Popular Antalya Shore Excursions

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Experience the Anatalya Museum -- one of Turkey's most important archaeological museums -- which contains more than 12,000 objects dug up from around the area. One gallery contains statues and frescoes of Greek gods, another is devoted to the Roman emperors Trajan, Hadrian and Septimius Severus. There are also artifacts from ancient civilizations like the empires of Lycia and Pamphylia that once ruled this land. Make time to visit the excellent museum shop, too, to pick up superior souvenirs.

Better known as Old Antalya, Kaleici is a protected historic zone with buildings that date to the 13th century. Enjoy wandering the narrow lanes that rise up between the ancient port and the city walls. It's a great place to shop for souvenirs or find a cafe quietly tucked away within the warren.

Antalya erected the triumphal Hadrian's Gate with its three double arches for the visit of the Roman emperor in 130 A.D. One of its towers is Roman, but the other was rebuilt by a conquering Seljuk sultan, Alaaddin Keykubat I, in the 13th century. It's also a good vantage point to view what remains of the city walls.

Inside Kaleici, you'll find a 13th-century mosque with a grooved minaret known as Yivli Minare. Built by the Seljuk Turks who conquered Antalya in 1207, it's a much simpler structure than the later Ottoman mosques for which Turkey is famous. After removing your shoes, note the ancient underfloor heating system that is visible below glass panels in the floor.

It's difficult to underestimate the importance of Mustafa Kemal, known as Ataturk to the Turkish nation. It is similar to the relationship of Winston Churchill to the British, but Churchill never had to reconstruct his country after a bitter defeat. The Ataturk House Museum, a replica of the villa where the country's first president stayed during his several visits to the coast, is one of many museums dedicated to his memory throughout Turkey.

You can take a taxi to Karpus Kaldran on the east side of the city where the River Duden drops 40 kilometers off a rocky cliff directly into the Mediterranean Sea, creating the spectacular Lower Duden Falls. Or you can take one of the pleasure boats from the old port to see the Antalya City and watch the Duden enter the Mediterranean Sea from below -- often through a rainbow.

Opened in 2012, the Antalya Aquarium is one of the biggest in Europe with the world's longest underwater tunnel -- 131 meters of fish swimming above you and at your side. It also contains Snow World, the largest indoor snow venue with real snow that is manufactured overnight.

Beaches

Best Overall: Running from Akdeniz Port all the way to the old port is a long stretch of beach facing south across the Turkish Mediterranean known as Konyaalti. There are cafes at intervals, groups of umbrellas and sun loungers -- and occasional showers closer to the road. You'll also find water sports activities along this stretch, such as banana boats, parasailing, windsurfing and water skiing. The beach also contains Antalya Beach Park, a complex with AquaLand, DolphinLand, restaurants and clubs.

Best for Families: Lara Beach on the eastern side of the city is very similar to Konyaalti but quieter, with pebbly sand and clear water. Sun lounger prices vary during the day depending on how busy the beach is. The Turks tend to go to the beach in the morning and late afternoon, so it's quieter in the heat of the day.