Antalya is a city on the southern coast of Turkey. It has an old town, beaches to the east and west and a modern city where most of the residents live.
Holiday companies fly holidaymakers into its large international airport on the east side of the city. Then they will head to the beach resorts or some to the old city which is also of interest to tourists. There is also a domestic terminal to fly in from other parts of Turkey.
On the west side of the city there is the 7km long Konyaalti Beach with many hotels and places to stay and on the east side the long Lara Beach which has many luxury all-inclusive resorts.
I chose to stay first in the old town, then at Konyaalti beach.
The old town (Kaleici) has some interesting monuments dating back as far as Roman times, shopping areas including streets heading down to the small port. There is also an old bazaar close to the old town. There are plenty of restaurants and bars in this area.
The port has boat trips running in season out into the bay, and some as far as the Duden waterfall which goes over a cliff into the sea. There is a small park south of the port and old city where tourists and locals equally like to hang out with sea views.
From the port you get your first glimpse of the spectacular Taurus mountains across the bay from the city. You can see these from most coastal parts of the city and they provide an amazing backdrop to the city. For me personally, I would say this view is the highlight of Antalya.
I only walked out as far as Yalim Park to the east of the city and didn’t visit the Lara Beach area so I can’t say much about this, but I believe the resorts there are good for family holidays and those wanting an all-inclusive experience with guaranteed costs for their stay.
Konyaalti Beach has hotels along most of its length. Between the beach and the city there is a beach park with many restaurants which is lively in the evening. The beach area also has many restaurants and there are plenty of options for food.
The beach is made of small pebbles and you might want to take beach shoes to walk on it or if you are thinking of taking a dip.
Set back behind the beach front is a pleasant more residential area with shops and restaurants used more by locals and these make an interesting change from the beach side ones.
I tried to walk to the end of the beach to get to the foot of the mountains but the walk was a bit too far for me, and if you want to go to the mountains you should probably get a taxi or bus. There are also many electric scooters around that you could pick up if you understand how to use them.
There is a good aquarium close to Konyaalti which didn’t seem too expensive for a solo traveler. For a family it might get quite pricy. I enjoyed it though. There were plenty of fish and many tanks and a walk through tunnel at the end with sharks swimming around you. I should say, I am a fan of aquariums.
The city is one of the larger ones in Turkey and once you get away from the tourist areas starts to feel much more Turkish. The tram system allows you to get around quite a bit of it, and with the Antalyakart you can hop on and off it to visit different parts of the city if you want a broader experience. You can pick the card up at machines at the airport or in the city.
If you don’t have a resort drop off/pick up planned you can get the tram from the airport into the city and the hotels in the old town are close enough to walk to from stops. Ismetpasa is the closest stop to the old city. You would probably want to pick up a taxi to Konyaalti or Side beaches, though Konyaalti Beach is walkable from the end of the Muze tram line if you don’t have much luggage. It depends which end of the beach you are staying at. There is a short city walk between Ismetpasa and Kale Kapisi stops to transfer between the T1 and T2 lines.
I enjoyed my time in Antalya. The fantastic mountains showing themselves in different moods, through changing weather and times of day made it for me. There was plenty to do for a weeks holiday even without spending much time lying on the beach. If you have more than a week, hiring a car would allow you explore the area more thoroughly and there are plenty of places to go outside the city.