Antalya – Not Just a Summer Resort

By | on 20th February 2013 | 0 Comment

This weeks post is by Ellen Rabiner from Ellen in Turkey.  Ellen is an opera singer and former lawyer living and blogging on the Turkish Riviera.   This lovely article is a little guided tour around Antalya and why it is more than just a summer resort.  I hope you enjoy Ellens post and I look forward to reading your comments below.

From May through October Antalya is primarily a beach resort, but there’s plenty to see and do in the off season. Even during the colder months the weather is usually comfortable for walking and sight-seeing, and you have the advantage of not having to fight your way through the crowds of tourists.

hadriangateantalya

Hadrian’s Gate

In the summer it’s nice to be in a hotel on the beach, but in winter you should choose one of the boutique hotels in Kaleici, where you’ll be in the center of everything. Kaleici, the old town inside the Roman city walls, is full of beautifully restored Ottoman houses, now functioning as restaurants and bars.

Kaleici leads directly to the harbor, one of the most stunning parts of Antalya. In the summer you can take full-day boat trips, but even in the winter you can take a short cruise or have a meal at one of the fish restaurants to admire the scenery.

Antalya Kaleici Harbor

 Harbor

At the entrances to Kaleici are the city’s major landmarks: Hadrian’s Gate, the Clock Tower and the Yivli (fluted) Minaret.
minaret and clock tower

Minaret and Clock Tower

Next to the Clock Tower is Cumhuriyet (Republic) Square, where outdoor concerts and demonstrations are held.  Across the street is a water fountain that plays a music and light show every evening

There are other entertainment options as well: From October through May Antalya’s State Symphony, Opera and Ballet all have full seasons. There’s also a State Theater that produces plays and musicals, but unless you speak Turkish that’s probably of less interest.

Whenever you come, you should make time for a visit to Antalya’s Archeological Museum, where arts from 5,000 years are on display. The Hellenistic and Roman collections, taken from sites in the area, are especially impressive.

Next to the museum is Antalya’s newest attraction, an aquarium and “snow world”, which is a good place to reward kids after your museum visit. But if you’re on your own I’d say skip it and go across the street to Ataturk Park and have a drink at one of the restaurants and watch the sun set behind the Taurus Mountains.

pergeantalya

Perge

The city of Antalya makes a great base from which to explore the many sights in the Antalya region. The ancient city of Perge is only about an hour away. You can drive there yourself or take a tour. Most tours to Perge include a stop at Aspendos, where you’ll see one of the world’s best preserved ancient theaters. The theater is still
in use today – in the summer operas are performed there.

Termessos, another ancient site with a theater on a mountain top, is only about half an hour’s drive, but it requires a bit of hiking. Paths are not marked, and there’s no artificial lighting, so make sure you give yourself time to hike back down before sunset.

The ancient ruins of Olympos and Cirali, as well as the Chimeara (eternal flame) are about an hour from Antalya, and Phaselis, a secluded cove with ancient ruins, is even closer. Saklikent, the ski resort, is about a ninety minutes away, but its snowy mountain setting makes it feel like another world.

Saklikent antalya

 Saklikent

There are more day-trips from Antalya than you are likely to take in one visit. I guess you’ll just have to come back.

© 2013 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.

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