Looking to book a jolly to Türkiye, but you’re not sure what there is to do in the Antalya region? Well, I recently took a trip to this holiday hotspot to scout out all the best day trips and local activities. Turns out, there are tons of hidden gems around this area and some of them will be right on your doorstep (granted, some are a little further out, but trust me, it’s worth it!) So make yourself a cuppa, settle in, and Antalya all about it…
1. Explore Antalya’s old town
A charming little part of the city, Antalya’s old town (Kaleici) is a must-visit when you’re in the area. You can spend the day getting lost down cobbled streets or popping into shops for souvenirs of your travels… there are plenty of tea towels and magnets to go round, trust us. It’s a hilly area – so make sure to stick some comfy shoes on – but the good news is, there are lots of cafés and bars tucked-away in the shade where you can stop and get a drink or a bite to eat. As the sun starts to set in the evening, I’d recommend making your way down to the harbour to watch the boats bobbing about whilst you tuck into some fresh seafood and, of course, a nice cold beer (it goes without saying).
2. Spend a day by the Dim River
This one’s for those staying in Alanya. I know what you’re thinking: a picnic by the river… snore. But stick with me! This river trip doesn’t involve wicker baskets, plaid blankets and an inevitable wet bum when someone falls off the rope swing (again). This little spot on the river (known as Dimçayı) has its own restaurants, its own ice cream stalls and, get this, its own waterpark. Yep. And you can choose your view, too, with seating up in the hills, down by the action or even floating on the river itself in your own cabana. My only piece of advice is, if you’re going in the river, secure a spot in the sunshine first! The water temperature here is a bit chillier than down at your hotel’s beach, so you’ll want a warm place to dry off once you’ve been for a dip. If you want to spend longer in the water, there’s a swimming pool, too, and it’s a fair bit warmer! It’s easy peasy to get here, with buses running from Alanya centre up to the river for just a small charge, and the journey takes around 40 minutes.
3. Go chasing waterfalls
Contrary to TLC’s advice, visiting the Düden Waterfalls is a must-do when you’re in the area. You’ll find the Upper Düden falls around 10km out of Antalya city centre, and it’s a gorgeous spot for a photo op. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can walk behind the waterfalls (but just be aware that it can be a bit slippy!), or even take a peak inside the bat cave – it’ll be obvious where it is, there’s a big yellow sign with a bat on it. The Lower Düden falls are a different story altogether. They’re located at the end of the river, and they drop right down into the sea, so it’s a pretty spectacular sight. You can see them from the nearby walking trail, but for the best views, you’ll have to be out on the sea! Boat trip, anyone?
4. Step back in time at Side’s Ancient City
If you’re staying in the Side area, this should definitely be on your radar. The Ancient City is slap bang in the centre, so if you’re heading in for dinner one night, it’s 100% worth travelling in that little bit earlier and visiting the ruins. There’s a huge amphitheatre and the ‘great gate’ on the seafront which makes for an excellent holiday snap when you’re all dressed up. Plus, if you time it right, the temples of Apollo and Athena are a great place to catch the sunset. Most of the remains are free to visit, but there is a small charge for the amphitheatre and the museum, so bring some coinage.
5. Get wet n’ wild in the Tazı Canyon
Adventurers, assemble! If you’re less white sands and more white-knuckle, this’ll be right up your street: a rafting tour down the unbelievably blue waters of the Tazı Canyon. You’ll be strapped into a helmet and life vest as you sail down the river, with the canyon’s walls towering around you. These tours can be up to 14km long and last around 1.5 hours, so you’ll certainly get your money’s worth! Plus, you can arrange a tour that picks you up directly from your hotel, so you don’t have to faff about with transport. These rafting adventures are located near Beşkonak, so it’s a bit of a drive from the resorts, but I can promise that you won’t have ever seen anything like it. And if there’s anyone in your party who’s not a fan of hurtling downstream in an inflatable boat, they can take a hike! No, honestly, it’s a great area for walking, too.
6. Head to Olympos for a day trip to remember
Olympos and the Ancient City of Çıralı are a little further out of the resorts, but there is so much to do here that it’s totally worth layering on that sun cream and packing some snacks for an unforgettable day out. Start the day with Çıralı Ancient City, which was built on both sides of the Akçay stream probably some time around the 3rd Century BC (i.e. it’s old). Whilst you’re here, look out for an inscription by the pond from Marcus Aurelius (if you’re not a history buff, he was a former Roman Emperor and Philosopher. In other words, a pretty big deal.) Once you’ve done exploring the ruins, it’s only a few minutes to the beach, with unreal clear waters, so you can cool off with a quick dip. And as if that’s not enough, there’s still the cable car to do! You can ride it right to the top of the hill for views of the Ancient City and the coastline. Plus, for the more adventurous, there’s also trekking, canyoning and climbing around this area – it just keeps getting better. So, if you fancy a trip to this ancient area, you can catch the Kumluca-Fethiye bus from Antalya bus station and it’ll drop you off at Olympos – it takes about 1 hour 30 minutes, but if you take a book or stick your headphones in, it’ll fly by!
Still searching for your perfect Turkish trip? I reckon you’ll dig Dalaman, too.