Incredibly Popular Antalya Turkey

If I asked you to guess the name of the world’s third most visited city in 2011 odds are that you wouldn’t know that it is Antalya, part of the Turkish Riviera on that country’s Mediterranean coast. I also declare that I didn’t know that either, and was highly surprised at my discovery.

According to the World Tourism Organisation that was exactly the case, with Antalya getting more visitors than New York, and even getting 2.4 million more visitors than Turkey’s biggest city Istanbul.

The truth is that Antalya is a delightful place that is blessed with a glorious mixture of wonderful beaches, great resorts, interesting old towns and some truly ancient monuments. Tag these attributes with a comfortable Mediterranean climate and cheap flights from dozens of European cities and it is easy to understand why Antalya is so popular with visitors.

As well as having an attractive coastline, Antalya is surrounded on its other three sides by the Taurus Mountains which plunge into the sea at the coast creating lots of scenic bays and coves.

The city centre is Kaleici, which once existed entirely inside fortified walls, but has since outgrown that man-made barrier. Structures within the city date back as far as Roman times as is evidenced by the existence of a triumphal arch called Hadrian’s Gate, after the Roman Emperor Hadrian who visited the city. Legend also has it that the Queen of Sheba visited on her way to see King Solomon.

Although Kaleici has the type of narrow, winding streets you’d expect in an ancient city it also has some great shopping and dining areas too. The town also has a yacht harbour where you can find vessels to take you on scenic cruises around the Mediterranean. Bear in mind that bartering is an accepted part of shopping here, so you shouldn’t accept the first price that is offered to you.

The other major city is Kalekapisi which also has old stone walls and a stone tower. Much of this city is a pedestrian zone, although it does have a tram which shares the streets, and which you can board to reach the beach. Another good way to get to the resorts is to hop on a dolmus, which are privately-owned minibuses.

Many of the most popular resorts are located along the beach at Lara. The beach begins at the Antalya cliffs near the Lower Duden Waterfall and extends east for many kilometres. Although most of the resorts cater for the pre-paid packaged holiday market you can still negotiate a good rate for a room if there are any available.

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