Known as the Pearl of the Mediterranean and one of the best holiday hotspots in Turkey. Surprisingly undeveloped, this picturesque resort combines natural beauty, buzzing beaches and archaeological gems with all the amenities you could wish from a 21stcentury holiday. Antalya holidays offer something for everyone, from the triple arches of Hadrian’s Gate, to fish restaurants around the natural yacht harbour and energetic water sports on sun-drenched beaches. It’s also a handy base to see the Roman sites of Aspendos and Termessos. If you’re travelling with the family, there’s plenty for them to do on your holiday from the fairground fun of Aktur Park, to the water rides, slides, and flumes in the nearby aquapark.
With its year-round sunshine, you can enjoy holidays to Antalya at any time. For the highest temperatures, go between June and September, when the mercury hovers between the late 20s and the mid-30s. If you prefer it cooler, the temperatures during October and November are much more manageable, while the months between December and May are cool, but starting to climb.
Antalya International Airport is a busy year-round airport and about 15 minutes’ drive from the resort.
At Lara Beach, east of the city, gentle waves lap along this long sandy beach. There are many hotels to choose from, including the Lower Duden Waterfall where you can swim in the Gulf of Antalya. Immerse yourself in Antalya’s history at Side, 65km east of the city. This lively resort combines unspoilt sandy beaches and waterfront restaurants, with the imposing Temples of Apollo and Athena, a quaint harbour and lively shopping. Budding golfers will be spoilt for choice at Belek, a small town 35km east of Antalya, famed for its growing number of world-class golf courses and luxury hotels.
If you’re able to tear yourself away from the glorious beaches, you’ll find there’s plenty to see and things to do. If you’re holidaying with the kids, pay a visit to Minicity. A miniature replica of Turkey’s best-known geological landmarks and architectural highlights, it’s both enchanting and educational. Alternatively, explore centuries of history at the Archaeological Museum, with elaborately carved coffins and statues of gods from the ancient city of Perge. Kaleiçi's little shops are ideal for buying souvenirs from your holiday, and for practising your haggling skills. If all the sightseeing gets a bit much, head to a 15th century hammam for a relaxing rub-down, before taking a boat trip around the stunning coastline.
While most people go on holiday here to bask on the bigger beaches, there are some smaller ones, which are just as beautiful. For something secluded and scenic, look up Olimpos Beach. With powder-soft sands set against a backdrop of Roman ruins and perfumed pine forests, it’s something special for families and couples. Similarly, Side Beach, about 65km from Antalya city, is unspoilt and picturesque. Expect clear, blue waters, golden sand and fewer crowds than at the larger beaches.
In addition to its picture-perfect beaches, the area has lots of historic sites to see. You can still see the Roman-era wheel ruts in front of Hadrian's Gate, built to honour Emperor Hadrian, and Bronze Age treasures and Byzantine church silver in the outstanding Antalya Archaeological Museum. It’s an easy day-trip to reach more attractions. Historic gems include the huge abandoned amphitheatre at Perge, and the beautifully preserved Roman amphitheatre at Aspendos, venue of the famous summer Opera and Ballet Festival and the International Antalya Film Festival.
Eating and Drinking
There’s a huge choice of places to eat when you holiday here, with restaurants serving dishes from across the world. However, don’t pass up the chance to try some authentic Turkish treats. A typical Turkish breakfast consists of white cheese, fresh bread, honey, and black tea. For a hearty, good-value feast, head to an informal kebabci (kebab house) in Kaleiçi and see what a real kebab tastes like! The restaurants serve plenty of fresh fish, usually simply grilled or fried, straight from the net and into the pan.
ANTALYA HOLIDAY RESORTS
HOLIDAYS IN ANTALYA
Safety and Security
For up to date advice on travelling to Antalya, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey/safety-and-security
Antalya is best for...
Beach lovers: For a touch of Vegas-style glamour, head for Lara Beach. Offering 8km of pine-swathed sands and a nearby Old Town that’s brimming with character, Lara Beach is the highlight of any holiday here.
History lovers: Antalya is littered with remnants of its rich past. Divers can explore the sunken sarcophagus near Kekova Island, while history buffs can step back in time with a visit to the ancient city of Phaselis.
Golfers: Perfect your swing at the various golf courses in Belek, many designed by world-class golfer, David Jones.
Language: The language spoken here is Turkish. While the locals may speak a bit of English, it’s worth downloading an app or packing a phrasebook on your Antalya holiday, so you can try a couple of phrases to impress the locals.
Currency: You’ll need to exchange your Sterling for Turkish Lira (TL) before your Antalya holiday.
Local time: Antalya is 2 hours ahead of GMT/UK time.
Fly to: Antalya Airport. The transfer time to Antalya is between 30 minutes and 1 hour.
Flight time from UK: The flight time to Antalya is 4 hours.
Weather and climate
With glorious sunshine throughout the year, there’s no bad time to visit. However, if you want to soak up some serious sunshine, book your break between June and August. For slightly cooler weather, book your holiday between September and November, when average temperatures hover in the 20s.
By minibus: The minibus system covers the centre of the city, right across to the outskirts and is a cost-effective way of getting around.
By tram: The new AntRay is the major light-rail line, a streamlined service linking the main bus station with other areas of the city. In contrast, the much smaller Nostaljic Tramvay passes several historic sites and the main beaches, along the resort’s boulevard.
By taxi: Taxis are plentiful here. To make sure you don’t pay over the odds, check the meter is running, or be prepared to negotiate a price for longer journeys.
Outdoor opera: The Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival has been delighting audiences for almost 25 years, with performances from leading lights in opera and ballet. Set in the restored Roman amphitheatre, the festival is an absolute must for culture lovers!
Summer fun: June to September are lively months for summer fun in on the beaches and in the bars.
The big screen: In September, the prestigious International Antalya Film Festival sees the screenings of hundreds of independent films from around the world. The spectacular closing ceremony usually takes place in the historic Aspendos Amphitheatre.