Generally considered a summertime destination, I think that we can all agree on what to do in Antalya when the sun is beating down at 40 degrees C. Either jump in the water or hide away in an air-conditioned café until the midday heat has eased off a tad.
Despite this, I would thoroughly recommend Antalya as a Digital Nomad home base during the cooler months. Not only is its temperature mild, at worst, in the midst of winter time, but accommodation prices drop off. Affordable monthly apartment rentals are fairly easy to find and, best of all, there are plenty of things to keep your itchy feet busy!
1. Hike Five Hundred Kilometres
Among outdoor lovers, like me, Antalya is a very significant location. The endpoint of the 540 km Lycian Way Hiking Trail is just 20 km west in Geyikbayiri. Meanwhile, the starting points for the 500 km St Paul Trail are located 10 km north of Antalya Airport and 80 km east on the edge of Koprulu Kanyon.
The best time for hiking either of these trails is between September and October or April and May when the rivers are fuller and the flowers are in bloom. Of course, you don’t have to walk the entire length of either trail because there are roads and local buses connecting several of the villages on the route to Antalya.
Tip: If you plan to hike either of these trails drop by the Culture Routes Society HQ first for the latest route updates. Their office is located on the side street opposite Starbucks in Muratpasa district.
2. Take Pictures Without the Crowds
There’s no doubt that Antalya hosts a lot of picture-perfect locations. Honestly, though, it’s a nightmare trying to take a landscape or city shot during the summer season when the city is overrun with tour groups baring umbrellas and guides leading the way with flags on sticks. Out of season is another matter.
I had plenty of opportunities to photograph the Old Town without someone walking into my shot with an ice cream in hand. Some of the most popular sights like Termessos Ancient City, Olympos Beach, and the ever-burning Chimaera Flames are also significantly less crowded by the middle of September.
3. Sit by a Soba
Of course, even in Antalya, it does get a little too chilly for a seaside BBQ in the wintertime. Instead, hit up a café and get cozy by the soba – Turkish woodburning stove. If you’re interested in meeting up locals or expats whilst staying in Antalya then you can pair this with a language exchange meet up or the Meet 2 Talk group at the Octopus Book Café.
4. Climb a Cliff Face
If you’ve ever tried rock climbing in Turkey’s Mediterranean region during the summer season then you’ll know that that the heat makes it virtually impossible. Sweaty palms are defiantly not an advantage when it comes to clinging to cliff faces! Which is why late September to May is when both national and international climbing enthusiasts set up camp in Geyikbayiri, 20 km from Antalya. This is the largest climbing area in Tukey and a world-class climbing destination with routes varying between levels 5a and 8c.
There are a handful of campsites below the climbing area with tents to rent or furnished cabins. Josito Camping also has an onsite restaurant, equipment rentals, and a shared kitchen.
Tip: If you’re really keen on climbing, and mediocre WIFI is acceptable to you, then think about contacting Josito Camping. The German-Turkish run campsite host a bunch of climbing guides and the owners accept Workaway volunteers during the peak months.
5. Shop for Season Fruits & Veggies
One of my favorite things about Turkey is the weekly markets which pop up in various parts of just about every city. Antalya is no different, there’s a fresh produce market on nearly every day of the week if you know where to look for it. Locals walking away with granny trollies stuffed full of veggies is generally a good indicator that its market day! Of course, you can find olives, cheeses, nuts, and standard fruits and veggies all year round but during the winter a few extras sneak onto the stalls too. Tangerines, persimmons, figs, mushrooms, spinach, chestnuts, shallots are just a few.
Tip: The Wednesday market is in Yesilbahce neighborhood, the Thursday market is in Arapsuyu, the Friday market is in Meydankavagi and the Saturday market (also the largest market) is in Sirinyali.
6. Take cheap flights to top sights
As you’ve probably noticed, Turkey is a huge county and some of its best sights are spread pretty far apart. Fortunately, during the low season, both Pegasus and Turkish Airlines typically drop their domestic flight prices to an all-time low. So, with plenty of budget flights to Istanbul and Cappadocia, it couldn’t be a better time to get make a short trip from the coastal city and see some of the county other sights.