Turkey’s fifth largest city and main southern port was a divisive topic amongst my fellow backpackers. It seemed to be either you loved the region or you hated it. The reasons for each I will cover below. My take…I really liked Antalya. The scenery is beautiful, the old town is lovely, Lower Duden waterfall is impressive, and I found an amazing spot to swim right in the city. Needless to say, I’m a big fan.
Some of the Best Beaches in the Med
Starting with the highlight of Antalya…a little gem of an establishment called Adalar Beach. Walking south through the old town of Antalya, down the main thoroughfare, you will eventually come to the water. After stopping to take a few pictures, which I highly recommend because the mountains to the west are stunning, keep walking through the park that appears. Your destination is a beach club on the rocks called Adalar Beach. For $4 (70 Turkish Lira), you can bake in the sun on a beach chair and take a dip whenever you want. I’m not going to say that the food was great but it was convenient. I spent five hours there and watched the sunset, it was a great day.
Things to Watch Out For
Let’s move to the reasons that people disliked Antalya. The biggest complaint is that there are too many Russians. While it is true that there are a ton of Russians in Turkey, I did not find many in Antalya. I think that was because of a few factors. According to my highly unprofessional research (which consists of talking to other travelers), Russians can get a one year visa in Turkey by providing proof of residence (a Russian girl looking for residence in Izmir told me that). That is particularly useful given the present global climate. Apparently what’s happening right now in Anatolia and the Caucuses is that Russian people are fleeing to Georgia, Armenia, Turkey and others, where they can live legally relatively easily. This influx in people has caused hostel prices to rise in cities (not so much the small towns like Olympos).
I find Russians to be wonderful people but the Turkish infrastructure cannot handle the sudden influx of people. The increase in prices doesn’t help the backpack mantra though. Lastly, make sure that you get to Lower Duden Falls. It’s an hour walk from downtown but you can take a bus easily. This man made waterfall dumps right into the Mediterranean from 100+ feet. The entire Antalya region can be used as a jumping off point to Alanya, Olympos, Kas, Konya, and is a quick 45 minute flight to Cappadocia.
"Harvey Falcon" is the the senior adventure corespondant for Ski Bum Van Life. From Europe to Asia to South America and beyond Harvey offers an exciting take on adventure travel. Read all his stories here.