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The Top 10 Things to Do and See in Antalya, Turkey
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The Top 10 Things to Do and See in Antalya, Turkey

Picture of Jasmina Kanuric
Updated: 9 February 2017
Antalya is a popular holiday destination, offering stunning beaches and insightful windows into history. Take your time and explore the old city, see the Hadrian’s Gate and Broken Minaret. Hide from the heat by walking into Karain cave or taking a ride to the top of Mount Tahtali. Discover the ruins of ancient Greek cities and don’t miss the burning flames of Chimaera!
Phaselis theatre
Phaselis theatre I | © Carole Raddato/WikiCommons

Walk around the ruins of Phaselis

The Old Lycian port city of Phaselis was once an important trading point in the region. Walk around the ruins of the city and imagine how life was under the rule of Alexander the Great. Remains also include an aqueduct, amphitheatre and the main market street, which connects two harbors. Today, the area is located in a national park, where you can find stunning beaches. There are no restaurants near by, but if you plan ahead and bring a picnic you’ll be guaranteed a wonderful afternoon.

Hadrian’s Gate
Hadrian’s Gate I | © Ingo Mehling/WikiCommons

Explore Kaleiçi

Kaleiçi is the old town of Antalya, where you can admire the mixture of Roman and Ottoman architecture. Upon entering the old town, you pass Hadrian’s Gate, the triple arch that guards the entrance to the old town and was built in the 2nd century. Close by is another symbol of Antalya, the 40-meter high grooved minaret (Yivli Minare). It was built together with a Seljuk Turkish mosque in the 13th century, which is today in ruins.

The eternal flames of Chimaera
The eternal flames of Chimaera I | © Carole Raddato

Visit the eternal flames of Chimaera

In the ancient times, the flames of Chimaera served to guide sailors from crashing on the rocks. The name Chimaera means eternal flame, and even today you can see flames burning from rocks at any point in time. The area consists of over twenty vents emitting gases, which spontaneously ignite. The flames are obviously best seen at night, but don’t forget to bring your flashlight as you have to climb up the hill in the dark!. The Chimaera burning flames are located above the Temple of Hephaistos, and are one of the greatest natural phenomenons on earth.

Antalya Archaeological Museum
Antalya Archaeological Museum I | © Elisa Triolo/Flickr

Stop by at the Antalya Archaeological Museum

The Antalya Archaeological Museum is one of the best museums in Turkey, guiding you through the history of Antalya in a fun and engaging way. The museum exhibits an impressive collection of artefacts from excavation sites across Antalya. The displays date back five thousand years, containing artefacts from the Bronze Age to Byzantium. The museum’s most important galleries are the divinity statues from Perge and mosaics from Seleukeia. The museum is open every day, except on Monday.

Duden Waterfalls
Duden Waterfalls I | © zolakoma/Flickr

Go for a picnic next to Duden Waterfalls

Antalya’s limestone country is rich in karst waterfalls, caves and springs. From the Taurus Mountains to the Mediterranean Sea runs the Duden river, which along the way creates two cascades of waterfalls. The cascades are known as Upper and Lower Duden Waterfalls. This a scenic spot, surrounded by gardens, and it is a popular picnic place for locals and tourists alike. The Upper Duden Waterfall is 15 meters high and hides a natural cave behind it, where you can sit and watch the cascades.

Hidirlik Tower
Hidirlik Tower I | © Ingo Mehling/WikiCommons

Relax in Karaalioğlu Parkı

This is one of Antalya’s major parks, where you can relax under the shade during the hot days or walk around in the evening. At the edge of the park is located the ancient Roman fortress Hidirlik, overlooking the old harbor. It is a 14 meters tall tower, offering great views on the city and the Gulf. Come in the early evening and enjoy the panoramic view of the old Roman harbor in the setting sun. The park is also a great picnic spot and it’s always open and free of charge.

Kesik Minare (broken minaret)
Kesik Minare (broken minaret) I | © Ingo Mehling/WikiCommons

Broken Minaret of the Korkut Mosque

The Broken Minaret (Kesik Minare) of the Korkut Mosque is located in Antalya’s old town. The graceful minaret was destroyed in the 19th century by fire and the broken ruins are all that’s left of the building’s long history. First built as a Roman temple in 2nd century, it was converted into a Byzantine church in 600s. After the Seljuk Turkish Empire invasion, the church became a mosque and the minaret was added. During the crusades in 1361, the mosque was converted yet again to a church. Finally, it became a mosque during the Ottoman rise to power in 15th century, the ruins of which are there today.

Karain Cave
Karain Cave I | © Sarah Murray/Flickr

See the Karain Cave

The Karain Cave is located on a mountainside and is made up of few large caverns, all of which are open to the public. Excavations of the cave led to discoveries from Lower and Middle Paleolithic eras, including possible fragments of a Neanderthal skull. Some of the artefacts are exhibited in the small museum at the location and others can be found at the Antalya Archeological Museum. Top tip: combine the trip to Karain Cave with a visit to the ruins of Termessos for a truly history-packed day.

Termessos amphitheatre
Termessos amphitheatre I | © Ingo Mehling/WikiCommons

Discover the Güllük Dagi National park

Güllük Dagi National park is located around half an hour drive northwest from Antalya and it hides well preserved ruins of the ancient city of Termessos. Termessos was built on top of a mountain and it offers magnificent views across the surrounding area. The highlight is the remains of the once-magnificent amphitheatre, actually carved out of the mountain rock. As the terrain is quite rocky, make sure to wear sturdy shoes.

View from Mt. Tahtali
View from Mt. Tahtali I | © Natalle Sayin/Flickr

Climb Mount Tahtali

The view from the top of Mount Tahtali is quite stunning, as this natural structure rises 2,365 meters into the sky. For the average hiker it might be too big of a challenge to climb all the way up, but you can still reach the top using a cable car. Go from the bottom of the beach to the top of the sky in one day, and enjoy the amazing view of the coastline and Taurus Mountains on the way. The real adventure-hunter might want to consider paragliding down, or skiing in winter, but that’s certainly not for the faint-hearted!

Jasmina Kanuric