6 Must-See Attractions in Antalya, Turkey
Anyone planning to visit the Mediterranean coast of Turkey will be pleasantly surprised with the full range of Attractions in Antalya that are popular with young and old alike. Antalya does an excellent job of welcoming everyone and making sure your day is as fun filled or relaxed as you like.
Whether you want to explore the beauty of nature, delve into the history of the region or kick it up a notch by indulging in adrenaline-pumping sports, our favourite places in Antalya highlight the best things to do near and far.
6 Tourist Attractions in Antalya Worth Visiting
1: Mount Tahtali
Embracing the slogan “From Sea to Sand,” Mount Tahtali, also called Olympus in history, sits in the Kemer region of Antalya and is the highest mountain of the large nationally protected Beydaglari park. Its name means throne of the gods, an apt reflection of its domineering appearance.
Driving through a pine forest, visitors ascend in the cable car travelling 4350 metres to a height of 2365 metres, and from there, the view over the surrounding coastal landscape and mountain range just wows everyone.
Such is the tremendous height, from November to June, snow covers the mountaintop explaining the gimmick of skiing in the morning on Mount Tahtali and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea in the afternoon.
Some people take in the view and go back down in the cable car, while others paraglide or mountain bike down. The organisers also sell sunrise and sunset tickets that show off the Mediterranean coast at the best times of the day. (More about Mount Tahtali)
2: Antalya Archaeological Museum
Antalya has a claim to fame as the third best archaeological museum in Turkey, after Ankara and Istanbul. Naturally with a colourful historical past as home to many civilisations, artefacts from those eras take pride of place in the museum that draws in thousands of visitors every year. First opening in 1922, the museum covers 30,000 square metres that includes 13 exhibition galleries holding 12,000 pieces from throughout the history of humankind.
Exhibitions receiving immense praise are those highlighting artefacts from the Lycian, and Pamphylia excavation sites including Gallery of the Gods that holds ancient sculptures and Hall of the Sarcophagi. The Pottery Hall highlights ceramic collections throughout history while statues of famous rulers take pride of place in the Emperors Gallery.
3: Antalya Aquarium
Antalya Aquarium is one of the biggest in the world and offers guaranteed fun for everyone regardless of your age. Even though there is a strong educational theme running through the aquarium, adults will enjoy the forty themed tanks as well as the 131-metre-long and 3-meter-wide tunnel.
The Aquarium, sitting just a short distance from Konyaalti beach in the city centre, includes a tropical reptile house as well as a 3D cinema, gift shop, and restaurants. One of the timed features that always goes down well with visitors is the shark feeding events. Other favourite themed features are the sunken city of Atlantis tank and the submerged plane wreckage.
4: Hadrian’s Gate and Kaleici Old Town
In the heart of Antalya city centre, the old town, known as Kaleici displays assorted styles of architecture left behind by many civilisations. Two prominently stand out including the old Ottoman houses lining cobbled streets as well as the main entrance, famously called Hadrian’s gate. Also called Three Gates in Turkish, it was built to honour a visit by the imperial Roman ruler Hadrian.
Other landmarks to see within Kaleici old town include the 13th-century landmark tower, and the Seljuk architecture of the 8 metre Yivli Minaret, a favourite subject for holiday photographs of the area. An ideal time to visit is late afternoon or early evening when you can finish the tour with a sumptuous seaside, alfresco dinner in one of the many traditional restaurants.
5: Aspendos Ancient Ruins
25 miles east of Antalya, the ruins of Aspendos are Antalya’s most famous ancient attractions, instantly admired by novice and expert historians for its marvellously intact Roman theatre, that has been called one of the best in the world.
The Antalya State Opera and Ballet organisation often holds concerts in the theatre during summer, and it is also the venue for the famous Fire of Anatolia dance group who sometimes theme their performances on the Trojan war.
The other landmarks to see in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Aspendos is the water aqueducts. UNESCO says excavations show settlement as early as 5th century BC, however many historians suspect the city is older than that. (Read more about Aspendos and other famous historical sites in Antalya here)
6: Konyaalti Beach
Even if you are not a swimmer or sunbather, visit Konyaalti beach, one of the top attractions in Antalya. The long stretch of sand backed by greenery and the domineering mountain range graces many pages of travel magazines advertising the area.
As well as being close to the first four attractions mentioned in this article, a small choice of tea houses and parks surround the area. Otherwise, if you really want to let your hair down, rent water sports including jet skis and banana boats to enjoy the Mediterranean Sea at its best.
Further Reading: If you are visiting Antalya on holiday, you might also like to read the rest of our blog articles about more attractions in Antalya including the smaller coastal resorts of Alanya and Side. We also explain why Antalya has become one of the top expat destinations in Turkey.