Antalya is one of our favorite regions in Turkey because it offers so much to see and do. It’s the perfect combination of historical landmarks, beaches, incredible natural beauty, hiking experiences, and more.
With so much to see and do, it can be a challenge putting together your Antalya itinerary, especially as the attractions you see will largely be determined by how long you have to spend and who you are traveling with.
To help you out, we’ve listed how we would spend 3, 4, 5, or 7 days in Antalya and our preferred route, so you can make planning your trip to Antalya an easy breezy process.
Planning a trip to Antalya last-minute?
Make sure you book your tours, places to stay, and airport transfers ahead of time to ensure availability!
Here is our recommended airport transfer in Antalya:
- Airport Shuttle From Antalya Airport To City Center (Best way to get into town!)
Here are our recommended tours in Antalya:
- City Tour w/ Cable Car, Boat Trip and Waterfall (A must-do In Antalya!)
- Suluada Island Boat Trip (Secluded island for swimming and snorkeling)
- Traditional Turkish Bath with Massages
- Taurus Mountains Full-Day Jeep Safari (Great for exploring off the beaten path)
Here are our recommended places to stay in Antalya:
How many days is sufficient in Antalya?
This is the question we get asked a lot. The amount of time you have in Antalya will largely depend on how much time you have on your vacation.
If you’re planning an extended Turkey itinerary and visiting other parts of the country, you can see the highlights of Antalya in three days.
However, if you have more time at your disposal, do use it. We can think of enough attractions and activities to fill your diary for a week here, maybe even more.
But we would say that the optimal amount of time to spend in Antalya is 5-7 days, which gives you enough time to see the highlights of Antalya and take a couple of day trips.
Where to Base Yourself in Antalya?
Before we get into the attractions and how to organize your Antalya itinerary, let’s quickly discuss the best neighborhood to stay in to maximize the use of your vacation time.
There are two places in Antalya you might consider staying. The first is the Old Town, which is ideal for first-time visitors, solo travelers, and those traveling on a budget.
The Old Town is the beating heart of Antalya and it’s well connected to many of the top attractions.
The second place you want to consider is along the coast. There are many world-class beach resorts in Antalya and they are not all located in the city of Antalya.
What many people don’t realize is that Antalya is a region, and has a city named Antalya after the region – I know, confusing right?
So if you opt for a beach hotel make sure you have booked one in Antalya city OR you’ve hired a car. If you hire a car, it doesn’t really matter which hotel you book.
The Best Antalya Itinerary for 3 Days
We mentioned earlier that three days is the minimum amount of time you need in Antalya, and this is how we would spend those three days…
Day 1: Old Town Antalya
We recommend you spent your first day exploring the Old Town of Antalya and the attractions within Antalya City itself. After that, we can go and explore further afield.
Stop 1: Tünektepe Teleferik (Antalya Cable Car)
Perhaps the biggest attraction in Antalya is the cable car to the summit of Tünektepe, which sits at 1706 meters above sea level.
The cable car takes you to a viewpoint that offers breathtaking panoramic views of Antalya and the Mediterranean Ocean.
Before making your way back down, enjoy the restaurants with a view. You have your choice between a Pizza House, Tea House, or a traditional restaurant in Antalya, each offering incredible views from the building.
Or simply get an ice cream if you’re visiting during the summer. It only takes 10 minutes to reach the top (and back down again) so it’s something you can do either at the beginning or end of the day.
Stop 2: Walk Around the Old Town and Old Roman Harbor
The Old Town in Antalya is simply stunning. Also known as Kaleiçi, the historic center brings Antalya’s rich heritage to life.
The historical city center, called “Kaleiçi” (or Old Town in English), sheds light on the cultural heritage of Antalya, where you can feel the spiritual and historical influences on the city.
Here you will find centuries old buildings and quiet cobbled streets, with mosques and parks around every corner. Simply wandering around the town is inspiring in itself.
Since the Old Town was built during the days before cars, you don’t see many vehicles here, so it makes for the perfect place to stroll around, delve into coffee shops and boutique stores, bazaars and antique shops, and simply soak it all up.
Of course, the most iconic feature of Old Town is the Roman Harbour, which was built more than 2,000 years ago as the base for the Turkish Navy.
Be sure to check out the glass elevator that connects the old town with the new.
Stop 3: Check Out Hadrian’s Gate
Located in Old Town Antalya, Hadrian’s Gate is one of the most historic landmarks in the city. The archway was built by the Roman Emporer, Hadrian, in the year 130. It’s the only remaining entrance from the Roman era.
The gate sits about 8 meters tall and dates back to the Roman era, but the upper part was rebuilt during the early 13th century by Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat I.
The gate is free to visit, but though it is small, don’t rush to see it. The ornate detailing of the gate is beautiful and tells the story of the Emporer and his family through statues and entablature.
Stop 4: Antalya Museum
Antalya’s history is long and storied, and the best place to learn all about it is at the Antalya Museum, otherwise known as the Antalya Archaeological Museum. The museum is one of the largest archeology museums in Turkey and features an impressive collection of ancient artifacts from the region, including Greek and Roman sculptures and mosaics.
One of the standout pieces was the statues from the city of Perge, depicting the Roman Emporers such as Plancia Magna, Emperor Hadrian, the Emperor Septimius Severus. The museum has thirteen halls, but these were found in the Hall of Imperial Statues.
I was also intrigued by the sarcophagi from ancient Roman burial grounds in the Sarcophagus Hall, each with unique carvings and inscriptions. The most beautiful was the Domitias sarcophagus, which is decorated with reliefs showing the twelve labors of Hercules. The hall features the sarcophagi of Heracles, Domitius Julianus, Domita Philiska, Aurelia Botiane and Demetria.
Overall, the Antalya Museum provided a fascinating glimpse into the region’s rich history. I highly recommend a visit for any history or culture enthusiasts. If you only have one day in Antalya to spend looking at museums, make sure it’s this one.
Stop 5: Suna Inan Kirac Kaleici Museum
Located in the historic Kaleiçi district of Antalya, the Suna and İnan Kıraç Kaleiçi Museum is a combination of two lovingly restored homes from the 19th century, a Traditional Antalya House and the Aya Yorgi Church.
The houses contain a diverse collection of artifacts, ranging from traditional clothing and furniture.
One highlight is the Hagios Georgios Church, which contains Çanakkale ceramics that belonged to the Suna & İnan Kıraç collection.
With its unique blend of cultural treasures, the Suna and İnan Kıraç Kaleiçi Museum offers something for every history lover.
Stop 6: Visit Karaalioglu Park for Sunset
Karaalioglu Park is a large urban park that overlooks the Roman Harbor and Mediterranean Ocean. It’s full of green spaces, with colorful and exotic flowers, squares, and statues.
It also has three terraces overlooking the ocean, which has become a hotspot for locals and tourists alike to gather and watch the sunset.
Pack a picnic and watch the sun go down, after that, head to the famous Bar Street to experience Antalya’s amazing nightlife.
Day 2: Boat Trip from Antalya
For the second day, you’re going to need to pack your swimwear and towel because we’re going on a boat trip! There are many boat trips in Antalya, but we recommend the Pirate Boat Trip to Phaselis Bay because it’s the perfect combination of history and snorkeling, which is what boat trips are all about.
Stop 1: The Ancient Greek and Roman City of Phaselis
If you’re looking for a more historical boat tour, then the pirate boat from Kemer Beach to Phaselis Bay is the bout tour for you. As you discover the stunning bays around the Mediterranean ocean, you’ll be transported by a pirate-themed Gallion, which looks like something out of a Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
The ship will take you to the ancient Greek and Roman city of Phaselis, which is now an open-air museum in Antalya. The city is now in ruins, which are said to date back to the 7th century BCE.
Wander around the agora and amphitheater, former Roman Baths, and aqueducts, before heading back to the ship to do some more exploring.
Stop 2: Snorkelling at Paradise Bay
You’ll have some time to swim in the shallow waters of Phaselis, before having lunch. Then, you’ll sail to Paradise Bay, which as you can imagine by the name, is a stunning beach. You might also get to see the beautiful Mehmet Ali Bükü bay for swimming if there’s time.
Stop 3: See the coral reefs at Alaca Water
The final stop on your journey is the Alaca Water, a gorgeous inlet filled with coral, which is the perfect spot to do some snorkeling before returning home.
The entire tour takes around 6-8 hours, so do plan for a full day.
Day 3: Beach Day
Here are a few beaches we recommend adding to your 3-day Antalya itinerary…
Stop 1: Konyaaltı Beach
The first beach we suggest you visit is one that’s close to the city center. Konyaalti Beach is a stunning beach that stretches for 13 km, and gently declines into the clear turquoise water of the Mediterranean, perfect for swimming!
Its gentle waves mean it’s a great beach to visit for families, and because it’s so large, you’ll find even when it’s crowded there is enough room for everyone.
The most magical part of swimming at Konyaalti Beach is having the dramatic Beydağları Mountains in the foreground. At certain times of the year, the mountains are topped with snow, which is a site to behold.
Konyaalti Beach is a pebble beach, meaning the water stays clean and clear. You will find plenty of bathrooms, changing rooms, and showers available to use here too.
Stop 2: Lara Beach
Lara Beach is one of the most popular blue flag beaches on the Turkish Riviera. Boasting a long, sandy stretch of beach with crystal-clear turquoise waters, it is no wonder why Lara Beach in Antalya is so popular with visitors.
Lined with sun loungers and umbrellas that are available to rent for a low fee, this soft-sand beach is perfect for sunbathing and a must-visit on your trip to Antalya. You will be spoilt for choice with beach clubs and nice dining options to enjoy lunch overlooking the beach.
Located east of the city center, you can easily reach Lara Beach within 40 minutes using public transport or by car in 30 minutes. There are many facilities nearby, such as showers, bathrooms, and places for you to change.
Stop 3: Archaeological Museum in Side
To break up the journey from Antalya to Cleopatra Beach, we recommend stopping in Side. There are some fantastic beaches in Side, but it’s also a great place to grab some lunch or visit the iconic Side Museum, the archeological museum here.
Side Museum is a fascinating museum set in a former ancient bath house (Agora Bath) which is thought to have been built in the 2nd century AD.
The rectangular bathhouse is made up of five rooms; a cold room, a sweat room, two warm rooms, and hot room.
Today the museum is no longer a bath, but a museum showcasing the artifacts uncovered during exvacations of sites in the Side region between 1947 – 1967.
The museum contains statues, sarcophagi, ceramics, and glass and bronze findings. You can also see coins belonging to both the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods.
Stop 4: Cleopatra Beach
Lastly is Cleopatra Beach, which is the furthest beach from Antalya city, but is definitely worth the trek.
Named after the Egyptian queen herself, Cleopatra Beach is renowned for incredible blue waters, swimming, water sports, and great facilities. This famous blue-flag beach is situated in the small town of Alanya, a popular destination for families and international travelers alike.
The main characteristic of Cleopatra Beach is that it is a white sand beach. As well as the beach, there are many things to do in Alanya that make it worth a couple of days of your time if you can spare it. You will easily find great hotels, restaurants, and bars along the promenade, all of which are located near the beach to maximize the summer holiday experience.
The main beach is around two kilometers from the center of Alanya and is reachable by public transport.
If you are looking to partake in some water sports on your summer holiday then head to Cleopatra Beach and try your hand at sailing, kite surfing, or scuba diving.
The Best Antalya Itinerary for 4 Days
If you’re planning a 4-day Antalya itinerary, we recommend following the itinerary above, and on the fourth day, we are going to travel outside the city of Antalya.
We’re going to take a day trip to some of the most fascinating historical landmarks in the area, and step back in time (metaphorically) to the Ancient City of Perge…
Day 4: Ancient City of Perge, Temple Of Apollo, and Aspendos Theatre
Visiting the Ancient City of Perge is a full day trip from Antalya, so set aside a full day to explore the city and its nearby historic attractions.
Stop 1: Ancient City of Perge
The Ancient City of Perge is a short distance outside Antalya city and was originally an ancient Lycian city, which later became the ancient Greek city of Pamphylia.
Pamphylia was the capital of the Roman province which is now called the Antalya Province, and so was a hugely important city in ancient times. It was even the birthplace of the famous Greek mathematician Apollonius of Perga.
Today the city lies in ruins, but it’s still possible to make out where buildings, temples, and rooms once were by the remaining columns and walls.
Although you’re tempted to look up at the imposing columns of The Agora or be amazed at the well-maintained amphitheater, be sure to look down, and take a glimpse of the long central water channel that runs through the middle of the main street.
This channel contained a series of pools that were used to keep citizens cool in the arid climate.
Stop 2: Aspendos Ancient Theater
Located not too far away near the city of Side, is the Aspendos Theater. Aspendos was an ancient Greco-Roman city, and though much of the city is in ruins, the ancient theater is remarkably well preserved.
It is said that the construction of the theatre was the result of a competition by Aspendos, the Emporer of the time. The competition was to build a structure that would bring prosperity and wealth to the city, and the winner of the competition got to marry his daughter.
According to legend, two competitors made it to the finals, one of them constructed the aqueduct and the canal system which supplied the city with running water, and the other built the theater.
When the ruler came to inspect the theater, he stood at the highest point of the structure and heard a whisper, telling him that his daughter was to be the wife of the builder. When he turned to the stage, he saw the builder standing there, and was so impressed by the acoustics, awarded him the winner.
Stop 3: Temple of Apollo
Back towards the city of Side, lies The Temple of Apollo, a Roman temple built roughly around 150 A.D. It was dedicated to Apollo, the Greek and Roman god of music, light, and harmony.
Today only five columns remain of the temple, which stands tall against a backdrop of the Mediterranean Ocean behind.
There is not much to see, but it’s worth swinging by since it’s on the way back to Antalya.
Stop 4: Kursunlu Waterfalls
The Kursunlu Waterfall is the perfect place to cool off after a day of exploring. On your way back towards Antalya, stop off at the Kursunlu Waterfall Nature Park, a 587-hectare green space with plenty of trails, picnic areas, and recreation space.
Inside the park stands an 18-meter waterfall that empties into 7 smaller pools, and is surrounded by gorgeous natural beauty. Unfortunately, this is not a place where travelers can swim in.
The water that flows down the river is a deep, rich, blue color and offers visitors a nice backdrop for their photos. Another beautiful feature is a green, mossy wall behind the waterfall.
The walk to the waterfall is around two kilometers. However, for those who are keen hikers, there is a longer option through the national park that takes three hours and follows along the river. Visitors can even go behind the Kurşunlu Waterfall to a hidden cave to take photos and cool off with the spray from the water.
There is a small fee to enter, but the park is well equipped with toilets, paved paths, free parking, Turkish restaurants, and more for visitors to enjoy.
The Best Antalya Itinerary for 5 Days
If you have 5-days in Antalya, then we recommend following the Antalya itinerary above and spending your fifth-day hiking. Antalya is surrounded by mountains and stunning nature, so go out and explore it!
Day 5: Hiking and Whitewater Rafting in Koprulu Canyon
You’ll need to allow a full day to explore the beauty of the Kaprulu Canyon. Make sure you pack a change of clothes as you’re going to need them after you’ve been white water rafting!
Stop 1: White Water Rafting
The Koprulu Canyon National Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty just outside the city of Antalya. It’s filled with pine forests, mountainous hiking trails, and of course, the beautiful Koprulu Canyon with the Köprü River running through it.
One of the most popular things to do at Koprulu Canyon is to engage in watersports, such as white water rafting, kayaking or canoeing.
Whitewater rafting is certainly the most adventurous, and if you have never done it before, this is the perfect place to try it.
The white water rafting route splits into two canyons, one is a narrow canyon with warm water and surrounded by sheer rock cliffs, while the other is wide, with cold water and surrounded by forested cliffs and natural waterfalls.
The diversity of the route makes it incredibly fun. You get the thrill of adventure mixed with the serene beauty of nature around you.
Some of the water is quite rocky and has fast-flowing water, so children under 10 are not allowed with most tour companies.
As you sail down the waters, be sure to keep your eyes on the lookout for Oluk Bridge and Bugrum Bridge on Kocadere Stream, which are some excellent examples of Roman engineering.
Stop 2: Quad Bike or Hike in the Pine Forest
After white water rafting, it’s time to explore the natural beauty of the park. Head out on one of the several hiking trails, or better yet, climb on a quad bike and soar through the trails in the pine forest!
Stop 3: Zip Line Experience
If you haven’t had enough adrenaline for one day, finish off with a zip-line experience! The zip line course in Koprulu Canyon has a 250-meter rope that extends over Kopru Cay.
Whizz through the air and soar above the canopies of the trees and take in the scenes of the river below. The whole ziplining experience only takes about half an hour so it’s the perfect end to an action-packed day!
Seven Day Itinerary for Antalya
If you have a full week at your disposal, then we recommend you follow the itinerary for Antalya above, and on the sixth day go West towards Kemer and visit the Lycia Rock Tombs and The Sunken City of Kekova.
These are two iconic historic landmarks in Turkey and offer a unique glimpse into another era in the past.
Use your seventh day as a buffer day to see the attractions you weren’t able to get to and do all the things you missed. There are always more beaches to see, or you can go and take a refreshing dip in one of Antalya’s waterfalls.
We all need a little relaxation, and no doubt you’ve got your eyes set on one of Antalya’s world-class resorts. So why not enjoy the facilities a little?
We’re not the type of traveler to spend the whole time in the hotel, but if you’re paying for the facilities, make sure you use them. Spend the morning splashing in the pool or check out the spa.
Getting Around Antalya
Antalya is very easy to get around. The city of very walkable, since most of the main attractions is located in the Old Town, which is also within walking distance of the main beach in Antalya.
There is a public bus network that takes you out of the main city to some of the beaches in the Antalya region, and it’s also possible to do some of these day trips on the public bus too.
However, we don’t recommend it. Buses don’t run as frequently as you would need them to in order to maximize time and they also run on Turkish time, meaning they might not show up at the time they are scheduled.
If you can, we recommend hiring a car. This way you can easily drive from place to place without having to worry about whether the bus will turn up or not.
Of course, if you don’t drive, it’s entirely possible to do it all using public transport but there may be some attractions on this list you will need to skip – or you just stay longer.
You can check bus times in Antalya here.
Tips for Visiting Antalya
To help you have the best trip to Antalya, here are a few words of advice:
- Go slow and don’t try to pack it all in. I know these itineraries are jam-packed, but you’re going to exhaust yourself trying to see every beach and historical landmark.
- Hire a car. It will honestly save you so much time and stress by doing everything yourself and driving.
- Download the MapsMe App. This is an offline satellite GPS and is perfect for those who are planning on hiking around Antalya as you can follow the trails offline.
- Prepare for hot weather. Being by the coast, Antalya has a lovely sea breeze which can often make you forget about how hot it is. Wear sun protection and a sun hat and make sure you drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel like you need it.
- Take out cash, as many places don’t accept credit cards.
Final Thoughts on Antalya Itinerary
So there you have it, this is how you can spend your days in Antalya, and as you can see, there is a LOT to see and do.
No matter how many days you plan to spend in Antalya, we know you will have a great trip.
Do you have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments.
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