What to do in Antalya? Antalya, a city in Turkey with the best nightlife in the country, is an alluring place. With many things to do in Antalya, it is a city known for its beauty and buzz. Known as the “Gateway to the Turkish Riviera” that goes far beyond beaches and tourist attractions. The city offers so many activities to indulge in. From swimming at the beaches to sightseeing and hiking and trekking to the amazing nightlife. This part of Turkey is worth every penny spent.
Antalya is a large city on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Antalya is located on the so-called Turkish Riviera and is a popular holiday destination. Antalya and its environs were founded in the 2nd century BC. Founded in the 1st century BC and house a treasure trove of cultural artefacts. Numerous empires have ruled Antalya at various points and the city preserves this rich heritage. While temperatures can rise sharply in the peak summer months, Antalya’s climate is typical of Mediterranean cities, mostly dry and pleasant. Whether you are looking for history or just beautiful scenery, Antalya is a great destination.
Are you traveling to Antalya and still looking for the top attractions and activities for your holiday program? We show you the most beautiful sights with a map, great pictures and recommendations for excursions. Some Antalya highlights excursions are particularly busy and can fill up quickly. In order to avoid long queues and to secure your entry, we recommend that you buy your ticket online in advance.
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Here is a list of things to do in Antalya that will make city vacations cheerful and fun.
Lower Düden Waterfall is a spectacle that takes place right on the Antalya coast.
Here the water of the Düden falls 40 meters from the cliff with a mighty roar. The cool breeze of the rushing water can be felt even on the top of the cliffs.
This impressive natural spectacle can be viewed from the park on the top of the cliffs or from a boat trip.
Not to be confused with the Upper Düden Waterfall, located in a naturally landscaped park in Antalya.
Check availability and tickets for excursions by clicking here please City Tour in Antalya
There is a market every day in Manavgat. The open-air market in the small district town is one of the largest in the region.
The fixed covered bazaar in the city center takes place every day. Leather, jewellery, clothing, souvenirs, spices, hand-woven carpets and much more are sold here.
Every Monday and Thursday, an additional market is set up in the side streets, which is divided into two areas. In one you will find mainly clothing and textile products.
Here you will find many well-known brand imitations, the import of which into Germany is prohibited. In the other part farmers sell their regional products. This part is all about fruits and vegetables.
Check availability and tickets for excursions at please click here Manavgat River Cruise from Antalya
The Manavgat River, one of the most important in the Mediterranean, flows right through the city and then flows into the Mediterranean Sea.
Boat trips across the river depart from the city center. They last about 3 to 4 hours and also pass the impressive waterfall (read more about Manavgat waterfall).
Here, water tumbles down from 5 meter high cliffs with an amazing spectacle. The high flow rate and speed of the river provide an ideal environment for rafting and similar water sports.
This area is home to many species of birds and fish. Mulberry trees, plane trees, willows, poplars and elms thrive along the river bank, where there are also citrus orchards and greenhouses.
Check availability and tickets for excursions at please click here Manavgat River Cruise from Antalya
Near Manavgat is Green Canyon, one of the few canyons in Turkey that offers boat trips through the canyon.
The cruise takes you along the rugged rocky landscape over the Olymapınar Dam, which is one of the largest dams in Turkey with an area of 470 hectares . The impressive gorge with its natural beauty and the Taurus Mountains provide the perfect backdrop.
At the various stops you can jump into the crystal clear water, swim and cool off in the emerald green lake. Food and drinks are usually included on these boat trips.
Check availability and tickets for excursions by clicking here please Green Canyon Boat Tour from Antalya
About 40 kilometers east of Antalya is Aspendos, famous for its Roman theater from the 2nd century AD. It is considered one of the best preserved in the world and is still used as an events venue during the summer months.
The International Opera and Ballet Festival is held here every June. Also, the famous show “Fire of Anatolia” is performed here in the theater of Aspendos.
Visiting a performance in the ancient theater is certainly an unforgettable experience.
Check availability and tickets for excursions at click here please Fires of Anatolia from Antalya
A very special open-air museum awaits you in Sandland Antalya on Lara Beach. Sand sculptures created by artists from all over the world are exhibited here on an area of around 10,000 m2.
Sandland is also called the “most fantastic museum in the world”. Although the exhibition has a different theme each year, you will almost always find Greek and Egyptian mythological figures, the 7 wonders of the world, the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum and much more. And everything is made of sand… The evening lighting creates a very special flair.
Simena Ancient City, now called Kaleköy, is an ancient site of rock-cut tombs and ruins that is now only accessible by boat from Kaş, Demre and Üçağız.
Parts of the small Lycian coastal town, inhabited since the 4th century, were buried under water by an earthquake. Consequently, the city became an island.
Many of the ancient ruins and the harbor pier are already clearly visible one meter below the water surface. The famous sunken basilica can be explored on a boat tour.
In the town, charming streets with old stone walls and cobblestones invite you to stroll, while the medieval castle offers a spectacular view of the island of Kekova.
Check availability and tickets for excursions at click here please Demra Myra Kekova Tour from Antalya
Tünektepe is considered one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Antalya. A cable car goes to the top of the 618 meter high hill where there is a beautiful terrace under pine trees with restaurants and cafes offering spectacular views.
The cable car is called Tünektepe Teleferik and is 1,706 meters long in total. 36 cabins each offer space for a total of 8 people and can transport 1,200 visitors per hour. A total of 609 vertical meters are covered in 9 minutes.
Tünektepe Teleferik is definitely worth a visit because of the breathtaking view.
Check availability and tickets for excursions by clicking here Cable Car Ride from Antalya please
Did you know that there is a ski resort just 30 kilometers from Antalya?
While skiing isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Turkey, the country offers plenty of opportunities for skiing.
Located at an altitude of 2,287 meters, Saklıkent offers 7 km of slopes covering all skill levels, from baby slopes to black slopes. This can be reached by chairlift and starts at the highest point of the ski area.
So if you want, you can ski in the morning and swim in the sea in the afternoon.
Established in 1994, Aqualand is the oldest of its kind in Antalya. Located in the middle of a large green area and surrounded by shady trees, it offers various water slides, a circular canal and a wave pool.
The dolphin shows last about 1 hour, during which the animals show their acrobatic tricks. If you want, you can swim with the dolphins after the show.
Check availability and tickets for excursions by clicking here Please Swim with Dolphins in Antalya
Now you know all the important things to do in the city of Antalya. Here are also other cities with excursions and activities in Antalya province:
Antalya’s historic district is a sight in itself, and you’d happily spend half a day wandering the narrow streets here, browsing the mix of finely restored and creaky ramshackle Ottoman-era architecture.
The district begins at the main gate, Kale Kapısı, which is marked by the ancient stone Saat Kulesi and the statue of Attalus II, the city’s founder. To the north is İki Kapılar Hanı, a late 15th-century sprawling covered bazaar. Go south of Uzun Çarşi Sokak, the street that starts opposite the clock tower. Immediately to the left is the 18th-century Tekeli Mehmet Paşa Camii, a mosque built by the Beylerbey (governor of governors), Tekeli Mehmet Paşa, and extensively repaired in 1886 and 1926. IT IS CURRENTLY UNDER RENOVATION, but note the beautiful Arabic calligraphy in the colored tiles above the windows and along the base of the dome.
Continue trekking into this protected zone where many of the graceful old Ottoman houses have been restored and turned into guesthouses, boutique hotels and shops. To the east, at the top of Hesapçi Sokak is the monumental Hadrian’s Gate, also known as Üçkapılar or the “Three Gates”, built for the Roman Emperor’s visit to Antalya in 130 AD.
The Roman port at the foot of the slope was Antalya’s lifeline from the 2nd century BC. until the late 20th century when a new port was built about 12 km west at the other end of Konyaaltı Plajı. The harbor was restored in the 1980s and is now a marina for yachts and pleasure boats. An elevator descends the cliff to the port from the unexpected end of Cumhuriyet Meydanı.
On the southwestern edge of Kaleiçi, at the corner of the large, attractive, flower-filled Karaalioğlu Parkı rises Hıdırlık Kalesi, a 14 m high tower from the 1st or 2nd century AD It was built as a mausoleum and later played due to its significant Positioned over the bay as a watchtower and lighthouse played an important role in the city’s defense.
Don’t miss this comprehensive museum with exhibitions covering everything from the Stone and Bronze Ages to Byzantium. The Hall of Regional Excavations displays finds from ancient cities in Lycia (such as Patara and Xanthos) and Phrygia, while the Hall of the Gods displays beautiful and impressive statues of 15 Olympian gods, many in good condition. Most of the statues have been found at Perge, including the sublime Three Graces and the towering Dancing Woman dominating the first room.
The sarcophagi are also impressive, including one for a third-century dog from Termessos. On the upper floor are coins and other gold artifacts recovered from Aspendos, Side, and Byzantine and Ottoman sites, including the so-called Elmalı Treasure of nearly 2000 Lycian coins.
Exhibitions have good English explanations and there is a cafe and bookshop. The museum is about 2 km west of Kaleiçi district and can be reached by Antik/Nostalji-Tramvay (tram) from Kale Kapısı. The tram runs along Cumhuriyet and Konyaaltı Caddesis to the museum (Müze stop).
This pretty and distinctive “fluted” minaret, built by the Seljuk Sultan Aladdin Keykubad I in the early 13th century, is Antalya’s landmark. The adjacent mosque (1373) is still in use.
Within the Yivli Minare complex is the excellent Mawlawi Lodge Museum, a tourist craft center housed in the restored 13th-century imaret medresesi (seminary) and two türbe (tombs), one from the late 14th century and the other from 1502 .
Commonly known as Üçkapılar (the “Three Gates”) in Antalya, the monumental Hadrian’s Gate was built for the Roman Emperor’s visit to Antalya in 130 AD. Flanked by defensive towers and city walls, it forms the main entrance to Kaleiçi from the east of the city. Constructed of marble and granite, it originally had a second storey and was twice as tall as it is today.
5. Roman port
The Roman port at the foot of the Kaleiçi slope was Antalya’s lifeline from the 2nd century B.C. until the late 20th century when a new port was built about 12 km west at the other end of Konyaaltı Plajı. The harbor was restored in the 1980s and is now a marina for yachts and pleasure boats. An elevator descends the cliff to the port from the unexpected end of Cumhuriyet Meydanı.
The harbor is lined with tourist restaurants and cafes. Above, on the southern edge of Cumhuriyet Meydanı, numerous tea gardens offer an aerial view of the harbor.
Hidden within the Yivli Minare complex, this fascinating domed building dates back to 1377 and was beautifully restored in 2018. Its original use is uncertain, but it was certainly a monastery for whirling dervishes during the Ottoman period. There are excellent exhibitions (in English and Turkish) on the life and times of the poet and Sufi spiritual leader, Rumi, and you can see rooms used by the dervishes and exhibitions on traditional musical instruments.
This jewel of a mosque is tucked away in the back streets of Kaleiçi. It began as the Panhagia Greek Orthodox Church in 1834 and was converted into a mosque in 1958. Unique in Antalya, the prayer hall’s original painted ceiling with its intricate star motifs has been preserved.
There are no official opening times, but the mosque is usually open in the afternoon after midday prayers. If you see the gate open, you can visit it.
These substantial ruins mark the site of an important building that played an important role in Antalya’s religious life over the centuries. Built as a 2nd-century Roman temple, it was converted into the Byzantine Church of the Virgin Mary in the 6th century and a mosque three centuries later. In 1361 it became a church again, but in the 19th century a fire destroyed most of it. A restoration process began in 2018, and the long-shortened minaret has now been partially rebuilt.
It’s right on the edge of Kaleiçi (the historic old town) so you can first explore the streets of Kaleiçi and then emerge at the top, ready to walk along the coast towards Konyaaltı. It’s very close to the cheap Otel Twenty, which we stayed at again, so it was a perfect base for us. And it’s also a piece of Antalya’s ancient history – a remnant of the old city walls, which also includes one of our recognized Roman attractions in Antalya, Hadrian’s Gate.
Hıdırlık Tower (tr. Hıdırlık Kulesi) is one of those historical buildings, like Hadrian’s Gate, fluted minaret and bell tower, which have become symbols inseparable from Antalya. However, it’s not really the tower itself that draws many visitors, but rather the beautiful view of Antalya Bay that looks particularly stunning from this vantage point.
The tower is one of the preserved monuments of the city. It is built of yellow-brown stone blocks. Its basement was built on a square plan at the turn of the 2nd century AD as part of the city fortifications. Soon, in the 2nd century, the second storey was added, this time on the circular plan. The upper part of the building was extensively renovated during the Seljuk and Ottoman periods.
The function of this structure still remains a mystery. Popular belief is that the tower was actually a specific person’s tomb. This hypothesis is confirmed by the fragments of frescoes preserved inside the building. In addition, there are stylized hatchet carvings on either side of the entrance gate, which may indicate the importance of the person buried within.
the specific location of the tower – on a cliff near the port – may indicate a different function of this structure. It is believed that it used to be a lighthouse and a viewpoint from which the ships approaching Antalya were observed. Perhaps the building was temporarily used as a church.
The tower is 14 meters high. The entrance is on the east side of the building. It leads to a small room from where a narrow staircase leads to the top level. Currently, the main role of the tower is purely decorative. It is a popular spot just before sunset for both the tourists and residents of Antalya.
The Hıdırlık Tower is located at the point where the historic Kaleiçi district borders with a large Karaalioğlu Park. It stands above the cliffs that rise south of the port, which has been in use since Roman times. The exact location of the tower is at the end of Hesapçı Sokak – a street that crosses the Kaleiçi district and starts at Hadrian’s Gate. The distance between this Roman era gate and Hıdırlık Tower is only 600 meters.
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