You could argue that there’s no such thing as out of season in Antalya. The weather is pleasant all year round and tourists still arrive here well into the winter months. But when the intense heat of the summer has waned and the possibility of rain has risen, many visitors to this intriguing Turkish town will leave.
If you like the idea of exploring narrow cobbled streets, strolling around market stalls with the locals and enjoying quiet beaches, holidays in Antalya could be the perfect out of season choice.
Discover Antalya’s quiet streets
Holidays in Antalya are usually built around the glorious long hours of sunshine and the beautiful stretch of shoreline, but take your trip in the winter and you’ll discover a town with a character often hidden to the summer crowds.
Streets that are busy in high season become quiet and quaint. The charm of these winding old lanes is a delight to discover and you can spend hours gazing at the architecture – Greek and Ottoman – that gives these atmospheric streets their personality. In the old town of Kaleici the ancient stone city walls rise high into the piercing blue winter sky, and you can photograph the clock tower and Roman arch here without having to jostle for a good view with other tourists.
A summer full of humid high temperatures has warmed the sea to a lavish level and swimming is divine at the end of the year. The beaches in Antalya are always a pull for summer holidaymakers, but in the winter you get the best of all angles. The beaches are quiet and you can stroll along the shoreline in peace and if you fancy a dip, the water is heavenly.
You may find that some tourist bars and restaurants have more limited opening hours in the winter, but for the most part out of season holidays in Antalya are a time to live alongside the locals. The café culture the Turkish love is still in full swing all year round and when the crowds have left, the locals reclaim their town. Pavement cafés and bars are now clustered with native Antalyans enjoying a drink in the warm evening air or lunch by the sea. Turkish life blossoms all around as the locals once again have room to relax along with you.
There’s a subtle change in the demeanour of the people of Antalya in winter. People here are always friendly but in winter, the stress of the heat and busy trade lifts and a more laid back way of life emerges. Antalyans relax in winter and the feeling is infectious.
The same can be said for the shops and markets. Carpet sellers who target tourists in summer have strangely disappeared in winter, perhaps leaving the peaceful winter town for more lucrative areas.
Markets and stores revert back to their more natural state and strolling around the stalls is a real pleasure at this time of year. All the vibrancy of the market stalls, the explosion of colour and scent, is still there, but sellers are more at ease and the locals chatter around you as they do their shopping with room to move.
There’s a subtle change in the demeanour of the people of Antalya in winter. People here are always friendly, but in winter the stress of the heat and busy trade has lifted and a more laid back way of life emerges. Antalyans relax in winter, and the feeling is infectious.
There are some major draws to this city in the low season, but our favourite pick is the festivals. Two fascinating arts celebrations arrive in Antalya in October, November and December, and these alone could prove to be a reason to visit at this time of year.
The Golden Orange Film Festival is the biggest film festival in the whole of Turkey and is held right here in Antalya. Showing independent films from all over the world, this is a chance to visit a major film festival without a major price tag.
If music is more your thing, Antalya hosts an International Piano Festival through November and December. This celebration of musical excellence features performances of classical, jazz and contemporary piano styles from an international arena.
Antalya is a Turkish city with a double life: In summer you can enjoy the high temperatures and beach life that tourists love to revel in here. But in winter Antalya loses its summer façade and reveals its true self. The out of season Antalya is culture-rich, pleasantly warm, quiet and a truly local experience.