This post tells you what to see in the historic Kaleici, Antalya Old Town. Kaleici was even prettier than I could imagine and perfect in size to explore all on foot.
As we wanted to explore Kaleici, Antalya Old Town we booked a hotel right in its oldest part and strolled in the old town and around it. My post is a photo gallery on Kaleici, Antalya in Turkey.
Antalya sounds like a mass tourism destination and it might be that, since it’s the biggest city and the center of a popular tourist region.
But above all Antalya is a living Turkish city with a pretty old town called Kaleici. We decided to use our flight points for a trip to the Turkish south coast.
Kaleici, Antalya Old Town
Antalya has a nice setting: mountains all around, some of them over 2000 m and snow-capped (at least until April), and the Mediterranean. The city is up on lime-stone cliffs so the alleys are steep, narrow and crooked.
The stone and timber town houses are mostly from the Ottoman era and the Old Town is surrounded by an old city wall.
Mosques and Roman Ruins
The city dates back from the Roman era, 159 BC. There are both Roman ruins and more recent mosques and other Islamic buildings. The picture shows the 13th centure Fluted Minaret that has become the symbol of Antalya.
Here and there you can see parts of old buildings and still they find more of them.
This is a market hall just outside the old quarters. There are a couple of beautiful old market halls like this where souvenirs and handicraft are sold.
One of the most important landmarks from the Roman time is the Hadrian’s Gate (below left). It was found in the city wall in the 1950s. Below (middle) you can also see the Clock Tower that marks the upper limit of Kaleici, Antalya Old Town.
There are many mosques and you can hear prayer calls five times a day. The first one came five in the morning.
They look so nice. I would like to buy all of them but where should I put them at home? And I only have a small rucksack, no overseas suitcases on this trip. But I can take photos and admire the colors afterwards.
Spices and Narrow Shopping Arcades
Spices, too, are in all the colors of the rainbow.
Shopkeepers in Turkey were not as disturbing as they were on my previous trip to the Antalya region in 1990s. They stop selling to you if you just walk on and don’t show any interest, and they always try to guess where you’re from.
Of course it would be nice to stop now and then and look at all the things but never matter, we didn’t come here for buying things.
When you walk down towards the harbor you pass thru rows of souvenir shops and here you can see lots of tourists like in the harbor. This man is making Fatima’s eyes (a popular eye-amulet) and he’s good at it!
Port of Kaleici
The harbor is the place in Antalya that you can see in most travel pictures. It’s very picturesque, but there are crowds of tourists here. Local people also seem to like the place and it’s fun watching them. Why not sit here and relax, it’s pretty here and you can take an one-hour cruise with one of the wooden goulets.
The restaurants here are really not as cozy as the ones we found up in Kaleici and the prices may be higher. But we found a great restaurant right in the city wall overlooking the harbor and had a lunch on the terrace enjoying the warm April sun.
Everybody is offering you a cruise and we took one that was 5 euros. The original price was 10 euro. Don’t pay the price they ask for.
The cruise was excellent and well worth the price. We could see the city from the sea, the mountains on the other side of the bay and the lower Duden waterfalls that are in a city suburb.
And we saw the small beach behind the harbor that might be ok for sunbathing. But the water in that place didn’t look clean at all. Elsewhere it looked clean and the sea view was great.
If you stay in Antalya Old Town, it can be noisy at night. There are street musicians playing until morning and people talking loud and coming from the bars late at night. Choose a hotel on a side street and quiet areas, not a hotel near the bars as we did.
Kaleici, Antalya Old Town on the Map
I hope my post on Kaleici, Antalya Old Town helps you plan your trip to the Turkish south coast.
More on Turkey Travel:
If you’re planning a trip to Turkey these articles might also interest you:
- Around Antalya Old Town
- Day Trip to Duden Waterfalls
- Antalya to Kemer
- Lycian Way: A Walk to Phaselis Ruins