The lovely harbor of Kaleiçi, which dates back to Roman times.

Did you know that Antalya is one of the top tourist destination in the world, with more than 10 million tourists arriving each year?  Antalya is both a city and a region.  The city of Antalya has about two million people.  It has a lovely historic center, Kaleiçi, which boasts buildings from Ottoman times and a number of Roman sites. Kaleiçi would be my choice of a place to use as a base to see the area, if I didn’t already live here. The region of Antalya includes many popular tourist destinations such as Side, Belek, Kemer, Olympos, Cirali, and Kaş. There are miles of lovely beaches and hundreds of all-inclusive resorts to fit any budget.


Nate exploring the cliffs on a winter day. How do we know it is winter? There are clouds, and he has a light jacket on!

We moved to Antalya in December 2014 and we love it!  The weather is amazing. December, January, and half of February are rainy and windy. The second half of February already felt like the beginning of spring with mild sunshine in the low 60’s, interspersed with a day or two of rain.  It’s quite similar to a California winter. March was definitely  spring, with a little rain. So far, April almost feels like the beginning of summer! May and June are hot with summer-like temperatures in the 80’s.  July, August, and the first half of September are wickedly hot and humid; that’s when we like to get out of the city. When the humidity breaks sometime in mid to late September, the weather is again warm and sunny into October.  Even November has mild sunny days!


The park where I took this photo is just a short walk for us. This was taken in April…notice the snow on the mountains, overlooking the Mediterranean!

We have lots of guests who visit us, and we enjoy showing them our lovely area.  There are many significant archaeological sites and nature parks that are easily reached on a day trip: Phaselis, Termessos, Kurşunlu Şelalesi (Waterfall), and Perga are the ones we have visited and enjoyed. Here are some of our favorite day trips:


Be sure to try freshly squeezed orange or pomegranate juice.

1. Kaleiçi has buildings dating from Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman times. It has lovely parks, cobblestone roads lined with flowers, charming restaurants and cafes, and a myriad of little shops.


It’s fun to get lost in the little streets filled with shops, cafes, and boutique hotels.

Be sure to take a boat ride, but be sure to bargain with the guys trying to get you on their boat!  They will often say something like, “Normally it costs 22 Euros, but for you, only 10 Euros!” Don’t pay more than 10 TL for the 30 minute ride! The price starts to drop as you walk away, and bargains are made especially when the motor is running and the boat is about to pull away.


Don’t pay more than 10TL for the 30 minute ride!

There’s a lovely, large tea garden next to the statue in the photo below. Locals love to come to the tea garden and have Turkish tea, snacks, sit and talk while enjoying the view over the Mediterranean.


This is on the eastern end of Kaleiçi, off of Işikar Caddesi.

2. Phaselis has ancient ruins located on three sparkling bays, surrounded by forest…what can be better??!!  It’s one of our favorite places to have a picnic, combined with a leisurely walk through the ruins and a swim in the sea.


Enjoying one of the bays just steps from the ruins on an April day.

Phaselis is located between Kemer and Olympos. The town was founded in 700 BC and became an important center of commerce between Greece, Egypt and Asia. At one time it was captured by Alexander the Great!


Phaselis was often under threat by pirates.


Don’t forget to bring a picnic lunch:)

3. Termessos was a Psidian city built in the Taurus Mountains. The ruins are some of the best preserved in Turkey, and it is surrounded by pine forests in a national park. The views from the amphitheater are stunning! The hike does take you uphill, so be prepared with sturdy hiking shoes.


Termessos is one of the best preserved sites in Turkey.

Termessos is located within the Güllük Dağı National Park.  It’s best to get there by car.  It is possible to go by public transport by a domuş from the otogar (bus station); you will be dropped on the side of the highway across from the entrance to Termessos. There is a steep 9K climb up to Termessos, or you can pay for an expensive cab to take you up, wait for you, and bring you down again. I’d recommend renting a car; they are only $20-$30 per day for a small economy car. We use  Skyscanner.com and pick up the car from the airport; they have always been reliable thus far.


One of Termessos’ claim to fame is that the city defied Alexander the Great in 333 BC.

4. Kurşunlu Waterfall Nature Park is in a beautiful pine forest; it’s a pleasant and easy hike with picnic facilities and a small outdoor café by the water. It’s just a short drive (under 30 minutes) from Antalya. We’d recommend renting a car, although there is a dolmuş that stops there infrequently. Unfortunately, swimming is not allowed!



Andy loved this Oreo-based milkshake… it was a nice way to end our exploration at the cafe by the water!

5. Perga was an ancient city of Pamphylia, and was renowned for its worship of Artemis, the Anatolian nature goddess. There was an annual festival in her honor, and coins depicted her image and that of the temple. The ruins of Perga stretch across 15 kilometers.


Alexander the Great stopped here after Phaselis.

Perga was visited by the Apostle Paul as recorded in Acts 14: 23-25.

23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting,committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. 24 After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia, 25 and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.

Attalia = Ancient name for Antalya!

Perga later became an important center of Christianity, during the reign of Constantine.


The first mention of Perga was in Hittite times, when it was known as Parha.

Other day trips that we have not yet done are Duden Waterfalls and the Olympos Aerial Tram. The  Antalya Aquarium is a bit pricey but interesting with its long tunnel with fish swimming overhead. Check Tripadvisor’s list for more to see and do in Antalya:

Things to do in Antalya

Of course, other great day trips include visits to the beaches.  Lara Beach (sandy) is to the east of Kaleiçi, and Konyaalti Beach (pebbly) is to the west. They are easy to visit via bus and /or tram, depending on which beach you choose. Be sure to swim, once the weather is warm enough.  The Mediterranean is crystal clear and warm.


Our local swimming pool:)

Enjoy this lovely area and let me know what your favorite places are!