Antalya Weekend Breaks

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Weekend Breaks to Antalya

Planning a short break to Antalya? Check out Travel Library's recommended Top 10 Things To Do in Antalya. It's a perfect companion for weekend city breaks to Antalya. Once you've been you can add your own tips and suggestions to help other visitors.

Antalya Museum (Antalya Muzesi)

One of the richest cultural heritages in Turkey, can be seen at this museum. More than 5,000 archaeological works are displayed in 14 exhibit halls. The exhibitions represent the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Heliolithic, and Bronze Ages.

Grand statues of Zeus, Apollo, Athena, and Aphrodite can be viewed in the Roman Room, and the Sarcophagus Gallery houses a rich exhibition of intricately carved tombs. The Museum also devotes an entire room to coins (in chronological display), representing 2,500 years of Anatolian history.

Hours: Tues-Sun 9am - 6pm. Admission $7. Located about 1.6km to the west of town on Kenan Evren Bulv. Tel: 0242/241-4528.

Gizli Bahce/Secret Garden

Here you will have some of the best meals you can ever have in Turkey. The restaurant combines delicious meals with a stunning environment, and there is two different menus to choose from. One offering Turkish specialties and the other, Italian food. If you are craving pasta, do not hesitate to order the kabakli karidesli ev eristesi (vermicelli with shrimp and zucchini), off the Turkish appetizer menu. The bildircin yapraklari izgara (grilled boneless wings of quail) is well worth trying if you still have space afterwards. The restaurant also offers a selection of choice wines and champagnes, including Moet ($113 per bottle) and Bollinger Special Cuvee ($103). The Dress Code is smart and expect prices for Turkish main courses $2.50 - $5, Italian main courses $6 - $12. Located Dizdar Hasan Bey Sok. No. 1. Tel: 0242/244-8010.

Yunus Diving

The Gulf of Antalya offers a wide variety of colourful plant and sea life, and is also graveyard for several unlucky World War II fighter planes and at least one groundbreaking shipwreck. The result is some of the most fascinating dive sites along the coast. Dive concessions are on-site at all of the major hotels and resorts. You do not have to be a guest to sign up, but a day's notice is generally necessary. Yunus offers a 2-hour discovery dive ($30), 2-hour licensed dives ($30), and wreck dives ($40). Full equipment rental, including the oxygen tank, is an additional $20. Located at the base of the pedestrian bridge, connecting the Sheraton to Konyaalti Beach. Tel: 0242/238-4486.


Konyaalti Beach

A favourite destination for residents of Antalya. This long stretch of pristine pebble beach is backed by a promenade which offers a wide variety of activities for children and adults alike. There is numerous playgrounds for children and Aqualand, Antalya's largest water park. They will particularly enjoy Dolphinland, where (for $10 per person) you can watch dolphins perform. For an extra $60, you can even swim with the dolphins.

The whole complex has been dubbed Antalya Beach Park and it features about 13 beach establishments. The area is brightly equipped with lounges and umbrellas, and it is serviced by cafes, restaurants, changing cabins, and showers. Beach admission fees vary from about $3 to $7 per day and include use of the facilities. Main access to the beach is down a switchback road between the archaeological museum and the park. Pedestrians can enter via a series of steps and bridges behind the Sheraton Hotel.

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Hillside Su

The design of the hotel promotes personal interaction. Rooms are gracious in size, sporting king-size beds, a spacious sitting area with day bed, and twin ottomans. Every room has a balcony. Outside, the Hillside boasts a 53m teak-decked swimming pool, flanked on two sides by a stylish double row of ground level beds shaded by bamboo umbrellas. The Hillside Su's is the most fashion-conscious beach club on the strip, the wonderful pretentiousness is mitigated by a disarmingly congenial and professional staff. Facilities include: 6 restaurants (including sushi bar), 4 bars (including fitness bar), indoor and outdoor swimming pools, health club, 2 tennis courts, squash, Turkish bath, Jacuzzi, sauna, water sports, rentals (bike, moped, and scooter), an excellent children's playground with separate kiddy pool and a business center with free Internet access. There is also a shopping arcade, and a Balinese spa. Prices $200 double garden view; $225 sea view double; $225-$310 suite. Located Konyaalti Cad. Tel: 0242/249-0700.

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Perhaps the most interesting ancient city in the Antalya region, built at a height of 1050 meters in the Taurus Mountains. Termessos has an unusual synthesis of a large number of rare plants and animal species, which are under protection in the Termessos National Park. A visit to this site requires time and the stamina to walk uphill, because Termessos is build entirely on a mountainous are difficult of access. Some of the remains found there are the walls, Hadrian's triumphal arch, cisterns, theater, and gymnasium. Among the tombs (which are scattered far and wide) those of Alcetas, Agatemeros and the Lion decorated sarcophagi, can be seen. Location: When turning off the Antalya-Burdur highway (11 km) in the direction of Korkuteli, the Termessos signpost will be seen 14 km further on. Termessos itself is a further 9 km.

Hadrian's Gate

It is considered as Pamphylia's most beautiful Gate and one of the best preserved monuments in Antalya. Built in 130 A.D. to honour the Emperor Hadrian. The city walls enclosed the outside of the gate and it was not used for many years. It was only revealed when the walls collapsed, and this might be the reason why it has not been destroyed. The upper part of the Gate has three apertures in the shape of a cupola, and are built entirely of white marble. On either side of the Gate are towers. The southern one is known as the Julia Sancta tower. It was constructed of plain stone blocks. While the base of the northern tower belongs to antiquity, the upper part is left over from the Seljuks. It is worth while stopping in front of the Gate, and reflecting on the art and civilization of two different epochs for a few moments.

Clock Tower

The ancient city of Antalya was protected by two walls, in the shape of a horseshoe. One enclosing it along the shore and the other inland. In addition, there were walls within the city separating the various settlements, and a great number of towers on the outer walls at 50 paces from each other. These walls date back to ancient times, built by the on the Hellenistic foundations. These were subsequently widened and repaired by the Seljuks. Many stone blocks with ancient inscriptions were used and the walls were well protected until the end of the 19th century. Today in the city can be seen the remains of some of the walls, the Clock Tower, a few turrets, Hadrian's Gate, and the Hidirlik Tower.

This remarkable 19th-century tower has a square shape and was constructed of rough and hewn stone. It surely is worth a good view, so remember to take your camera.

Antalya Bazaar

There are endless shopping opportunities in Antalya. Walk uphill from the harbor to return to Kalekapisi. To the north across Ataturk Caddesi, the main boulevard, is Antalya's old, historic bazaar (carsi). The historic market place is known for its many shops, especially those selling jewelry. This is a good place to look for big, bold, old necklaces, brooches, clasps, belts and other items, as well as finer, more delicate modern work. Here you will also be able to lay your hands on beautiful handmade carpets and kilims. A relatively new seccade (prayer rug, 1 meter by 2 meters, in a traditional style) might sell for $150 to S$400, depending on its quality, materials, rarity and condition. Turkey has been famous for excellent faience (colored tile work) since the 16th century, and presently the master potters of Kutahya are still making excellent plates, bowls, cups, tiles and other items in the traditional way. Priced from a few dollars to several hundred, depending on the item and its quality.

Religious holidays and festivals

Dates for Muslim religious festivals are celebrated according to a lunar calendar. Seker Bayrami, a 3-day festival at the end of Ramazan, and Kurban Bayrami (March-April), commemorating Abraham's near-sacrifice of Ismael on Mt Moriah. In rememberance of God permitting Abraham to sacrifice a ram instead of his son, every Turkish household who can afford a sheep buys one, takes it home and slits its throat right after the early morning prayers on the actual day of the bayram. Family and friends immediately cook up a feast.

These Festvals are public holidays and you must plan for Kurban Bayrami: most banks close for a full week, transportation will be packed and hotel rooms will be scarce and expensive.

Secular festivities include camel-wrestling in mid-January (in the village of Selcuk, south of Izmir), the International Istanbul Festival of the Arts (late June to mid-July), Bursa's Folklore and Music Festival (mid-July) and Diyarbakir's Watermelon Festival (mid or late September).

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