Of all places in the entire Antalya, the old port of Kaleici (the old town) – also called Kaleici Marina or Antalya Marina (or Yat Limani by the locals), is one of the biggest draws in town and most tourists come here at one time or another to get the classic, beautiful pictures that you’ll need, when you’re on vacation. And it IS a very charming and fine harbor, surrounded by the ancient Roman city walls, the fine Ottoman houses, the bobbing boats and the great blue sea.
In the past it was a bit of a struggle to get there. Not that it was impossible, but you had to be determined (or not think about how you get up again) for the port is low in relation to the city, and it was a bit of a slog to take the steep stairs up and down. Of cource that limited the physically disabled a lot, but today it is fortunately different, as there has been built a nice lift. Very foresighted there was built a viewing platform behind the elevator, so there is now even better opportunities for good pictures of the harbor, boats and the Antalya Bay.
The stairs are still the easiest way to access the harbor. When you get down to the harbor, you will not regret it. It’s a very beautiful place and the port has its own charm mixed of old and new. Fortunately, the harbor itself also has been renewed in the last years, so that it now appears fine and beautiful. Just a few years ago, it was a little more sad sight as much was on the verge of decay and several shops and restaurants were closed or simply ramshackled. We rather not came – unless we had guests who absolutely wanted to go there. The vendors were very aggressive and insistent and the mood was not so cozy. It was thankfully rectified, so that today, it is a place you really want to go with your family and enjoy a good dinner at one of the restaurants. My husband is from Antalya, so I have unfortunately never be able to lure him to one of these restaurants, although I have tried many times. There is, in his opinion too touristy and prices and the food follows the tourists in his philosopy (and this is not positive). Don’t mind, you have one of the city’s best – and most evocative views in front of you, so enjoy it!
We often had a great time at one of the small tea houses, located right in the harbor. The small houses is located onto a small courtyard with a fine fountain, and here are really nice to sit and enjoy an ice cream with your children on a warm evening.
If you want to experience on one of the infamous day trips with boats going to various destinations around Antalya, this is where you need to jump on board. In high season it might be a good idea to get the hotel to arrange a boat and time or you can do it yourself a day or two before. For although there are many boats, they are extremely popular and you are not always guaranteed a departure, if you don’t get there early. However, I have never quite understood why most boats have this loud music nobody understands and why they look like pirate ships and must outdo each other in wacky gadgets. It is interesting, however, to look at and follow developments in (you cannot avoid noticing the new things, when you get here often) If you do not like all this fuss, you can still catch a few of the more traditional boats, but also with loud and traditional Turkish arabesque music. It has probably also its charm.
Are you in your car, you can drive down to the harbor through a steep, winding road from Cumhuriyet Caddasi. Do not worry, you will find reasonable parking at the end (but you have to pay for it). If you’re up for some extra good food, a drink or maybe nightclubbing, “Club Arma” is a good place. It is open until late at night and you’ll find a good local and international menu, good drinks and the best view of the Kaleici/ Antalya Marina and Gulf of Antalya (especially when it’s lid up at night in many different colors).