Antalya is the leading tourism center in Turkey, receiving more than 15 million visitors each year.
Culture, history, and nature meet in the beautiful town on the south coast of the country. Antalya has a wonderful old town to discover.
In this article, you will find information about the best things to do in Kaleiçi (Old Town), Antalya. Find out about historical places to visit, things to see, where to stay, and many other useful details before visiting Kaleiçi (Old Town) in Antalya.
1. Hadrian's Gate
Hadrian's Gate is the only remaining gate from the former city walls of Antalya. It has served as the entrance gate to Antalya's old town, to Kaleiçi, for 1,900 years.
It was built in honor of the Roman Emperor, Hadrian, who visited the city in ancient times. In Turkish, Hadrian's Gate is called "Üçkapılar", which means the three gates.
Each of the three gates is over 4 meters wide and surrounded by a white marble frame. The gate is flanked by two towers on the right and on the left sides. It's one of the most important sights in Antalya.
- Get more details about Hadrian's Gate in Antalya
- More historical places to visit in the Antalya region
2. Hıdırlık Tower
The cylindrical tower rises 14 meters from a square base. It is believed to have been built in the second century, at the time of the Roman Emperor, Hadrian. Historians have different opinions about the original function of the tower, some think it was used as a lighthouse for ships, others think it was a mausoleum. However, later, it was part of the city's defense system and was even used for a material storage.
Today the tower is not open to the public, but is sometimes used for cultural and artistic activities.
From here you have a great view of Antalya Bay, the long sandy Konyaaltı beach, as well as the mountains rising majestically into the sky behind it.
3. Yivli Minare and Saat Kulesi
The furrowed minaret, called Yivli Minare in Turkish, is one of the first Islamic buildings in Antalya. It was probably built in 1226 or 27, during the time of Seljuk Sultan, Kai Kobad I, and is now a landmark in Antalya.
The structure, which is conspicuous even from a distance, is 38 meters high. The brick minaret stands on a stone base and is partially decorated with blue tiles. However, it's the eight channels, which give it its name, that make it so special.
Another special feature can be found inside the mosque. There are 800 year old water channels, which are protected under glass. At that time, the house of worship is said to have been cooled with rain and snow water that accumulated in the channels and heated with hot water coming from the hamam.
- Read more detailed information about Yivli Minare Mosque.
4. Stay in a Boutique Hotel
Most of the houses in Antalya's old town date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. However, there are also buildings that originate from the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman eras. Many of these traditional buildings, which line the narrow cobblestone streets, have been converted into restaurants, stores, and boutique hotels. It's a special feeling to stay in a boutique hotel from the Ottoman era. The floors of the old houses are covered with pebble mosaics that have black and white geometric or figurative patterns. Most have a landscaped courtyard or, completely unexpectedly, offer fantastic views of the harbor and the city.
Check out our page with the best hotels in Antalya and select the one for your stay that meets your criteria and desires.
5. The Marina
The port of Antalya was once one of the most important ports on the Anatolian south coast. Sources prove that even before the foundation of the ancient city of Attaleia, as Antalya was once called, there was a pirate port called Korykos in this place. Koryko means rock cavity, a reference to the structure of the cliffs that form a natural shelter harbor.
Today, the harbor serves as a modern marina, popular with locals and tourists alike. The best photos of the harbor with the old city walls can be taken from the quay.
An old stone staircase at the end of the harbor square with 44 steps connects the harbor to the higher situated old town. It was built in the 15th century by Venetians who occupied the city for some time.
6. Kaleiçi & The Ethnographic Museum
In two historic buildings, the Kaleiçi Museum has been documenting traditional elements of Turkish folk culture since 1996. Re-enacted scenes of daily life in Turkey, as well as valuable ceramic works from distant Çanakkale are displayed.
The Antalya Ethnography Museum is housed in two historic villas from the Ottoman period. Turkish-Islamic artifacts show daily life in the Ottoman period and are exhibited here.
- Read more information about the Antalya Museum
- Discover other important museums in Antalya
Kaleiçi is not a bazaar in the strictest sense, but the atmosphere is the same. In the old town of Antalya, you can find one souvenir store after another lining the narrow cobblestone streets. Antiques, paintings, and high-quality carpets are also sold here. The houses themselves are also worth seeing, some dating back to the Ottoman era. It seems as if time has stopped here. Don't forget to haggle. It's allowed and even expected here. The merchants enjoy it as much as the customers. And with a glass of tea, it's even better...
8. Viewing Platform in Keçili Park and Mermerli Beach
The viewing platform in Keçili Park offers a magnificent view of the sea, the mountains, the marina, and Mermerli beach. Here, you stand on a glass floor that rises out of the rock and floats freely above the abyss. Not everyone likes that...
Right next to it is the entrance to Mermerli beach, which can only be reached by a narrow wooden staircase from the restaurant with the same name, perched high above the sea. The narrow beach with golden sand and fine pebbles lies below the cliff and has been extended by a stone plateau and wooden terraces. The water is very clear and fresh and although the beach is relatively narrow and offers little space, the fantastic view of the mountains and the surrounding area compensates. The use of sunbeds and umbrellas is included in the entrance fee.
Most of the nightlife takes place mainly in the area around the harbor and in Kaleiçi. In the old town, there are many small clubs and restaurants hidden in the narrow streets. Here, you can enjoy the evening in a very special atmosphere. Bars where hookah is smoked can also be found, especially in this area. Near the clock tower, also called the Saat Kulesi, there are many upscale restaurants. The restaurants above the marina by the old harbor wall offer not only fantastic food but also a stunning view of the hustle and bustle of the harbor and the sea.
- Read everything about nightlife in Antalya's city center.
- Check out nightlife activities in the Antalya region.
10. Düden Waterfall
Boat tours to Lower Düden Waterfall in Lara start from the harbor. The water from the Düden River, which comes from the Taurus Mountains, thunders down the 40 meter high cliffs into the Mediterranean Sea.
The natural spectacle is one of the most popular sights in the city. The one-hour excursion will bring you very close to the imposing spectacle, so you will feel a refreshing cool breeze.
- Read this detailed article about Lower Düden Waterfall and boat trips in Antalya.
- Also check out this article about Upper Düden Waterfall in Antalya
If you have any comments or questions about things to do in Kaleiçi, Antalya, please add them to the comment section below. If you need help picking the perfect resort for your dream vacation in the Antalya region, get in touch with our qualified support team.