Antalya's Beautiful Roman Harbour

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Slug on April 17, 2013

One of the main attractions in Antalya is the harbour. Although by modern standards it is fairly small, it more than makes up for it in age, as it was originally built by the Romans from huge stone blocks in the second century BC.

The harbour is pretty much surrounded by cliff and stone which makes for good views irrespective of whether you are looking down into the harbour, or looking back up from the sea front. We visited Antalya Harbour over a dozen years ago, and during our recent visit I remembered it very clearly – quite some feat given the number of places (and around 35 countries) we have visited during the intervening years.

The views really are stunning and the height looks greater than the steps you actually have to take to get to sea level. There are a few bars on the top of the cliffs and stone blocks precariously propped up by scaffolding above the cliffs. We went towards one for a drink but the cracks in the concrete in the road didn't encourage me to cross the threshold. This is earthquake country and I didn’t fancy its chances in a tremor.

At the harbour front are a load of boats all offering the same kind of boat trips, although you can pay rather more and charter a boat for your own usage. Unless you particularly wanted to go somewhere, I’d argue that the cost would make it prohibitive unless you were perhaps holding a special party with quite a few guests. The price quoted (and we didn’t haggle them down) for a three hour trip was twice the cost for the 6 hour standard trip for the three of us (300 Euros). Obviously, if there are 10 of you and you want somewhere private to drink your champers then it might be a grand idea.

Going back to the standard tours, the boats offer a one hour, two hour, six hours or eight hours trips. We were going to take a 6 hour trip (and my haggling skills failed me as the owner claimed it was so quiet at the time of year we visited (April), prices would not be able to be dropped. Unfortunately, the following day of our trip was a wet one so we bowed out, meaning we made do with a one hour taster on the seas on our final day in Antalya.

Rather bizarrely some of the boats have dressed plastic models of the Pirates of the Caribbean on the wooden sailing styled boats (they all have engines), one was styled on the Poseidon and another boasted of being the best Captain on the Black Sea. Do they not know their geography or know what happened to the Poseidon in that dreadful disaster movie?

Beware that the "Pirate" boats tend to be "party boats" as we discovered as we could hear the dulcet tones of "I'm sexy and I know it" blast across the waves from a mile away later on. I have nothing against our youth having fun binge drinking, but I'm not sure why they need to do it with quite such banal and inane music in the background (I felt the same when I was young).

Back on land, just back from the harbour front is a little "medina style" area with lots of rugs, pottery and the like for sale in stores. It is a very pretty medina and not at all like the one in Marrakech where you constantly have to look out for the scooters from behind you. We found the area fairly relaxed and we didn't get too much of the hard sell. It helped that the majority of the vendors thought we were French for some unknown reason (they usually spot a Brit a mile off). That string of onions around my neck and stripy Breton shirt obviously threw them off the scent, and I was able to calmly walk past with a gentle smile on my lips.
Harbour District

Antalya, Turkish Mediterranean Coast

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