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Antalya – the ultimate holiday paradise

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Turkey rhymes with sun and summer, kebab and culture, the Mediterranean and mosques. You get that in abundance in Antalya. And there is much more to come.

Antalya – the ultimate holiday paradise is written by Cecilie Saustrup Kirk.

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The city that can do it all: Antalya

Many connect Turkey with either great cultural experiences, luxury beach holidays or beautiful nature. Danes most often apply either against the cultural treasures in and Istanbul – the variegated metropolis, which spreads over two continents – or towards coastal cities such as Alanya with kilometers of long white sandy beaches.

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If you belong to the more nature-loving ones Cappadocia a popular destination with the region's majestic and surreal mountains best seen from a hot air balloon. But the fabulous thing about Turkey is that you can combine all experiences in several places and get it all at once – for example in beautiful Antalya on Turkey's Mediterranean coast. 

Antalya is a well-known city in Denmark, and several flights fly directly from Denmark here. Unlike many other well-known coastal towns along the Mediterranean , then Antalya has managed to preserve its soul, which means that you can get a real look into the local culture rather than a mass-produced tourism experience. At the same time, you get a big city that welcomes its guests excellently.

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Culture and nature combined in Antalya

In Antalya, ancient ruins stand side by side with newly built hotels, and especially the old historic center Kaleici is a desirable area. Among other things, the nearly 2000-year-old Hadrian's Gate is located here only two minutes' walk from the RuinAdalia hotel.

The hotel has gone the extra mile to build a modern hotel with respect for the history of the past. Because while the hotel is built in true Turkish style with a courtyard in the middle, a delicious swimming pool and a cozy restaurant and bar, windows in the floor give a look down into the hotel's real treasury.

Beneath your feet you see ruins from the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, through the Ottoman Empire and right up to the beginning of the Republic of Turkey in the twentieth century. The museum and the prehistoric ruins are accessible to the public for a fee, while guests at RuinAdalia have free entry.

The area has plenty of other fantastic attractions to offer. For example, Antalya's clock tower and the marina in the old town are close by, as are several good shopping places with both the latest fashion and Turkish delicacies.

In the old market, you will still find shops with all kinds of colorful spices out front and delicatessens as well turkish delight in all exotic flavors.

If you belong to those who value nature experiences more than shopping centres, then you don't need to leave Antalya at all. Within the city walls you will find the Düden Falls, which are spread over two different locations.

Located in Düden Park, the Upper Falls are a series of beautiful waterfalls that lead down through the park and through underground caves. The lower waterfall, on the other hand, lies towards the coast and is an impressive sight with the violent amounts of water that are thrown over the edge of the cliff and fall down and become part of the Mediterranean .

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Throw yourself into the azure sea

And the Mediterranean must be said to be fantastic to be a part of; fortunately, there are a lot of opportunities to become a part of it.

Take one of the many boats that leave the harbor daily and enjoy a day at sea. Here there is plenty of opportunity to swim, snorkel, dive or simply sunbathe on the deck. Dive below the surface and be lucky enough to meet brightly colored fish, sea turtles or even small sharks.

Not far from Antalya, in a southwesterly direction towards the city of Kaş, you can combine the beach holiday with culture and visit the sunken city of Kekova close to the island of the same name or the castle of Simena, all while staying on the boat.

If you prefer to stay on land, the Turkish coast offers plenty of beaches. Visit, for example, Çıralı beach, which in addition to being a beautiful area with nature and sea also offers the ancient city of Olympos. Here lie the ruins of old temples, markets, mausoleums and churches and give an insight into how people have lived over thousands of years.

The beach itself is quite nice, but is made of stone, so it was recommended to rent some of the sunbeds in the area, unless you are one of those who enjoy a 'full body massage' provided by possibly the sharpest and hardest stones in the area.   

If you go even further to the southeast, you will hit the town of Kaş. With its location on a peninsula, there is an unobstructed view of the sea on all sides. Here you will find some slightly better beaches and an enormously cozy town with a lively town center with room for pure relaxation.

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Taste experiences from the entire palette

With such eventful days, you also need something in the tank to keep the body running. Fortunately, we are in a country that loves to be picky about the taste buds and likes to have copious amounts.

Most restaurants in Antalya and the rest of Turkey like to start the dinner with a delicious selection of the area's vegetables - preferably accompanied by airy bread with tzatziki, humus, haydari, mushrooms and delicious cheeses. Even if they taste delicious, try to hold back because it's all too easy to eat your fill before the main course even arrives.

Along the coast, the locals are naturally strongly inspired by the Mediterranean, and some of their most exquisite dishes contain fish, prawns and other good things from the sea.

Along the many rivers that lie between the sea and the Taurus Mountains are small restaurants that specialize in delicious fish dishes. The experience reaches new heights when you get to eat your dinner in true Turkish style; sitting on cushions at low tables aboard a raft on the river.

Although the coastal area is known for its fish, don't be fooled by the well-known Turkish specialties such as döner kebab, biber dolmasi (stuffed peppers), tavuk şiş (chicken skewers) or karnıyarık (stuffed eggplant), which you can find all over Antalya.

Another highlight of the restaurant experience is Seraser Fine Dining Restaurant, which is located in the old historical center of Antalya. With a fantastic cozy courtyard, superior service and exquisite food made from the highest quality ingredients, it will be a restaurant visit you won't soon forget.

So whether you are looking for great cultural experiences, a luxury beach holiday or beautiful nature - or lots of delicious food - Antalya is the place to visit. Have fun and get well.

See much more about traveling in Turkey all year round here

RejsRejsRejs had Joyvoy Studio as a partner on the trip. All positions are, as always, the editorial staff's own.

This post contains links to some of our partners. If you want to see how it goes with collaborations, then you can tap here .

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About the author

Cecilie Saustrup Kirk

For Cecilie, the world is her playground, and the more often she gets out there, the better.

She has traveled most of her life and experienced everything from the romantic streets of Paris to Tokyo's electronic neon signs and Accra's scenic game parks.

She loves to look for the hidden gems in culture, experiences and food, and always prefers the local food stall and the authentic performances, rather than the international chain stores.

She has lived in South Korea for half a year, and is determined to live in another country again sometime in the future.

Next targets on the list are Canada's magnificent waterfalls and Australia's colorful coral reefs

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