On my ten-day trip to Turkey, I wanted one Mediterranean seaside resort town experience. Antalya on the southern coast, aka the “Turkish Riviera.” My initial research had led me to the cities of Antalya and Bodrum. I asked a Turkish friend which she recommended. She said the places were pretty even, but that Bodrum would be more of a luxury yacht/ boutique type of place. My tastes lean towards more of the common man so I chose Antalya. Antalya worked out well.
NOTE: I flew into Antalya from Istanbul and flew out to Izmir. Flying in Turkey was basically the same as flying in the US. Check-in was normal. I gate checked my wheelchair, and was helped on the airplane with an aisle chair. It was a very First World.
The city has nearly a million residents and, if Wikipedia is to be believed, is the third most visited destination in the world behind London and Paris. I still find that notion astounding, but I can accept that the place is centrally located and it is a value resort stay. I was there in the “off” season of late April. The weather was perfect! For central Europeans, Antalya is considered a value resort destination. It is pristine and unquestionably gorgeous. Like Istanbul and other parts of Turkey you get a quality mixture of the modern and the layer cake of past empires. I think Antalya is well worth the stop if you are in the region and a seaside break is your thing.
In Antalya, the vibe very much felt like San Diego. I also felt like I could have been in resort town in Mexico—tho I have never been. I went to a very USA type shopping center. There was a very new aquarium across the street from the hotel. I was able to ride the bus to downtown as it had a lift. The tramway paying thru the city center also seemed accessible. The antiquity museum was another place I briefly checked out.
I was hesitant to walk around the old town because I feared the streets would be step and cobblestoned. But that is not the case at all. The historical walled neighborhood has been completely gentrified and fixed up. I would characterize it almost like a Disney World country showcase at Epcot. There are gorgeous views and access to the water. There are smooth modern paved walking streets. There are hotels, restaurants and shops. Note the hotels were picturesque but my sense was they were not remade super accessible. While renovated, they were still using the historical buildings that are not inherently accessible
Close by, to the west of the city, are visually dramatic mountainous hills. However they seemed un-remarked in books and by locals alike. I never got a sense that there was much activity there. I saw a brochure for a vertical gondola but did not get around to it. I wished there were more tourist attractions in those mountains. They were like a visual magnet that I wanted to see more of.
My mom and I stayed at a modern resort hotel just off a public beach, and about two miles west of the downtown and old city—Hotel Su. It had several restaurants, a large pool with sunning deck and nearby access to the public beach on the Mediterranean. Someone told me to expect a lot of Russian guests, but it turned out Germans were the largest group. I used a wheelchair accessible room (see pics). I made an effort to examine a standard room, and I felt that was basically barrier free. The only accessibility issue I would comment on is the fact that pool had no lift. There were shallow steps that led into the pool at one end. Additionally the ramp to access the pool was a bit steep, long and bumpy. I did see a number of other guests using wheelchairs.