Antalya Holidays

A lively Turquoise Coast city

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.

Three tips for a top trip

Use public transport
To make the most of the local public transport, buy an Antalyakart travel card – they’re rechargeable, and available from any local newsagent or on the bus.
Go on a Jeep safari
A Jeep safari is the best way to explore the Taurus Mountains. The tours usually stop at a traditional Turkish village and along the Dim River for lunch.
Try the local wine
The Anatolians have been making wine for millennia. In recent years, wine production has grown exponentially, and several Turkish wines have won awards and international acclaim.

Best attractions to see in Antalya

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.

Your Antalya questions, answered

Antalya is sunny for most of the year, but spring and autumn are especially captivating. Outside of peak season you can explore the towns and beaches with fewer crowds.

Antalya has family-friendly resorts, boutique hotels and guesthouses along the beachfront and in the city centre, so families, couples and travellers are all well catered for.

Antalya is protected from northerly winds by the Taurus Mountains, which provide the backdrop to this coastal city. So, whenever you visit, you can be confident that the sun will be shining. Thanks to the visitor-friendly temperatures and the almost year-round sunshine, you can expect long, hot summers that are ideal for beach holidays. You need to be careful, though, as peak season temperatures average 35°C and you might prefer May or September for your sunbathing or swimming. In spring, autumn or winter you can explore the city's history in comfort or indulge your favourite outdoor pursuits.

Most children love parks that combine wave pools and slides with chances to swim with dolphins. You'll find water parks everywhere in Antalya, such as Dolphinland and Aqualand. Aquatic themes continue at Antalya Aquarium, where you'll see 40 thematic tanks and one of the world’s largest tunnel aquariums. If you prefer something a little lower key, all kids like building sandcastles on the beach. Antalya’s family-friendly Blue Flag Lara beach is the venue for the world’s largest International Sand Sculpture Festival, Sandland. You can also visit Aktur Lunapark for an action-packed amusement hub when your children prefer to stay dry.

Antalya’s seafront is known as the Turquoise Coast for a reason – the beaches in the region are vast and the sea is crystal-clear and bright blue.

It's hard to choose the best beach since Antalya has an astonishing 194 Blue Flags. If you want quiet, upscale elegance then you should try Belek, with its 16 kilometres of sand and palm trees. At Lara, you'll find family fun on a Blue Flag beach and a Las Vegas-type strip. It's busy with music and bars at night, and in the daytime has plenty of water sports to keep your children amused. You'll find another Blue Flag beach at Konyaalti, with long stretches of sand backed by tall cliffs, while at Side there are two romantic beaches.

The Antalya region is famous for the beaches along its Turquoise Coast, the luxury hotels you'll find there and an impressive historical footprint. It's the kind of resort the ancient Greeks and Romans loved, and they've certainly left their mark. You can enter Antalya's old town of Kaleici by the second-century Hadrian’s Gate, set in the world's best-preserved ancient town walls with three towers and three imposing marble arches. At Side you'll find an ancient temple and an amphitheatre and, in the Taurus Mountains, you can hike forest trails and see some of the region's renowned waterfalls at Duden.

If you wish to be close to Antalya's history and culture, you should base yourself in the Kaleici neighbourhood where the old town preserves its Ottoman-era hotels on narrow, cobbled streets. If you're after sun and sea, you might choose one of the affordable hotels around Konyaalti Beach, or the family-focused Lara Beach. Here you'll be at a Blue Flag beach, with clear blue waters and wide-open spaces. If you're looking for a bit more adventure, you might consider Olympos Beach where you can explore ancient underwater city ruins, or hike up the mountains behind.

Despite serious problems with inflation in the past, Antalya is firmly built on the Turkish Lira. This is abbreviated to TRY or sometimes TL, which was the old version of the currency before it was devalued. Sterling is widely accepted in Antalya, as well as euros, since this is a popular resort with European visitors. You'll find that tourist shops, travel agents and restaurants will accept most currencies. You can change money in shops and currency exchanges, though you'll get a better rate at banks and post offices. Bank cards are widely welcomed, though cash is recommended for tipping.