If you are looking to swap a no doubt rain sodden, wind lashed spring back home for somewhere well known for getting a head start on summer, then head to the Antalya province located on the Mediterranean coast of southwest Turkey. Nestled between the Taurus Mountains and Mediterranean Sea, Antalya Province is the apple of Turkey’s tourism eye and it’s easy to see why. With a stunning stretch of shoreline featuring superb beaches, charming fishing ports and ancient cities, it has a lot going for it. The area encompassing Antalya and Muğla provinces is widely known as the ‘Turkish Riviera’, which seems fitting for a place consistently doused in sunshine and able to lay claim to one of the world’s most dramatic and beautiful coastlines.
Antalya is Turkey’s biggest and most popular sea resort and a gateway for the ‘Turkish Riviera’. Situated in the southwest of Anatolia, the Taurus mountains runs parallel to the Mediterranean Sea, which has gifted the region with eye-catching landscapes comprising coastal plains flanked by mountains on three sides, and the Mediterranean Sea on the fourth. Mountains that plunge vertiginously into the sea have created small and secluded natural bays and peninsulas; giving the region a breathtaking, dramatic beauty that is unique to this part of the world.
Situated on a cliff looking out to sea, yet shielded by the Taurus Mountains, Antalya is sheltered from chilly northerly winds and enjoys a Mediterranean climate with warm springs, long dry, hot summers and short mild, damp winters. Around 300 days of sunshine per year is certainly not to be sniffed at, and spring (April to May) is an especially lovely time to visit with average highs reaching 21°C in April and reaching 26°C by May. Wallowing in refreshingly clean, clear waters is always on the agenda in Antalya thanks to the sea water temperature never dipping below 15ºC.
In terms of ways to spend your sunny days, as well as some seriously beautiful beaches, such as Lara Beach, Belek Beach and Olympus Beach, and a picturesque Roman harbour, Antalya also boasts some of Turkey’s best-preserved Ottoman architecture, impressive archaeological museums and sites, including Xanthos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and last but definitely not least, some of the country’s finest restaurants.
Life is beachy…
Sitting pretty, this long stretch of sandy and shingle beach is fringed by sparkling blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea and a tree-lined promenade. Lara Beach stretches from Antalya’s cliffs just past the Lower Duden Waterfalls – a spectacular, dramatic cascade that is triggered by the Düden River spilling off the Antalya City cliffs into the sea.
Famed as being one on the best beaches in the whole of Turkey, Belek beach is the perfect place to unwind thanks to 10 miles of clean fine sand, shady pine trees and crystal clear, calm waters. Not just popular with holidaymakers in search of a blissful spot to relax and unwind, Belek Beach is a hot spot for loggerhead and green turtles looking to nest.
‘Idyllic’, ‘picture perfect’, ‘paradise’, Olympus Beach tends to trigger a shower of superlatives – all of which are fully deserved. Beautifully rugged and unspoilt, this golden sand and grey pebble strip is what dreams are made of if you err towards a beach that looks just as nature intended. Nestled between a lush and fragrant pine forest and glistening turquoise waters, Olympus Beach is part of a sheltered cove flanked by dramatic bush-clad mountainous with a small flowing stream running across the beach from a rocky gorge – as if it wasn’t pretty enough. Perfect for sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling and kayaking, you won’t be able to tear yourself away from this little piece of paradise.