Antalya Guide

Antalya, Turkey

Formerly known in history as Pamphylia, modern Antalya is now a treasure chest of historical ruins, sandy beaches, and attractive landscapes. Add these to the variety of amenities such as international marinas, European designed golf courses, large shopping malls, impressive transport networks and it is easy to see how this cosmopolitan location has formed the miraculous ability to suit everyone.

History of Antalya

Founded in 158 BC by the king of Pergamon, the Antalya region fell under Roman rule in 133 BC, therefore joining the Greco-Roman period to enjoy much wealth and success. The profitability and peaceful times continued until the Arab invasions in the 7th century.

Although the battles were fierce, the Byzantine Empire maintained control until 1206 when the Seljuk Turks invaded and seized their land. Their reign was short though, because by 1390, the Ottomans arrived and they ruled until their empire crumbled at the beginning of the 19th century.

The Ottomans were on the losing side at the end of World War 1 and the Allied forces, carved up their territory between them, resulting in the Italians assuming command of the region. After the Turkish War of Independence, control returned to Turkey and despite many years of uncertainty, Antalya grew to become the second most important destination in the country for tourism.

Antalya Today

First-time visitors instantly notice the lustrous views of the domineering Taurus Mountains, fronted by the crystal blue sea. Coupled with the Mediterranean climate and an average of 300 days of sunshine a year, this environment provokes a relaxed and laid-back lifestyle in the coastal areas.

Antalya has a prominent position on the all-encompassing Turkish Riviera; therefore, marinas and yachting are a profitable source of income for local companies. It also holds the crown as the starting location for the official Lycian Way trekking route.

The government approved trek covers 516 kilometres along the Mediterranean coast and showcases major historical ruins including that of Aspendos, which has one of the best-preserved Roman theatres in the world. Antalya is also the starting point for Saint Paul’s trail, a marked long distance walking route following the footsteps of the 1st century missionary.

Regions of Antalya

Antalya City Centre is the most populated seaside location in Turkey, with more than a million people residing within its boundaries. All modern facilities exist including large shopping malls and a transport network that extends to the rest of the region and other locations within Turkey. Regarding tourism, the most popular place is the old town known as Kaleici, which boasts of the marvellously intact ruins of Hadrian’s gate and the rustic and appealing harbour area. To the Northeast of Antalya is the lofty resort of Saklikent that is popular for skiing from January to March.

In previous years, tourists have turned away from Gazipasa, to the East of Antalya, but efforts have been made lately, to increase foreign visitors to the region. A new airport was built but with limited incoming international flights and this has hampered the campaign, which is a shame because this stretch of coastline has spectacular scenery and maintains its traditional Turkish roots.

Alanya is probably the second strongest area in Antalya because of its population size and diversity of amenities and attractions. The Mahmutlar area is especially popular with expats who purchased property in the region.

Manavgat is a strong farming community taking advantage of the fertile plains in the area. It also receives many daily visitors who flock to see the unremarkable but pretty and fast flowing Manavgat waterfalls.

Kemer is a man-made resort that has expanded to accommodate mainly all-inclusive hotels. In the height of summer, it is popular with all nationalities but especially domestic Turks. The biggest attraction in this region is the cable car ride up Mount Tahtali.

Finike is a non-touristic town, more known for its local fruit and veg market and sometimes used as a stopping point on gulet cruises sailing the Turkish Riviera.

Kas is an attractive seaside resort that still maintains its typical Mediterranean fishing village vibes. Although it has a distinctive lack of in-town beaches, scuba diving, and paragliding are popular pastimes for locals and visitors.

Side is a small coastal resort, well known for the historical ruins existing within the modern day urban development. Often referred to as a living open-air museum, it is blessed with a charming seafront promenade and the small but impressive landmark of Apollo Temple.

Belek is just a short distance from Antalya airport. In previous years, it was labelled as a rustic resort with basic facilities, therefore most hotels in the area operated on an all-inclusive basis. These days, it has become a golfing mecca, with numerous award-winning golf courses and the real estate market is awash with luxury golfing properties and villas.

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