Things to Do in Turkish Riviera
Built and extended between the 14th and 18th centuries, picturesque Kusadasi Castle sits on Pigeon Island (Guvercin Adasa), an islet connected to Kusadasi via a causeway. Originally constructed as a military base, the fortress is composed of outer walls that enclose its gardens and an inner castle with a tiny museum.
Ephesus (Efes) is one of the greatest ancient sites in the Mediterranean. During its heyday in the first century BC, it was the second-largest city in the world, with only Rome commanding more power. Many reconstructed structures and ruins, including the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, can be seen here.
The Duden Waterfalls sit at the end of the river of the same name, which winds its way through the Taurus Mountains before tumbling from a cliff into a valley next to the Mediterranean. The falls consist of two cascades, and the upper part is nearly 50 feet (15 meters) tall and 65 feet (20 meters) wide.
Standing proud on a rocky outcrop in the heart of the city, medieval Alanya Castle (Alanya Kalesi) is Alanya’s defining landmark. Encircled by 4 miles (6 kilometers) of walls, the Inner Fortress (Iç Kale) houses the remains of an 11th-century church, while the Ehmedek Castle area hosts ruins dating back to ancient Greek times.
Butterfly Valley (Kelebekler Vadisi) makes a dramatic first impression with its narrow gorge, steep cliffs, and white sand. Reachable only by boat, the secluded cove gets its name from the many species of butterflies and moths that breed in the valley.
Though Saklikent translates from Turkish as Hidden City, urban life is the last thing that comes to mind in Saklikent National Park (Saklikent Milli Parki). Encompassing a dramatic gorge that cuts through the mountains, the national park is a playground of river rapids, streams, waterfalls, and cliffs.
With a 5-star hotel, a gigantic water park, a luxurious shopping avenue, and plenty of amusement park rides, the Land of Legends is a one-stop-shop for family entertainment. Open to both day visitors and Land of Legends hotel guests, the theme park is one of the largest of its kind in Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye).
Ancient ruins, endangered wildlife, thermal springs—a boat cruise along the Dalyan River is full of surprises. Winding its way from Lake Köyceğiz to Dalyan Village before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea, the river follows a scenic route flanked by rocky mountains, pine-clad valleys, and sandy beaches.
Just northeast of Antalya lies the region’s most significant Roman ruins. Dating to the Bronze Age, the city of Perge was originally settled by the Hittites, but under Roman occupation grew to become one of the most beautiful and scholarly cities of the ancient world, attracting important thinkers such as physician Asklepiades, philosopher Varius, and Apollonius, a pupil of Archimedes.
Antalya’s Old Town (Kaleiçi) remains the heart of this modern Turkish city. Home to a number of historic monuments, it’s also the city’s most atmospheric district—a maze of narrow winding streets dotted with traditional wooden houses, bars, restaurants, and Ottoman-style boutique hotels.
More Things to Do in Turkish Riviera
Cleopatra Beach (Kleopatra Plaji)
Beloved by sun-worshippers the world over, Cleopatra Beach (Kleopatra Plajı is a 1.5-mile (2.5-kilometer expanse of golden sand framed by the blue Mediterranean. With dramatic views of hilltop Alanya Castle, indulgent beach clubs, plus a range of water sports, most travelers consider it Alanya’s best beach.
Castle of St. Peter (Bodrum Castle)
Bodrum’s most prominent landmark, the Castle of St. Peter stands on the promontory that divides the city’s twin bays. Complete with towers, battlements, and gardens—and home to Bodrum’s Museum of Underwater Archaeology—this 15th-century-built fortress is a must-visit for travelers.
Founded around 1000 BC, the ancient Greco-Roman city of Aspendos is best-known for its impressive Roman theater, one of the most remarkably preserved in the world. Designed by Greek architect Zeno and built in the second century AD, the theater seats up to 7,000 people and is still used as a venue today.
Bodrum Peninsula (Bodrum Yarimada)
Jutting into the Aegean Sea from southwest Turkey, the thumb-shaped Bodrum Peninsula (Bodrum Yarimada is named after the city of Bodrum on its southern coast. At the center of what’s dubbed the Turkish Riviera—or Turquoise Coast—it offers lively resorts, sleek marinas, and quiet fishing villages wedged between blue seas and windmill-dotted hills.
Alanya Shipyard (Alanya Tersanesi)
Stretching more than 180 feet (55 meters) along the rocky coast of Alanya’s historic seaport, Alanya Shipyard (Alanya Tersanesi) dates back to the 3rd century BC. Today, it’s a popular attraction for visitors to Alanya and remains one of the best-preserved ancient docklands along Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.
Antalya Marina (Kaleici Yat Limani)
Antalya Marina (Kaleiçi Yat Limanı) is the heart of the city. It stretches along the waterfront beneath the steep cobbled streets of Antalya’s Old Town, known as Kaleiçi. With cruise ships, ferries, yachts, and fishing boats constantly arriving and departing, this historic harbor is buzzing with activity at all hours and is a popular hub for both locals and visitors.
Olympos Cable Car (Olympos Teleferik)
Scaling the 12,500-foot-high (2,365-meter-high) peak of Tahtali Mountain—ancient Mount Olympus—the Olympos Cable Car (Olympos Teleferik) is the most popular attraction in Beydaglari Coastal National Park. At the summit, a panoramic observation deck affords spectacular views over the forested Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean coast.
Mount Olympos (Tahtali Dagi)
Reaching a height of 12,500 feet (2,365 meters), Mount Olympos (Tahtali Dagi) is the highest mountain of Beydaglari Coastal National Park. Named after the ancient Lycian city of Olympos—the ruins of which lie along the coast just to the south—the mighty peak is surrounded by a dramatic panorama of mountains, forest, and ocean.
Dalyan Mud Bath
Warm springs bubble around and under Lake Koycegiz, making mud baths a signature of the waterfront town of Dalyan. Minerals give the mud a sulfur smell, but can, locals say, work miracles on aging skin. Just lounge in the shallow pools, coat yourself in glop, then rinse off in the river, lake, showers, or spring-fed pool.
Fire of Anatolia
The Fire of Anatolia show is a dramatic tribute to Anatolia’s rich history. Watch as 120 dancers take to the stage, performing a mix of traditional and modern Turkish dance to live music complete with dazzling lights and costumes. See the show at the purpose-built, open-air Gloria Aspendos Arena.
Running for 14 miles (22.5 kilometers) between dramatic rock stacks and sheer cliffs—reaching up 1,312 feet (400 meters) high in places—Köprülü Canyon is one of Turkey’s (officially the Republic of Türkiye) most spectacular natural wonders. Carved out of the limestone cliffs by the Koprucay River, the canyon is the centrepiece of Köprülü Canyon National park.
Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology (Bodrum Sualti Arkeoloji Muzesi)
Looming over the seafront along Bodrum harbor, Bodrum Castle is not just a historic landmark—the medieval ruins also house the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Showcasing the archeological finds unearthed from shipwrecks along Turkey’s (officially the Republic of Türkiye) Aegean Coast, the museum is a trove of ancient artifacts, Bronze age finds, and maritime treasures.
House of the Virgin Mary (Meryem Ana Evi)
St. Mary’s House in Ephesus is believed by many to be the place where the mother of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, spent her final days, and has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors and pilgrims seeking the healing properties of the spring that runs beneath the stone home since its discovery in the 19th-century.
Whether you’re cruising along Turkey’s (officially the Republic of Türkiye) Turquoise Coast or sailing along on a day tour from Marmaris, you’ll likely find reason to detour to the scenic Dalyan River and its namesake port town. The area’s top attraction is Turtle Bay, (İztuzu Beach) a strip of sand between the river and the Mediterranean Sea. With its prime location at the mouth of the freshwater delta, Turtle Beach has become an important spot for endangered loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) that come ashore to lay eggs during breeding season. Watching the turtles in their natural habitat is a popular pastime among visitors.
Additional highlights along the Dalyan River include the Köyceğiz-Dalyan Special Environmental Protection Area around Lake Köyceğiz, the impressive ruins of ancient Kaunos and a series of Lycian rock tombs carved into coastal cliffs. Be sure to take advantage of one of the delta’s most noted natural assets – its mineral-dense mud baths and sulfur hot springs, renowned for their healing properties.
- Things to do in Antalya
- Things to do in Marmaris
- Things to do in Bodrum
- Things to do in Kusadasi
- Things to do in Alanya
- Things to do in Western Anatolia
- Things to do in Dodecanese
- Things to do in Aegean Coast
- Things to do in Sarigerme
- Things to do in Pamukkale
- Things to do in Rhodes
- Things to do in Cyclades Islands
- Things to do in Cappadocia
- Things to do in Peloponnese
- Things to do in Black Sea Coast