What could be more appealing than dreamlike landscapes, a rich variety of flora, grand mountains, and the magnificent colors of the sea? Add to that the lively resort life with the quiet of ancient ruins and you have a perfect vacation. From Antalya there are many possibilities for day-trips:
Karain Cave, Antalya
At the Upper Duden Waterfalls, 14 km northeast of Antalya, you can walk behind the rushing cascade for a thrilling experience. On the way to Lara Beach, the Lower Duden Waterfalls plunge straight into the sea. The nearby rest area offers an excellent view of the falls and the vista is even more spectacular from the sea. Kursunlu Waterfalls and Nilufer Lake, both 18 km from Antalya, are two more places of superb natural beauty.
The sandy Lara Beach lies about 12 km to the east. Closer to Antalya, but to the west, the long, pebbled Konyaalti Beach offers a view of the breathtaking mountain range. A little farther along, the Bey Daglari Olympos National Park and Topcam Beach provide more splendid vistas. Sican is a lovely nature island. There are camping grounds at the north end of the park, should you decide to linger amid the natural beauty. For a panoramic view of the area, drive to the holiday complex and revolving restaurant on top of Tunektepe Hill.
Saklikent, 50 km from Antalya, is an ideal winter sports resort on the northern slopes of Bakirli Mountain at an altitude of 1,750 to 1,900 m. In March and April you can ski in the morning, eat a delicious lunch of fresh fish at Antalya's marina and sun bathe, swim or windsurf in the afternoon. You can see wildlife - deer and mountain goats - that are under a conservation program in Duzler Park, north of Antalya. On the way, you can stop at the astonishing 115-m deep Guver Canyon.
On the eastern side of Can Mountain, 30 km from Antalya, the Karain Cave, which dates from the Paleolithic Age, is the site of the oldest settlement in Turkey. A single entrance, lit by the morning sun, opens onto three large interconnecting chambers. Although the little museum at the entrance displays some of the finds, most of the artifacts are housed in various museums throughout Turkey. Some of them date to 160,000 B.C.
The ruins of the city of Termessos are perched on a 1,050-m high plateau on the west face of Gulluk Mountain (Solymos) found in Mt. Gulluk National Park northwest of Antalya. A wild and splendid landscape surrounds the monumental traces of this city. A nature and wildlife museum is found at the park entrance.
NORTH OF ANTALYA
Renowned for its unspoiled landscape, flora, and fauna, the Goller Bolgesi (Lake District) lies in a mountainous area 150 km north of Antalya. The city of Burdur is known throughout Turkey for its beautiful lakes, as well as for its carpets and kilims. The Bakircilar Carsisi is a shopping area where you can find fine hand crafted copper. This city also preserves excellent examples of Ottoman regional architecture, in particular the Tasoda, Kocaoda (also known as Celikbas). and Misirlilar Konaks, or mansions, dating back to the 17th century. Both the interior and exterior decorations reveal much of the Ottoman aesthetic. (Open everyday except Monday). The Burdur Archeological Museum houses some very important artifacts from around the region. (Open everyday except Monday).
Burdur Lake, with nice beaches for swimming, is a superb location for water sports. A climb to the top of Susamlik Hill gives you a panoramic view over the city and lake. The Insuyu Cave, 10 km south on the road to Antalya, is 597 m long, with nine distinct pools, and chambers filled with stalactites and stalagmites. Kremna (Camlik) is 60 km from Burdur and 15 km from Bucak near Camlik village in Bucak County. It wasan important Pisidian city and contains Roman and Byzantine era ruins. The Incirhan Caravanserai is located seven km west of Bucak in lncirdere (Derekoy). It was built in the 13th century by the Seljuk ruler Giyasettin Keykubat.
A hundred m southwest of Burdur, in Golhisar (Cibyra), are ruins, mostly from Roman times, of an important ancient north Lycian city with a stadium, lower and upper agora, theater, necropolis and large aqueducts. Also in the region, trapped in the mountains 1,050 m above sea level, is beautiful Lake Saida, a delightful location for relaxation and cooling off on the sandy beaches or in the lake side cafes, hotels and restaurants. Also in the region is Hacilar Hoyuk (Hacilar mound) containing ceramics dating from 5400 to 8500 B.C. excavated in 1950.
The ancient site of Sagalassos is 33 km east of Burdur and seven km south of the town of Aglasun. It was the Pisidian capital city and has ruins from Roman times that included a memorial entrance gate, colonnaded street, lower and upper agoras, temple and magnificent theater.
High in the Taurus Mountains is Isparta, a city of lakes and lovely coastal areas overgrown in the spring and summer with an exuberance of wild flowers. In the city you should stop at the Ulu Mosque built in 1417 by the Seljuks. The Bedesten, or covered bazaar, dates from 1561. Firdevs Pasa Mosque, also called Mimar Sinan Mosque was also built in 1561 by the great Ottoman architect Sinan. Be sure to see the 14th-century Isparta Castle. Rose gardens that produce rose oil for the cosmetic industry surround the city and fill it with their sweet scent. Other souvenirs include a thickly piled Isparta carpet. In the nearby hills, the districts of Kirazlidere and Sidre are popular with visitors who want to relax and enjoy the view. South of Isparta, Golcuk Lake, encircled by aromatic pine forests, rests at an impressive 1,405 m above sea level.
Egirdir, at the southern end of Lake Egirdir, is set in idyllic natural surroundings. Among the man-made monuments, Egirdir Castle built by the Lydian King Croesus shows additions and renovations made by Romans, Byzantines and Seljuks. The Seljuk Kemerli Minare has felt the changes of the modern world today it stands in the middle of a road. At lakeside restaurants you can sample white bass, the local speciality. A boardwalk connects the shore to Egirdir Island, where weavers erect their looms and work outside their houses.
Up in the hills, on the western side of the lake, guest houses in Barla provide a wonderful opportunity for relaxation. Kovada National Park, 30 km south of Lake Egirdir, surrounds Kovada Lake, a pristine and cool mountain getaway.
Northeast of Isparta, Yalvac, stands near the ancient city of Pisidian Antioch. The actual time it was founded under the Seleucids is unknown, but it was probably a colony of King Antiochus (281-261 B.C.) of Magnesia on the Meander. Antioch then passed under the control of the Galatian kingdom (39-36 B.C.) and then became "Colonia Caesarea" of the Roman Empire in 25 B.C. and remained so for about 200 years. This is attested to by numerous Latin inscriptions still extant. Under Rome, the city was made to resemble the capital on its seven hills. At the end of the third century the city was a metropolis of Pisidia and continued to be under the Byzantines, who increased the number of sacred sites.
This area was visited by Paul and Barnabas around 46 AD. Among the ruins be sure to see St. Paul's Basilica, the aqueducts, the Temple to Augustus, the theater and public baths as you walk along the city's marble streets, all of which was destroyed by Arabs in 713. In the middle of the 13th century most of the inhabitants left the ancient site and founded nearby Yalvac. The Archeological Museum in Yalvac itself displays several important regional artifacts. Tourists will find not only articles of leather clothing but many other interesting traditional souvenirs made of animal hide. East of Yalvac. atop Karakuyu Hill, is the sanctuary to the moon god (called Men), and the view from it is breathtaking. Giant cedar trees grow in Kizildag National Park, south of Yalvac amid one of Turkey's most splendid landscapes.