Dramatically situated high in the Taurus Mountains and part of Gulluk Dagi Termessos National Park, the ancient city of Termessos is as notable for its impressive location as for its remarkably preserved ruins. The star attraction is the 4,200-seat theater, built right on the cliffside and affording stunning views over the mountains below. The Basics
Exploring Termessos is only possible on foot, and it’s a steep climb, especially to reach the higher ruins. Along with the theater, major sights in the upper part of the city include the Agora, the Odeon-Bouleuterion, the Hereon (monumental tomb), the Cistern with Five Partitions, the Colonnaded Street, and the Corinth Temple. Visiting with a guide is recommended as most of the ruins are not signposted and some can be tricky to find. Day tours run from Antalya and often combine a tour of Termessos with other regional attractions such as the Duden Waterfalls.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There is an admission fee to enter Gulluk Dagi Termessos National Park.
- Hiking the ruins of Termessos can be strenuous, with steep sections, uneven terrain, and little shade—bring sturdy hiking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water.
- There is a parking lot, kiosk, and café at the entrance to the park, but no further amenities beyond that point.
- Termessos is not accessible for wheelchairs users and those with limited mobility.
How to Get There
Termessos lies around 22 miles (35 kilometers) northwest of Antalya, about a 40-minute drive. Buses run from Antalya to the start of the national park, from which it’s possible to take a taxi to the site. The easiest way to arrive is with your own transport or as part of a tour. When to Get There
The park is open daily throughout the year, but make sure you check closing times and leave yourself at least two hours to explore—the ruins are spread out over a large area. The size of the site means crowds aren’t normally a problem even in peak season, but summer travelers should time their visit to avoid the hottest part of the day.
The ancient city of Termessos was originally a Pisidian city and dates back to 333 BC. A strategic stronghold along the trade route from the Mediterranean to the Aegean, Termessos was one of few cities not conquered by Alexander the Great, protected from invading armies by its steep cliffs and gorges. The city was ultimately abandoned, probably due to earthquake damage in AD 243, and excavations are ongoing.