Antalya, Turkey Guide

Last Updated on January 28, 2024

Antalya is the most popular destination along the Turkish Mediterranean Coast. It is a sprawling modern city with a small, charming historic center that tells of its past as an ancient Greco Roman city. It has a good archeology museum, many malls, and family-friendly activities, and it is a great base to explore the Mediterranean region since it has the Turquoise Coast's busiest airport.

Top Sights

Antalya is a popular tourist destination for locals and tourists alike, synonymous with beaches and rich history. Visitors have many choices when planning a vacation here. It is full of the region's living history, with some sites located inside the city center of Antalya and others in the nearby beach towns of the region.

Konyaaltı, Lara, & Mermerli Plajı

Konyaaltı Plajı has a swath of rough sand and pebbles running west for several kilometers. The sand is somewhat softer along Lara Plajı (Lara Beach) to the east. There's also the private beach of Mermerli Plajı, both excellent places to enjoy the Turkish Riviera.

Kaleiçi, Roman Harbor, & Hadrian's Gate

The historic center of Antalya, called Kaleiçi (Old Antalya), surrounds the Roman Harbor. There are many entrances to Kaleici, but the most stunning is walking under the three large arches of Hadrian's Gate, which was built for the Roman Emperor Hadrian for his visit in 130 AD. Many of the buildings here date from Ottoman and Roman times. Wander down more of the narrow streets to discover hotels, restaurants, and other historical sights.

Standing atop the cliff of the old town, you get panoramic views of Antalya Marina (Kaleiçi Yat Limanı) and the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. Enjoy a stroll in the cobbled streets of the old city before enjoying the delicious local cuisine or exploring the stunning beaches nearby.

Antalya Aquarium & Archeology Museum

Antalya Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world and is near other amusement parks and the Antalya Archeology Museum. There are abundant options for shopping, whether you have a preference for a traditional bazaar, one of Antalya's many modern shopping malls, or shops selling souvenirs and traditional handicrafts that line the cobblestone streets inside Kaleiçi.


Hosting a large percentage of domestic and international tourists, Antalya has many accommodation options, ranging from five-star hotels to budget hostels.

Many visitors opt for boutique hotels within Kaleiçi or nearby Turkey's Mediterranean coast. There are many all-inclusive hotels that offer easy access to the sea. Budget-conscious travelers may opt for a pension, but if you are looking for an upscale stay, there are also many luxury accommodations.

By far, our favorite place to stay is the Tuvana Hotel, an Ottoman-style inn with carefully decorated interiors, a swimming pool, three restaurants, and a gorgeous inner courtyard.


Antalya is the transport hub of the region, served by a big, modern airport 10 km (6 miles) east of the city center and a bus terminal (otogar) 4 km (2.5 miles) north. The city is near Turkey's most popular beach towns and historical sites and has a well-developed network of roads and highways that connect it to other parts of Turkey and other smaller towns along the Mediterranean coast.

There are several options for accessing the airport. There are also many options for getting around the city and touring some of the nearby sites, such as renting a car, taking a tour bus, or using the local dolmus (shared minibus) service. If you want the cheapest option, it's best to take public transportation.

If you are wondering how to get around in the city center, you have several options to choose from. Antalya has many ways of getting around the center as well as Antalya province. Public transportation methods such as buses, dolmushes, and trams are ready to serve your day-to-day trips. If you are looking for a more private experience, there are many private transportation companies, guided tours with vehicles, rent-a-car offices, and taxis to opt from. Check out our main Antalya transportation page here for detailed information.

Distances & Travel Times

Bodrum: 422.4 km (262.47 mi), 5.30 hours.

Çeşme: 537.5 km (333 mi), 6.30 hours.

Fethiye: 200 km (125 mi), 3 hours.

Marmaris: 318.4 km (197 mi), 5 hours.


Antalya is the tourism hub of Turkey, so it is no wonder there are so many five-star restaurants offering the best meals all around the world.

While in Antalya, we recommend enjoying the best Mediterranean cuisine. Read our recommendations for the best cafes, ice cream, and restaurants. For a taste of local flavor, try our recommendations on the best places to try kofte, piyaz, and more.

If you prefer to try your hand at cooking, check out our handy shopping list and enjoy our simple and delicious recipe for baba ganoush.

Top Experiences

Antalya is a prime holiday destination, offering everything one might expect from a vacation. There are beaches, nightlife, natural wonders, water sports, five-star restaurants, and exceptional cafes. 

Go for a Swim

Antalya is known for its pristine private and public beaches nestled around the seashore. While in Antalya, go for a swim on one of the beaches. We recommend going outside the city lines for a more calming experience.

Try Water Sports

Those who prefer an active lifestyle can always go for water sports in Antalya. There is rafting, diving, sailing, and a lot more to experience. Also, many five-star hotels will include these water sports in their programs, and the professionals will guide you through every second.

Sail in the Old Marina

Sailing along the shore in Antalya Marina (Kaleiçi Yat Limanı) is one activity that has formed the foundation of Antalya's tourism industry for years. The programs provide music, food, and tours of natural caves around the shore. It also gives you a different perspective on the city.

Take a Walk

Antalya is also a very walkable city with many pedestrian roads, hiking routes, and natural wonders to stroll through. Try going for a walk in the famous Atatürk Park, Manavgat Şelalesi, or near the wonderful hiking routes of Olimpos and Çıralı for a more serene experience. Don't forget to go to Konyaaltı and Beach Park for a nice stroll along the seashore in the evening. 

Enjoy Nightlife

Antalya, in the summer, is known for its lively nightlife. Turkish people know how to have fun; the weather is hot, and the clubs are open throughout the night. It is a popular option for anyone who wants to get to know the locals better.

Tours & Excursions

Antalya is also a good base for day trips to explore the surrounding region. The city is located centrally in the resource-rich Mediterranean region, which has been the birthplace of many civilizations throughout human history. As a result, there are numerous sites with archeological significance nearby that you can choose to explore. Since Antalya is one of the major hubs served by international flights, it's often the best option to fly here first before exploring other parts of south west Turkey.


Perge was an ancient Lycian settlement that was also used by the Greeks and Romans in the region. Today, just outside of the city, sits the ancient ruins of Perge. Here, you can see the ancient Agora, stadium, gates, and other remains of the settlement. A bit further out of the city limits, Aspendos features a well-preserved Roman theater.


Side is an ancient port town founded in the 7th century BCE. It has a sparkling beach alongside large marble columns, as well as a large theater and a museum. Today, near the popular resort destination Manavgat, Side is one of the prime destinations to visit near Antalya and well worth at least a half-day trip.

Olimpos & Çıralı

To the west, the ancient cities of the Lycian Empire, Olimpos & Çıralı are quiet towns set between the mountains and sea, where you'll also find eternal flames burning since antiquity. It is a well-known gateway, comparatively near the city center. It is famed for its traditional lodging options, ranging from camping to tree houses, as well as its well-preserved authentic appearance, offering a serene holiday away from the busy city life.

Phaselis, Selge, Termessos & Sagalassos

 Phaselis has smaller ruins set in a fragrant, green park. There are many other sites, such as SelgeTermessos (map), and the ancient city of Sagalassos, which feature ruins further into the mountains behind Antalya. They are best paired with Roman road hiking trails.

Köprülü Canyon National Park & Adrasan

Köprülü Kanyon National Park and Adrasan are the natural havens of Antalya, offering a deeper dive into the nature of the region. Those who are into adventure would enjoy river rafting in Köprülü Kanyon National Park or a boat tour to Suluada Beach via Adrasan.

When to go to Antalya

Antalya enjoys a Mediterranean climate and has hot and sunny weather throughout the spring, summer, and fall. This means the city is lively, and you can even swim for almost seven months of the year.

However, the temperature is mildly cold in the winter, and the tourism sector takes a break to prepare for the upcoming high season. During the winter season, despite having relatively mild winters, some resorts will not be running as in other seasons. So, you can visit Antalya throughout the year except for the winter period of three months: December, January, and February. For the best experience, aim for the summer period starting in late March and lasting until late November.

Visit Antalya

Antalya invites you to explore its fascinating blend of history and modernity. Wander through the charming streets of Kaleiçi or soak up the sun on Konyaaltı and Lara beaches. Whether you’re diving into the Antalya Aquarium or savoring local cuisine, this coastal gem promises an unforgettable experience.

—by Tom Brosnahan, updated by Kimberly Price & Can Turan

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