Turkey’s fastest growing city, Antalya was once seen as little more than a gateway to the Turkish Riviera. Now, with good food and wine on tap, a splendid old quarter and some of the chicest boutique hotels on the Med, it’s a treat that’s not to be missed.
Charming historic core
With roots in the Roman period, winding alleys thronged with colourful street vendors and a harbour that has been serving the city for almost two millennia, a wander through Kaleiçi is one of the greatest pleasures Antalya has to offer. Enter at the Hadrianus Gate and meander through the streets to the Yat Limanı, the well-preserved Roman port, for wonderful views of the Gulf of Antalya.
Antalya is packed with traditional Turkish baths or, as they’re locally known, hammams. Most start with a warm sauna before moving on to a scorching one followed by a massage and a scrub down in a third room. As you’ll discover during a visit to Antalya from Glasgow Airport, most hammams are public (although men and women are kept apart) so don’t expect to sweat it out in private. Sefa Hamam, a 15th-century establishment in Kaleiçi, offers a traditional experience for pennies and comes highly recommended.
There’s no shortage of city beaches to choose from but you can also pick up a boat tour from the harbour that will drop you off at one of the rocky little bays and sandy beaches tucked away in the surrounding coast. Along with the picturesque Akyarlar Beach, most of the trips also take you past the magnificent Duden Falls and the oddly named Rat Island. Dolphins also visit the waters off Antalya so if you’re lucky, you might just see one.