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HomeDubai Travel21 Unique Things To Do In Antalya, Turkiye

21 Unique Things To Do In Antalya, Turkiye

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With 400 miles of stunning coastline giving way to the Mediterranean Sea, countless ancient Roman sites, a charming old town and natural beauty waiting to be discovered, it’s no surprise Antalya is a popular destination for holidays in Turkiye.

I’ve visited Turkey numerous times since my teen years and even did a road trip from Marmaris to Cappadocia and back a few years ago via Antalya.

It’s only recently that I truly delved into the region known as Turkey’s ‘Turquoise Coast’.

Guide to Antalya, Turkey

Here’s my guide to the best things to do in Antalya including the must-visit attractions, most popular excursions, some restaurant recommendations and my general tips for the unmissable places to visit in Antalya.

TIP: I recommend hiring a car to explore the region, as Antalya’s top attractions are spread out. You can check prices for car hire in Antalya here.

Whether you’ve book a package holiday to Antalya and you’re looking for a few fun places to go outside of your resort or you’re travelling independently in Turkey, this guide will help you find the best places to visit in Antalya.

Top things to do in Antalya

1. Explore Antalya Old Town

Antalya Old Town

The number one place to visit in Antalya is the region’s quaint old town, Kaleiçi. It’s undergoing constant renovation to restore the area to its former glory.

You can either do a guided walking tour or explore on your own.

Some of the best things to see in Antalya old town include Hadrian’s Gate, where you can still see the deep grooves in the ground left by the chariots that traversed the area in days gone by.

Hadrian's Gate in Antalya Old Town

Other Antalya Old Town attractions include the former town hall (which is now used for photography exhibitions), the statue of King Attalos II of Pergamon, the Culture & Arts Centre, Mawlawi Lodge Museum and mosques: Tekeli Mehmet Paşa Camii and Sultan Alaadın Camii.

Former town hall in Antalya
Minaret in Antalya Old Town

You can easily spend a day in Antalya old town exploring the maze of car-less streets with their Ottoman-era konaks, and there are plenty of bars and restaurants to keep you fed and watered.

Street in Antalya Old Town

I recommend venturing into Kecili park to take in the views over the harbour from the glass balcony.

View from Kecili Park in Antalya Old Town

This is a great spot for sunset in Antalya’s old town, where you can watch the sun disappear into the Taurus Mountains beyond.

Sunset spot in Antalya Old Town

Make your way down to the ancient harbour via the 40 Steps or using the glass lift, for a drink in one of the bars overlooking the yachts and day trip boats.

Hıdırlık Tower is another top attraction in Antalya Old Town, near the harbour.

Tower in Antalya Old Town

There’s a Roman bath beneath the tower which is currently being excavated.

2. Visit The Land of Legends

If you’re looking for things to do in Antalya with kids, you’ll earn massive brownie points with tickets to The Land of Legends.

The Land of Legends, Antalya at night

This huge complex has a theme park, water park, an upmarket shopping avenue that reminded me of Dubai, a fairytale castle and a programme of shows and events including a musical boat parade show and a fountain show.

I recommend an evening meal at the aquarium restaurant, Nemo.

Nemo Restaurant in The Land of Legends, Antalya

Some of the big hotel resorts in Antalya offer packages that include tickets, but if your accommodation doesn’t, you can purchase tickets for The Land of Legends online here.

Going to The Land of Legends with kids? You can buy day passes for the theme park here.

The tickets entitle you to unlimited rides, slides and admission to the 5D cinema.

3. Set sail on a boat trip

Whenever I visit Turkey, I always make sure to plan one day out on the sea. It’s just such a vibe!

Boat trips in Antalya

If you’re visiting Antalya Old Town, you can take a boat trip from the marina there.

There are lots of different boat trips available in Antalya for every type of traveller. If you’re there for nightlife and parties, check out this one.

More interested in unwinding on the waves while you take in some incredible views? You’ll love a cruise to Suluada Island.

If you want to see another of Antalya’s attractions, you can book a boat trip to Kekova Sunken City or do a boat trip to Porto Genoese that includes a visit to the mud baths.

Looking for something fun to do in Antalya with kids? It’s got to be a pirate boat trip!

4. Spend a day at the beach

There are plenty of great beaches in Antalya and more than 200 of them have Blue Flag status.

In the Old Town itself, try Mermerli Beach. You’ll pay a fee to use the loungers and parasols belonging to one of the restaurants, but you get waited on throughout your stay.

Beach near Antalya Old Town Harbour

Some of the most popular beaches around Antalya province are Kleopatra Beach (good for paragliding), Moon Light Parki and Patara Beach.

I visited Kaputaş Beach when I did my road trip through Antalya a few years ago. I was travelling with locals and they hadn’t warned me how beautiful it would be when we pulled up on the cliffside road!

Kaputas Beach in Turkey

Kaputas Beach is probably one of the best small beaches in Antalya, but there is a bit of a climb down the steps to enter and exit so it isn’t accessible for all.

You’ve probably heard of Lara Beach because a lot of big resorts are located here. Although much of the long stretch is reserved for guests of the individual hotels, the west end of the beach is public.

Lara Beach does get busy in the height of summer, but the facilities are perfect for a cheap family day out in Antalya.

5. Shop for real Turkish textiles

In addition to the obligatory Turkish Delight, Turkish eye (‘nazar boncugu’) jewellery and eye-catching ceramics, one of the more authentic souvenirs you can buy in Antalya is a kilim.

Carpet shop in Antalya Old Town

Anatolian carpets are world-renowned for their quality and for the craftmanship that goes into their creation.

Kilim is a type of handmade Turkish rug using a flat tapestry-woven method of production, which gives it a flat surface instead of a deeper pile.

Textiles in Turkey

You can pick up some truly beautiful patterned kilim in Antalya, and many of the better shops will even ship them home for you.

The shopkeeper may even offer you a cup of çay while you choose your design!

6. Visit a waterfall

Visitors are often surprised at how much natural beauty is to be found in Turkey, which is unsurprising considering many don’t go beyond their resort.

Another of Antalya’s top attractions is the Duden Waterfalls.

Lower Duden Waterfalls in Antalya

The lower falls cascade into the Mediterranean sea from a 40 foot drop and can be viewed from a coastal park where you’ll find plenty of vendors and places to eat lunch.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit both the upper and lower falls on separate trips to Antalya, and I have to say that I think the Upper Duden Waterfall is more impressive.

Duden Waterfall in Antalya, Turkey is a must see on a 10 day tour

Though less popular, the upper falls are very atmospheric and worth the short walk through the park they’re located in. The shaded area also provides a refreshing break from the hot Antalya sun.

If you’re a keen photographer looking for scenic places in Antalya to capture, don’t skip the upper falls!

Karpuz Kaldıran waterfalls are also worth visiting. You can visit both on a day tour.

7. Go white water rafting

Did you know you can go rafting in Antalya? At the jaw-dropping Köprülü Canyon National Park, you can take to the water on a 15km stretch of river.

Find out more about white water rafting in Antalya here. The tour has very positive reviews.

Alternatively, if you have more energy to burn you can opt to combine your rafting experience with ziplining and canyoning on this excursion. Both trips have transfers included.

8. Visit Termessos

One thing Antalya has in bucketloads is historic sites, and Termessos is one of the most famous sites to visit in Antalya.

It’s a little difficult to get to, so it’s best to go on an organised tour. Termessos built in between two peaks on Gulluk Mountain, and is known as the Eagle’s Nest because of its location in the Taurus mountain range. 

Ruins in Antalya Turkey

Also known as the ‘Turkish Machu Pichu’, it’s the only place Alexander the Great was unable to conquer. 

If you’re looking for activities in Antalya, you might be interested in hiking at Termessos.

9. Visit Cappadocia

Though not actually in Antalya, one of the world’s most Instagram-famous destinations is within easy reach of the region. It would almost be rude not to go!

Best view of hot air balloons in Cappadocia

I spent a few days in Cappadocia and I’ll forever cherish the memory of waking up at sunrise to the sight of a sky full of hot air balloons.

The region has a lot more to offer than just balloon flights though.

Check out my guide to visiting Cappadocia for inspiration.

Rooftop restaurant view in Goreme, Cappadocia

If you’re in Turkey during peak season, you’ll need to plan ahead. Take the hassle out of it with this two-day trip to Cappadocia from Antalya where you’ll stay in one of the cave hotels and experience an iconic balloon ride.

10. See Side ancient city

Looking for historic places to visit in Antalya? The ancient city of Side is larger than Pompeii, and full of Greco-Roman ruins.

TIP: If you’re interested in touring a few of the ancient ruins in Antalya, it’s worth booking this full-day tour.

Start at Side Museum for a strong overview.

Side ancient city

One of the top sites to visit in Side is the Hellenistic Temple of Athena. Its majestic white marble columns are best viewed at golden hour.

Side temple ruins

You can actually see a lot of history just walking around Side Old Town, without paying the entrance fee!

Beyond the ruins, Side is a sleepy former fishing village in Antalya that will charm you.

Get your picture taken on the swing seat, enjoy a sunset walk along the coast, sip a sundowner at Apollonik Cafe and Bar and eat at Azumare Lounge.

Side sign in Antalya
Beach in Side Antalya
Harbour in Side Antalya
Side old town in AntalyaSide old town in Antalya

If you happen to visit at the tail-end of summer, you might be able to lap up the atmosphere and free entertainment at the annual Side International Culture and Arts Festival.

Staying in Side? Check out day trips to the nearby mountain village of Ormana and Altinbesik, Turkey’s largest cave.

11. Hike the Lycian Way

Did you know you can go hiking in Antalya? In fact, the Lycian Way is one of the ten most popular hiking routes in the world!

On my most recent trip to Antalya, I was with a local guide who frequently takes explorers on this hikes, which runs parallel to the Mediterranean Sea and therefore offers some incredible views.

The Lycian Way stretches for 760 km and has 28 stops in total, 22 of which have accommodations. It takes 35 days to walk the full route, but you can of course do shorter hikes to get a taste of the area.

12. Eat authentic Turkish food

I eat a lot of Turkish food at home, but it’s just not the same! When I’m in Turkey, I love freshly made gözleme, Adana kebabs and lahmacun.

Food in Antalya, Turkey

Antalya has some excellent restaurants where you can try all of this and more.

In addition to the ones I’ve mentioned in this guide to the best places to go in Antalya, I also recommend Seraser Restaurant in Antalya Old Town for romantic fine-dining and 7Mehmet, a chic place with lovely views just a short walk from the Old Town.

Food at 7Mehmet in Antalya

13. Have a traditional Turkish bath

Combine an authentic local experience with a moment of self-indulgence at a Turkish bath. This has got to be one of the most relaxing yet cultural things to do in Antalya!

There’s a terrific Turkish bath at the spa in Titanic Deluxe Golf Belek, which is where I stayed on my most recent trip to Antalya.

Turkish bath at Titanic Deluxe Golf Belek spa

You might like to book your hamman at the beginning of your holiday in Antalya so you can get rid of all the dead skin and come home sun-kissed and glowing.

If your hotel doesn’t have one, or you’d like to have a massage, you can book a Turkish bath experience on GetYourGuide.

14. See a show at Aspendos

Don’t miss Aspendos if you’re sightseeing in Antalya! Located near Side, the ancient theatre is very well preserved and provided seating for 7,000 in its glory days.

Of course, many of the wealthy would lie down to watch performances and take up a lot of space so in actual fact, the capacity is much greater.

Ancient theatre in Aspendos

You can still attend performances at Aspendos theatre today if you visit during the annual Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival.

Alternatively, buy tickets online for the mesmerising Fire of Anatolia Dance Show at Aspendos theatre. This would be such a wonderful unique thing to do in Antalya!

Another of the historic things to see in Aspendos, the 19 km-long Roman aqueduct and nearby remains of a stadium, baths, basilica, agora and nymphaeum.

Ancient aqueduct in Side

15. Visit Perge

Another ancient city in Antalya, Perge is an unmissable attraction in Antalya for history buffs. It dates back to the time of Alexander the Great.

Perge, Antalya

You can get to Perge from Antalya city centre by tram or book an organised excursion from your hotel.

The latter option gives you the benefit of a local guide, transfers, lunch and the opportunity to visit other Antalya sites in one day.

Tip: wear comfortable walking shoes for visiting Perge, as the ground is uneven.

It was pouring with rain when we visited in February and we were the only tourists crazy enough to brave the elements, but I imagine it gets busy in the summer months!

16. Visit Pamukkale

One of the best day trips from Antalya is Pamukkale, Turkey’s ‘cotton palace’. I visited during my Turkish road trip and had a lot of fun taking pictures in the snowy white pools!

How to get to Pamukkale from Marmaris

The thermal waters are said to be healing, but don’t spend all of your time there. You can also see the ancient Greek city Hierapolis and Cleopatra’s pool while you’re in the area, on this 2-in-1 tour.

Pamukkale is a three-hour drive from Antalya so if you haven’t hired a car, it’s best to book a tour online.

This excursion covers your transfer to Pamukkale from Antalya and there’s an option to add a hot air balloon trip.

17. Go to the Archeological Museum of Antalya

Still not had your fill of historic sites in Antalya? The Antalya Museum awaits!

With 13 exhibition halls and an open-air gallery, this is one of the largest and most important museums in Turkey.

This is a good option if you’re looking for places to go when it rains in Antalya.

18. Hit the roads

If you’re bored of ruins and pool days, why not plan a day going off road by 4WD vehicle? The national park’s forest and gorges provide fun terrain for adrenaline junkies, but you can also go quad biking in the Taurus Mountains.

Alternatively, try a jeep safari in the Taurus Mountains.

19. See Alanya Castle

View from Alanya Castle

Built in the 13th century, Alanya Castle is worth visiting even if you’re not interested in history, because it’s built high on a peninsula and so you’ll be treated to sweeping views of the coast.

If you’d like to take a short tour of Antalya Old Town and get your ticket to the cable car in advance, you can book it online now.

If you visit independent of a tour, you might like to take a taxi or local bus to the top and walk or take the cable car back down.

20. Go to Green Canyon

Most of Turkey’s canyons don’t allow boat tours, but this one does! The beautiful Green Canyon, aka ‘Oymapınar Dam’, is surrounded by the Taurus Mountains, meaning you can enjoy serene scenery as you cruise along a 17km stretch of the emerald green lake.

Book here.

21. Scuba dive

Explore the underwater world on a scuba diving excursion with pickup, two dives and lunch included.

How to get to Antalya

You can book Jet2 flights to Antalya from all over the UK.

I flew from Manchester recently with Jet2 for some winter sun and it was a very pleasant, easy flight with a morning departure and evening arrival back in England.

Where to stay in Antalya

I can personally recommend Titanic Deluxe Golf Belek if you’re looking for a premium all-inclusive resort in Antalya.

Belek is a popular area for couples and young families, and the calibre of hotels there is strong.

Read my review of Titanic Deluxe Golf Belek for more information.

When is best to visit Antalya?

Most people book trips to Antalya between June and September. Just before and after this period is, in my opinion, the best time to go to Antalya.

I’ve visited Antalya in both November and February, which is during the ‘off-season’ for holidaymakers. Both visits were blessed with good weather, with sunshine during the day (shorts and t-shirts totally doable) and a chill at night that made jackets and jumpers necessary.

It certainly beat the cold temperatures in the UK around that time of year! Aside from that one day of constant rain and thunderstorms when I went to Perge, the weather was great.

You can get cheaper deals if you visit Antalya in the off-season, and will find the major tourist attractions in Antalya blissfully quiet.

Got data? Instead of buying your provider’s extortionate add-ons, buy an unlimited 4G Wi-Fi pack for your trip to Antalya here.

I hope this guide to things to do in Antalya helps you plan your holiday in Turkey and encourages you to go beyond the boundary of your resort and see this culturally rich and fascinating area!

Want more Turkey travel inspiration? Read my mini guide to what to do in Dalyan.

This blog post was created in collaboration with Jet2 and Go Turkiye. It is no sponsored and all views are my own.

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