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An Antalya city guide – Roman ruins, sandy beaches and family fun

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With a bustling blend of ancient Roman ruins, luxury beach resorts and natural beauty, Antalya offers travelers a diverse holiday experience. Dating back to 133BC, Antalya is named after the founder Attalos II, King of Pergamon, who built the city to act as his naval base for his fleet.

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Antalya (Aegean Coast)

However, the difficult transport links to the mountain regions eventually meant that the city reverted to a small coastal town. Nevertheless, Antalya has still managed to attract travelers from all corners of the globe, and is now the largest city along the Turkish Mediterranean coast.

 

Stroll along its white sandy beaches with its wavy palm trees providing relief from the blazing sun. Be captivated by the sheer number of archaeological beauties where you'll be transported to its ancient past or experience nature at its finest with a visit to the region's stunning waterfalls and caves.

 

Kaleiçi (The Old Quarter)

 

Kaleici, also known as The Old Quarter, is the historic city center where modern Antalya was born. The ancient city quarter traces its origins back to Roman times and boasts narrow winding streets and alleyways, cobbled stone roads, picturesque Ottoman-styled villas and giant stone walls that once fortified its inhabitants. Many of the city's attractions can be found in this area and are all well within walking distance. Local attractions to admire include the Roman built Hadrianus Gate, the imposingly magnificent Yivli Minare, the 18-century clock tower of Saat Kulesi, the captivating ancient roman ruins of Kesik Minare and the Hıdırlık Kulesi fortress that overlooks the Mediterranean harbor.

 

West of town - Konyaaltı Beach

 

The West of Antalya has numerous opportunities for family friendly activities with most of the main attractions surrounding the sandy Konyaalti Beach. Aqualand Antalya is a water park complex complete with pools, waterslides and live dolphin and whale shows. Another perfect treat for the children is a visit to Aktur Lunapark Antalya - the local theme park with loads of fun adrenaline-inducing rides. For a slight change of pace, Antalya Aquarium is also located nearby and is known for housing the world's largest underwater tunnel aquarium.

 

East of town - Lara Beach

 

Lara Beach is one of the main attractions east of the city center. Renowned for having one of the longest sand beaches in Turkey, Lara is in abundance of restaurants, cafes, bars, recreational areas and themed five-to-seven star resorts. TerraCity, Antalya's largest shopping center, is located around here and will surely satisfy all of your retail desires. Other sights worth visiting nearby include Karpuzkaldiran Beach where you can witness the natural marvel that is the Lower Düden Waterfalls.

 

North of the city

 

There aren't many attractions north of the city besides the Antalya Zoo and Nature Park. With 400 acres of nature reserves, the zoo is home to 800 animals including 80 exotic and domestic species such as lions, tigers, grizzly bears and African ostriches. Entrance prices to the zoo are relatively cheap, making it the perfect place to spend the day with the kids. Be sure to bring a picnic basket!

 

Beyond the city walls

 

Beyond the city walls, there are numerous day trips for visitors to get out and explore. There is an abundance of Roman ruins to visit such as the fantastic city of Perge, the costal ruins of Side, the former mountain city of Termessos and the tombs of Demre. Aspendos lies northeast of the city and is home to a stunningly gorgeous ancient Roman theater that still remains intact.