Antalya

Antalya is blessed with an ideal climate and a stunning setting. Despite the grim appearance of its concrete sprawl, it’s an agreeable place, although the main area of interest for visitors is confined to the relatively small old quarter; its beaches don’t rate much consideration. The city also makes a good base for visiting the nearby ancient site of Perge. The intersection of Cumhuriyet Caddesi and Sarampol is dominated by the Yivli Minare or "Fluted Minaret", erected in the thirteenth century. Downhill from here is the old harbour, recently restored and site of the evening promenade. North is the disappointing bazaar, while south, beyond the Saat Kalesi (clock tower), lies Kaleici or the old town, with every house being redone as a carpet shop, café or pension. On the far side, on Ataturk Caddesi, the triple-arched Hadrian’s Gate recalls a visit by the emperor in 130 AD, while Hesapci Sokak leads south past the Kesik Minare to a number of tea gardens and the Hidirlik Kulesi, of indisputable Roman vintage but ambiguous function - it could have been a lighthouse, bastion or tomb. The one thing you shouldn’t miss is the Archeological Museum (Tues-Sun 9am-6.30pm; $10), one of the top five archeological collections in the country; it’s on the western edge of town at the far end of Kenan Evren Bulvari, easily reachable by a tram that departs from the clock tower in Kaleici. Highlights include an array of Bronze Age urn burials, second-century statuary, an adjoining sarcophagus wing, and a number of mosaics, not to mention an ethnography section with ceramics, household implements, weapons and embroidery.
kemer rafting

Antalya’s main bus station is 8km north of town, although regular dolmuses and city buses run from here to a terminal at the top of Kazim ozalp Caddesi (still known by its old name of Sarampol), which runs for just under 1km down to the clock tower on the fringe of the old town. About 5km west of the centre is the ferry dock, connected to the centre by dolmus. The airport is 10km northeast; Havas buses into town depart from the domestic terminal, five minutes’ walk from the international terminal, while city-centre-bound dolmuses pass nearby. The main tourist office is a fifteen-minute walk west from the clock tower on Cumhuriyet Cad (daily 8am-6/7pm; tel 0242/241 1747). Most travellers stay in the atmospheric old town, where almost every other building is a pansiyon, although there’s also a nucleus of hotels between the bus station and the bazaar. 

Many Kaleici pansiyons have their own restaurant. For elegant dining, Antique Pansiyon’sevening menu is particularly good; otherwise, the licensed Parlak, on Kazim Ozalp Cad, serves delicious grilled chicken, while Sim, Kaledibi Sok 7, offers reasonably priced home cooking. Cumhuriyet Caddesi is the location of a number of eating-places with terraces offering excellent views of the harbour; good for leisurely breakfasts. The covered pedestrian precinct, Eski Sebzeciler Ici Sokak, has a small number of restaurants serving the local speciality tandir kebap (mutton roasted in a clay pot). The Gaziantep eatery, at the edge of the bazaar through the pasaj at Ismet Pasa Cad 3, is excellent. Two other quality choices are Kebabistan on Recep Peker Cad, which offers a good take on standard pide fare, and Ol Gunegliler, just north of the clock tower, serving southeastern specialities. Nightlife is mostly located around the harbour. The popular Café Iskele has tables grouped around a fountain, while the nearby Cece often has live music. Club 29, an expensive disco, boasts a terrace with pool and a restaurant. A little inland in the Kale district, Ici Karatayhan Pansiyonfeatures the laidback Gizli Bahce bar. Further out, the Olympos disco, beside Falez Hotelnear the archeological museum, is a popular late-night dance venue. There’s an Internetcafé on Recep Peker Sok near Hadrian’s Gate.




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