Things to Do in Turkish Riviera - page 3
Antalya Marina (Kaleiçi Yat Limanı) is the heart of the city. It stretches along the waterfront beneath the steep cobbled streets of Antalya’s Old Town, known as Kaleiçi. With cruise ships, ferries, yachts, and fishing boats constantly arriving and departing, this historic harbor is buzzing with activity at all hours and is a popular hub for both locals and visitors.
Built in 351 B.C. to house the tomb of King Mausolus, the Persian King of Caria, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (Tomb of Mausolus) was not only the grandest tomb of its time but it also gave its name to all the mausoleums that followed. The masterpiece of Greek architects Satyros and Pytheos, the elaborate monument was once a temple of sculpted columns and white marble, standing over 50 meters tall and topped with a sculpture of a horse-drawn carriage.
Because the mausoleum is known as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, its ruins are immensely popular in modern-day Bodrum, despite being almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1304. Today, the final remaining pieces of the walls can be found around the landmark Myndos Gate, while the best-preserved remains are now housed in London’s British Museum. Some of the rocks rescued from the wreckage of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus were also used to build the seafront Castle of St Peter.
The ruins of the ancient city of Ephasus are located in Selcuk, Turkey. The city was a major port city in its time, but the port has since silted over and the shoreline is quite a distance away. One of the important sections of the ruins are the Ephesus Terrace Houses, which are on a hill across from the Hadrian Temple. There are six units on three terraces, the oldest dating back to the 1st century BC. It was used as a residence until the 7th century AD.
Two of the houses are now open as a museum, and they give visitors a glimpse at what family life might have been like during the Roman Period. The houses contained mosaics on the floors and frescoes on the walls, which are now protected. They had central interior courtyards, and although most of the houses were two stories tall, the second levels have collapsed over time.
Carved into the cliffside above town is a group of ancient Lycian tombs that have become some of Fethiye’s most famous landmarks: the Fethiye Lycian Rock Tombs (Tomb of Amyntas). Set higher than the rest, the most important of the tombs was built in 350 B.C. for “Amyntas, son of Hermagios” (according to a Greek inscription on the wall of the tomb). He is thought to have been a local Lycian ruler or nobleman.
The entrance to the Amyntas Tomb was carved out of the rock so as to look like a temple portico, with two Ionic-style columns topped by a triangular pediment. Grave robbers appear to have broken into the tomb a long time ago, as is clear from the missing panel in the bottom-right-hand side of the doorway.
About 500 meters down and to the right (east) is a cluster of several smaller Lycian rock tombs carved into the cliff face; very little is known about the identities of those buried here.
In addition to seeing the Fethiye rock tombs themselves, visitors who make the hike up will be rewarded with fabulous views of the town and the surrounding coastline. The best time to visit (and consequently the busiest) is at sunset.
Sitting above a Lycian hilltop, Tlos is an ancient settlement now in ruins that is considered to be one of the most important religious sites in the area. Its foundation is estimated to date back to 2000 BC. Today an entire citadel remains, including a fortress and acropolis, city walls, ancient baths, a Roman amphitheater, and the remains of an Ottoman castle. Set against the Akdağlar mountain range, sweeping views of the Xanthos Valley and the river Esen can be seen from atop the ruins.
Equally fascinating are the Lycian rock tombs carved into mountainsides. The Tomb of Bellerophon resembles a rock temple — with four columns, an unfinished facade, and a relief of the hero Bellerophon on a Pegasus horse. Historical evidence suggests that Tlos may have been the most powerful of six Lycian cities in the Roman era. Tlos was only recently discovered in 1838, and archeological discoveries are still being made there.
Ancient City of Kaunos near Dalyan, Turkey is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. Kaunos was an ancient city founded in the 9th century BC, and it was quite important by 400 BC. It was located on the border between Lycia and Caria, and the city's culture had characteristics of both empires. The city was once an important trading post on the sea, though today it is set back a few miles from the sea since the coastline has moved over the centuries. The receding coastline, attacks from various tribes, and a malaria epidemic led to the decline of Kaunos, and the city was abandoned by the 15th century.
The ruins include a well preserved theater, parts of the old city walls, and an acropolis. There's also a basilica, Roman baths, two Hellenistic temples and four Roman temples. From the acropolis, you can enjoy a gorgeous view of the ancient city. The theater could hold 5,000 people and is still occasionally used for events. Nearby you can also see Lycian tombs in the rocks above the Dalyan River.
The 2-story residence where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk—the first President of Turkey—stayed during official visits between 1930 and 1935 is now a museum dedicated to the legendary revolutionary. Filled with personal effects and historic items, the Alanya Ataturk House Museum (Alanya Atatürk Evi Müzesi) is a fascinating tribute to Atatürk’s visits to Antalya.
In ancient times, Side was an important trading port on the eastern Mediterranean and by the sixth century BC, hundreds of Greek merchants had settled in the coastal town. It was still flourishing when the Romans gained ascendancy in the Med, and many of the ruins now excavated in Side date from around 100 AD–199 AD, bearing both Greek and Roman architectural characteristics.
Today it is a small beach resort sandwiched between its hillside Roman theater and a recreated Temple to Athena, whose columns stand guard by the harbor. Side Museum (Side Müzesi) is located in a Roman marketplace and baths complex that was built around the fifth century AD and converted into a museum in the 1960s. The ancient finds of weapons, sculpture – including torsos and animals dating from Greek to Byzantine times – sundials, tombs and mosaic fragments are all beautifully displayed in a series of halls that once housed the various steam rooms and pools of the Roman baths.
Along with the classical Greek remains uncovered at Seleukeia, there are further Roman ruins in the region including vast stone theaters at nearby Olukköprü and Selge, plus a 30-km (18.75-mile) water system complete with aqueducts and tunnels.
The biggest water park on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast sits southeast of Antalya in between Manavgat and Alanya, overlooking the sparkling turquoise sea. With 24 rides from family slides to Kamikaze chutes, the Water Planet Aquapark is a fun-filled day out for the whole family. There’s a splash pool full of interactive animated toys for toddlers to enjoy while all kids love floating around the Lazy Rivers and splashing in the wave pools. Several adrenaline-pumping slides are perfect for thrill-seeking teens, including the spiraling Black Hole and the Four Twisters. If that’s not enough, try Water Planet Aqua Park's 70-meter (230-foot) bungee jump or rafting on the wave pool (both extra charge). Lifeguards are on duty at all the rides and facilities include sun loungers, showers, changing rooms and lockers, several restaurant and bar options – from fast food to à la carte – a henna tattoo parlor and a few souvenir stalls.
Adaland Aquapark is a water park in Kusadasi, Turkey on the country's west coast. In the past it has been named one of the best water parks in the world. The park has a wide variety of water slides including a head first slide, a freefall slide, loop slides, body slides, tube slides, speedy slides, slope slides, dark tunnel slides, and the world's longest family slide with tubes for two to six people. There's also a big fountain with water shooting out of the ground set to music in an area called Rain Dance where you can dance and enjoy the water. The water park has an elliptical shaped track for rafting and is the only place in Kusadasi where you can go rafting.
Adaland Aquapark also has a jacuzzi with warm bubbly water, a lazy river, a wave pool, and a pool for children. There's an activity pool where you can go swimming or sunbathing. When you're ready to take a break, there are several restaurants and bars offering hamburgers, pizza, Turkish food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and more.
More Things to Do in Turkish Riviera
Selimiye is a small seaside fishing village about 25 miles from the city of Marmaris, Turkey. It is located on the Bozburun Peninsula along the Aegean Sea. Due to its unspoiled and laid back charm, Selimiye is often referred to as the real face of Turkey. While there are a few small hotels and guesthouses, you won't find big resorts here. There are restaurants and cafes serving traditional Turkish food, including plenty of fish caught fresh from the Aegean Sea and locally grown fruits and vegetables. Selimiye is well known for growing figs and almonds.
The town has a long tradition of wooden boat making, so visitors will see many boat yards in the area. These traditional boats are called gulets. Due to Selimiye's location and boat-making tradition, boat trips are popular activity for exploring the area. You can also visit the ruins of Hydas. The remains of three castles can be found in the hills of Selimiye. Near the shore is an old stone lighthouse, and southeast of the bay you'll find the remains of the city walls from the Hellenistic period. Visitors can also enjoy swimming in the sea from the small beach called Silimani.
Aqua Dream Waterpark is one of Turkey's largest water parks and the biggest water park in Marmaris. It is located on the top of a hill overlooking the city, which offers visitors a spectacular view of the city and surrounding landscape while enjoying the rides at the water park. The water park has a wide variety of water slides, each offering a different experience. Some are body slides while others involve sitting on a tube. There are also several pools, including a wave pool, a pool that doesn't allow children, and a normal swimming pool. The water park also has a children's area for smaller children who aren't old enough for the bigger slides. Along the perimeter of the pools, chairs and umbrellas are set up where you can lounge, relax, and sunbathe.
Aqua Dream Waterpark is fun for the whole family. It has a restaurant and bar with both indoor and outdoor seating, changing rooms, lockers, and hot and cold showers. There are lifeguards on duty at all times to ensure the safety of the visitors. Bring your bathing suit, towel and sunscreen.
The ghost town of Kayaköy – a cluster of about a thousand centuries-old stone houses scattered across a hillside – has a poignant history. Formerly inhabited by Greek citizens of the Ottoman Empire and known by the Greek name of Levissi or Livissi, it was abandoned in 1923 after the Greek-Turkish population exchange that took place after the founding of the Turkish Republic.
The story of the village (renamed “Eskibahçe”) and its inhabitants has been fictionalized by Louis de Bernières in Birds Without Wings, a sweeping novel that takes place during the late Ottoman Empire and WWI.
Walking among Kayaköy's crumbling, empty houses and through the narrow lanes can be rather eerie, but the deserted village has a surreal beauty to it. There are a couple of churches and chapels, of which the most significant is the Panayia Pyrgiotissa (built in 1888), where a few fragments of frescoes and mosaics can still be seen.
Several cafes and restaurants are housed in atmospheric old buildings on the edges of the village.
DoluSu Park is one of the largest and most varied water parks along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast—and it's located 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Antalya. Whether you come for the private beach, aquarium, swimming pools, water slides, activities, or water sports, rest assured that the park has something to suit all ages and interests.
The ruins of the ancient Roman city of Ephasus are located in Selcuk, Turkey. The city was the second most important city in the Roman empire during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. One of the popular sections of the ruins is the Public Latrine, next to the Hadrian Temple and the Bordello. The public latrines were the city's public toilets, and they were built in the 1st century AD as part of the Scholastica Baths. These baths were built to provide the city with the modern conveniences of public works, including 36 marble toilets.
Visitors can still see, but not use, the toilets that are lined up along the walls. There was an uncovered pool with columns surrounding it which supported a wooden ceiling. Underneath the latrines was a drainage system. There was also a trough with relatively clean water near where your feet would be. People who wanted to use the toilets had to pay an entrance fee.
A visit to St. John’s Basilica allows a glimpse into the history of this ancient site, built by Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the sixth century. It is believed that the church sits on the burial grounds of John the Apostle and was designed in the shape of a cross. At its completion, it was covered by six domes, with many of the walls presumably once covered in frescoes.
As nearby Ephesus began to lose significance, the Basilica of St. John was converted into a mosque, hit by an earthquake and completely destroyed by a Mongol army in 1402. All that remains today are various bricks and stones alongside the marble columns that once held up the structure, but recent restoration gives visitors the context to visualize and understand its former status and significance.
Many combine their visit with a walk to the nearby Ayasuluk Fortress atop Ayasuluk Hill, where St. John is said to have written his gospel. A climb up offers great views of the surrounding area.
With its northern coast lying on the Aegean Gulf of Gökova and the Mediterranean Sea lapping its southern shores, the Datça Peninsula serves up an endless panorama of wildflower-covered hills, jagged coastal cliffs and golden beaches. Marking the last stretch of Turkey’s legendary Turquoise Coast, the peninsula makes a popular destination for both single- and multi-day cruises from nearby Bodrum or Marmaris.
With dozens of beaches and snorkeling areas, most visitors to the peninsula spend their time on the coast, but there’s plenty of interest inland, too. Take a hike through forests and orange groves, tour a traditional olive mill, browse the weekly markets in the town of Datça or discover the ancient city of Knidos, a sprawling archaeological site best known for its timeworn sundial and statue of Aphrodite dating back to fourth century B.C.
One of the most important and best-preserved remains of the ancient city of Halicarnassus, the Bodrum Amphitheater boasts a dramatic location, carved into the hillside above the city of Bodrum. Originally constructed in the fourth century B.C. during the reign of King Mausolus, the grand, open-air venue wasn’t fully completed until the Roman era, with structural changes that were made for hundreds of years up until the second century A.D.
The 13,000-seat amphitheater is one of the oldest in Anatolia, and thanks to careful restoration, it remains in use, hosting concerts and theatrical performances during the summer months. The atmospheric venue is famed for its remarkable acoustics and magnificent panoramic views of the modern-day city of Bodrum, neighboring Gumbet and the surrounding Bodrum peninsula.
Originally built in AD 343, St. Nicholas Church in Demre is one of Turkey’s most important Christian pilgrimage sites. Rebuilt by Constantine IX, the church is known for its stunning Byzantine frescoes and mosaics and houses the sarcophagus of St. Nicholas, the original Santa Claus.
Just outside the ancient Lycian city of Patara, Patara Beach (Patara Plajı) is known as one of the most beautiful on the coast of the Turkish Riviera. At 11 miles long, it is one of the longest beaches in the area. Its soft, white sand and calm blue waters make it a particularly welcoming Mediterranean beach, in an area known for beaches of pebbles and stones.
As it is part of a national park, seasonal wildlife is protected by the Turkish government and can be spotted seasonally. There are many native birds and sea turtles, who come to nest in the sands. At Patara Beach’s easternmost point, there is a scenic rocky cove worth seeking out.
History exists here as the half-buried remains of an ancient Roman amphitheater partially covered by sand. Because of its nearby historic ruins and national park status, the beach area cannot be developed and sees very few tourists. Many archaeological sites can be viewed along the road to the beach.
The Clock Tower is a classic landmark in Antalya and is one of the few remaining Roman towers dating back to the second century. While the tower was once part of the city's fortifications, the clock was added later and today stands as a commandeering structure in the neighborhood area known as Kaldekapisi (Castle Gate).
Kaldekapisi marks the border between the old city and the new and hosts many stalls set up in front of the Clock Tower selling handicrafts and fresh pomegranate juice. The tower is typically seen on walking tours in Antalya.
Born out of an attempt to prevent the country’s archaeological treasures from being plundered after World War I, the Antalya Museum (Antalya Müzesi) first opened in 1922. Exhibiting over 12,000 artifacts relating to the history of Anatolia’s Mediterranean and Pamphylia regions, it’s one of the largest and most important museums in Turkey, and is sometimes called the Antalya Archaeological Museum.
Just inland from the main port area and east of the ancient amphitheater is Fethiye’s old town, known as Paspatur. The narrow streets here are filled with shops and street stalls selling everything from Turkish carpets, jewelry and antiques to edible goodies like spices and Turkish delight; there are also touristic knick-knacks aplenty.
Even if you’re not planning on buying anything, Paspatur is a great place for wandering around and people-watching, or for getting a bite to eat at one of the many cafés and eateries. Thanks to a canopy of vines above, its shaded streets are pleasant even during the height of summer.
Nearby is Fethiye’s main fish market, where you’ll see local residents shopping and where you can even purchase your own fish and have it cooked up for you to eat at one of the nearby restaurants.
While you’re in the area, you may also want to stop by the Eski Cami, Fethiye’s oldest mosque, or the Eski Hamam, a Turkish bath dating back to the Ottoman period, for a traditional scrubdown.
The Library of Celsus is the most famous part of the ruins of Ephesus in Turkey. It was built between 110 and 135 AD by Gaius Julius Aquila in honor of his father, Celsus Polemaeanus. Unfortunately his father died before the Celsus Library was completed, and his tomb was placed in a special room beneath the ground level of the building. A statue of Athena was placed at the entrance to the tomb because Athena was the goddess of wisdom.
The Library of Celsus was two stories high and had three entrances in the front. The entrances were designed with exaggerated height in order to give the building the overall appearance of being bigger than it was. The building faces east which allowed plenty of morning light to shine into the reading rooms. The Celsus Library was once the third largest library in the ancient world, after Alexandra and Pergamum, and could hold more than 12,000 scrolls.
- Things to do in Fethiye
- Things to do in Antalya
- Things to do in Marmaris
- Things to do in Bodrum
- Things to do in Kusadasi
- Things to do in Kemer
- Things to do in Alanya
- Things to do in Western Anatolia
- Things to do in Dodecanese
- Things to do in Aegean Coast
- Things to do in Sarigerme
- Things to do in Pamukkale
- Things to do in Cyclades Islands
- Things to do in Cappadocia
- Things to do in Black Sea Coast