The distinctive ‘Turquoise’ Mediterranean Coast is home to many of Turkey’s most popular resorts. Holidays to this part of Turkey offer a fascinating combination of sun, sea, relaxation, culture and nightlife but Antalya really raises the bar.
The cosmopolitan city is renowned for its cozy marina, palm-lined streets, great restaurants, excellent shopping, superb nightlife and lots of historical attractions – all set against the backdrop of the pine-clad Taurus Mountains that tower 3,000 metres above the city.
This region in Turkey‘s south west corner features a 400-mile sweep of delightful soft sandy beaches which are perfect for families and sun worshippers alike. The yacht-filled marinas and avenues of designer boutiques contribute to it being one of the country’s most upmarket areas – often referred to as the Turkish Riviera.
As well as being the hottest region in Turkey with a beautiful all year round climate, Antalya is also home to many ancient ruins (some dating as far back as the 2nd Century Roman times) so there’s plenty of ways to uncover the country’s traditional side.
Top Resorts and Hotels
If history is your thing then Side is the best place to head to dig up some of Turkey’s past. The ancient walled village, made up of low-rise hotels and stone buildings, is home to Roman baths, a Byzantine basilica and the Temple of Apollo. But that’s not all, a 10km stretch of beach offers watersports at its lively end and stunning rolling dunes at its quieter end. Topped off with a yacht-filled marina and avenues of designer boutiques, Side offers something for everyone. Similarly, the resort of Alanya is a real mix of old and new with trendy bars and restaurants in the new town as well as a huge hill-top fortress with crumbling castle walls in the old town.
Those who want peace and quiet during their holiday to Turkey should check into the laid-back resort of Lara Beach. It’s known as one of the best beaches on this side of Turkey and it also hosts the world’s biggest sandcastle competition during summer when you can marvel at the life-size creations that line the shore. In the foothills of the Taurus Mountains you’ll find the equally quiet resort of Belek. This is the place to head if you want an all-inclusive holiday, as it’s filled with luxury hotels and no less than 17 golf courses!
Attractions and Things to Do
Alanya’s famous hill-top fortress is one of the Antalya region’s must sees. The winding road to the fortress is 3.5km long and uphill, so be prepared for a bit of a trek if you haven’t hired a car. At the end of the road is the entrance to the inner fortress, where you’ll find preserved ruins and the shell of an 11th-century Byzantine church.
If you want a break from sunning yourself then hop on the Mount Tahtali cable car at Kemer and within minutes of the Med’s sandy beaches and refreshing waters you’ll be able to enjoy cool mountain breezes and a snowy summit. You can even ski here in the winter months.
Carved in Cratese period limestone, this cave – the largest in Turkey to have been inhabited – has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its archaeological value. Some of the finds are displayed in the little Karain Museum and others can be found at Antalya Museum.
Average Temperature and Rainfall
Boasting an average 300 days of sun each year, it’s no surprise Antalya is a top choice for holidays all year round. The summer months are long here, lasting from April until November, with the hottest months of July and August providing temperatures of up to 40°C. The sea at this time is around 28°C so it really is like bathing in bath water but even if you come in the winter season, it never dips below 15°C. Antalya only gets a few days of rain each year and that’s usually in December and January. However, temperatures are still pleasant during this time, averaging at about 13 ºC.