Antakya and Hatay Province

Antakya is a district of Hatay Province which is located Mediterranean region of Turkey. When you plan to travel to Hatay, you should be ready to meet with the rich history and unique places. Every year thousands of tourists travel to Hatay to see the impressive traces which is significantly essential for history. The history of Hatay will make you impressed and you will want to know more wherever you visit.

While there are many historical places and museums, you will also see the religious places at the same time. While you will be able to visit Antakya, Hatay almost every season, some seasons will be more comfortable to travel comfortably. You can prefer longer trips while you will be able to prefer daily trips at the same time. The magnificent places and the special cuisine of Hatay will make your travel more enjoyable and unforgettable.

View of Asi River and Antakya City Center
View of Asi River and Antakya City Center

You will be able to prefer daily trips besides the longer holidays. While you will be able to try the delicious cuisine of Hatay, you can also discover the city more. Once you visit a historical or a unique place of Hatay, you will never be able to stop seeing the following places because you will never have a chance to see this rich history anywhere else again. 

Where is Antakya Located on the Map of Turkey?

Antakya is located in the South of Turkey and the Mediterranean Region near the Syria Border of Turkey.

About the City 

Hatay province has a 1.61 million population and 389.377 citizens are living in Antakya which is the most crowded district of Hatay. The population is created by usually middle-aged and young people in Antakya according to demographics.

Hatay has a Mediterranean climate. In the summer season and during the year, July is the sunniest and driest month. While the warmest month is August, you can see that January is the coldest month. Besides that, the summer months are drier than the rest of the months as well. If you are not comfortable with rainy weather, you shouldn’t prefer January to travel to Antakya, Hatay because January has the highest rain average of the year. 


Months

Average Temperature

Rainy Days(Avg.)

Sun Hours

Humidity

January

8 °C (46.5°F)

9 Days

5.6

77%

February

9.8 °C (49.6°F)

8 Days

6.6

74%

March

12.9 °C (55.2°F)

8 Days

8.0

70%

April

16.5 °C (61.6°F)

7 Days

9.0

69%

May

20.5 °C (68.9°F)

5 Days

10.2

67%

June

24.1 °C (75.4°F)

2 Days

10.9

64%

July

26.6 °C (79.9°F)

1 Days

10.8

66%

August

27.2 °C (80.9°F)

1 Days

9.8

66%

September

25 °C (77.1°F)

3 Days

9.2

66%

October

21.3 °C (70.3°F)

5 Days

8.5

64%

November

14.8 °C (58.6°F)

6 Days

7.4

65%

December

9.6 °C (49.2°F)

8 Days

5.9

74%

History of Antakya

The rich history and the impressive traces of civilizations make Hatay more special and unique. Hatay is known for the civilizations which left traces in the city throughout history and thousands of tourists travel to Hatay to see them every year. It is possible to see the traces of the Bronze Age in Hatay. There are many special museums that every tourist has to visit and see the unique traces of the civilizations and the history at the same time.

The first settlement was 8000 BC in Antakya and it has a 4000 years history. Antakya has a special place in history because it is the first established city in the world. In addition to that, the first Olympics were organized in Antakya during the Roman Empire. Besides, the first street lamps are used in Antakya in the world while people were still using the torches. Antakya has an essential role also on religion because the first church in the world was built in Antakya which is called St. Pierre Church and there are thousands of tourists who would like to see the church every year. 

You need to be ready for the wide range of the historical periods because you will be able to see the periods of Ottoman, Seljuk, Roman and Eastern Roman, Hellenistic and Hittite, while you will also be able to see traces of the oldest periods of the history such as Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Bronze Age at the museums of Antakya. 

Getting to Antakya

If you would like to travel to Antakya, Hatay, you will be able to reach the city by your personal vehicle, by plane or busses at the same time. It is easy to reach the destination in every possible way. You will have various options that you can choose according to your travel plan. 

By Plane

You will be able to find flights to Hatay easily on many different airlines. You need to find a flight to Hatay Airport if you would like to get to Antakya. You can see all the details of the Hatay Airport below;

Hatay Airport: Hatay Airport is located 27 km away from Antakya district and 30 km away from Iskenderun district of Hatay. When you fly to Hatay Airport and would like to reach Antakya, you will be able to take “Havas” busses at the airport which have several stops. You can see the route of the “Havas” busses below; 

  • Transportation by Havas Busses from Hatay Airport to Iskenderun

The departure time is 25 minutes after the landing. Arriving at Iskenderun the road can take about 75 minutes according to the density of traffic. You can purchase the ticket from the driver that costs 21 Turkish Liras for one way. You need to purchase the ticket in cash, the credit card is not available. You can see the stops from the Airport to Iskenderun on the table below; 

Hatay Airport
Belen
Sarimazi
Iskenderun
Hatay Highway
Fener Street
Sahil Yolu 
PAC Square, Hotel
  • Transportation by Havas Buses from Antakya District to Hatay Airport Departure Times

The Havas busses depart according to all flight schedules of Hatay Airport. 

Monday: 04:15, 07:30, 13:30, 15:45, 21:00
Tuesday: 04:15, 07:30, 11:00, 13:30, 14:15, 15:00
Wednesday: 07:30, 13:30, 15:45, 21:00
Thursday: 04:15, 07:30, 14:00, 16:00
Friday: 04:15, 07:30, 08:45, 11:00, 20:15, 20:45
Saturday: 04:15, 07:30, 13:30, 14:15, 15:45, 20:45
Sunday: 05:45, 08:45, 10:45, 16:15, 17:15

You can visit the official page of Havas busses and see the exact stops which can be nearer for you and learn more details at the same time. The travel time can be changeable according to the density of traffic, so it would be better you arrive at the stop earlier. 

By Bus

You do not have only a flight option. If you would like to travel by bus to Hatay, you will be able to find bus tickets in various cities and districts at the same time. You can see the travel time by bus from other cities and districts to Hatay on the table below; 


City

Km

Travel Time by Bus

Istanbul

1113 km

11h 53m

Ankara

769 km

8h 29m

Izmir

1085 km

17h 25m

Adana

179 km

3h 5m

Mersin

271 km

4h 23m

Gaziantep

193 km

3h 35m

Diyarbakir

507 km

7h 30m

Mardin

536 km

8h 45m

Konya

529 km

4h 30m

Denizli (Pamukkale)

925 km

11h 45m

Nevsehir (Cappadocia)

421 km

6h 55m

Antalya 

793 km
11h 15m
  • There will be transfer busses at the bus terminal and if you would like to go to the city center, you can take bus 113 to arrive at the location. It usually takes 25 minutes according to the density of traffic.

Urban Transportation

There are many useful options in Hatay if you would like to use urban transportation. If you do not travel by your personal vehicle, you will be able to use busses and minibusses in Hatay. Besides that, you can reach some places when you take even a bus and you will not need to transfer because every district is significantly close to each other. You can check the timetable of busses or minibusses or you can follow them online if you would like to find the available time according to your plan. When you wait at the stop, you will see various busses and minibusses going to different places if you are not sure the destination you can easily ask the drivers.

In addition to that, if you would like to take busses in Antakya, there is a city card which is called “Kent Kart” that you will be able to purchase on the selling points. You can use the “Kent Kart” when you would like to take busses in Antakya. If you wouldn’t like to use the urban transportation in Hatay or Antakya, you will be able to find a taxi in the city. You can easily prefer them and reach the destination that you would like to arrive at.

Taxi Prices;

  • Hatay Airport-Kirikhan: 100 Turkish Liras
  • Hatay Airport-Harbiye: 140 Turkish Liras
  • Hatay Airport-Iskenderun: 150 Turkish Liras
  • Hatay Airport-Reyhanli: 180 Turkish Liras

It should be noted that you will be able to see many taxis after landing and when you find a taxi at the airport to reach your planned destination, the prices can be lower. You need to say the exact location to the driver and learn the exact price as well. Taxis are available 24/7 in the city. 

The price of urban transportation that you will be able to take from the bus terminal to reach the city center is 2 Turkish Liras for Adults, and 1.50 Turkish Liras for students. If you would like to prefer to buy a ticket from the bus driver, the price will be 2.50 Turkish Liras. (The prices are given in the July of 2021)

If you are planning to stay at a hotel, you will be able to rent a car for 4 or 8 people that will take you to the exact location of your hotel. After the landing, you will see agencies that provide renting services. If you would like to reach the exact location directly, you can prefer those agencies as well. 

Top Things to Do in Antakya

Antakya has rich historical places that you will be able to visit. While you will touch the traces of the history, you will also be able to learn more about the traces and civilizations at the same time. We listed top things that you should do in Antakya below;  

Hatay Archeology Museum

A mosaic in Hatay Archeology Museum
A mosaic in Hatay Archeology Museum

Hatay Archeology Museum is the second biggest museum in the world. The museum meets with visitors since 2014. While you will be able to see the large range of the periods of Ottoman, Seljuk, Roman and Eastern Roman, Hellenistic and Hittite, you will also be able to see the oldest periods of history such as Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, and Bronze Age at the same time. In addition to that, you will be impressed by the ceramics and the mosaic collection of the Hatay Archeology Museum takes the first place in the world. The museum is open every day so you will be able to visit the Hatay Archeology Museum any day of the week.

There are 2 terms of the opening and closing times of the museum;

  • Summer Term (April 1- October 1)

Opening: 10:00 / Closing: 19:00

  • Winter Term (October 1- April 1) 

Opening: 08:30 / Closing: 17:00

Entrance Fee: 40 Turkish Liras

Ticket Office Closing: 18:30 in the summer term, 16:30 in the winter term. 

Click here to check up-to-date visiting hours and entrance fees.

Old Town of Antakya 

A small street in the old town of Antakya
A small street in the old town of Antakya

If you are planning to spend your holiday in Antakya, you must see the old town of the district. You need to see the old-style houses and the streets of Antakya. The stunning atmosphere will make you impressed. If you have enough time, you need to visit the old town of Antakya.  

Uzuncarsi

Uzunçarşı
Uzunçarşı

Uzuncarsi is the oldest bazaar of Hatay Province. It is located in the old town of Antakya. You will be able to find various souvenirs, clothing, spices, and jewelry at Uzuncarsi. Besides that, you can find traditional and organic food at the same time. The things that you will meet at the Uzuncarsi are limitless. While you will find special things for yourself, you can also buy souvenirs for your family or friends. 

Habib-i Neccar Mosque

Habib-i Neccar Mosque

The Habib-i Neccar Mosque was built in 638 AD and it has an essential role in religious history. It is the first mosque of Anatolia and it is located in the Antakya district of Hatay Province. The given name comes from Habib-i Neccar who was a Christian carpenter. There are graves of Christian in the mosque. You need to see this impressive mosque and discover its special and unique story if you are planning to travel to Hatay.

St. Pierre Church

St. Pierre Cave Church, Antakya, Hatay
St. Pierre Cave Church, Antakya, Hatay

St. Pierre Church is located in the Antakya district of Hatay. Every year, thousands of tourists visit St. Pierre Catholic Church because it is the first church in the world. The church was declared a “Place of Pilgrimage” by Pope Paul VI.

There are 2 terms of the opening and closing times of the St. Pierre Church;

  • Summer Term (April 1- October 1)

Opening: 10:00 / Closing: 19:00

  • Winter Term (October 1- April 1) 

Opening: 08:30 / Closing: 17:00

Entrance Fee: 40 Turkish Liras

Ticket Office Closing: 18:30 in the summer term, 16:30 in the winter term.

Click here to check up-to-date visiting hours and entrance fees.

Kurtulus Avenue

Kurtulus Avenue is famous for the first street lights which are used in the world. The avenue has an essential role in history because it was an important trade center during history. If you would like to feel the atmosphere of the avenue, you can spare time and discover it. 

Moses Tree

The Moses Tree has an essential story that you will be able to discover. Rumour has it that there is the water of immortality under the tree. Besides the story of the tree, you will be able to find shops and cafes around and you can drink something while you can enjoy the atmosphere and be impressed by the story of Moses Tree. 

Vakifli Village 

Vakifli Armenian Church

The Vakifli Village is located km away from the Samandag district of Hatay. It is the only Armenian village in Turkey. Only the Turkish-Armenian people are creating the population of the village. The village is famous for the oranges that the villagers grow. The village is 30 km away from the Syrian border. If you are traveling to Hatay and would like to see a peaceful village, you can prefer to visit the Vakifli Village of Hatay. 

Day Trips from Antakya

If you would like to spend your time on day trips, you will be able to find many options. You can see the top 2 daily trips from Antakya. 

Iskenderun

Iskenderun Coast
Iskendrun Coast

You can plan your day trip to Iskenderun in Hatay. There are several ways to travel from Antakya to Iskenderun. You can prefer busses, taxis, shuttles or a personal vehicle. Besides that, you will be able to rent a car if you prefer to visit Iskenderun with your friendship groups or family. 

Samandag

Titus Tunnel in Samandağ
Titus Tunnel in Samandağ

You will be able to visit Samandag on the day trip from Antakya. Samandag is 25 km away from Antakya and you can easily get there. You will be able to see the Vespasianus Titus Tunnel, Monastery of St. Simeon, and countless landscapes, unique historical and special places which are located in Samandag. 

What to Eat

Hatay has special and unique tastes that you need to try if you are planning to travel to this impressive city. While you will be able to try numerous foods in Hatay, you need to try some specific and more special food and desserts of Antakya during your trip. You will be able to find many different restaurants and traditional places in Hatay to try the special cuisine of the city at the same time. While you will be able to have countless options, you can see the top special food of Antakya below;

Kunefe

Kunefe
Kunefe

Kunefe is a famous dessert in Turkey and you must try it in Hatay. The traditional dessert is made by handmade shredded phyllo dough, special unsalted cheese, and sugar syrup. It is often preferred with ice cream or traditional heavy cream. If you are interested in cuisines or would like to try special and traditional desserts, kunefe would be the best choice. 

Kagit Kebabi

Kagit Kebabi
Kagit Kebabi

When someone says Kebab, Turkey comes to mind directly but Kagit(Paper) Kebabi is unique and more special in Antakya. While there is a rich cuisine, you need to try Kagit Kebabi in the famous restaurants of Antakya before you leave the city. It is served with tomatoes and onions and there are various spices in the Kagit Kebabi. 

Tepsi Kebabi

Tepsi Kebabi
Tepsi Kebabi

Tepsi(tray) Kebabi is also known as “Lahm-I sini” in Antakta. It is significantly a special kebab which has vegetables and special meat in it. While you will be able to try Tepsi Kebabi in many different places, it is more special in Antakya. It is also served with tomatoes and green pepper. So, if you are trying to find something special in the district, you shouldn’t leave the city before trying Tepsi Kebabi in Antakya. 

Oruk

Oruk is also known as Icli Kofte in the Turkish language but in Antakya, you will be able to see the different culinary of Icli Kofte. It is different than meatballs and you will experience the unique cuisine of Turkey. You can try it at traditional restaurants and places as well.  

Kabak Tatlisi

Kabak Tatlisi(Pumpkin Dessert) with Tahini and Wallnut
Kabak Tatlisi(Pumpkin Dessert) with Tahini and Wallnut

Kabak Tatlisi(pumpkin dessert) is another famous dessert in Turkey and you need to try it in Hatay. There are many restaurants and traditional places that you will be able to try this delicious dessert. 

Eksi Asi 

Eksi Asi is a soup that you will be able to try in Antakya. There is bulgur for meatballs, meatballs, onions, walnut, chili pepper, salt, flour, and mint in it. If you would like to try special and traditional food, you will be able to try Eksi Asi in various unique and traditional restaurants in Antakya. 

Shopping 

Besides the traditional and special bazaars and markets of Hatay, there are also shopping malls that you will be able to spend time and find clothing, technology, and various stores. If you would like to spend time in the markets and bazaars, you will be able to find special foods, souvenirs, clothing, spices, and numerous unique things everywhere in the city. 

Events 

  1. St. Pierre Church Ceremony: Every June 29th 
  2. Dortyol Ilk Kursun Kultur Sanat ve Turuncgil Festivali: September 16th – September 19th
  3. Orontes Uluslararasi Cagdas Sanat Festival: October 18th – October 24th.
  4. Antakya International Movie Fest: October 15th – October 21st.
  5. Tekno Uzay Bilim Senligi: October 1st– October 3rd 
  6. Daphne Bisiklet Festivali: August 19th– August 22th
  7. Milyonfest Hatay Arsuz: August 12th– August 15th
  8. Karacay Fidan ve Genclik Festivali: July 30th August 1st 
  9. 5 Temmuz Kultur, Sanat ve Turizm Festivali: June 25th – July 3rd 
  10. BT Fest Hatay: June 27th 

Where to Stay

You will be able to find hotels and boutique hotels in Antakya, Hatay. There are various hotels which you can prefer according to your budget. You can follow the available hotels online and book according to your travel time instantly. You can plan your holiday after you check the various hotels in Antakya, Hatay. You can specialize your demands and find the best hotel for your holiday online.

İsmail Çamönü

Hi! I am Ismail. I am a digital nomad from Turkey. I lived in many cities around Turkey during my life and I am passionate about traveling. At Nomad's Guide to Turkey, I share travel tips for nomads, expats, and tourists who would like to visit Turkey.

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