My husband and I would love to go to Turkey for some sun, sea and history. Having already enjoyed some time in the popular city of Istanbul, is there anywhere else you would recommend?
If you thought Istanbul was great, you will soon see that the more Southern city of Antalya really is something special. Aptly dubbed the ‘Turkish Riviera’, the beaches, harbor, Old Town and historical sites ensure that you will have an unforgettable time on the stunning Turkish Mediterranean.
Many visitors to the area come on ‘all-inclusive’ package holidays taking them to large resorts along the coast. Thankfully, this means that many parts of the city can be enjoyed at your leisure, with the Old Town area of Kaleici a great place to start. As the historical centre of the city is inside the old town walls, the narrow-winding streets and old buildings can be a welcome safe-haven from the bustling metropolis that has developed around it.
The area is best entered quite literally ‘as the Romans did’ - Hadrianus Gate still stands as the main gateway to the old town having been originally built by Roman Emperor Hadrian. Kaleici is unsurprisingly home to most of the city’s historical sites as well as the world-renowned Antalya Archaeological Museum.
While a few hours outside of the city, the ancient city of Hierapolis, now Pammukale, is one of the world’s most amazing natural phenomena. ‘Pammukale’ means ‘cotton castle’ in Turkish and when you get there you will know why. This surreal site looks like a wave of snow-capped melting glazers filled with icy water but is in fact a rare white rock and mineral deposit filled with hot springs. Ruins, temples and other Greek monuments from the ancient city of Hierapolis can also be seen at the site.
Far closer to the city are the magical Duden Waterfalls that spectacularly pour through the cliffs to reach their end in the sea outside of Antalya. It is important to be aware that this is considered the second of two Duden Waterfalls. The upper Duden Waterfalls is said to be far more tranquil with many pools, streams and smaller waterfalls that spill through a highly vegetated municipal park.
With all the site-seeing checked off your list, there are still many other great things to see and do in Antalya. Just west of the town is a beautiful beach area called Konyaalti that is perfect for relaxing, sunbathing and swimming. The shingle-covered shores are spectacularly walled by the Tarus Mountains and cliffs on either side and there are many shops, restaurants and cafés nearby.
Shopping in Antalya is largely based around gift shops, local stores and stalls but for more traditional retail therapy you should go to the Antalya Migros Shopping Mall that houses 104 stores including recognizable high-street names such as Zara.
Your evenings will be best spent around the Harbor and bustling marina where you will find the city’s best bars, taverns and restaurants serving the largely traditional (and delicious!) Turkish, Mediterranean and Greek-style dishes that the area is best known for. Locally loved Parlak Restaurant and Turkish-Italian fusion food at Gizli Bahce are two of the highest rated spots in town.
Antalya is also one of the best-priced locations in Europe and here are the top places to stay!
Where to Stay
Sealife Family Resort Hotel (*****)
Prices start from €43 per room per night on Hotels.com
This spectacularly luxurious hotel is a steal at such low prices. Sealife Family Resort Hotel offers 4-star restaurants, a full-service spa, an outdoor pool and access to a private beach. A free hot or cold buffet breakfast is also provided and the hotel itself is just minutes from the Antalya Archaeological Museum and Konyaalti Beach Park.
Rixos Downtown (*****)
Prices start from €76 per room per night on Hotels.com
Rixos Downtown is a beautiful, modern and stylish hotel with amazing interior and exterior architectural features. The hotel itself offers 5-star amenities such as a large outdoor pool, a bar/lounge and a full-service spa. True to its name, Rixos Downtown is located in the heart of the city meaning that you are never more than a stone’s throw away from any of the best sites and activities.
Inclusive breakfast is dependent on the room booked and also be sure to check if the room has a land or sea view.
Tuvana Hotel – Special Class (****)
Prices start from €49 per room per night on Hotels.com
Tuvana Hotel is a far more traditional styled hotel that keeps to charming, Mediterranean décor throughout. The hotel is in the old heart of the city, minutes from Hadrianus Gate.
Tuvanna Hotel is a true gem in the old town, with 3 restaurants, many courtyards, and an outdoor pool. Free breakfast and Wi-Fi are also included for all guests.
*All prices are subject to availability at the time of booking
For more information and travel tips on planning your holiday visit www.Hotels.com or call 1800 55 3338 to wake up happy on your holiday!