Antalya has a lot to offer aside from the food and the beautiful turquoise water. It has a bustling night life, family friendly activities such as the aquarium and asusement park, as well as numerous public parks. We saw many Antalyans, particularly in the evenings once the blazing hot sun had started it’s journey westward, enjoying the parks. Almost everyone had portable camp chairs, some had blankets, and a lucky few scored one of the picnic tables provided in the park. It was nice to see so many people out enjoying each other’s company. Families picnicked, friends shared beer or tea, old men played batgammon. We saw this same scene repeated in each of the several parks we visited in the city. We have noticed in our travels that in cities, where people tend to live in apartments, and most folks don’t have yards, they really take advantage of their communal, public green spaces.
Probably the coolest thing(s) Antalya, has to offer (again, aside from the food and the Mediterranean) is the region’s multiple historical, archeological sites. Antalya was first settled around 200 B.C. by Attalus (and named in his honor) II Philadelphus, king of Pergamon. Shortly after it was occupied by the Romans and was a thriving port city. Turkey has around 120 ancient archeological sites and the region of Antayla has seven of these. We were lucky enough to visit two, as well as the archeological museum. Phil loves ancient history so he has written about these visits here, here, and here (He writes really fast. He’s a professional. Check out his book on amazon). Because Phil has written extensively about our visits to these sites, I’m just going to post a few of my favorite photos from our visits. Click on the photo for the location.
One other highlight from our visits to these archeological sites that I want to mention is that on our visit to Pammeluke, we met a couple from London; Amanda (originally from Canada) and Rob. We ended up having dinner with them after our tour and we hit it off so well, we made plans to meet up in Istanbul (stay tuned). It is really nice to have travel buddies!
I have mentioned several times how lovely the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean are (Yes, you have. We get it. But do you?), and a couple of my favorite activities from our trip were taking a day to get out on the water and a day to get out in the water. We took a two-hour boat cruise that rode us to Düden Falls (that we actually walked to a couple of times, as mentioned in Phil’s blog) and back. I really enjoy being out on the water and find it incredibly relaxing. Maybe this is from happy childhood memories of pontooning with my family on the Lake of the Ozarks or maybe it’s because everyone loves being out on the water and finds it incredibly relaxing. Either way, it was fantastic and the beautiful water mesmerizing.
Our hotel had a pool which we took full advantage of but we really wanted to get out in the sea. Our hotel was only about a two-minute walk to the water but quite a far walk from an actual beach. We were high above the water on rocky cliffs, which made for both spectacular views and a difficult time accessing the water, or so we thought.
On one of our walks to Düden Falls we noticed, while taking in the views that below us were beach chairs, sitting on decks that had been mounted to the side of the cliff. There were many of these places for sunning and swimming. They were sometimes connected with a hotel and always with some kind of restaurant or bar, in order to access refreshments easily as you lounged. At any of them, one could rent a chair with umbrella and towel for a relatively small fee (around $12 USD for two) for the entire day after descending the stairs to the cliff bottom. The aforementioned refreshments are available for an additional charge. There are also changing rooms and bathrooms for folks to utilize.
Luckily for us, a hotel/restaurant three minutes walk from our hotel had very nice swimming decks so we took half a day to enjoy the beautiful water and respite from the heat. They had two tiers of decks and we grabbed chairs on the lower one. The umbrellas offered sufficient shade for my pasty skin and a ladder off the end of the deck access to the water. We had a couple of beers, lounged, swam, and half slept for a few hours. It was divine.
Another fun activity Antalya has to offer is their cable car, or teleferik, as they call it. Up, up, up we took it to the top of Tünek Tepe Hill where more spectacular views awaited. Phil wrote in more detail of our trip but I have included some of my favorite photos below.
I would be remiss if I did not mention a few quirky features I noticed and found endearing about Antayla. The first is the number of well mannered and well cared for street animals, namely dogs and cats. There are dogs and cats all over the place, just hanging out. The dogs were usually quite large and while typically a large wild dog might be a bit (or a lot) inimidating, these dogs were passive. Why? Well, many businesses and individuals leave fresh food and water out for them. There’s no reason to be aggressive if you’re well fed, left alone, and living in paradise (that goes for people too, I suppose). When talking about the dogs to a fellow we met from Denmark, I said, “They all seem pretty chill” to which he responded (in a surprisingly very California sufer-sounding accent), “Yeeaaah, they chill suuuper hard”. The cats still slip in occasionally to the indoor-outdoor restaurants but mostly they are looking for dropped morsels and never usually stick around too long and never once meowed at us for food.
Another thing I noticed was almost every business, from hair salon, real-estate office, nail shop, car dealship, you name it had a table and chairs right out front for employees to utilize for relaxation (mostly tea drinking and smoking from what I saw). I first noticed this when I thought one nail shop was a cafe because of the table and chairs. These spots don’t seem to be used specifically for an official “break time” as such. Simply, if there is down time, they sit and releax. Much better than the “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean” approach most U.S. employers take. I wasn’t able to take as many photos of the employee relaxation stations as I would have liked because they were usually being utilized. It would take away from my relaxation if a stranger randomly snapped a photo of me while I was chilling, so I had an eye out for vacant ones. I found a couple.
Lasty, a very handy feature of Antalya that I have never seen anywhere (they are not in Istanbul either) are taxi call buttons. The buttons are mounted on poles or the sides of bus stops. You simply press the button and within a few minutes (or often seconds) up pulls a taxi. A Russian fellow we met said, ” Who needs Uber when you have Button on a Pole?” Who indeed. Not me. Button on a Pole worked great.
We really enjoyed our two weeks in Antayla and have agreed we would definitely go back in the future. So, until next time Antalya!