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Sunday, 23 September 2018

The best things to do in Antalya

After the heat of Pamukkale, Liz and I were ready to spend some time a little closer to our base. It's a good time to visit Turkey as a tourist because they're having some currency issues which, while unfortunate for them, means that everything is extremely cheap for tourists. This is the round up of the best things we did during our week in Antalya.

PAMUKKALE
Hands down the greatest thing we did.

HAMMAN
We wanted to experience a traditional hamman and after a lot of research we found Demirhan Hamman. It looks like it's in the middle of nowhere but there's a taxi button right outside so it's easy enough to get to and from. Here's my beautiful model Liz doing a little demo haha.
It cost us 140 lira for an afternoon and it was great; We used the sauna and steam room before being led into the massage room for a peeling scrub and coffee massage. After this we were washed off before being given a soap massage, oil massage and face mask. My skin felt incredible and I think it's helped prolong my tan so I was a fan.
One thing to be aware of is that in a Hamman it's normal to be nude so it's really important that you get to a hamman that properly segregates genders. You are given a special towel, a bit like a pashmina, to wrap around yourself and some shoes but it's all taken off once you get inside. You're massaged in front of other people (who are also being massaged) so I think it's better to know in advance so you aren't shocked. Luckily for us, we had a massage at the hotel a few days prior that was equal parts alarming and hilarious when we discovered this haha.

RUINS
There are ruins everywhere in Antalya so it's hard to pick between them and I don't really think you can go wrong, I think you'd have a good time at any of them. As soon as you're inside there are no more barriers so you can get up closely to amphitheatres, columns, old temples etc... We loved Perge as well as the ruins in Pamukkale but struggled with the heat because we visited during an especially hot week where being outside for more than 5 minutes was a bit of an endurance experience.
To get to the ruins I would recommend arranging your own trip rather than going on any of the tours. The tours are priced in Euros and tend to make multiple stops which would be difficult to face in the heat. We had organised transport with Kaleici taxi's in the old town, who agreed a price with us, but then refused to honour it the next day...so we just went round the corner and found a different taxi to take us for about 20 lira more. Arranging to be left and picked up again later was really easy and we didn't have any issues with taxi drivers not coming to collect us or asking for money early.

FOOD
The food was a bit hit and miss but the seafood and baklava was pretty great.
Arma was a lovely restaurant with killer views and great cocktails ^^. We ended up having the place to ourselves because we went as soon as it opened since we were both super hungry on that day. We also went to Aynali, in the harbour, which was rated highly for seafood on trip advisor but we didn't think it was good because our fish was quite dry and we were expecting it to be better.

The best place by far for seafood was Kokoyaki Sushi. It was the most expensive of the three but really incredible. Normally the nicer restaurants would have been out of my price bracket but because of the weak Turkish lira it was all affordable so we really enjoyed ourselves and pretty much ordered everything. We also had an amazing meal at Seraser, which isn't on trip advisor but was lovely.
Cheers!

BEACH
The beaches were beautiful. The sea was warm and it was just lovely. We headed to two beach clubs - MaiTai on Lara Beach which was good but the staff were a bit inattentive, and Agenda, which was more expensive but still very cheap. We paid 60 lira for one of those large sun beds and beers were around £2 each. One beach I'd recommend avoiding was BLM beach. We visited it as it was so close to our hotel but the staff were exceptionally creepy and we left. Perhaps it is fine if you are in a male-female or male-male couple but we felt so uncomfortable there. 

OLD TOWN
You can walk through Hadrians gate on your way down the markets, which was great because it was nice to explore the old city. In terms of shopping I don't usually like to visit high streets when I'm away because I don't see the point, but given the weakness of the lira we did pick up some new clothes and everything was so cheap. The old town itself has quite big markets but they're not like the bazaar experience you might expect so I don't think it's worth more than an hour to be honest.
The one thing I'd say to avoid is Turkish coffee. We really wanted to try the authentic type because it's meant to be cooked over coals until the coffee foams up but we couldn't find it anywhere. We did ask to see it made in the 'old style' and we're taken to multiple cafes by lovely locals where we watched *drum roll* a kettle be put on hahaha. It's just like eating ground coffee and it was a real effort to drink it so we didn't offend anyone.

TRANSPORT
There are taxi buttons located everywhere which you just press and a few minutes later a taxi will arrive. We found it really easy to get round and very cheap. I would say though that getting a taxi was like an extreme white knuckle ride. Hiring a car would have been better for getting around but since all the other drivers are so bad, I honestly can't work out what would be safer!

ACCOMODATION
We stayed at Wise Boutique. It was fine but I think it would be better to stay in a place with a nicer pool, especially if you are there in summer like we were. It was adults only which was nice for us but there weren't many good places in walking distance from the hotel so it would have been nice if there was more to do there. I left my card in one of the dressing gowns and it went missing so I found it a bit frustrating personally. They also kept trying to sell us tours which is a pet peeve of mine so I was a bit over it at the end.

I think Antalya is a great place to go if you're looking for a cheap last minute get away. Let me know if you make the trip.

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