Ancient Antalya is the eastern gateway to the Turquoise Coast; here are ten great reasons to visit this fascinating Turkish province.
Locals are still debating how Kleopatra Beach got its name, but few would disagree that it's one of the finest spots on the Alanya coast. By day, the mile-long sandy beach is a hotspot for watersports. Later on, it's a great place to stroll between beach bars and savour a sundowner or two.
A trip to the Greco-Roman ruins at Side is a must. The centrepiece is a vast theatre that could once seat more than 15,000 people. The nearby Temple of Apollo (pictured) is at its best at dusk, when the columns seem to glow in eerie shades of orange and pink.
There's nothing understated about Kemer's nightlife. Its city-centre superclubs often have several different dance arenas. Better yet, there are areas where you can sip cocktails and sway to the beat under the clear night sky.
For all the beauty of the Anatolian coast, it's a shame not to venture inland. A Jeep safari is the best way to explore the Taurus Mountains: from Alanya, you can head up into remote villages along the Dim river, savouring the views and learning about the ancient traditions that still hold sway.
There's more to Anatolian street food than the kebab. Try gözleme, savoury pancakes filled with potatoes, cheese or meat, or pide, the Turkish equivalent of pizza. The old town of Side is packed with small eateries serving up these traditional treats – and they're amazingly cheap.
Cirali is a pristine beach with a few secrets. At one end of the sands are the ancient Greek ruins of Olympos, while an hour's walk inland takes you to the mysterious Chimaera – eternal flames fuelled by natural gas seeping out of the hillside. If you're lucky, you may also glimpse the elusive and endangered loggerhead turtle.
If it's music you want – whether played live or spun by a DJ – head for the harbour district of Alanya. You can experience authentic Turkish folk music or hit the dance floor until the small hours at colourful clubs.
Time to shop: the old quarter, Kaleiçi is a great place to pick up a souvenir (or two).
Walk through the 1,880-year-old Hadrian's Gate to Kaleiçi, the old quarter of Antalya, and you'll discover plenty of shopping potential in its ancient stone streets. It's better (and cheaper) than the markets for finding authentic local handicrafts including leatherware, jewellery and carpets.
The Tahtali cable car bills itself as “a journey from sea to sky”, whisking you up to 7,750ft in just 15 minutes. The views from the summit are breathtaking at any time, but early risers can book a special ticket to ascend before dawn. It's a spine-tingling experience to see the first rays edge above the Mediterranean before sunlight floods the horizon.
On its way to the sea at Lara, the Düden stream includes two scenic waterfalls. The Upper Falls are in a wooded gorge north of Antalya city, surrounded by quiet gardens. The best way to see the Lower Falls, where the stream drops more than 100ft into the sea, is on a gulet cruise from Kaleiçi Harbour – preferably with cocktail in hand!