Certainly one of Antalya’s most important historical sights, Hadrian’s Gate dates back to 130 AD and was built to commemorate the visit of powerful Roman Emperor Hadrian. Back then Antalya was known as Attaleia and the marble and granite gate’s ornate friezes with floral motives and cornices are all visual reminders of an entirely different era. The fact that the gate is the entrance to the city’s old town is also quite befitting.
Speaking of the old town, you really must discover every corner of Kaleiçi, Antalya’s most popular neighborhood. Walk along the narrow cobblestone streets and admire the old stone and wooden houses, do some shopping in the many souvenir shops, and visit the Broken Minaret Mosque (formerly a Roman temple built in the 2nd century AD). When you’re ready to walk to the seaside, take the famous Kırkmerdiven (forty stairs) an ancient staircase built by the Venetians to connect Kaleiçi to the harbor.
When you’re in Turkey, every morning should begin with a hearty Turkish breakfast including different varieties of cheeses, olives, marmalades, and pastries with endless rounds of Turkish tea. One of our favorites is The Big Man in the Lara district, which, despite its interesting name, offers a delicious breakfast with an amazing view of Antalya’s sea and mountains.
The Big Man: Şirinyalı Mahallesi, Lara Cd. No:101, Muratpaşa-Antalya +90 242 316 13 88
If you’re an enthusiast for the historical side of things, then the Antalya Museum is a must-visit to get a real sense of the city’s past. One of Turkey’s largest museums, you’ll find an excellent collection in thirteen exhibition halls, including statues from the Roman era, mosaics from the Byzantine period, and Ottoman era inscriptions (to name a few).
Bahçelievler Mahallesi, Konyaalti Cad. No:88, Konyaaltı-Antalya +90 242 238 56 89
When lunchtime rolls around and you’re getting hungry make sure to try the famous börek (filled pastries) of Tevfik Bey whose shop has been open since the 1930s. Very thin dough, rolled out expertly by hand, is filled with such ingredients as lor cheese, white cheese with parsley, or minced meat and baked to crispy perfection. The sweet börek topped with powdered sugar is also a favorite.
Of course no Antalya trip would be complete without a cool dip in the sea and some time relaxing under the warm sun. One of the most popular beaches is Konyaaltı Plajı, which stretches out for 7km in a haze of white sand and light blue water. You’ll also find lots to do in the nearby bars, cafes, and nightclubs.