There are many reasons to visit Antalya, I have whittled them down to five in the final of my Turkish winter holiday installments.
Our sun chasing ways finally paid off, after three hours of breathtaking scenery on the bus ride from Fethiye to Antalya we were there. The sun caressing our wind hardened faces, letting us know that we’d made it.
We almost bypassed Antalya due to our ghost town presumption of a ‘resort in winter season’. Luckily the draw of sun and the considerably cheaper flight back to Istanbul had us there, misgivings aside.
And weren’t we pleasantly surprised. Far from being the off season resort town, Antalya happens to be much more than that. The largest seaside resort in Turkey, Antalya could never be the ghost town that parts of the Fethiye area felt like, with its population of 1.978 million people milling around, dead it wasn’t.
As it so happens many of the millions of tourists Antalya gets every year go straight from airport to resort and don’t venture out of their all inclusive hole except to see the major tourity sites. Antalya is in fact, much more than a resort town! So there!
This had a totally different feel to the rest of the destinations we visited on holiday, full of the ruins and tick box sights. Antalya was more jaw-droppingly beautiful, a versatile destination you can visit to relax and contemplate life on the sea front, take a pleasant stroll and take in the character of the old town or live it up in the various bars and clubs. It is a seaside city I could see myself living in, a more laid back existence than that we enjoy in the maddening crowds of Istanbul.
Top Five Reasons Everybody Should Visit Antalya
1. The coastline. Draw droppingly stunning. With crystal clear blue waters (if that makes sense) one can sit in the water front park and just contemplate how good life is right now.
2. Take a stroll through the cobbled streets of the old town and take in the character of this quaint, lovely and beautiful (there was actually a running joke throughout the holiday about my use of such adjectives in this place) part of the city enclosed within ancient walls. Using Hadrians Gate as your entry and exit point there are many lovely, quaint and beautiful sights to behold in this compact and quiet area of Antalya. I recommend staying at a hotel in the old town. We chose Dedehan Pansiyon for the cheap room rate and location and were pleasantly surprised with the quality of the breakfast and the hospitality. The room was dirt cheap! Stay there!
3. Antalya’s many beautiful beaches. This includes a pebble beach, so shoot me I like the way the rocks hurt my feet. Please note there happens to be sand beaches that cater to those that don’t get the therapeutic value and fun gained from the feel of cold sea smoothed stones against skin. I’m a collector. I think they are cute.
4. Antalya is surrounded by a lovely mountain range giving the each lucky visitor a wonderful view, with the prospect of a hike aided by public transport to make ones way over to them (unless you really want to do the proper hiking thing and walk all the way there).
5. Visit Olympos National Park to see the Chimera flames (flames that spurt up from the rock due to natural gas omitted from the mountain) and the ancient city of Olympos (for your ruin fix). Whilst you’re at it drop by at what the Telegraph has labelled ‘one of the best beaches in Turkey’.
I shall definitely be returning for a cheeky weekend trip. With domestic flights at around £50 return, it’d be rude not to!