Antalya - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Antalya


Antalya is the main city on the Mediterranean coast and one of the most popular holiday spots, with an attractive harbour setting and the picturesque old quarter of Kaleiçi enclosed within ancient Roman walls. Dominating the town is Antalya's symbol, the Yivli Minaret (Grooved Minaret) dating back to the 3rd century. The superb Archaeological Museum, housing one of the top collections in the country, is not to be missed.

Known as the Turkish Riviera, a holiday on the Antalya shoreline offers secluded coves, ancient cities and harbours, seaside towns, sparkling seas and soaring cliffs. The city provides an excellent base for exploring the small towns nearby, as well as caves, waterfalls and Roman ruins, including Perge and the mountain-top remains of Termessos.

A 30-minute drive east of Antalya is Aspendos, boasting the finest example of a Roman theatre in the world. Built in the 2nd century AD, it is remarkably intact. In addition to the vast number of archaeological wonders, the area also has a wealth of outdoor activities. Antalya, lying at the foot of the Taurus Mountain range, is host to numerous sporting events throughout the year, including international beach volleyball, triathlons and canoeing competitions.

Information & Facts


Antalya's lovely main beach, Konyaalti, is made for relaxing and fun in the sun while on holiday, with a wide spectrum of watersports on offer. Both up and down the coast there are other beautiful beaches to explore. Local operators offer all sorts of sports activities, from mountain biking to bungee jumping. The area is full of possibilities for excursions, from magnificent waterfalls and mysterious caves to a plethora of archaeological sites. The city has some interesting museums and the narrow, high-walled streets of the old quarter are pleasant to wander through. Nature lovers will enjoy the Karaoglanoglu Park, and there are Mediterranean boat cruises offered from the harbour.

Turkish is the official language, but English is widely understood in the main tourist areas.

The official currency is the New Turkish Lira (TRY), which was introduced on 1 January 2005, whereby six zeros were dropped from the TL and the sub-unit New Kurush was created. Currency can be exchanged at banks, exchange booths, post offices, airports and ferry ports; banks have the worst rates and highest commissions, but will exchange lesser known foreign currencies. Banks open mainly Monday to Friday, but some are open daily in tourist areas. ATMs are widely available in major cities and tourist areas, but Turkish ATM keypads usually do not have letters of the alphabet on their keys. Most bank branches have ATMs which accept Cirrus and Plus. Major credit cards are widely accepted; the most popular are Visa or MasterCard, but American Express is accepted in many of the more expensive places. Travellers cheques can be exchanged at some banks and currency exchange offices, but are not as welcome as cash or credit cards. US dollars or Euros are preferred. Some pensions and hotels in the most popular destinations accept US dollars as payment.


As in most Turkish holiday resort towns, touts for Antalya's shops, stalls, restaurants and bars can be bothersome.


Antalya pulses after dark with what is undeniably the Turkish east coast's liveliest nightlife, centred on a wide variety of clubs and bars. Most bars double as disco's, and most of the hotels offer floor shows, usually with belly-dancing, that are open to non-guests. The hottest spots for all night dancing are Ally's and Club 29 in Kaleici, but those who just want a quiet, cool drink gravitate to the waterfront bars to catch a sea breeze, or one of the city's nargile (water pipe) bars.


Although most tourists will head for one of the numerous restaurants in the Kaleici (old town) when on holiday in Antalya, the more adventurous gourmets would be better advised (for quality as well as price) to steer off the beaten track and try one of the restaurants favoured by locals. The Kaleici restaurants, however, are certainly atmospheric, with some even built into the ancient Roman walls. A good bet for Turkish food in Antalya, offering a delightful courtyard planted with lemon trees, is Restaurant Kirk Merdiven. Other recommendations are the Coco Bar, renowned for the tastiest lamb shish kebabs; Kismet Balikcisi, the local's choice for top seafood dishes; and the Develi Restaurant, where you may be forgiven for thinking the starter is the main meal as you wade through copious delicious Turkish specialities. MCYörüks is popular for its mixture of Western and Eastern offerings, low prices, and live music.


Shopping in Antalya can be an exhausting but exhilarating experience, with everything up for grabs from the famous local jams and jellies, made from a variety of fruits and vegetables, to antique jewellery, kilims, prayer rugs, leather ware, cotton clothing, traditional pottery and wood carvings. Haggling is expected and bargains can be had. The best shopping is in the Kaleici district near the city walls, along winding side streets in the old quarter and along the avenues of Ataturk, Cumhuriyet and Isiklar. Shopping is not only entertaining in Antalya but offers plenty of picturesque photo opportunities too. There are also several large modern shopping malls around the old town, one of the alrgest and most popular being Migros. Be wary of those who try to sell you antiques, as it is illegal to export them.

The ancient site of Olympos dates back to Hellenistic times when it was an important Lycian city and became famous as a place of worship honouring Hephaestos or Vulcan, the God of Fire. Located on a beautiful sandy bay, the ruins are spread out on either side of the Ulupinar River and include a Byzantine bathhouse with mosaic floors, a marble temple entrance, a theatre, and some excavated tombs. The shoreline is also a major protected nesting site for sea turtles. On the rocky slopes above the ancient city are a series of eternal flames issuing from cracks in the rock, caused by the combustion of natural gas seeping out of the mountain. It is possible to extinguish them briefly, but they will always re-ignite and are most impressive in the dark when at their most visible. The fire that comes out of the ground is said to be coming from the mouth of Chimaera, a mythical fire-breathing monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and a snake's tail, who was slain by the Lydian hero, Bellerophon on his winged horse, Pegasus.

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