South of the majestic Taurus Mountains lie the shores of the Mediterranean Sea
with beaches of fine sand, vistas of rare and rugged beauty, many ancient
ruins, hidden coves and alluring vacation getaways. The region is bathed in
sunshine 300 days a year and is a paradise for swimming, sunbathing and
watersports. You can also explore important historical sites dating back
thousands of years, set in a landscape of pine forests and citrus groves and
learn about the mythology that is intertwined with the area.
The Mediterranean coast is as full of antique artifacts as the Aegean. In the
ancient Lycian region, west of Antalya, you can experience the beauty of the
mountain cities of Termessos and Arikand, as well as the coastal towns such as Olimpos, Kale, Kekova and Kas. The ancient cities of
Perge, Aspendos and Side
are located on the coastal plane east of Antalya, originally called Pamphylia.
Antalya is one of the Mediterranean's most important cities and is Turkey's
hottest vacation spot, with the beaches of Konyaalti to the west and Lara to the
east, lying at the foot of Antalya's massive mountain range. It is an attractive
holiday getaway with palm-lined streets, beautiful parks, an abundance of
accommodation, restaurants, bars and nightclubs and a picturesque marina. The
symbol of this city, founded in the 2nd century BC, is the Yivli Minaret, which
dates back to the Selcuk era.
Adrien Gates, Antalya
The Asagi Duden Waterfall to the east flows over
huge boulders into the sea. West of Antalya is the attractive little holiday
town of Kemer, famous for its sandy beaches surrounded by pine forests and
mountains. The next big town east of Antalya is Alanya, a panoramic ancient port city on
the southern slopes of the majestic Taurus Mountains surrounded by orange, lemon
and banana groves. Used by the Selcuk Sultan Alaaddin Keykubat as a winter
residence, the Alanya shipyard dates back to the same era and was one of the most
advanced in the world at that time.
Side Amphitheater, Antalya
It is also famous for its 9th century castle
and its popular beaches. Near Anamur is a castle from the Middle Ages, situated
between two beaches and one of the most spectacular castles along the coast. The
road from Anamur to Silifke, with its endless curves and bends, follows a route
studded with breathtaking coastal vistas.
The dilapidated caves near Narlikuyu are called Heaven, which has a small church
inside and Hell (Cennet ve Cehennem). The castle of Kizkalesi, which is
situated in the water across the medieval castle of Korykos, seems to rise
out of the sea itself.
Two surprises on the road to Mersin are the ancient Roman cities of Kanlidivane
and Viransehir. With its charming parks, beach promenades, commercial port and
free trade zone, Mersin is one of the most modern cities on the Mediterranean.
East of Tosos, the Cukurova plane is a fertile agricultural region known
especially for its cotton fields. In the middle is the city of Adana with its
rich textile industry and to the east is the Dortyol (Issos) Plane, where
Alexander the Great defeated the Persian King Darius. As a result of his
victory, a port city bearing his name was established which is now the modern
The road leaves Iskenderun on the southeast and goes through the Belen Pass to
Antakya (Antioch). This first Christian community founded by Saint Peter has
given Antakya a special religious significance and the first sermons were
preached in a nearby cave. It is considered a place of pilgrimage and the city
also boasts a mosaic exhibition of rare beauty in its museum.
Kahramanmaras is a relatively undiscovered province of the Mediterranean. One of
its best-loved features is the cuisine, which has its own specialities like its
special orchid drink (salep) and its world famous ice-cream made from goat and
cow milk. The historical legacy of the Ottoman Empire in Kahramanmaras is still
relevant today with its gilded silver, leather and copper works.