Kaleiçi is located in the city center of Antalya and is home to boutique hotels, historical artifacts, museums, specially designed stores, stylish cafés and restaurants, Kaleiçi is surrounded by walls inside and outside in the shape of a horseshoe. Walls are known to be the common work of the Hellenistic, the Roman, the Byzantine, the Seljuk and the Ottoman periods. There are about 3000 houses with tile roofs inside the walls. The architecture of Kaleiçi outside the walls, on the other hand, bears the traces of the Ottoman architecture. The characteristic structures of the houses not only give an idea about the architectural history of Antalya, but also reflect in the best possible manner lifestyle, traditions and the customs in the region in the best possible manner.
It is possible to enter Kaleiçi through Hadrian’s Gate (Hadrian Kapısı). This gate is one of the best-preserved historical buildings in Antalya. The building is a Roman work which was built during 130 CE in the name of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.
One of the most important buildings in Kaleiçi is the Yivli Minaret Complex (Yivli Minare Külliyesi). Kulliye is a collection of buildings from the Seljuk period. The main buildings in the complex are: Yivli Minaret, Yivli Mosque (Yivli Cami), Gıyaseddin Keyhüsrev Madrasah (Gıyaseddin Keyhüsrev Medresesi), Selçuklu Madrasah (Selçuklu Medresesi, Mevlevi Lodge (Mevlevihane), Zincirkıran Turbah (Zincirkıran Türbesi) and Nigar Hatun Turbah (Nigar Hatun Türbesi). Yivli Minaret is one of the first Islamic buildings in Antalya. It is an eighth century Seljuk building.
Just south to Kaleiçi is the Historical Marina. Dozens of cruise boats are anchored in the marina which is in the safe bay. With these boats, you can make daily tours to see the cliffs and waterfalls.
Another important building in the region is Karatay Madrasa (Karatay Medresesi). The niches in the madrasa and the ornate motifs on the mihrab are quite remarkable.
Karaalioğlu Park should also be mentioned among the important places and places in Kaleiçi. Karaalioğlu Park sits on an area of 140 thousand square meters. In the park, there are three streets parallel to each other in east-west direction to the sea, and these streets end with three viewing terraces at the seashore. Karaalioğlu Park has a rich living existence, especially trees, plants, flowers and bird species, which reflect the flora of Antalya.
Hıdırlık Tower (Hıdırlık Kulesi) is an important building located in Karaalioğlu Park. Built in the second century, the tower is in the southwest corner of Kaleiçi Walls. It is 14 meters high; the lower part is square, and the upper part is cylindrical.
Perge is located 18 km east of Antalya city center. Aksu (Kestros) River (Aksu Nehri) was a factor that made the geographical location of the city unbelievably valuable in ancient times. It was also the life water of agriculture in the city.
Some of the important artifacts obtained as a result of excavations in the ancient city are exhibited in Antalya Museum (Antalya Müzesi).
It is a good option to start exploring Perge by walking along the monumental fortifications built by Alexander the Great.
You should not leave Perge Ancient City (Perge Antik Kenti) without seeing the aqua duct, the colonnaded street, the watchtower, the Roman bath, agoras, double-door shops, the monumental theater with a capacity of 12 thousand people, the mosaics covering the floor, and the horseshoe-shaped stadium.
Located 30 km northwest of Antalya, Termessos is one of Türkiye’s best preserved ancient cities. The city was included in the scope of a National Park due to its natural beauty and historical artifacts.
Remembered for the strong defense of the Termessians against the siege of Alexander the Great, Termessos is in the section called Milyas in the Pisidia region. It is known that the Solym, one of the oldest peoples of Anatolia, founded the city. Under the Byzantine period and after the sources provide no information about the city.
Located 18 kilometers southwest of Kemer and about 58 kilometers southwest of Antalya, Phaselis is known to be founded by the colonists of Rhodes in the seventh century BCE. The geographical location of the city shows that it is an important port city. The city has three harbors, one in the north of the peninsula, the other in the northeast, and the third in the southwest coast.
Welcoming Alexander the Great with a golden crown in 333 BCE is one of the most important milestones of the city’s history.
Phaselis, which was under Byzantine rule in the fifth and sixth centuries, was completely abandoned from the beginning of the 13th century due to the damage it received during the siege of the Seljuks in the 12th century. The ruins survived to the present day are mostly from the Roman and the Byzantine period. These are lined on both sides of the main street that forms the main axis of the city and connects the north-south ports. The street expands between the agora and the theater creating a small square. Steps in the southeast corner of the square provide access to the theater and acropolis. The theater is a typical small size Hellenistic Period theater.
Olympos is the second important port city after Phaselis on the southern coast of Antalya. It is located 85 kilometers southwest of Antalya city center and 45 kilometers from Kemer district center. The city is named after the 2,375-meter-high Tahtalı Mountain (Tahtalı Dağı), that is 16 kilometers north of it and is one of the western extensions of the Toros Mountains (Toros Dağları). It is within the boundaries of Beydağları-Olympos National Park (Beydağları – Olympos Milli Parkı). The exact foundation date of the city is unknown.
The temple gate is an important visible structure of the city located 150 meters west of the river mouth. The most interesting of the remains is the Tomb of Captain Eudomus (Kaptan Eudomos Mezarı), which was discovered during the diggings carried out by the Antalya Museum.
To the east of Olympos, 300 meters from the beach, there is the Çıralı settlement, famous for its magnificent beach where Caretta Carettas lay their eggs and the coastal dunes where many plants live.
Located 200 km southwest of Antalya city center and 45 km southeast of Kas, Myra Ancient City (Myra Antik Kenti) was established within the borders of today’s Demre district, on the plain of the same name with it.
The Ancient City of Myra is especially famous for the Lycian Period rock tombs, the Roman Period theater and the Byzantine Period Saint Nicholas Church (Aziz Nikolaos Kilisesi) (Santa Claus).
Myra lost its importance since the seventh century, due to earthquakes, floods, the alluvium brought by the Demre Stream (Demre Çayı) and Arab raids and became a village in the 12th century. Today’s ruins are the theater on the southern skirt of the acropolis and the rock tombs on both sides. According to the research, apart from the Roman Period walls, which are quite intact today, it is possible to find Hellenistic city wall remains on and around the acropolis hill.
Because Myra, the capital of the Lycian state in the fifth century AD was the city where St Paul and his friends stopped. The former city has a special place in the Christian world.
St. Nicholas Church and Museum
The respected religious personality of Saint Nicholas, who was born in Patara in the second half of the third century AD and became a bishop in Myra, made him a saint after his death. Saint Nicholas became the most popular saint in many European countries, especially in the former Russian Empire.
The tradition of Santa Claus, protector and delight of children in the northern countries of Europe, was integrated with the belief of Saint Nicholas and led to the creation of a semi-religious and extremely popular legendary character.
St. Nicholas Church (Aziz Nikolaos Kilisesi), an important monument of Byzantine art history became the most outstanding example of the Middle Byzantine Period with its architectural style and decoration. In the fifth century CE, the fact that Myra (Demre) was the capital of the Lycian state and the Archbishop of Myra was the second largest religious authority of Anatolia, played a major role in the increase of the city’s prestige in the years after the death of Saint Nicholas.
Located between Kaş and Demre districts, 195 km southwest of Antalya, ancient Simena, now known as Kaleköy, was a small Lycian coastal city. It was a strategic point inhabited from the fourth century BCE to the present. The ruin that reflects this feature most vividly is the castle that has remained intact until today. From this castle, it is possible to watch the best views of Kekova and its surroundings.
Kekova, which gives its name to the region, is the general name of the region that includes the 7.4-kilometer-long island, 500 meters from the shore, right across Simena and Simena, Teimiussa (Üçağız), Aperlai Pier (Sıçak İskelesi), Aquarium Bay (Akvaryum Koyu) and Gökkaya Bay (Gökkaya Koyu).
The northern shores of Kekova Island (Kekova Adası) overlooking Simena are full of traces of the civilization that was partially submerged in the earthquakes in ancient times, such as stone stairs, house ruins, pier ruins, and half in the water, half of which extend to the depths of 4-5 meters in the sea. Simena is located on the peninsula opposite Kekova Island. Between Kaleköy and Üçağız, one can observe the remains of the road and dock that were submerged towards the shore among the small islets that were used as stone quarries for sarcophagi.
Located 108 km southwest of Antalya city center, within the borders of Finike district, Limyra Ancient City (Limyra Antik Kenti) covers the acropolis on the southern skirts of Toçak Mountain (Toçak Dağı), where the early period buildings are located, and the area within the Roman and Byzantine period walls, just south of it, on the plain that is now separated by road.
Located in the northernmost part of the ancient city, the acropolis consists of an inner castle and a lower castle in the north. In the lower castle, there are ramparts, cisterns, Byzantine Church and Pericle Heroon. At the place where the acropolis reaches the plain, there is a theater building, originally from the Hellenistic period, which underwent a major restoration in 141.
Limyra is one of the cities with the most rock tombs in Lycia. There are more than 400 rock tombs in the ancient city and most of them are known by name with their inscriptions written in the Lycian language.
The name of Arykanda Ancient City (Arykanda Antik Kenti), located 30 kilometers north of Finike district center and 140 kilometers southwest of Antalya city center, is actually Ary-ka-wanda meaning “the place next to the high rock” in the Lycian language. The fact that the name of the city reflects the native Anatolian language in terms of philology indicates that Arykanda is one of the oldest cities in the region. It is difficult to trace the history of the city before the fifth century BCE, based on findings other than the stone ax dating to 2,000 BCE.
It is seen that Arykanda minted coins as a city included in the Lycian Union in the second century BCE. When Emperor Klaudius ended the Lycian Union in 43 CE, the Lycian Region was transformed into a province with Pamphylia and the city was annexed to Rome. The city, which was partially repaired after the great earthquake in CE 240, was called Akalanda or Orykanda during the Byzantine rule.
Xanthos – Letoon
It is known that Xanthos, whose history dates to 3000 BCE was the biggest administrative center and capital of Lycia in Antiquity. Letoon, which was included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1988 with Xanthos, is one of the most important religious centers of this period.
Encouraged by the poem he wrote to Prince Hector during the Trojan War, Xanthos, where Sarpedon lived, is located east of the Muğla-Antalya provincial border separated by Eşen Stream within the borders of Antalya near Kınık town. Letoon, on the other hand, is in the Seydikemer district of Muğla, four or five kilometers west of Xanthos.
Xanthos and Letoon are among the important elements of the world heritage in terms of the archaeological values they contain. In these settlements, which are located remarkably close to each other, there are stone inscriptions on which the longest and most important texts in the Lycian language can be seen.
Xanthos has Xanthos Theater (Xanthos Tiyatrosu) with a capacity of 2200 people. Roman Agora is a square surrounded by porticos on the north of this ancient theater, which was built in the Hellenistic Period and renovated in the Roman Period.
Discovered in 1840, Letoon sanctuary contains a thirty-six-seat theater, basilica, inscriptions, three temples, a round portico attached to the imperial cult building and an L-shaped stoa. Apollo and Artemis, the divine twin children of Leto, were honored with a temple each together with their mother. The biggest of these temples is Leto Temple located in the west. To the east is the Temple of Apollo (Apollo Tapınağı), built in the Doric order. In the middle of both temples is the Temple of Artemis, which is smaller than the others. Due to the rise of the water level since antiquity, the lower parts of the structures have been flooded today.
Located 110 km east of Antalya city center and about 40 km northwest of Alanya, the castle sits on a sharp hill on the edge of the Alara Stream (Alar Çağı). It was rebuilt by the Seljuk Sultan Aladdin Keykubat in 1232, the Byzantine ruins in it were preserved and the castle gained its present appearance. The castle was built to protect the main trade route and Alara Inn (Alara Hanı). The merchant ships are thought to have arrived in front of the castle at that time. The castle contains inner and outer walls reinforced with towers. From the edge of the Alara Stream, you can reach the second wall with a ladder carved into the rock.
Located in the district center of Alanya, Alanya Castle (Alanya Kalesi) has been inhabited throughout history due to its difficult access from the sea, land and its natural shelter which is one of the best-preserved Medieval Age castles among hundreds of castles that are adorned in Anatolia. The castle looks like an open-air museum with its walls reaching 6.5 kilometers, 140 bastions, nearly 400 cisterns inside, magnificent, inscribed and decorated gates.
Although the initial settlement date of the castle dates to the Hellenistic Period, the building took the form of a monumental castle with its magnificent appearance in the Seljuk Empire Period. The part of the castle called İçkale is built at the highest point of the western corner of the peninsula and is 250 meters above sea level. Since the castle is the center of administrative and military organization, it is surrounded by durable walls from four sides. Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad also had monumental structures built to strengthen the defense of the castle.
Antalya Museum (Antalya Müzesi) was founded in 1922 by teacher Süleyman Fikri Erten to protect the artifacts saved from the pillage of the occupation forces who came to the region after the First World War. The museum, which was first located in the Alaaddin Mosque (Alaaddin Cami) in Kaleiçi and later in the Yivli Mosque (Yivli Cami), has been moved to its current building of 1972. The Antalya Museum today consists of 14 exhibition halls on an area of 30 thousand square meters, open-air galleries where sculptures and various artifacts are exhibited, and a garden. The responsibility region of Antalya Museum is a significant part of Lycia, Pamphylia and Pisidia, three ancient cultural regions within the borders of Antalya Region, which is one of the spots with the richest history of Anatolian lands that have witnessed the history of humanity. Scientists from many countries conduct scientific excavations every year in Antalya, which is a unique open-air museum and an international excavation center with its archaeological richness. Numerous salvage excavations and landscaping works in the region are carried out by the Antalya Museum.
Antalya Museum is a museum of archeology and history also known to be described as a regional museum. Most of the works in the collection were obtained from excavations in the region, and the ethnographic works were compiled by museum experts from the region. In the halls, artifacts that reflect the thousands of years of history of Antalya lands, which started with the first human and lasted uninterruptedly until today, are exhibited according to their chronological and local subjects. The Antalya Museum is considered among the most important museums in the world, especially with the sculptures of the Roman Period found in Perge and the interesting and unique finds unearthed from the museum salvage excavations in recent years. The museum was awarded by Council of Europe with Museum of the Year award in 1988.
Thanks to its unique nature and deep history, Antalya is one of the cities that host the most guests in the world. The guests, who come to swim in the blue and turquoise sea of Antalya every year, want to relax in the green nature, and aim to discover its thousands of years of history, stay in luxury resort hotels around the city.
Although there are luxury resort hotels all over Antalya, it is possible to say that these hotels are concentrated in certain points. Belek comes first among these regions. Located to the east of Antalya city center, the Belek region hosts dozens of hotels. Moreover, some of the hotels in Belek have world-class golf facilities, professional sports fields and facilities.
There are also many luxury resort hotels in Lara, which is located between Belek and Antalya. Moreover, the region where the hotels are in Lara is known as the Hotels Region in the city.
Kemer district is another region where hotels are densely located after Belek and Lara. Located in the west of Antalya city center and offering unlimited alternatives to its guests with its natural and historical wealth, Kemer also has luxurious resort hotels. Tens of hotel options are offered to guests both in the center of Kemer district and in the towns within the borders of Kemer such as Göynük, Beldibi and Kiriş.
Boutique Hotels & Different Accommodation Options
In addition to having hundreds of different luxury resort hotels, Antalya also offers a large pool of options in terms of boutique hotels.
There are boutique hotel options in Kaleiçi in the city center, which can be reached from the historical streets and which will accommodate you in the most central part of Antalya.
Boutique hotel options are not limited to Kaleiçi. You can find boutique accommodation options intertwined with nature in all districts of Antalya. For example, you will find many tree houses options around the Olympos Ancient City (Olympos Antik Kenti). In the towns of Kemer district, you will see boutique hotels in the farms away from the crowd.
Places such as Maden, Tekirova, Çıralı and Patara offer you the most ideal conditions for camping. You can consider a quiet holiday option in nature surrounded by water resources merging with the sea.
Located approximately 40 km west of Kaş, approximately 200 km west of Antalya city center, at the southwestern end of the Xanthos Valley, Patara Ancient City (Patara Antik Kenti) is one of the most important and oldest cities of Lycia. Patara Ancient City has been excavated since 1988 and is one of great importance not only for its archaeological and historical values, but also for being one of the rare beaches where the Mediterranean turtles Caretta-Carettas have laid their eggs for millions of years.
The name of the city is even mentioned in the Hittite texts of the 13th century BCE. While the ceramic pieces found in the Tepecik Acropolis contain features of the Middle Bronze Age, the stone ax dating back to the pre-Iron Age, unearthed on the slopes of the eastern slope of Tepecik, shows how old Patara’s history goes.
The city, which continued its importance in the Byzantine Period, became an important center for Christians. Saint Nicholaos, known as Santa Claus is from Patara. Continuing its importance throughout the Middle Ages, Patara has been an important center since the arrival of the Turks.
Sillyon is a city of Pamphylia. It was built on a flat hill with almost completely steep slopes. It is located 16 kilometers from Serik town center and 30 kilometers from Antalya city center.
Like all other Pamphylian cities, Sillyon is generally accepted to have been founded by heroes named Mopsos and Calchas after the Trojan War.
The ancient city of Sillyon, where the Hellenistic city remains are the most concentrated within the borders of Antalya, which also preserves its feature of being the city where Hellenistic defense is best represented.
If you want to visit Sillyon, you must be prepared for a tight climb. However, the views you will see at the end of the climb will be worth all this trouble.
Located about 45 km east of Antalya city center, Aspendos is famous for having the best-preserved Roman Period theater not only of Anatolia but of the whole Mediterranean world. The city is established on a hilltop near Köprüçay (ancient Eurymedon), one of the largest rivers in the region. Today, theater and waterways are mostly visited spots in Aspendos, which owes its transportation and development with the Mediterranean to the nearby river and therefore to the fertile lands around it. Remains of other buildings belonging to the city are located on the plain of the hill where the theater leans.
The brightest period of the city is undoubtedly the Roman Imperial Period where the famous theater and waterways were built.
Aspendos Theater (Aspendos Tiyatrosu) is one of the most distinguished representatives of Roman Age theaters today, with its architectural features and well-preserved. Dedicated to the gods and emperors of the time. The is a building which exhibits the last lines of Roman theater architecture and construction technique.
Following the theater, the most important ruins of the city that can be visited are the aqueducts. The Aspendos aqueduct system is one of the best-preserved examples of ancient waterways. The general view is given by the water pressure towers at both ends of the north-south arched bridge, which is about one kilometer long.
Aspendos is also one of the cities that continued its existence during the Byzantine and Seljuk periods. In the famous theater, it is possible to see the traces of Seljuk period repairs, especially on the monumental door extension in the middle of the facade and in the dark red zigzag patterned plaster coating on the facade. The most important reason why the stage building, which is thought to have been organized as a caravanserai where the Seljuk sultans stayed has continued to survive until today, is attributed to this Seljuk restoration and protection. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk also visited this place in 1930 and gave instructions for the restoration and reuse of the city.
The most important port city of Pamphylia in ancient times, Side is located on a 350-400-meter-wide peninsula, located 80 kilometers east of Antalya, seven kilometers southwest of Manavgat.
Side became a settlement in the seventh century BCE. In the sixth century BCE, the city was dominated by the entire Pamphylia and the Lydian Kingdom. Continued its existence under the rule of Alexander the Great for a while, however, the city changed hands between the Hellenistic Period kingdoms after the death of Alexander. The city was later ruled under the Kingdom of Pergamum, Rome and the Eastern Roman Empire.
Selimiye Village (Selimiye Köyü) was established by Cretan immigrants in the early 20th century on the ruins of Side Ancient City (Side Antik Kenti), which is known as a trade and port city. Built on a peninsula, Side runs along a monumental street that starts from the main gate of the city, as in other Pamphylia cities. The main street, starting from the Great Gate in the northeast, runs along the peninsula in an almost straight line except the arc in front of the ancient theater and ends with a large square near the temples. The second largest street of the city extends from the Great Gate to the south of the city. Both streets have pillars, on both sides there are porticoes with Corinthian capitals and a row of shops behind them.