Top things to do in Antalya

Antalya is a port city on the coast of the Mediterranean in southwestern Türkiye. Situated on the Gulf of Antalya, the city enchants with its great beaches and historic charm. Initially called Attalia, it was founded as a seaport more than 2,000 years ago by Attalus II Philadelphus, a king of Pergamum, and has been inhabited continuously since then. The city has managed to preserve its cultural richness from the past to the present. Antalya today is not just a centre of beach tourism but also a place that holds priceless treasures of ancient civilisations. So check out my suggestions on what to do in Antalya!42 marina antalya thesanetravel.com P1311001

Take a tram ride on Nostalji Tramway line

The retro tram passes and makes stops near the main attractions of Antalya. The tram departs from the shady coastal Karaalioğlu Park and continues down the beautiful Ataturk Boulevard before turning and moving along Jumhuriyet Street. Its final stop is on Konyaalti Street near the beach. There are 11 stops during the journey. Since the retro tram is the public transport of Antalya, the fare does not differ from other public transport in the city. The tram runs every 30 minutes and the travel time is 24 minutes. Keep in mind that this is a straight, not a circular route. The map below shows the tram route marked in blue.12 tram antalya thesanetravel.com P132131113 tram antalya thesanetravel.com P132131414 tram antalya thesanetravel.com 20230418 162239

Go back in history by looking at city walls

The defensive walls of Antalya were built in the Hellenistic period, and the history of their renovation and expansion illustrates the history of the city itself. During the renovation, which was carried out in Roman times, numerous towers and gates were incorporated into the walls, the greatest of which was the well-preserved Hadrian's Gate. In the 19th and 20th centuries, long stretches of the walls were intentionally demolished. As a result, only seven towers and several sections of the walls have been preserved to this day.14 walls antalya thesanetravel.com P1321313190 walls antalya thesanetravel.com P1310980

Enter the old town through Hadrian's Gate

Hadrian's Gate was built in 130 AD to commemorate the visit of Emperor Hadrian to the city. It was incorporated into the city walls and has become a major gateway to the city. Although it may be hard to believe, the true dimensions of Hadrian's Gate were revealed only in the 1950s, after which the gate underwent renovation. Currently, it is one of the highlights of a visit to Antalya and a place where almost every tourist wants to take a photo. Today, Hadrian's Gate connects modern Antalya with its ancient past. The beautiful gate demonstrates a stunning contrast between contemporary city life and the historic ambience of Kaleiçi (Antalya’s old town).15 hadriani antalya thesanetravel.com 20230417 07111417 hadrian antalya thesanetravel.com 20230416 15024918 hadrian antalya thesanetravel.com 20230416 150417

Walk around the old town

Kaleiçi, or the old town of Antalya, located in the heart of Antalya, is a charming district filled with boutique hotels, museums, historical artefacts, stylish cafes, restaurants, and stores. It is surrounded by walls, with entrance gates at both the east and west ends. Enclosed within the walls are approximately 3,000 houses with tile roofs that showcase the region's unique architecture and reflect local customs.20 old town antalya thesanetravel.com P131095221 old town antalya thesanetravel.com P131096023 old town antalya thesanetravel.com P1311071

Learn local history at Ethnography Museum

Those who want to learn about Antalya’s recent history and folklore should visit the Ethnographic Museum of Antalya. 30 etnography antalya thesanetravel.com P1310949Located in Kaleiçi, the museum consists of two historic mansions from the Ottoman period. Different artefacts are exhibited in both sections of the museum, called Lower and Upper Mansions. The Lower Mansion houses Turkish-Islamic artefacts, while the Upper Mansion, where animations are predominant, exhibits objects reflecting the day-to-day life of the Ottoman period. 34 etnographic antalya thesanetravel.com P132142935 etnographic antalya thesanetravel.com P1321433There are also several exhibits in the garden of the mansions, like inscriptions from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods, tombstones, cannons and cannonballs.36 etnographic antalya thesanetravel.com P1321422

Take a walk around the historic marina

In the south of the Kaleiçi district lies the historic marina, home to cruise boats that offer daily tours showcasing the region's stunning waterfalls and cliffs. Today, it is primarily a tourist area suitable for walking and recreation.40 marina antalya thesanetravel.com P131097242 marina antalya thesanetravel.com P1311001 Next to the lighthouse on the breakwater, you can find a statue of Fatma Doman, who was born in 1927 in Antalya and was the last guard of the Kaleichi Pier lighthouse – from 1956 to 1983.44 marina antalya thesanetravel.com P1310993

Watch the sunset from Kecili Park observation terrace

In Kaleiçi, there is an observation terrace with a balcony made of glass, offering a fabulous view of the marina. 47 kecili antalya thesanetravel.com P131101049 kecili antalya thesanetravel.com 20230416 17482249 kecili antalya thesanetravel.com 20230416 190434Next to the observation terrace is the small Kecili Park, where you will find unusual goat statues made of wood. 49 kecili antalya thesanetravel.com P131100849 kecili antalya thesanetravel.com P1311017There are also cafes in the park where old folks sip tea and younger ones drink beer while enjoying the view.

Admire Hidirlik Tower

The 14-metre tall Hıdırlık Tower is situated in the historic Kaleiçi district adjacent to the large Karaalioğlu Park and close to the seashore. The tower was built for defensive purposes in the second century.
50 hidrilik antalya thesanetravel.com P1311033 As you walk north from Hıdırlık Tower, you will come upon the first terrace. The terrace provides a spectacular view of Konyaalti Beach.60 dining antalya thesanetravel.com P1311026

Stroll through Karaalioğlu Park

Karaalioğlu Park is a must-visit destination in Kaleiçi, covering a vast area of 14 hectares. The park features three roads parallel to the sea, which end in three observation terraces on the seashore. Karaalioğlu Park trees, plants, flowers, and bird species reflect the flora and fauna of Antalya. Have a drink or meal in one of the many restaurants in the park.52 park antalya thesanetravel.com P131103753 park antalya thesanetravel.com P131104554 park antalya thesanetravel.com P1311050

The sculptures in the park are popular with tourists who take many pictures and selfies. These sculptures include the Worker and Son, the famous Frog and Hand sculptures, the monument to poet Nâzım Hikmet, and the statue of Don Quixote.

See Nazim Hikmet monument

Nazim Hikmet was a Turkish poet, playwright, and novelist usually defined as a 'romantic communist'. He was sentenced to 28-year in prison for encouraging Marxist views in both the Turkish army and navy. He spent much of his life travelling, particularly in Russia and Poland, before dying in 1963 in Moscow. This monument was erected in 2010 on the 47th anniversary of his death.58 nazim antalya thesanetravel.com P1311032

Wonder about the statue of Don Quixote

The statue of Don Quixote by Cahvar Goktas can be found in Karaalioğlu Park, between the second and third terraces. It stands adjacent to the park’s famed Chinese tree and is perched on the cliffs with mountains as its backdrop. ‘Don Quixote’ is a Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes, the first modern author, often regarded as one of his finest literary works.59 don antalya thesanetravel.com P1311041

Be careful when choosing your dining place in Kaleiçi

The restaurant prices reflect the fact that Kaleiçi mainly caters to tourists. Sometimes the price of a particular dish may vary even twice, so check prices before making your decision. An excellent restaurant with decent prices and delicious food is next to the entrance to the old town. It is called Old Town Restaurant.63 dining antalya thesanetravel.com P132145164 dining antalya thesanetravel.com 20230418 15450365 dining antalya thesanetravel.com 20230418 155707

Address: Kaleiçi, 2. İnönü Sk. No:43

I also recommend you see two sights farther from the old town:

Marvel at Lower Düden Waterfall

Düden Waterfalls are one of the most visited sites in the Antalya area. There are two Düden Waterfalls on the Düden River: Upper and Lower. The Lower Düden Waterfall is a unique beauty in Düden Park in the Lara district of Antalya. 70 duden antalya thesanetravel.com P132134071 duden antalya thesanetravel.com P1321353This waterfall is where the waters of the river meet the Mediterranean Sea, flowing from a height of about 40 metres. 72 duden antalya thesanetravel.com P1321342The speed of the cascading waters forms fantastic and scenic views over the sea. 76 duden antalya thesanetravel.com P1321362This massive water attraction can be seen from both the sidewalk and a boat. You can reach the Lower Düden Waterfall from the centre of Antalya by bus or minibus in some 45 minutes. You will also find a variety of boats that sail from Antalya to the Lower Düden Waterfall.

Taste Turkish coffee at Düden Wonderland restaurant

While visiting the Lower Düden Waterfall, I suggest you taste Turkish coffee at Düden Wonderland restaurant because of its excellent taste and the opportunity to watch how your coffee is prepared.102 coffee antalya thesanetravel.com P1321347104 coffee antalya thesanetravel.com 20230418 123506105 coffee antalya thesanetravel.com 20230418 123459106 coffee antalya thesanetravel.com P1321352 If you like strong and full-bodied coffee like espresso, try Turkish coffee! Despite its name, this drink did not originate from Türkiye. In the 16th century, it was introduced to an Ottoman governor stationed in Yemen, who brought it to Türkiye. It is a type of strong caffeine drink that is made in a special pot called cezve. Turkish coffee has a strong, bold, and bittersweet taste.

Ride Tünektepe cable car

Tünektepe is a beautiful hill terrace about 600 metres above sea level, where the Bey Mountains meet the Mediterranean Sea. One of the best ways to observe Antalya from a bird's view is to catch a ride on the Tünektepe cable car. You will see a spectacular view of Antalya and get fresh air with the scent of pine trees, all while being able to take amazing pictures of the skyline. The cable car ride begins at Sarısu station next to Konyaalti Beach. The ride to the top of Tünektepe takes about 10 minutes. The cable car has 36 cabins for 8 people each and it can easily carry 1,200 people per hour. You can find restaurants and cafes at the top. The facility is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day except Mondays. It is better to call before you go since the cable car might not be operational due to bad weather conditions, even if they seem good on the ground level. Unfortunately, I did not get to ride the cable car as it was closed because of the strong winds at the hilltop.83 cable car antalya thesanetravel.com P132132881 cable car antalya thesanetravel.com P132132280 cable car antalya thesanetravel.com P1321320You can buy tickets on the site or use your Antalya card. The most convenient way to get to Tünektepe cable car station is by using bus KL08. You can get there from the city centre in about 40 minutes.

Practical information

You will need an Antalya card to get around the city by public transport. The card can be purchased at the tram stop near Antalya airport or at a kiosk in Antalya bus station.91 practical antalya thesanetravel.com P132145590 practical antalya thesanetravel.com P1321454 Use Google Maps to get information about public transport in Antalya. Kaleiçi is only available for pedestrians and taxis. I did not get a chance to see Yivliminare Mosque and Kaleiçi Panoramic Elevator, but if you want, you can include it in your visit to Kaleiçi.

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What did you think? Have you visited Antalya? I would love to hear from you, so please add your comment below.

  • Published by Anita on June 16, 2023
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    Author: Anita Sane

    Anita 03 18

    About the author
    Anita is a part-time traveller, passionate photographer and a retired career woman from Latvia, 
    travelling mostly solo for more than 15 years. She is a skilled travel planner who plans and executes her travels by herself. Anita wants to show you how to travel the world and open your mind to new experiences. Follow her on FacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter and Bloglovin.

     

    Gravatar
    Namir Sami Sabri
    Meget værdifuld information, tak
    Gravatar
    I went to Turkey a year ago and I had originally planned on visiting Antalya but just couldn't fit it into the itinerary. I definitely plan on going back to Turkey one day though and I will make Antalya happen that time around! It seems so neat and a little less visited than some of the other cities
    Gravatar
    CHETTY CHETTY
    Your ars, we donot need to know your history here just experience you had
    Gravatar
    I just met a friend on a recent cruise who was from Antalya, Turkey. It looks like a delightful place to visit.

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