Escape Travel

How to Explore Antalya on a Budget

Tourists from around the world flock to Turkey to enjoy the sunshine and soak up the history and culture. And understandably so, with so many breathtaking destinations to discover. Between 2019 and 2022, Istanbul was the top destination in Turkey based on the volume of international tourist arrivals each year, and by 2022, Antalya was the second leading tourist destination, with over 12.8 million inbound arrivals.

This fast-growing city is a tourist hotspot, which means that while Antalya was a typically affordable destination to visit, a steady rise in prices has changed the affordability of this beautiful destination. Think yacht-filled harbours and hotels scattered along the beaches that look out over the Mediterranean Sea. But what if you have a budget to stick to? There’s no reason why you can’t enjoy what Antalya has to offer, even when you’re trying to reign in the holiday spending. Here are a few pointers to help you get off on the right track.

Kaleiçi

One of the best things about being on holiday is the fact that you can spend a large proportion of your time exploring. One of the best areas of Antalya to do this in is Kaleiçi, otherwise known as the old town of Antalya.

Characterised by well-preserved colourful buildings, ancient mosques and winding cobblestone streets, it’s easy to fall in love with this place. There’s also an old Roman harbour where you can soak up the beautiful blue waters. Many of the buildings here date back to the Ottoman era, and amongst them you can work your way through several shops and eateries.

Kaleiçi

Enjoy the Beaches

The beaches are a real highlight of Antalya. Private beaches aside, you won’t have to pay a penny to access many of the beaches along this coastline. Cleopatra Beach, Lara Beach, Tekirova Beach and Inciralti Beach are all good options. Kaputaş Beach is regarded as one of the most picturesque beaches, thanks to its bright blue waters and pristine sandy beaches. Bring your own towel to avoid paying for sunbeds, then sit back and relax, before cooling off with a dip in the crystal-clear waters.

Düden Waterfalls

Düden Waterfalls is a great place to add to your Antalya bucket list. It’s situated outside of the city centre and is a great spot for a day trip to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s a group of waterfalls, so there is plenty to see. The Upper Düden Waterfall especially is simple to access using public transport, so you won’t have to part with too much money. When you get there, you can marvel at the natural beauty, which has been formed over centuries. Beyond the waterfalls themselves, you can explore walking trails and spot wildlife in the area.

Perge and Aspendos

The ancient city of Perge is today an archaeological site and it is a wonder to behold. It’s a UNESCO-listed marvel filled with Hellenistic and Roman ruins. In fact, they’re some of the most impressive in the whole of Turkey. A trip here will see you uncovering rich history about Alexander the Great and Saint Paul. Notable sites include the Roman Stadium, Hellenistic Gates and the Roman Bath. These sites do have small entrance fees, but considering the value you can get from your trip here, it will be money well spent. 

Local Street Food

Something Turkey does extremely well is delicious street food. There are endless staples you can try and like most street food, it can be bought at very affordable prices. This way, you can bypass expensive restaurants aimed at tourists and dive into a range of truly authentic Turkish food.

Things to look out for include simit, a Turkish bread ring similar to a large pretzel and midye dolma, which are stuffed mussels. Gölzeme is another favourite – they’re rolled flatbreads typically filled with cheese and potatoes. Commonly referred to by tourists as ‘Turkish pizza’, lahmacun is another staple made up of thin dough topped with meat, onion and red pepper, all minced up together.

Turkish Simit

Accommodation

As with any trip away, having your accommodation sorted well in advance gives you a chance to scope out deals and book more cost-efficient venues before the choice becomes more limited. Budget-friendly accommodation in Antalya includes guesthouses and budget hotels. You might even consider budget hostels. Remember, you can also book private rooms as well as shared rooms. Try looking beyond the city centre too, in areas such Kaleiçi. The further away from the city centre you look, the cheaper the accommodation is.

Transportation

Start saving money from the get-go, even before you get on the plane. Simple acts such as booking your Antalya Airport transfer in advance can be a big difference to the money you’ll spend while away. Then, once you’re there, walking or using public transport where possible will help keep costs low. The advantage of this is that you’ll discover the city in a whole new way! Your step count will be looking very healthy too.

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