With miles of golden beaches, brilliantly blue Mediterranean water, incredible ancient ruins and mild weather, Antalya in winter is a delight.
Antalya is a southern coastal city of Turkey and is one of the nation’s top tourist destinations, thanks to its great climate, outstanding natural beauty and range of attractions.
Most of these incredible attractions can be enjoyed throughout the cooler months too!
Let’s take a look at all you need to know about visiting Antalya in winter.
What’s the weather like in Antalya in winter?
As it’s a Mediterranean city, the winter weather in Antalya isn’t too cold.
In fact, Antalya sees plenty of sun from November to March – it actually has nearly 300 days of sunshine a year, and of course, many of these days are in the winter!
The wettest month of the year is December; expect an average rainfall of around 5.4 inches or 26 cm.
However, the city still only has about 12 rainfall days on average; and if you visit in January, you can expect only three to eight days of rain!
The average temperatures in the winter months are between 9°C (48.2°F), and 17°C (59°F).
However, these average temperatures don’t consider warmer days which can be up to 20°C (68°F) or even higher.
I wouldn’t say that Antalya necessarily has bad weather in winter, but instead, it can be unpredictable – so make sure that you pack for multiple seasons and weather from around 8 – 20°C.
The darkest month of the year is December, although the sun sets later here than in Northern Europe.
Things to do in Antalya in winter
See the Old Town (Kaleiçi)
Historical ruins landmark the entire region of Antalya, but many of these are located some distance from the city centre.
In the city centre, however, is Kaleiçi. This is the old town of Antalya, boasting incredible historical buildings in the heart of the city.
Kaleiçi has been the city’s heart through the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman periods; all eras have left their unique architectural style on the city, which you’ll notice as you stroll through the winding streets.
Here, enjoy delicious Turkish cuisine, have a drink in quirky bars, and purchase some souvenirs at affordable prices.
Take in the sweeping view of the harbour
During the Byzantine period, Antalya was one of the important harbour cities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
And the old harbour in Kaleiçi is still there to view today; taking a stroll here is definitely one of the best things to do in Antalya in winter!
Surrounded by historical walls, this harbour is one of the most beautiful places in the city to watch the sunset – which is earlier during winter, leaving you with plenty of time to find a restaurant for dinner.
You can take in a magnificent view of the harbour from the glass balcony built on the historical walls or from the neighbouring Keçili Park.
Walk along Lara Beach or Konyaalti beach
When you’re in Antalya, a walk along Konyaalti or Lara Beach is a must!
Sitting to the east and west of the city, both sandy beaches are long, expansive and have incredible mountain views around them.
Enjoy the sands of the beach while looking at snow-capped peaks in the background – it might be warm in Antalya, but it certainly snows elsewhere in Turkey in the winter!
Antalya is a winter sun destination, but it might not be quite warm enough for a traditional beach holiday. However, you can certainly enjoy plenty of lovely strolls.
Walking along the beach until sunset, accompanied by the calm waves of the Mediterranean Sea and the lush mountains, is an idyllic Antalya experience and is definitely doable in winter.
Antalya Archaeology Museum
It can certainly rain during winter in Antalya, but don’t worry – there are plenty of indoor attractions.
One is the impressive Antalya Archaeology Museum, located in the city centre.
This is one of the best museums for history and archaeology buffs!
The Antalya Archaeology Museum had established after WWI to protect the area’s historical artefacts from the three ancient cities of Antalya: Lycia, Pamphylia, and Pisidia.
In particular, the Roman Period sculptures unearthed from the Ancient City of Perge are among the most valuable pieces in the museum collection.
And you can actually visit the Ancient City of Perge itself!
If you are a history fan and want to discover ancient cities in Antalya, Perge is a great start.
It was one of the important cities of the Pamphyli civilization and boasts one of the best-preserved stadiums from Turkey’s ancient history, a Greco-Roman style amphitheatre, and a magnificent Hellenistic gate.
Check out this guided tour to Perge, Aspendos (see below to read more about that!) and some of the waterfalls in the area.
See Aspendos Theatre
Speaking of amphitheatres, Aspendos Theatre may be the best historical place you can visit in Antalya.
Extraordinarily well-preserved, this ancient Roman theatre was first written about in 800 BC and is situated ancient city of Aspendos; the city itself was founded by the Ancient Greeks from Argos in the 10th century BC.
There’s a summer festival here every year, but in the winter months, walking around the ruins is still an enchanting experience. There’s also an aqueduct nearby.
Marvel at Hadrian’s Gate
You really don’t need to look far to see ancient history in Antalya.
Hadrian’s Gate is an elegant two-storey, white marble, carved and embossed gate built for the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 130 AD.
It is one of the best-preserved structures in Antalya, and it’s right by the old town.
See Duden Waterfalls
Duden Waterfalls are famous in Antalaya; they descend from the cliffs into the sea below.
You can visit them in summer or winter. In winter there will be less boats leaving, but some boat trips, like this one, still visit.
Upper Duden Falls are also worth a visit; they’re located just out of the city in forest.
You can do a city tour that includes a cable car and visiting Upper Duden Falls, click here to read more about it.
Swim in a (heated) pool
Compared to other destinations in Turkey in winter, Antalya is positively balmy.
In fact, the city is possibly the best place in Turkey to catch the winter sun; it’s even possible to swim in the sea sometimes!
The sea temperature throughout winter is as follows:
- around 21 °C (70 °F) in November
- around 18.8°C (65.8°F) in December
- around 17.7°C (63.9°F) in January
- around 16.8 °C (62.2 °F) in February
- around 17.2 °C (63°F) in March
For many, those sea temperatures are too low. But don’t worry if that’s the case – some hotels have heated outdoor pools to allow you to swim during the winter months!
These pools are heated to a balmy 25°C (77°F) or higher, so you can enjoy them throughout the year!
Just make sure that the hotel you choose has swimming pool facilities before booking!
Some hotels have indoor pools as well.
Cycle along the coast
Cycling along Antalya’s coastline is dreamy; you can take in the city, the Mediterranean sea and the gorgeous white sand beaches.
But this can be quite a sweaty experience in the hot summer months!
If you’re in town for a winter break, the weather is usually perfect for cycling!
Visiting Antalya’s famous Aquarium, one of the most popular family attractions in the city, is perfect for any rainy days.
Antalya Aquarium is the largest tunnel aquarium in the world, with 40 tanks boasting fish from all over the world and a 131-metre glass tunnel where sea life can swim over you.
Land of Legends Hotel and Theme Park
Land of Legends Hotel and Theme Park is another popular place for families with children.
Although the water slides are not open during the winter, you can find a lot of indoor activities in the theme park.
In this huge theme park, you can spend the whole day enjoying roller coasters, street games, 5D cinema, and much more.
Hike some of the Lycian Way
Starting from Fethiye and ending in Antalya, the Lycian Way is one of Turkey’s best and most popular hiking routes.
The entire route consists of 535 kilometres/ 330 miles.
In particular, the 13-kilometre (8-mile) Adrasan-Olympus route is ideal for Antalya, as you can do it in a day and return to the city in the evening!
Unwind in a Turkish hammam
Turkey is well-known for its spas, which are called hammams.
These are the ideal places to relax and unwind after a busy day of exploring Antalya, and in the winter the’re especially warm and inviting!
You can choose to just enjoy the facilities or to have a traditional scrub.
There are hammams all over the city, but you can book your ticket on Get Your Guide by clicking here – this option includes a massage!
Day trip to Salikent ski resort
While we have focused mainly on winter sun activities in Antalya here, did you know that you can do a day trip from the city to Salikent ski resort?
Thanks to Antalya’s position in between the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, the mountains are really not all that far away.
Salikent has slopes open from December to March, and you can rent ski gear and buy lift passes on site (ski gear costs around 25 euro per day and lift passes cost around 15 euro per day).
You can either stay in Salikent for the night or make use of the tourist shuttle buses. These depart Antalya at around 8:00 am and return at 4:00 pm.
Visit Pamukkale and Hierapolis
Another exciting winter day trip from Antalya is Pamukkale. Known as “cotton castle”, this terraced cliff of thermal pools is the ideal place to warm up and relax during the winter months!
This day tour includes transport and a guide, with stops in Pamukkale and the ancient city of Hierapolis.
Where to stay in Antalya
- Hotel Twenty: This is a great budget place to stay in the heart of the city. It has clean rooms with air conditioning, friendly staff and a terrace where you can enjoy breakfast! Click here to read more.
- Atelya Art Hotel: This gorgeous hotel is like stepping back in time, with beautiful stone walls and a brilliantly blue pool in the centre. It’s a historic hotel, but has all of the mod-cons you need for a relaxing stay. Click here to see what I mean.
- Crowne Plaza Antalya: Located on Konyaalti Beach, the Crowne Plaza Antalya is a luxurious five-star place to stay. With both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, you can take a dip even in winter, and there’s also a deluxe Turkish hammam on site. Click here to see more of this hotel’s amazing features!
How to get to Antalya
Antalya has a sizable airport, with direct flights to many countries in Europe and the Middle East.
Many visitors to the city choose to fly directly into Antalya, but you can also connect in Istanbul or another Turkish city.
Flights to Antalya from the UK take around four hours, and it’s slightly less for other European destinations. It’s just about doable as a short winter city break, depending on where you’re flying from!
If you find cheap flights, another option is to fly into Dalaman Airport. From Dalaman, it’s a 3 hour 15 minute drive to Antalya.
How to get around Antalya
After landing at Antalya airport, rent a car or take the monorail to reach the city centre.
If you want to see places outside of the main city, you might want to rent a car. However, buses connect the centre with many of the attractions close to the city and taxis are affordable.
You can also use the tram. This traverses between Western Konyaaltı Beach and Antalya Archaeology Museum!
As you can see, a winter break in Antalya is not just possible, but also incredibly enjoyable!
While it might not have an ideal sea water temperature for swimming, you can enjoy some incredible ancient ruins, walk along the beach, and take in Antalya’s best indoor attractions.