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Antalya, Turkey

Antalya is the largest city on the Turkish Mediterranean coast and is one of the hubs of the so-called Turkish Riviera.

Having entered the scene in 150 BC as Attalia, named after its founder, Attalos II, king of Pergamon, Antalya has ever attracted a wide array of travelers, including Paul the Apostle, and Ibn Battuta among others. Antalya had replaced

Phaselis

- beautiful ruins of which now lie to the south of the city, between Kemer and

Olympos

- as the main harbor of the surrounding region during the reign of Seljuks, in early 1200s, but the lack of a large hinterland (or, rather, lack of... Read more

Antalya, Turkey

Destination:

Antalya is the largest city on the Turkish Mediterranean coast and is one of the hubs of the so-called Turkish Riviera.

Having entered the scene in 150 BC as Attalia, named after its founder, Attalos II, king of Pergamon, Antalya has ever attracted a wide array of travelers, including Paul the Apostle, and Ibn Battuta among others. Antalya had replaced

Phaselis

- beautiful ruins of which now lie to the south of the city, between Kemer and

Olympos

- as the main harbor of the surrounding region during the reign of Seljuks, in early 1200s, but the lack of a large hinterland (or, rather, lack of good connections with its mountainous hinterland) meant for much of its history eversince that it was a provincial coastal town, albeit with a multicultural community of Muslims, Christians, and Jews. As the center of a region with beautiful beaches, verdant mountains, and a mindblowing number of ancient ruins, tourism investments started in the 1970s, which changed the fate of the city considerably. However, as most of the visitors (make no mistake - they are in the range of millions annually) to the region are actually on "all-inclusive" vacation packages nowadays, they are immediately taken from the airport to the huge resorts lining the coastline of hundreds of kilometers, where they stay until the end of their holidays except perhaps a raid or two to the nearest and the most popular attractions, so Antalya itself, especially the old town (Kaleiçi), is more of an independent traveler destination, where you will meet the other travelers of a similar mind, and the locals.

Climate

Around April, when you can perfectly get a suntan and the weather is much more bearable than summer months, is one of the best times to visit the city.


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Antalya, Turkey: Port Information


Cruise liners dock at Port Akdeniz. It is situated about 9 miles from the city center. Usually, cruise lines provide the transfer. Taxis are available.

Get around Antalya, Turkey


Antalya offers a variety of public transportation, such as public buses, trams, mini-buses, taxicabs, and dolmus.
​Antalya Transportation System also offers an alternative method for mobile device users. The system uses a QR code. It is possible to login to the website and use your device as a payment method. The website has English and Russian versions. You can charge your deposit by credit card and benefit from the advantage of paying less if you transfer to another bus or tram. You don't need an internet connection, all you need to do is to save the QR code to your gallery.

By bus

In Antalya, buses pass from anywhere to any destination in the city. Fares are low and most buses offer air-conditioning and TV even for short routes. To travel to remote places you may need to travel to the bus terminal first. The bus terminal has its own buses with distinctive blue stripes.  There is Bus 600 which runs from the Otogar to

Konyaaltı Beach

, then through the town center towards Aksu. The closest bus stops to the Old Town would be on Ali Çentinkaya Cd. which ıs a few minutes of walking from the Old Town.

By dolmus

Dolmus literally means "filled up". Dolmus is a large cab, a station wagon, a regular taxi or a minibus that travels a certain route. Most major public transportation stations have a dolmus station, where you just take a seat in the dolmus that travels your desired route. In Antalya dolmus does not wait until it fills up. Instead, it is scheduled. However, if empty dolmus will move slowly hoping to find more passengers. Still, it has to abide by its schedule and cannot stall much.

By taxi

There are taxi stands all over the city where the drivers have their base and tea pot. Each taxi is metered and there are two different rates. After midnight (24:00) till morning (06:00), it will cost 50% more than the daytime fare. For popular destinations, there are price lists showing the rate in Euro.
You can also negotiate with any taxi driver to be your private tour guide. You also have to pay the gas money. This option could be quite expensive but if you have the money, it is worth it!

By tram

The (historic) tramway has been donated by the German city of Nuremberg and connects the western Konyaalti Beach and Antalya Museum to the eastern part of the city center. It runs all 30 min. in either direction. Tramway can be used for sightseeing as it passes the most beautiful places in the city center.
The new tram system ("AntRay") currently consists of one line, serving the route Fatih-Otogar-Muratpaşa-Ismetpaşa-Meydan every 7min during the day. Trams are comfortable, air-conditioned and feature WiFi, although a Turkish cell phone number is needed to register for the WiFi. To get to the Kaleiçi or to the interconnection with the historic tram line, get off at Ismetpaşa station. Tickets (1.75TL) can be obtained at the stores around the stations or at specific AntRay-counters (e.g., at the Otogar). It is possible to pay via the Antalya contactless public transport card; these cards can be recharged at vending machines near the tram stops (at Kaleiçi, for example). Vending machines speak Turkish and English. If you're unsure, just ask the helpful station guards.

By car rental

Car rental is available in the bus terminal, airport, and city center. It is advised not to use the car to reach the city center (specially Cumhuriyet, Atatürk, Isiklar streets, Sarampol street, and old city), as finding a car park and the way people drive (sometimes you feel like you are in the race tracks) might be difficult. Be sure to abide by non-parking restrictions, the municipality is very strict about it. There are destination signs on roads to help travelers. Also, most of the younger locals know English will be pleased to help with your destination. You can also obtain a city map from tourist information desks in the city center.

By bicycle

Using bicycles on crowded roads might be dangerous and tiresome(especially in summer as the temperature hits high 40's at noon. However, there are a few bicycle-only roads passing beside the sea having incredible views.

What to see in Antalya, Turkey


Antalya is rich in history and art.

Kaleiçi The old quarter

Kaleiçi has narrow, winding streets enclosed in ancient city walls, which now protect the peaceful quarter from the noise of the concrete metropolis of a million people. The northern part (Selçuk and Tuzcular sections) of Kaleiçi is mostly touristy shops and restaurants lining the narrow mazelike streets. The Kilinçarslan section is a little quieter and still charming. Although there are other entrances, it is best to enter and exit the old quarter from charming Hadrianus Gate, built by the Roman emperor Hadrianus as the entrance arch to the city. Hadrian Gate will lead you to Kilinçarslan district.

  • Fluted Minaret Yivli Minare - In this area, you can see the famous 125 feet tall fluted minaret and the mosque. Nearby is an old market building with an interesting entrance, and a ruined gate or two.
  • Clock Tower area Saat Kulesi - Ottoman-era clock tower and 18th century Paşa Camii mosque.
  • Fortified Roman port Yat Limanı - A beautiful harbor surrounded by town walls built during the Roman Era. Nearby is the İskele Camii mosque.
  • Broken Mınaret Mosque Kesik Minare - beautiful ruins of an old Roman temple, which eventually was converted into a Christian church and finally a mosque.
  • Hıdırlık Tower Hıdırlık Kulesi - a tower on the edge of the town walls with scenic views of the marina and the harbor.
  • Atatürk's Home Atatürk Evi (just outside the Kilinçarslan district, walk to Karaalioglu Park along Atatürk Cd.) - house where the first president of Turkey stayed at during his visits in Antalya.

Konyaaltı Beach (West of town)

  • Aqualand, which is a large complex of waterpark and beach park. (2013-08-08: Opening hours where 10:00-17:00)
  • Migros MMM - a large shopping center with a traditional American-style mall food court lined with American fast-food chain restaurants as well as some Turkish restaurants.
  • Antalya Aquarium - boasts the world's largest tunnel aquarium.
  • Aktur Lunapark Antalya - a fairground with various rides.

Lara Beach (East of Town)

  • TerraCity - a huge shopping mall.

North of city

  • Antalya Zoo and Nature Park - 400 acres of Zoo, accessible by taking the tram to the last stop.

Further out of town

Remember that you do not necessarily have to go to the Otogar to get on these buses. They can be hailed anywhere along the route. Check the bus map to see where the routes run.

  • Perge ruins - (buses heading to Aksu can drop you off at the road leading to Perge) a fantastic Roman city ruins, with a hippodrome, theatre still intact. The South Bathhouses helps very well to create good imagination of what it looked like in the era.
  • Düden Falls - it is a waterfall off the cliffs southeast of the town.
  • Aspendos - a beautiful intact theatre from the Roman time. It is possible to take a ride with Serik Koop bus from the Otogar to Serik, where you will change buses to local bus number 10 for Aspendos which depart on the 55th minute of the hour. It is about 4 to 5 hours roundtrip. It definitely can be combined with a stop at Perge, which is on the same route.
  • Side - an ancient Roman city near Manavgat.
  • Termessos - an ancient city ruins in a nature setting (part of a nature park). One can take the high-road Fethiye Sayahat bus and ask to be dropped off at the intersection for Termessos. You have the option to take a taxi, look for a lift or walk the 9 km up the steep road to the actual site.
  • Demre/Myra - take a low-road route bus with Fethiye Sahayat bus and get off at Demre. At Demre, you can see ancient Lycian ruins with tombs and Myra is also the home of St. Nicholas, or "Santa Claus."

What to do in Antalya, Turkey


Most of Antalya's historic buildings can be found along the narrow, winding streets of Kaleiçi, the old quarter. Historical, architectural and archeological sites of note include Yivli Minaret, Karatay Medresesi, Hıdırlık Tower, Ahi Yusuf Mescidi, Iskele Mosque, Murat Paşa Mosque, Tekeli Mehmet Paşa Mosque, Balibey Mosque, Musellim Mosque, Seyh Sinan Efendi Mosque, Hadrian Arch, and the Clock Tower. Many structures date back to the Hellenistic era. Also, The Antalya Museum has a notable archeology collection.

  • Walk around and chill at Karaalıoğlu Park or observe fishermen at lively Yacht Harbour
  • Shop at great malls: Terracity, 5M Migros, Özdilek and Deepo Outlet Center.
  • The hill of Tünektepe, with a height of 618 m/2009 ft, west of the city has a splendid panorama of Antalya. On top of it, there is a hotel, a rotating restaurant, and a nightclub, although the club is mostly open for private parties only.

You can take a short scenic cruise on the Mediterranean from the boats anchored in the harbor. Assume that the right price is about half of the first price you are offered. Don't believe their assurances that the boat is leaving right away - the boat will leave when the owners think there is no reasonable chance that more passengers can be persuaded to board. Morning cruises tend to be calmer than afternoon cruises.
In Belek which is 45 km from Antalya city center you can enjoy playing golf as this is Turkey's golf center with more than 30 well-organized golf courses. Lara Golf Club is a good option as there is no membership required and they do have a nice spa as well.

What to eat and drink in Antalya, Turkey


Eat

Food is extremely cheap and good. Service is amazing and only matched by its genuine friendliness. Antalya has good seafood restaurants as well. One caveat to be aware of is to make sure the quoted price is the same as the price written on the menu.

  • Seraser Fine Dining Restaurant, Tuzcular mah. Karanlik sok. No:18 Kaleici/ Antalya, ☎ + 90 (0) 242 247 6015 (info@seraserrestaurant.com, fax: + 90 (0) 242 241 1981). 15:00-01:00.  
  • MCYörüks, Atatürk Street 68 (Located between Işıklar and Karaoğlan Park). A middle-class semi-casual restaurant located in City Center serving dishes and alcoholic/non-alcoholic drinks from Western, Islamic and Turkish world as well as fast food with live music every evening and night. Prices are cheap. 
  • Hakan Usta Baklavalari, Antalya Bulvarı Yanyolu No:28 Kanal Mh., 07980 Antalya, Turkey ‎. Excellent shop for baklava while waiting for your bus at the Antalya otogar. From the otogar head towards the tramvay by taking the tunnel away from the station. Continue past the tramvay entrance towards the exit labeled 'Kanal Mahallesi'. Follow the steps up out of the tunnel and head north (turn left). Haka Usta will be on your right.  
  • Kaleici Corbacisi, Kilincarslan Mah. Yeni Kapi Sok, No: 17-17/A, Kaleici ANTALYA, ☎ + 90 (0) 242 244 78 11. 5 - Good food, excellent value, family restaurant.  

Drink

Antalya has a lively nightlife in summer. Options include bars with nargile (water pipe), games, live music and sitting around, discotheques with glamorous visitors, etc. On Konyaalti's Beach Park one club follows the next. Some of the traditional houses of Kaleiçi (Old City) have been turned into bars. Their gardens shaded by trees offer a nice escape with a beer from the peak of summer heat. Raki is a traditional alcoholic beverage that tastes like licorice. Make sure you do not drink it fast otherwise you will be out quickly.

Shopping in Antalya, Turkey


The usual souvenirs are kilims, blue eyes, fake designer clothing, shoes, aromatic herbs, waterpipes and more.
If you feel the need to visit a modern shopping mall, TerraCity (which is on the way to Lara) and MarkAntalya (close to the old town) do have all of the international designer shops you could wish for. In TerraCity, here is even a powerboat dealer.
Pharmacies sell most prescription drugs completely legal just over the counter and at low prices. A wide array of generics (drugs containing the same agent as a brand medicine, but from less known companies) is also available. Best-sellers include Viagra, Prozac, Ventolin, Xenical, various contraceptive pills and antibiotics.

A word of caution

The export of antiques or objects considered so is strictly forbidden and will cause a lot of problems not to say hefty fines to those caught when leaving the country. Possession and possibly even commerce in Turkey is legal - just the export is banned. Be on your guard and don't believe sellers who may try to convince you of the opposite. Also, customs back home target more and more faked goods such as video, CDs, shoes, watches and the like. The odds of being caught are minimal, but you should know that you are moving on illegal terrain.
Tudors bar (Kaleici): Women are warned to steer clear of this bar. The ownership is very strict on clothing and will throw out any woman that does not dress conservatively. Do not be confused by the prostitutes that do frequent the bar. Better bars are to be found outside of Kaleici, in Lara or Konyalti.

Safety in Antalya, Turkey


Mediterranean Turkey lies on a more southern latitude than anywhere else in Europe except Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete, so take it easy at the beginning of your trip and pay close attention to early signs of heatstroke and dehydration. While on the beach, applying liberal amounts of sun lotion wouldn't hurt.

If you plan to spend time in the mountains, be wary of scorpions. They thrive in the Mediterranean climate and rocky areas are their habitats, so never reach under a rock without carefully checking first. Keeping your backpack closed at all times will keep them out, and don't forget to check the inside of your shoes first, should you take them out for any amount of time.

On crowded public beaches (i.e., those that aren't owned and enclosed by a resort hotel), don't leave your valuables like cell phones and cameras unattended, or better yet, don't take them to the beach. While many beaches are patrolled by the police and security cameras, there are still reports of petty theft.

Otherwise, Mediterranean towns are very safe (and security forces very keen to keep them so), although there may be rough areas in Antalya.

Antalya Police Department has a "tourism police" section where travelers can report passport loss and theft or any other criminal activity, they may have become victims of. They have staff multilingual in English, German, French, and Arabic.

  • Tourism Police (Turizm Polisi), Kaleiçi Yat Limanı (at the marina below the old town), ☎ +90 242 243-10-61 (fax: +90 242 345-41-13). 

Language spoken in Antalya, Turkey


The region is home to a plethora of Turkish dialects, from Muğla şivesi, some of which is totally incomprehensible for non-local Turks spoken in Lycia to the dialect of Cilician Mountains, which is essentially a mainland "extension" of Cypriot Turkish. Syrian dialect of Arabic is also prevalent around Antakya.

However, thanks to heavy tourism, English will likely be enough to communicate during your trip, especially in the western parts of the region (i.e. Pamphylia and Lycia) and especially if you don't intend to go off the beaten path. German, Russian, and Scandinavian languages may also be helpful, especially when you visit one of the resort towns mainly frequented by those nations.

LOCAL TIME

6:34 pm
October 17, 2019
Europe/Istanbul

CURRENT WEATHER

23 °C / 73.4 °F
sky is clear
Fri

20.16 °C/68 °F
sky is clear
Sat

20.04 °C/68 °F
light rain
Sun

20.39 °C/69 °F
light rain
Mon

20.31 °C/69 °F
sky is clear

LOCAL CURRENCY

TRY

1 USD = 0 TRY
1 EUR = 0 TRY
1 GBP = 0 TRY
1 AUD = 0 TRY
1 CAD = 0 TRY

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