You need to know the top things to do in Antalya to plan the best trip to Turkey. Antalya is surrounded by the dramatic Tarsus mountains providing picturesque views and great outdoor activities for the beach lover and outdoor adventure enthusiast. Read on to find the best things to do in Antalya for your next trip to Turkey.
Best Time to Visit Antalya
Antalya has over 300 days per year of sunshine, so it is not too hard to find an ideal time to go. The best time to go to Antalya is between April and October while the weather is warm.
If you go during the high season from June to August, expect crowds and hot humid days. If you are in April – Mary or September – October, the weather is still warm, but you skip the crowds, heat, and high humidity. The cold rainy season is November to February, with a few sunny days.
Next, we’ll look at the best things to do in Antalya during your trip.
Top Things to Do in Antalya
If you know the top things to do in Antalya, you can plan the best trip to Turkey. You will have options from beach days, hiking, exploring ancient ruins, or enjoying a feast at a local restaurant. We have put together a guide for the top things to do in Antalya.
Visit Konyaalti Beach
A favorite beach in Antalya is Konyaalti Beach, the longest pebble beach located in Antalya. It’s a short tram ride from the city center and has many hotels across the street for easy access. Stroll the boardwalk that runs along the beach.
Experience the nightlife in the local clubs and restaurants in the summer months. Several places offer sand volleyball, paragliding, and parasailing adventures on the beach. In the winter months, most of the cafes and restaurants are closed, but you can still walk down to the beach to enjoy the views of the Mediterranean Sea and the Taurus Mountain range surrounding Antalya. The water is cold in the winter, but you’ll still find locals enjoying a swim in the sea.
Antalya Old Town, also called Kaleici, is a fun place to walk through the cobblestone streets with historical ottoman-era houses. Enter Kaleici through the famous Hadrian’s Gate, or called the three arches, built to commemorate the visit of Roman emperor Hadrian.
As you walk through the old town, you’ll see ancient mosques and churches among local shops. You can walk down to old the ancient harbor to see the local fisherman bringing in their catch for the day along with views of the Antalya cliffs and Mediterranean.
Kaleici is a buzz in the summer months with the local nightlife and boutique hotels located in this area. There are many local cafes where you can enjoy tea or coffee while people-watching or head to a restaurant to have a gourmet meal. It is a fun place to enjoy all that Antalya has to offer. You can take a short 10-minute tram ride down the Antalya Coast to Konyaalti Beach.
Visit Ancient Cities Aspendos & Perge
Just outside of Antalya, you’ll find the ancient cities of Perge and Aspendos, both tentative UNESCO World Heritage sites. These ancient cities are famous for their Roman architecture, city layout, and being conquered by Alexander the Great in 333 B.C.
Perge is known for its defense system. You hike a small hill to an overlook of the city and views of the area. Aspendos has the largest Roman theater in Asia Minor and is a spectacular place to see. Also, you can see the aqueduct that carried water down from the mountains to the city. There are trails and great views to enjoy at Aspendos.
We recommend 2-3 hours to visit Perge and then head 30 minutes down the road to visit Aspendos.
Visit Antalya Museum
To understand the history of the area, we highly recommend visiting the Antalya Archeology Museum. The museum focuses on Mediterranean ancient civilizations in the Antalya province – Lycian, Pamphylia, and Pisidia.
You’ll find sculptures and artifacts from most of the local antiquity sites, including Aspendos and Perge. If you’re visiting with family, see the Children’s section of the museum, where you can find ancient toys as well as opportunities for interaction by drawing, and sculpting so the kids can participate in their learning.
A trip to visit local museums and historical sites is to purchase a MuzeKart for the Mediterranean region. The MuzeKart will give you access to all museums during your trip. You can download the Museums of Turkey app to purchase the card online and show the QR code on your phone when entering one of the sites.
Upper Duden Waterfalls
On a hot summer day, a favorite thing to do in Antalya is to spend the day exploring the Upper Duden Waterfalls. The falls are located about 12km from the Antalya city center. It is a nice easy hike with many photo opportunities.
Also, you can explore the cave behind the waterfalls. It’s a great time to get out of the city and enjoy being in nature. You can stop at a local café or bring your food and stop at one of the picnic areas. It’s a great way to enjoy the cool water and a quiet space.
You can the Lower Duden Waterfalls about 25 minutes down the river where the Duden drops off the Antalya cliffside into the Mediterranean Sea. Typically, you would see the Lower Duden during a boat trip from the Kaleici Harbor.
Mediterranean Boat Trip
One of the best things to do in Antalya is to take a boat trip on the Mediterranean Sea. You’ll cruise on a gullet boast that takes off from the ancient Kaleici Harbor, down the coast seeing the cliffside views of the city, waterfalls, beaches, and breathtaking views of the Tarsus mountains. If you head down to the Antalya harbor, you’ll see many different boats and can get on a group boat tour for a few hours or hire a private trip for the day. This is a must-do in Antalya to get a feel for the coastline and a view of the city.
While you’re in Antalya, eat like a local. Antalya is famous for its kofte, piyaz, and fish. Along with the general Mediterranean food of kebaps, rice, bread, vegetables, and baklava, there are some wonderful Turkish dishes to enjoy at local restaurants.
To find the best restaurants, ask a local where they eat and go there. Find restaurants that have a consistent flow of Turkish people, and you’ll know you are in the right place for a great meal.
Tunektepe Cable Car
One of the best ways to get a bird’s eye view of Antalya is to ride the cable car up 1706 meters to the top of Tunektepe. The cable ride starts at Konyaalti Beach and takes about 9 minutes to get to the top of the hill.
Once you’re at the top there are restaurants and playgrounds where you can enjoy the panoramic views of the city. During the winter months, check before you go as it may be closed due to the weather conditions.
If you have a love for the outdoors, a must-do in Antalya is hiking at Sapadere Canyon. The water is crystal clear and ice-cold, perfect for a visit during the hot summer months. It’s about a 30-minute hike through the canyon on a well-maintained trail where you can enjoy natural pools, waterfalls, and local wildlife.
Once you reach the village of Sapadere which has the last waterfall on the hike, you can swim in the crystal-clear water, so don’t forget to bring or wear your swimsuit.
Another fun thing to do in Antalya visits Lara Beach, just 12km from the city center. There are places to picnic, swim and enjoy a day on the beach. Also, there are opportunities for parasailing, boat rides, and other water sports.
Lara Beach is a famous exhibition that features hundreds of huge sand sculptures each year from May to November. You can view the sandcastles and even take a turn at building your own with one of the sculptors.
Hiking to the ancient city of Termessos in the Tarsus mountains is a highlight of things to do in Antalya. The mountain top city on Gulluk Mountain, also known as Termessos National Park. You can drive up the mountain to the beginning of the trail and park. It’s a 45 minute to hour hike up the mountain to get to the top.
From the theater, you can see the Mediterranean Sea, views of the surrounding mountain range, and ruins on the mountainside. There are many trails that you can explore the ancient site. You can take a picnic lunch up with you. Be sure to bring water and snacks up with you.
Final Thoughts on Best Things to Do in Antalya
If you’re planning a trip to the Turkish Mediterranean coast and are wondering what to do in Antalya, we hope our recommendations are helpful. Whether you want to have a relaxing day at the beach, explore ancient sites and or have a day of outdoor adventure, there are many options to choose from. Our list of things to do in Antalya will help you have a fantastic trip to Turkey.
Author: Dania Demirci is the co-founder of Adventurefolio, a travel blog helping families confidently plan their trip to Turkey sharing travel tips, destination guides, and food guides for traveling in Turkey. Dania loves all things travel, adventure, entrepreneurship & self-discovery.