Set on the Gulf of Antalya (Antalya Körfezi), this burgeoning city commands a superb position overlooking a sweeping beach towards the soaring Bey Mountains (Beydağlarĳ). Sophisticated, liberal Antalya has all the amenities of big city life - fine museums, restaurants, bars and clubs - but has also preserved the charming old quarter of Kaleiçi.
Day 1: Archaeology: Dig It!
Close by to Antalya are two important historical sites, and you can visit them in one day. Perge is the place where most of the statues that are on display in Antalya Museum were unearthed. An important city of ancient Parnphylia, it was originally settled by the Hittites around 1500 BC. Here you’ll find carvings, an intact city gate and a long colonnaded road once paved with mosaics and lined with shops, a large agora, the public baths and a gymnasium.
Side is a pretty resort town. Its ancient ruins, two sandy beaches, numerous shops and extensive tourist accommodation attract hundreds of visitors. The extensive Roman baths are now a museum, which houses one of Turkey's finest archaeological collections.
Day 2: The Old Quarter
Kaleiçi is the historical quarter of Antalya, and one of the major reasons for the city’s tourism-led renaissance. A sensitive restoration has made the most of a stunning Roman-Ottoman district whose walls once repelled raiders but now serve to keep traffic out of its narrow streets and courtyards. Spend a day wandering its shops and end up looking at the view of mountains and harbor over your drink.
Day 3: Go Marine
One of Antalya’s greatest beauties is its coast. Spend the morning lapping up the fun at Beach Park, with its aquariums, restaurants and shops, then take a tour out to Kekova Island and snorkel the remains of the sunken city of Simena.