Overview of the Ancient City of Antalya, Turkey Tour known as Kaleiçi – inside the walls.
This week I took a couple around Kaleici with a camera and took photos of them for their engagement photos. The ancient city as well as the neighboring park, Karalioglu Park, was full of tour groups, romance tourists, backpackers and children. This week is children’s feastival week and children were not in school, but this didn’t detract from the joy of walking through the old city and taking some beautiful pictures of the city and the narrow streets hemmed in on all sides by Ottoman styled houses with closed in balconies and cobblestone walkways.
Opportunities for good photographs are abundant in the cities old town quarters. The shaded walkways and brightly painted houses as well as antique architecture leave much to be discovered and explored as one wanders through the maze of a walled city. Below you will see some of the highlights of a Kaleici Walking Tour.
Kaleici Walking Tour, Antalya
If you are staying on the West side of Antalya you will begin your walking tour at the tram stop in front of the Clock Tower one of the old bastions of the city and now a common meeting place and jumping off point for romps through the old city. You would want to enter the old city to the right of the clock tower and make your way slowly down to the port.
If you’re coming from the East, possibly from one of the five star resorts out in Lara then you’ll begin your tour in the Karalioglu Park, just to the East of the Old City. My favorite way to visit Kaleici from here is to walk from the bus stop into the park and then move West along the cliff side coastal walk in Antalya’s central park. The walk in the shade is wonderful in the summer and the park benches are a wonderful place to warm yourself in the sun in the winter months. Either way you’ll want to stop for a moment in the park along the coast and take some photos take in the view across the bay towards the Toros Mountains – this is one of the best views during any tour of Turkey.
As you make your way westward through the park you’ll come upon a round cliff side citadel. Parts of this fortification date back to the 1st century AD and the time when Antalya was visited by Emperor Hadrian. Venturing into the city from that point if you do your best to stay as close to the sea as possible on through streets you’ll quickly find yourself at an overlook of the ancient port. We paused and took myriad photographs overlooking the ancient port with the turquoise waters shimmering in the background and the mountains coming up at a drastic rate from the sea it makes for a nice backdrop for any group photos you may want to take.
Tour the Ancient Port
The port has more than forty different captains offering a variety of boat tours spanning in time ranges from 1-6 hours and focusing on everything from swimming, piracy and waterfalls to eating, sightseeing and scuba diving. You can charter your own private ship or join a group tour depending on your budget and desired destination. With the great success of the Pirates of the Caribbean Films by Disney the Turkish market exploded with yachts decked out like pirate ships. Even as early as 2005 there were ships calling themselves the Black Pearl offering piratesque boat tours. Since that time the ships have become more and more colorfully decorated with life size statues and pirates and make shift canons. These tours can be seen daily making their way Eastward towards the largest seaside Waterfall in Turkey – Duden Waterfall.
Shopping for Souvenirs
Kaleiçi is one of the most popular places to go to get authentic looking souvenirs. If you’re wanting a hand made and painted ceramic dish you can get it just around the corner from the citadel on your way to the port. If you’re looking for some authentic kilims or Turkish carpets you can find them just down the way from the Ancient clock tower. If you’re looking for a t-shirt with Antalya or Istanbul, or Turkey in general represented or your favorite European footballer’s jersey you can find that and much more in the shops including all kinds of jewelry meerschaum pipes and much more.
Cafés and Restaurants
In the evening the city converges in the old city for food and entertainment. Pubs and cafés offer live entertainment and fresh seafood with opportunities to dance meet up with new and old friends or simply enjoy the ambience during your Turkey tour. Some of the local’s favorite spots include Simurg, The Bar and Koyum. Although there are many other wonderful places like Dogan, or Alp Pasa for dining. Usually a quality fish choice while in the old city would be Sea Bream locally known as “Chipoura” or “Deniz Chipourasi.” Other common fish to be had are Levrek and Merjan.
Historical Points of Interest
Other than the cliff side citadel there are two other points of historical interest in the city that have relevance from antiquity. The truncated minaret or “kesik minaret” and Hadrian’s Archway or “uch kapilar” are along a single road that runs through the middle of Kaleici. You’ll find this walk to be a pleasant place to walk up and down and the road which enters through the arches stops at the truncated minaret and then continues on directly to the citadel so it is easy to visit these three historical sites without getting lost in the old city. Other historical points for consideration are the Fish Market Hamam an ancient bath house and the aforementioned clock tower from which you can also see the fluted minaret – one of several symbols of Antalya. You can see below the single walk through the heart of Kaleici that leads from Hadrian’s Gate to the cliff side citadel.
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Romance while Traveling in Turkey
There are lots of things that happen on vacation one of them is romance. We would like to mention that the Turkish men are notorious Casanovas with a heart for foreign women. This may or may not appeal to you as you travel through the country.
Not all of these young men are gentlemen but for the most part the major cities in Turkey are good at presenting a clean, safe environment in which to travel. As always we suggest you utilize a guide when visiting the country and that you do not travel late around deserted streets and in dark alleys. Kaleici is no exception to the rule my mother laid forth upon my coming of age, “98% of all crime happens after 11 PM if you want to be safe be home on time.” I’m not sure her statistics were spot on but I also have never had any travel problems in Turkey.
Sticking together with your significant other is one of the surest ways to have an excellent travel experience during your time in Turkey. Hopefully we’ll bump into each other walking the streets of Kaleici.