Antalya, on the Turkish Riviera, is often called the ‘tourist capital of Turkey’, and attracts more visitors annually than almost anywhere else in Europe. With a magnificent backdrop of rugged hills, the city sprawls along the shores of the Mediterranean and is sprinkled with magnificent ancient ruins. The enchanting old quarter, Kaleiçi, tucked behind Roman walls, has been beautifully preserved, and its cobbled streets brim with bars, clubs, restaurants and shops. The city beaches, which include Konyaaltı Beach and Lara Beach, are long, golden stretches of sand, and visitors can escape the heat in the verdant parks, dotted with tea houses and play areas, which are spread along the clifftops.
Food & drink:
Antalya has plenty of street stalls and informal eateries offering the classic ‘doner’ with lamb, ‘lahmakan’ (a kind of Turkish pizza), or a sandwich with ‘köfte’ or ‘balik’ (meatballs or sardines). Many restaurants offer a set-price lunch, which will usually begin with a choice of ‘meze’ (starters), such as ‘dolma’ (stuffed vegetables), ‘patlıcan salatası’ (aubergine salad) or the classic local bean salad, ‘piyaz’. Seafood features prominently on local menus, and includes delicious specialities such as fried mullet, coated in a light batter, or sea bass. You’ll also find plenty of meat soups and stews, including ‘kulaklı çorba’, a rich soup with chickpeas, or ‘sac kavurma’, a slow-cooked stew.
Off the beaten track:
There are two beautiful parks with waterfalls at Düden and Kursunlu, just a couple of kilometres from Antalya, but to really get off the beaten track to the ancient city of Termessos, high in the mountains. About an hour’s drive from Antalya, it is protected as part of the Güllük Dağı National Park.