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Make the most of summer with a trip to Antalya

30 Jul

Not long ago I discovered the beauty of this mix of natural serenity and urban culture known as Antalya.
Once a major city in the Byzantine Empire, Antalya still bears the mark of an ancient civilization that sought grandeur in its every endeavor. The luxurious resorts, the grand mosques and churches, the immense flea markets, the huge ports, the hubbub of the streets, all remind of an era long gone.

We stayed at the Sea Life hotel which is located right next to the sea, on the long blue flagged beach known as Konyaaltı, one of several pristine beaches located in the Antalya region of the Turkish Riviera.

Konyaaltı features some of the clearest waters I have ever seen and it enjoys a marvelous location on the outskirts of the city with the Taurus Mountains as a backdrop. Parasailing, fishing, kiteboating, diving, swimming and snorkeling are just a few of the water sports available for adventurous tourists.

Lara Beach is one of the longest sand beaches in the area, also known as the „Las Vegas in Turkey” because it hosts many replicas of famous places around the world, always full of life and superb entertainment destinations.

Karpuzkaldıran Beach is home to the Lower Düden waterfall (a.k.a. Karpuzkaldıran waterfall), a group of waterfalls formed by the Düden River whose waters drop off a cliff directly into the Mediterranean Sea for an incredible water show 12 km north-east of Antalya.

Photo credits: Claude Valette via Wikimedia Commons

Once you’ve had your share of pool time, sun, rest and relaxation you can start exploring. Hadrian’s Gate, a triumphal arch which was built in the name of the Roman emperor Hadrian, who visited Antalya in 130 A.D, is located just off Atatürk Boulevard. As the story goes, the queen of Sheba passed through the middle arch on her way to Aspensos and spent a happy night with King Salomon.

As you leave Hadrian’s Wall behind, it’s time for a road trip, followed by a boat trip and so on…Heading West, you’ll find Kemer, a vivacious resort town with great beaches and wonderful eateries, perfect for young people in search of fun and vibrant nightlife.

With every new step you take, you get further absorbed in history, mysticism and Byzantine culture. Kumluca is a welcoming town 90 km (56 mi) west of the city of Antalya, on the Teke Peninsula. Kumluca is a very wealthy district; the Mediterranean climate is favorable for growing fruit and vegetables under glass all year round. Orange trees and olive trees are a common sight all over the place and, along with fish products, they are the mainstay of the local economy.

Further west, Finike is best known for its oranges, the symbol of the town. It is much quieter than Antalya and a paradise for those seeking peace, simplicity and relaxation, all in an urban setting. Ancient and modern perfectly complement each other in this dual city with people on mopeds wandering the city on one hand and the imposing yacht marina on the other.

The remnants of the ancient civilizations that roamed the Turquoise Coast eras after eras are still visible, with antiquities going back as early as the Bronze Age. The Demre, Myra and Kekova establishments abound in lost treasures and historical monuments.

Myra’s Greco-Roman theatre is the largest theatre in Lycia and one of the main attractions of Myra.

Demre is the Lycian town of Myra. The Roman theatre of Myra is located here, still as impressive as it once was, as well as two necropoli of Lycian rock-cut tombs in the form of temple fronts carved into the vertical faces of cliffs.

Lycian rock-cut tombs carved in the cliff above the Greco-Roman amphitheatre in Myra, Antalya, Turkey

The Lycian town of Myra is also home to the Church of St. Nicholas, the saint referred to as Santa Claus.

And my favorite part of the journey: the trip to the charming Kekova Island where you can learn about ancient times and marvel at the remains of the sunken city of Simena.

As you travel the blue seas, you can still spot remnants of the old village, stairs, access gates and archways, all covered by the clear waters of the Mediterranean.

The sunken village of Simena in Kekova near Demre district of Antalya province

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Posted by on July 30, 2013 in Travel & living

 

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