Antalya,Turkey-City by the Sea
Antalya is a city by the sea on the south coastline of Turkey. It is also Turkey’s fastest growing city and home to a ever growing ex-pat population. To it’s credit it boasts several Starbucks. You definitely know when a city has arrived by the entrance of the almighty Starbucks, a slice of Americana for wayward travelers.
Antalya has a lot to offer the summer visitor. I would not recommend visiting Oct-Feb as activities and the natural beauty diminish a bit and once lively streets and bars appear like ghost towns.
Antalya’s core, Kaleiçi (pr: ka le e chee) or Old City. Kaleiçi possesses the best pensions, restaurants, cafes, bars, and architecture of Antalya and is worth paying a little more to stay in a fully restored Ottoman hotel. This is where I would concentrate most of your sight seeing while in Antalya. Kaleiçi was a walled city protecting it’s citizens and Roman harbor from invaders and evidence of this can be seen throughout the narrow passageways, stone walls, and stone gates. From Kaleiçi, the city sprawls, some would say out of control, in all directions. Dreary cement apartment blocks abound and takes away from the central charm of the old city. I highly recommend concentrating your sight-seeing efforts in the city core lest you become disappointed with the soviet-esque skyline. If you do plan some excursions outside of Kaleiçi, there is a cool little tram that can take you into other parts of the city.
One great stroll leaving the walled city is through the Hadrian gate and taking a right and walking along Ataturk Cadesi (street) until you reach Karaalioglu Park. It’s a nice little park with a boardwalk and a view of an amazing sunset and popular spot for rambling Turks. There are also 2 long stretches of sandy beaches to rest your weary head, Lara and Konyalti that can be reached by bus.
There is a ton to do in Antalya and because of it’s central location on the Southern Turkish coast, it makes a great base for exploring. Boat cruises operate in the Summer months and offer snorkeling excursions for less than $20 a day and I mean all day (5-6 hours on a boat with lunch!). Plus there are several day trip to nearby ancient ruins such as Termessos and Perge.
Great travel resource for all things Turkey and Antalya: Turkey Travel Planner