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Middle East » Turkey » Antalya

Antalya is a jewel of a city sitting in the tiara of a coastline arcing from beaches to mountains. Set in ancient lands and ornamented by natural wonders, the weather in Antalya is bathed in sunshine. It is a modern holiday resort and these enticing shores embrace the ever-changing blue of the Mediterranean.

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At times mysterious with the tales and traditions of nomads; the ancient cave dwelling sites and inspiring remnants of grand civilisations are the subjects of myths and they reinforce how desirable these lands have always been to mighty empire builders.

There are endless ways to explore the sights. Take a gentle stroll or an energizing trek. Sail a boat or paddle a canoe. Go on a road trip or parasail in the skies. Join a guided tour, a game of golf or simply sunbath.

Do it all while enjoying natural hospitality, remarkable cuisine and wonderful weather in Antalya.

 

Things to do & see:

 

The Antalya Coast

The Antalya coast is one long band along the Mediterranean coast, a single administrative unit, comprising a string of local towns and areas making up a fascinatingly diverse region.

The coastline starts with the boundaries of Fethiye, where the Aegean Coast meets the Mediterranean and then it spans 600 kilometres to the Mediterranean coast at Gazipasa. The impressive Taurus Mountains are the backdrop to the long, sandy coastline, highlighting natural wonders such as Mount Tahtali.

 

Airports & Ports

The Antalya Coastal Region has one international airport with two international terminals and one domestic terminal, providing year round easy and convenient access direct from many European and Turkish cities.

 The small domestic Gazipasa airport is also opening connections to other cities in Turkey. The Antalya region also has international ports catering to luxury cruise ships. The marinas at Kas, Finike, Kemer, Antalya, and Alanya host hundreds of boats and yachts each year, many of which are sailing the Turkish Riviera.

 

Make a journey along the Antalya coast

Let’s begin an unforgettable  journey along Turkey’s southern Mediterannean shore by coming east from the neighbouring Aegean Coast Region to cross the boundary at the Esen river.

Here we pay our respects to the ancient people at the vast site of Xanthos (pls. also see Fethiye) a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was the ancient capital of Lycia, one of the two ancient provinces which with Pamphylia, are  included in the Antalya coastline.

A short distance past the site of Letoon is the ancient ruined port of Patara, visited by many travellers in Roman times such as St.Paul. Close by is the enchanting village of  Kalkan , with quaint historic buildings clinging to the hillside above the harbour.

Travelling along the spectacular rugged coastal road we come to the beguiling town of Kas , the historical Antiphellos, once isolated, and still far from madding crowds, it entices us to stay and enjoy diving in crystal clear waters or take to the cool mountain meadows around Elmali .

 

Boat travel is popular in this area. Chug over to a small beach or rock platform or motor further to discover the delights of Kekova, Ucagiz  and the famous Blue Cave.

Past Lycian rock tombs, rugged hills and goatherds, and deserted coves, the road comes to Demre , modern day town beside the impressive Lycian-Roman ruins of Myra .  All paths lead to the Church of St. Nicholas, Santa Claus and  patron saint .

From Demre to Finike the landscape changes to the lush green of citrus orchards and forests of pine.

Essentially a quiet town, Finike hosts yacht and gullet charter tourists cruising along the Turquoise coast to Olympos and Antalya .

The road winds on through the market town of  Kumluca ,  to the quiet seaside town of Adrasan and the rugged Cape Gelidonya .

Another road winds down through a National Park to ancient Olympos , and the awe-inspiring Chimaera- where natural gas burns all year round to produce flames that are seen from miles away.

 

Kemer is the gold standard of five-star resorts and this where the Turkish Riviera really starts.

Along Blue Flag beaches are quality hotels catering for many international and Turkish guests enjoying excellent swimming, scuba diving, sailing, sunbathing and water sports.

Nearby the Mount Tahtali Aerial Cableway brings the mountains and sea closer together, and to skiing in winter.

The small beach resorts of Tekirova, Camyuva, Beycik, Goynuk are close by Kemer while midway between  Kemer and Antalya city , lies Beldibi , a popular resort town with some splendid holiday villages, and hotels. In contrast, the prehistoric cave lies near the village of Oba, where cave paintings were discovered.

From beach to city we travel into Antalya itself. A fascinating city, Antalya is the gateway to the South of Turkey as Istanbul is to the North.

Over one third of Turkey’s visitors come here seeking beach holidays, cultural, historical and natural discovery tours, golf holidays, or international and national congresses and seminars.

The famous Antalya Orange Film Festival, the Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival, and numerous other cultural and sports events attract other admirers of the area.

Dating from 150 BC, the charming Kaleiçi old town is the first stop for many visitors, with landmarks Hadrian's Gate, Hidirlik Tower and Yivli Minare seen within the ancient walls. The city displays its history best at the superb Antalya Archaeological Museum  and the Suna and Inan Kaleiçi Museum .

Restaurants offer the best of Turkish cuisine , along with modern Mediterannean , and International menus.

Cafes and simple eateries are found in every corner of Antalya, as it is a showcase not only for its own treasury of fruits and vegetables, but also for delicious regional foods from across Turkey.

 

Belek is now dubbed the Golf Coast of Turkey, for good reasons because  14 championship golf courses have been designed to international standards and set into the pine forest and sand dunes along side the truly golden beach.

A generous array of sumptuous five-six-star hotels with spas along the beach cater not only for all who wish to enjoy sun, clear seas and beaches, but for congresses, and international football camps.

The Gulf of Antalya arcs gently eastwards to Manavgat and Side, ancient sites with a host of wonders to explore.

Side is an entrancing mixture of a Turkish village and holiday resort entwined around  historical points including the famous Temples of Apollo and Artemis, baths, theatres and more Roman buildings. The nightlife is lively in Side too with a range of dancing and bar venues for all tastes.

A gentle river cruise and visit to Manavgat Falls, Altinbesik cave or horseriding in Sorgun Forest also attracts many visitors from Side, and nearby Sorgun and Titrenyengöl districts.

One  adventure is to travel to the rugged beauty of Koprulu Canyon, famous for canoeing and trekking in the National Park in the Taurus Mountains, and the incredible ruins of Selge.

Soon after leaving Manavgat town, the road follows the coast past ancient Seleukia as the plain become narrower and the mountains loom closer.

The sights of old Hans on the way to Alanya alert us to a city with a different history, whose heyday was under the Seljuks who made it their winter capital in medieaval times.

Europeans do the same these days, with many buying property to live there, enjoy the mild climate and visit beaches such as Cleopatras Beach, and the Damlatas Cave -still sought for its healing properties.

The town "where the sun smiles", Alanya entertains with culture festivals and the international triathalon and beach and volleyball competitions, annually.

Close by Alanya is the river Dim Çayi famous for fish restaurants, and eastward the quiet farming lands and beaches of Gazipasa with its small airport.

Beyond these picturesque shores we come to the mountains and the end of the Gulf of Antalya at the sea cliffs where the romantic and rugged Antiocheia Ad Cragum stands, finishing a magnificent journey along Antalya Coast.

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