Turkey’s southern coastline is like something out of a Hollywood film – 400 miles of part-sand, part-shingle beaches dipping down to turquoise waters and backed by the rolling green slopes of the Taurus Mountains. Most of the resorts here are stacked right along the coastline, so cheap Antalya holidays can be all beach, all the time.
Beaches here come in all shapes and sizes. Side’s stylish marina is home not only to crazy big yachts and waterfront restaurants, but ancient ruins overlooking the coast – it’s always been a chic holiday spot, visited even by Antony and Cleopatra back in the day.
Lara Beach extends for 8 kilometres before it plunges into waterfalls. Kemer is known for being on the luxurious side, whose patches of sand are a little more secluded, while Belek is home to a whopping 16 kilometres of coast dotted with show-stopping hotels.
Mountains and waterfalls
Antalya isn’t all swoon-worthy hotels and glitzy coastline – there are also forests, mountain ranges and waterfalls that won’t take much of a walk inland to find.
Over in the western half of the region is the Mount Olympus National Park, where you can take a cable car up into the mountains, enjoying 360-degree views of sea, sand and even snow. Boat cruises will sail you underneath the streams of the Duden Waterfalls, while hikes through Manavgat bring you face-to-face with the town’s breathtaking falls in the River Aras.
Thousands of years of history have left their mark on the Antalya region in the form of Greek amphitheatres, Roman ruins and Ottoman architecture. Side is ruin central, what with it being home to the famous Temple of Apollo. But Termessos and Perge beside the capital aren’t far behind, ancient cities equipped with amphitheatres, Roman baths and enough free-standing pillars to last a lifetime.
But this slice of Turkey isn’t all relics of the past – there are also watersports, boat trips, waterparks, white water rafting and animal parks, many of which can be found in the region’s largest city and capital, Antalya City. Then there’s Lara Beach – the Las Vegas of Turkey – complete with high-flying hotels modelled after the Titanic and Kremlin.
Street eats and waterfront dining
Dining in Antalya comes as casual or ritzy as you’d like. The streets in the town of Antalya are paved with food stalls hocking on-the-go eats and sweets, while along the waterfront is prime time for more elegant dining. The cuisine in Antalya tends to consist of Arabic and Mediterranean flavours, though you’ll find international restaurants speckled throughout.
When it comes to nightlife, the larger resorts will be your best friend. That’s where the biggest selection of bars and clubs are. Regardless of which town you choose, many of the big time hotels come equipped with a slew of bars and evening entertainment to keep you up well into the night. If you’re planning your Antalya holidays All Inclusive, prepare to be entertained.
No visit to Turkey is complete without a stroll through an authentic Turkish bazaar. Most towns will have weekly markets selling gorgeous textiles and street food to give you a real taste of Antalya – when it comes to buying souvenirs and Turkish goods, you’d better be prepared to haggle. The local merchants are always in the mood for friendly sparring. More commercialised shopping is available in Antalya and Alanya – these bigger resorts offer shopping malls and avenues paved with stores.