9 fabulous things to do in Antalya for families

Tristan Rutherford

Tristan Rutherford

Not only is Antalya* Turkey's fifth-largest city, it's also a major destination for families hoping to enjoy some sun, sea and sand along the country's glorious southwest coast.

Up close with Düden waterfalls
Up close with Düden waterfalls © Sergii Figurnyi - Adobe Stock Image

Here, we take a look at the vast selection of things to do for families of all ages in and around Antalya, from museums and waterparks to child-friendly beaches, hikes and historic sites.

Tried and tested by our writer, these experiences are all kid-approved with a spin on how to ensure everyone is able to make the most of their holiday to Turkey*.

Getting to Antalya: you'll find fabulous offers on holidays to Antalya for all the family with TUI*, which departs from airports across the UK.

Take a Düden waterfall cruise

The Düden waterfalls tumble off a cliff near Antalya airport. Families can stroll and picnic in the park above, as the whitewater roars below. Far more fun is a waterfall boat tour from Antalya port, which allows you to witness the tumultuous spray up close.

The sunny two-hour boat tour around the Düden waterfalls promises great city views. Look out for the city beaches of Mermerli and Inciraltı en route.

On sunny days, of which Antalya has 300, sunlight refracts through the Düden waterfall to cast a series of rainbows above the Mediterranean Sea.

Witness the sculptures of Sandland

Sandland claims to be one of the largest open-air sand museums in the world. Hundreds of sand sculptures rise from the beach, from cartoon characters to the Seven Wonders of the World. The selection will make your family sand castle look distinctly average.

Snap the children next to giant Roman gladiators and the Egyptian sphinx. At night the display, which is located in the family-friendly Lara Beach* district, is illuminated with multi-coloured LEDs. Kids can also get sandy hands by taking part in a sculpture workshop.

Tour Turkey's greatest Roman theatre

The ancient city of Aspendos contains one of the most pristine Roman theatres in the world. A 45-minute drive east of Antalya, this massive monument rises like a stone opera house from the forested flatlands.

The acoustics remain so intact that opera performances, from Aida to La Traviata, are still held here today.

Inside the Roman amphitheatre at Aspendos
Inside the Roman amphitheatre at Aspendos © Steve Estvanik - Dreamstime.com

Families should allow half a day to explore. Little ones can stroll to the theatre's upper tiers. Or sing their hearts out from the ancient stage.

The fragrant hinterland includes remnants of an aqueduct, agora and Roman baths; the perfect set-up for a junior Indiana Jones. The nearby town of Serik, accessible by bus from Antalya, is a fine place for lunch.

Bathe on the city beach of Mermerli

Have Antalya's markets left kids hot under the collar? Need a beach bribe after a museum tour? Then stroll past the orange juice stalls in Keçili Park to a magnificent clifftop panorama.

Down below is Mermerli Beach, a strip of sand dotted with friendly beach clubs abutting the Mediterranean Sea.

Paddling at Mermerli is shallow and safe, the water is warm and crystal clear. Food and drink equal fresh kebabs and endless glasses of tea. The view includes pirate ship tours chugging out from Antalya's historic port, just around the bay.

Scream for more at Land of Legends

Turkey's biggest entertainment park is more than just rollercoasters. Although it does have white-knuckle rides aplenty including the 62 m-high Hyper Coaster and the self-explanatory (and blatantly scary) Power Fall.

Land of Legends is sited in the upscale hotel zone of Belek*. Expect a vast complex featuring a Secret Lagoon waterworld and the Adventure Land theme park.

Riding the waves at The Land of Legends
Riding the waves at The Land of Legends - photo courtesy of The Land of Legends

There are enough activities to occupy a week here, including a family scuba immersion experience and a static wave surfing ride.

The ultimate stay is at the park's family-themed Kingdom Hotel* (every room has a cartoon wall and a PlayStation) for which your kids will thank you forever more.

Hike back in time at Karain Cave

The earliest humans elected to live on a sunny hillside just north of Antalya. From 200,000 years ago until the Bronze Age, the Karain Cave complex hosted hunters and farmers, who worked the rich countryside below the cavern.

Today, the complex, with its stalactites and stalagmites illuminated by multi-coloured lights, is an eerie testimony to ancient history. The screech of bats is common as are new archaeological discoveries, including an axe head found in 2019.

The stroll around the site, plus the 400 steps up to the cave complex, will tire unruly kids. Karain is best paired with a hike around Termessos, an abandoned ancient city, a short drive south.

Walk alongside emperors at the museum

The cream of southern Turkey's archaeological sites is displayed in 13 exhibition halls overlooking the Antalya seafront. The Antalya Museum majors in Ancient Greek and Roman era finds.

Statues from the Roman city of Perga in the Antalya Museum
Statues from the Roman city of Perga in the Antalya Museum © JackF - Adobe Stock Image

This is best seen in the Hall of Imperial Statues, where imposing sculptures of Roman emperors gaze down on awestruck tourists below.

Kids will revel in the Children's Room, a collection of toys and games from antiquity. The museum has a final bonus: a cute outdoor tea house with fabulous views over the Konyaaltı Beach and hotel district.

Take a shark selfie at Antalya Aquarium

One of Europe's largest sea life complexes resides in the Konyaaltı* hotel district. The Antalya Aquarium has 64 tanks split into geographical areas, plus a 131 m-long tunnel that contains a life-size aeroplane wreck.

Spy marine life at the Antalya Aquarium
Spy marine life at the Antalya Aquarium © Arkady Chubykin - Adobe Stock Image

The most colourful area is the tropical reef section where clownfish and seahorses hide behind living coral. The aquarium also has a daily shark feeding show performed by a brave curator in a scuba suit.

There's more. A virtual reality zone allows families to don headsets to explore Turkey's tourism highlights, including a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia. Meanwhile, the WildPark area hosts Amazonian tree frogs and snapping caymans.

Meander the Kaleiçi quarter

Antalya's most buzzing neighbourhood is Kaleiçi, its historic city centre. Stroll a telegenic zone of winding alleys packed with restaurants and boutiques, where every outlet has its own story.

Archaeological sites dot the ancient district, including Hadrian's Gate, a triple archway built for the emperor's visit to Antalya in 130 CE, which remains an entrance to the old town today.

Descend past shisha pipe cafés to the Kaleiçi district's historic port. Boat tours run to sandy islands like Suluada, while fishing boats return with fresh ingredients for the restaurant terraces above.

Weather in Antalya

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum daytime temperature °C
Hours of sunshine (daily)
Days with some rainfall
Sea temperature °C

The above guide shows the weather in Antalya. Find out more about the conditions along Antalya's coast as well as further afield in our complete guide to the weather in Turkey.

Ready to take your kids to Antalya? Check out the latest offers on holidays with TUI.

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Tristan Rutherford

Tristan Rutherford

Tristan Rutherford is a multiple award-winning travel journalist based in the UK. When he's not travelling in the likes of France, Croatia and Turkey he's found writing about them for the likes of The Times and the Daily Telegraph. He also lectures in travel writing and leads luxury yacht tours of the French Riviera and Croatia.

Posted on Wednesday 12th April 2023 in: Culture Europe Excursions Family Summer TUI

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