Ever had one of those boring days when you can’t think of anything to cheer yourself up with? If so, it’s time to say goodbye to your boredom. The range of fun things you can do in Antalya is so wide it can keep you thrilled not only during a short holiday, but also for the rest of your life if you decide to live in this beautiful city permanently. In this article, we are going to tell you what the best things to do in Antalya are. Enjoy!
Best Things to Do and Top Spots to Visit in Antalya
Lying down and chilling on the refreshing Mediterranean beaches is the most conventional thing you can do in Antalya because the pearl of the Turkish Riviera offers a plethora of fun activities you can take part in. If you are into archeology, you’ll be surprised to see how well the rich history and culture of this beautiful coastal city can satisfy you. You just can’t recover from the breathtaking monuments it keeps throwing at you!
History is just one side of the story though in Antalya, you can find the perfect balance between modern city life and well-preserved natural allure. All-inclusive shopping centers, colorful nightclubs, traditional restaurants and world-class golf courses are always up and running, but whenever you feel like the hustles and bustles of the city are too much for you, enchanting canyons, mighty mountains, beautiful waterfalls, and the refreshing Mediterranean sea are always ready to greet you with open arms.
The following is a thorough list of the recreational activities you can take part in when in Antalya here:
1. Explore the wonders of the Land of Legends
Sounds like an epic journey, right? This Mediterranean version of Disneyland is an enormous theme park and entertainment center near Belek, roughly 40 kilometers east of Antalya. From the moment you enter the resort, you’ll be captivated by the theme that applies to the whole facility and people wearing costumes like they have jumped right out of the fairytales.
There is an extensive water park in the Land of Legends resort with more than 50 water slides and the option of riding gondolas. Furthermore, you can’t help but to become fascinated by the park’s enormous mall which comprises more than 100 shops. Prolong your stay until the evening and you can even take part in the resort’s thrilling evening shows.
Write the name Land of Legends at the top of your bucket list and don’t forget to explore it whenever you find yourself in Antalya.
2. Enjoy the Heavenly Nature of Olympus and Cirali
60 miles away from Antalya downtown, there is a fine piece of land that is divided by a river into two towns: Olympos and Cirali. The twins connect with each other only downstream of the river, at a spectacular beach surrounded by a verdant forest.
Olympos / Cirali beach is the natural habitat and breeding ground for Caretta turtles and, therefore, is strictly protected. That’s why no construction is allowed near the beach perimeters. You can see several cottages and shacks but you won’t find hotels or other types of modern structures. Overall, Olympos and Cirali with their shared beach suit you best when you want to embrace nature and relax for a few hours.
3. Ride a Cable Car to the Top of the Olympus
The might of Mount Tahtali, also known as Olympos, overshadows several coastal resorts but only one of them gives you the option to board a cable car and ascend to the top of the mountain. In the coastal town of Kemer, a cable car departs from the beach every 10 minutes and takes its passengers on a breathtaking aerial journey.
Commonly known as Olympos Teleferik, this cable car tract is one of the longest of its kind in the whole world. With a length of 4350 meters, Olympos Teleferik takes you 2365 meters above the ground in just 10 minutes. From such a height, if the weather is clear, you’ll be blessed by the most beautiful panoramic view ever and if not, well, you’ll get to know how it feels like to fly above the clouds!
4. Go Paragliding From Olympus
With all the fun it can offer, Olympos is not going to let you get back to your hotel anytime soon. You can now add “flying” to your bucket list and cross it off by engaging in a thrilling paragliding flight from mount Olympos.
During your journey, you are guided by a seasoned paragliding pilot who gives you all the instructions you need, so you don’t require any previous knowledge or experience. After a short briefing, you’ll just sit back and enjoy the view from high up the sky and indulge yourself in the thrill. The flights take off from mount Olympos near Kemer, only a short drive from Antalya downtown.
5. Go Rafting in Köprülü Canyon
Yet another delight for those who enjoy an exciting adventure. Köprülü national park is an extensive canyon located 90 kilometers northeast of Antalya and is considered Turkey’s largest rafting hub. Köprülü river offers a 12-kilometer-long rafting tract on its cold spring waters that defy the scorching heat of the sun.
Rafting tours are up and running all year around and can often provide you with necessary equipment. There are also several riverside restaurants and cafes in the canyon so that you can enjoy a traditional Turkish meal after a calorie-consuming rafting experience.
6. Embark on a Jeep Safari in Taurus Mountains
Antalya is not all about fine sandy beaches and crystal clear sea waters. Taurus Mountains always oversee the region and challenge those who demand more excitement from the pearl of the Turkish Riviera. Mountain Safaris are constantly organized from different regions of Antalya and you can easily book one from your hotel.
The jeeps drive you through the pine forests covering the mountain and take you to a height of 900 meters above the sea level. Expect to cross riverbeds and splash some water on the way! Lunch is also served at a fish farm and some tours even offer swimming breaks.
7. Explore the Ruins of Perge
The city of Antalya is surrounded by a countryside that offers many historical sites and monuments among which the ancient city of Perge is one of the most popular. Perge’s massive stadium is an incredible example of Roman architecture and is so well-preserved you can still hear the Roman chariots racing!
Perge’s stadium was designed to host 15000 spectators to watch the competitions and is the most popular monument of this ancient city. However, don’t forget to pay a visit to the great theater and the city’s gate-towers too.
8. Visit the Ancient Aspendos
Great news for history fans; you’ll get to see the most well-preserved Roman theater in the world just 40 kilometers away from Antalya downtown! The ancient city of Aspendos is one of the most popular day trip destinations among tourists and expats alike and its incredible theater dates back to 160-180 A.D..
Once built to accommodate 8000 people, the great theater of Aspendos is now open to the public. You can explore this enormous monument and walk along the rows of seats while climbing to the top of the monument. Furthermore, you can take a look at the extensive network of aqueducts that once supplied water to the ancient city.
9. Go on a Day Trip to Side
The small town of Side does not only offer several beautiful beaches, but also is home to 3000-year-old ruins of the Roman old town. The most famous monument of this historical landmark is the Temple of Apollo, the columns of which are still standing. You can also find another large roman theater with more than 10000 seats in the old town of Side.
If you ever find yourself in Side and are looking for a souvenir to buy, you can find many fine trinkets if you explore the town’s main street.
10. Chill out on Lara Beach
A trip to the Turkish Riviera is meaningless if you don’t enjoy its gorgeous beaches and the crystal clear sea waters of the Mediterranean. Antalya’s meeting with the Mediterranean has given rise to many beautiful beaches that attract millions of tourists each year.
Lara beach is one of Antalya’s prime beaches and is one of the most popular blue flag beaches in the world; meaning it is safe and clean for bathing. This alluring beach attracts many tourists but since it stretches 12 kilometers along the sea, you won’t need to worry about finding a suitable spot.
Apart from its famous beach, the district of Lara offers many other appealing perks. Also known as the Turkish Las Vegas, Lara is a hotbed of fancy hotels, bars, nightclubs, and shopping centers. These extensive amenities make Lara a suitable spot for those who want to buy property in Antalya soon.
11. Visit the Düden Waterfalls
If you’re tired of the hustles and bustles of city life, nothing like a day trip to Düden waterfalls and basking in their stunning beauty can cheer you up. The falls are fed by a river that comes down from the Taurus mountains and pours in the Mediterranean.
Düden waterfalls are twofold. One is the lower falls, located on the Coast of Antalya, that pours down from a 40-meter-high cliff and into a lake near Lara beach. The best view to the lower Düden falls is from on-board a boat or a ship sailing the Mediterranean blue. Another is the upper falls that is a bit further from the coast. It is located in a remote natural park and you can get on the local bus to get to it. Behind the veil of the upper Düden falls is a cave you can enter and enjoy the spectacular view of the falls from a unique angle.
12. Visit the Antalya Aquarium
Nobody wants to miss out on the colorful aquatic life that’s being showcased in the largest tunnel aquarium in the world. With a total of 64 tanks and 40 thematic aquariums, the Antalya Aquarium is the synthetic habitat of more than 5000 fishes and other aquatic creatures. The 131-meter-long and 3-meter-wide tunnel of the aquarium is surrounded by the water tanks and makes you feel you’re on a magical journey in the depths of the Mediterranean.
Antalya Aquarium also features an integrated snow world with a constant temperature of minus 5 degrees Celsius even in the midst of the summer. There is also a wildlife park nearby in which you can witness for yourself the life of several land-roaming animals too; such as reptiles.
13. Go Diving at Üç Adalar
If your visit to the Antalya Aquarium has left you wondering how exploring the depths of the real sea feels like, then you should definitely pay a visit to Three Islands, commonly referred to as Üç Adalar. With its spectacular landscape, this area of the Turkish Riviera is famous for its one-of-a-kind diving sites.
Anyone, at any skill level, can eventually find a suitable diving site in Üç Adalar and discover the wonders of the Mediterranean. The diving experience, however, can be more rewarding for professionals because should they have the ability to handle the strong currents of the sea, they will have the option to explore the Adventure Reef; an alluring diving area that reaches a depth of 60 to 70 meters and is located 400 meters away from the islands and out in the open sea.
14. Explore the Göynük Canyon
In Göynük Canyon, you can create many unforgettable memories. Starting near the town of Kemer, Göynük hiking trail takes you through spectacular natural scenery and will lead to a canyon with a rushing river and several waterfalls.
Myriad recreational activities are offered in the Göynük Canyon. You can engage in a thrilling shootout in the canyon’s paintball range or tame the wild river and go rafting on its transparent water. The good thing about Göynük Canyon is that its wildlife and natural environment has not been modified significantly. That’s why it can give you a real taste of Turkey’s enchanting nature.
15. Go on a Quad Safari
Jeeps are not the only vehicles that can defy the might of the Taurus Mountains. If you’re spending a vacation in Antalya, you can easily book a four-wheeler safari and arrange for a pick up from the hotel you’re residing in.
No previous experience is required for riding a quad; you will be briefed on the necessary instructions and then embark on a 3-hour journey to the desert terrain of the Taurus Mountains on your four-wheeler. The joy of conquering pine forests, dusty roads, and sand dunes with a quad is not something you would want to miss.
16. Stroll the Alleys of Kaleiçi
Kaleiçi, the old town of Antalya is definitely an eye-soothing sight to see. The town is highlighted by Saat Kulesi, a tall clock tower made of stone dating back to the 19th century, and also by its gorgeous harbor. Take a walk on the cobbles of Kaleiçi’s narrow and peaceful alleys and discover the many shops, galleries, boutique hotels, and restaurants that are scattered in its neighborhoods.
Kaleiçi shines bright with its vivid lights at night. Soft lights illuminate the old harbor and its colorful traditional ships while the sound of music from every corner fills the air. Besides, hidden among the old Ottoman houses, there are nightclubs with refreshing views to the old harbor which can make your night feel even livelier.
17. Browse the Manavgat Bazaar
Manavgat is a small town near Antalya and you will easily find a bus in the city terminal that can take you there. The extensive open-air market in Manavgat has all kinds of goods and trinkets to offer, from jewelry, clothing, and leather to spices and carpets. Don’t look for famous brands in the clothing section though; all the items are copy products and the purpose is to provide affordable clothing.
Local farmers also set up additional shops on Mondays and Thursdays and usually sell their products directly to the public, so if you are looking to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, Manavgat is the right spot for you.
18. Go on a Cruise on Manavgat River
Manavgat has more than just its large open-air market to offer to its visitors. The Manavgat River flows through the city and pours into the Mediterranean at the end; giving rise to Manavgat Waterfall on its way. You can book a boat trip from Manavgat downtown and embark on a 3- to 4-hour-long river cruise so that you can enjoy the waterfall and other beautiful natural scenery.
You can find many restaurants and cafes around Manavgat Waterfall, with some of them even offering river terraces so that you can enjoy the water massaging your feet while having a meal. Moreover, Manavgat Waterfall is the natural habitat of many species of birds and fish, and is surrounded by rich and colorful vegetation, so don’t forget to miss out on all the natural beauty that is waiting for you at the town of Manavgat.
19. Explore the Green Canyon
Have you walked every inch of Manavgat bazaar? Good! You have sailed Manavgat River and visited the waterfall too? Great! You think you’re done? Not even close! This small town has still got a few more surprises up her sleeve.
Have you ever heard of the Green Canyon? It is one of the few canyons in Turkey that offers boat trips. Embark on a cruise and sail over the gigantic Oymapinar Dam while enjoying the view of the canyon and the Taurus Mountains on the back. Besides, you get to swim in the emerald green waters of the canyon whenever the boat stops. Oh and don’t worry about food and drinks; the tour usually caters to your needs.
20. Visit the Sandland
On the gorgeous Lara Beach in Antalya, there is a special type of museum awaiting your visit. To further ignite your curiosity, we are going to shoot you with the fact that many people believe it is the world’s most fantastic museum! Even the name suggests how unique it is. Feeling thrilled? Alright, enough of the riddles. It is called -wait for it- the Sandland!
Sandland is an open-air museum that covers an area of approximately one hectare and exhibits magnificent sand sculptures made by artists from all over the world. Each year, a unique theme is assigned to the Sandland but some artworks, including the 7 Wonders of the World, the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, and several mythological figures remain there permanently. If you ever find yourself in Antalya, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the wonders of the Sandland!
21. Discover the Sunken City of Simena
Have you ever heard the legend of Atlantis? A glorious city that sank and was lost to the depths of the sea. You may not be able to find Atlantis, but there is a Turkish version of this sunken city that can be easily reached by boat from Kaş, Demre, and Üçağız.
The ancient coastal town of Simena, which is called Kaleköy nowadays, sank due to an earthquake. However, the water only devoured the lower parts of the city and therefore, the remains of the city took the form of an island.
Many of the ancient ruins and structures are still visible from above the sea surface thanks to the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean, giving rise to spectacular aquatic scenery. You can also visit the remaining parts of the city on the island, which includes a medieval castle and several charming alleys surrounded by stone walls.
22. Enjoy the View of Tünektepe
On top of a hill, 618 meters above sea level, you will find one of the most beautiful panoramic views to the city of Antalya. The hill that offers this view is called Tünektepe and the good news is that you don’t have to climb it on foot; the Tünektepe Teleferik, an extensive 1706-meter-long cable car system with 36 cabins, can take you up to the top in just 9 minutes.
On top of the Tünektepe, you’ll find a beautiful terrace surrounded by pine trees that offers an excellent view to the city. There are also several restaurants and cafes that are always ready to cater to your needs.
23. Go skiing in Saklikent
Antalya is known for its appealing Mediterranean climate with warm summers and mild winters. The sun shines over the pearl of the Turkish Riviera for more than 300 days a year and allows you to enjoy the Mediterranean blue and its gorgeous beaches at any time of the year. This sounds lovely, true, but what if someone misses the snow? What if you want to sense the freezing cold of winter again?
Well, you don’t have to travel to another city if you want to remind yourself how winter feels. Just 30 kilometers away from Antalya, you can find the Saklikent ski resorts, located at an altitude of 2287 meters. A chair lift can take you to the top and from there, you can select a suitable slope based on your skill level to ski your way down.
24. Chill on Konyaalti Beach
Another one of Antalya’s pristine beaches that can give you a taste of the real Mediterranean climate is the Konyaalti beach. You can find all the amenities you need on or near this pebbly beach and there is also a beautiful promenade surrounded by palm trees on which you can take a refreshing stroll along the sea.
25. Visit the Antalya Museum
In Antalya museum, you’ll get to witness a good glimpse of Turkey’s rich history. From Bronze Age to Byzantium, the museum offers a spectacular exhibit of the statuary made in the ancient cities like Perge, Xanthos, and Patara, dating back to the Hellenistic and Roman eras.
26. Explore the Karain Cave
The joy in exploring the Karain Cave located 27 kilometers northwest of Antalya is twofold: First, you’ll enjoy the beautiful cave decorations illuminated by colorful lights and secondly, you’ll get to see the remains of the prehistoric people that once inhabited this cave. These remains include bones and teeth and are showcased in an on-site museum.
27. Visit the Yivli Minare
Located in the old town of Antalya, the fluted minaret or Yivli Minare, as the locals put it, is a perfect and well-preserved demonstration of Seljuk architecture. This minaret stands right on the opposite side of the clock tower and is one of Antalya’s most distinguished landmarks.
28. Cross Hadrian’s Gate
The glorious and well-preserved three-arched marble gateway to Antalya old town was visited by Emperor Hadrian himself and that’s why it is called Hadrian’s Gate. It is richly decorated and you can see the detailed carvings on its ceiling when you are crossing it.
29. Take a stroll in Karaalioglu Park
You can find the Karaalioglu Park on the hills just southwest of Kaleiçi providing a beautiful view to the gulf of Antalya and Bey Mountains Covering the Horizons. Karaalioglu Park offers several cafes and a playground for children as well as a number of historical monuments such as the Hıdırlık Tower and an ancient Roman defense base.
30. Visit Kursunlu Waterfalls
There is another set of beautiful waterfalls you should not miss; the Kursunlu Waterfalls in the Kursunlu nature park originates from the Aksu River and pours down into a beautiful pool surrounded by rich vegetation, giving rise to an enchanting landscape the likes of which you get to see only in fairytales!
Now that you know what the best things to do in Antalya are, you can plan a memorable vacation in this beautiful Mediterranean city. The gorgeous beaches and coastal resorts, myriad historical monuments, enchanting natural beauty, and a plethora of recreational activity that Antalya has to offer will satisfy every taste and if you ever find yourself grown attached to all the fun, there are many apartments and villas for sale in Antalya, among which you can eventually find your dream house and live in the pearl of the Turkish Riviera permanently.