You will discover new places with popular holiday destinations in Antalya.
Antalya is a city located on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, in the south of the Anatolian peninsula. It’s the capital of the province of the same name and has also given its name to one of the enormous gulfs of the coast above, the Gulf of Antalya.
Today Antalya is a fascinating city full of life and history, one of the main tourist enclaves of Turkey and one of the most famous seaside resorts. You will love to get lost in the streets of its old quarter, Kaleiçi, surrounded by the ancient city’s walls, stroll through its markets and shopping streets or sit in its harbor and watch the sunset.
Read on to find out what to see in Antalya, an almost mandatory stop if you plan to visit the Mediterranean coast of Turkey.
Popular holiday destinations in Antalya: The Old Town (Kaleiçi)
The old city of Antalya, called Kaleiçi, is a labyrinth of pedestrian or shopping streets, and Kaleiçi is undoubtedly one of the major attractions to see in Antalya. It’s the city’s tourist center, with numerous hotels, restaurants, shops, and a bazaar.
The historic center is built on a rocky outcrop on the side of a cliff, below which is an old port, now rehabilitated and transformed into a modern marina. Here you can rent a boat to go to the Duden waterfalls.
In the historic center, you can discover:
- The ancient Ottoman houses that adorn its pedestrian streets Hıdırlık: This tower was probably built in the 2nd century to serve as a lighthouse for ships approaching the coast.
- Clock Tower: Located in one of the city’s main squares, the Kalekapısı square, is the Clock Tower. Once, the historic center surrounds by walls along with 80 towers, and this is the last one still standing.
- Cumhuriyet Meydanı: The busiest shopping street in the city, begins from this square. There are a couple of viewpoints of the port, the ancient city, and the walls in its vicinity.
- Kesik Minaret Mosque: This is one of the oldest buildings in the city. The different styles that we see allow us to recognize the different phases of construction: Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman.
- Yivliminare Mosque: Become a symbol of Antalya this red brick tower, made of stone and embellished with mosaics and tiles, completed in the 13th century, stands 38.1 meters high.
Hadrian’s Gate (Hadrian Kapısı)
When we say Popular Holiday Destinations in Antalya, Hadrian’s Gate comes to mind. Hadrian’s Gate or Üçkapılar is a triumphal marble arch located in Kaleiçi, erected to celebrate the Roman Emperor. Composed of three arches and 14 meters high this gate marked the entrance to the ancient city of Antalya.
A beautiful botanical garden of exotic trees and water fountains overlooking the old city offers a splendid view of the Taurus massif.
The Port of Antalya
One of the attractions to see in Antalya is its famous marina, which is home to an entire fleet, from fishing boats to pirate ships or yachts.
It’s a reasonably lively place full of restaurants serving the day’s fresh catch and businesses to take great photos. From here, you can make beautiful excursions with the tourist boats that sail daily.
The Museums of Antalya
The Antalya Museum, or simply Antalya Müzesi, is one of the largest museums in Turkey. It’s located in the Konyaaltı district, has 13 exhibition halls, an outdoor gallery, and covers an area of 7,000 m².
It’s vast and houses important collections of antiquities, from the Paleolithic to the Ottoman Empire, found in the region (Pergé, Side, Aspendos).
Another museum to visit is the Atatürk House Museum, dedicated to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the first president of the Turkish Republic after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, from 1924 to 1938.
Those traveling with children should not miss the Toy Museum. Kaleiçi Museum is a small ethnographic museum in the historic center where the Ottoman culture’s rites, customs, and traditions are exposed.
In Antalya, just 70 meters from Konyaaltı beach, there is one of the largest aquariums in the world. It’s one of the most exciting attractions in the city and is an excellent destination if you’re traveling with children or teenagers.
In the Antalya Aquarium, you can visit about 40 themed tanks that house a great diversity of fish and marine species. Here are also some of the most extensive aquarium tunnels globally, with a length of 131 meters and a width of 3 meters.
Beaches To See in Antalya
When we say popular holiday destinations in Antalya, it would be impossible not to mention the beaches. Mermerli is the closest beach, a small city cove under the cliff. If you’re looking for more tranquility, we recommend Konyaaltı, just three kilometers west of the city center, with its turquoise, clean and calm waters.
East of Antalya, you can go to Lara beach, which is also very extensive and less urbanized. Next to the beach is the curious Sandland, where various sand sculptures are exhibited, true works of art. It is an authentic open-air museum and one of the most extensive sand exhibits globally.