Are you looking for the best things to do in Antalya during your trip to Turkey? The stunning city of Antalya lies in one of the most picturesque areas of Turkey, known as the Turkish Riviera or the Turquoise Coast. With its pristine beaches, lovely year-round weather, ample historic sites, and top-tier restaurants, you’ll find many things to do in Antalya.
Those planning an extended visit will find easy access to nearby towns, like Aspendos, for additional activities and attractions. Whether you prefer a trip that primarily includes days spent sunning at the beach, or tours of important historic sites that feature architecture from the Hellenistic and Roman eras, Antalya offers various interests.
Below is a detailed guide on the 17 best things to do in Antalya to help you plan your itinerary for your next Turkey trip. Travel tips, accommodation recommendations, and frequently asked questions are included for a smoother planning process.
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Best Things to Do in Antalya
Antalya is on the Turquoise coast and is known for its history and crystal-clear waters. When creating your Turkey itinerary, consider starting with the following things to do in Antalya.
Those interested in a beach day lounging by the water will enjoy Konyaalti Beach in the western part of the city. This pebble beach offers easy access to restaurants and cafes, which can be reached strolling along the boardwalk. Konyaalti Beach is family-friendly and is great for sunning on lounge chairs, swimming, and relaxing in the shade of beach umbrellas. This beach also offers lovely views of the Antalya Mountains.
Tunek Tepe Cable Car
Tunek Tepe is a large hill that overlooks Antalya, offering panoramic views of the surrounding area, including Antalya and the Mediterranean coastline. You can reach the summit by cable car ride, which offers additional views of the city and landscape as you ascend. At the top of Tunek Tepe is a rotating restaurant, observatory, ice cream shop, and tea garden. There’s also a playground for children and a small crafts market.
Hike to Termessos
You can hike up to the mountaintop ruins of Termessos if you prefer outdoor activities. This city was built by the Pisidian people, known for being warriors. They intentionally built Termessos in an isolated location as protection from potential invaders. This remote location has helped protect the ruins over the years and is one of the cities Alexander the Great could not conquer. The open-air theater views and agora make the hike more than worthwhile.
Ancient City of Phaselis
For those who want to view additional historic sites, Phaselis is an excellent option. This ancient Lycian port dates back to 334 BCE. It’s famous for where Alexander the Great set up his winter residence. Phaselis is not inside Antalya but about 60 km outside of the city. Expect to see ruins such as temples and an aqueduct in Phaselis. There are three bays where you can spend the afternoon swimming or picnicking by the water. There are restrooms and changing rooms on-site. Also, there are markets for snacks and drinks.
Antalya Archaeological Museum
The archaeological museum in Antalya is the perfect start to learning about the history of all the best things to do in Antalya. Antalya has a long and rich history in the Pamphylia Region. This museum is considered one of the best in Turkey. During a visit, you can explore the 13 halls, which consistently showcase 5,000+ pieces. Artifacts and displays are available detailing life in Antalya from its early years to the 20th century.
Try Antalya Turkish Food Specialties
Antalya has many Turkish food options, only found in Antalya. The local cuisine is an excellent way to connect with Turkish culture during a trip. Some top dishes to try are gozleme (savory pancakes), borek (savory pastries), and Turkish ice cream. Additionally, you can expect a fun back and forth with the ice cream vendors, as they’ll try to trick you into grabbing a spare cone instead of your ice cream.
Explore Kale Ici (Old Town)
Kaleici, known as Antalya’s Old Town, is a must-see spot. It has been occupied for over 2,000 years. Explore the area’s long history at Grand Hadrian’s Gate and the Tekeli Mehmet Paşa Mosque. Stroll the cobblestone streets to the iconic Ottoman mansions, and visit local shops, cafés, and restaurants as you head down to the Old Town Harbor.
Yivli Minaret Mosque
On your way into Old Town, stop to appreciate the Yivli Minaret Mosque near the entrance. This mosque was initially built between 1219 – 1236 by a Seljuk sultan. It’s famous for the minaret, which has been restored multiple times. Even though it was built many years prior, the mosque has remained relatively intact and well-preserved. This building is also home to the Antalya Ethnographic Museum, which showcases items like nomadic tents and clothing. An additional, more recently built mosque is attached to the original mosque, which continues to be used today.
Walk Through Hadrian’s Gate
As mentioned, Hadrian’s Gate is a top attraction in Old Town. This gate features dramatic arches you can walk under as you enter Kaleici from the east. This gate was initially built to honor the Roman Emperor Hadrian and his 130 CE visit. It was created from marble and includes beautiful carvings visible as you walk underneath the triple arches.
Boat Trip from the Old Harbor
The Old Harbor was previously Antalya’s primary port for receiving trade items. Now, you can take boat trips from the harbor to enjoy the beautiful scenery and water. The 2 hour boat trip will take you down the coastline to the Lower Duden Waterfall. The shorter boat trip will take you along the cliffs and then back to see caves and views of the city and mountains. On shore, you’ll find several restaurants and cafes in the Old Harbor area, perfect for refueling after a boat trip.
Drink Tea at Karaaligolu Park
Karaaligolu Park is a lovely spot near Kaleici and the city center of Antalya. This park has a unique cliff location, allowing you to see views of the Mediterranean Sea and Antalya. Karaaligolu Park has beautiful exotic flowers, water fountains, and sculptures to take in during a visit. It’s the perfect location for a stroll. You’ll find many cafes and tea gardens to sit and relax before heading into Kale Ici.
Note: The Hidirlik Tower sits at one edge of the park on the cliffs at the entrance to Kale Ici. It’s worth a stop while visiting Karaaligolu Park.
There are two ways to access the stunning Duden Waterfalls, with each access point only a few kilometers away. One access point offers views of the upper falls (Alexander Falls), while the other provides views of the lower falls (Karpuzkaldiran Waterfall). The lower falls include playgrounds and a zip line. You can also view this waterfall from a terrace near in Duden Park.
If you’re visiting the Upper Duden Waterfalls, you’ll find restaurants, cafes, caves, and a hiking path behind the falls. Those with limited time can select the upper or lower falls for their visit.
Lara Beach is a fantastic option for soft white sand beaches. This beach is split between a public and private area which only allows access to those staying in specific hotels. If your hotel does not provide access to Lara Beach, the west end of the beach is open to the public. Quite a few activities are available at this beach, including sunbathing, jet ski rentals, and the option to paddleboard on the water. A slew of restaurants and cafes lie alongside the beach. It’s an excellent spot for those visiting Antalya with kids due to the many available activities.
The Kursunlu Waterfalls reside in Kursunlu Park, approximately 12 kilometers from Antalya. These breathtaking waterfalls are accessible via a walking loop that treks through a lush forest area. The water for these falls originates from the Aksu River, then travels through a canyon. These falls include one significant 18-meter drop, leading to seven smaller pools of water. Those wishing to spend their day at the park can utilize the picnic area and playground. There’s also a restaurant and observation terrace for Kursunlu Park visitors. Driving or taking a taxi to the park are the quickest options.
Another major historic site is Perge, which once was the capital of Pamphylia. This site is about 15 km from Antalya and is a wonderful ancient city to explore. This former capital was established about 1000 BC. It has impressive ruins, including the remains of a chariot racing arena. Other highlights at Perge include a Roman Theater and a few temples.
Down the road from Pege is the ancient city of Aspendos, with the largest Roman theater built in Asia minor, originally built around 155 AD. It includes a large, majestic entrance which you can walk through. This theater is home to the annual Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival. You can also see the remains of the agora, basilica, and aqueduct, all of which were rebuilt in the 1200s. This is one of the most famous ancient cities to visit in Antalya. We recommend visiting early to beat the summer heat.
Rafting at Koprulu Canyon
One of the most exciting things to do in Antalya is rafting in Koprulu Canyon in Koprulu Canyon National Park. The brilliant blue water weaves through the rugged cliffs, creating a picturesque location for rafting. Many guided tours include meals and swimming in the cold mountain waters after rafting. Those who want to see the area but don’t want to go on a rafting trip have alternative activities at the park, such as zip-lining, safaris, hiking, and more.
How to Get Around Antalya
If you plan on arriving at Antalya Airport, you’ll find several transportation options, including taxis, buses, light rail, and car rentals. Depending on your budget and length of stay, certain modes of transportation will best fit your Turkey trip. Below, you’ll find details on each type of transport.
Rent a Car
You can rent a car directly at the airport, making this a convenient option, especially for travelers planning day trips from Antalya. Many major car rental companies like Hertz and Avis offer car rentals at Antalya Airport. You can find these companies at Terminals 1 & 2.
Luckily, public transportation from the airport is readily available and easy to use. Any public transportation you can take is outside Terminals 1 & 2. The bus or light rail will be the most cost-effective option for reaching the city center.
You can make transportation easier to navigate with the Moovit App, which can be downloaded to your phone. This app lets you view public transport schedules, routes, and directions to attractions around Antalya.
A day tour is the most convenient way to access all the best things to do in Antalya. Scheduling a day tour allows you to enjoy the area without worrying about finding transportation or your way to specific attractions. A guided tour lets you learn more about places like Old Town Antalya. Additionally, you can take day trips from Antalya to nearby sites like Cirali and the ruins of the ancient city of Olympos with a private day trip. Here are the top 10-day tours.
Where to Stay in Antalya
Land of Legends
The Land of Legends Kingdom Hotel in Antalya is family-friendly, offering exciting rides, water attractions, and cuisine from various cultures/locations. This hotel features a crazy river, a lazy river, a 1300-meter roller coaster, 5D cinema, and multiple swimming pools. Every room has a different theme, including a Play Station and large LED TV. A gift shop and spa are also on the premises. Check current rates.
This 5-star hotel sits seaside in Antalya, offering exquisite views of the Mediterranean Sea and the Taurus Mountains during a stay. It’s located in Antalya’s city center, making it easy to access nearby attractions. Akra Barut Hotel has a wellness center, gym, and multiple restaurants/bars available. Additional amenities include a kid’s club, tennis courts, five swimming pools, and bicycle rentals. Check current rates.
The Sea Life Family Resort Hotel is another family-friendly option in Antalya. It sits facing Konyaalti Beach, allowing easy access via an underpass for those who enjoy sunbathing. Many kid-friendly amenities are available at this hotel, including water slides and a kid’s club. Diving and snorkeling equipment is also available for use during a stay. A spa and multiple restaurants/bars are located at the hotel. Check current rates.
FAQs: Things to Do in Antalya
Is Antalya Worth Visiting?
Yes, Antalya is worth visiting for multiple reasons. For one, its diverse activities offer people of all ages the opportunity to explore historical sites and beach activities. Additionally, Antalya is a relatively affordable area, making it a budget-friendly destination.
What is Antalya Best Known For?
Antalya is best known for its rich history, as there are many sites where you can take a step back in time for a few moments. This area is a history lover’s paradise, from museums showcasing incredible artifacts to ancient ruins you can stroll through. This city is equally well-known for offering some of the best beach holidays on the Mediterranean coast. With its various beaches ranging from pebble to soft sand, it’s easy to see why many travel here to take advantage of the views and turquoise blue water.
Is 4 Days Enough for Antalya?
If you have limited time and can’t spend more than four days in Antalya, then you’ll be able to see most of the major attractions. However, we suggest staying longer. A longer stay will allow you to travel along the Turkish coast to visit nearby towns and beaches like Kas, Cirali, and Fethiye.
Conclusion: Things to Do in Antalya
You’ll find many exciting things to do in Antalya regardless of your interests. With its rich history, beautiful scenery, and exciting things to do, Antalya is a must-visit destination in Turkey. If you plan to extend your stay to visit nearby areas, consider heading along the Turquoise coast and spending time in Kas or Fethiye.
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