A blend of history, world-class beach culture and extreme adventures, Antalya offers endless possibilities for every type of travelers. Aside from the perfect white sand beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters, the tropical underwater here is one of its most famous attractions. One of the world’s most beautiful stretches of sand, Antalya is definitely the ultimate beach escape in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas of Turkey. In this 3-day suggested itinerary, you will be able to see much of Antalya’s best attractions. If you are travelling in Turkey, why not visit Antalya as an extension of your trip?
Things to know before traveling to Antalya, Turkey:
Language – The official language of Turkey is Turkish, which is spoken by majority of the population. There are over 30 different languages spoken in the country but the other 3 that is most common are Kurmanji, Arabic and Zazaki. Most people in Antalya, especially those who work in the tourism industry, can speak English. However, not all people in the country can speak or understand English so learning a few basic Turkish words and phrases is recommended. Just like in other countries, speaking at least some Turkish phrases or attempting to learn is greatly appreciated by the locals.
Currency exchange – The official currency of Turkey is the Turkish lira (TRY). Exchanging money in Fethiye is easy and follows the same standard to elsewhere in the country. You may exchange currencies at all banks, post offices and money exchange shops. International credit cards are widely accepted but always prepare cash for small stores, shops and restaurants. You can also withdraw cash from bank ATM’s (look for ATMs with Global ATM logo correlated with Cirrus, Interlink, Star, etc.). It’s also good to know that many shops may also accept British Pound (GBP) and Euro (EUR).
Safety and security – There is currently no nationwide security advisory in effect for Turkey. Check your country’s travel advisory website to get the most up-to-date information for your personal safety abroad. Keep your guard up at all times and avoid any streets that are not crowded. Do not carry debit or credit cards with you, or hide it in your bra or shoes. Always bring identification and make sure to photocopy your passport in case of loss. Avoid non-essential travel to all areas within 10 kilometers of the Syrian border and the south eastern provinces.
Etiquette – Turkey is an Islamic country so it’s important to remember some do’s and dont’s to enjoy a faux pas free journey. There’s no need for a foreigner to feel obligated to dress in traditional Turkish clothing. Modesty is the key in Turkey. For women, avoid revealing clothes so you won’t get unwanted attention. Jeans and shorts not higher than mid calf, knee-length skirts partnered with T-shirts or blouse are acceptable. For men, loose cotton shirts, T-shirts and pants are okay. Since Antalya is a popular beach destination, you may wear swim suit in the resorts and beaches.
Getting around – Dolmus are the cheapest and most popular way of getting around. The Turkish dolmuş (pronounced DOL-moosh) are share taxis that run set routes within and between cities, which commonly serves the coastal area of Turkey.
Where to stay – In Antalya, accommodation options are diverse, with something for every level of comfort and budget. Most hotels are located in Belek, Kemer, Side, Lara, and Alanya. The most frequent question from first time travelers is, “What’s the best area to stay in when visiting Antalya?” Without a doubt, the best place to stay in is Belek as it contains the best hotels, places to eat and shop.
Hotels to consider in Antalya:
Detailed itinerary: Best of Antalya, Turkey in 3 days
Antalya sits on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean region. To get there, take a flight that arrives in the Antalya International Airport as early as possible and check in to your preferred hotel/hostel. You may also fly via Istanbul or Denizli, and then take a bus to Antalya city. Then, hit one of the breakfast or coffee spots in the town like Cay-Tea’s Lunchroom & Deco Home (Kılınçarslan Mahallesi, Civelek Sk. No:10), Castle Cafe & Bistro (Kılınçarslan Mahallesi, Hıdırlık Sk. No:46) and Nar Beach Bistro (Muratpaşa Mahallesi, Konyaaltı Cd).
After breakfast get acquainted with Antalya’s best attractions by joining a small group tour of the region’s historical ruins and sites. It’s a 3-hour guided tour taking in sights like the ancient Psidian city of Termessos, the old Perge, Aspendos Theatre, the Former Sea Trading Port of Phaselis, and the ancient city ruins of Side.
Spend the rest of the day at the Lara Beach, one of the most popular beaches among local and international tourists near the city center. Plenty of activities happen here, so it’s great place to meet people. After a full day exploring, enjoy dinner at one of the restaurants with a view of the sea. Do not miss to enjoy some seafood platters at Aynali (Selcuk Mah. Kaleici Yat limani Tuzkapisi Sokak No:7).
You may start your second day early with a Tandem Paragliding, which is the perfect way to witness the beauty of Antalya. Most tours include a breakfast buffet and a toast of champagne upon landing. Reservations can be done directly through your hotel or online. If you have extra bucks to splurge, get a bird’s eye helicopter view of Antalya and its gorgeous beaches.
After breakfast, catch one of the minibuses from Antalya’s otogar station (main station for intercity buses) to Kaş (pronounced Kaash), one of the southernmost points of Turkey. From there, ride a dolmuş (pronounced DOL-moosh) to get to Olympos. Here, you will find Olympos Beach at the foot of Mount Olympos, one of the best beaches in Turkey.
For fun-loving and adventure-seeking travelers, follow the ancient Lycian Way (from Kaş or Kekova in Antalya), which is 500 kilometer trek connecting Fethiye and Antalya. Considered as one of the best day/multi-day hikes in the country, this long-distance hiking trail pass through beautiful native bush, jaw-dropping scenery and breathtaking views over the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the trail is uphill so assess your physical condition before you go.
On your last day in Antalya, leave before dawn and wait for the sun of the new day to appear on the horizon from the beautiful seafront of Konyaaltı Beach. Waiting for the sunrise is probably one of the most fascinating experiences you could get in the city. Then, it’s time to hit the sun and bask in the laid-back swimming area of Konyaaltı with stunning views of the mountain range.
Have you been to Antalya or anywhere else in Turkey? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.
Featured image: Landscape of ancient shipyard near of Kizil Kule tower in Alanya peninsula, Antalya district, Turkey (Oleg_P / Shutterstock.com)