Antalya Holidays – The gateway to the ‘Turkish Riviera’
A sprawling, modern city with a historic old town at its heart, Antalya is a typically Turkish mix of old and new. The city is located high on cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean, with the Beydağları (Bey Mountains) forming a breathtaking backdrop. The soul of Antalya is found in the narrow cobbled streets, crooked wooden houses and ancient city walls of the preserved Roman-Ottoman quarter of Kaleiçi. At the base of Kaleiçi you’ll find the old harbour (Yat Limani) – a lovely place to have a meal or refreshing drink in the evenings.
Combine that with myriad shops, bars, nightclubs, cafes and markets, as well as some of the best restaurants in Turkey, and you’ve got everything you need for a lively holiday. There are two beaches nearby; Lara beach around 12km to the east is considered the best beach in the area, and Konyaaltı to the west is also popular. You can go on numerous cultural day trips to ancient sites easily from Antalya, including Perge, Phaselis, Aspendos, Side, Manavgat and Termessos. All in all an excellent choice for a beach break with plenty of cultural experiences on offer as well.
When to go
The most expensive time to visit Antalya is in the peak summer season of June-August, when temperatures are at their hottest. For some, the heat may be too much however; spring (April-May) and autumn (late September-October) will see cooler temperatures that many find more manageable. These periods are also less expensive and see fewer crowds. Due to its temperate climate, you can even visit Antalya for a winter sun holiday, although bear in mind that the months between November-March see an increase in rainfall.
Antalya has a number of festivals throughout the year which are well worth checking out, including Sunsplash, held in the grounds of the 5-star Hillside Su hotel between 31 May-3 June. This is a small, boutique music festival featuring the best dance music from around the world. August sees the Antalya Honey Festival, while the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival is held in September.
The weather in Antalya
Holidays to Antalya are virtually guaranteed hot sunny weather anytime between March-October. The spring months of April-May enjoy averages temperatures of between 21-26C. Summer begins to really hot up with temperatures in June hovering around 30C, before jumping up to an average of 34C for July-August. September remains hot at around 31C before cooling down for the autumn period (late September – October) to around 27C. November marks the beginning of ‘winter’ although in truth, with temperatures ranging between 15-21C it’s still possible to visit the city during these months and come back with a tan. Note the winter months see in an increase in rainfall, although most days will remain dry.
Getting the best deal
The best deals are generally to be had by booking as early as possible. The cheapest priced rooms in the most popular hotels will sell out fast, especially during the peak season. If you can, avoid notoriously busy periods such as Easter and the halt term school holidays, as prices are always hiked up during these times. Booking ‘off-peak’ in spring or autumn will see lower room rates without compromising on the weather.
Another way of getting a good deal is to book an all-inclusive holiday to Antalya. With all your meals and drinks paid for up front, your holiday spending will be far less. Find the best prices we have to offer by looking at the deals below or alternatively by visiting our late deals offers here.
Airport and transport need to know
Visitors to Antalya have the luxury of a large, international airport right on their chosen resort’s doorstep, meaning transfers are a doddle. The Antalya International Airport (AYT) is a spacious, modern hub with a good range of shops and restaurants servicing its Lounge, Arrivals and Departure areas. There are three terminals here; T3 is for domestic flights, while T1 and T2 handle international traffic. You’ll find cash points at T1 and currency exchange bureaus at T1 and T2.
You can fly to Antalya from a number of UK airports, including London Gatwick, Luton and Stansted, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester, and regional hubs such as Humberside and Bristol.
The airport is approximately 6 miles east of the city centre. The journey takes around 20 minutes. You can catch a taxi there easily from outside the Arrivals hall; the journey into the city should cost you around £15. If you hire a shared shuttle taxi (typically a minivan) from companies such as HolidayTaxis.com, you can get a fare for as little as £8.
There is also the option to catch a public bus into the city centre. A single fare costs around £0.60. You should catch a number 600, Terminal-Otogar bus, leaving from the domestic terminal – turn right and walk 300m when you leave the international terminal, and stand by the small blue “D”.
The best beaches in Antalya
Antalya is ideally placed for visiting some of the most beautiful beaches on the Turquoise Coast. Turquoise Coast beaches tend to be small coves, backed by fragrant pine forests and nestled amongst rolling hills. Some of them will be sandy, but there are many of pebbles here as well.
Rated as one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the area, Lara Beach is a long, golden expanse of sand situated around 12km from Antalya. The beach is several kilometres long and has been awarded the EU Blue Flag for cleanliness. The main public part of the beach has sun loungers, parasols, beach bars, public toilets and showers. Between late June and September there is an annual sand sculpture exhibition held here.
The nearest beach to Antalya city, Konyaalti is popular with locals and tourists alike. You’ll find an expansive stretch of sand here with an upmarket food court behind. The beach’s close proximity to the city centre means there’s plenty to do should you tire of sunning yourself on the sand. There are various watersports to enjoy here, including banana boats, pedaloes and jet skis. The western end of the beach has a water-slide park and marine animal park, as well as numerous bars, cafes and restaurants. To get to the beach from the city centre, take the tram heading west and get off at the end of the line.
A strong contender for the title of most beautiful beach in the area, Belek beach consists of fine white sand fringed by palm trees, shelving gently into warm, turquoise waters. It has been awarded the Blue Flag for cleanliness and has lifeguards as well as toilet and shower facilities. Combined with the nearby water park and zoo, this makes a great spot for families to visit. There are colonies of green and loggerhead turtles nesting here. It takes around 30 minutes from Antalya to Belek by taxi and around 45 minutes to reach there by dolmus.