Last Updated on 3rd May 2023 by Sophie Nadeau
Antalya can be a destination on its own, either for a long one-week vacation or for a short weekend away. If this last option is your case, check out this 2 days in Antalya itinerary to discover all the things you can do during your short visit!
Off-the-beaten track, yet beautiful and quite affordable, Antalya is an amazing summer destination on the Turkish Coast where it’ll be easy to find impressive pristine shores, charming villages, and a small number of tourists.
Offering fantastic day trips in the surrounding area, amazing natural sights, ancient ruins, and delicious cuisine, spending 2 days in Antalya can be an excellent way to kickstart your summer holidays in Turkey.
Where is Antalya and How to Get There
Located in Turkey, on Anatolia’s southwest coast and surrounded by the Taurus Mountains, Antalya is the largest Turkish city on the Mediterranean coast and one of the most important seaside resorts in the Mediterranean.
Antalya is a vast region in Turkey that covers about 1,400 square km, however, most travelers refer to the capital of that region, also known as Antalya, when they refer to the area.
Antalya’s only airport is located about 30 minutes from the center of town (14 km) and it receives daily direct flights from Istanbul via Turkish Airlines and the country’s low-cost carrier, Pegasus Airlines.
Another more affordable option is to get to Antalya by bus from Istanbul, however, the bus journey is about 12 hours, not really very convenient if you’re staying just for 48 hours.
Train travel is also available, and might not sound as convenient, since the trip is about 14 hours and prices are more or less the same.
When to Visit Antalya
Plenty of sunshine, beaches, forests… Antalya is a perfect destination to enjoy in the warmer months of the year, from May to late September.
The region receives most tourists during July and August, which are also the hottest months. So, if you can choose exactly when to travel, a stay in June or September will guarantee fewer crowds, mild weather, and affordable prices, especially for accommodation, which tend to go up in the central summer months.
Are 2 Days in Antalya Enough?
Antalya and the immediate surrounding areas would need a bit more time to be explored, however, two days can be enough to get the opportunity to visit the old city center and to spend a few hours enjoying the magnificent beaches of Antalya.
However, if you were able to add two or three more days to your Antalya experience, it would also be possible to take a few interesting day trips too and visit other cities that are popular in the region, including Kemer, Belek, and Side.
Where to Stay in Antalya
The best thing to do when visiting Antalya is to explore on foot, for that reason, staying in the heart of the old town is the best idea, these are some of the places we recommend for a short stay in Antalya:
Affordable accommodation in Antalya: Triana Hotel is located about 1.5 km from the beach and Antalya Marina. It features an intimate, walled-in garden with a pool and spacious rooms with a private balcony. The on-site restaurant serves Turkish breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Check prices and availability here.
Mid-range accommodation in Antalya: Atelya Art Hotel is only 500 meters from the beach, and a 5-minute walk from Hadrian’s Gate. It’s close to public transportation and it features traditional guest rooms, some of them with a separate living area and kitchen. At the property, there is also an outdoor pool and free private parking. Check prices and availability here.
Luxury accommodation in Antalya: Miramor Hotels & Spa Ultra All Inclusive is a fantastic property 600m meters from the sea in Antalya, featuring a garden, free private parking, and a restaurant. This 5-star hotel offers a kids’ club, a hammam, both outdoor and indoor pools, and a water park as well. Check prices and availability here.
Best Things to Do in Antalya in Two Days
If you’re staying in Antalya for just two days, it might be a good idea to devote one whole day to the best beaches in the area, while the second day will be better spent exploring the old town, purchasing souvenirs, trying some local food, and exploring some nearby attraction.
Let’s start by seeing what are the best beaches you can explore on day one.
Day 1 in Antalya: A beach break
Antalya region features an impressive coastline that’s more than 600 kilometers long, which means you’ll find plenty of choices when it comes to picking the right beach to spend at least part of your first day in the area.
Since the time you will have in Antalya is relatively short, you might choose between two alternatives:
- You can either pick two different beaches relatively close to the center and to each other to explore one in the morning and one in the afternoon, to end the day with a dinner by the sea or in the old town.
- You can choose to spend the whole day on a beach that’s not as close to the city, but that pays off when it comes to landscape and tranquility.
These are some of the beaches we suggest you check out when picking the right seaside spot in Antalya:
Konyaalti Beach is one of the most popular beaches close to Antalya’s old town. This 1-kilometer-long sand and pebble beach is in quite a lively area, featuring also entertainment and attractions, such as the Aqua Land Water Park, Aktur Park, and Antalya Aquarium. This is also a great place to enjoy the nightlife, so you could easily spend the whole day in the area.
Mermerli Beach is very close to Antalya’s marina in the old town of Kaleiçi and it’s an ideal destination for families. Although it’s a small sandy beach, the place is well organized, featuring sun beds, bars, and other amenities while the coast is shallow and has clear waters.
Konakli Beach, located in the Alanya district of Antalya, is a beach and coastal town quite popular among visitors looking to remain fairly close to the capital. This pebble beach offers spectacular views of the Taurus Mountains and it’s not far from the ancient ruins of the Roman city of Augae.
Cleopatra Beach is located close to Alanya Castle and is one of the most spectacular beaches in Antalya, featuring both sandy and pebbled areas and not far from the Antalya Archaeological Museum.
Olympos Beach gives you the opportunity to explore a beach and a national park both on the same day. This beach is inside the Olympos Beydağları National Park and it features a natural beach lined with romantic restaurants next to the shore. This protected area is chosen by Caretta Caretta turtles for nesting while the important ruins belonging to the ancient city of Olympos can also be visited nearby.
Incekum Beach is about 30 km from Alanya and is a fantastic family-friendly beach with fine sand and a very shallow coastline that makes it perfect for small kids.
Patara Beach is probably the most scenic beach you will find in Antalya. It’s located between With its desert-like appearance, Patara Beach, located between Kaş and Fethiye, is a highlight in the collection of Antalya’s best beaches due to its odd yet extraordinary lunar appearance.
The beach is incredibly long and very wide in some areas, perfect for those looking for intimate and secluded places to spend the day in total relaxation by the sea.
Once you’ve spent the whole day strolling on the soft sand, sunbathing, swimming, or even enjoying water sports, head to the Marina for a walk and a fine dinner.
Afterward, you can choose a pub or a bar in the Marina area or head to the old town of Kaleiçi for a drink and to listen to some music.
Day 2 in Antalya: Old town
Devote the second day in Antalya to getting to know the old settlement and exploring unique landmarks as well. If you prefer to get to know a place together with a local guide, consider booking this City Tour with Cable Car, Boat Trip and Waterfalls.
It’s a good idea to start early in the morning and head to Antalya’s Old Town, also known as Kaleiçi, which translates precisely as Old Town in English. This is the perfect place to begin exploring the cultural heritage of the city and learn about its millennial traditions.
Head directly to this romantic ancient settlement where you will be able to enjoy local dishes, shop, and admire cultural attractions. Over here, you will encounter sights such as Hadrian’s Gate and the imposing Yivli Minare Mosque but also explore the narrow alleys and historic stone buildings.
Hadrian’s Gate is among the most important (and oldest) sites in Antalya, dedicated to the important Roman Emperor who visited Antalya back in the year 130.
One of the sights easier to spot in Antalya’s Old Town is Yivli Minare Mosque. The building and imposing minaret immediately catch your eye.
This building was erected back in 1230 at the highest point above sea level in Kaleiçi and became the most beloved symbol in town. Its most distinctive trait is the unique minaret with an odd grooved shape quite unusual in Anatolian architecture.
Right after, you can go for a quick brunch at the Yacht Harbor, not just the second largest port in the country, but also a great place for a peaceful walk, dotted with restaurants, bars, and full of buzz all day long.
Over here, you will find also a great bazaar, open every day of the week, selling all kinds of souvenirs such as leather sandals, spices, clothes, and a lot more.
Spend the rest of the morning exploring Sandland Antalya, a museum devoted to sand sculptures. This open-air museum features incredible sand sculptures made by artists from different parts of the world and each year it features a different theme.
If you’re in the mood to explore even more, after a quick lunch stop, head to Perge (also known as Perga), a major historical attraction just 17 km from Antalya Old Town. If you enjoy going on day trips as part of an organised tour you could consider booking this Day Tour of Ancient Roman Sites.
The ruins of this ancient settlement are considered the oldest ones in the country, going back more than 3000 years. This used to be one f the richest cities in antiquity and was also the capital of the Pamphylia region.
If you prefer to stay in town, instead, head to Antalya Archaeology Museum, a prestigious exhibition where it’s possible to see ruins ranging from prehistoric times to the Roman era.
The museum is in a modern settlement and is considered an interesting place to visit to learn more about three of the largest ancient regions in the country Lycia, Pisidia, and Pamphylia.
An unusual attraction worth checking out is the so-called Upside Down House featuring a crazy design that will allow for one-of-a-kind snapshots and super fun moments that guarantee a good laugh for the whole family.
As you can see, even spending a short time in Antalya can be a source of fun and incredible experiences and the perfect way to start getting ready for a longer stay in Antalya.
Because after your first visit, you’ll be convinced that the many beautiful landscapes, but also the impressive beaches, the delicious Turkish food, and the warm welcome of the locals are just a few things you will adore about Antalya.
And it won’t be long for you to decide that this unique destination might deserve a bit more than just two days the next time you visit!
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Gabi Ancarola is a journalist and travel writer who has lived over 20 years in Italy, and has been living in Crete for the last five years. She hosts culinary tours, translates and writes for her Crete travel blog The Tiny Book. She’s written for Greek Reporter and published several travel guides about Greece.