town and district of the Antalya Province in Turkey

Manavgat is a city in Pamphylia near the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, midway between Antalya and Alanya. It's the main city of a district with a population of 252,941 in 2022: this total includes over a hundred outlying towns and villages, such as the beach resort of Side.

Understand edit

Pamphylia is a long thin coastal plain, so it offers fertile ground and easy overland transport, both otherwise uncommon on the rugged Mediterranean coast of Turkey. So Manavgat is a modern market town making its living from agriculture - the more important ancient city was a few km south at Side, which has a harbour and developed into a large Roman settlement. The area was taken over by the Seljuks in 1220 and the Ottomans in 1472, none of whom saw a need for great fortifications or lavish palaces here. Not much happened for another 500 years, then Side became a tourist resort, and spread and spread along the beach far beyond its original core. Most visitors are therefore just passing through Manavgat to reach that strip. For itself the town is best known for its waterfalls, but further up in the mountains are scenic canyons.

Get in edit

Antalya Airport (AYT IATA) 75 km west is the usual arrival point for international visitors. It has package flights from Europe and domestic flights from Istanbul (IST and SAW), Ankara and other Turkish cities.

Buses from Istanbul run every hour or so and take 13 hours to Manavgat; they may run via Afyon or via Bolu and Konya, and they continue to Alanya. In 2023 an adult single is about 800 TL. From Ankara they take 9 hours via Konya, from Izmir 8 hours via Denizli (for Pamukkale), and from Adana 9 hours via Mersin and Antalya. Operators on these routes include Metro Turizm, Pamukkale and Flixbus.

Another route from Istanbul or Ankara is to take the YHT fast train to Konya, which connects with buses to Antalya, Manavgat and Alanya, taking 6 hours.

Buses from Antalya run every 30 min and take an hour, for a fare of 100 TL. Operators include Alanyalilar and Güney Akdeniz, the long-distance bus lines don't offer tickets for this short hop. From Side take a dolmuş.

1 Manavgat Otogar the bus station is just off D400 west of town centre. Taxi drivers will assume you want to go to the Side resort strip and express bafflement that anyone with a choice in the matter would head for Manavgat town.

By road follow directions to Antalya then pick up highway D400, which hugs the Mediterranean coast.

Get around edit

City centre is compact enough to walk. Take a local bus or dolmuş to reach the otogar, ruins at Side, or the waterfalls - these last are signed Şelale - Sarılar.

See edit

  • Town centre is entirely modern, ranged along Antalya Cd the former coastal highway. Selim Hatun Mosque by the river bridge is a re-build.
  • 1 Central Mosque (Merkez Külliye Camii), 1517th Sk. Attractive mosque with four minarets, in traditional style but built in stages from 2004. Free.
  • 2 Zindan Castle (meaning "Dungeon") is a tumbledown stump in a riverside park.
  • City museum is on 4517th Sk, 200 m north of the castle. It's closed in 2023.
  • 3 Ters Villa Upside-Down House, 8090th Sk 8 (200 m west of bus station), +90 530 400 8307. Daily 10:00-20:00. Critics of samey, ticky-tacky Turkish architecture, prepare to eat your words: this house has been carefully constructed upside-down. Most visitors just take a photo of the exterior but you can pay to go inside, though it won't amuse you longer than ten minutes.
  • 4 Side Roman City is an easy excursion, as the ruins start by Side bus station and extend 2 km towards the coast.
Manavgat Waterfalls
  • 5 Manavgat Waterfalls (Manavgat Şelalesi), Istiklal Cd 35, Sarılar (6 km north of city centre), +90 551 167 5090. Daily 08:00-22:00. The falls are only 3 m high, but the river is broad and has a strong flow, so there's a thundering white curtain. You view them from the west bank, preferably morning as the area gets congested later with visitors craning for photos. Or come at night when the falls are floodlit. Lots of cafes, kitsch and tourist traps nearby. The falls were depicted on the reverse of an old 5 TL banknote, withdrawn in 1983. Adult 20 TL, child 10 TL.
  • Little Waterfall (Küçük Şelale) is only 200 m further upriver, so you can stroll there after seeing the main falls. They have only a metre drop and there's no charge here; it's sometimes trash-strewn. Also described as "The Little Falls" are some underwhelming rapids at the north edge of the city, so if a taxi driver offers to take you to the falls for a surprisingly small fare, that's where he has in mind.
  • 6 Köprülü Canyon is a deep scenic gorge winding through the mountains, nowadays a National Park. Two Roman bridges vault across its side-canyons.
  • 7 Lyrbe is the ruin of an ancient Hellenistic city, in the hills 1 km north of the village of Bucakşeyhler. (It's also referred to as Seleucia, but that was probably on the coast.) There's an agora, gate, mausoleum, Roman baths, necropolis, and temples and churches. Being remote, Lyrbe hasn't been plundered for stone so it's well-preserved. The site is free to explore 24 hours and you'll probably have it to yourself.
  • Lots more ruins in the mountains to the north, but they're difficult to access, and only a trained archaeologist could distinguish their crumbly masonry from the crumbly bedrock.

Do edit

  • River trips start from near the main bridge and go downriver to Titreyengöl ("trembling lake") in the east beach strip of Side. One operator is Manavgat Tekne Turu.
  • White-water rafting and kayaking is on the upper reaches of the river towards Köprülü Canyon.

Buy edit

It won't buy you anything at the falls
  • Supermarkets: lots of small stores, especially along Güllük Cd running east-west through city centre. Şok is the main chain of stores. "Cadde Market" means "street market" but it's just a store on Güllük Cd like any other.

Eat edit

  • Hisar Cd is the main eating strip, coursing north-south a few blocks back from the river.

Drink edit

  • Güllük Cd has a handful of bars, including Cafe Bistro Lava, Waffle Bar, Chronos Nargile Cafe and Shift gastro-pub.

Sleep edit

Central Mosque
  • 1 Sansa Hotel, Kordon Cd, 4017th Sk 11, +90 242 742 0404. Central in town and usually clean. B&B double 1200 TL.
  • River Hotel is opposite Sansa on 4017th Sk. Only if you're stuck.
  • 2 Hotel Derin Ma, Sorgun Blv 44, +90 242 606 1014. Decent modern place 500 m north of bus station, cleaning and air-con erratic, some noise. B&B double 1200 TL.
  • Side is better for accommodation, as it's package-tour territory and has dozens of good hotels. The strip stretches out for 20 km on either side, but several hotels are central, a short ride from Manavgat.

Connect edit

Manavgat, Side and the coastal strip have 4G from all Turkish carriers. As of July 2023, 5G has not rolled out in Turkey.

Go next edit

  • Side is just a few km south, effectively the beach strip for Manavgat, but with extensive Roman ruins.
  • Alanya east also has a long beach strip, and a citadel perched on a crag.
  • Belek west pitches itself as a golf resort, like the Algarve but with better kebabs.
  • Antalya further west for most visitors is just a busy transport hub, but it has several museums and antiquities.

Routes through Manavgat
AntalyaBelek  W   E  AlanyaMersin

This city travel guide to Manavgat is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.