Top Things to See and Do in Antalya, Turkey- on a budget!
By Matt and Julia
Antalya is arguably the most famous resort city in Turkey. Located on Turkey’s beautiful Mediterranean coast, it is filled with things to see and do. From the historic Old Town to stunning beaches, it is the ideal spot for a holiday along the Turkish Riviera.
For us as budget travelers, Antalya was just incredible! From the food to the entry into the museums, everything here is so affordable. We spent a full day walking the entire length of the Mediterranean gem on what we called our ‘ultimate budget travel tour!’
We started the day west of the city on Konyaalti Beach. The main beach in Antalya, Konyaalti Beach stretches for five miles and is framed by the most incredible mountain views, which act as the perfect backdrop when you are dipping your feet in the clear blue sea.
After Konyaalti Beach, we took the free passenger lift up the cliff face to the starting point of the ‘Antalya Nostalgic Tram.’ A single-track 4.7 kilometer (2.9 miles) long heritage tram line (nostalgic tram or in Turkish, nostalji tramvay hatti), it opened in 1999 with tramcars imported from Nuremberg, Germany. Tickets cost 2 Turkish Lira or around $0.26. You can ride this all the way to Antalya’s Old Town or Kaleici!
Hopping off in Antalya’s Old Town, we spent hours exploring its winding streets and gaping at the stunning mix of Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman architecture. Old Town is full of shops, bars, restaurants and boutique hotels. Make sure to check out Hadrian’s Castle Gate, which is a Roman-era gate formed from 3 triumphal arches, built to mark the visit of Emperor Hadrian in 130 AD. Also check out the Hidirlik Tower, built by the Romans in the 2nd century CE.
At the bottom of Old Town, you will find the Old City Marina, a beautiful harbour surrounded by walls built during the Roman era. This in our opinion, is the perfect place to grab Turkish tea and unwind. Expect to pay around 5 Turkish Lira or $0.60 for a tea.
As with any large city in Turkey, Antalya has its own bazaar, smack bang in the city’s center, and as with every bazaar, it is a chaotic, busy, incredible place with people selling literally anything you can dream of! This place is full of charm, and a must-stop on any trip to Antalya.
After the chaos of the bazaar, we worked up an appetite and headed to a favourite of all Antalya locals, a place called Citir Balik or literally Crispy Fish, that serves different types of freshly fried fish in a beautiful baguette with a plate full of fresh salad for a really reasonable price!
After lunch, you might fancy chilling out at a local park. From what we saw, Antalya was full of them. For us, Karaalioglu Park was the best. It’s next to Old Town, and is blessed with beautiful sea views and a Roman tower.
The next stop on our budget tour of Antalya was the incredible Lower Duden Waterfalls. These incredible falls are just a 9 kilometer (5.6 miles) walk or a 10-minute taxi ride from Old Town. We walked to the falls, which was well worth it, as the views along the coast are breathtaking.
A little further east of Lower Duden Falls is Lara Beach. Lara Beach is famous around the world for its extravagant and honestly rather bonkers hotels: from a hotel shaped like the Titanic to a complete replica of Russia’s Red Square. This sandy beach is perfect for watching the sunset with ice-cold Efes!