Sometimes it may be a bit of a hassle to travel with children, whether they are small or larger. Every age requires something different, so often it’s about being inventive and innovative when you’re going. Especially with the slightly bigger children. Where are they now, what do they want, what interest them? And also it has to be something the whole family can enjoy, relax and experience together.
We were so lucky, that we came to Antalya for several years before we had our kids. So we got to experience it all under our conditions and knew the city enough to be safe, when we finally travelled with our children (our daughter was 3 months old, the first time she travelled). It also made it a bit easier forward, that we had been so much, because I think we had and still have a little easier to find new exciting things to see or do or “fish an old flame” up from the hat. So, we never feel bored even though we have been there for so many years.
But it’s really fun to travel with children. Each age has its challenges and charm, and it is quite surprising to experience how the perspectives change according to their age and level. Traveling with bigger children (mine is 11 and 13 years old) is something completely different from just 3 years ago, where the activities should be other things.
So I’ve gathered a little guide to what you can / should experience on your vacation to Antalya if you travel with bigger children. Earlier I have made a similar guide, just with the smaller children. You can see it here. My experience tells me, that the older the children become, the more demanding they also become – in some areas (of course something will be a little easier). Time does not go as easy just sitting in the water’s edge like it did before.
So have a look here – maybe you can get a couple of ideas or three 🙂
The aquarium – the big new aquarium that was built a few years ago close to the Konyaalti beach is still just current regardless of age. It’s a really nice place with great aquariums, many exciting fish and more fun tasks and challenges for the kids (the tasks are more for the youngest children). And as something extra there is a reptile collection and a large shark tunnel, so you can get a little thrill.
There are not many children – small or larger who doesn’t like water parks. The combination of water, heat and roller coasters is just always good. And in Antalya there are several water parks to visit. There is a large water park down the Konyaalti beach (just opposite the aquarium), one at Lara beach and another big and nice one a little further out of town (past the airport near the Belek district). Land of Legends as the site is named is a huge venture with wave basins, fountains, infinity pool, rafting, racetracks, scuba diving, diving opportunities with dolphins, entertainment and much more. But be warned, it’s quite expensive!
And now we are in the water so to speak … Rafting at Köprülü Canyon is fun. Like really, really funny (even if you’re a coward like me). You can not escape laughing – even if you’re the coolest teenager. Because it’s fun to jump around the waves and feel the ice-cold water, when the air in summertime is about 25-30 degrees warmer than the water. I think though, that the kids should be able to swim properly and maybe be just a couple of years older than mine (age 11 and 13). You get a proper helmet and life jacket. It’s been a few years since I last been there, so I can not supply you with the big personal guidance. But have a look on this site, you might see more. Köprülü canyon is located about 95 km north-east of Antalya (ie about 1.5 hours drive).
And when you’re on these edges, Manavgat – the great fine “flat” waterfall, lies within easy reach. It is an incredibly beautiful place, although it is a bit touristy. But beautiful and cool on a hot summer day.
Aspendos – the great well-preserved antique theater – is also located at this outskirts of the “city”. This great beautiful theater, which has almost 2000 years of age, you can not avoid being (wildly) impressed by. Because it is quite overwhelming to stand inside and hear how amazing the acoustics are and see how well-preserved the place is. If you and your children are there, you can also take shorter or longer walks in the area. In the summer, there are often performances with opera and dance of international quality on the spot. Don’t you think it’s interesting for the older children to experience an evening of fire, dance and music in historical settings? Mine would like it very much. You can read more about Aspendos here.
Boat trips from the harbor are usually also a hit. You can choose whether it should be a shorter, medium or longer trip (rule 2, 4 or 6 hours). And it’s a great way to spend the day, see the city from a different angle and experience something new. You will find the boats in Kaleici Marina – the old port of the old town.
And finally there is one of the countless shopping centers in the city, which can certainly arouse interest in many slightly larger children. The opportunity to get something new – as the comrades do not have, get branded clothes or just have a day indoors with shopping and cafe visits, can be a fair change from sun and water. There are several big centers to choose from, but I especially recommend Migros at Konyalti or Terra City at Lara at the other end of town. My kids (ok especially my daughter at 13) simply loves them (all).
A good experience could also be a tour at the cafe, located at the “Varyant” road at the end of the historic tram line. How can a cafe visit be an experience you might think. And yes, there may be something about that. The fascinating with this place is clearly the view over the water and the beach as well as the sharp edge of the cliffs and directly into the sea. It’s way down I have to say (just stay calm,, there’s a solid fence). The bonus is, that you can keep an eye on the fun “banana boats” on the sea, as many of the tourists hop in. There is also free view of the beautiful paragliders floating high over the beach and the cliffs, and finally the food is really good. Not a crazy way to spend a couple of hours.
There might be some who say no thanks to a ride on the cable car. But it’s really a shame. Because it’s one of the most beautiful things I can imagine. The view doesn’t get better and it is an AMAZING experience. The kids will definitely love it and remember it as an exciting experience during the holidays. You can read more about the cable car and see pictures here.
The flaming mountain of Yanartas is certainly also something you do not experience in many other places. However, it requires a small drive outside the city (about 1½ hours drive). And you have to prepare for the trip up the mountain. It is hard and requires both breaks and water. But then you will also be rewarded by a fantastic view and numerous flames rising straight from the mountain (and a legend you definitely heard about in school. My son was happy telling it at his school). Go early the morning or late in the afternoon (and remember the marshmellows to barbecue on the fire).
The stalactite cave is also quite exciting and a different sight. I have not yet written about this on the blog (but it will probably come … I promise). But search for it on Google, so you’ll find a little more information about the road etc. The visit takes about a couple of hours and is quite cozy (and only a stone’s throw from Termessos – the ancient city in the mountains). But whether you can convince your kids to a climb in the mountains afterwards – I’ll let you judge …. But the drip cave is a definite YES – also from my two kids at home.
But do not forget to lure your children to the Hiderlik tower inside the old town of Kaleici – it does not require the world and is quickly over. And then it is in the middle of the city with the old town on one side and on the other side the beautiful Karaalioglu park. There is always activity in the park – some may play music, perform theater or whatever it may be. And there are several cafes nearby as well as the stunning Hadrian’s Port, where you can see the thousands of years old wheel tracks going through the gates.
I could keep on going about jeep safaris, climbing, beautiful beaches, the archaeological museum, horse riding, the little playground at Migros or the little adventure park up in the mountains, but it has to be another time. And otherwise – Feel free to write to me.