Travellers to Antalya know the area for a host of different reasons. Some seek its luxury hotels while the area's historic treasures attract culture hunters. Then there is the natural beauty of the land. Most visitors will lay testament to picturesque panoramic views and natural wonders, including the Duden Waterfalls and the Chimera on Mount Olympus where flames have been sprouting from the ground for the past 2500 years.
The culmination of history with modern luxury hotels makes for a unique lifestyle experience. It is no surprise, therefore, that Antalya sees 30% of all of Turkey’s tourism and is the fastest-growing province in Turkey with a 4.17% yearly population growth.
Antalya’s Colourful and Varied History
Named after its founder Attalos II, King of Pergamon, Antalya is the eastern Mediterranean’s largest city. Prior to its official founding in 150BC, the province was part of Lycia. Today, an ancient Lycian footpath (the Lycian way) stills runs between Antalya and Fethiye and is home to some world’s most beautiful sights.
Reaching a high altitude through Taurus Mountains, looking down on many beaches and nature reserves to the west of the main city, the trek passes Kalkan, Gelemiş and other coastal villages and towns. The Lycians ruled the land until defeat by the Persian’s in 546BC. The area changed hands between armies from the west and east, including rule by Alexander the Great and the Seleucid Empire until the reign of Pergamon.
After Roman conquest, the mid-Byzantine era saw the Selcuk Turks and Byzantines capturing and recapturing the town as it passed hands between the two empires, until Ottoman rule under Murad II in 1432.
Guide to the Antalya area of Turkey
Reasons to Visit Antalya
The Antalya area provides everyone regardless of lifestyle preferences with something to do. Excelling in diversity, it doesn’t matter whether you are a budget traveller or want to live it up big style, because the large range of hotels, bars, restaurants, and shops ensure you will find what you are looking for. Let’s not forget the beautiful scenery, gorgeous weather climate, modern living and traditional lifestyles, and you have everything you need for a perfect holiday. (More reasons to visit Antalya.)
Getting There: Antalya Airport, Marinas and Transport Links
Antalya Airport is Turkey’s top touristic airport and a state-of-the-art air travel hub having won many awards. Frequent flights operate all year round and it serves all coastal resorts including Alanya, Side, Kemer, Belek, the town centre and Patara. Otherwise, if you are arriving by sea, the official points of entrance are Kas, Finike, Kemer, the city centre and Alanya.
People arriving by road can catch buses from all over Turkey to the main city centre and then connecting points in the region. The province sits on the main D400 highway running from the east to west of Turkey, so car drivers can get there in next to no time.
What is Antalya Known For?
Antalya is known and famous for many things, including being Turkey’s citrus capital thanks to the large amounts of oranges grown there. As part of the Mediterranean coast, it is a pivotal Turkish Riviera destination. One of its biggest claims to fame is Turkey’s golfing capital, and it hosted the G20 summit in 2016.
It holds the records as Turkey’s 2nd most popular tourist destination after Istanbul, and this fame spilt over into the real estate market, thanks to foreigners buying homes and moving to live there. Local councils have many planned projects including a major cruise ship port, the Konyaalti Marina, and plans to become Turkey’s film capital.
Beautiful Beaches in the Antalya Region
Whether travelling east or west of Antalya, long sandy beaches are the highlight of tourism, hence its reputation as the ideal beach holiday. Some of the best include Kaputas, on the exhilarating coast between Kalkan and Kas.
Long winding steps down to the beach are worth navigating for the beautiful scenery alone. The relative difficulty to reach the beach means it has remained true to nature. Just opposite the gorge of Kaputas beach is the island of St Nicholas - who contrary to common knowledge did not live in Lapland.
Cirali is a 3km stretch of sand that has been sheltered from tourism development. Patara, Turkey’s longest beach and home to the Caretta turtle that lays its eggs in the sand is a must-see. The city itself has miles and miles of soft sand and beaches including Lara and Konyaalti.
To the east, sandy beaches connect it with Alanya, famous for its Roman ruins and quaint ports. In summer, the promenade that lies south across the city is a constant hum of locals and tourists enjoy the beachside of to the early hours.
Things to Do in the Antalya Region
Holidaymakers are spoilt for choice when looking at the best things to do in Antalya. With a host of shopping centres, beaches, treks, and amusement parks, there is plenty for everyone to enjoy. Popular daytime excursions include jeep safaris, lazy day boat cruises around the coastline, village tours, and hiring a quad bike or car to explore at your own leisure.
Antalya’s reputation for adventure sports attracts adrenaline junkies from around the world. The sports include white water rafting, canyoning, para-gliding, and tubing. Don’t forget Antalya is the starting point of the famous Lycian Way, a 500-kilometre marked trekking path leading from the city centre to Fethiye so is ideal for walking enthusiasts. Otherwise, top tourist attractions are…
- Alanya Castle and Red Tower
- Side Ruins and Apollo Temple
- Kaleici old town centre and Hadrian’s Gate
- Mount Tahtali Cable Car Ride
- Duden and Manavgat Waterfalls
- Antalya Aquarium
- Antalya Museum – A marvellous collection of artefacts from around Turkey
- Lara and Konyaalti beaches – Two of Turkey’s best beaches
- Aspendos ancient ruins and theatre
- Perge Ancient Ruins
- Kekova sunken ruins and Simena – Also popular with sea kayaking adventure sports
- Patara beach, ancient ruins and village
- Kaputas Beach, sitting in between the resorts of Kas and Kalkan
- The golfing courses of Belek
Nightlife and Eating Out
It will delight those who thrive when the sun goes down to learn Antalya’s nightlife scene is one of Turkey’s best. Eating out can be a trip around the world thanks to many restaurants serving a variety of cuisine including traditional Turkish, Chinese, Indian, Pasta, Steak, British and much more.
Being a seaside resort, many like the Mediterranean style of dining, which is seafood and fish restaurants along the coastline. Many bars feature live music or sit-down entertainment, and large nightclubs stay open until the sun rises for another day.
Guide to Resorts in the Antalya area of Turkey
The Antalya area breaks down into many small towns and villages, sitting both inland and on the coastline. The latter is more well-known thanks to tourism and because most have become home to large expats communities. More famous resorts are…
Beautiful Alanya: Sitting at the eastern tip, Alanya is growing in popularity and on the verge of becoming a mini city. A vibrant social scene, beaches, shopping and dining out are all attributes contributing towards its sturdy reputation. The Mahmutlar district is popular with holidaymakers and foreign buyers looking to buy property in Turkey.
Historical Side: Don’t underestimate Side’s small size because it commands respect as a historical centre. The new town built around the ancient theatre ruins provokes a sense of surrealism, but its landmark Apollo temple, sitting on the coastline attracts curious holidaymakers, thanks to an urban legend that Marc Anthony and Cleopatra once met here.
Golfing Belek: Known as Turkey’s golfing capital, the small resort of Belek has seen some famous names descend on its world-class championship golf courses. Now ranking alongside Portugal and Spain as an ideal location to swing your club, Belek is known for its 5-star spa and wellness hotels, and Land of Legends theme park. If you are looking for a place to relax and chill out, Belek is a good choice.
Antalya Town Centre: As the most popular district, don’t think of urban landscapes because much of it is residential and places like Konyaalti and Lara beaches districts are popular tourist spots. Another population attraction in this area is Kaleici, the old town part boasting of Ottoman architecture, small boutiques, and the nostalgic harbour district.
Beachy Kemer: The main tourist demographics of East Europeans love the all-inclusive hotels of Kemer that front the Mediterranean Sea and boast of amazing sunset views. Also featuring water sports, the resort is clean and perfect for anyone who wants to lay back and chill out.
Nostalgic Kas: If you want to get a sense of bygone eras in Turkey, visit Kas, a former Greek fishing village who stunning beauty wows everyone. Old Lycian sarcophagus and an ancient theatre are its main claims to fame but traditional houses on the narrow, cobbled streets in the old town part are a delight to wander around.
Luxury Kalkan: As an exclusive Turkish Riviera destination, Kalkan’s luxury villas with infinity pools and stunning Mediterranean views thrust it into the limelight as an upmarket district. Houses in seaside districts sell for millions of pounds, making this Med Turkey’s darling jewel.
Rustic Patara: Sitting on the western outskirts, Patara will win no awards for luxury but it is that, which keeps people coming back. It was one of Turkey’s first destinations to embrace mainstream tourism 50 years ago and has somewhat been left behind by the internet’s advance, yet its village, long beach and stunning city ruins are worth visiting.
Living and Buying Property in the Antalya Area
Every year, across the Antalya area, large amounts of foreigners buy apartments and villas either for use as a summer home, a buy-to-let income, a real estate investment or to live there. From budget studio apartments in Mahmutlar to large, luxury, millionaire villas in Kalkan, the varied real estate portfolio suits many buyers including first-time purchasers.
Many people also live in Antalya all year round, so it has a sizeable expat community, who are wealthy sources of knowledge. See current listings for apartments and villas for sale in Antalya here. Each one contains photos, property descriptions, area information and an enquiry form should you want to find out more. Otherwise, contact us to arrange a time and date for viewing or if you would like to speak to a representative about the Turkish property buying process.