Antalya’s top beauty spots: cheap Turkey holidays
As Turkey’s most popular summer holiday spot – and, perhaps surprisingly, the fourth most visited city in the whole world – Antalya is perhaps best known for offering sun, sea and vibrant nightlife.
However, away from the celebrated Konyaalti Beach, the city is home to a wealth of beauty spots, many of them giving harried tourists the chance to take a break from the crowds and reconnect with nature.
As well as secluded coves and quiet beaches, the area surrounding Antalya is also home to magnificent caves, awe-inspiring gorges and much, much more, with most natural highlights within easy distance of the city’s main hotels and holiday resorts.
Here are a few must-sees.
Situated around half an hour’s drive from downtown Antalya, Karain Cave is a Paleolithic wonder. A site of huge archaeological significance, it is believed that humans first entered the cave around 200,000 years ago, with visitors able to see a wide range of ancient artefacts found in the area such as stone tools and spears and knives at a special museum.
Aside from their place in history, the chambers here are also celebrated for their natural beauty, with specially-designed lighting helping to accentuate the dramatic contours and the stalecmites and stalactites.
Equally as fascinating and popular as Karain Cave is Beldibi Cave, located just south-west of Antalya. Since it was first excavated in the 1960s, the cave has revealed a wealth of secrets, pointing to it being used as a shelter by humans during the Paleolithic and Neolithic eras.
As with Karain, the site is home to a small museum, giving history-lovers taking cheap Turkey holidays the chance to learn more about the intriguing past of this part of the country.
For bathers tired of the sea, Antalya is also perfectly-placed for exploring some of Turkey’s most spectacular waterfalls. Arguably the best of them all are the Duden Waterfalls, situated just a few miles outside of the city centre.
Here, the Duden River goes through a series of stunning drops as it makes its way to the Mediterranean Sea. Most tourists flock to see Lower Duden Falls, where the river plunges into the sea in spectacular fashion, leaving the much more tranquil and picturesque Upper Duden Falls relatively free of crowds.
As well as the magnificent sight of the waterfalls, the area is rich with colourful flora and fauna – providing a peaceful break from the hustle and bustle of downtown Antalya.
The longest and deepest gorge in the whole of Turkey, the Saklikent Valley offers a fascinating daytrip from Antalya.
Aside from the numerous natural caves in the gorge’s walls, it is also famous for a picturesque stream which, due to a lack of natural sunlight, remains cold all year round.
Just a couple of miles from Saklikent Valley lie the ancient ruins of Tios, where history-lovers can see the remains of settlements left by the Romans, the Byzantines and the Ottoman Turks.
While none of the above are ‘secret’ spots in the true sense of the word, they do still offer a much-needed respite from the chaos of Antalya in peak holiday season, and can also serve as excellent jumping-off points for truly getting off the beaten track.
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Photo by zolakoma on Flickr