Prosperous, sunny Antalya is one of Turkey’s prime destinations. Its sparkling sea and cultural melting pot of museums, ancient buildings, traditional restaurants and modern shops bring to mind a Mediterranean Miami, a perfect blending of city and beach.
Antalya is one of those destinations that’s had everyone talking in the past decade, as more and more visitors pour in. You might have heard about Antalya City: its white-sand beach, the endless entertainment and the city’s ample supply of sunshine. However, there might well be one or two things you don’t know about this Mediterranean Miami.
The gateway to the Mediterranean
Firstly - while Antalya loves tourists, there’s more to this city than sun-seeking visitors. This modern centre is a hub of business and enterprise, hosting trade fairs, conferences and headquartering a number of local and global companies. Business and commercial visitors make up a significant number of the hordes who visit the city each year. Antalya is also becoming known for its low cost, high quality medical centres, and health tourists now make up about 1% of the city’s visitors.
Secondly, Antalya is just the beginning. The city is a gateway to some of the coast’s most incredible spots. And we’re not just talking about sandy beaches. While there are plenty of coastal hotspots, within a 90 minute drive you’ll also discover world class golf courses, thousand-year-old ruins, adrenaline sports, fantastic restaurants and beautiful nature spots.
Ripe for investment
After Istanbul, Antalya City is Turkey’s prime investment spot. With affordable apartments available on Konyaalti and Lara Beach, both Turkish and foreign investors are buying up property to rent to the many Turks who are heading to the prosperous city for work. Sandwiched between mountains and sea, building space is finite in Antalya City. As the population continues to grow each year, the inevitable supply-and-demand scenario means that prices are steadily heading north.
Outside the city centre, prices are also rising. The knock-on effect of Antalya City’s prosperity and rising visitor numbers mean that tourists are spilling out into the regions. The outlying towns, diverse enough to hold appeal for every demographic, are experiencing steady growth and a healthy rental market.
Year round living
It’s little wonder that some of the visitors who visit Antalya want to make the region more than just a holiday destination. Foreign property ownership in Antalya City and its surrounds has grown year on year for the last 12 years as people seek a permanent escape from winter and a new life in a more laid back and altogether sunnier destination. Unsure of where to start? Let’s have a look at Antalya’s coastal hotspots.
Sunny, friendly Side is a favourite with young families and retirees. Just outside the city centre you can see the well-preserved ruins of the ancient Roman town that once stood here. Side’s long beach and flat, accessible town centre make for great summer holidays, while its proximity to Antalya City, 45 minutes away, mean that after the holiday season ends and the tourists drift home it’s a great place to live. There’s a great rental market here and many investors and holiday home owners are earning regular income on their properties.
Belek is Turkey’s premier golf destination. Backed by the stunning Taurus Mountains, Belek’s 14 golf courses provide a picturesque location for the world’s most popular outdoor pursuit. The town’s a quick drive from both Side and Antalya City, allowing for easy day trips, or you can buy a golf property in Belek - there are a number of luxurious apartments and villa complexes in the town that revolves around golf to such an extent that golf memberships are included in with most property purchases.
This leafy town, with its mountainous backdrop, is known as the jewel of the coastline. With its many hidden coves and beautiful natural spots, Kemer is beloved by sailors wanting to explore the rugged coastline, a sharp contrast to Side’s gentle, sandy beaches. It’s also the ideal spot for anyone seeking a summer retreat away from the hustle of city life.
Modern and cosmopolitan Alanya offers city living with lots of restaurants and bars within easy reach of Blue Flag beaches. It’s a year-round destination with a strong economy that’s not dependent on tourist dollars. The clean, well ordered city is a favourite with retirees due to its facilities and year-round good weather. At 2.5 hours away from Antalya it’s not quite accessible as the other centres, although Antalya does have its own airport which serves a number of European centres.
Escape from the northern winter
Hanna and Nils Christophersen left their native Norway eight years ago for the sunny shores of Side. Intending to buy a holiday home that they’d use to escape the cold Norwegian winters, the couple soon found themselves staying longer and longer each year.
“Our friends back home joked that we lived an eternal summer,” Nils says. “We always saw Turkey as a holiday destination only, but over the years this changed as Turkey began to feel more and more like home.”
As they got to know the country and the local area, the couple, both in their mid sixties, began to notice a change. “We saw that more people were arriving each year for holidays, and also more foreigners began to buy properties. We have a lot of expat neighbours now, including many from Scandinavian countries like ourselves.” The pair decided to invest their money in local property.
“We bought two off plan two-bedroom apartments in a new complex and began to market them for rentals,” Nils says. “Within two years the apartments had increased in value very significantly and now they are worth twice as much as what we paid. We receive regular rental income, with a number of repeat visitors each year.” The venture was so successful the couple bought another three-bedroom unit last year.
The income they earn from their apartments means they can supplement their pensions and live a very comfortable lifestyle. Their days are full and happy, Hanna says.
“Our summers are very busy, looking after the apartments and our guests,” she says. She adds that while it’s possible to use a management company to take care of the properties, the couple are “hands-on people” who like to keep busy. “During the winter we take a break.”
One of the area’s biggest attractions was the outdoor activities. The hardy duo, used to the chilly waters of the North Atlantic, love swimming and take to the water every morning. “The locals laugh a bit when we swim in January, but to us the water’s very warm,” says Nils. They also ski during the winter and do the odd rafting trip.
Any plans to return to Norway? “Not on a permanent basis, no,” says Nils. “Our children still live there so we’ll always go back, but we’ve put down roots here and we’re very happy to stay.”
Nils recommends Side for other retirees as there is much to keep you busy. “As long as you make an effort to learn the language, and be social in the community, you will be very happy. And the sun shines every day, it’s warm even in the winter. It’s every northern European’s dream.”
Antalya by numbers
1- Antalya has the highest population growth in Turkey
3 - The Antalya region is ranked third worldwide for international visitor arrivals, behind Paris and London
15 - museums in the city
15 - The average temperature in winter (degrees Celsius)
33 - Summer’s average temperature
171 - Blue Flag beaches in the region
1900 - the age of Hadrian’s Gate, the beautifully preserved arch that makes up part of the city wall in Kaleci.
1 million - Antalya City has a population of over one million.
10 million - Antalya hosts ten million visitors each year - 35% of visitors travelling to Turkey
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