Our trip was never going to be a hundred mile an hour dash across the globe. It was always intended to include some downtime, a little r&r as we wound down from the stresses of modern life.
Antalya provided the perfect spot for this. We had a couple of days where we chose to just sit and read a book, and another couple where we had plans, but rain stopped play. And boy when it does rain here, it doesn’t half rain!
It is a massive, rapidly changing city. Ten years ago the population was 650,000. Now, so a local told us, it is 2.5 million in winter, and up to 10 million in summer. So there is much to see and do, and there is no way we could give you the ultimate guide in the time we were there but here are our highlights.
Tünektepe Teleferik Tesisleri (cable car
There are two cable cars so don’t get confused by this as we did; this is a smaller version rather than the larger, more expensive and further away Olympos one. This one gives a fantastic view over Analya and cost just 20l or £2 each for a round trip. In addition they sprayed each car with disinfectant in between uses to be COVID friendly. Or COVID unfriendly as the case may be . We were treated to really amazing sea and mountain views and it is a lovely place to spend an afternoon. There are food and drink outlets at the top. It closes at 6pm at this time of year however (October) and is weather dependent so it is worth checking it is running before setting off especially. Several busses run there and it is also easily reached by car.
We had some rather rough weather during our visit and therefore although we walked along the sea front we didn’t actually venture in until the last day when it was baking hot. The beach is stony so it is well worth having hard soled water shoes but it was a lovely spot and we enjoyed our swim and snorkel here. It was a little chilly given the time of year so we had to keep moving.
We had considered walking to the falls or walking back – they are to the far eastern side of the Analya coast however at 18km we decided that a bus may be the more sensible option! After an hour bus ride we arrived at the park and stopped by the river to have a spot of lunch and then headed through the park to the falls. We even saw a wedding party!
The one thing to note is to avoid the men with the parrots who try and place them on your shoulder for a picture; they really are persistent (unless of course you agree with captive animals and want to have a picture taken with one of them). Generally we were not hassled in Antalya, and when we were a simple no thank you was taken notice of. Other than the super-annoying parrot photo pushers, it was a lovely little spot.
We took a leisurely stroll back towards the old town around sunset and we did have some lovely views upon our way also. It was a long, slow but pleasant walk punctuated by a shared pitcher of Long Island Iced Tea.
The Old Town
Our experience of the old town consists mainly of a night out on our way back from the falls; however we had an amazing night with lots of night life (socially distanced of course) and live music. We entered Hadrian’s gate and found a live music bar inside called Shaker which was great fun; although we had no clue what they were singing and made up our own words!
It was a bustling place and so was the local area. We found another bar with live music down further in which was also a mexican restaurant – unfortunately we were unable to remember the name of this place and our phones were also flat so no pictures were taken – we blame the cocktails. This area seems to be the best place for a good night out even during covid times. In our limited experience Turkey is full of history, there are remains and ruins pretty much everywhere, and what better use of an old castle than to turn it into several live music venues. Imagine some rock music blasting out from the keep at Portchester Castle and you get the picture.
By far the cheapest way to get around is the bus. You can buy an Antalya bus card (Antalya A-Cart) which you can top up and every journey regardless of distance or duration is the equivalent of 18p! We used the bus to go to the falls which was a 1 hour long, 39 stop ride, still for 18p! We also used the bus to return from the cable car. Our bus number of choice was the KL08 which appeared to run from one end of Antalya to the other. In addition to the cheap busses taxis were also very reasonable. To return back from Old Town which was approx 10 km was 50 Turkish lira or £5. We paid that waiting at traffic lights in Switzerland! We didn’t get to use the trams in Antalya but they seemed popular also.
Our Favourite Haunts
We spent quite some time visiting establishments for a wifi connection. One drinking establishment we frequented was the Traveler’s Cafe; situated near the Sea Life Hotel. It seemed apt to visit here as we are…well travellers but also because they had a reasonably priced food and drink menu and very good wifi. Nigel especially seemed rather keen on their Jager Mojitos and myself their white russians! If you are looking for a place to chill which is good value and gives you decent wifi this is the place to come.
The Barrells was just up the street from the Travelers Cafe and we were introduced to it by John and Sharon; its a chilled out kinda bar and they serve a variety of snacks as well as loads of different beers and spirits. It does get busy in the evenings however, with it’s main draw being the owner’s love of English 70s rock music.
Special mention – CATS!
We may have turned into mad tourists and bought kitten food and dreamies for a particular family of kitties who were lurking behind a fence…..:) the cats in Antalya were just as lovely as the cats in Kalkan and here are a couple of my favourites for the animal lovers amongst you.
In summary Antalya is massive and there are more food and drink choices than you can imagine; we didn’t have any specific preferences but tried different places and found what worked for us. Due to the amount of choice and the vast area Antalya covers them we have not recommended any places to eat; however there is something for everyone here. In order to explore Antalya fully we would probably have had to spend a long time there; however what we did see we really enjoyed. Special thanks to John and Shazza for providing our base for our stay here and for Semra and Phil for showing us the sights; however after a lovely 10 days it was time to head up to the mountain!
Next up – Eğirdir
Carol & Nigel xx