I wasn’t planning on going to Turkey during this trip, I really wasn’t. My initial plan was to do my dental work in Bosnia. I e-mailed a bunch of dental places, got quotes, times etc. Eventually I decided to contact a dental place I had seen on Instagram and YouTube – Dental Centre Turkey.
Their pricing and timing made the most sense to me and I had never been to Turkey before! Country #41? Hell yea.
Now, if you’d like to read about the whole dental work process, you can click here. There’s really no need to talk about that in this post, I explain it at length in the other one. I did need to mention WHY and HOW I ended up in Antalya, so there’s that explanation. Teeth.
Around my dental appointments I wanted to share what other shenanigans I got into. I did take a day trip to Pamukkale and that was an unforgettable experience that you can also read about here.
But, let’s discuss being in Antalya.
Arriving in Antalya/My Hotel
Naturally, I have to talk about getting to Antalya first. I took a flight from Sarajevo to Istanbul to Antalya. To go to Turkey, you do need a VISA that you can purchase online I think three months before you fly. (Canadian citizens.) It came to about $60.00 USD. Also, you must take advantage of the restaurants in Ataturk airport!! I had the best dessert ever in the domestic departures area.
When I arrived in Antalya, the hotel I was staying in had arranged a private driver to come scoop me and take me to it. The place was called Lets Stay Boutique Hotel Antalya. The location was perfect for accessing all of Antalya because it was kind of in the ‘middle’ I would say. A 20-minute cab ride one way and I was in old town and a 20-minute cab ride the other way and I was on a beach. Furthermore, it was only about a 7-minute drive from my dental clinic. Very accessible place.
They had breakfast included every morning, the staff were great, the room was perfect for me and there was also a pool. If you want something quaint and simple (but also clean) I would suggest choosing this hotel when in Antalya.
Another awesome thing about the location of my hotel was that it felt like there was zero tourists near me. All I heard during my time in the hotel and in the restaurants surrounding it was Turkish. I love that! From discussing with others who have visited Antalya apparently the majority of the tourists stay in the beach resorts or all-inclusives. There was truly no point in me being in an all-inclusive while getting my teeth done because I wasn’t sure how much eating I’d actually be able to do.
The first night I arrived in Antalya I ended up at a random sports bar watching two Turkish teams play soccer. None of the servers spoke English and none of the menus were in English either, the kind of experience I live for. Just point at pictures, easy way to order delicious food. Also, after eating in this restaurant I was able to explore some more near the hotel. Found not only one, but TWO whole waterfalls in the area. Further reaffirming I made the right decision for my accommodations.
I heard Antalya had some nice beach options so I had to make a decision. Do I go to Lara or do I go to Konyaalti? Being that I was unsure how my pain threshold would proceed throughout my days, I chose the closer beach. I went to Lara.
The cab ride from my hotel was only about 15-20 minutes and there was EASILY 9-10 options once you got there on where to plop down. I chose L’Arena Beach. I believe I got to the beach around 10am and didn’t go home until just after 8pm. Spent the whole day lounging alone and taking in some sunshine. If you are pale like I am, don’t worry, there are also plenty of umbrellas to protect you from the sun.
Overall the beach wasn’t particularly busy and I felt comfortable leaving my things on my beach bed. The staff was very attentive and invested in you NOT having your things stolen. Safe space.
Also, big fan of there being a menu on the table in front of the beach bed. All I had to do was call a server over and I’d have pizza, fries, drinks etc. brought right over to me. There is also a HUGE portable charger you can pay to rent for 30 minutes to charge up whatever phone you have. I thought it was kind of neat and since my portable charger managed to die, theirs definitely came in handy.
Fun tip as well – bring your damn water shoes. You’re welcome.
Kaleici – Old Town
When you check TripAdvisor and any other Google Search about what you must see/do in Antalya – I bet Kaleici will come up over and over again.
You must visit the old town part of Antalya. There are soooo many stalls and shops to peruse. The salespeople are warm and friendly, the prices are great and …. food. There is a lot of food. Even though I had my temporary teeth in when I visited the area, I still ate a lot.
The way I structured my walking path was beginning up at Hadrian’s Gate and walking downwards to the marina. If I may recommend that you wear shoes with a lot of grip for this walk as the stones get a little bit slippery and you’re walking downwards. I almost fell many times and I wish to spare you of this embarrassment as well.
When you get down to the marina area, you will also see this little swimming area on the opposite side of it. This place is called Mermeli Beach. I don’t know if I would necessarily call it a beach, but yes, you can lay on a beach chair and enter water in that vicinity.
At the top of the beach there is an amazing restaurant you should check out. I decided to have lunch there and it was awesome! The name of it is Mermeli Restaurant and yes, it is directly connected to the beach below. In fact, to enter the beach you have to enter through the restaurant and take stairs down.
The waiters were lovely, I was given the best seat in the house with the best view. The food was good, but most importantly, the dessert menu? Listen. This dessert menu was so damn good I returned four days later just to pick another item from it. Yes, that good.
This wasn’t really a part of my initial activity plans when I was looking at Antalya. I’m not a big theme park person in general, but something had opened up that got my attention. I had randomly seen an article on my Google Page that said a new Ferris wheel had been installed at Aktur Park.
This Ferris wheel was going to be named ‘Heart of Antalya’ and would be the 2nd largest Ferris wheel in Europe, after the London Eye. If I have it correctly, it literally opened a couple of days before my arrival in Antalya. I had to go on it. I love views and knowing it was tall enough to be the 2nd largest in Europe, I had to see it myself.
Nice view. No lineup. Had the whole pod-thing to myself.
I’m sure there’s plenty more to do in Antalya than I even got to. You have to understand I work a lot when home in Toronto and these nine days were my first opportunity in a LONG time to do nothing. Some days I just laid in my room watching Netflix. Also, taking into consideration some of these days I was in a lot of pain and on painkillers so going outside wasn’t really an option either.
Hope this gets some of you to want to visit Antalya. Even if it isn’t for dental work, I’d really like to go back. I found the hospitality of the locals to be beyond anything I expected. The city itself has so many awesome things to see and do. Obviously, the food was kick ass. Finally, as a single woman I felt safe and comfortable at all times. I know that sometimes those thoughts deter people from traveling to certain places, but I found everyone (even the men) to be very respectful and kind.
Go visit Antalya for fun or for teeth! Heck, even for hair plugs and nose jobs as per some of the people I saw in the airports in and out of there.