Antalya (population 2 million), "capital" of the Turkish Mediterranean Coast, is a sprawling modern city with a small, charming historic center, a good archeology museum, long sunny beaches to east and west, the Turquoise Coast's busiest airport, good hotels lots to see and do, and dramatic sea and mountain views.

The historic center, called Kaleici surrounds the Roman harbor. Many buildings here date from Ottoman times, a few from Roman times, and some have been restored as houses, boutique hotels and inns, pensions or restaurants.

Antalya's prime beach is Konyaalti Plaji, a long swath of rough sand and pebbles running west for several kilometers. The sand is somewhat softer along Lara Plaji to the east. Other beaches are farther afield at Side and Alanya to the east, or Kermer, Phaselis and Olimpos to the south.

Visit Antalya for Kaleici, the museum and beaches, and because it's the transportation hub of the region with a big, modern airport 10 km (6 miles) east of the city center, and a big, modern bus terminal (Otogar) 4 km (2.5 miles) north. Antalya is also a good base for visits to nearby archeological sites such as Aspendos, Olimpos, Perge, Phaselis, Side and Termessos.