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    Antalya being one of Turkey’s most popular holiday destinations is hardly a surprise, thanks to its luxurious hotels, stunning beaches and an impressive collection of significant historical attractions to go with it. With hot, sunny summers and mild winters, it’s a year-round destination, so there’s never a bad time to visit this charming city on the country’s breathtaking Turquoise Coast.

    Antalya is just as popular with couples looking for a romantic getaway as it is with families looking for that unforgettable holiday together, so it’s definitely the right place for you, whoever you are. So, why not get planning your perfect Turkey holiday? We’ve made a start for you, with this list of the top things to do in Antalya in a day.


    Start your day at Republic Square

    At the very heart of the city

    The perfect starting point for your explorations around Antalya, Republic Square is at the very heart of the city. This is the place where any big public events and celebrations take place and, on regular days, it’s just as good for sitting back and people watching, too. The main focal point of the square is the striking Ataturk Monument, honouring Kemal Ataturk, the founder of Turkey.

    From the square, you can admire the fountains dancing in the sun, take in the wonderful views down to the marina below or walk just across the street and visit the famous Yivli Minare Mosque for even better panoramic vistas of the city.

    Elhelyezkedés: Republic Square, Deniz Mahallesi, Konyaaltı Cd., 07050 Muratpaşa/Antalya, Turkey

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    Must-See: Hadrian’s Gate

    The gateway to Antalya’s Old Town

    Easily one of the most iconic spots in the whole city, the unmistakable Hadrian’s Gate is the main entrance into Kaleiçi, Antalya’s picturesque Old Town. Offering the perfect Instagram photo opportunity, this historical landmark was built in AD 130 to commemorate the visit of Emperor Hadrian to the city.

    The gate is part of the best-preserved Hellenistic and Roman town walls in the world and features 3 marble arches and 3 imposing towers. You’ll notice some intricately detailed sculptures on the gateway, but take a closer look up at the ceiling as you walk under to see some of the most impressive carvings.

    Elhelyezkedés: Hadrian’s Gate, Barbaros Mahallesi, 07100 Muratpaşa/Antalya, Turkey

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    A kép készítője: Bernard Gagnon (CC BY-SA 3.0) módosítva


    Wander the narrow streets of Kaleiçi

    A maze of charming architecture

    Without a doubt one of Antalya’s biggest attractions, the city’s Old Town (Kaleiçi) is fascinatingly historic and unfalteringly charming. Allow yourself to get lost in the narrow, cobbled streets and take in the unique Ottoman houses as you go. You’ll find an array of shops, galleries, restaurants and boutique hotels among the sea of white-washed buildings and distinctive terracotta roofs.

    You’ll find picturesque squares dotted throughout the Old Town, with inviting restaurant seating spilling out onto the streets and historical monuments as the centrepiece. Be sure to seek out the iconic Saat Kulesi, a 19th-century clock tower with rough stone walls. You’ll easily be able to spot it on the Old Town skyline as you wander around.

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    Uncover Turkey’s past at the Antalya Museum

    A comprehensive look at the country’s history

    Delve into Turkey’s fascinating history at the vast and comprehensive Antalya Museum. The museum showcases artefacts and findings from the Stone Age and Bronze Age, right through to the days of the Byzantine Empire. There’s an emphasis on ruins in the local area, as well as items that have been discovered at sites along the Turkish Coast, in the Hall of Regional Excavations.

    The Hall of Gods features some incredible statues, a number of which were found at Perge, and there are impressive collections of coins and sarcophagi in other exhibits, too. Turkey has a rich and complex history, but the museum does a great job at making it easy to understand.

    Elhelyezkedés: Bahçelievler Mahallesi, Konyaaltı Cd. No:88, 07050 Muratpaşa/Antalya, Turkey

    Nyitva: Daily from 8.30am to 5.30pm

    Telefonszám: +90 (0)242 238 5688

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    Must-See: Düden Waterfalls

    A sight of stunning natural beauty

    Located just outside the city of Antalya, the Düden Waterfalls showcase Turkey’s stunning natural beauty and are a mesmerising sight to be seen. There are 2 parts to the falls, the Upper Düden Falls, which you’ll find further inland, and the Lower Düden Falls. The latter of the 2 cascades over the clifftop, crashing into the sea below, not far from Lara Beach.

    You can travel the 30 minutes to the falls yourself, or there are multiple day trips available if you really want to make the most of your visit and find out all there is to know from an experienced guide. One of the best ways to capture a photo of the breathtaking lower falls is from a boat trip out on the water.

    Elhelyezkedés: Düden Waterfalls, Çağlayan Mahallesi, Lara Cd. No:457, 07230 Muratpaşa/Antalya, Turkey

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    Haggle a bargain at the Antalya Bazaar

    Put your bartering skills to the test

    A trip to Turkey wouldn’t be complete without experiencing one of its many colourful bazaars and doing your very best to haggle a bargain. Visiting the historic Antalya Bazaar will give you a fascinating insight into local culture and the Turkish way of life, as visitors and locals mingle and strike a deal on the best prices for food, clothing, jewellery and arts and crafts.

    Browse the narrow aisles and follow your senses to the sights and smells that take your fancy the most. Don’t be afraid to try and bring the stall owners down on price – they expect you to do just that and it’s all part of the fun.

    Elhelyezkedés: Antalya Bazaar, Meydankavagi Mh, Antalya 07200, Turkey

    Nyitva: Saturdays from around 9am to late

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    Visit the ancient ruins of Aspendos

    Superbly preserved to this day

    The ancient Greco-Roman city of Aspendos, particularly its remarkable Roman theatre, is an excellent example of Turkish history. Built in AD 155, the impressive theatre has certainly stood the test of time. At nearly 100 metres tall, it was designed to hold 12,000 spectators, who were to be entertained by gladiator duals.

    Nowadays, you can visit the theatre on a day trip from the stark contrast of the bustling city and walk around its staggering structure for yourself. For the ultimate theatre experience, the annual Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival is held here, too.

    Elhelyezkedés: Aspendos, Serik, Antalya Province, Turkey

    Nyitva: Mid-April–September: daily from 8am to 7pm. October–Mid-April: daily from 8am to 5pm

    Telefonszám: +90 (0)242 735 7337

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    Explore the Lycian Way

    One of the world’s greatest long-distance trails

    Running the full distance of the coast, from Antalya to Ölü Deniz near Fethiye, the popular Lycian Way is an adventurer’s dream. Spanning 540 km in total, you won’t be expected to complete the entire length of the picturesque trail (although many people head here to do just that!), but you can always head out for a hike or a bike ride along part of the way.

    Pack plenty of sun screen and water before venturing out to explore the area. And, of course, have your camera charged and at the ready, as you’ll be treated to some incredible views of Turkey’s picture-perfect Lycian Coast and the glistening turquoise colours of the Mediterranean Sea.

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    Unwind on the golden sands of Lara Beach

    Boasting Blue Flag status

    Sitting pretty, just to the east of Antalya, is the bustling and glamorous resort of Lara Beach. Often likened to Las Vegas, thanks to its extravagant hotels and non-stop entertainment, the biggest draw to this area is actually – you’ve guessed it – the beach.

    Take a break from exploring the busy sights and experiences of city life and spend some time relaxing on the soft, golden sands of Lara Beach. At 12 km long, you shouldn’t struggle to find the perfect spot to while away an hour or 2. The beach boasts Blue Flag status, too, which means you can rest assured that it’ll be clean and safe for bathing.

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    Indulge in fresh seafood and cocktails at the Old City Marina

    The perfect way to end the day

    There can be no better place in the city to watch the sunset and enjoy a drink or 2 than down at the Old City Marina. Immerse yourself in the surroundings of luxurious yachts, traditional fishing boats and the charming backdrop of quaint terracotta-roofed houses.

    When it’s time for some food along the waterfront, you’ll find some great restaurants serving fresh seafood, steak and delicious local cuisine, such as Iskele Fish and Steak House, Ekici Restaurant or Aynalı. Afterwards, head out into the night and wash your dinner down with a cocktail at one of the nearby bars, boasting great views of the twinkling city lights reflecting off the marina.

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    Sadie Geoghegan-Dann | Szabadúszó szerző

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