10 Things You Should Do In Antalya

06 May 2022 Life in Turkey

Antalya City

Antalya is famous for its beaches. From June through August, the sandy strips in town and along the surrounding coast are all about laid-back resort holidays and are frequently filled out by a clientele of northern Europeans.

However, Antalya is more than just its coast. The peninsula's high cliff is home to a historic castle area, which is protected by well-preserved, powerful stone walls. More historical palaces may be seen near the port, looming over a bay where boats await to carry you out over the sea.

Antalya is also within day-trip distance of some of the Mediterranean region's most well-known historic ruins and tourist attractions, so if you want to brush off the sand for the day and go exploring, there is plenty to keep you busy away from the beach.

You may easily plan day trips to Antalya to see its museum and wander around its old town area, Aspendos (Turkey's most famous Roman Theater), in addition to the locations featured on our list.

Check out our list of the best things to do in Antalya for ideas on how to plan your trip.

1. Visiting Antalya Castle

10 Things You Should Do In Antalya:Alanya Castle walls

The six-kilometer route of Antalya Castle's historic walls follows a high point that shadows Antalya's contemporary sprawl below.

Antalya's old town section is located within the walls and is the most interesting area of the city to visit.

The history of Antalya Castle goes back to the Classical period, when this rugged, cave-riddled peninsula was a favorite haunt of pirates.

The Greek-built walls were expanded during Roman control, but it wasn't until the Byzantine era that Antalya's status as a Mediterranean seaport took off.

When the Seljuks took control of this region in the 13th century, they expanded on previous rulers' foundations. This phase is responsible for the majority of the remaining building works in the castle area that can still be seen today.

The six-kilometer route of Antalya Castle's historic walls follows a high point that shadows Antalya's contemporary sprawl below.

2. Explore Antalya Harbor's History

10 Things You Should Do In Antalya:Explore Antalya Harbor's History

Both the Red Tower (Kzlkule) and the Seljuk Shipyard (Tersane) on the harbor side are expansions of the 13th-century Alanya castle defences.

During the Seljuk era, the octagonal, 30-meter-high Red Tower functioned as the harbor's defense tower. Climb to the top for panoramic views of the harbor.

A beautiful path extends from the tower along the harbor's historic defense walls to Turkey's only preserved example of a Seljuk-era shipyard. The arched halls built into the shorefront here are open to the sea, allowing waves to constantly pound the stone.

The walkway continues down the coast for a short distance to a modest Seljuk-era watchtower structure.

3. Take the Antalya Teleferik

10 Things You Should Do In Antalya:Take the Antalya Teleferik

The most attractive method to get to the Antalya Castle area is to take the cable car from Cleopatra Beach to the lower castle district of Ehmedek.

The cable-car runs everyday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the ride over the cliff is ideal for photographing sunset coastline vistas as well as a mode of transportation.

The 900-meter ride provides amazing views of the covered cliff face going up to the castle, the wide sands of Cleopatra Beach and the Mediterranean Sea below, and the dusky mountains in the distance.

The lower station is located right beyond the shoreline, while the higher station drops you off just outside Antalya Castle's main gate, from whence you may tour the old structures and ruins farther up the slope.

4. Boat Tours

10 Things You Should Do In Antalya:Boat Tours

From May to October, a number of tour boats sail from Antalya Harbor for day-long journeys around the stunning rocky headland, exploring sea caves where pirates once hid, and mooring off the coast for several swim stops.

The primary sea caves accessible by boats are Pirate Cave and Damlatas Cave, although depending on the boat, several others, such as Fosforlu Cave and Lovers' Cave, may also be explored.

The quality of trips varies greatly. Some boats are essentially specialized party tours, so make sure to research the operators and get recommendations from your hotel before leaving. If you don't want an onboard disco, smaller vessels are typically a better option.

5. Relax on Cleopatra Beach

10 Things You Should Do In Antalya:Relax on Cleopatra Beach

For many tourists, a trip to Antalya is all about the beach.

The sandy beaches, ringed by resorts, trace the coastline between Side and Antalya.

The major stretch of beach in Antalya is Cleopatra Beach, which is located on the western side of the city, separated from downtown Antalya by the steep, wooded slope of the castle promontory.

This length of white sand provides relaxed days of swimming and sunbathing, as well as good facilities for a full day at the beach.

The beach may grow crowded during the peak months of July and August. Come in late spring or early fall, when the weather is still warm and comfortable, and you'll find this stretch of beach to be surprisingly empty.

6. Visit Dim Cave

10 Things You Should Do In Antalya:Visit Dim Cave

Dim Cave is carved out of the western side of Mount Cebel-i Reis in the Taurus Mountains, only 11 kilometers inland from Antalya.

This cavern is Turkey's second largest available to tourists, featuring a boardwalk that runs 360 meters into the cave and descends 17 meters below the surface access.

The limestone interior is covered with massive stalactite and stalagmite formations all the way down to the cave's lowest level lake.

Bring a jacket or pullover with you; even at the height of summer, it's cool in here.

The cave entrance area, along with a café, offers stunning views of the coastal plateau below.

7.Day Trip to Side

10 Things You Should Do In Antalya:Day Trip to Side

The ancient remains located around the little town of Side are only 64 kilometers northwest of Alanya and may be seen in a day.

Side is a small but popular tourist spot with a touristic bazaar section flowing through the old town district and leading down to a port front area.

There are several cafés and restaurants along the coast here, so if you're intending on visiting Aspendos as well, here is the perfect location to stop for lunch.

The largest region of ancient ruins is located just across from the inland entrance of Side's old town district. Side's imposing 2nd-century Roman Theater, which can seat up to 20,000 people, can be found here. This is one of Turkey's best-preserved Roman theatre, as well as the town's most spectacular tourist attraction.

Don't miss Side Museum, which is located across the street from the theatrical entrance and is housed in a Roman bathhouse.

After that, visit the huge expanse of remains that includes the Agora and the Temple of Tyche, which is close to the east of the theater.

After seeing this archaeological site, make your way into the old town and up to the sea.

The surviving pillars and columns of the Temples of Apollo and Athena, which overlook the sea, are located directly on the coastline.

8. Rafting at Köprülü Canyon

10 Things You Should Do In Antalya:Rafting at Köprülü Canyon

The Köprülü Canyon National Park is located about 120 kilometers north of Alanya. It's most known as one of the top sites to visit in the area for rafting trips on the icy-blue river that runs down the canyon, but there's also Roman remains and lots of hiking options in the area.

Selge is the area's primary Roman archaeological site. The ruins of this once-thriving metropolis of 20,000 people may be seen in the isolated town of Altnkaya, 11 kilometers northwest of the canyon proper.

Despite being largely ruined, the enormous Roman Theater carved into the hillside and looming over the present village buildings is definitely worth a visit here.

Several tour companies provide rafting rides along the Köprü River within the canyon. The tours travel along the most beautiful area of the river, passing beneath the Roman-constructed Oluk Bridge, which was completed in the second century.

The canyon is 14 kilometers long, with cliffs that reach 400 meters in sections.

If rafting isn't your style, there are various cafés and restaurants along the river's edge where you can relax and take in the canyon landscape.

Hikers will find a variety of paths in the canyon area, ranging from walks up to Mount Bozburun's 2,504-meter summit to a two-hour trip following a Roman road.

9. Come and visit Syedra

10 Things You Should Do In Antalya:Come and visit Syedra

Check visit Ancient Syedra if you want to get away from the tour bus crowds.

Even during peak tourist season, you're likely to be the only visitors to this beautiful, lonely ruin, which sits high on a hilltop overlooking the seashore approximately 22 kilometers south of Alanya.

Syedra's settlement history dates back to the 7th century BC and was abandoned totally in the 13th century. Its most significant era, however, was the Roman Empire, when this site came to prominence due to its coastline location. The majority of the buildings that can still be seen today date from that time period.

Wander the colonnaded avenue and visit the Roman baths complex, gymnasium, and temple, which are the best surviving structures of the site.

If you have more time, visit Syedra's church and an olive oil workshop, both of which come from the city's latter Byzantine era.

10. Discover Anemurium

10 Things You Should Do In Antalya:Discover Anemurium

The large, rambling remains of Anemurium are one of the most intriguing sites in the southern Mediterranean area, but they attract barely a fraction of the tourists that other ancient sites do.

The remains are located along a long stretch of seashore just north of Anamur, 117 kilometers south of Alanya.

The coastal roadway that leads here is rather winding in places, so if you've hired a vehicle for a day trip here, leave early to avoid driving back in the dark.

The remains of Anemurium are a blend of Roman and Byzantine architecture. They include a vast necropolis area, a 4th-century basilica church, a 3rd-century baths complex, and a well-preserved Odeon (small theater), all surrounded by city walls that slope down the hillside.

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