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Why You Should Visit This Unique Mediterranean Beach Escape Most Americans Don’t Know About

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The Mediterranean—or how it's affectionately called, ‘The Med'—is the most popular destination for Americans crossing the pond this summer, after all, all of their favorite sunny hotspots straddle the turquoise-colored waters, from Spain to France to Italy to Croatia to Greece.

Young Woman Admiring A View Of Kaleici, Old Town Antalya, Turkiye, Western Asia, Mediterranean Sea.jpg

Still, this is a pretty vast sea, branching out into three continents, and some of the most beautiful coastal spots are in fact not located on the European side, and as a result, remain undiscovered by U.S. tourists, who would rather burn through their savings in overpriced Amalfi.

That is the case with Antalya, the Queen of the East Mediterranean, where Europe is no more, and Western Asia begins, offering both sun and culture at far more affordable prices:

Is This The Cheapest Resort City In Europe?

Aerial Drone View Of A Beach In Antalya, Turkiye, Bounded By The Mediterranean Sea.jpg

Antalya is a coastal city in Türkiye, formerly known as Turkey, that's been for years a hugely popular destination for middle-income and low-income travelers from the neighboring continent, particularly Germans, Ukrainians, and Russians, while Americans have ignored it altogether.

They are nowhere to be found amid the top foreign nationals that visit Antalya, and its clientele is almost exclusively Eastern European, meaning prices are much cheaper than in other Med hotspots frequented by big spenders like the French Riviera or the Greek islands.

Antalya Old Town Called Kaleici, Antalya, Turkiye.jpg

On average, a one-week trip costs only $1,028, with tourists expected to pay $110 per night on resorts, and $25 on meals, on average, per day; naturally, it can be a lot more expensive depending on your travel preferences, but it's a well-known fact this Antalya is a budget traveler heaven.

Yes, there are boutique hotels in the heart of the Old Town with room rates starting from a Western-priced $190 a night, not to mention much pricier, luxurious resort stays, but on the other hand, modest rooms in local guesthouses a short walk from the beach can be as cheap as ten dollars.

You can check for yourself.

beach in antalya turkey on a beautiful sunny day with paraglider flying overhead

A One-Of-A-Kind Cultural Gem

Our point is, Antalya caters to a diverse audience, and both affluent travelers seeking relaxation and exclusivity, and young backpackers simply hoping for a private room to crash while spending their days at leisure on a beach are welcome.

We haven't yet got to the best part, though: other than the affordability factor, Americans are missing out on one of the most fascinating cultural destinations in Eurasia.

Antalya dates back over 2,000 years, having first been settled by Greeks, later annexed into several different empires, from the Romans to the Ottomans, before finally finding its place in a Turkish Republic, and needless to say, the multiculturalism shows.

hıdırlık tower, Antalya, Turkey

Despite being irrevocably Turkish—the covered wooden balconies and the smell of grilling kebab leave no room for doubt—it's retained some of that ancient character, be it the roads around the historic center, paved by the Romans in immemorial times, or the historical ruins scattered around Kaleiçi.

Kaleiçi is the walled part of Antalya, and one you'll instantly know you've entered when crossing Hadrian's Gate, a marvelous Roman monument opening into the winding streets of the Old Town that has stood there since 158 AD.

Hadrian's Gate, A Roman Era Gate In Kaleici Old Town, Antalya, Eastern Mediterranean Part Of Turkey

It is where a majority of Antalya's historical landmarks are centered, including a tawny Hidirlik Towers which the Romans erected in the 2nd century to protect the city's waterfront, the medieval Yivli Minaret Mosque, and the bazaar-bounded Old Marina.

Antalya Beyond The Ancient Ruins

Beyond the traditionalism and picturesqueness of Kaleiçi, however, lies a vibrant coastal metropolis with towering oceanfront condos, a modern palm-lined promenade you could easily mistake for Rio's iconic Copacabana, and rapidly growing development zones.

Tourists Walking In A Busy Pedestrian Street In Antalya, Turkiye, Eastern Mediterranean

In Konyaalti, a sun-drenched district where hotel rooms cost as cheap as $35 and a fine-pebble beach unfolds for 8 miles along a turquoise Mediterranean, you'd be surprised at how lively and carefree nightlife is, considering the country's conservative inclinations.

Meanwhile, the recluse Lara Beach, a half-hour drive from the Downtown area, is where a majority of Antalya's famous five-star, all-inclusive listings are centered, still from an acceptable $182 per night (merely a small fraction of what they would cost in Europe).

Mermerli Plaji Beach In Antalya, Old City Harbour, Turkey, Mediterranean Coast

Antalya is the best of both worlds, and it is a place where you can kick back and enjoy your time under the sun and experience Mediterranean culture (with a Turkish twist).

The Leading Beach Destination In Türkiye

This year, Antalya is expected to host 17 million tourists, more than entire secondary Mediterranean countries like Albania or Montenegro will, cementing its position as Türkiye's number one beach getaway—though the most visited destination remains Istanbul.

Antalya Konyaaltı Drone view

Americans' obliviousness towards Antalya may have something to do with the fact that Istanbul is the only city in Türkiye to host nonstop Transatlantic flights, serving as their only gateway to the cross-continental country.

Turkish Airlines has no plans to launch U.S.-Antalya flights anytime soon, but Americans can still fly to Antalya (via Istanbul), or book low-cost flights from within Europe or Türkiye, sometimes for as cheap as under $40 one-way.

Historical Mosque In The Harbor Area Of Antalya, Turkiye, Mediterranean Europe

Either way, a trip to the Queen of the Eastern Med will require a layover somewhere, however short, but on the bright side, at least Americans no longer need visas to fly to Türkiye: as of this year, they have been able to enter with a valid passport only, for visits up to 3 months.

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