop on the Aegean and Black Sea coasts as well as in Istanbul, Antalya’s typical Mediterranean climate evokes cool days instead of cold.
Even though package holiday visitors reduce in numbers from November to March, independent travellers still flock to enjoy moderate temperatures and Antalya has now become an all year-round destination. It is not unheard of to be sitting outside in t-shirts and shorts on New Year’s Day or go swimming in the sea in December.
3: A City Centre and Smaller Coastal Resorts
As well as a bustling city centre, tourists also stay in smaller coastal resorts like historical Side, the golfing capital of Belek, all-inclusive Kemer, and Alanya that is growing to become a city in its own right. More than 1000 budget and luxury hotels in all these destinations mean tourists not only have ample choice but will find an ideal place within their budget to rest their head at night.
4: Beckoning Leisure and Lifestyle Choices
The abundance of choices carries on into the shopping and nightlife niches. From dining al fresco style in old harbour towns to 5-star plus restaurants serving the best of fine food, every type of cuisine will tempt your taste buds. Shop locally at small weekend markets or empty your bank account in large shopping malls with luxury brand names selling everything and anything. Antalya’s leisure and lifestyle choices are what keeps people coming back year after year.
5: Beaches and Sandy Havens
Antalya plays host to some of the best blue flag beaches in Turkey. Adhering to environmental and cleanliness standards, these include Konyaalti and Lara in the city centre, Cleopatra’s beach in Alanya, the 18-kilometre sandy haven of Patara and Kaputas, one of the most photographed beaches often adorning pages of international travel magazines. Many beaches also host water sport centres making them a hive of activity during summer.
6: Activities for Kids
Mums and dads love Antalya because the region knows how to keep kids happy and entertained. From watching shark feeding and admiring exotic reptiles in Antalya Aquarium, to sliding the kamikaze or riding the wave pool at local waterparks, every kid from toddlers to teenagers has the time of their life. Other suggestions include the Lara Sand Festival, Jeep Safaris, and daily boat trips but definitely put Land of Legends Theme Park on your itinerary because kids love it.
7: Historical Sites
Along with romantic couples and families, Antalya also attracts history lovers in their droves because it is just one big treasure chest of ancient ruins. Travellers with limited time can get an overall view in the impressive Antalya Archaeological Museum, otherwise landmark sites to put on your expedition through history including Kaleici old town, Aspendos theatre, mountaintop Termessos, Olympus fairy-tale ruins and the old sea trading port of Phaselis.
Let’s not forget Alanya castle that is awaiting inclusion to the UNESCO World Heritage site list and the famous landmark of Apollo Temple in Side, where urban legends say Cleopatra and Marc Anthony had a secret rendezvous.
All the above reasons are why Antalya is worth visiting, but if you would like to know more about the region, our Antalya area guide has so much useful information. Alternatively, see the rest of our blog to find out where to go, and what to do in Turkey’s second most popular holiday and expat destination.