FOLLOW in the footsteps of Alexander the Great or relax in a stylish beachfront hotel in luxury surroundings in what has been described the ‘paradise of the world’.
I was lucky to do both as I discovered Antalya, which has been enchanting Europeans for years.
Now it seems the Brits are about to discover its treasures as we start to look slightly further afield to get the most for our money as the pound exchange rate leads to rising prices in traditional British hotspots.
The south western Turkish city is situated on the Mediterranean with lush beaches surrounding the inviting turquoise sea.
King of Pergamon (220 BC – 138 BC) termed it the ‘paradise of the world’, and it is not hard to see why.
The stunning city provides that ideal yet rare mix of pamper, beach, pool and sightseeing.
You can wander through the narrow, winding streets of the old Mediterranean town to the harbour to take in the breath-taking views of the Taurus Mountains and sea and dine at the Hisar Restorante, a favourite of film star Grace Kelly, is set in an old watch tower in the old city where diners can eat overlooking the spectacular scenery.
The Barut Acanthus and Cennet Hotel, a contemporary and stylish spa hotel, was our base. It offers a range of affordable all-inclusive deals.
Breakfast includes an array of traditional Turkish delicacies, continental or your full English.
The real delight is enjoying a leisurely breakfast outside, planning the day ahead, be it relaxing in the hotel or going exploring, knowing you will be returning to pure luxury to unwind.
The hotel has four bars and four restaurants including a buffet and a la carte serving a range of Italian international and Turkish cuisine.
There is a small town within walking distance and the beach is a stone’s throw away.
The hotel offers a range spa treatments, including Hamam, a steam, massage and body scrub complete with a foam bath. It would be wrong to leave Turkey without indulging in such a massage, which will be unlike any you have tried before but will leave your skin soft and glowing for days after. Share the experience with your friend and partner, as the rooms are for two.
For those interested to escaping to warmer climes in the winter months, a cooking class is offered so you can recreate a taste of Turkey back home along with language, painting and many other leisure activities.
Luxury and indulgence can still be enjoyed once you leave the hotel’s grounds. Sunbathe on a boat and enjoy a meal and drinks while sailing along the coastline, stopping to jump into the water at different spots before lunch.
History buffs can step back in time at the Turkish Museum walking through the Byzantine and Ottoman era, finding out about this country’s melting pot of influences
Leave the museum and explore the ancient sights for real. You can, go back to the time of Alexander the Great in Phaselis, which can be accessed by boat, and wander among the ancient ruins; visit the historical site of Perge and be transported into a Roman town which is still being uncovered today.
To escape the heat, the magical natural wonder of the Kursunlu Waterfall walk which heads through the pine forest and takes you behind the cascades in a natural cave is a real treat.
If you are lucky enough you may enjoy a performance at the Aspendos theatre, dating back to 155, which hosts an international opera and ballet festival.
The area is also a good spot for scuba diving fans while those who prefer to keep their head above water can take a trip to the aquarium which boasts the world’s biggest tunnel aquarium. to find out about the creatures of the deep,
The Barut Acanthus and Cennet is designed for couples or friends while there are other hotels- geared up for families and with golf courses. The Maxx Royal Belek Golf and Spa has the feel of a cruise ship with literally everything you need onboard, including a chocolatier.
This is not your usual all-inclusive, this is a luxury stay in a upmarket complex. So enjoy feeling special while exploring and enjoying a taste of paradise.
Jet2.com offers friendly low fares and great flight times to Antalya from Manchester Airport, with flights operating up to four times a week in 2018.
Fares from Manchester Airport to Antalya with Jet2.com start at £82 one way including taxes.
Stay at the 5-star Barut Acanthus & Cennet, for seven nights on an all-inclusive, basis, departing Manchester on the May 21, 2018, from £849 per person based on two sharing, includes a 22kg baggage allowance and return transfers.