Places To Visit In Antalya, Straddling both the continent’s borders and the line between ancient and modern, Turkey is a fascinating destination for history buffs and adventure seekers alike. Located on the Mediterranean coast, Antalya is a beautiful city with plenty to see and many places to visit.
The Turkish Riviera is not known as the Turquoise Coast for nothing. Whether you come for the beautiful beaches, the many historical sites, or the magical waterfalls in the countryside, Antalya is sure to give you lifelong memories of a fantastic trip.
Antalya is developing at a dizzying pace, with shopping malls, glitzy hotels, and beach clubs crowding along the coastline east and west of the city.
But there is also enchanting nature to discover with waterfalls, luxurious beaches, and the colossal Bey and Taurus Mountains.
What are the best places to visit in Antalya?
With the preserved streets of the historic Old Town, the huge selection of idyllic beach hotels along the coast, and the ruins of the Roman fortifications just a stone’s throw away, there are plenty of places to visit in Antalya:
- The old town of Antalya (Kaleiçi): It is a maze-like neighborhood where you can enjoy the simple, ancient ambiance. One of the structures that define the silhouette of Kaleiçi is the Kesik Minare (Broken Minaret). This mosque, which was severely damaged in a fire in the 19th century, features stonework from a Roman temple and a Byzantine basilica. In 2019, the minaret received a new conical crown. Although the city is more of a place to just soak up the old-world atmosphere, there are also many small tourist attractions for those who want to take in the sights. In the main square, there is a fortress gate and a stone-clad clock tower, while the 18th century Tekeli Mehmet Paşa Mosque is one of the most famous.
- Antalya Archeological Museum: the city is located in the ancient region of Pamphylia, which stretches from the Mediterranean coast to the Taurus Mountains. It is no wonder then that the Archeological Museum of Antalya is one of the best in the country and a mandatory stop on any vacation to the city. The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts from the city and surrounding region, showcasing every aspect of Turkey’s rich heritage. The large archeological section features exhibits from the Bronze Age to Byzantium. Most famous, however, are the fine statues created during the Hellenistic and Roman eras in ancient cities such as Perge, Xanthos, and Patara.
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- Perge Antalya: The first of several ancient sites you must visit is the city of Perge about 15 km east of Antalya. It is one of the best places you should visit in Antalya. It has a touch of Greek and Roman architecture. The beauty of this city lies in its stadium ruins, destroyed temples, and half-destroyed arcades. Of particular interest are the Roman baths, the Hellenistic gate, and the Acropolis area with its sweeping views over the site. For individual travelers, this ancient site is most easily reached from Antalya, as Antalya’s streetcar network now extends to Aksu, from where you can walk the last two kilometers to the site’s entrance gate.
- Hadrian’s Gate: This magnificent triumphal arch, located just off Atatürk Boulevard, was built in the 2nd century BC to celebrate Emperor Hadrian’s visit to Antalya. The gateway has three arches with four columns between them on each side. The sculptural decoration takes you on a journey through the ancient worlds of Hellenism and the Romans. This gate, one of the most impressive tourist attractions of Antalya, once served as the main entrance to the city of Kaleici. The three arches are lined with columns and the ceiling inside has some beautiful carvings that you can admire; two ancient towers perfectly frame Hadrian’s Gate on both sides. The old defensive walls still surround much of the city.
- Kursunlu Waterfalls: located in the natural park of the same name, they are worth a visit. The water rises from the Aksu River and flows through the landscape before plunging into the pretty turquoise basin below Kursunlu. There, in a 600-hectare nature park, you will find the beautiful Kurşunlu Waterfall. Surrounded by pine forests, it plunges from a height of 18 meters, but in the gorge, there is a chain of seven water basins, each fed by smaller cascades. At the entrance to the park, there is also a picnic area and a viewing terrace with a restaurant and a playground for the little ones.
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What else can you do in Antalya?
- Visit the ancient ruined city of Aspendos: About 40 km from Antalya, the remains of the ancient city of Aspendos are worth another day trip. The most incredible sight is the theater, which dates back to between 160-180 AD and is the best-preserved theater of its kind in the world.
- Relax on one of the beaches or in one of the luxury resorts of Antalya: the coast of Antalya is known for its incredible natural beauty and the many beaches where you can relax and soak up the sun along the turquoise blue coast. Konyaalti and Lara Beach are the main beaches accessible from the city.
- Have lunch overlooking the Old Port: One of the best ways to experience Turkish cuisine and the most beautiful sight of Antalya is to have lunch overlooking the old port of the city.