About Antalya in Turkey
To know what Antalya in Turkey is like, you must visit for yourself and we guarantee you will not be disappointed. The region, covering a large section of the southern coast, is nothing short of spectacular. Backed by the Taurus Mountains range and fronted by the crystal blue Mediterranean waters, there must be something special because every year, nearly 15 million tourists from around the globe descend on Antalya to enjoy the delights.
As Turkey’s top beach holiday destination, annually, thousands of foreigners also buy holiday homes in Antalya or even move out there to join large expat communities spread across the province. Perhaps one reason for its popularity is variety. Worldwide cultures and traditions blend to present a cosmopolitan destination catering for everyone, young or old. But to further understand what it is like, let us look at what Antalya does well and what visitors can expect.
About Antalya in Turkey
1: Best Beaches in Turkey
Look at Trip Advisor reviews to see Cleopatras, Kaputas, Lara, and Konyaalti beaches listed as Turkey’s best stretches of sand. Ideal swimming conditions, sunbeds, and umbrellas to rent, water sports centre, and nearby restaurants serving food and drink provide the perfect base for a great day out. Of course, their stunning beauty makes a difference. Kaputas in the outskirts often features in international travel magazines to promote the region, while Lara beach in Antalya city centre is where the annual sand festival takes place. Antalya’s long coastline features many beaches, so get ready for the sand in between your toes. The lure is too strong to ignore.
2: Sailing the Turkish Riviera
The Turkish riviera stretches from the northern Aegean round to the eastern Mediterranean. Yachts stop at many harbours and marinas, but four destinations stand out for their sailing expertise: Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye and Antalya. The southern coastline often called the turquoise coast, includes many sailing routes known as blue cruises. From Antalya, they visit hidden bays and coves, as well as coastal resorts. For example, the 3-night Fethiye to Antalya route finishes in Olympos. Some people book cabin charter, while others without a budget hire a private yacht to set their itinerary. If an overnight stay on a boat is too long for you, consider a day trip. Leaving from the harbour in most holiday resorts, sail around the coastline and witness the beauty of Antalya from the sea.
3: Enjoy Beautiful Waterfalls
Ah, who does not love the calming sense of waterfalls? Set in Mother Nature, the sound of water gushing often provides the perfect photo opportunity, and this is where Antalya delivers with a bountiful choice of falls. Duden is probably the most famous. The dramatic sight of water gushing over a cliff into the Mediterranean, best seen from a short boat trip, is a fantastic holiday memory. But there is also the upper Duden waterfalls set further inland. Manavgat, a famous day trip, also offers opportunities to sit in a tranquil tea garden while watching the falls. The width is bigger than the fall, so the dramatic effect is not there, yet Manavgat still attracts thousands of holidaymakers every month. Meanwhile, on hot summer days, retreat to the 18 metres Kursunlu waterfalls, set within a nature park for a refreshing break.
4: Arts and Culture in Antalya
Do not think about lying on the beach all day because arts and culture excel in Antalya. The Aspendos Ballet and Opera festival is a perfect example. Thanks to participants professionalism, the festival achieves fame all over the world. Captivated audiences enjoy the setting of Aspendos ancient roman theatre, classed as the world’s best-preserved, because it excels performances with excellent acoustics. Let us not forget the annual Golden Orange film festival. Named such because Antalya is Turkey’s top producing citrus capital, the festival aims to celebrate and reward upcoming filmmakers who make a difference to society through their on-screen tales. Stop by the Antalya Culture and Art Museum or keep an eye out for festivals to find out the artistic ability of Antalya’s locals.
5: Five Star Luxury Hotels
Antalya caters for every type of holidaymakers, including budget, by providing inexpensive hostels and B&B establishments but excels at luxury hotels. Such is the staffs’ professionalism and expertise; the region is renowned all over Turkey. Luxury boutique hotels are standard and found in places like Kaleici, the old part of Antalya, while large luxury hotels operate throughout the region. The Mardan Palace is one such example. Rich celebrities like Marie Cary attended the opening party and marvelled at the gold on the ceilings and staircases. After a turbulent time, when the hotel nearly went bankrupt, investors chipped in, and these days, the lowest price for a room is 400 euros a night. Alternatively, book into a 170 square meter lake house for 1300 euros a night. Many tourists also book into large, all-inclusive hotels around Lara beach. This area’s nickname, Turkey’s equivalent of Las Vegas, refers to their roaring success in hospitality trades.
6: Holiday Homes and Expats
Every year, thousands of foreigners buy property in Turkey. Some choose Istanbul as an investment, but Antalya constantly ranks as a top destination for holiday homes. This makes sense, given its tourist ambience. Holidaymakers enjoy their apartment or villa while tapping into touristic amenities like bars and restaurants. Popular places include Antalya city centre, Kalkan for luxury homes, and Belek for golfing property. But the Alanya areas are seeing a dramatic increase in both Turkish and foreign buyers. Affordable prices per square meter drive the foreign market, while Turks want to get out of big cities while the COVID pandemic shows no sign of going away. In addition, to holiday homeowners, Antalya is the most popular place for expats who live here all year round, and with various nationalities, it is like the mini-United Nations. (Read the guide to buying a holiday home in Turkey.)
7: Efficient Transport Network
So, you might wonder how Antalya gets 15 million tourists a year, in and out with precision and ease. Well, many arrive via the award-winning ultra-modern Antalya international airport. Every day, flights arrive worldwide, which is another reason people buy holiday homes here. With transfer times ranging from 40 minutes to 2 hours depending on where they go, the road compliments it because the airport sits near the D400 highway running from the east to west of Turkey along the coastline. Given its sailing status, Antalya has five official entry points for those arriving by sea. Every day, cross-country buses arrive at the central bus station, then passengers get connecting minibuses to their chosen destinations. The transport network is on schedule, with ease and finesse; hence travelling about the Antalya region is easily done.
8: Food, Nightlife, and Shopping
Without a doubt, Antalya offers the best shopping, food, and nightlife scenes in Mediterranean Turkey. Probably only outranked by Istanbul, this is diversity in abundance. Choose to shop in large, modern malls selling brand name labels, or head to personalised boutique shops specialising in one-off collections. For partying till dawn, head to Antalya city centre or Kemer. Otherwise, opt for a quiet sit-down bar with live music and a community feel. Likewise, no one ever goes hungry in Antalya. From cheap street food to gourmet dining, expert chefs serve up every delight. We recommend trying the tradition of seaside dining alfresco style. Antalya’s coastal destination ensures the seafood is to die for!
9: Golfing in Belek - Antalya
Ten years, mention golfing holidays to any fan, and they would have suggested Portugal or Spain. But then Turkey came on the scene with the golfing district of Belek and since then has gone from strength to strength. Having hosted many famous players, international championships here often reach prizes of £500,000 or more. They take place on state-of-the-art golf courses, some of which professionals like Nick Faldo designed them. Names like Carya, Cornelia, Gloria and Lykia count themselves as Turkey’s best courses. The popularity of golfing worked its way into Belek’s real estate market, with many people buying golfing villas. What is better than after a day on the course to soak up the sunshine in your private swimming pool.
10: Kaleici Old Town
The biggest tourist attraction, Kaleici, otherwise known as the old town, is where Antalya city began thousands of years ago. The entrance, marked by the stone arch of Hadrian’s gate, was built in 130 AD. Impressive but more delights await on the old cobbled streets. Narrow passageways lined with old Ottoman houses feature souvenir shops, boutique hotels and small restaurants. The old town's ambience is undeniably nostalgic, along with the ancient mosques and the landmark clock tower. After exploring, head to the harbour district and settle down for a hearty lunch in a seaside restaurant.
11: Other Things to Do in Antalya
The other thing people like about Antalya is the vast range of things to do and tourist attractions. Some low-key activities like Antalya Aquarium are perfect for families, while Antalya Museum presents a marvellous collection of ancient artefacts from around Turkey. For adrenaline fans, white water rafting in Koprulu canyon or paragliding in Kas ticks the boxes. Enjoy stunning panoramic views from Mount Tahtali cable car, while historical ruins like Phaselis and Side keep history fans occupied for months. Excursion shops sell tickets for a jeep safari through the countryside and other attractions like the white cotton castle of Pamukkale. Indeed, no one ever gets bored in Antalya, no matter whether young or old.
12: The Lycian Way of Turkey
As if Antalya could not get even more interesting, we can now add a famous trekking route to describe what it is like. Starting in Antalya centre and running along the coastline to Fethiye, the 516-kilometre Lycian way is enduring and not for the faint-hearted. But complete it, to gain a great insight into the area’s history while seeing marvellous landscape views. The theme is the Lycian civilisation that once ruled these lands and left behind many ancient cities, which the route encompasses. Avoid trekking from July to September because of hot temperatures. Before setting off, research the route and always let someone know where you are going since the path sometimes goes off the grid.
We are Turkey Homes, a property and investment specialist with offices in many areas, including Antalya. We have collected our local knowledge and experience to portray in this article what Antalya in Turkey is like for a holiday or buying property. In our blog about Turkey, we also talk about other places, living here as an expat, food, culture, traditions and more. Happy reading.