As the gateway to the Turkish Riviera, Antalya offers much more than just beaches. It’s an ideal launchpad for exploring the ancient Pamphylian cities and cruising the Turquoise Coast, and three days gives you enough time to see it all. Here’s how to spend three days in Antalya.
Day 1: Sightseeing in the City
Antalya Old Town (Kaleici) encompasses cobbled streets and lively bazaars; a walking tour is the best way for first-time visitors to orient themselves. Most tours cover Hadrian’s Gate, which dates back to Roman times, as well as other historic monuments such as the old Clock Tower and the Fluted Minaret.
Spend the afternoon at Antalya Aquarium, which ranks as one of the largest aquarium complexes in the world—to save time and avoid transport hassles, pre-book tickets with round-trip transfers included. History buffs can admire the treasures of ancient Turkey at the Antalya Archeological Museum while beach lovers can head to the nearby Konyaalti Beach, where you can rent a kayak, enjoy swimming and snorkelling, or grab a cocktail at a beachside bar.
In the evening, head back into Kaleici, where bars, restaurants, and nightclubs host live music and entertainment into the early hours.
Day 2: Discover ancient Pamphylia
Dedicate your second dat to exploring the ancient Pamphylian cities around Antalya, hailed as some of the best-preserved in Turkey. Full-day tours cover the three most popular sites—the ancient city of Perge, which dates back to before 1500 BC; the ancient Greco-Roman city of Aspendos, with its remarkable 7,000-seat amphitheater; and the coastal resort of Side, famous for its ancient theater and seafront Temple of Apollo. Touring the cities with a guide provides important historical context, and day trips often include extras, such as a traditional gözleme (Turkish pancakes) lunch and a visit to the Manavgat waterfalls.
To end your the day with a bang, book tickets to the Fire of Anatolia show, held at the Gloria Aspendos Arena. The show features up to 120 dancers that perform traditional dances and music that derive from Anatolia; tickets typically include transfers from Antalya.
Day 3: Cruise the Mediterranean
Spend your final day at sea; half- and full-day cruises set sail daily from Antalya, and options vary from adventure tours on a traditional pirate ship to family-friendly catamaran cruises or luxury private yacht charters. For the best value, look for a cruise that includes a buffet lunch on-board and features plenty of stops to swim and snorkel along the coast.
Adventurous types can spend the day white-water rafting and ziplining in Koprulu Canyon, or go scuba diving along the Turquoise Coast, while families might prefer a day pass to Antalya’s most popular water park, Aqualand.
Back in Antalya, spend your final evening at a traditional Turkish restaurant on the harbor, where you can Tuck into a classic Turkish kebab, sample tasty mezes, or enjoy fresh seafood.