Antalya is a thriving modern city, complete with countless shops and restaurants, lively nightlife and a colourful cafe culture. In addition, it is rapidly becoming Turkey’s foremost centre for toursim, with the largest concentration of 5 star hotels and self-contained holiday villages in the Aegean and Mediterranean regions.
Kaleiçi, Antalya’s old town and its heart, lies within the old city walls. Many of the wooden Ottoman mansions have been sympatheically restored and today house shops selling local handicraft and luxurious boutique hotels. No cars are allowed in its narrow streets so it is a good place to soak up the atmosphere around the charming harbour. The symbol of Antalya, the fluted minaret or Yivli Minare built by the Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubat in the 13th century, rises to a height of 38 metres.
History and Culture
Culture vultures will find plenty of interest in the Archaeological Museum which has artefacts from the Paleolithic Age right through to Ottoman times. Antalya has a backdrop of stunning mountain scenery, and the city is set high on cliffs, with many of its grandest hotels overlooking the sea on the outskirts of the town. The nearby ancient sites of Perge and Aspendos, the latter being the venue for the annual world-renowned Opera and Ballet Festival, are also within easy reach from the City.
The beach area of Lara, approximately 12 kms to the east is home to the best beach in the area, known for its golden sand, which is rapidly becoming a resort in its own right. To the west, the long pebble beach of Konyaaltı is also popular. Heading up into the mountains, you can make the most of the beautiful scenery by visiting the spectacular Düden or Kurşunlu Waterfalls to see a completely different side to the Turkish landscape. At Saklıkent, just 50 kms away you can even visit a ski resort, where they usually have snow on the pistes until early April.
Aspendos Opera & Ballet Festival – held each year in June and July, the festival attracts a host of top international performers and the setting, the magnificent Roman theatre, is simply spectacular.
Antalya’s impressive Archaeology Museum – one of the largest museums in Turkey with no less than 13 exhibition halls and 5,000 exhibits (with a further 25,000 in storage).
Golden Orange Film Festival – Turkey’s answer to the Oscars, held in mid-October.