Kaleiçi: Antalya’s old town is a perfect combination of culture, food and boutique hotels
Kaleiçi Antalya’s old town is one of my favourite places.
I like the narrow streets, old Ottoman houses, sights from Roman times and the food …
I visited Antalya’s old town at the invitation of ÖGER TOURS, and saw it for the first time together with a tour guide. So far, I have always visited Antalya without a tour group.
This time I learned a few new things about Antalya’s old town from travel guide Süleyman that I didn’t know yet.
9 most beautiful places in the old town of Antalya and recommended hotels
I always wanted to write my own article about the most beautiful places in Antalya’s old town Kaleiçi. It is about the beautiful old town streets, restaurants, sights and good boutique hotels in Kaleiçi.
1. The ideal start for a tour of Antalya is Hadrian’s Gate
Hadrian’s Gate is the perfect place to start a beautiful day in Antalya’s old town. It dates back to Roman times. At that time it was built in honour of a visit by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. So the gate has been leading into the city centre for 1,700 years.
Due to its history, the gate is an ideal starting point to stroll through Antalya. At the gate you can see parts of the preserved city walls, some of which are 2,200 years old.
Behind the gate, you can see a few of the typical things for the city centre. These are restaurants, a stand with freshly squeezed juices made from oranges and pomegranates and 300-year-old Ottoman houses.
2. Walk through the narrow streets in Antalya’s old town
The old houses here consist of a facade made of stone and wood. The roofs are all covered with red tiles and there is a closed sitting balcony facing the street.
The balconies were once used to observe the streets. That was a job for women during the Ottoman Empire.
A few years ago, the houses in the old town could still be purchased at a low price. They are now almost unaffordable – compared to other apartments in Antalya. Often, these houses have been converted into restaurants, bars and many boutique hotels.
The small hotels make Antalya’s old town a great alternative compared to the large hotels in Lara or on Konyaalti Beach. I will tell you which hotels I recommend in the old town.
3. The marina of Antalya is my favourite motif (and that of my readers)
The pictures of Antalya’s marina always have the most “likes” and “shares” on Facebook. So not only do I like them, but obviously everyone who follows TurkeyReiseblog.de likes them as well.
I can understand that pretty well. I really enjoy sitting at the little cafes above the harbour walls. It’s fun to watch the ships in port with a glass of chai in my hand. With all the hustle and bustle that can be in Antalya, the cafes are still always quiet.
4. Time for a delicious meal in Antalya’s old town
There is this street in Antalya with the open umbrellas. You can find it in all the travel guides. The street is known for its restaurants. There are kebabs with all variations, a stand with krumpir and various other restaurants. To be honest, I rarely go there for food. I have to honestly say – 90% of the time the umbrellas are closed anyway.
Nevertheless, you should at least once stop by in Antalya’s Umbrella Street and try typical Turkish street food. For example, I recommend the krumpir.
As for the restaurants, I can recommend other places in Antalya’s old town.
Restaurant tips in Antalya:
A delightful place to eat is the Saraser Fine Dining Restaurant. It is located in the courtyard of a 300-year-old Ottoman house. The kitchen is of a very good international standard. The restaurant also has a boutique hotel.
Another good place to eat is the Otantik Restaurant and Winehouse. The menu includes Turkish-international classics and traditional dishes developed from the Ottoman cuisine. There is also good wine from Turkey.
I recommend the Vanilla Lounge for vegetarians or vegans.
The Chai-Tea’s Lunchroom and Deco Home is a dream come true for trying out new desserts and sweets!
I also like the small cafes and restaurants on the harbour walls of Antalya. Most of them are located directly above the harbour, where the elevator goes down or up to the ships. My favourite place is the first cafe-restaurant next to the elevator / viewing platform. Just south of the harbour, I like the small outdoor dining area of the Odile Restaurant.
6. Lie comfortably in the sun on beautiful Mermerli beach
Mermerli beach is ideal for combine a day in Antalya’s old town with a few nice hours of relaxation on the beach. It is located right next to the marina, below the cliffs of Antalya. The Mermerli restaurant on the beach is also quite good.
7. A tour along the cliffs of Antalya
The captains at the marina often sell their last remaining seats before sunset for an extremely cheap price. I don’t understand why they do that, and for $ 5 or $ 10. This is actually the best time for a tour along the cliffs and to see the waterfalls.
A tour from the port takes two to three hours. The small tour only takes you to the first two waterfalls on the cliffs. The big round trips travel to the 40m high Düden waterfall as their final destination. There you can swim below the waterfall if the weather is right.
8. Kaleiçi is a nightlife hot spot in Antalya
There are two hot spots for travellers who want to experience the Antalya nightlife:
Antalya’s old town Kaleiçi with its bars, open-air clubs, restaurants, pubs and lounges and the Beach Park on Konyaalti Beach.
A good mix of locals, students from the nearby university and travellers celebrate life in the old town. The Beach Park on Konyaalti Beach is more of a tourist place during the summer.
For good food and drink, I like the “Pio Gastro Bar & Bistro” or the “Otantik Restaurant & Winehouse”.
Are you looking for beer? Then the Tudors Pub in downtown Antalya is the right place for you. Otherwise you can also try the Khoffner Brewery. It is located between the old town and Lara beach. In the brewery, home-brewed beer is on the menu. This is a good change of pace from the local standard, Efes.
Along Ataturk Caddesi you will find Starbucks, the Turkish version of its “Yemen Kahvesi” and places where students like to go out.
It makes me smile that Starbucks is always located no further than 200m away from a Yemen Kahvesi branch.
9. History and other interesting places in downtown Antalya
The landmark of Antalya is the Yivli Minare “Grooved Minaret”. The red minaret from the time of the Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat towers over all other houses in the city centre. With its red colour, it perfectly matches the tiled roofs of Antalya. You can still see the inside of the accompanying mosque. Just walk straight to the minaret. You can see it from almost every location in downtown Antalya.
The view of the grooved minaret and the sea is one of the most beautiful photo opportunities in Antalya. It’s not just me who says so. I always see locals and travellers taking selfies with the old town and grooved minaret in the background.
You will find many other interesting places throughout the entire old town of Antalya. This includes the Roman watchtower at the port, the “broken minaret” in the old town and the old port wall.
Boutique hotels recommended by me and ÖGER TOURS in the old town
In recent years, I have booked a few boutique hotels in the old town myself. My favourite hotel right now is Alp Pasa. It is also a recommendation from ÖGER TOURS. This is what travel guide Süleyman told me, who comes from Antalya and likes to accommodate his tour groups there. I agree with him.
Other hotels I’ve been to are the Odile, Aspen, Mediterra Art and Oscar Boutique Hotel.
Good hotels in the old town are the Alp Pasa, Aspen and Mediterra Art.
The Oscar Boutique Hotel is inexpensive. It’s also not in an old Ottoman house like the other hotels. But you should only take the room without food there.
For me, Kaleiçi is a great alternative to the 5-star hotels in Lara or Belek …
This is especially true for a long weekend or a few days by the sea.
Kaleiçi is nice and clean. There are many good restaurants in the old town. There are also interesting places and sights that are spread out across the entire city centre.
If you want to go to the beach, you can walk to Mermerli Beach in a maximum of 10 minutes. It takes 20 to 30 minutes to get to Konyaalti or Lara Beach from Kaleiçi.
Overall, for me, Kaleiçi is an ideal place for cosy, beautiful days by the sea. This is perfect, especially in spring and autumn.
In summer, the old town is a beautiful travel destination for those who want to see more of the culture and life in Turkey than in the big resorts. 95% of the time I book a hotel in the old town myself when I’m in Antalya.
Do you have any questions about Antalya’s old town or the hotels?
Or do you know some tips on good restaurants, a bar or interesting places in Antalya? Then feel free to share them in the comments section!