Turkiye, a nation straddling both Europe and Asia, has a rich cultural heritage and a history spanning several millennia. This country boasts iconic landmarks, mesmerizing landscapes, and a diverse range of natural and man-made wonders. However, amidst its minaret-dotted skyline of Istanbul and fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, there’s a destination that’s quickly rising in popularity – Antalya.

In recent years, particularly since travel restrictions were lifted, Antalya has become increasingly popular among tourists from both Western countries and Russia. This surge in visitors is mainly due to Turkiye’s open borders and a policy of visa-free travel. This inclusive approach has especially appealed to Russian tourists, who currently face difficulties travelling to most sunny locations within the Schengen Area, such as Spain, France, Italy, and Croatia.

The appeal for Westerners lies in Turkiye’s offering as an affordable beach destination. The plummeting of Turkiye’s currency against the dollar has resulted in favorable exchange rates for tourists, leading to incredibly low prices for food and accommodations. According to Numbeo, a global database that tracks the cost of living in various cities worldwide, a person can expect to spend approximately USD$487.07 per month, including rent, when residing in Antalya.

Antalya isn’t just about the beaches and affordable living, though. The city has a rich history dating back to around 150 BC when it was founded as a Greek settlement before transforming into a Roman port. Today, it retains much of its classical character with numerous Greco-Roman sites and archaeological zones within a short drive of the city. These include the renowned Perge, the ancient Roman theatre of Aspendos, and the Temple of Apollo in the port city of Side.

In terms of leisure activities, Antalya offers several world-class attractions, including the Land of Legends theme park, which offers a beach club, hotel, and scenic boat rides. The city also houses the Antalya Aquarium – the world’s largest tunnel aquarium – and Aqualand Antalya Dolphinland, perfect for family outings. For beach lovers, Phaselis and Mermeli Plaji are among the favorite spots offering a mix of historical charm and stunning natural beauty.

Antalya’s rise in popularity is reflected in its impressive tourism figures. In its best first quarter ever, Antalya recorded a 45% increase year-on-year, hosting 2.1 million tourists from January 1 through May 7. These figures represent a 10% increase over pre-pandemic numbers from 2019. Consequently, Antalya is expected to play a critical role in Turkiye’s tourism recovery, a sector crucial to the nation’s economy. The government projects a steady rise in numbers, with an expectation of over 60 million tourists in 2023 and potentially reaching 90 million visitors per year by the end of the decade.

As Turkiye continues to open its doors to the world, Antalya is set to shine brightly, providing a unique blend of history, culture, affordability, and leisure – all against the stunning backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea.