Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Turkish Riviera
Dotted with a dozen islands interspersed with secluded bays and inlets, and set against a backdrop of forested hills that slope dramatically up from the shore, the Gulf of Fethiye offers one of Turkey’s prettiest stretches of coastline and is deservedly popular as a boating destination. One of the most enjoyable ways to see the area is on a daylong “12-island cruise” that takes passengers around the gulf. Most cruises make stops at about five or six of the islands (all of one of which are uninhabited), allowing time for swimming, snorkeling and other activities. Highlights might include exploring the remains of a Byzantine church and Roman shipyard on Tersane; swimming off the long, sandy beaches of the Yassıca Adalar (“Flat Islands”); or taking a dip amidst the half-submerged Roman ruins known as “Cleopatra’s Baths.”
The beautiful spot known as Kelebekler Vadisi, or “Butterfly Valley,” holds an almost mythical attraction for many travelers to Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, perhaps because of its relative isolation: the narrow, steeply walled cove can only be accessed by boat or on foot. To add to the mystique, the valley takes its name from the many species of butterflies and moths that breed here during the winter, including the brightly colored and rarely seen Jersey tiger.
From the secluded beach at the entrance to the verdant gorge that leads to a 60-foot waterfall at the back, the setting is simply delightful. Although there is a well-trodden path to the waterfall it’s a good idea to bring waterproof shoes, as some wading through the streambed is necessary.
Butterfly Valley makes an easy day trip by boat from Ölüdeniz, but in order to fully soak up the atmosphere you might want to stay a few days.
Antalya Old Town - or Kaleici - is the picturesque old quarter in the center of present day Antalya. With its narrow winding streets and historic wooden houses, bars, restaurants and Ottoman-style boutique hotels, it’s a lovely place to wander around or base yourself while visiting Antalya.
Kaleici can trace its orgins back to the Roman period, when it grew around the old harbor, protecting the harbor from the west and the passage of produce from the east. Originally surrounded by massive stone walls and several gates, Kaleici has only two walls and one gate remaining.
Imposing Hadrian’s Gate is a glorious example of Roman architecture and was constructed in 130 AD to commemorate Emperor Hadrian’s visit to Kaleici. It has a triple-arched portal and decorative marble columns and is supported by enormous, turreted stone towers (from a different era). Hadrian’s Gate remains the most impressive way to enter the Old Town.
The remains of the ancient city of Perge, lie just 17km (11mi) northeast of Antalya and is the region’s most significant Roman ruin. Dating as far back as the Bronze Age, Perge was originally settled by the Hittites around 1500 BC and under Roman occupation grew to become one of the most beautiful cities of the ancient world. An important city for Christians during the Byzantine period, Saint Paul is said to have preached his first sermon here in 46 AD.
Excavations began on the site in 1946 and have since uncovered a large Greco-Roman theater with fine marble reliefs, a stadium that could seat over 12,000 people, a Hellenistic-Roman city gate flanked by ruined towers, a long colonnaded street, a large agora (central market), public baths and a gymnasium. Of these ancient remains, the theater and the stadium are Perge’s best-preserved sites.
More Things to Do in Turkish Riviera
Alanya Castle is a medieval castle located in the coastal town of Alanya, Turkey. It was built in the 13th century on top of earlier Byzantine Era and Roman Era fortifications. During the Ottoman Empire, the castle was no longer needed for defensive reasons, and today it is a museum. The castle sits 820 feet high on a rocky peninsula that sticks out into the Mediterranean Sea. The sea protects the castle from three sides, and this high vantage point gives visitors an impressive view of Alanya, the sea, and the surrounding countryside, including the Pamphylian plain and Cilician mountains.
The walls that surround the castle stretch for four miles. Inside the castle walls, visitors can explore the ruins which include the remains of 400 cisterns that once provided water to the castle, an 11th-century Byzantine church, several mosques, monuments, and the battlements. There are also several impressive towers along the walls including the 95-foot Red Tower.
The town of Alanya lies on the southern coast of Turkey in the Antalya region. It is a popular beach resort town and draws tourists from many countries around the world. One of the city's best beaches is Kleopatra Beach located on the west side of the peninsula near the Damlataş Caves. The name comes from the legend that says the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra stopped in Alanya during a voyage in the Mediterranean Sea and swam in the bay.
The beach is a sandy one with clear water. It is a Blue Flag beach due to its high standards for water quality, safety, and environmental services. Visitors can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, and other water activities. When you get hungry, there are plenty of nearby cafes and restaurants serving Turkish and international dishes. Other activities in the area include exploring the dripping Damlataş Caves, wandering through the old town, and learning about the region's rich history.
The Red Tower is the most well known tower forming part of the Alanya Castle in Alanya, Turkey. The castle was built in the 13th century and was used as a defensive fortification until the time of the Ottoman Empire. Today it is a museum offering visitors a chance to explore the history of this area. The view from the castle is striking due to is location 820 feet high on a rocky peninsula that sticks out into the Mediterranean Sea. From here you can see the beach town of Alanya, the sea itself, the Pamphylian plain and Cilician mountains.
The Red Tower stands 95 feet tall and is one of 140 towers that surround the castle. It is the start and end of four miles of walls that once protected the castle from invaders. The walls pass through the battlements, the Citadel, several bastions, the arsenal, and the shipyard before reconnecting with the Red Tower.
The Damlatas Caves are a series of dripping caves in the coastal town of Alanya, Turkey. They were discovered accidentally in 1948 during mining activities at a quarry that was being used to build the harbor. The caves are located on the western side of the peninsula and can be accessed by a passageway that is 164 feet long followed by a cylindrical chamber. Here visitors will see stalactites and stalagmites that were formed over a period of 15,000 years.
The air inside the cave is said to be beneficial for people with asthma. It has 10 to 12 times as much carbon dioxide as normal air and 95% humidity. Because of this, a large number of tourists come to Alanya each year with the specific purpose of curing their asthma. They stay for three weeks and spend four hours each morning inside the caves, at a greatly reduced rate. During this time, the caves are only open to asthma patients.
The Alanya Shipyard is the dock area of Alanya, Turkey and is also referred too as Tersane. The shipyard dates back to the 3rd century BC, although the shipyard you'll see today was built in 1226. At one point it was the main naval base for the Seljuk navy, and it is one of the only remaining preserved Seljuk shipyard. During the late 1400s, Alanya became an important port for trading with other Mediterranean countries such as Egypt, Syria, and Cyprus.
Today it is the best preserved dockyard on the Mediterranean basin. It consists of five docks that are more than 180 feet long. It is an open air museum connected with the Alanya Castle. The defensive walls of the castle, which stretch for four miles, go through the Alanya Shipyard and connect with the Red Tower. Those who visit the shipyard and castle will be rewarded with views of the sea, the surrounding countryside, impressive mountains, and the city itself.
The Dalyan River runs through the town of Dalyan, Turkey, which is located in the southwest region of Turkey along the Aegean Sea. Life in Dalyan revolves around the river. It's an important source of fish for the residents. The river also flows through a special environmental protection area. There are also several boat tours that go up and down the river, taking visitors to see the ancient sites of the area. One of the main attractions for tourists are the facades of Lycian tombs. They are located above the river's sheer cliffs and were cut from the rocks around 400 BC. Just a short boat trip away, you can also visit the ruins of the ancient trading city of Kaunos.
Nearby you can experience the Sultaniye hot springs. Here you can enjoy the warm water and the therapeutic mud baths. You can also go for a swim in Köyceğiz Lake, which is connected to the sea by the Dalyan River.
Sedir Island is best known as Cleopatra Island, named after the pharaoh who allegedly met her lover Marc Antony on its shores. Forever romanticized by its connection with the iconic lovers, this small island in the Gulf of Gökova is now a popular stop on boat cruises and jeep safaris from Marmaris.
Cleopatra Island’s second claim to fame is its unusually textured sands, made up of smooth white, ground seashells. To preserve this one-of-a-kind sand, visitors are required to leave their belongings and shoes at the entrance to the beach. Removing the sand is strictly prohibited. Typically, such sand can only be found on Egyptian shores, fueling the legend that Marc Antony had it shipped in to Sedir Island from North Africa in an attempt to woo his mistress.
The island also has an additional sandy beach, popular among swimmers and sunbathers, that is home to a number of Roman ruins, including an agora and an amphitheater that dates back to the fourth century B.C.
Things to do near Turkish Riviera
- Things to do in Fethiye
- Things to do in Antalya
- Things to do in Marmaris
- Things to do in Bodrum
- Things to do in Kusadasi
- Things to do in Kemer
- Things to do in Alanya
- Things to do in Western Anatolia
- Things to do in Dodecanese
- Things to do in Aegean Coast
- Things to do in Sarigerme
- Things to do in Muğla
- Things to do in Cyclades Islands
- Things to do in Crete
- Things to do in Cappadocia