Sweeping white-sand beaches, ancient Greek ruins, raucous nightlife and more local delicacies than you’ll have time to eat have combined to make Antalya holidays the ultimate sun-drenched getaway. Located on Turkey’s southwest coast in the shadow of the Taurus Mountains, Antalya is the biggest city in the Mediterranean, and one of its most diverse.
The bougainvillea-lined streets are dotted with classical relics harking back to the area’s past as an ancient Greek, and later Roman, province. But it’s not just amphitheatres and temples that Antalya has in spades – the three national parks and Taurus Mountains are home to impressive waterfalls, deep canyons and the mysterious flaming stones at Yanartas. But holidays to Antalya are not just the preserve of nature-lovers and historians – the popular resort towns, old town and city centre are as diverse as the terrain is mountainous.
The old town of Kaleici is centred around a hub of bars and cafés, many set in lovingly restored Ottoman-era houses, and there are plenty of restaurants serving locally caught fish, Anatolian wine and Turkish street food. For something a little livelier, the town of Kemer is renowned for its frenetic nightlife and clubs and bars that stay open until the early hours. Antalya is a melting pot of culture, city life and rural idyll – you’ll feel like you’ve been on three holidays in one.
Greco-Roman ruins at Side
The fantastically preserved ampitheatre at Side could once seat more than 15,000 people. Alongside the preserved statues, it remains one of the most impressive ruin sites in Europe.
The flames of Chimera
Yanartas is a geographical curiosity located near the Olympos valley known as the ‘Mysterious rocks of the Chimera’ – eternal flames fuelled by natural gas seeping out of the hillside.
The historic harbour
Descend from the old town of Kaleici to the seafront and the Roman port. Lined with buzzing bars and restaurants, it’s a great place for a cocktail or a stroll.