Hours in the sun are not only good for you, but educational too!

Antalya

What better way to earn endless hours on the beach by coupling your trip with the educational factor of Antalya. This Turkish city on the Mediterranean coast is an absolute winner offering the best of both worlds and thereby ensuring that your hours in the sand and sun are completely guilt free, especially if one of your parents is a History professor.

And it’s not like the historical lessons abound in the ancient city are painful. Antalya is absolutely fascinating. The city has its roots in ancient times – around 150BC to be exact – when it was known as Attalia, named for its founder, Attalos II (King of Pergamon).

The coast has seen some of the world’s most famous travelers including Paul the Apostle and Ibn Battuta, the Moroccan explorer.

Thanks to the popularity of the Turkish coast, Antalya flights are easy to come by and are fairly affordable from most popular airlines and travel agencies. The benefit of traveling directly to Antalya is obvious: get straight to the business of holidaying, relaxing and exploring without having to worry about long bus journeys and lost beach hours.

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The airport in Antalya is just 10km from the city and a taxi ride will start around €20. Consider booking with a reputable shuttle service beforehand, unless you have a wonderful sense of adventure and go wherever the wind takes you…but I would still book ahead.

Most travelers to the region are “all-inclusive” travelers, meaning people stay at the same hotels, all arrive in droves from the same tours and basically take up all the space. So the best thing is to organize your own itinerary that gets you to the best places early and while the main objective for many of a trip to Turkey is usually to soak up the sun and culture, it would be a shame to not explore the ancient ruins and delve into a region so rich in history, while still getting a fabulous tan.

If this is your line of thinking, then be sure to hit the old town of Kaleiçi where you’ll find like-minded travelers enveloping themselves in the sounds and tasting traditional foods that are cheap and delicious! The seafood a highlight.

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We went through the Hadrianus Gate, build by the Roman emperor Hadrianus. The entrance takes you through to the Fluted Minaret Yivli Minara – the famous 125 foot tall minaret and mosque. Alongside, you’ll find an Ottoman-era clock tower, Yat Limani port and Atatürk’s Home Atatürk Evi. There’s loads to see and thousands of years of history around each corner.

Heading further out of town you’ll find Roman city ruins with a theatre still intact (Perge or Aspendos), the ancient Roman city of Side or the ancient Lycian ruins with tombs. Myra is also the home of that jolly old man, St Nicholas. I haven’t been at Christmas time, but I’d be willing to try my luck!

And finally, the beaches: the water is warm, it’s clear and inviting. Lara beach is the most popular for good reason. It’s central and there are plenty of sun-beds on which to lounge. If you’re looking for a beach away from the crowds, head to Konyaalti beach. Not only is it beautiful, it’s also safe being rated as a Blue Flag beach.

You can’t really go wrong in Antalya. Considering price and offering, this Turkish town is a total winner.

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